Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Smith: We can't handle the truth (overseas)

I like the cut of Patrick Smith's jib. This is the second time this year he's caught the scouts' eye, this time on America's Iran policy and the "liberal" U.S. media that supports it:

The adage among properly cynical diplomats used to be that they were sent abroad to lie for their country. During the Cold War, as Washington’s sponsored atrocities grew evident, the thought took a turn: Diplomats were sent abroad to lie to their country.

Consider it a template and apply it to our press folk.

Correspondents used to be sent abroad to keep the country informed (in theory, at least). Now correspondents go forth to send home a simulacrum of truth, a semblance, while keeping their country misinformed.

So why is all this lying necessary? It's our fault. We don't want to know. We don't want to know what's being done in our name, ostensibly in "the interests of peace," or the interests of the world. Wrote Smith succinctly:

We cannot bear to see things as they are because things as they are constitute a refutation of our dearest mythologies, but we must see things as they are if we are to make sense of ourselves in the 21st century.

This is what I was getting at when I said the U.S. needs a moral foreign policy. Our leaders' actions abroad don't support our moral myths at home -- life, liberty, equality, tolerance, etc. -- and what with the Internet and pesky mushrooming terrorists popping up all the time reminding us what we're really up to, it's becoming increasingly hard for us average Americans to ignore the disconnect between over here and over there. Still our politicians and media do their loyal best to iron out the wrinkles in our brains.

By Patrick L. Smith
November 15, 2013 | Salon

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