Thursday, January 13, 2005

O Superman

Courtesy of Holden's obsession with the Gaggle, the President's Press Secretary finally tells us what we're up against:
Q Right, but other than Iraq, where is the enemy now? Where are you concentrating your efforts?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's a multi-front effort, John. There are a number of ways we're going after the enemy, from cracking down on terrorist financing to working with other nations to share intelligence and act on that intelligence. We're also working from a military standpoint to go after those who seek to do us harm, whether it's in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere.

Q But -- it's all kind of ephemeral now. I mean, you could point to Afghanistan before and say, here's where the terrorists are; you could point to Indonesia and say, here's where Jemma Islamiya is. But, as I say, it's kind of ephemeral. We don't really -- where is the enemy these days?

MR McCLELLAN: John, I'll give you an update. The enemy is the ideology of hatred and oppression that people espouse. That's what we're up against. We're working to defeat an ideology of hatred and oppression. And you do that by going after the terrorists, who have no regard for rule of law, no regard for innocent civilians, and all they seek to do is spread chaos and fear and intimidation.

Is it entirely too obvious to be asking: How do you "kill" an idea? Or should we be even more afraid, that this Administration truly believes it is engaged in a battle with evil?

This is not a slip of the tongue, a verbal lapse, a momentary faux pas. This is the considered statement of this Administration as a defense of its foreign policy. It is a battle against evil. Theologians and philosophers have spent eons arguing over what evil is, and even where it is. This Administration, however, not only knows, but knows it can eradicate it. And the irony is, this answer is the very definition of "ephemeral." The enemy is something we cannot touch, taste, feel, smell, or hear; but we can kill people, and that will be our victory. How many, which ones, where are they? That, apparently, is to be decided on an ongoing basis. There are, in other words, no rules. Only power.

And, of course, in one more twist of the ironic knife, according to most Christian doctrines, the "ideology of hatred and oppression" is precisely the 'original sin' of which we all partake. One could well call it the original sin, stemming as it does, like all "sin," from selfishness.

Laurie Anderson wrote a song many years ago; some of the verses have been going through my head lately, and this starts them up again. The song is "O Superman." It starts like this:

"O Superman O Judge O Mom and Dad"

But the lines I'm thinking of, are these:

" 'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!"

Is this where we are? No longer even on the darkling plain, no longer hearing the rumble of the ignorant armies clashing by night, but left believing that love is gone, and justice is gone, and there's always force? And when force is gone....?

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