Friday, May 06, 2011

Sacred codes of honor

(Guardian photo of bin Laden compound)
For all the pomp, ceremony, religious fawning and exceptionalism attached to our sacralized military codes of honor, frankly, they never impressed me much. They have always seemed to me much more like the kind of ersatz values pumped up higher and wider in an effort to conceal the truth; the military has little honor.

This is the case today and historically. It relates to that sick combination of violence and the desperate need to justify it. Violence comes with baggage so awfully heavy and grotesque that webs of lies need to be spun instantly and constantly in order to keep us convinced that it is forgivable. As any old athlete knows, the best defense is a good offense, and that is exactly what the military and its spinsters know how to do. Did you kill women and children and wreck the infrastructure of a town? Well, it was our sacred duty to our men and women in uniform; there were insurgents in that town. Our intelligence was perfect, and we took all precautions. We never target civilians.

Hogwash. Your intelligence is usually sketchy at best and you target civilians all the time. You do know your weaponry and its capability for destruction, you fire it, and, as usual, it kills innocent people. What a code of honor.

The honor between military forces is interesting. 'Our ally' is code for someone who deserves great honor because they have our back. In the latest disaster in Pakistan, it is inconceivable that the Pakistani military did not harbor and hide Osama bin Laden. This man, the leader of the supposed other side in the Global War on Terror, was a guest of our 'ally.' And that continues. Bin Laden's family is being held by the Pakistani authorities and no US interrogation is allowed. With the Boehner-types defending waterboarding and other torture methods, that's a good thing. But the 10 who survived the May 1 slaughter might also have a great deal of evidence that the Pakistani military looked the other way while providing the bin Ladens and al Qa'ida leadership sanctuary.

The Pakistanis should either be allies or not. The pathetic simpering from craven US politicians attempting to head off a cut in aid to the Pakistan military is not confined to the party of the Commander-in-Chief. After all, the War Party has two wings and the war is best prolonged by this partnership. So we have the inane spectacle of John Boehner immediately telling the nation we cannot stop sending aid, by the $billions, to Pakistan. What!? They shielded bin Laden far longer than the Taliban in Afghanistan did, far longer than the government of Sudan. We bombed both of those nations for their sin of shielding bin Laden, killing about 3,000 or more Afghan civilians in our honorable aerial bombardment in late 2001-early 2002. We back up and dump money into Pakistan and vow not to change course. We need to break out a megaton of sacralizing rhetoric to justify this blatant behavior.

It is long long past time to Just Come Home. Leave everything and just bring our people home. Recycle the armaments into agricultural tools--Swords into Plowshares--and do a Vietnam; declare victory in the face of loss and come home.

It's the only honorable thing to do.

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