• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moral Hypocricy & The Wrong Kind of Magnification

The report of the cold-blooded massacre of Palestinian prisoners by Jewish guards raises two principle questions, the first of which is the black out of the story in the U.S. and Western press. Of course, the story will be reported in small print somewhere so that there can be a tenuous claim of deniability. But what cannot be denied on any substantial and good faith basis is that the murder has been censored from the news.

The reason is clear. Had Chinese or Arab or Balkan guards committed the atrocious murder, the story would be all the headline. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be out front declaiming and hectoring. Even President Obama would muster the courage to denounce (in slightly hedged terms) the "inappropriate" conduct. Had Arabs or -- god forbid -- Iranians murdered 200 Jews, the wailing board of the American press would resonate for weeks with indignation and demands for nuclear wasting of the culprits -- all of them, let Jehova sort 'em out!

The patent moral hypocricy is simply a manifestation of the underlying fact that our policies and public awareness are formed and informed by interested parties who seek only their own advantage and whose every word drips with dishonour.

But worse than hypocricy is the moral decay which the event reflects. This second question is of broader scope because it cannot be said that Israeli guards are the only thugs who get a "morale boost" from murdering other human beings. Just last month the press was obliged to report on the leak of American soldiers ghoulishly grinning, posing with and mutilating the cadavers of young men they had "wasted" in a lethal carnival game-shoot.

Depraved cruelty is nothing alien to Man. The walls of the Louvre and the Uffizi hang with the resplendant spectacles of sadism. The museums ought to remind us what a thin tissue keeps us from falling into the pit. But they have failed to do so. A kind of reverse Magnificat has been gestating in society's womb, as if we have been nursing a little, repugnant, oozing monster that has now blasted out with blackened gore to see the light of day.

What was the poisoned seed that gave this malformed creature birth? It began as a culture of bravado and hardness that despired gentility and softness as weak and faggy. It progressed to a culture of grit, grunge and grunting hardness that proved itself both in taking it and dishing it out. Bruteness was made a sport until we made a sport of brutality.

In 2005, American soldiers strung up a 22 year old Afghani cab driver and beat him to death over a period of four days, amusing themselves by thwacking his legs with sticks to make him jerk in pain and cry out "Alla Akbar". After days of this sporting treatment, the "interrogee" went into coronary arrest. The coroner reported that his legs had been "pulpified" into the consistency of juice. Not a peep of indignation was heard from any quarter in the United States: not in the press, not from the pulpit, not from the stinking pit that calls itself "Congress" and certainly not from the likes of President "SockJock" Bush.

Brutality has been building up for quite some time accompanied, in tandem, by an official culture that displays its "fairness" with displays of cold, indifference. Us, hate? Oh no! Far be it from us. We just don't care! For us, a suspect, a prisoner, an enemy is just an object! Can't get more impartial than that.

The kernel of cruelty subsist in every human heart as a kind of original sin. Instead of restraining this impulse we have done everything we could to cultivate and unleash it. But alongside cruelty, in every heart there is also a "conscience" --- an equally primal awareness of basic moral axioms. In a curious dynamic the impulse for cruelty against others gets restrained by an awareness in self that juxtaposes self with other. It is this tense balance between opposites that makes us exclaim "What am I doing?" and stop, provided we at least retain our alertness to what we are about.

But the Evil One knows this and fights conscience with all tools at his disposal.

"Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, laced with sensors, and boasting chameleonlike “active” camouflage. “Skin patch” pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus concentration and enhance endurance and strength." (Rebuilding America's Defences, P.N.A.C. Report, Sept. 2000.)
Yes! Performance enhancers and murderous morale boosters to create moral monsters. And the Good News is that one day -- oh happy day! -- we won't even have to be hypocritical about it anymore!

©Woodchip Gazette, 2011