Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington was recently sentenced to a mere eight years in jail for the wanton, planned murder of an Iraqi man, in return for his testimony against the other monsters who participated in the crime. He told the judge, at his sentencing, that he felt regret "but that he and other Marines were frustrated by their ill-defined mission in Iraq and the inability to tell friend from foe. 'As callous as it sounds,' he said, every Iraqi was considered 'guilty until proven otherwise.'"
How typically American: he isn't to blame for his actions--certainly not!--it's his "ill-defined mission." But what if carnage--for its own sake, as an end in itself--is the mission? Forget the highfalutin' rhetoric about "democracy," the "war on terrorism," the "weapons of mass destruction" that somehow turned into a desert mirage. The ugly reality is that Iraq has become an arena for American sadists to act out their perverted fantasies, a vast Charenton where the de Sades in charge of American foreign policy have unleashed an army of torturers and murderous thugs on the Iraqi people. The American media doesn't want to show the real face of U.S. "liberators," but they are being outflanked by the new technology that makes the self-appointed "gatekeepers" of journalism increasingly irrelevant.
The Americans seem particularly enthralled with shooting the wounded: here is some young savage, living proof that devolution is not just a concept, expounding on how "awesome" wanton murder is. He is the New American Man, invincibly ignorant, raised on rap music and violent video games, grinning boyishly at the prospect of a future of endless slaughter. He rides around the country, randomly firing on civilians, as if he were at one of those shoot-the-duck booths at the county fair.
They murder to a Satanic tune--"Dead bodies everywhere!"--while joyously creating havoc wherever they roam. For allegedly stealing wood, an Iraqi taxi driver finds that his livelihood is crushed by an American tank--and, boy, it sure looks like those Americans are having fun! That is how a sick, decadent people amuse themselves.
These "liberators" are war criminals, and it's only fitting that they have installed a government of death squads as their local satraps. As they and their allies rampagethroughout Iraq, like angels of death, committing war crimes in the dark, the U.S. Congress "debates" a non-binding resolution--and the Senate cannot even bring itself to vote on a meaningless motion, never mind one that could actually end the slaughter.
Support our troops? Hell no. Anyone who "supports the troops" is an accomplice to their deeds. The evidence shows clearly that these are not innocent babes in the woods: they are wolves, predators, killers, deeply, profoundly implicated in what will go down in history as a horrific war of aggression.
The clear fact of the matter is that America's conquest of Iraq is the policy of criminals &endash; except that even most criminals act rationally, in the sense that there's some profit in their activities, some benefit, real or imagined, to be gained. But this war is not an ordinary crime: it is a wanton orgy of murder that is all the more horrendous due to its utter senselessness. This is nihilism in action.
I doubt that a congressional resolution is going to address the main cause of this war and its continuation: the psychological sickness that is eating away at the American character. It is a mix of hubris, bloodlust, and sheer depravity, and it is being acted out against the backdrop of international politics. The post-9/11 world we are living in has become a projection of our own demons, which have now been unleashed on a horrified world.
Who will stop the madness? Not the politicians. Not Congress, or the media, nor even the men of God--all of whom are complicit, to one degree or another, with the crimes of the American government. Our intellectual, moral, and political leaders have abandoned all standards, all sense of decency, and therefore have no problem rationalizing the monstrous.
There will be no easy end to this war because it is merely a symptom of our own inner rot. We've come a long way from the American of Jefferson's time to the neo-barbarians of the Late Imperial era--and it's been downhill all the way.
This isn't a political problem--it's a cultural affliction. The world's most powerful nation is infected with the psychopathology of a serial murderer--one who kills not out of grim necessity, but for the sheer joy of it.
We live in a society sickened by its own poisons. Conservatives have known this for some time. Liberals are learning it. The culture of permissiveness, of moral relativism and heedless hedonism, is yielding some decidedly unexpected consequences in the foreign policy realm. After all, we're the most powerful nation on earth--why shouldn't we push others around? Even as we play the role of international do-gooders, the obvious enjoyment our centurions take in humiliating "Ali Baba"--their name for any Iraqi--illustrates what is really driving this war, and all the wars to come: what the conservative philosopher Claes Ryn calls "the will to dominate."
America is, today, the fountainhead of evil in the world. No one is killing people faster, and with more cruelty and indifference, than the warlords of Washington. The temptation is to turn away in disgust and resign oneself to the degeneration of Jefferson's benevolent legacy into a maelstrom of malevolence worthy of Caligula.
Yet the triumph of domination as the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy is not inevitable, or irreversible. Its overthrow, however, requires a moral reawakening. By this, I don't mean a return to religion, although--unlike all too many libertarians--I wouldn't rule it out entirely. This moral revolution, in any case, will be born in an instinctive revulsion against what is depicted in the video links above, married to an unwillingness to let such evil continue for a moment longer.
Sooner or later, the American people must be made to understand that the choice is between noninterventionism and barbarism. Americans are naïve: they believe in the myth of automatic progress, the illusion of history as an ever ascending stairway to higher levels of civilization, but the truth is far grimmer. Empires rise--and fall. Dark ages follow. The kind of degeneracy we are now seeing acted out in Iraq promises a fall that will plumb new depths of darkness.
February 19, 2007
© PROMETHEUS 117/2007
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 117, March 2007