‘The Time Machine’ and post-Sept. 11 Americans

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the collective IQ of the American people has gone down at least 30 points. We buy whatever our government tells us and we just plain don’t think. We have become, veritably, a nation of sheep – albeit well fed, perhaps well educated (but nonthinking), free sheep. Yet we squander our freedom when we renege on our duties to be informed citizens.

I’m reminded more and more of H.G. Wells’ Eloi race depicted in “The Time Machine.” Wells depicts the softened, labor-free, childlike “Master Race,” the Eloi, ultimately terrorized and even eaten by the underground labor race they subjugated in the past. Their downfall is physical and intellectual decay resulting from a life of indolence and a lack of interest and curiosity.

Like the Eloi, we Americans don’t much care about “hows” and “whys.” Things just are, it seems. Passivity rules the day. Take the war with Iraq. Folks, we have been conned. True, the media is biased, but if you can’t spot what a con job the trilogy of terror bunch – President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – concocted and rammed through, and if you missed enough red flags to drive a Spanish bull into a crazed frenzy, well, let’s connect the dots.

Cheney said there was “no doubt” Saddam Hussein has and plans to use weapons of mass destruction, but the CIA reported if Saddam had them, he’d be very unlikely use them unless invaded. We have been unable to find any weapons of mass destruction; suddenly the reason for invasion shifts to getting rid of an unjust despot and in sympathy for those tortured by Saddam (funny how nobody cared about the thousands who died because of sanctions or of the gruesome effects of depleted uranium bombs) and we suck contentedly on the Bush-Cheney pabulum like blubbering babes.

Isn’t it odd we couldn’t care less about other unjust despots – such as those in China depriving the citizens of freedom of political dissent or that North Korean guy who is in the process of making, and probably has, nuclear weapons right now – who for some reason seem to not worry Bush at all?

If the cause was so just, why did Bush et al. have to “grasp at straws” of a supposed uranium purchase, a purported meeting between hijacker Mohammed Attah and an Iraqi official, and speak about the Sept. 11 attacks and then Saddam to distort his message and encourage uninformed TV viewers to link the two events? Also, why were we unable to get Germany, France and even our neighbors to agree with us? Why are the British so mad at Tony Blair but we, with Bush, cheer him and do not care? Finally, if we really were in imminent danger, we would not have pussy-footed around for a year to rally world opinion and show off our military prowess. We should have just done it.

Cheney, Bush and several other administration members are big-time oil men. Cheney’s company Halliburton was awarded lucrative contracts to develop Iraq’s oil fields. A plan to invade Iraq was proposed years earlier by right-wing hawks (described in a recent issue of The Atlantic) because of the region’s oil reserves and geopolitical significance. Is there a connection here?

If we are really there to free the people and install democracy, why are we afraid to share power with other U.N. countries? Could it be we want to control the oil? Why do we necessarily get dibs on all the oil? Also, why are we so bound and determined to have our group of Iraqi exiles in power? I thought we wanted the Iraqis to rule Iraq – yes, if they are our Iraqi guys ruling it.

We have failed to live up to our democratic ideals in allowing this war to happen. Congress has failed to live up to its responsibility in giving Bush the go-ahead and in catering down to the uninformed masses in hopes of getting votes, instead of telling us the truth.

We, like the Eloi, might be shaken up a little now by some soldiers’ deaths and events unfolding in Iraq and the Middle East if they are bad enough, but things will settle down, and we’ll get bored and look for a new story, or some new toys. Ho hum Ö Bush knows what he’s doing, doesn’t he? He wouldn’t lie to us. Our government does not mess up and lie to us, does it? Gosh, I seem to remember in history Ö never mind.

Who cares? Things just are.

Stephanie Sarich is a University employee. She can be reached at [email protected]