Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Me too

'“Bush lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves'. Surely all Americans must shiver in the cold light Frank Rich directs on our complicity in the criminal and terroristic acts we commit, increasingly openly, and often indifferently if not proudly, in the name of democracy and our republic.

I do find it irritating, however, that he finds it necessary to summon the WWII-as-watershed-of-human-history analogy (which we Americans love because it's the best way yet we have hit upon to inscribe ourselves as history's winners and its heros; never mind the villainy we have come to perpetrate under this alibi), in order to drive home his indictment of our present conduct in the world. Irritating because I take objection to the special status to which WWII and its particular crimes and terrors have been almost universally accorded within the modernist project even by those who would not recognize themselves as adherents; and also appalling-- this because the exceptionalism of the claim (and I don't mean to single Rich out, but he does participate) tends to absolve us from the many other moral claims to which our nation's representations in the world and to us, its own citizens, should make it subject and accountable. 'Whatever remains of our country’s good name' indeed.

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