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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | May 26, 2003

In Memoriam: Let's We Forget

In Memorial Day remarks, our President says "This nation does not forget".

But in his review of The Matrix Reloaded, NYT's Frank Rich observes that forgetfulness is the core principle of American consciousness:

... when Al Qaeda's terrorists were gearing up for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ... media giants were in overdrive selling escapist fare like the Clinton scandals, Gary Condit's sex life and shark attacks. ... entertaining melodramas drove any reports of threatening developments beyond U.S. shores to the periphery ...

The media giants took the same tack in banding together to push the administration-dictated narrative of Saddam Hussein ... by the time the war began, 51 percent of Americans, according to a Knight-Ridder poll, believed that Iraqis were among the Sept. 11 hijackers.

It took the bloody re-emergence of Qaeda terrorists in Riyadh two weeks ago to recover the repressed memory that none of those terrorists were Iraqis ... And whatever happened to Saddam's arsenal ...? Well, sarin today, gone tomorrow ... vanished from the national consciousness.

The power of the five companies that foster this sequential amnesia is increasing, not declining. ... But who knows or cares? ... the companies that program America's matrix have shut out all but bare-bones coverage of the imminent FCC [action, much as the ruling machines in "The Matrix" do not feed their capitve humans any truths that might set them free].

(The bracketed passage is present in the NYT print edition, but jaggedly omitted from the International Herald Tribune reprint.)

In the less frenetic matrix of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, one fallen Marine's grieving father refuses to forget ... while it seems the spinning media machine and myth-adicted public have already forgotten. Far away, an aging solon wonders "What is happening to us?".

Update: Other not-ready-for-prime-time remembrances ...

"We believe that [4th ID, 20th Field Artillery, Spec. Rasheed Sahib] died because he was a Muslim." While the Army investigates the incident, Ashraf waits for answers ... She wants to know why someone would clean a gun without emptying its chamber. She wants to know the name of the soldier who shot her son.

"Why? Why?" wailed Rita Russell,
[U.S. Marine 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion Lance Cpl. William] White's aunt ... whose home in East New York sits barely a mile from Sahib's ... angry that White's painful death ... has been pictured on television and described in detail on the pages of a magazine. Her opposition to the war, she said, only made the words and images harder to bear. "I feel disrespected, violated," Russell said.

While we're remembering, let's remember that for every KIA there are roughly two less-celebrated vets with permanent disabilities. They'll never forget, but we will.

RonK, Seattle

Posted May 26, 2003 10:46 AM | Comments (62)


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