When you spend a few years observing a supremacist movement as we (Sabina and I) have, you tend to see the same themes over and over. Since the value, or myth, of supremacy has graduated, from various movements like that of Biblical America to the basis of current actions by the U.S. government, these same themes are now being played out on the national level, and can be heard from supporters of the war.
Perhaps it's more accurate to call, what I'm talking about, "the overextension of a myth of supremacy." Because, like many myths, it has a real and imaginary part. We are fortunate as Americans that there is a lot here to substantiate a myth of supremacy. It's when the myth gets extended, to realms where it doesn't apply, where people get themselves into real trouble. It's the imaginary part that is problematic, and the imaginary part is expressed in a few themes that show up over and over. These themes are:
It's fascinating, then, that the first comment posted here embodies exactly these themes.
Kevin Clayborn wrote:
I was in the USAF at the time of the Gulf War, and while I didn't have the pleasure of going to the Gulf, I do know a few things about why we where there and with whom.
And that information that you "know" came from where, and how is it different from what I experienced?
First of all, we were NOT there as UN forces. We were NOT there as NATO forces. We were there as US forces with a wide spectrum of allies who supported our cause to get Saddam out of Kuwait.
And U.N. Security Council resolution 678, giving Iraq one final opportunity to comply, or else "all necessary means" will be used against them, is simply a figment of my imagination?
Read the resolution, it clearly states, "Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait... to use all necessary means" to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. No such resolution exists this time around; Resolution 1441 authorizes nothing and only "requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA."
Gulf I wasn't just "our cause." It was specifically authorized by U.N. resolution.
You are doing a not-so-subtle rewrite on history (theme #3) to support the idea that we can just go throwing our weight around all over the planet in pursuit of "our cause," whatever that happens to be this week (theme #1).
So, what's different this time? Saddam hasn't directly bullied any one, that's the number one reason our allies from the last war are not supporting us on this one.
There seems to be this problem of collective amnesia, when it comes to the incredible job both the U.N. and diplomats all over the world did last time in coming to a consensus that military action to throw the Iraqis out of Kuwait was necessary. This time, when the task is going to be much more difficult and the world's support is much more critical, the U.S. has squandered whatever opportunity it had after 9/11 to forge a similar consensus to deal with lingering dangerous situations such as Iraq, North Korea, and the India-Pakistan conflict.
The task was corrupted with a thinly disguised contempt for the rest of the planet (now coming out in its full glory), and this current state of affairs is what you end up with. This is because the highest levels of government have been populated with people who really do believe this overextended myth of supremacy; and the overextension of this kind of myth is a bad habit that people learn when they're involved with evangelical Christianity. The outcome is a predictable consequence of what can be expected to happen when goverment is populated by evangelicals, and as the Biblical America movement moves unimpeded into positions of real power in this country.
We have to ask ourselves a couple of questions. One is at what point does belonging to a treaty organization like the UN stop being of a benefit to us?
No longer "being of a benefit to us" doesn't equal "won't agree with every cause we want to shove down the world's collective throat." That's the supremacist paradigm talking.
When, the organization says that they will help the people of the planet, and then do nothing about it?
There is nothing that says that the U.S. must adopt some Messianic attitude and save the entire planet from itself at every possible moment. The list of examples you give is endless, and we cannot be everywhere; but there's this attitude that also comes along with the myth of supremacy that suggests that all of the world's problems are fixable by us, and our physical and financial resources are infinite. They aren't, and I fear that we're going to have to learn that (again) the hard way.
I would much rather live in a country where our government says what it does, and does what it says. I am proud to live in America where the government's morals are the same as my own.
Well, isn't that special. I'm sure you'd enjoy living in a moralistic, bankrupt, burned-out cinder of a country. I'd explicitly dump the moralizing; instead, I prefer to live in a place where there's some understanding that material concerns matter, and that they're often more important than these arbitrary "morals" you talk about. Such moralizing is just another way of saying "I don't care what you think."
Posted by Mike Doughney at March 26, 2003 08:30 PM
A relevant article:
War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning; An Interview With Author Chris Hedges and part 2