Vol. 3 No. 1 January 2001

"All the News Unfit to Print"

"Target: America," screamed the headlines following last October's attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Aden. The nation was supposedly outraged. But Joe Sobran gave us a more accurate reading. "Nobody really cared," he wrote; ordinary Americans know perfectly well that they weren't the targets:

A warship, allegedly "their" warship, was. They are vague about why their "defense" forces are scattered all over the globe, but they understand that it's none of their business, really. These foreign policy decisions are made by committees of experts in some Washington office, prattling of "U.S. interests," meaning their own. The rest of us aren't invited to sit in on the meetings. In a democracy, the people are allowed to vote. They have no say in running an empire.

Bill Clinton promptly vowed revenge, but—as Sobran pointed out—the thing about private, unauthorized violence is that we don't know whom to retaliate against:

There are no fleets of Arab destroyers off the coast of Florida, no Chinese fleets off San Diego . . . The only enemies we have are the enemies our government continues to make for us, particularly by meddling in the Middle East. Countless people are "anti-American" in the sense that they don't want to be ruled or bullied by this country...

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