Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Freak Show

A close friend - who doesn’t live in America and, hence, doesn’t know America in the way I do - claims that the reason America involves itself endlessly in war is because it is a relatively young nation, eager to flex its young muscles. She theorizes thus, quite without malice, as if commenting on the antics of kittens tumbling about on the living room floor. Accepting her premise, I must say that I’ve watched America aging precipitously ever since Vietnam. In fact, the trend seems to have accelerated over the years to where our overall policy now appears to be all but in its death throes.

Domestically too, we seem to have adopted a model that is a throwback to the past. Communism and, in a sense, theocracy have been resurrected from a well deserved grave only to die again. America, as she had been only recently, was the future; the very model of modern success, to which the whole world flocked in droves even as this same world now retreats in utter disgust from this house of the dying, built on a jumble of acronyms.

War, by definition, is chaos. It makes no sense to impose rules on it. It makes even less sense to go in without any notion of victory. It is no accident that 60% of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan so far have died under Obama. It was Obama who changed the rules of engagement and struck the words ‘war’ and ‘victory’ from military manuals. It is Obama who doesn’t understand the difference between war and a police action.

The latter does not bode well for us here on the home front as well. Were we ourselves ever to contemplate rising up against the oppressive boot of our own government – after all constitutional measures have failed – who is now to say what Obama, or any leader of his ilk, would use his army for?

In past African wars, the European gentry used to gather on the surrounding hills with their sun shades and picnic baskets to watch. The distance made the dying anticeptic. Are we actually thinking of reviving this freak show?

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