Back in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya, I heard a news report and then did some reporting on my own about an interesting development at the Voice of America (VOA). It seems that as soon as the aircraft were launched from a base near London–a full eight hours before the bombs started landing, including the one which killed the adopted daughter of Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi–the VOA’s Arabic language announcer was sequestered.
Then as the horror was unfolding and grief began to spread among the unsuspecting victims, the announcer’s voice was broadcast so that listeners in Libya could hear it telling anyone who might have been listening, that the reason they were suffering from the fire raining down from the American F-16 aircraft was “the fault of your leaders.”
At that very hour, a minor uprising (which was clearly planned to coincide with the bombing which may have been intended to kill the Libyan leader) took place in a remote Army barracks, but it was quickly put down.
The entire scenario was clearly an attempt at fomenting a rebellion, a la “Mission Impossible.” Unfortunately, the luckless conspirators who rose up on cue, were disposed of, and were never heard from again.
“Blame your own leaders,” was the U.S. message.
In 1997 I attended the Leon Sullivan African-African American Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe. Former Federal Reserve Board member Andrew Brimmer was also an attendee. He told me that Zimbabwe had the strongest economy in Central-Southern Africa, and was a promising model for other African countries. That was before Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe decided to make good on the government’s long-postponed promise to give farmland formerly owned by minority White settlers, back to Black peasants who fought for independence.
Since that decision, Zimbabwe has been in the U.S. political “doghouse.” Now, with sanctions, and every other type of lever at the disposal of U.S. authorities who hate Mr. Mugabe for enacting that policy, along with drought and some other bad turns-of-events, Zimbabwe is facing famine and is on the brink of economic collapse. American officials wring their hands and tell the African people: “Blame your own leaders” for your suffering.
So, who’s to blame then for the precipitous fall of the U.S. dollar? For the first time in more than 30 years the Canadian dollar is worth more than the greenback, and the Euro–the currency of the European Union, is worth far more than the U.S. currency.
Who’s to blame for the worsening collapse of the real estate industry, with its ripple effects throughout the economy? With its thousands and thousands of foreclosures each and every month?
Who’s to blame for the fact that more than 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance, including 3 million more this year than last? Who’s to blame for the promised veto of legislation that would give families which earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but who cannot afford to purchase health insurance, insurance for their children. It’s called the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or “S-CHIP.”
Who’s to blame for the fact that the gap between the salaries of CEOs and workers is the greatest it’s ever been? Who’s to blame for the deteriorating infrastructure–bridges, roads, tunnels–which is crumbling right before our eyes?
Who’s to blame for the criminal neglect of the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Who’s to blame for the unjust treatment of the Jena 6?
Who’s to blame for the increasing drumbeat of war–once again on false and trumped up pretenses–against Iran?
America’s leaders, that’s who!
The sad truth is that those who resent this reality, are too busy protesting the illegal and immoral war and occupation of Iraq. They are not the leaders. There is a solid core of support for these dangerous policies, coming from the Halliburton’s, and the Bechtel’s, and the Blackwater’s, and the other war profiteers and their political lackeys. They like the system just the way it his, the majority of the people be damned!
They are America’s leaders, so when Americans suffer the fate of people living in the Third World: Blame your own leaders.