Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oh Dark Thirty

--President Obama's Disposition Matrix,  
The Atlantic 

When in doubt,
 have two guys come through the door with guns 
--Raymond Chandler, on story writing 

~Please help me.
~You can help yourself by being truthful 
--Zero-Dark-Thirty (2012) 

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing,
but that rather a tumult was made, he took water
and washed his hands before the multitude,
saying, I am innocent of the blood
of this just person: see ye to it 
--Matthew 27:24

One iconic image from the Vietnam War disabused Americans of their concept of rule of law in war zones: Eddie Adams stark photo of the street murder of a VC officer by General Loan, chief of the South Vietnamese National Police. That image showed General Loan acting as a one man judge, jury and executioner.

It is not too much to say that the outcome of that war hinged on the shift in American sentiment toward the North Vietnamese after viewing such apparent lawlessness.  The social upheaval stateside could not brook one more assault on the pillars which prop up a civilized existence.  Even though the Vietcong were themselves killers, U.S. citizens would not countenance the compromise of their own values; the impulse to Due Process was still strong, and they saw themselves in The Other.

Fast forward 44 years and our President acts like a rogue cop on a Saigon street corner (without actually pulling the trigger, to understand that awesome action), but unlike General Loan, Obama does so with impunity. A paltry 44 years has brought the tolerance of outright stomping on our core values regarding the rule of law as we accept his Presidential targeted assassinations (How Obama Decides Your Fate If He Thinks You're a Terrorist.)

When the deed is executed by drones it is all the better, as we like tidy "surgical" things; we like to be told what pills to take, and when and apparently what organs need to be excised (CFR Targeted Killings.)  Habitues of FOX - Limbaughrundia obediently excise their hearts, brains, spinal cord and sometimes stomach (for all their blood lust, they are weak and fearful.)

What else can account for our moral and ethical comedown? Perhaps our inborn sneaky natures are being stoked by our addiction to our personal technologies; hidden behind the intermediary of a screen, the worst offense can be committed yet it is almost as though nothing has happened at all -- change the screen shot and the pixels are gone.

Last week the film Zero-Dark-Thirty premiered-- the latest agitprop by our own Leni Riefenstahl (aka, Dir. Katheryn Bigelow).  The film perpetuates the mythical proposition that torture is a useful tool leading to successful targeted assassinations, an act contrary to core U.S. values.  But instead of being jeered for her glorification of this transgression, Bigelow is touted as having directed the best film of 2012.  Nietzsche was prescient, and we the self-elected Ubermensch have allowed for the transvaluation of our values. (An interesting aside: In its first week of release, "A Haunted House, "Gangster Squad", "Django Unchained" and "Les Miserables" rounded out the top five box stars; there is a theme here.)

Neither my President, my Army nor the propagandist movie director are acting with our concurrence here at RangerAginstWar.  How can we condemn the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy or any other, and yet accept this illegal act as a justifiable tool in a questionable national endeavor?

At least Pilate had the good sense to wash his hands of it.

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