To Hell With Our Enemies
God Bless America
I have seen this bumper sticker on three different cars in the past two days. There have been countless others with similar sentiments that I have been a witness to over the last few months. People I see on a regular basis, as well as people I run into at the pub, the gas station, the supermarket and the shopping mall exude a belligerent zealotry. They call it patriotism. I call it madness.
That isn't to say I think anyone who supports the War in Iraq and the policies behind it is mad. There are those who have studied and made informed decisions about where they stand on the issues at hand, but such people seem to be a minority. Of the two-thirds of Americans that polls say support the current action, the majority seem to be flag waving, rage chanting, "My country right or wrong" types who only turn on the news if there is word of a new victory "for our side."
When I was younger and studying history I found myself completely bewildered when it came to studying World War II. There was one running question in my mind that I went to great lengths to try to answer. If the cause of Nazi Germany was so profoundly wrong, how did they get so many people to support it and take to the battlefield to fight for it? Didn't these people realize their leaders were "evil men" who didn't care about anything other than advancing their power and their disturbing vision of what the world meant to them?
I am not making a direct comparison between Nazi Germany and my own country in the present day. There are those who make those comparisons and they are as misguided as the chest-beating "Go get 'em, Bush!" crowd. I am talking about something else completely. I am talking about the strange and evolving nature of nationalism and patriotism and how it seems to have made zombies out of so many. I bear witness to to a tunnel vision that has so many tuned in to news reports with expectations of what they want to hear. If the news reports anything resembling a setback or questions about the "cause" it immediately results in a cry of "The media is against the war!" or "This channel is anti-American! Who pays your salary, asshole!" They want to hear about military victories and cries of support for the inherent goodness of the cause. Anything other than that is unacceptable.
Here on this website, the majority of people who have come out with an opinion on the war and issues around it are more informed than your average person on the street. They may be inclined to seek out reports and viewpoints that support their own beliefs, but I believe many of here us try to seek out alternative viewpoints just to weigh the issues. Most people do not do this. All too many people seek out only the news and information that tells them what they want to hear.
What disturbs me is not the War in Iraq itself. What disturbs me is the growing war fever that is sweeping across this nation. Seemingly blind to anything other than the expected end result, people wait for news of the enemy's defeat and the triumph of their nation's mighty military. No one wonders if military victory really equates to correctness of a cause. Some of them already eagerly await the next conflict, talking anxiously and excitedly about how other "hostile nations" must be brought in line as well. To me it was best summed up by someone I saw in line at the 7-11 yesterday. He was looking at the front page of the paper announcing victory in Baghdad...
"The North Koreans better be reading this.
I can't wait until we kick their sorry asses."