In Bowling for Columbine (2002), Michael Moore analyzed the culture of violence in the US and examined its relationship to the illegal US and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Following the bombing, US and NATO forces occupied Kosovo-Metohija militarily. The US and its allies acted unilaterally in bombing and occupying Yugoslav territory. There was no UN approval for this criminal aggression by the US and its allies. The illegal bombing did not represent “the international community”, but was the illegal action of the US government. The US goal was not to prevent “genocide” or human rights violations but to establish by military force and illegally under international law a second Albanian nation, “Kosova”. This is blatantly illegal and criminal. But the US was able to achieve this criminal act through force and violence, by means of guns, bombs, and missiles. Deceptions and outright lies were also employed. The entire US rationale for Kosovo, like for Iraq, was totally “fictitious”.
Why weren’t diplomacy and negotiation used to resolve the Kosovo secessionist/separatist conflict? Why did the US government say the Albanian KLA separatists were terrorists in 1998 and later exploit them as proxies and allies? Why weren’t compromise and discussion used in an unbiased and evenhanded way to resolve the dispute? Why was there a state of denial about the real reasons for the Kosovo conflict?
To understand US behavior on Kosovo, we need to examine what motivates the US government. The US foreign policy posture on Kosovo is a reflection of the US culture of violence. A culture of violence rejects compromise, negotiations, and discussion. In foreign affairs, diplomacy is rejected in favor of military force. The US culture of violence can be seen in US society itself, where it is reflected.
In Bowling for Columbine, Moore shows the connections between an American society of violence and its impact on US foreign policy. Kosovo and Columbine are connected.
Are we a nation of gun nuts? Are we just nuts? To a casual observer, there is a psychopathology to American foreign policy and domestic society. It all starts will the web of government and media lies and deceptions and untruths. There was no “genocide” or “human rights violations” in Kosovo. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Ossama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. There was no Niger uranium meant for Iraq. They were all a bunch of conscious, pre-meditated, pre-planned, and intentional lies. They were manufactured and concocted by the US government and media so we could kill other people and invade other countries. We needed some phony pretext to kill and bomb other people. Bombing isn’t as much fun without some bogus pretext or lie. We live in a democracy. How could this happen? More people need to ask questions. We need to get out of this appalling lethargy and apathy. We need to hold people accountable and responsible. Why were we so arrogantly and shamelessly lied to and deceived? Why did our own democratic government lie to us and deceive us like some ignorant rabble or herd of cattle? Are we being treated like human beings or like a pack of dogs? Doesn’t this demonstrate a psychopathology? Aren’t we, in fact, treated like swine and mindless cattle by our government? How do you explain it? Is it self-delusion and self-denial? Is it a “state of denial”?
On February 29, 2000, there was a school shooting at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township in Genesee County, Michigan, which is outside of Flint, Michael Moore’s hometown. The victim was a 6 year girl, Kayla Rolland, who was shot by another 6 years old, Dedrick Owens. Kayla Rolland was the youngest school shooting victim in the US. This shooting introduced two salient factors usually censored by the mainstream media: Race and poverty. Kayla Rolland was white. Dedrick Owens was black. They both came from the impoverished Flint area.
Moore focused on the media attention given to the Flint shooting. He noted how race and poverty were ignored and censored as causal factors in the shooting. Instead, the media was only concerned about a mindless sensationalistic story, focusing on red herrings such as video games, the NRA, gun control, and violence on television. “If it bleeds, it leads.” Profits and greed motivate the “news” business in the US. You sell the news like you sell any other product or commodity. The mainstream media wanted to instill panic and fear without looking at the real factors behind the shooting, racism and abject poverty. Yes, there was racism and poverty in the US, even in the US.
Moore examined what the mainstream media censored, the economy of the Flint area as a causal factor in the shooting. The Flint area is an impoverished region, ironically, the hometown of the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, GM. GM closed down its plant in Flint leaving the area in blight and poverty. The local funeral home funded community projects now. In the Flint area, 87% were below the poverty line. Flint dispelled the media myth of the “invincible economy” in the US. The US media shun showing the poverty-stricken parts of the city because they want to perpetuate a fallacy and a myth. Like the Soviet and Communist media did before, the US media just focuses on the incredible affluent lifestyle of the American citizen. It is a view of America through rose-colored glasses. They are in a state of denial. How did Dedrick Owens get the gun to kill Kayla? His brother stole it from an uncle. Dedrick’s mother was not home because she was part of the “welfare-to-work” program for indigent parents. Flint is a slum, a poverty-stricken backwater abandoned by GM to slowly die and to rot. This is a picture of the US economy the mainstream media will not show.
Moore focused his camera on a reporter, Jeff Rossen, for Fox 2 News. He highlighted the faux sympathy and staged compassion of the facile media reporters. They were more corncerned about their appearance and ratings than they were about reporting accurately and truthfully about the school shooting. Rossen commented on his appearance: “I need a haircut. I’m a pig.” The reporters were concerned about their salaries and garnering ratings. We got a very superficial understanding of the tragedy. The real issues behind the shooting were ignored and censored. The incident was dehumanized.
Detroit, just south of Flint, is the most racially polarized urban community in the world. Eight Mile Road separates the white from the black communities. Detroit is a product of the racist past of the US. There were race riots in Detroit in 1943 and 1967. Has the US solved the issue of racism? This racial dynamic is censored in the mainstream media. There is a state of denial on this issue as well. The mainstream media act as if there is no racial issue or racism in the US. The reason the issue of racism is censored is because it undermines the US foreign policy that relies on the fallacy that the US can export and teach other nations about ethnic relations and about how to solve the issues of racism. The implications for Kosovo are obvious. Is the US going to solve the ethnic conflict in Kosovo the way it solved the ethnic conflict in Detroit and south-central L.A.?
The Flint shooting is one where a black student shot and killed a white student. Race is an issue. The mainstream media, however, censored the racial dimension of the shooting. Racism is a taboo topic in the US. In order to understand US history, the history of racism must be analyzed. The US went to Africa and by means of superior weapons was able to enslave blacks who were brought back to this country. The black slaves were exploited economically by means of guns, by means of force. The Native American Indians were similarly dispossessed of their land by means of force and violence, by the gun. The culture of violence is ingrained in American history. Moore showed a scene from the 1915 silent movie The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith which exemplified this racial history and racial parania.
Poverty and racism are issues that need to be addressed in US society. But they are carefully censored and covered-up. Moore noted how after 9/11, the Bush Administration censored and neglected these issues even more. The new emphasis was on establishing “fear, panic, and a new set of priorities.” Poverty and racism remain as causal factors for violence. Moreover, the gun culture and the culture of violence in US society has only been reinforced and reinvigorated by the “war on terrorism”. Two days after the 9/11 attack, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter, an alumnus of the University of Michigan, wrote: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity…. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. ” Coulter advocated that Muslims and Arabs be killed and carpet-bombed. Just kill the lot of them indiscriminately. We should blow those Muslims and Arabs away with our weapons. Coulter reflects the American mindset perfectly. Of course, Coulter doesn’t care who we kill or roast up alive. Today it is Arabs and Muslims, yesterday it was Serbs. Earlier it was Germans and before that it was blacks and Native American Indians, depicted as “savages”. The names of the victims change but the US culture of violence and the US mindset does not change. Kill and roast civilians. Carpet-bomb them. In 1999, the Serbian population was on the other end of the barrel. After 9/11, Muslims and Arabs became the new targets. The targets change, but the mindset or worldview does not.
Here are accounts of how the US resolves ethnic, religious, national, and territorial disputes:
The psychopathology and dementia of the US mindset on violence is best shown by Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter even advocated that we attack France, a predominantly Christian nation that has been the longest and staunchest ally of the US. France bankrolled the US War for Independence in 1775-1783 and went bankrupt in the process. The French naval and military aid were crucial to American victory over Great Britain. Without France, we would arguably not even be an independent nation today but a colony of England. The symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty, was created in France by sculptor Frederic Bartholdi and engineer Alexandre Eiffel and given to America as a gift by the people of France in 1885. In a December 20, 2001 article, “Attack France!”, five days before Christmas, Ann Coulter argued that the US should attack France, one of the closest US allies throughout our history: “We’ve got to attack France…. The Great Satan is wearying of this reverse hegemony, in which little pipsqueak nations try to impose their pipsqueak values on us. Aren’t we the ones who should be arrogantly oppressing countries…? …We must attack France.” Coulter also argued that every country should have a death penalty, resolve all problems with the gun, by killing. Violence takes precedence over every other consideration, whether it is morality, religion, or international or domestic law. Violence or force become the only legitimizing factors in US society. Morality and religious conviction become bankrupt, empty, and hollow.
The point is that this is the US mindset on Kosovo. The only distinction is that Kosovo is prettified with politically correct words couched in “human rights”, the Holocaust, and “genocide”. But take away the propaganda and infowar glittering terms and pretty words, take away the mindless claptrap, and you have the US mindset on Kosovo that Coulter enunciated so eloquently and unabashedly with regard to Arabs and Muslims. Replace the words “Arabs” and “Muslims” with “Serbs” and you have the US policy on Kosovo. Coulter reflects this mindset perfectly, but only in a demented and extreme psychopathological form. Take away the window dressing and you have the US foreign policy position on Kosovo. Aren’t we the ones who should be arrogantly oppressing little pipsqueak countries like Serbia? Violence and force determine everything.
American citizens are taught to resolve all issues by violence and force, by means of missiles, bombs, and guns. We need to kill all of our “enemies”. We must resolve all of our issues by guns and by violence. The reason that the US government and media are in a “state of denial” is because there is a self-repression or self-delusional denial of this salient fact. This culture of violence needs to be addressed.
Instead, the culture of violence has been deflected and reflected and enshrined in US foreign policy. US foreign policy has rejected diplomacy, compromise, and negotiations in favor of force and violence, in favor of massive bombing, missile and air strikes, and military occupation. This is the result in Kosovo. This is also the result in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The culture of violence is also reflected in the high homicide rate in the US and the resort to violence and force to solve any and all problems and disputes. The school shootings in the US are a reflection or mirror of this culture or mindset of violence. The Kosovo conflict must be seen within this conceptual context.
By Carl K. Savich