Sabbath eve, July 9, 2010. I’m writing a bit earlier than normal. We were set to work cattle today but it rained yesterday and the forecast called for more rain today, so we postponed the cattle until next week. Now the sun is out, but there are clouds in the background. Predicting the weather in Texas is always a crap shoot. As a farmer, predict I must.
Leah and I watched a DVD last night called The Unthinkable. I don’t remember this coming to theaters nor do I remember seeing any press on the film. After watching the movie, I find the title quite appropriate; this is subject most, if not all Americans don’t want to think about, or better yet a series of subjects Americans refuse to think about.
Being a contrarian, I highly recommend the film.
Here’s the premise: An American raised Muslim convert has placed a number of timed nuclear weapons in strategic locations within the United States. He allows himself to be caught. Samuel L Jackson stars as an interrogator known simply as H with a mysterious past brought in to extract the location of the devices from the terrorist after less drastic methods of torture fail to break the man.
Jackson begins by chopping off the last digit of the man’s pinky finger with a hatchet. Then he gets serious.
At one point, the terrorist’s demands are issued: He wants the United States to stop supporting puppet dictators in Islamic nations. And, he wants American troops withdrawn from Islamic nations.
H states that these are quite reasonable demands and suggests that we should comply. But of course, leaders of the empire from both sides of the aisle consider this unthinkable.
OK, then. Here you have a very determined motherfucker about to kill millions of Americans. And a chorus of people chanting we don’t torture. Either we torture this son-of-a-bitch or your kids die.
I am reminded of Michael Scheuer’s excellent book Imperial Hubris: Why the west is losing the war on terror. We have a schizophrenic foreign policy that on one hand pursues total world dominion and control and on the other wants to be known as a benevolent nation. Take your pick, but you can’t have both.
Both Michael Scheuer and Samuel L Jackson’s H would tell you, get the fuck out of the Middle East, and for that matter, the rest of foreign nations aside from our own. And then in the next breath, they’d say, but because you aren’t going to do this, prepare to become a brutal goddamned savage and do whatever is required to win or you will lose the war your foreign policy creates.
I consider it a foregone conclusion that our empire of iron and clay will fall someday, as have its predecessors.
Most of my neighbors consider that unthinkable.