Preface: just when this edition of Inspection was about to be published, America and other nations started singing “bombs away” in Libya. OK, Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi (Wiki spelling) has never been “da bomb,” but what does much of this say about us? No more than a couple years ago an American administration was singing praises of a “reformed” Quadaffi, and our allies rarely challenging that rather convenient rewrite. (WSJ/News One spelling. Hell, seems we can’t even agree how to spell his name.) What does any of this say about reality and the official stories consecutive American administrations push? And how about all this, maybe, helping to explain the real reason why so many hate us, rather than “for our freedoms?” …and partially explain why, to some, we have become “the enemy?”
I was listening to POTUS 110, a stream on Sirius Satellite Radio. Pete’s Big Mouth, to be more specific, hosted by Pete Dominick, who just happens to be from the Syracuse area originally. I’m from the western side of the Adirondacks, my wife from Utica area.
Not that that matters to our topic, I just thought it fun to give a shout out to a native Upstater. By the way Pete, I was born in Nyack, so I’ve lived near where you are now, if I remember right.
A caller, trying to counter some of the points Pete was making, called and suggested we start carpet bombing Afghanistan. I understand we have done that in the past, and not just in Nam, though “carpet” wasn’t quite accurate. Nam was more an attempt to do surgical bombing back when we sucked even more than we do now at surgical bombing. Not that the attempt wasn’t more carpet than surgical, but one should be honest about these things.
No, the kind of carpet bombing the caller seemed to be suggesting was more like taking a whole region and just continue to drop bombs and to hell with the “collateral damage.” In other words, “To hell with our wimpy hesitation to commit mass murder, winning is more important.”
A question immediately slipped into my mind…
“When do we become the enemy?”
When we carpet bomb with the intent of getting the enemy no matter what, to frighten a populace into submission, how does that make 9/11 a worse act? “Frightening into submission” and “no matter what” are part very of the reason any country would carpet bomb.
To every action there is an opposite reaction; not “equal” in this case: more often a stronger reaction. Having bases on sacred lands, amongst many other reasons, is partially why 9/11 happened. Then in reaction to that reaction we murder god knows how many innocents. Then an organization that had limited membership, limited respect, suddenly becomes global. Membership swells. We react with a second war. That worked “so well” now we’re headed into a third war: all at the same time.
Golly, gee, fecal scented williwaw, ain’t we going in the right direction… not.
The history of this is almost like biblical birthings. Scandals related to how we treated detainees begot beheadings. Beheadings begot locking detainees away permanently, abusing them, putting them in trailers midday sun way over 100 degrees, turning wedding parties into red mist…
Double golly, gees, stronger fecal scented williwaw, ain’t we headed even more in the right direction?
Many leaders of a nation that prides itself in being a bastion of freedom have little problem with locking away people for the rest of their lives because they think might possibly know something, or know someone who knows someone. Shades of Joseph McCarthy gone even more berserk. No trials or kangaroo “trials” at best: placed in solitary day after day. No problem with attaching live wires to a detainee to make them say anything we want, or bringing them close to a state of drowned. Little reaction to young newly weds turned into blobs of blood.
And let’s be clear here: there is no such thing as “simulated” drowning. It’s drowning people, period. The concept, “If this is what we must do…” that those who rationalize such acts use… is the exact same rationalization the “evildoers” use.
Triple golly, gee…
The question here is obvious: no matter what they do, when do we become just another version of them because we think anything, no made how horrendous or offensive, is something we have to do to “win?” When does “winning” mean we actually lose? How much does the act of war, or even “defending ourselves,” rip the very soul and heart out of a nation? Achieve what the British, the Germans, the Japanese, the North Vietnamese tried, but couldn’t achieve?
As if on cue another caller suggested we can’t pull out of Afghanistan because it would drive up unemployment. Whoa. First off, an important sidebar, that means the unemployment level might be being kept artificially low by means of keeping a nation in a perpetual state of war.
“We have always been at war with Eastasia.”
But far, far more important: what does that say about the collective morality of citizens of any nation when they think a legitimate reason for going to war…
…a reasonable reason to stay at war…
…and a “logical” reason for committing what amounts to legalized mass murder and the sacrifice of so many of our own sons and daughters…
…is “to keep unemployment down?”
Pogo’s “We have met the enemy and he is us” seems a weaker bit of irony and sarcasm in comparison.
If we insist no act is too morally repulsive if it helps us “win…”
If we insist we must do anything and everything necessary to defeat an enemy…
If we insist that if that “necessary” includes gutting what makes our society free, and worth defending, then “so be it…”
If we insist on any of this, then no matter who wins we lose. Why? Because then we are no longer interested in defeating the enemy. Why would we want to defeat the enemy? After all, once we agree to all that…
We are the enemy.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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