Monday, April 27, 2009
Be advised that these images are extremely graphic and disturbing. These are not cosmeticized pictures of this terrible reality that now threatens to expand to yet more regions of the world.
"...and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The poetic prophesy above is not likely to come true any time soon. War has been romanticized in innumerable books and movies, and made fortunes for those who exploited the subject well. (Clint Eastwood is still at it, among others, with his latest opus, Flags of Our Fathers, while movie and television tycoon Jerry Bruckheimer, of Top Gun fame, a perfect example of what a cynical cultural prostitute is all about, has willingly become a one-man propaganda ministry for the Pentagon). In most movies-at least until recently-soldiers died "beautifully"-no hideous wounds, no real gasping fear in their eyes, they even got to say a few noble words for posterity, proof of a charitable destiny that, despite assigning them death, did not deny them their fifteen seconds of fame.
"There, for the Grace of You Know What, Go I."
But war is ugly. And war is also ruthless, sordid, and ill-mannered. It doesn't give most people time to proffer pretty speeches. And like death-which is its normal and inevitable companion-war remains in some ways unfathomable and mysterious. Wars can be depicted as noble only by those who are too naive, too young, too deluded, too corrupt, too sociopathic, or too stupid to understand the obscenity that killing in such an organized fashion represents. Are there "good wars"? Maybe. Nothing is absolute, not even something as heinous as war. But we'll leave that question for another day, another article. Let us say however this much: most wars in the history of our species have been useless, stupid enterprises; for all the suffering and mayhem they have caused, they have been utterly unnecessary...the instruments of knaves and the glory of fools, a massive carnage unleashed by every single form of human defect and backwardness: greed, deceit, ignorance, fanaticism and mass stupidity.
So whether a war is "good" or "bad" -while certainly an important consideration-there is one thing that all wars share, and that is they are unvelievably, obscenely ugly-as the images that accompany this article attest.
This is the real face of war, which our engines of mass misinformation will never show you. We owe it to them, to those who died, those who were hideously maimed, to look at these uncompromisingly distressing images, and reflect upon this criminal madness, to ponder the reasons why such people were put, found themselves, in harm's way...and who put them there...in the hope that eventually, more and more people will come to understand the actual mainsprings of war, to spot and reject the big lies the masses are constantly fed, and mobilize to make them-at last-a thing of the past.
FADE OUT: So, why do we fight?
Most progressives are fighting to ban this horror from human history, but not all are fully aware or willing to recognize that to do so we must revolutionize society and man. Nothing short of that will get the job done. That's why recipes that seek to neutralize a given individual or administration, while helpful, miss the point. Seeing regimes such as the Bush administration as "aberrations" outside the norm is a dangerous delusion. Bush simply carries the system's DNA in slightly more virulent form. The Establishment will go on without him. And when he's gone, it will probably replace him with a momentarily more congenial face. But the dynamic will soon reassert itself because the problem is systemic, endemic to human civilization at this point, intrinsic to its functioning, and it must be seen in that light before true remedies can be applied.
The unavoidable fact is that a system that embodies in a highly misleading wrapper of dazzling modern technology the most backward instincts that humans are capable of cannot operate for long without revealing its true nature. And that nature, at this juncture in the catastrophic evolution of our morally underachieving species, includes endless war.
Patrice Greanville edits Cyrano's Journal Online.
One last word of caution: We suggest that only adults visit this gallery.
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