On cue, the midgets in the Senate are holding hearings on violence in
the public schools. What’s to blame for the shootings in Colorado?
Several members lashed out at a predictable target: Hollywood and its
supposed glorification of violence. But kids these days don’t have to go
movies to see maiming and killing. They can see the real thing by
turning on the nightly news. Once again, it’s government, not private
industry, that provides the worst example to children.
U.S. bombs do to Belgrade what tornadoes did to Oklahoma and Kansas,
and the senators think they can send a non-violent message to young
people? Worse, Clinton and Gore think pious speeches can blunt the
reality that the U.S. military is killing civilians in foreign countries
every day. If offing people you hate is OK in Pristina, why not
Littleton? The primary sponsor of violence chic is not the movies, which
portray fantasy, but the government, which engages in real-life war.
The seventy premature babies in a Belgrade hospital, whose incubators
went dead after the U.S. “soft bombed” an electrical plant, are the
real-life casualties of Clinton’s war. To gin up the Gulf War, the Bush
administration told stories about Iraqi troops dumping preemies on the
floor, stories which turned out to be false. This time, however, it is
for real, but it is the U.S. doing it.
The sixty people incinerated on board a civilian bus in Kosovo were
made of flesh, bone, and blood, not frames on a film. No wonder the
violent imagination of the killer Eric Harris ran wild with dreams of
joining the war. He told one and all he was prepared to fight, not for
his country, but for the sheer thrill of killing people who don’t stand
a chance of fighting back. Unable to get to Yugoslavia, he decided to
cover the home front.
If violence in the Balkans is getting to be old hat, turn your
attention to Iraq, where the bombings and bloodshed, not to speak of the
murderous sanctions, have been relentless. With everyone’s attention
riveted on Yugoslavia, the U.S. has stepped up its war on Iraq, with
skirmishes against radar and other sites, and the deaths of dozens of
While nature ravished the American Midwest, an unnatural disaster
befell Northern Iraq. U.S. jets launched missiles near Mosul, killing
two civilians and mutilating another 12. Twenty-five miles north of
Mosul, a family of seven was snuffed out by U.S. bombs.
Official excuse No. 1: the U.S. was targeting air-defense sites. Gee,
but isn’t that a funny place for a family to live? Official excuse No.
2: Saddam Hussein is placing these sites in civilian neighborhoods to
deter attacks. But why would he think this would deter anything, given
the U.S. performance in his own country and Yugoslavia? Official excuse
No. 3: The U.S. had to act because Saddam was planning a showdown while
the Pentagon is occupied in the Balkans. But what kind of “showdown” is
this broken regime in a broken country capable of?
Enough of this nonsense. The credibility of administration spokesmen
has begun to run very thin.
For instance: a court recently cleared the owner of the Sudanese
pharmaceutical plant of having had any connection to chemical weapons.
But this was a year after the U.S. reduced the entire place to rubble,
and insisted, vehemently and for many months, that it was making
weapons to be used against Americans. Moreover, these same
administration spokesmen denounced all skeptics as wackos with an
agenda, or people in the pay of terrorists.
It is the Clinton administration, not the movies, that is the source
of the new violence chic. And herein lies the greatest tragedy of the
present regime. If there was ever any hope that Clinton might do some
good for his country, it stemmed from his youthful protests against
aggressive U.S. wars. Was there a commitment to something right and true
in this man who otherwise
appeared to have no moral core? If nothing else, he might have kept us
out of war.
Alas, war is now one of his many unsavory legacies. Not even his
redeeming qualities redeemed him in the end. For him, that weapon of
mass destruction called government provides tangible proof that he is
somebody important. He can turn off the power in a Belgrade hospital. He
can blow up buses. He can decide who and what to destroy, any place on
earth. He can determine whether sick children in Iraq have access to
medical supplies. (His answer is no.) Thank God his plan to nationalize
all of American medicine failed.
If politicians want to send a moral message to American kids, let
them start by stopping their own acts of violence. Then they could give
us the gun control we need: background checks and waiting periods for
politicians trying to buy bombers, and safety locks on Tomahawk
missiles. Parents, freed from the influence that officially sanctioned
violence has on their children, can take it from there.