Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Putting a fine point on it

I just read the sharpest assessment on CounterPunch. Diana Christian blows all the fluff off the self-serving, exceptionalist arguments of the West in general and the US in particular, and neatly equates what we do with what everyone else does...

Like much Iraq history which looked to the lugal or big strongman, Americans mostly elect presidents willing to kill, who uphold the death penalty and preach strong defense for the country... Americans have not only sought politicians who support the death penalty and are willing to wage war or at least to threaten it, they also approve political assassination. Just as most advanced societies move away from the death penalty and seek to avoid war, America's current political climate permits the death penalty and embraces war as its duty...

...Truth is, life precedes liberty. You cannot be free unless you're alive. So the politics of death are always at odds with the ideal. Great energy is expended to fudge this. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a fine example:"As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free." The stirring analogy is faulty and confuses agency. Christ who would not kill and suffered death is equated with the soldier charged to kill and slain for national goals. The killing part-Christ doesn't, the soldier does-completely disappears. It merges via death into noble self-sacrifice and messianic divinity. The Battle Hymn of the Republic asks the same willing life sacrifice that bin Laden asks of his suicide bombers. Both ask warriors to kill and be killed for a cause.

Read the rest of this BS-busting article here.

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