Have you heard a distant clanging in the middle of the night? It’s the sound of the dark lord himself, Darth Cheney, thumping his bionic chest as the scent of yet another bloody Iraq war reaches his flared nostrils. It’s back to ancient Babylon, boys! Bubbling crude, black gold. Oil. Halliburton. Abu Ghraib. And a litany of mangled words to make ugly almost sound purty. Like collateral damage. Like torturing folks is just an enhanced, practically pleasant something or ‘nother we do to them there brown-skinned, boogedy Muslims…
As Saint Ronald of Hollywood might have said, here we go again. The entire country is revving up for another dubious little war peddled by the same neocons and “I told you so” liars of the last administration. The chorus of screeching castrati that is our corporate-owned media is giddy at the prospect of embedding with yet another crusade. Even our reluctant president is relenting to the ghoulish voices around him, urging him on to his very own, fateful misadventure in the Middle East.
Why? Have we learned nothing since that blue-sky day in September thirteen long years ago? Or have the horrific acts of some really bad guys with knives – who know how to post an online video (wow!) – scared the heebie-jeebies out of us complacent sheep? So much that we’ll eagerly shed a decade of war weariness and once more rally ‘round the flag, while we send our mercenary legions off to kill and die again and again, in some faraway unholy land?
Incidentally, beheadings are not that unusual. Remember the Tower of London? The last beheading there was in 1747. The Swedes finally quit in 1890. The Germans were chopping off heads as late as 1935. The French used Dr. Guillotin’s famous invention right up to 1977. And of course, our good friends in Saudi Arabia still do it, for murder, rape, drug trafficking, sodomy, armed robbery, apostasy, and sorcery.
Even we civilized Americans, back before we managed to pry apart church and state (ever so slightly), had a penchant for calling people witches and burning them alive. Hardly less brutal than what’s going on now in the wreckage of Syria and Iraq. But that was us and this is them. If nothing else, we’ve become very comfortable with double standards. It’s all part of being an exceptional American. God will be on our side, unless she’s not and Matthew 5:9 is just a bunch of hokum…
Have you heard a distant clanging in the middle of the night? Maybe it’s a hainting sound, from deep within our restless national nightmare of unintended consequences. We have sown the wind. What will we now reap in the harvest to come? One thing you can count on – blowback is coming. It always does. What John Donne said (in 1624). “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Ding. Dong.
Hot Springs, Arkansas