Friday, February 01, 2013
Why we don't fight
Will Tina Fey run for Congress? James Taylor? Geraldo? Another embassy is bombed in Turkey because those who want to kill us understand that we are not yet ready to defend ourselves. The important question today is will we ever be? I think the answer is yes. But the collectivist desire - Facebook is the new collectivism, far outnumbering Marx, Jesus, pharaoh and Mohammed in new followers - to send comics, pop singers syrupy enough to draw bees, professional wrestlers and circus performers to Congress is an indication that we are not yet ready to fight. The benchmark of absolute readiness is this one, Lord Nelson who, with only one eye and one arm left, drove Napoleon into the sea at Trafalgar. England gained on that day another hundred years of history, said Richard Nixon. "England expects every man to do his city," was Nelson's famous phrase and on the afternoon of Trafalgar every man woman and child in England finally was. But it took decades to get to that definitive moment. When we are ready we will find our Nelson or maybe he will find us. Until then we will blame ourselves for 9/11, blame the Jews or as Chuck Hagel calls it, the "Israeli lobby."
Sarah Palin was and is ready to fight and that is why such terror gripped the soul of the weak sisters like Letterman when she suddenly appeared at the mike. The presence of an instinctive warrior brought to our unconscious mind that which we must do and who we must be in time if we are to survive. Because the piddling psychopaths who bomb us continually today cannot destroy us now but in time they can if we have no stake in our lives. But when the survival moment comes as it finally did to England on October 21, 1805, we will have to find one like her. Real warriors like Palin are despised in peace and called up only in the last minute.
The call hasn't come in yet but if I was asked to teach at VMI or some such place I would first assign readings of the Mahabharata, then three nights of viewings of Hiroshi Inagaki’s “The Samurai Trilogy”, which define the warrior. But first off I'd send them to Nicholson Baker's “Human Smoke.” Despised by the mainstream jingoists who lead men and women to war and death with the most fanciful illusions – or substitute arbitrary war like Cheney/Bush - Baker tells the war story behind the scenes in letters, documents and commentaries. It reveals the precise moments when groups of individuals were ready to join the fight. Great swath of opinion in Europe and America fully waited for Stalin to enter the war against Hitler, and until that moment victory was unthinkable.
We do not yet feel the boot on the neck. Nor did 9/11 match Pearl Harbor as stimulus. But England and America had been anticipating war for more than 20 years before Pearl Harbor. The handwriting was on the wall as early as 1896, Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, say some historians. Vietnam’s General Nguyen Giap knew we would never be ready to fight and he based his victory plan for the Vietnam People’s Army on American public opinion. The terrorists who kill us today do the same and have been doing so since Ayatollah Khomeini caught on to it in 1979.