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11/12/2010 2:47:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Ever since the invention of the modern "rational", nation state five hundred years ago we the people have been systematically schooled by our societies to think that the state, that the authorities and the powers that are above us in the socio-economic food chain have an inherent right to use violence.
That is, we've been socio-culturally indoctrinated to believe that when the government brutalizes and kills it's legitimate, and what's more that the government alone has the right to resort to violence and death-dealing. This is why conventional middle-class folks view 60s radicals who put explosive devices under police cars as villains who deserve prison time, and Air Force pilots who dropped tons of bombs on Vietnamese civilians as heroic fighting men.
You see the former were fighting against the power structure, the latter were fighting for it, and that makes all the difference. Revolutionaries bad, soldiers good. This is how good citizens are supposed to think. Killing for the government is never evil because the government has the godlike power to morally authorize life-taking. Hence we never really view war as mass murder, we always make excuses for the wounded warriors, and we reserve our harsh judgments for those who kill without the color of "legal" authority.
To begin judging the state's "warriors" by the same ethical thinking that we apply to other killers would simple be too subversive, so it's discouraged by being painted as unpatriotic. Most of us don't want to become pariahs for being pegged as unpatriotic so we toe society's party line when it comes to how we view the veterans of our immoral wars. We keep them in a positive light because we want some of this light to reflect our way so we can bask in it too. Deep down, in our heart of hearts and the privacy of our consciences many of us know that our military personnel frequently function as nothing better than the corporate elite's glorified goon squad, but that's a truth that we dare not speak.
And those who don't speak against or oppose evil are ipso facto complicit in it, hence the guilt and shame of our wars is collective. Then again the rich & powerful who instigate our wars, and the low-income young triggermen and women who fight them are more directly involved and so it's legitimate to focus on them somewhat. If we're ever going to be more effective at stopping wars we need to put some real critical focus on those who cause and fight them after all!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.