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Ghosts of My Lai, Part I

If the ghosts of My Lai are stirring, they've been awakened by chickenhawks who salivate righteously over accounts of torture.

It feels trite to once again point out how ignorant of history [MeFi] we Americans (and British) are. It feels trite to point out that we have created a mess for ourselves that it will take generations to begin to repair -- that we have sowed the whirlwind. What we reap now are merely the opportunistic weeds that spring up in the earth disturbed by our plows, on the furrows we haven't spared the labor to care for.

We are asked to believe that it would harm the "war effort" if SecDef Rumsfeld were to resign. I find it sublimely ironic that the Administration is so concerned for military morale. The ghosts of My Lai are rising to haunt us; no, our soldiers haven't gunned down villagers in a field this time, nor can we expect them to start (presumably, we can hire contractors to take care of that). But we can see that the wound hurts some even more than My Lai did. The American military worked hard to heal itself from the festering wounds of Vietnam (whether or not successfully is another topic for another time), and now, their own superiors have inflicted similar wounds to the honor that they worked so hard to get back.

Of course, Rumsfeld's resignation would solve nothing; he's a minion, not a mastermind. The title of "mastermind" belongs to others, such as our own Vice President. Even the President himself is rescued from minion-status only by virtue of the fact that people have to do what he says; like Seward (as NYS Governor) or Theodore Roosevelt, he could (should he choose) shitcan the lot of them. But he won't, because he's fundamentally compromised to an extent we haven't seen in an American president since the 19th century. Even Richard Nixon at least had the spine to admit, if only tacitly, that he knew what was going on. He did not willfully cultivate ignorance, as George W. Bush has. (For the last so anti-intellectual President, though, we need only go back to Coolidge.)

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