There are few things that anger the disenfranchised, dispossessed or the marginalized more than those who hold great power, fail to exercise it, yet reap massive rewards. It’s been said that the people will tolerate a despot, fight for a king, crush a parasite. This proven fact of human nature goes against most of what we, as Americans, are taught and believe to be true. How else can we explain the reverence of a Napoleon, a Hitler or the brutal 50 year reign of a murderous Joseph Stalin? Not one of these characters ruled their states with the interest of the ordinary citizen a priority, to the contrary, yet they ruled, long after their true nature was exposed. The final Tzar of the Russian Romanov dynasty, Nicholas, was cloaked in immense generational power, yet in the dark hours of World War I, was largely coupe up in his great palaces, steeped in mystical ritual, his great wealth flaunted in the face of a people gripped in fear and increasing poverty. In theory, his power was far beyond anything Lenin or Stalin could ever attain, yet within a year his entire family was exterminated after several hundred years of rule. Erased.
I’ve seen war from the perch of a proud American. I’ve seen war through the eyes of a related witness. And I’ve seen war up close, the smell, the exhaustion, confusion and taste of it. I use the word “war” in each instance, yet in neither is the word applied the same. If you’ve encountered it in the form of a verb, it continues, forever, to remain so. War as entertainment has a purpose in culture, albeit it a nefarious one. Those in the business of making war must promote the fiction of it or face the elimination of it as business. Marching off for Boeing or Lockheed Martin doesn’t have the same patriotic ring as marching off to save democracy or vanquish evil. How many young men would sign up voluntarily to fight a war the Politicians and Generals have secretly come to realize is unwinnable? Who’s gonna volunteer for combat against an enemy that is only fighting you because you’re trespassing on their property?
I watched a decent documentary on YouTube last night called “The Fall of Mosul.” It does tend to oversimplify some of the relevant facts, however, in broad strokes, the filmmaker does a good job historically documenting the City of Mosul from ancient times to roughly six months ago. So much of human history is a part of the region, revealing, I think, much of the folly our current policies never seem to acknowledge, learn from or even truly comprehend?
For now I must leave it at that. My next column I hope to explain my assessment of our current state of undeclared war and how our current politics seems to either dismiss any discussion that’s “out-of-bounds,” so to speak, or betray a shockingly little breadth of historical truth.
Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks