The fundamental mindset
by Duckman GR
Last Friday Bobo Brooks made this comment,
DAVID BROOKS: That's a fundamental problem we have in this country, or in this age really. World War II there were atrocities, Civil War there were atrocities, Revolutionary War. Can we fight a war in [a] media age - that's a fundamental problem. There were atrocities in every war. -The atrocities don't necessarily disgrace the war or de-legitimize the war. [ed-my bold]
They love the bravado, the macho, the heroism of the noble idea of war. The simplicity, the clear cut lines of “Good” and “Evil,” the insanity of Nazi Germany and Militaristic Japan versus the Day of Infamy American trying to keep out of the mess and violence of Empiric wars, but doing what must be done to right the wrongs.
Let me repeat this line, “The atrocities don’t necessarily disgrace the war or de-legitimize the war.”
It seems that the Right Wing is trying to capture that “glory” and “honor” of fighting and winning a good war, the war that Vietnam was not, the war that WWII, as Studs Terkel put it, “The Good War,” was.
30 years later and we still haven’t reconciled our actions in Vietnam. Some have, of course, some have not, but those hawks and neo-cons and Nixonian believers, people like Perle still want to think that our defeat in Vietnam was due to weakness and betrayal, effete liberalism and appeasement.
Vietnam was a Shakespearean tragedy, a war that should not have been fought in the first place, an ecological, psychological, and moral disaster for the US and especially for Vietnam. Sen. Bob Kerrey talks about it in Larry Smith’s book, “Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words.”
He felt that if we had known what Ho Chi Minh was about, what the Vietnamese were about and willing to do for their freedom, we would never have fought that war.
Someone once said, It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.
-William Tecumseh Sherman
War is failure. War is the breakdown of the veneer that is civilization. War may be necessary, but we should not seek it, glory in it, revel in it. War is, in some ways, a simplistic crucible that reveals fundamental traits and forges powerful bonds through sacrifice, terror, and toil.
But it is not a state of grace that the neo-cons believe will prove their worth and value and honor in order to remove the stain of Vietnam from their minds. Bob Kerrey says that we can't go back, make things whole again. He's right. We have to move forward, do things right from that point on.
That's the adult thing to do, and something sadly lacking in Brooks and Perle and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush. But here we are, killing people to prove a point that can't be made.