Our Next Enemy: Our Constant Search For American Haters
August 23, 2014
I was born into enemies. My psyche is tuned into lifelong evil “beyond anything that we’ve seen,” as Chuck Hagel the Secy of Defense said about Isis or "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant", the wildly triumphant Sunni caliphates who control large swathes Iraq and Syria with their oil wells – a territory larger than Britain.
“The face of evil,” John Kerry calls it.
For me the very first villain was Hitler the worst madman beyond anything, and then the barbaric Japanese emperor Hirohito whose soldiers systematically mutilated ours, followed by Stalin whose gulag-empire was a “cancer” that “no just God” could invent as Obama describes Isis, later flowing into Uncle Ho Chi Minh and his no-human-life-is-sacred Vietcong, and at a lower scale the rulers of the Dominican Republic and Grenada we just HAD to invade…then of course the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden and…now this Isis breakaway from the formerly ultra-diabolical Al-queda.
Even though the evil cancer changes form it’s not too hard to track all our many enemies once you realize we’re in what the Pentagon calls a “Long War” against America-haters who are a daily, continuous, this-moment-or-very-soon threat…as indeed some jihadis may be given how many (we’re told) Brits and Yanks are dying to sign up.
Already the Pentagon is sending out “advisories” to local police warning about the raging Sunnis in our midst. What next, those absurd Homeland Security advisories, Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded and Low in fetching colors?
We need enemies the way a thirsty man needs water. Without a constant supply of them our defense contractors like Honeywell and Dyncorp would have to lay off workers and American “resolve” would remain untested.
No government official has the guts to come right out and say, “Hey, our spies fucked up or we didn’t listen to them and couldn’t see what’s on the tip of our nose and now we’re playing catchup by outshouting the bad guys with steamed up rhetoric.” One big reason we screwed up is that we can’t publicly admit that the jihadis are funded by our dearest allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as well as Turkey. (Just as we’ve always been too embarrassed to confess that 15 of the 19 World Trade Center assassins were Saudis.)
I’m a big Maria Callas fan. But even the great Callas screeched like a loon when singing above two octaves above middle C. You begin on too high a note and there’s nowhere to go but killing more people and tripping over a failed policy like the War On Terror now in tatters.
The antiwar progressive Randolph Bourne coined the immortal epitaph: “War is the health of the state.” Sometimes it seems as if our system itself demands an incredibly high state of fearful tension in order to function. The worst part of it may be that our leaders listen only to themselves and are thus guided by their own hysteria.
Lower the rhetoric, fellas. Get off the weed. Simmer down. You can still bomb the crap out of the enemy without invoking God, cancer and the Devil. ‘Cause there’s nowhere to go after you hit that two octaves above middle C.