Monday, August 24, 2009

It's happening again...or, the truth will out

In Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" Launcelot says:
Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but at the length truth will out.

August 24th, one of the premier US mainstream newspapers, the New York Times, presented the headline, "Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietnam?"

The article suggests that Obama's presidency ought perhaps to be compared to that of Lyndon B. Johnson.

To be sure, the L.B.J. model - a president who aspired to reshape America at home while fighting a losing war abroad - is one that haunts Mr. Obama's White House as it seeks to salvage Afghanistan while enacting an expansive domestic program.

Then on August 22, in Columbus, GA. former Lt William Calley of the infamous My Lai Massacre stood in front of a gathering at the Kiwanis Club and spoke publicly for the first time about that massacre in Vietnam on March. 16, 1968.

Forty years later, Calley said: "There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai...I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry."
(See a more nuanced and thoughtful piece in The Lede.)

Indeed, the truth will out.

Deborah Nelson, author of The War Behind Me uncovered evidence that, in fact, My Lai was only the most publicized of the American-perpetrated atrocities that occurred in Vietnam.

I contend, in my own book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror, that, as long as we continue with the atrocity that is war, we will continue to have events such as My Lai in Vietnam, the bombing of refugees in UN facilities as in Qana, Lebanon, Mutla Ridge and Nissour Square in Iraq, the slaughter in Gaza in 2008-09 - and this is just contemporary history!

Put armed men in situations where they're angry, fearful, far from home, un-acculturated, psychologically traumatized, and ideological prepared to think in binary "us vs. them" modes and atrocities are guaranteed.

Sure, we can finger a fall guy or two (or gal as in Lindy England's case) but the whole mess resides on the shoulders of those who create policies that inevitably lead to war, valorize weaponry, and evolve financial systems that depend on arms manufacturing and selling.

And us...the ordinary Joe-in-the-street who allows it to happen and beats the drums of war with the rhetoric of patriotism and exceptionalism and "civilization" and so on...

Since we're all of us guilty for some of this, none of us is guilty for all of it.

Yet, "at the length truth will out." I only hope that we survive the madness of war in the meantime.

Listen to my radio show this week on how the Armenian genocide plays out in this political arena.

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