July 8, 2005

Fisking a creep...

...who's a bug too small to stomp, but it makes me feel better...[Thanks to Mike]

THE DAY AFTER THE FIREWORKS By James Carroll | July 5, 2005
WE KNOW what July 4th is. What about July 5th? After the fireworks, the music, the rhetoric of freedom -- what then? The party is over. Not for AMERICANS, you jerk. We love this country 365 days a year. Can we think about what, exactly, we were celebrating? YES, I could tell you at great length. Waste of time of course. Today's date puts the question of how high-flown American ideals square with the quotidian reality of what the nation is becoming. Becoming? Oooh, I get it. Republicans are in power, so America is "becoming" evil, corrupt, unjust, racist, etc...

No need to rehearse here the red-blue arguments over youth-slaying wars (first Iraq, now Afghanistan?) that are justified by the banner of red, white, and blue. No, they are justified by murderous attacks by terrorists (who would never slay a "youth," of course. Only American wars are "youth slaying.") The roster of illusions that pass for national security doctrine -- preventive war, nuclear posture, unilateralism -- has slipped beyond debate by now, with citizens and politicians alike having signed onto one slate or another. You, I suppose, dwell on a higher plane, and look down on the illusions of mere mortals. The growing US awareness, sharply reflected in polls, that the Iraq war is a loser (or perhaps even wrong) Funny how polls taken in Iraq don't say anything of the sort is simultaneously stymied by a mounting drumbeat for more American troops No, there's no such drumbeat to fight insurgents whose only casus belli is the presence of American troops. Care to back that up with some evidence? You aquainted with these guys? Did they tell you that? From such contradiction we, the people, last night took refuge in the treasured euphoria of patriotic display. I feel confident that you were not tainted with any euphoria on the Fourth of July.

But what about today? In assessing post-celebration realities of the national moment, it may help to recall that America has never been an innocent nation...Of course not, we're grownups, and have been all along. "That innocent nation" line is always a stupid preliminary to a sophisticate's sneer.

[I'll skip over a long section on how WWII was ugly, depressing and marred by American (of course) racism, blah blah blah]

....A new American tragedy is unfolding in Iraq. Not even its supporters pretend to see glory in this war now, and who imagines anything like ''victory" any more? Actually we've already achieved numerous elements of the eventual victory. The beginning of the first real Arab democracy, the end to future threats from Saddam's weapons programs, the entire climate of ME politics beginning to change and open, AND the ending of the tens-of-thousands of murders and tortures and rapes that were happening every year in Iraq (you liberals of course don't care about mere foreigners, but some of us do, and think this is...well, "glorious" is not too bad a word. Also heroic, and heartwarming.)

But if an iconic American image of the Iraqi struggle emerges, it will probably not resemble the Iwo Jima statue because amputation and mutilation have become hallmarks of the GI experience of the ''improvised explosive devices" that ambush them. IED's don't ambush soldiers, terrorist murderers do. What would the Rosenthal image be if the Marines had lost their arms? 3 or 4 of those guys WERE KILLED soon after the picture was taken. With today's far better care they might have LIVED, despite, perhaps, amputations. For each of the roughly 70 American soldiers killed in the month just past, many others are gravely maimed. What of them? What of the people who jumped from the WTC rather than be burned to death? What of the commuters just blown-up in London?

The ''bursting in air" of July 4th is an implicit glorification of war. VICTORY in those early wars meant that hundreds of millions of people could live in peace and prosperity and freedom in America. YOUR ancestors probably fled unhappy places to find opportunity here. You sneer at glorification? I say bring it on. On the day after, can we think of those combat survivors who will carry the real cost of the Iraqi war in their bodies forever? We will think of them with profound respect and gratitude. Emotions you have no clue about. And how can we think of those American daughters and sons without thinking of their even more numerous Iraqi sisters and brothers? Why don't YOU think about the children Saddam's thugs used to torture and kill in front of their parents? Or dump their bodies on the doorstep with a video-tape of them being tortured and raped. That's the side YOU are on, you worm. The SAME TORTURERS are the "insurgents" you think are given a "casus belli" by Americans, and whose evil you gloss over so blithely.

What kind of nation does our flag fly over now? Not a less innocent one, because American innocence was never the truth. Not one less reluctant to go to war without a good reason, because we have foolishly credited bad reasons in the past. But now the nation lacks even that. As our president demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war -- killing and maiming our young ones and theirs -- without being remotely able to say why. This is the pure essence of what makes lefties loathsome. Only Americans "kill and maim," nobody else. In fact we're the only ones who wage war. The rest of the world is one big passive victim.

Posted by John Weidner at July 8, 2005 9:40 PM
Weblog by John Weidner