Last week, Robert J. Elisberg posted another intelligent blog-article at Huffington Post. With the lightly sardonic tone he often uses, he blasted the notion that George W. Bush saved us…itemizing the myriad ways in which George W. Bush did nothing of the kind.
I was moved by the article to comment, that:
George Bush saved us by quenching the Torch of Freedom in the well of our global disgrace.
Catching up on my iTunes subscription to The Daily Show, last night, I watched Jon Stewart converse with Cliff May about the intricacies of Americans inflicting torture on detainees. In the course of this remarkably frustrating definitions ho-down, Stewart said that Harry Truman should have been held accountable for war crimes against humanity for lobbing atomic bombs at two unwarned Japanese cities, when the objective of ending the war would probably have been accomplished just as effectively without waging total war against unprepared civilians.
Two nights later, Stewart backtracked from that “extreme” position. He made it sound as though the words slipped out (of their own volition) before he’d given the proposition adequate censorial thought, saying that, upon reflection, his statement was simply stupid.
I think he was absolutely right in not pardoning Truman. I’m suspicious of the apology that followed as disingenuous, politically correct/conventional, and far more profoundly stupid.
I went on to revisit Flags of Our Fathers and Beyond Barbed Wire/Go For Broke.
I think the generation to which I belong, Generation Boom, was defined by the presidential decision to end the horrors of global war by bringing them home to the undefended wives and children of soldiers who weren’t prepared for a second “date that will live in infamy”, which Truman swiftly followed with a third.
The one thing foreign enemies always seem to forget is the uncharacteristically immoral and illegal depths to which Americans will sink in pursuit of certain goals. While our temporary lapses in sanity give rise to various catchphrases; Manifest Destiny, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills, Remember the Maine, Alamo, Pearl Harbor, 911…they all have in common a bult-in hysterically unilateral justification for anti-empathy.
And just as our foreign enemies overlook our tacit penchant for unfathomable ruthlessness, we constantly forgive ourselves for breaking Indian treaties, slavery, indentured servitude, infantilizing women, internment camps, and general acts of racial, religious and ethnic prejudice…all the forms of rampant xenophobia that transform our fellow Americans into foreign enemies…at least temporarily…long enough to exact some staggering form of vengeance in retaliation against the diversity they represent.
Generation Atom is gradually fading away. My cohort (formerly Beats, Hippies and Punks) is replacing them, daily, as pillars of an establishment that practices hypocrisy. I think the cure for the fossilization of virtue resides in daily doing better unto Others than will be done unto you.