Glenn Greenwald over at Unclaimed Territory writes a lot of very thoughtful posts that reflect a depth not often found on the web. Most of the time I feel like a freshman Political Student when I read his work but today I found a reason to disagree; at least on some minor points.....but important points nevertheless....
Let's overview, shall we?
Greenwald notes, correctly, I think, that America seems now to choose war over diplomcacy as a first choice, not by any means a last choice. He then goes on to explain why in this paragraph:
There are probably numerous reasons for this. Many claim that the senseless Vietnam disaster instilled in Americans an exaggerated resistance to war, a refusal to recognize it as necessary even when it really was. Whether that is true or not, I think the "wars" the U.S. fought in the 1980s and 1990s led Americans to the opposite extreme. The wars fought by the Reagan administration were covert (in Central America) or absurdly easy and bloodless (in Grenada). But the most consequential force pushing Americans to lose their instinctive resistance to war was probably the First Persian Gulf War -- everyone's favorite. It was the first fully televised war, and it made war seem like nothing more significant than killing bad people by zapping them from the sky with super high-tech, precision weaponry that risked nothing -- war as video game, cheered on safely and clinically from a distance.
and then, concludes, as here:
In our political discourse, there just no longer is a strong presumption against war. In fact, it's almost as though there is a reverse presumption -- that we should proceed to wage wars on whatever countries we dislike or which are defying our orders in some way unless someone can find compelling reasons not to. The burden is now on those who would like not to engage in a series of endless wars to demonstrate why we should not.
I have a slightly different view on the evolution of our easy acceptance of war as a foreign policy tool, or, more accurately, war in place of foreign policy and diplomacy.My view is that Viet Nam poisoned America's soul but it also left our national pride in tatters. Hence, when Ronald Reagan came riding into the White House on his White Horse, with his White Hat, well, hallejuha! We were saved from our National Disgrace of defeat in Viet Nam. To prove it, Reagan flexed his (our) muscles in the ways Greenwald described in the post and that got the national testosterone flowing once again. But the military adventurism of Reagan was just foreplay, Gulf War I was a full blown national orgasm. Greenwald does a great job of exposing that here:
"... But the most consequential force pushing Americans to lose their instinctive resistance to war was probably the First Persian Gulf War -- everyone's favorite. It was the first fully televised war, and it made war seem like nothing more significant than killing bad people by zapping them from the sky with super high-tech, precision weaponry that risked nothing -- war as video game, cheered on safely and clinically from a distance."
The true disgrace of the Bush administration is that they believe that America will yield unlimited political and judicial power to any politician who generates enough testosterone. It has nothing to do with policy and very little to do with philosophy but it has everything to do with POWER. To use this technique to manipulate a nation and (for all practical purposes) hijack its collective soul is immoral beyond description.
Greenwalds comments made many, many good points after his post but this one struck me enough to recommend it to you also.
Recommended reading re: my comment above:http://www.amazon.com/End-Victory-Culture-Disillusioning-Generation/dp/1558491333The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation by Tom Engelhardt.
And just how does all this affect us? Are we selling testosterone? Is it having an effect? Click on the link below and see what nationally syndicated radio hostess, Laura Ingraham had to say about the popular Fox Network Television series "24".
The popularity of the series "24" according to the right wing shows that Americans approve of torturing "terrorists"...because that's the way the hero of "24", Jack, treats "terrorists....I've watched the show once, during the Thanksgiving holidays because my Brother-in-law is a big fan and didn't want to miss the show. It was jaw-dropping in it's machismo, testosterone-dripping, violence all wrapped up in Uber-patriotic ....tripe... It was probably good entertainment but for it to become a "referendum" on American foreign policy is
and yet, maybe that's what we have become.
(Note: "24" is making news again because of their most recent episode where terrorists ignite a smal-yield nuke in LA...is it entertainment? Or is it propaganda?)
I've done what I am so fond of doing. Identifying a problem but offering no solution...I'll leave that to you and your comments.