Today, the U.S. has been fighting two nightmarish wars of destruction on either end of the Greater Middle East, and yet such an essay would, in essence, be almost impossible to write. There is, in a sense, no one to write it for. Tom Englehardt.
Almost like a line from Imagine. Except infinitely more sad.
Tom writes this in his introduction to the Nick Turse essay, Publish or Perish; Getting a Read on American War. From which, of course, I draw my own pissed-off conclusions … but I encourage you to read it all. If you can stomach, for example, the Pentagon Reading Lists. Turse writes:
Counterinsurgency is in. War-fighting handbooks are in. Gimmick covers designed for the warzone are in. Analysis about whether to fight such wars, investigation of the true costs of war to those most affected, plans to end bloody costly wars: all definitely out.
And then he takes a look at Sebastion Junger’s War—which is more than I could do—and for all its merits, finds the same old same old:
… perhaps if we stopped celebrating “rough men,” we could all sleep easier.
Isn’t that the center of the world. The world where Ideas seem to have taken a permanent back seat to the accomplishments, the triumph of Rough Men. A world, of course, where the feminine, the broader perspective—where empathy and the essential ability to consider all sides of an ambiguity, have, really, not made a dent. If anything—you will love this—the changing marketplace, wherein women have the opportunities they always dreamed of, has actually, in the long run, diminished the domestic and in the process, women themselves. Their sense of themselves, as meaningful agents in the world. Turns out we didn’t need careers so much as to turn things around. Didn’t happen. Not really. Instead, this has become the commercial world, in which children, at bottom, bite it. Because in Rough World, the shit always flows to the bottom, (no pun intended) to those in no position to resist. A surprising number of women today seem to have no clue how to mother. Have the intuitive sense of a doorknob. Either hover or benignly neglect the children, yes, but have somehow lost touch with the nature of and requirements for responding with active empathy—that is, with the immediate best choice in the ambiguous moment. Now, what would that skill, that kind of thinking, do for this war-bound society? I don’t mean to rag on women. I just thought the Feminine could do something. Besides watching Thought die.