Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kill Buzz

Is Libya still getting shelled? I stepped away from all media, took a walk through campus, encountered no urgency, elation, fear, or disgust. And certainly no protests. Michigan students love Obama almost as much as they love themselves. Gazing on their smug young faces, you'd never know we were throttling Libya. So I figured that Obama shot his Humanitarian load and we were back to just three wars.

Alas, no. To be expected. At this point, if we aren't attacking a smaller, poorer country, we'd have to check the mirror to see if it's still us. Americans are supposedly tired of the Terror Wars. If so, they're sure fucking quiet about it. That's the beauty of a privatized military: it kills and destroys with little public connection. If you know no one in uniform, chances are you don't think about cruise missile strikes or kill teams turning their prey into fetish items. Fifty people vaporized in an instant doesn't register. That you pay for it and it's done in your name stirs nothing. An Afghan child's severed arm landing at your feet might move you if the song on your iPod wasn't so awesome.

Several readers and friends suggest that I write an updated version of Savage Mules. "You called it!" they say. Well, I did, but so what? No clairvoyant skills were needed to see where Obama was obviously heading. And despite some wounded supporters and soured fans, Obama retains solid liberal allegiance. Especially with re-election time approaching. So revising Mules would be wasted energy. What more can one say about Democrats and endless war?

Those critical of Obama's adventure lean heavily on constitutional arguments. When you base your concern on the Constitution, the game's pretty much over. The Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Poor Richard's Almanack, and Thomas Jefferson's French porn stash mean nothing to our betters, and rarely apply to everyday life. "It's the law!" some shout, hands over star-spangled hearts. The President of the United States bound by law. How cute. Nixon understood: when the president does it, it's not illegal. Nixon's faux pas was openly admitting it. Thank God we have a man in the White House with better manners.

Reading comment threads at liberal sites (primarily Crooked Timber and Mother Jones, where David Corn auditioned to be Obama's George Stephanopoulos), "the law" was tossed around a lot. Pro-war libs countered by favorably citing the War Powers Act, something I doubt many of them did during Bush's reign. But Obama's different, Libya's not Iraq, these cruise missiles care, and as with Serbia we're bombing for moral reasons.

What's striking about pro-war libs is how good Obama's assault makes them feel. Many appear in blissful moods, like they just donated clothes and canned goods to the local mission. They are only too happy to help Libyan rebels -- whoever they are, or whatever beliefs they may hold. It really doesn't matter, so long as American liberals feel better about themselves.

Of course, this is all in their heads. Exulting over the Boer War would have the same political impact. Maybe that's the key to happiness: finding a war you like and playing it over and over in your mind. You can even change outcomes, reverse losses, establish post-war utopias where your support for the struggle is celebrated and taught to children.

Think I'll go with the Federation against the Romulan Empire. Those mad dog butchers have been flouting decency and suppressing democracy for too long. Give me full power, Scotty! Sulu, fire main phasers!