Why Americans Get Suckered Every Time

So, Trump has gone against what he swore he’d do and bombed the hell out of a Syrian air base, to thunderous applause on seemingly every side. His enemies now love him… he’s being called Presidential… and once again, millions of Americans have been suckered into a knee-jerk response. Bear in mind that this statement holds up, even if what Trump claims is 100 percent true.
Also bear in mind that I don’t dislike Americans;


April 8, 2017

So, Trump has gone against what he swore he’d do and bombed the hell out of a Syrian air base, to thunderous applause on seemingly every side. His enemies now love him… he’s being called Presidential… and once again, millions of Americans have been suckered into a knee-jerk response.

Bear in mind that this statement holds up, even if what Trump claims is 100 percent true.

Also bear in mind that I don’t dislike Americans; in general, I think highly of them. It’s just that they have a particular way of being turned into suckers… a way that works more or less every time…. even when the underlying facts are made up of whole cloth.

I think it’s important to understand why this is so.

They Couldn’t Possibly Know

Three days ago the entire US intelligence complex couldn’t be sure whether one of their own bombs destroyed a building in Mosul. (I think they’re still claiming uncertainty.) This was more than a week after the event, and they just couldn’t tell.

So, how can they be completely certain about someone else’s bombs, in a far more complex situation, in three days?

The answer to that questions, as any reasonable person would conclude, is that they can’t.

Even if Assad did exactly what they say, they couldn’t really know in that short a space of time. If they couldn’t know after ten days in Mosul, they couldn’t after three days in Syria. (Not to mention that Assad would have been shooting himself in the leg to use chemical weapons.)

So here’s our first clue in how Americans get suckered: The facts don’t matter. They didn’t matter when Bush said Hussein was building nuclear weapons and they didn’t matter when LBJ said our boys were being attacked in international waters at the Gulf of Tonkin. They simply don’t play in these exchanges.

Why The Facts Don’t Matter

This is the big question, and fortunately the answer to it is simple: Americans like to feel righteous. And that’s not actually such a bad thing. At its base, it’s is a rather good characteristic. The problem lies in how it’s applied. And in the case of modern Americans, it’s applied badly, casting the US military as the agent of sanctification.

Americans remain a religious people, whether or not they attend religious ceremonies. In fact, politics has replaced church for most Americans. And so, whether right or left politically, they forge their opinions in a quest for righteousness.

That’s why the American political divide is so sharp: The other side doesn’t just disagree, they are fighting against righteousness itself.

Sealing The Deal

The suckering process we’re seeing now, and have seen many times before, is sealed by this: Americans find righteousness in union with the US military.

Trump didn’t bomb the hell out of some Syrians, you see, he bombed the hell out of some  sinners. Believing this in their gut, millions of Americans find righteousness by clinging to the agents of righteousness – the institutions that kill the sinners. (There’s a reason thousands of people used to show up for hangings.)

So, Americans didn’t just support their President, they performed a sacrament. And they feel righteous as a result. This is every bit as potent to these people, and generally a good deal more so, than performing an actual church sacrament.

Smedley Butler And All That

This is also why these people so seldom ever change their opinions after the fact; even when it becomes clear that the original incident was fabricated… that the people who were bombed weren’t really sinners after all.

Smedly Butler warned about this, of course, as did Dwight Eisenhower, among many others. But that doesn’t matter, you see. How many Americans ever talk about those warnings?

And again, the reason is simple: If Butler and Eisenhower were right, then their sacraments were false, and their feelings of righteousness will melt away.

As anyone who reads my columns knows, I’m no enemy of spirituality. But applying it to earthly institutions is a perverted spirituality, and I do oppose that.

So, it turns out that a union of church and state really is a bad idea… and all the more so when it’s a spiritual union claiming to impart righteousness.

This “sucker deal” is usurping the spirituality of basically decent people, and many millions of them. We need to face that.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

14 thoughts on “Why Americans Get Suckered Every Time”

  1. M.I.C. K E why M O you S E
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    Come inside, it’s fun inside
    It’s the M,I.C.key Mouse Clubhouse roll call
    Hyuck, here
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    M.I.C. key
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    It’s the Military Industrial Complex Clubhouse
    Come inside, it’s fun inside
    M.I.C. K E why M O you S E

  2. Absolutely correct. The US has a very expensive MIC and they intend to exploit it to its full potential – ethics, morality, inconvenient facts, constitution, … be damned.
    The public are given a concocted story so they can ‘feel good’ in the knowledge that their country is doing the right thing.
    This has been playing out for decades.
    For a real history of USA’s involvement in overseas ‘nation building’ (i.e. meddling) see Oliver Stone’s “Untold History of the United States” (available on Netflix) and then take a peek behind the curtain with “The Deep State – Who Rules America” (https://youtu.be/bvjDLEnIz2M).

  3. Please don’t put all Americans in that category. Many of us can see the military action for what it is. There’s just not a damn thing we can do about it.

    1. Wasn’t meant to apply to everyone, Gayle. That’s why I wrote “millions of…” rather than “all.” 700 words isn’t space enough for all the clarifications.

  4. So the humans who call themselves “Americans” are lying to themselves. Therefore, humans who call themselves “Americans” are liars.

  5. Blind faith in governments is hardly an American phenomenon. Germans were suckered by Hitler, Chinese by Mao, Russians by Stalin, Cuba by Castro, Iran by the ayatollahs, Isis members by Isis leaders, Al Queda by bin Laden, the Romans by Caesar, and the list could go on forever. And, realistically, we are more inclined than most to distrust our government. We’re simply more powerful, so the damage done when we get suckered is more noticeable. However, in every nation on the planet large segments of the population are being proven suckers by their government.

  6. Gotta drop the malarkey of “Why would al-Assad gas his own people?”.
    The Hama Massacre, 1982 – undertaken by al-Assad’s father, killing anywhere between 2,000 and 40,000 “of his own people”.
    These Strong Man Authoritarians almost always believe they need to crack down; to punish; to make the bold statement in response to just about any challenge or provocation.
    That’s not to say anybody can be sure about the apparent use of a weaponized chemical agent in this case, but don’t assume al-Assad wouldn’t terrorize his own people if he tho’t it would serve his purpose. That’s a page right out of the Daddy State Handbook.

    1. 1982 is not 2017, with the US et al just begging for a reason to bomb more.
      On authoritarians, I certainly can’t disagree.

  7. When a nation uses war as a first resort rather than a last resort all moral high ground is lost. This is what I voted to end but there is no representation of the people in the United States. I don’t know who carried out the gas attack and not enough evidence has been produced to justify any action. I do think it is highly suspicious that supposedly, Syria was stripped of all chemical weapons and it was announced that that action was confirmed. Also regarding the attack in 2013, Syria was cleared. The US has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world. The attack on Syria was a knee jerk unjustified action at best. On a local level, it would be like knowing someone was murdered a few miles away. A rumor was started that someone named Fred had committed the murder. The police or some group of citizens firebomb Fred’s house because they believe the rumor but have no evidence. It is vigilantism at its best. It is not civilized nor legal and those who support actions like this share in the guilt of unjustified bloodshed.

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