War: Glorified Mass Murder

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 03 Dec 2004 13:00:00 GMT
# Chris Hedges at New York Review of Books - On War - commentary on the despicable nature of war introducing two books about the U.S. government's latest mass murder. [root]
The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war--death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. They know how war fosters alienation, leads inevitably to nihilism, and is a turning away from the sanctity and preservation of life. All other narratives about war too easily fall prey to the allure and seductiveness of violence, as well as the attraction of the godlike power that comes with the license to kill with impunity.

But the words of the vanquished come later, sometimes long after the war, when grown men and women unpack the suffering they endured as children, what it was like to see their mother or father killed or taken away, or what it was like to lose their homes, their community, their security, and be discarded as human refuse. But by then few listen. The truth about war comes out, but usually too late. We are assured by the war-makers that these stories have no bearing on the glorious violent enterprise the nation is about to inaugurate. And, lapping up the myth of war and its sense of empowerment, we prefer not to look.


Those who cover war dine out on the myth about war and the myth about themselves as war correspondents. Yes, they say, it is horrible, and dirty and ugly; for many of them it is also glamorous and exciting and empowering. They look out from the windows of Humvees for a few seconds at Iraqi families, cowering in fear, and only rarely see the effects of the firepower. When they are forced to examine what bullets, grenades, and shells do to human bodies they turn away in disgust or resort to black humor to dehumanize the corpses. They cannot stay long, in any event, since they must leave the depressing scene behind for the next mission. The tragedy is replaced, as it is for us at home who watch it on television screens, by a light moment or another story. It becomes easier to forget that another human life has been ruined beyond repair, that what is unfolding is not only tragic for tens of thousands of Iraqis but for the United States.


One of the Marines in the book returns to California and is invited to be the guest of honor in a gated community in Malibu, a place where he could never afford to live. The residents want to toast him as a war hero.

"I'm not a hero," he tells the guests. "Guys like me are just a necessary part of things. To maintain this way of life in a fine community like this, you need psychos like us to go out and drop a bomb on somebody's house."

# Jonathan A. Adler at National Review - High Court High Anxiety - Ashcroft v. Raich isn't just about one California woman's legal use of medical marijuana. It's about a federal government of enumerated powers. If the Supremes rule against Ms. Raich, they will make permanent Congress' power to regulate anything they want. [picks]

# Kim du Toit - I Wasn't Kidding - Mr. du Toit told people in Europe that America is a deeply conservative country and that George Bush would win big. He considers himself to be moderately conservative, but not to the point of being libertarian. I especially liked this paragraph: [kimdutoit]

But, to paraphrase one of the South Park writers: I may not like arch-conservatives much; but I really hate liberals and collectivists. And the word "progressive" makes me itch -- specifically, it makes my trigger finger itch, and I usually have to go to the range soon after I've been exposed to some nonsense one of those fuckwits has uttered.

# Anthony Gregory at Strike the Root - The State: A Reductio ad Absurdum - the concept of a limited government that protects rights is patently absurd. It'll never happen, no matter how many libertarians are elected. [root]

It is no wonder that so many people think that bombing cities filled with people in US wars were acts of liberation, peacekeeping and defense; that price supports and controls will help the economy grow; that breaking up companies will foster competition; that paying farmers not to grow is good agricultural policy; that military conscription is a necessary price for freedom and that taxes are necessary to maintain civilization; that government affirmative action is a good program for racial equality; that disarming victims will protect them from criminals; that government can be trusted to tell us what we can do with our bodies and our money and what kids should learn in school -- because, supposedly, the alternative of letting people make their own choices would lead to disaster. It is no wonder that people believe such absurdities, because they were taught to believe them by the embodiment of absurdity called the government.

# Jeff Quinn at Gunblast - Smith & Wesson's Improved Sigma 9mm Auto - The S&W Sigma "Wondernine" gives the Glock 19 a run for its money. Cheaper ($369 list, $280 street), 16 round aluminum magazines, double action only, the only drawback is a heavier trigger pull. [gunblast]

Add comment Edit post Add post