Same old Same old?Recently I've felt my ability to engage wane. I have nothing new to say on the rightwing blogs where I traditionally post. They've heard it all before, dismissed it, dissed it and frequently pissed on it. There is nothing left to say. The Haditha Massacre has also impaired my ability to remain calm when faced with the dismissive inhumanity of some Americans. Listening to people who are articulate, clever, witty and apparently loving parents, ferociously defending and justifying the indefensible, has left me feeling physically sick in recent weeks.
So I find myself wondering is this the way it is? Is it naive to assume that humans can find a different way, behave differently? Should I simply throw up my hands, thank God for the good luck of my birth and leave it at that? Its tempting.
Hope though, can come from some strange quarters, and you may find this odd, but here goes:-)
One of the frequent comments from the pro war side concerns the relative humaneness of the current war effort, and this observation is not entirely without merit. If we objectively consider the invasion and occupation, the efforts made to avoid civilian casualties and the almost neligible deaths on the side of the coalition, this has been a fairly bloodless enterprise. Certainly when compared to empires and conflicts of the past.
I guess this meme can be articulated as "what other kind of global hegemony would you prefer?". I know that I prefer an American hegemony to a Soviet, Nazi German or Chinese hegemony. Imagine extrapolating those internal casualties onto the world stage? We'd be talking billions of deaths.
This does not mean that I think we live in the cliched "best of all possible worlds", but it could certainly be worse. So why all the hue and cry? Why the relentless yelling and beration? If US hegemony ain't so bad, why not accept it? The answer to that question is basic, humans yearn to be free and that desire has finally gone global. Globalisation has created global capital, and that has in turn generated an inevitable counter balance, global civil society.
Lets face it humans are upitty creatures, that frequently revolt against even benign tyrrany. The US qualifies as at least that, and in recent years has been drifting in altogether the wrong direction on the good/bad hegemony continuum.
Herein lies the hope ... our tolerance for war as a solution has been drastically reduced. We see the effects and are appalled, we insist there must be a better way, and can find an endless stream of historical examples to substantiate this view. We consider the ordered, law abiding segments of the world and we know there is a better way, we are living it. If laws work in villages, towns, cities, counties, regions, nation states and supr-national regions like the EU, why can't they work globally? The answer to this question is of course, that they can.
Basically when the apologists whine "it ain't that bad", they are, in a limited sense, right. What has changed is the global perception of such events. We see them, in record time and are appalled and rightly so. We count the cost of war, imagine what could have been created with those resources and inevitably reject the logic of violence. This same calculation is what marks the passage from child to adult. We know that there should be laws that prevent Saddam Hussein and Bush.
Now we need to take it to the next level. The facilitators of the Iraq war must to be held to account. They day we drag Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney before an international tribunal (an American one would also be welcome) and they have to account for their actions, that is day that signals the death knell for war as a mainstream and acceptable solution. It is the day that humanity finally grows up and creates a planetary society governed by law. It may be 5,10 or 20 years down the road, but it's going to happen and I'm looking forward to it, are you?