Friday, June 18, 2010

How war is remembered . . .

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/18/10

Note to a friend on 2012:

Marty: We are at the moment in a political trough; the benign phase of the “electricity” in the political cycle. This is an organic counterflow to the fierce peak which came about by years of war under Bush and Cheney. That was a vastly difficult transition – from peaceful pursuits to strenuous warfare virtually overnight after 9/11. When Wes Clark ran for President in 2004, he said to a small group of us here in New Hampshire: “Bush’s war is not America’s war, but in five years it will be.” By 2012 it will be.

We experience now a counter reaction to the Bush/Cheney war peak; a peaceful yearning here and abroad so strong that Obama received a Nobel Prize after only days in office. This is classically how people experience warfare and its aftermath. After the stress of World War II, England elected the anti-war Clement Attlee, then went back to Churchill. After the stress of Vietnam, the laid back Jimmy Carter was elected, but America soon went on to the strong force, Ronald Reagan and in his second run, Reagan won 49 states. Our Obama moment now is much like the Carter period.

Judging from the psychological sites and blogs, the stress of war under Bush/Cheney has by now completely dissipated. But war is always remembered as heroic (Mircea Eliade) by the winners and is conjured in hindsight in archetypal patterns rather than to the truths about policy and the realities on the ground. The Iraq war will be no exception because we won. Because of the absence of Saddam Hussein, Israel is in a good position on the ground today; better than it was before 9/11. American soldiers will remain now as permanent fixtures on Israel’s secondary frontiers, so although it doesn’t sound that way right now with a world chorus of dissent against Israel, Israel is in an excellent position militarily in the foreseeable future.

By 2012, America will have fully integrated the war in Iraq psychologically and will demand its celebration. 75% of Americans supported the invasion. It was an American victory and will be recalled historically as a victory equal in density to match and countervail the tragedy of 9/11. And 9/11 will be remembered as long as America is remembered. It is the formative moment of the 21st American century. Everything and everyone preceding it is historically irrelevant. It will fully and permanently bond America (especially the red, Christian states) to Israel and exclude others; Europeans in particular. The eastern coast (and LA) is an annex for the unassimilated Euro-American, but Europe and the western world chorus is irrelevant to the rest of America – increasingly, as economies rise across the Pacific. Europe is old, we are new. And Israel’s reincarnation in the Holy Land is new as well. That is how Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry will approach 2012. It will bring Israel uniform and trustworthy support from America by 2016.

All successful wars contain an unconscious revenge element; Hiroshima was the price for Pearl Harbor, the burning of Atlanta was the price of Southern secession. It usually comes at the end and is performed by a secondary player (Truman, Sherman, sent in to do the dirty work to keep the hands clean of Eisenhower or Grant). The Iraq war with Bush was exclusively a revenge war; it had no other purpose. But that is what works in people’s heart. And the heart remembers history and writes it, not the head.