Monday, August 07, 2006

Personalizing The Political

Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing relives pain in a new way:
...I read a very long, in-depth article in today's Los Angeles Times and literally had to concentrate to keep from throwing up.

What made it all the more horrifying for me, on a personal level, was that the focal point of this report, the atrocities spotlighted in it, took place on the same day my father was killed in Vietnam. While he led his Alpha Company Marines against the brutal and futile siege at Khe Sanh, several members of the U.S. Army's B Company participated in a grotesque massacre of 19 and innocent civilians -- old men, young women, children and babies.

And, even irrespective of the infamous massacre at My Lai, this newly revealed atrocity was not an isolated incident. Not by a long shot.
The pompous Times may hide the story behind subscription walls shortly, but Maryscott has lots more excerpts. Reed them and weep.

My own father and one first cousin fought in the Vietnam War. Neither came home alive. Another first cousin and an uncle were also there, but made it back. I have long thought that the worst part of war is not what happens to the losers, including the innocent bystanders there, or to the casualties on the prevailing side, but what it does to the seemingly unscathed winners. The severe psychological rot and total moral decay that some, no matter how few, succumb to and commit atrocities because of, is only part of the problem. There is also a deadening effect on the others in the war, and on the people back home.

Each time the dehumanization of ourselves, the totalitarian worship of our noble authorities, the conviction that we are entitled to compel others at any cost, rachets up another notch. Ultimately a nation must turn its back on imperial adventures, as the Swiss and the Swedes somehow managed to do after quite successful periods of conquering others, or it will destroy itself from within, as Germany did, and Rome, and too many other examples. We are not immune. Being richer and more technologically advanced only makes the temptation greater for us.


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