Imperial Culture and Moral Absurdity in the Age of Obama: From Teheran and Bala Boluk to New York, Bagua, and Tegucigalpa

By Paul Street

Source: The Empire and Inequality Report Paul Street’s ZSpace Page

During a concert at Chicago’s United Center last May 12th, Bruce Springsteen observed that “sometimes it seems like the more things change the more they stay the same.” He was talking about the persistence and indeed the deepening of poverty and inequality in the United States, where financial parasites and perpetrators receive untold billions of taxpayer dollars while millions are pushed further into destitution, their fate worsened by a regressive welfare “reform” (elimination) that “progressive” President Barack Obama has repeatedly praised as a great bipartisan policy triumph.

Among numerous other examples of “things stay[ing] the same,” the Boss (Springsteen, that is) might also have mentioned the deeply ingrained tendency of top U.S. politicians and dominant U.S. media to make unstated but easily discernible distinctions between “worthy” and “unworthy victims” in world affairs.

“Worthy victims” are killed by officially designated enemies of the inherently virtuous United States. Their deaths are reported in ways meant to elicit sympathy and to encourage outrage against their murderers. Some of them can become martyrs.

“Unworthy victims” perish at the hands of the intrinsically honorable United States and/or its officially designated allies and clients. They die anonymously and without fanfare, passing down the memory hole devoid of sympathy in dominant U.S. media and political culture, where their deaths often register little more than those of ants crushed beneath the wheels of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle or (to mention another great weapon of empire) a CNN camera truck.

Pop quiz question #1, fellow American: who is Neda Soltan? Who killed her?

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