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Iraq War and the American Peasant

Christopher King explores the phenomenon of the American peasant - that segment of US society which, through suspension of all critical faculties and indifference to the truth, defy logic and evidence by supporting the war against Iraq.

By Christopher King

01/15/07 "Information Clearing House" --- The peasant is a type who has disappeared from Western Europe with excellent effects both socially and politically. The American peasant however has a lot to answer for. This is most vividly shown in the public's judgment about the rightness of the Iraq war where views are sharply divided between Europe and America.

The historical peasant was an agricultural worker who was poor, uneducated and usually worked so hard he had no time or energy for anything else. Any opinions or judgments that such a man might make would necessarily be of poor quality. In America, the land of plenty, opportunity and electronic information which has never seen a peasant class of this sort, how can the peasant possibly exist and indeed be blamed for his judgments?

I wish to discuss here one strand, but an important one, of many that made the Iraq war possible. Others for example are those of the Rumsfelds who were in it for the money, the Condoleezza Rices and Colin Powell who were careerists and the Richard Perles together with sundry Zionist supporters and collaborators for whom Saddam was their worst enemy.

We can easily understand them and their self-interests. Everyone got what s/he wanted except for Colin Powell whose unwise United Nations performance in identifying mobile chemical factories will make him a joke far beyond his lifetime. I am not concerned about these. I am interested in the major segment of quiet peasants who believed uncritically what they were told and supported the war by their compliance. I am speaking of a peasant state of mind. We cannot blame our historical peasant for poor judgment or lack of knowledge. He cannot help his position. The American peasant has no such excuse.

The infallible test for identifying a peasant is whether he believed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack. It is an unarguable fact, widely known for years, that Saddam was not behind it, yet large numbers of Americans to this day think that he was. In linking Saddam with 9/11, President Bush simply lied, for reasons that seemed good to him, but his lies are not my concern. I am concerned that he never produced evidence and it was widely publicised at the time that there was no such evidence, yet much of the country believed him. The highest proportion of believers were, and still are, Fox News viewers. Fox News, the principal channel to assert a link between Saddam and 9/11, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a Jewish Zionist. From a Zionist perspective, that was clever misinformation, aimed at an audience that would accept it. But why would anyone accept it? Only by suspension of all critical faculties, curiosity about American society, the wider world and indeed, one's information provider. I would also add indifference to the truth, which is crucial in matters of warfare and the lives of men.

The American peasant cannot protect his country as he believes he is doing because by his indifference, ignorance and credulity he cannot differentiate truth from falsehood. He is as indistinguishable from our traditional peasant as if we were to take that worthy individual, dress him in a suit, sit him for the day before a television screen showing Fox News in a suburban house with new car in the garage then in the evening, ask his opinion on world events.

How can this be?

I am doubtless gathering up accountants and computer programmers together with McDonalds workers and the odd soya farmer of a few thousand acres who owns a barn full of machinery, two or three cars and sends his children to university. You might say in objection that many of these are highly qualified people with highly developed vocational skills, so they cannot be peasants. I reply that such skills and qualifications are irrelevant; they relate only to earning money rather than knowledge of the wider world. Our traditional peasant had excellent vocational skills as anyone knows who has tried ploughing a field behind a horse, making cheese, salami or maintaining an orchard.

Our Americans are not poor, you might object.

They are men and women of substance, churchgoers, even pillars of their communities. True, but they behave as if they are poor since their possessions and money, which are the envy of most of the world, are not enough. They are not preoccupied with producing goods for survival as our traditional peasant is; they are preoccupied with gaining goods and money far beyond a good standard of living. They live in virtual villages where, if they have leisure from their efforts to escape their self-defined poverty, they associate with others who have similar village interests, unaware that their nation expends its wealth, the lives of its soldiers and the lives of uncounted hundreds of thousands of Iraqis half a world away on the basis of lies and deception. This is peasant behaviour.

I do not know the underlying cause of this phenomenon; nor can I suggest a remedy. Perhaps many Americans believe their own slogans about the "Land of the Free", the "American Way", "Only in America" and "American Democracy".

Perhaps it is because, having never suffered invasion and occupation, they cannot empathize with those whom they regularly invade. Of course, there are many Americans who are as knowledgeable and sophisticated as anyone anywhere and who genuinely believe that an American life is as valuable as an Iraqi life. I place the responsibility on them to bring their na´ve compatriots to an understanding that their behaviour has disastrous consequences for millions of fellow humans who are suffering and dying in other parts of the world. Ultimately, they endanger America and themselves.

None of this is to say that we in the UK do not have our problems in relation to the Iraq war.

None of our Members of Parliament who voted for war believed Tony Blair's lies - well, perhaps a few such as Anne Clwyd who have hyper-active hearts sustaining brains on the verge of extinction.

The majority, those who voted for war for reasons other than career prospects and Zionist views, did so out of political expedience, the worst possible reason and are now trying to cover their tracks. They have clearly delineated an area where our democracy has failed, but that is another story and our responsibility.

Christopher King is retired consultant and lecturer in management and marketing. He lives in London, UK.

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