Apr 25, 2013 - Issue 514

BlackCommentator.com: Tracheal Intubation - Nafsi ya Jamii - By Wilson Riles - BC Columnist

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Tracheal intubation is when a plastic tube is stuck down your “trachea (windpipe) to maintain an open airway or to serve as a conduit through which to administer certain drugs. It is frequently performed in critically injured, ill or anesthetized patients to facilitate ventilation of the lungs… to prevent the possibility of asphyxiation or airway obstruction.” (Wikipedia) One of the consequences of this emergency procedure is that the patient finds it almost impossible to talk.

Although this medical procedure has been done for centuries, it was only until recently that the survival rates rose above a distinct minority of those upon which the procedure was applied. It is no longer necessary that the throat be cut to insert the tube; yet the procedure is still dangerous. “Alternative strategies for securing the airway must always be readily available.” It has been on too many occasions the treatment has caused rather than prevented death! Tracheal intubation is the primary reason that the suspected Boston bomber who is still living, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (age 19), has not been able to speak.

A number of critical questions are being raised for which it appears as if young Dzhokhar would have the most immediate answers. Some cause for this silencing treatment is undoubtedly due to his throat wound, presumably from a gunshot. Although he will likely be able to communicate in other ways, presuming he is conscious, his wound may prevent him from talking ever again. I know that two of the most important questions for some are whether there are others who wish to also strike “America” in a lethal way and why. Our airwaves and TV screens are over-saturated with these questions. Once the prospect of membership in Al Qaeda or an off-shoot are discarded, security experts, police investigators, and military hawks will either give you an off-the-cuff answer about mysterious pockets of alienation, mental illness, or the irrational, internet-mediated, self-generated disease of radical Islamic fundamentalism. The best of such promoters of militaristic solutions will declare that they are assiduously investigating the answers. Well… I have not been physically intubated yet and I think that I can answer both questions.

I have the same answer that Malcolm X had for the assassination of John F. Kennedy; his answer was the reason that the Nation of Islam silenced him for ninety days - after this period of silence Malcolm left The Nation. Malcolm’s answer was also voiced by Libertarian Ron Paul’s former chief of staff (Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell, Jr.) about prospects for further attacks on “America” and why. It is an answer that very few want to hear or talk about. If most “Americans” can, they will intubate, silence, or otherwise keep these words from passing lips or entering ears.

“The chickens come home to roost” Malcolm X said. His meaning is clear no matter how it may have been twisted. His full words can be found in Black Commentator’s archives. His ancient wisdom, simply put, is “what goes around comes around.” Malcolm talked about a climate of hate and violence that the U.S. has perpetrated throughout its history. He talked about Kennedy’s reluctance to fully support the aspirations of the civil rights struggle until he had little political choice and until too many people had been hurt and killed. Lew Rockwell talks about the military industrial complex and U.S. adventurism around the world. There is no question; the greatest perpetrator of terrorism in the history of the world is the U.S. government. There are so many examples it is hard to choose among them. If you know history, what indeed is the dropping of the A Bomb on Japan but national terrorism? What about drones that kill so many innocent people and cause “blowback?” Or even a police policy like stop and frisk that is designed to strike FEAR in a community. When the sun goes down, the chickens return home to roost.

Unlike 1963, when Malcolm stood alone defending his analysis, today on the margins one can find brief discussions of the Chickens-coming-home-to-roost. I heard it on a left-leaning talk show in addition to the libertarian blog where Rockwell made his statement. Times have only changed incrementally and they have not reached a place to bring about any serious reassessment of U.S. foreign or domestic policy. The military industrial complex and the incarceration industrial complex uses considerable hold on public resources to intubate any significant vocalization of treatments aimed at curbing attacks that do not themselves generate future attacks. As long as too few of us know that there are alternative approaches, these capitalist security complexes will hold sway over the minds and fears of the public. Margaret Thatcher’s famous dispiriting phrase about rapacious global capitalism - “there is no alternative” (TINA) - also is vigorously active for the capitalist security complexes. Thatcher is dead and global capitalism is being challenged in many places in many ways in this world. Is it time for more break-through challenges to the capitalism-of-false-security?

I have severe disagreements with Libertarian Lew Rockwell’s Anarcho-capitalism, in which he advocates total elimination of all elements of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a totally free market. I also have severe disagreements with Malcolm X’s - at the time - belief in the divinity of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and that the prophet’s words equate with ultimate truth. However, I find common ground with them on the answer to the questions of more attackers and why they attack. Malcolm went on in an interview to sketch one alternative approach. When he was asked if we are making progress in this country, Malcolm said NO. He said that it was like putting a knife in one’s back to a depth of nine inches and then pulling it out to a depth of six inches. That is not progress. The knife is still in the back doing its damage. Even if the knife is taken out altogether, that is not good enough. Progress would be when the work is done to heal the wound!

The many, many wounded nations, communities, and individuals around the globe and in this country are desperate for justice. And their descendents, compatriots, and sympathizers are also seeking justice. It is deaf and blind idiocy to believe that “America” is being attacked out of envy for our “freedoms and prosperity.” Al Qaeda grew out of U.S. military bases plunked down on “sacred” Saudi Arabian land. Iran is still suffering from the U.S. overthrow of its democratically elected President, Mohamed Mosaddeq in 1953 at the behest of British Petroleum. Timothy McVeigh cited the Federal attack on David Koresh’s Branch Dravidian sect at Waco, Texas, in 1993 as one reason for his bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma. On top of many of these heinous U.S. actions must often be added attacks and counterattacks which themselves produce further blowback. This is little different from the gun fights between friendship groups and families on Oakland streets which mimic the feud (1863-1891) between the Hatfields and the McCoys of West Virginia and Kentucky area. If no effort is made to break the cycle and heal the wounds, “the chickens will come home to roost.”

The first step is to pull the intubation tube out of the throats of folks who have something critical to say. The U.S. must drop its false sense of superiority and exceptionalism born of racism and imperialism. The U.S. must clearly hear the charges and not mask them with counter-charges; there will be time enough for that. Any fair assessment would brand us the greatest perpetrator of terrorism and violence in the world and as the initiator of significant blowback. Lastly - to really make progress - we must begin to heal the wounds that we caused and to do this as a priority way above the needs of the security industrial complex. That would be proper treatment that is imminently survivable.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Wilson Riles, is a former Oakland, CA City Council Member. Click here to contact Mr. Riles.