I walked out this morning on my way to the bank and the store. The street was quiet and peaceful. There was sunshine, a light breeze, and the occasional car going by. A young mother walked by with her two little kids in tow.
What kind of world are those kids going to live in? Better than the one they're living in now, I hope, but I doubt it.
I was thinking about the war. Not the Iraq War, although that's part of it. I thought of the bloodshed, the violence, the bombs, the desperate struggle of men to stay alive in a burning hell of bullets and explosions, and wondered why.
When I think about the wars of the last 100 years, from World War I to Iraq, the primary feature of all of them is senselessness. There were excuses for all those wars and all that violent death, but no real reasons.
The terrifying slaughter of World War I was deliberately set off by childish colonial and commercial rivalries among the ruling classes of Europe. Hitler ignited the worst war the world has ever seen using the fantastic pretext of a perceived need for Germany to expand her territory. His rage and thirst for blood were not satisfied with a world-wide conflagration, and he compounded his crimes by murdering millions of innocents in death factories.
In this country the last two generations have seen the pointless bloodletting and violent, deep-soul trauma of the imbecile Vietnam campaign, and most recently in Iraq, the muddled, violent attempt of a failing empire to secure supplies of a diminishing resource halfway around the world, in an ill-advised attempt to prop up a way of life scheduled for extinction.
All these conflicts except the first saw the violent deaths of as many civilians as combatants, and the blood of the innocent, in the words of Genesis, cries up from the ground for retribution.
Why did these things happen, and continue to happen? Those who started these wars always blamed the enemy -- if only he had been willing to listen to reason...if only they were less like themselves and more like us, pure, virtuous, and good -- and anyway He attacked Us first...
But the real reason, the inescapable truth about these pointless convulsions of bloodshed and violence over the past century is that they were expressions of violent rage perpetrated by violent, fearful, and enraged men. Look at our highest-level politicians and our captains of industry. You can see the violence in their eyes. You can hear it in their words. Turn on the TV to any cable news channel, and you find yourself in direct confrontation with the pathology of violent souls.
For the United States, which spends as much money on the means of violence, bloodshed, and destruction as the rest of the world combined, the responsibility for the level of violence in this beaten and traumatized world rests especially heavy. We have the world's biggest war machine, and that makes us the most violent.
What we're dealing with here isn't really politics, but medicine. Sick minds and sick souls need treatment. Instead, the sickest among us are talking about the need to do violence to the Iranians.
We don't need to worry about the Iranians. What we need to worry about is the state of our souls, and really, sincerely, to stop acting like we're out of our minds.
Attacking Iran -- that's what I'd call a little hair of the dog that bit you.
U.S. out of Iraq Now