Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A National Life, UnexaminedIt is hard for an American to oppose any war. We have come too easily to accept even the weakest and most dishonest arguments for the use of force, and to regard as unpatriotic anyone who dares to challenge those arguments. Being right is no compensation for the lives lost, and as Barack Obama can attest, even people who were terribly wrong can simply shrug off their errors and claim them as "experience".
After Vietnam, I thought it could never happen again - we could never again send Troops to fight a war that the nation would later decide was started in error. It really pained me deeply to see us make the same tragic mistake again, and so soon. We ought to learn something from this.
The second time one wakes up in an alley, hung over, not remembering how one got there, it is time to consider the possibility that something is very very wrong. When it comes to war, we are like alcoholics in denial. We have no insight at all - and no desire to be introspective. We refuse to learn anything from our most humiliating and disgraceful failures. What have we learned after all from the yellow-cake, the aluminum tubes, from Curveball and the "slam-dunk" - what have we learned from Abu Ghraib? From Hadditha? Or from My Lai?
We have learned nothing, except perhaps that being right is no consolation when the majority of our countrymen are wrong. The value of a journal such as TBV is that it gives voice to ideals and reasoning that may influence others to stand with us in the future - and to avoid the same mistakes from occurring again and again.
Let us be hopeful, and do our best.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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