America disconnected

February 12, 2010 by  

The disconnect never fails to amaze me. Death on a personal level is a heart-wrenching, life-altering affair. The recovery is a long process, filled with grief. Losing a loved one stays with you until you finally join them. But being part of the machine that gives others the same grief on a spectacular level has little to no effect.

I’d like to say I brim with outrage every time I see mention of civilian casualties during war time. I’d like to say I vehemently protest each unmanned drone that takes out a village along with a terrorist, leaving carnage and heartache in its wake.

But I can’t. I’m American. The numbness I feel for the death of the loved ones of others is a void in my humanity. I can create the rage, using logic and compassion to seethe at the ease of which my country brings death to others, but on a day-to-day level, it barely registers. And of this I know I am not alone. I know that even some fervent anti-war Americans struggle with the ability to emotionally comprehend what our government does in the name of national security. Because while there are those that feel the pain and tirelessly fight to end it, the vast majority remain disconnected.

The fervor for war with Iraq went from maelstrom to malaise to mocking in relatively short order, essentially due to illogical nature of it and overt pressure placed upon the American people to support it. But by the time more voices joined the ant-war crusade, the carnage was in full swing.

And it still hasn’t ended. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and who knows where else, our military is bringing death home to countless families. And in return, countless Americans are dealing with the grief of losing their own family members.

But death becomes us. We incinerated Tokyo. We vaporized Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We pulverized Vietnam. And we burned down Dresden. So it goes.

And through it all, we remain the good guys in our hearts. We remain morally superior. We are Americans and we are exceptional. Ask the corpses and broken families.

Because of this unholy disconnect, we will continue to kill. Those who make these types of decisions want nothing more than to unleash our military machine against Iran. With no lessons learned from our forays into the Middle East, and no connection to the dead and grieving, there remains an exceedingly good chance it will happen. It will be for national security. Because two oceans, a chilling nuclear arsenal and the largest military in the history of humankind cannot protect us from two-bit, sabre-rattling dictators. Only raining death upon its innocent citizens can save us now.

We are a nation at war. And we always have been. Let there be no disconnect - as an American, we are warriors. We leave families destroyed and bodies mangled. We take lives, then change the channel. But the outrage will be there and it will grow. If not from Americans who take lives, than from others whose lives we have destroyed.

And that destruction is occurring as you read this. And those of us Americans who have suffered a loss of a loved one need to connect to those who are feeling that same pain. Because those deaths and that suffering are directly connected to each and every one of us.



One Response to “America disconnected”

  1. hugh.c.mcbride on February 12th, 2010 10:14 am

    Tremendous. Thanks for writing this, & thanks for posting it.

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