Nelson: America's war mania
Nelson writes, "We now have radio talk show host Mark Levin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., openly calling for President Putin's assassination. Perhaps then they have no objection to Saddam Hussein's alleged plot to assassinate President George. H.W. Bush."
The more things change the more they stay the same. Recall Prairie Public's Dakota Datebook series on North Dakotans' reaction to World War I. Those insufficiently in favor of war with Germany were beaten and humiliated. Sauerkraut became Liberty cabbage. Murders occurred in other states. In World War II many Americans of Japanese, Italian and German descent were imprisoned or heavily discriminated against. When the French refused to help the U.S. make war on Iraq French fries became Freedom fries and the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”
Now we moderns show the same inability to make the simplest distinctions. The Canadian Hockey League won't allow teenagers from Russia or Belarus to enter its draft—as if they had anything to do with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Wales's Cardiff Philharmonic won't perform anything from Tchaikovsky. Search engine alternative Duck Duck Go now tells us that it will downgrade “Russian disinformation” (whatever that is in the current cesspool of lies and propaganda on both sides), prompting libertarian Tom Woods to wonder under what rubric can an alleged search engine curtail searching. The hypocrites at Facebook and Instagram now OK open calls of violence against Russians, as long as they're in the context of the Russian invasion.
Of course most liberals have lost what little is left of their minds. Keith Olbermann, clearly having missed his rabies shots, calls for the imprisonment of anyone spreading “Russian disinformation.” That would have included anyone talking about the dozens of fantasy biolabs in Ukraine until Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland acknowledged that they were real and loaded with dangerous microbes. It seems the kook conspiracists were right again. Court jester Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, termed Democratic politician Tulsi Gabbard “treasonous” (a possible capital offense in the Constitution) for urging that the germ-laden labs be secured through a ceasefire, if necessary.
In short, people at large are again forsaking their brains and embracing manias. At least many conservatives have noted that Russia was highly provoked even if unjustified in waging war. Observers across the entire political spectrum predicted this very outcome of war since the 1990s.
But other conservatives live by that old dictum of American empire: Everything within the military, nothing outside the military, nothing against the military. We now have radio talk show host Mark Levin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., openly calling for President Putin's assassination. Perhaps then they have no objection to Saddam Hussein's alleged plot to assassinate President George. H.W. Bush. But such even-handed thinking would deny America's double standard of what's right. Otherwise how could we find it morally acceptable to kill 500,000 Iraqi civilians in the 1990s with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright saying “we think the price is worth it”?
Of course, according to Levin only “isolationists” (that old FDR smear) and the “Putin wing of the GOP” would have a problem with an America that makes endless war. Only they would object to an America that can never spend enough on the military or countenance anything that could pose a threat, no matter how phantasmagorical.
Someday, somehow, maybe we'll learn from history and absorb that modicum of experience needed to leaven our witless in-the-moment passions with sense.
Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at email@example.com .
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.