I’ve been sitting here listening to the new Tool CD, 10,000 Days.
Success, for Goldstein, Steele, and the rest is tied to toughness and masculinity, rather than to skill or capability. What determines victory is will, the will to be more brutal than the other side. It’s fair to say that a survey of military history does not support Jeff’s conclusions. When we did incinerate cities, the result was not enemy surrender, but rather increased support for the target governments. Brutal, heavy-handed tactics also have a piss poor history in counter-insurgency operations. Murderous brutality didn’t help the Nazis put down resistance movements in Western Europe or the Soviet Union, didn’t help the Soviets win in Afghanistan, and didn’t help Saddam Hussein defeat the Kurds.
But this is the kind of thinking that we have come to expect from the armchair warriors (or as my friend Isaac calls them: the 82nd Chairborne) who did all of their military training at the movies. In the case of General Goldstein the war in Iraq has become a small campaign in his battle over “otherness” and “signifiers” and the “experiential”; the smoking battlefields that most failed grad students left far behind when the world rather cruelly informed them that epistemological masturbation not only doesn’t pay the rent, but the benefits kinda suck too. While discussing the potential death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of real live people, Jeff strokes his chin and returns to the glory days of his favorite battlefields: Framing Field and The Battle of Narrative Run where American soldiers and Iraqi civilians and war itself become another abstract, while the War on Language is the eternal twilight struggle.
Needless to say, anyone who in all seriousness writes something like this:
This is the will to powerâ€”and it is only possible in the vaccuum left by the marginalization of a truly coherent interpretative paradigm.
…really needs to be smacked upside the head with a large bag of poo.
To close, and get back to Tool, from Vicarious:
I need to watch things die
From a good safe distance
Live while the whole world dies
You all feel the same so
Why can’t we just admit it?
That sounds about right.