Thursday, 11 November 2010

Real Men Want Globocops — and Other Imperial Delusions

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Jack KennySome eternal verities have outlived their usefulness. Okay that's a contradiction, which I cheerfully acknowledge. To be more accurate, some things that seem eternally true never were, and that becomes clear over time. One such truth is that, whatever one thinks about the wisdom of either starting or entering a war, once that decision is made the patriot's duty is to "support the troops," which is translated by the hawks to mean, of course, to support the mission. We must support what the troops are doing. Or, if we can't do that, we certainly have the duty to exercise the one provision of the Bill of Rights — other than the right to keep and bear arms — that Bill "of Wrongs" O'Reilly of Fox News fame reveres and insists on: your right to remain silent. Otherwise you are undermining the war effort, giving aid and comfort to the enemy and thereby committing sedition and possibly treason.

Never mind that the war was never declared by Congress, as our Constitution requires. Never mind if it is a war of aggression by the United States. Never mind if it is killing more of our troops and innocent civilians than it is killing the enemy we are supposed to be fighting. Never mind any and all of that. You "shut your mouth" (a favorite O'Reilly expression) until the seventh-inning stretch or that moment of silent something-or-other before the opening kickoff, at which time you must stand, doff your hat and bear silent witness to the biggest fraud of this or any other century, the fraud that poet Wilfred Owen exposed as a lie in World War I: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori — "Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country."

Ah, yes. The new American religion: Homeland, homeland uber alles. Country over all. Is it sweet and fitting to die for God? Well, when and where God is under attack, brave men and women have been willing to lay down their lives in defense of their faith, though in faith they ought not take the lives of others. Human sacrifice, in its most obvious forms, has long since been outlawed. Indeed, the veterans of past wars have used their GI Bill to attend Christian colleges and universities, where they presumably strengthen their faith, as well as their knowledge and their value to God, neighbor, and country — presumably.

I recently asked a professor at one of the nation's most prestigious Catholic colleges if he would recommend to Catholic parents that they send their youngsters to the institution where he teaches — a decision that, in the absence of financial aid and scholarship money, will cost those parents roughly $50,000 per year per student. "It's a rip-off," the professor said with a shrug. Okay, I asked, cost aside, is it a good place for Catholics to send their sons and daughters?

"If they want them to lose their faith, sure," he replied.

It has been 20 years since the great Bush War I, when Bush the father liberated Kuwait. Some of the brave Americans who fought that war now have college-age children. Some of them may be contemplating sending, and some may have already sent, children to the very institution the professor was describing. So a good American is one who risks or loses his life or limbs defeating the conquest and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq so he can come home and pay college professors to conquer the faith of his children and occupy their minds for some godless philosophy of hedonism or nihilism or some vision of BOMFOG — the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God — or whatever. We fight and pay billions and even trillions to defeat Saddam Hussein and pay again at home to dethrone the Lord Jesus and the prophet Moses.

If that is the state of Catholic higher education, it is no wonder that the same professor has suggested that if we want to uphold an orthodox Catholic vision of social justice, we should get rid of the Catholics in Congress. I am picking on Catholic institutions to keep it in the family, so to speak, and to speak of that with which I am somewhat familiar. But truth be told, most mainline Protestant colleges have long since gone to the pagans. The great institutions like Yale and Harvard were founded to promote the Kingdom of God on earth. They now honor the kingdom of man enroute to Hell.

The aforementioned professor notes that Catholics and Muslims have worked together in non-government organizations to oppose, at the United Nations and elsewhere, initiatives promoting abortion, contraception, forced sterilization, and other manifestations of the culture of death. But the war on the home front, the good old USA, is being lost in ways that may be too numerous to count. And one way is in that endless human sacrifice we glorify as war. And if you can't support it, you are supposed to at least have the decency to keep your mouth shut, for pity's sake.

And that is a one-way, pro-war street. If the country decides to take a step back from war, the hawks are free to continue challenging that decision. Indeed, they consider themselveo grand as "the supreme triumphs of war." TR, after all, held Wilson in contempt for not going to war with Germany long before the Lusitania and the Zimmerman telegram in which Germany sought an alliance with Mexico against the United States. When war finally came, the old Rough Rider no doubt felt vindicated.

In the latter years of the Clinton administration, Clinton and members of his cabinet tried to whip up war fever against Iraq. America didn't buy it. But when Bush the son came to power (May God deliver us from Bush the Holy Ghost), going after Saddam Hussein became an imperative. And the chickenhawks and .com warriors of the Republican neoconservatives were quick to claim Clinton's paternity for war's latest progeny. "Regime change" for Iraq was "the policy of the Clinton administration, for heaven's sake." And how is that for a pedigree?

And tweeter them no Taft, please. Taft — either the Republican President (William Howard) or his son (Robert, the Senator) — is for isolationists and sissies. Besides, he was "before my time." Real men want globocops. So the O'Reillys of the world and their stables full of Born Yesterday conservatives would tell Robert Taft to shut up, too. For here is what "Mr. Republican" had to say about dissent at home in his December 19, 1941 address to the Executive Club of Chicago, less than two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had plunged the United States into World War II:

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government ... too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.