Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production


© 2009 UrbisMedia

© 2009 UrbisMedia

There is an old Latin saying—Fortuna Stulti Favet—Fortune Favors Fools. We all may know individual confirmations of this proverb; but historically, it does not appear to apply to nation states and their wars of choice. History is less beneficent to foolish countries than dice or Lotto tickets.

This week the news cycle is riveted on one of its favorite themes: American mass murder—a shopping mall, post office, corporate offices, or school that is attacked by one of our own NRA-sponsored whackjobs with automatic weapons more and more states are allowing people to carry openly or concealed and killing and wounding as many as possible before they are gunned down themselves or turn their weapons on themselves. It is riveting; with live or endless loops of footage of the SWAT teams, cars and medical vehicles cycling multi-colored lights, and the swarms of news vans with their bow-dried bozos and bimbos acting all self-important and sententious. You know what I mean, and if you happened to miss the latest there will be more carnage along in a week or so.

The latest was at Fort Hood in Texas: Army major goes berserk and kills 13 soldiers and wounds 30 before being shot but not killed. This might not have gotten such high ratings (heck, it’s only half the size of our current record for mass killings), but in this case the perpetrator was a psychiatrist who works with soldiers with PTSD (yikes, is it contagious?). Then, the shrink is a practicing Muslim, who has had Muslim bumperstickers on is car and has made remarks that you would not have to be Dick Cheney to regard as treasonous. So you don’t have to have a brain smaller than Glenn Beck’s to not wonder what the hell is this guy doing in a camo suit and around guns with easy access to people he might not like very much. Supposedly (although I don’t want to jump ahead of what the Army’s spin will be on this) the “trigger” was that he was about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan where he wasn’t going to have to kill his co-religionists (although it can be lethal to ask a Taliban if he has ever had Oedipal feelings) but just be closer to the source of PTSD.

Instead, Major Nidal Malik Hasan decided to become a “Mass Army Murderer of One.” There will be a lot of investigating, hand-wringing, news analysis with so-called “experts” lowered flags and candle-light vigils—and did I leave out praying and scripture spouting?—but not much wondering how in the world our U.S. Army could possibly defend us from anything when they are seemingly so freakin’ stupid! After Pearl Harbor we put poor Japanese sushi chefs in camps because we thought they might slice us up in the streets with their Ginsu knives. That was stupid, but these days the Pentagon puts upset Muslim shrinks—shrinks!—in the position of counseling soldiers who have returned from killing Muslims! Was the Army trying to drive this guy nuts?

So what’s the point, since you knew this stuff already? Well, it’s just another reality check about a country—ours—that we often think is an exception to history and, well “just the best damned country in the world,” and for the religiously-inclined among you “God’s Country.” Americans also probably think they are smarter than other people in he world. We do have a lot of smart people. We make more discoveries and inventions and win more Nobel prizes than anybody else. So why are we also so stupid?

Well partly it’s because we have both smart people and stupid people in America, and stupid people often get to positions of power and authority because, maybe, the smart people are too busy making discoveries and winning Nobel Prizes, leaving the stupid people to occupy positions of power and authority. Let’s take Ohio Rep. John “Tan-Man” Boehner, for example. Recently Mr. Boehner in made a speech before Congress in which he was represented the Democrat health bill as “constitutional.” Mr. Boehner, for emphasis said he would then read from the Constitution of the United States, the country he supposedly represents. He began, quoting, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” which is, of course, from The Declaration of Independence. That’s my take on it—stupid Americans have inordinate amount of power and authority. There are too many of them in Congress, Corporations, and in the Military. We need to be cognizant of this reality because Osama bin Laden probably is. Either that, or it was an extraordinary bit of luck that history (and Antonin Scalia) provided him with arguably the most stupid man ever to be President of the United States.

Is there hope with our new president? Don’t count on it. Mr. Obama is listening to the very same people believe along with George Bush and Dick Cheney that we are actually fighting a “war on terrorism,” but who also put Major Hasan in the position where he achieved the highest U.S. casualty count of the week. Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to realize that these dolts with ribbons, stars and camoflage suits actually believe they can win—indeed they are desperate to win—a war they have already lost. Putting Major Hasan in his post, or even keeping him in the Army, was probably damn stupid (unless you are Rep. Boehner). Pursuing the same inane and ineffectual military strategy in Afghanistan is based in the same lack of reason and reality that we followed in Vietnam forty years ago.

We should also remember that one definition of insanity is “doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” Maybe our Army hasn’t figured out that approach is not a successful military strategy because they are still working on finding another Muslim psychiatrist to replace Dr. Hasan.
© 2009 James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 11.8.2009)