When I heard Ronnie Raygun had finally kicked off, I said aloud: "One less war criminal in the world."
When President (sic) Bush heard the same news, he declared Friday, June 11, a "day of national mourning" for the dead prez.
I see Dubya and raise him this: I declare Friday, June 11 a national day of mourning for Raygun's victims. As Bill Blum says, Ronnie's "biggest crimes were the bloody military actions to suppress social and political change in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Afghanistan." Raygun called the Nicaraguan contras "the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers" and this noble group of "freedom fighters" regularly attacked civilians, cutting off women's breasts and men's testicles, gouging out eyes, beheading infants, using children for target practice, and slitting throats and pulling the victim's tongue out through the slit.
Let us mourn then for the 14-year-old Nicaraguan girl who was gang-raped and decapitated by Raygun's moral heroes...her head placed on a stake as a warning to government supporters in her village. (The chairman of Americas Watch and Helsinki Watch concluded "the US cannot avoid responsibility for these atrocities.")
But why stop at those who died at the behest of War Criminal #40? Let's mourn Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel, Fred Hampton, Rachel Corrie, Ken Saro Wiwa, and the thousands gathered by Pinochet's thugs into Chilean soccer stadiums. Three million dead in Southeast Asia deserve a day of mourning, don't they? How about the 100+ executed by Dubya in Texas and the tens of thousands he's sentenced to death in Iraq and Afghanistan? Let's not omit the Vietnamese who suffered the "atrocities" John Kerry admits to participating in or the victims of NAFTA or the Welfare repeal bill Kerry supported.
Screw Raygun. I want to set aside a global day of mourning for America's indigenous population and the victims of the African slave trade. The million in Indonesia in the 60s, the 300,000 in East Timor in the 70s, the half-million Iraqi children of the 90s.
I could go on and on...but you get the picture, I'm sure. There has never been a shortage of U.S.-funded and supported atrocities and, consequently, there is no shortage of media propaganda to transform these atrocities in noble victories. A fundamental element of left media criticism involves exposing the predictable behavior of the corporate media in such situations: Event A occurs. Reaction A ensues. Public opinion is formed.
Raygun dies. Media canonizes him and ignores his crimes. America mourns.
But what about the reaction on the Left? Raygun croaks...and the standard blueprint applies:
a) His actual record is documented and juxtaposed with media distortion.
b) Historical examples are provided to demonstrate that such behavior by U.S. leaders is commonplace.
c) A few motivated lefties immerse themselves in Raygun's record and end up with a book deal.
Fast-forward to Kissinger's death in, say, 2007. A similar pattern will emerge...and a few more books will get published. Sure, the Nation left may quibble with the Counterpunch left, but the corporate/military machine rolls on.
Something's gotta give...
Ronnie Raygun was just a pus-filled symptom of a larger ailment. Even if he died disgraced in a prison cell (as he deserved), he was but one measly germ. We need to renounce the over-the-counter quick fixes and boost our long term immunity to the systemic diseases that put men like him in power.
After all, how many more Ronnie Rayguns can we survive?
Mickey Z. is the author of four books. For more information, please visit: www.mickeyz.net.
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