Thursday, January 19, 2012

American Marines Urinating on Enemy Corpses: Jerry Lembcke's Moral Analysis

The conclusion to Jerry Lembcke's thoughtful and morally sensitive analysis at NCR of the photos circulating online, showing U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban members they had just shot:

It is said that pictures can be worth a thousand words, but it will take many thousands of words to write the back-story of the pictures coming home from the new American wars of the 21st century. 
When the clouds of denial, confusion and excuse-making generated by the photographs are parted, we'll see beyond the insensitivity and narcissism of the posing poseurs and see the still-uglier sight of a country that lost its sense of place in history, its people supporting wars only because the troops have been sent to fight them, its troops displaying their own degradation as a badge of honor.

The empty spectacle of the absurd that our American political campaigns have become: it's a counterpoint to, a complementary diptych piece for, the hyper-macho, brutal, militarized self-image that is now dominating American cultural life these days.  The two go hand in hand, and have been designed to go together by the 1% who now control the political process and who positively need for the rest of us to engage in the theater of political absurdity and the defiant swaggering and posturing and enemy-bashing.

Because otherwise we might wake up to the real danger against which we should be directing our energies, if we want to save our democracy from the ruin into which it has long since begun to head under the control of the super-rich.

(To complement the graphic, a famous quotation from Lincoln's first inaugural address:

I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stre[t]ching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.)

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