I learned a new word recently, but I kind of wish I hadn’t, because the more I consider its meaning, application, and implications, the sadder and angrier I feel. It’s a word like “raghead” “gook,” “nappy-headed ho,” or the unspeakable n-word. The word is “bugsplat,” which sounds like it’s just a way to refer to the unfortunate insects who end up pasted to your car’s windshield. Not very appetizing, but what makes it really revolting for me is the fact that it is a word our government uses to refer to human beings.
Yes, our government refers to some human beings (dark-skinned ones, so far) as “bugsplat.” How would you like it if the U.S. government’s official term for you was “bugsplat”? I mean, would it piss you off, or what? Wouldn’t you feel…dehumanized?
OK, you’re wondering, where did this designation come from, what does it mean, and why should I care?
Here goes….”bugsplat” began as the name of a computer program the Pentagon has used since the Iraq invasion to calculate the effect bombs will have on their intended targets INC the number of “incidental” civilian deaths. aka “collateral damage,” that will occur as a result. For example,the Pentagon estimated that between six and seven hundred civilians would be killed on just the first day of the U.S. bombing campaign against Iraq–about a third of the number of Americans who died in the World Trade Center attack (or demolition). The name of the computer program has become a way to label these civilians–they are just “bugsplat.” No big deal.
To answer my own question, you wouldn’t feel pissed off or dehumanized or anything if you were bugsplat, because you’d be dead. But yes, you would have been dehumanized before you were killed, so your murderers wouldn’t need to get their undies in a bunch about offing you. You were just bugsplat. “Oops, sorry ’bout that. Scrape it off the bottom of my shoe…”.
Our government and media have demonized the “terrorists” who flew airplanes into the Pentagon (maybe) and World Trade Center–but the government has had no hesitation, and the mainstream media have had no outrage, about U.S. air strikes that, through the years, have been responsible for the deaths of far more innocent civilians than the September 11 attack. Who’s the bigger terrorist?
Indeed, the complete illegitimacy of America’s war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan has been largely swept under the rug. Hey, who wants to admit they’re a war criminal? War crimes trials are for losers, right? Besides, Obama and his legal crew know full well that any prosecution of John Yoo or any other high-ranking Bush juntoids will lead straight back to Dimocratic complicity in every criminal decision, and only underline the fact that, in essence, the Obama administration is following the same policies. So, to” combat terrorism,” the U.S. will to fight to the last angry Muslim, or the last dollar the Chinese will loan us,which ever comes first, in our attempt to prevail in this struggle against the enemy we have created for ourselves.
Yeah, just wade into a culture that’s big on family ties and avenging the wrongs done to members of your family, start killing people right and left, and wonder why they don’t like you. Or maybe it’s “act like you wonder why they don’t like you.” Yeah, act innocent, but, not so very deep down, the corporate/military/government complex doesn’t care who or how many end up as “bugsplat.” It’s about the money.
I recently heard Medea Benjamin speak about her experiences in Afghanistan. (on Rose’s edition of this radio show, actually) Ms. Benjamin described meeting with Afghan women and asking them why they thought the U.S. was in their country. “Because it’s making some people in the U.S. a lot of money” was their basic answer. Smart enough, eh?
And, let’s face it, what enraged Muslims long before the U.S. invasion was the obvious lack of respect for their culture shown by the multinationals, to whom they were just another market to be penetrated in the never-ending drive to concentrate the world’s wealth in a few corporate pockets. When our government talks about “introducing freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” it’s just code for creating a market economy where Exxon, Monsanto,Walmart, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and their ilk are free to operate, an environment in which “freedom of choice” ain’t about your culture or economic system, it’s about “Coke or Pepsi?”
To date, the U.S. has spent about $711 billion on the war in Iraq, and about 258 billion on the war in Afghanistan. That’s about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan, and about $24,000 for every Iraqi. These people would have been much better off, and much more kindly disposed to us, if we had just given them the money, or at least spent it on projects that benefitted them directly, like reforestation, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, sanitation, and health and education projects (and this is the most important part) driven by local input.
But NOOO….we spent it all on military hardware and private contractors and all kinds of things that make Americans rich, and who cares if we rip off the dark-skinned people–hey, it doesn’t matter, they’re not us…..they’re just “bugsplat” if they get in our way, so get out of our way, ’cause it’s our way or the highway, and we own the highway, so get out of our way there, too….as long as the gasoline lasts. And when the gas runs dry and the lights flicker out, the remaining relatives of all that “bugsplat” our leaders so arrogantly dismissed will take to the newly level playing field and visit their long-awaited vengeance on whatever Westerners they can get their hands on, and it won’t be pretty….not that it’s pretty now.
“Bugsplat.” Have mercy on them, Mother, for they are proud, greedy, and willfully ignorant, and they know all too well what they do….and have mercy, too, on those of us who see this but lack wit and wisdom to show them the error of their ways.