"... “America is beyond power, it acts as in a dream, as a face of God. Wherever America is, there is freedom, and wherever America is not, madness rules with chains, darkness strangles millions. Beneath her patient bombers, paradise is possible.”The United States doesn’t fight for land, resources, hatred, revenge, tribute, religious conversion — the usual stuff. Along with the occasional barrel of oil, we fight for virtue.
Never mind that it doesn’t work out — the Gulf of Tonkin lies, Agent Orange,waterboarding, nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, the pointless horrors of Abu Ghraib, a fighter plane wiping out an Afghan wedding party, our explanation of civilian deaths as an abstraction: “collateral damage.”
Just so. We talk about our warmaking as if it were a therapeutic science — surgical strikes,precision bombing, graduated responses, a homeopathic treatment that uses war to cure us of war. “Like cures like,” as the homeopathic slogan has it; “the war to end all wars” as Woodrow Wilson is believed to have said of World War I. We send out our patient bombers in the manner of piling on blankets to break a child’s fever. We launch our missiles and say: “We’re doing it for your own good.”...
And yet Americans still believe in the idea of the good and virtuous war. It scratches our Calvinist itch; it proves our election to blessedness.
Thus God is on our side. Strangely enough, though, we keep losing. Since World War II, we have failed to win any land war that lasted more than a week: Korea (a stalemate),Vietnam, little ones like Lebanon and Somalia, bigger ones like Iraq and Afghanistan. Ah, but these were all intended to be good wars, saving people from themselves.
The latest target of opportunity for our patient bombers is Syria. The purity of our motives is unassailable. We would fire our missiles only to punish sin, this time in the form of poison gas. No land grab, no oil, not even an attempt to install democracy...."
Monday, September 2, 2013
"God is on our side. Strangely enough, though, we keep losing"
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:13 AM