The Rightful Nation
I invite you to read below the edited comments made to me and the extensive version of my statements in response. Decide for yourselves if this sounds like what you think and how you honestly feel. If it is, then I say this to you: welcome; I knew the true America was here all along.
The commenter intiated the discourse as follows:
To make moral comparisons between two nations or groups of people at war assumes that first a moral/ethical equal footing can be found and second, the terms of and or reasons for the conflict are given.In response to that comment, I posited the metric for comparisons between and among wars not by motives, but rather by outcomes; I then used that guide to assess our current leaders' wars.
It should be as plain as the nose on the face of the proverbial donkey, at least by now, that the reasons for war are multi-layered and unique to the nations that are engaged in it; this war is not any different.
I thought about this for a few minutes and have the opinion that if the reasons for this war are understood, the moral obligations to our own country do outweigh the moral obligations to the other country.
It is truly sickening to think that in a country where people think less about the starving/homeless and more about the $250 a month flute lessons for their 6 year old, people have the bad taste to champion the plight of some middle eastern nation whose main interest in this conflict involves GOD not country or self interests.
Whose moral center do you relate to? Blowing up Americans for GOD (A-LA)? Or blowing up Iraqis and Muslim/Islamic terrorists for deterence and self preservation?
I resolve distinction by result and consequence: if two actions, regardless of claim for inspiration, come to the same result and have the same consequence, then the actions are equivalent.In return for that overview of my position, the commenter brought forth a reasonable and traditional challenge.
One murderer can claim God commanded him to his foul deed while another murderer can claim that Satan bid him commit his outrage. In both cases, people died as a result of the crime; therefore, the crime is the same: it is premeditated murder.
Whether or not both men heard voices, whether or not both men feel that they acted from strength of conviction, they both committed murder. No amount of their own pleadings should sway the objective execution of justice upon them.
In precisely the same way, the particular plea of the country that goes to war is irrelevant to the objective determination of what it has done.
I am weary of hearing "special and mitigating circumstances": this is the bleeding heart of those unable to properly adjudicate the guilt of and punishment for either the individual who has acted wrongly or the nation that has done so.
In both cases, there will be people incapable of rendering justice. Still worse, it is impossible to cabin their apologies in one or several cases: their soft-heartedness spreads like a cancer until the society is full of "special circumstances" maniacs and the world is full of "well we understand this war" allies of rogue nations.
The horde of the Right in this country makes no representation to true conservatism by patting any country—our own included—on the back and letting it get by with wrongful action. I have made my position abundantly clear in op-ed articles like "The Belt of Justice": a President who lies gets no better treatment than my own kin who would lie to cause death and destruction to others and to our own people. Both the bad child and the bad nation deserve and must receive certain, severe, and swift retributive punishment, and the wailing of supporters, friends, and other weaklings cannot serve as a deterrent to rightful action. Neither the child nor the nation will find rectitude in some fairy-tale world of soft-and-cuddly "understanding."
I will not be lied to. I will not have kids die for someone's twisting of facts to fit bad behavior, bad policy, or bad anything.
And make no mistake about it: I was trained to kill people whom I was told are my enemies. I reached adulthood when I came to realize that my moral obligation does not end with some commander's words; it ends with my judgment, drawing down whatever God-given moral authority I can bring to bear upon the situation from within myself. If it ever comes to my own determination—after I've heard what some President or his war-hawk cowards have to say—that I really do face an enemy, I will have no problem with killing, and I will do so with a prejudice only another soldier would understand. To defend my society, my property, my kin, or my tribe—even those of my own who hate my political philosophy—I will not have a major problem with drawing blood in such a manner as will deter the madmen from ever returning from their filthy holes in Hell.
That's another application of that belt of justice to which I referred above. God help my enemy should that belt need to be brought down upon his disgusting, unworthy ass.
And God help my leaders in the same circumstance.
I do see your point, however, the atrocities of war and the suffrage of innocent people are two things that comprise the cornerstone of American enterprise and have shaped the persona and ethos of American people.This afforded me the opportunity to set forth, without concern for perhaps offending those of a less conservative nature than I, my judgment.
Shall we now turn our backs on what was, what is and what shall be forever more--human conquest--or shall we embrace anew our commitment to capitalism?
At risk of talking from first one side of my mouth and then the other, I must admit that although the United States of America is a great country and it took the lives of countless thousands of brave warriors to maintain the freedoms it's citizens and guests now enjoy, I would be hard pressed to find a single good reason to empose this nations tactics in that regard on another country unless either provoked to do so or we/the host nation convinced us it was neccessary for our own protection.
Question: Precisely what were the manner of tactics invoked by citizens of foreign nations that brought us as a country to the state of affairs we now find ourselves in--with particular regard to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan--as you understand it?
You and I both know the world has many evil people in it; and by the word "evil," I certainly do not mean merely "bad": I mean evil in a visceral, insensible way that measures its life not in human years, but rather in ages, possessing weaklings of any given era with its worst excesses, making them strong in its grip that they might in rare instances rise to impose that awful thing upon a nation or even many nations.
Understand that I have no desire to see peoples of the world under the boot of monsters, be they murderous, self-righteous theocrats of Iran, the butcher of Uzbekistan, the corrupt tyrants of China, or the religious monstrosities that recently ruled Afghanistan.
We as a nation unfortunately have no problem with monsters so long as they do our bidding. The Taliban became our enemy not because they declined to participate in the pursuit and capture of Osama bin Laden, but rather because they had become insufferably obstructionist in negotiating rights of way for the movement of commercial hydrocarbon resources extracted to the East.
We as a nation didn't give a rat's backside about the atrocities Saddam Hussein committed upon ethnic and religious groups within Iraq. We wanted a militarily securable footprint on a major reserve of oil. Many, many people who supported the war in Iraq secretly, within their own hearts, knew very well that overrunning and occupying that country was a play to control a massive reservoir of petroleum. The American people did not embrace the lies set forth by the Bush Administration because of their compelling nature, but rather because of their plausibility against the obvious and outrageous alternative explanation that we were out to take what wasn't ours, and we were going to do so with whatever violence was necessary.
I am a teacher of economics and finance (among other subjects). I make no bones in class about the power of greed, and I make no apology for it as the motive force of growth unparalleled in human history. At the same time, I make no apology for the civil society that uses governmental institutions, social norms, and, yes, even religious tenets to circumscribe the passion that drives greed to corrosive ends. Like any other of what some branches of Christianity call "mortal sin," greed destroys just as surely as does wrath, gluttony, lust, or any other cancerous tissue that overtakes and finally suffocates the human and humane soul.
We labor under a persistent myth about the efficacy of war as transformative. Only the malevolent aggressor nation changes the world by such means, and then only for an age until brought low by the inevitable erosion of the venality of the succession of leaders in the despotic central state.
We did not become a free society on July 4, 1776. It didn't happen that way at all. We had been watched far too poorly, controlled far too loosely, imposed upon far too capriciously for way too long by our masters in Great Britain. By the time they finally came to grasp fully that we were already free but for their silly taxes and inadequate garrisons of troops, it was too late. Although we suffered mightily in the years after the declaration of our independence, the British had long before lost us as a colony, the Revolutionary War notwithstanding.
And that is not to say the war was not necessary and inevitable. It is to say that it was perfunctory. No one told us, "You are free." We made that call ourselves.
We will not free the Iraqis. They will do that themselves, maybe next year, maybe in a century. All we have done is deprive them of the madman capable of maintaining in relative peace and stability a nation incapable of sustaining itself otherwise as such simply because it was, from its inception, an artifice of a nascent, misguided, self-serving Western theory of the nation-state.
Afghanistan was another matter altogether. It was a mess before the Taliban, it is a mess now, and it will be a mess for centuries to come. All we're doing is feeding our kids into a sick meat grinder that's just going to keep on crushing them between maniacal religious zealots on one hand and violent drug lords on the other. That we choose the latter as our allies speaks volumes about the morality of our cause.
There is an incredible myth these days that I must address. It goes something like this: the Cold War is over.
Like Hell it is. We let down our guard because we thought the Cold War was between the Soviets and the West. Well, it wasn't: it was between our way of life and progress and another way of life and progress anathema to certain of our core values.
Seen in that light, the Berlin Wall coming down, all those "velvet," "purple," and whatever else revolutions in Eastern Europe were irrelevant. Forces anathema to our way of life were still out there, filling the vacuum our previous ideological foe had left in its pathetic passing.
The very same strength, resolve, intelligence, methods, and theories that had carried us for nearly half-a-century were still valid, still our best hand to play, and exactly the hand we have refused to play throughout this Administration.
The neo-cons didn't learn anything, and now we suffer every talking head mumbling about some "new era" that requires new methods. Well, here's some news for them: war was one of those things we tried and learned not to use; so was domestic repression.
It's like some kind of lobotomy was performed on the American psyche. Good God, we know how to win the world, but instead the neo-conservatives are going to have their wars come Hell or high water.
Does anyone remember what Reagan did after the bombing that killed all those Marines in Beirut? He pulled us out.
That's right, he got us out of there before we ended up in a quagmire. Nowfit of surprise!here come the neo-cons telling us that he made a huge mistake by letting the Islamists know that we could be scared off.
Well, they're dead wrong. He bought us a whole bunch of years with the Islamists believing we couldn't be suckered again into a decades-long killing box like Vietnam.
For all the reasons I would damn Reagan, particularly for his willingness to let small, venal idiots conduct his foreign policy in Central America, he earns praise for grasping what entirely eludes the fools in Washington today; and here's the lesson someone needs to ram down the collective throat of both the Republicans and the Democrats: unless you have absolutely no alternative, you never, ever let your enemies choose your wars.
It is among my greatest personal victories that I finally learned that principle of action for my own life.
It is time for America to learn that and other lessons our collective history is handing us if we would but listen to its truths rather than to the lies of small men inadequate to the challenge of stewardship of this noble cauldron of freedom we call the United States of America.
The Dark Wraith has thus spoken both his peace and his mind.