Mike Murry’s recent comment reminded me of this article that I wrote about three years ago. Macho posturing by America’s “leaders” has created enormous problems for the U.S. What is it with this obsession for “hardness” and “toughness” and “big boy” pants? Isn’t it a defining trait of a bully to whack people around precisely because he’s insecure and wants to compensate for that by feeling “big” through violence against the vulnerable? Just look at Trump and his bullying behavior. He attacks those he perceives as vulnerable (Mexicans, Muslims, women, and so on), even as he dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.
It’s obvious that many men in America see masculinity under assault, or they fear their own loss of manliness, hence those calls for “big boy” pants, and hence all those sports metaphors applied to war.
Time to put away the “big boy” pants, America. Instead, how about engaging in mature, intelligent, thinking and reflection, followed by action that ends our unwinnable wars and our national obsession with violence and weapons?
Jeremy Scahill is a reporter for whom the word “intrepid” may have been invented. He’s been remarkably bold in covering the creation of private mercenary forces in the United States (as documented in his bestseller, Blackwater) as well as America’s “turn to the dark side” after 9/11/2001, which led to “wars of choice” in Iraq and Afghanistan, together with interventions in Somalia, Yemen, and across the world in the name of combating terrorism. Indeed, the subtitle of Scahill’s new book is “The World Is A Battlefield.” And since there’s always a terrorist organization at large somewhere in the world, we are ensured of a forever war, a grim prospect on this Veterans Day.
I’ve written an extended review of Scahill’s Dirty Wars at Michigan War Studies Review, edited by the incomparable Jim Holoka. An aspect…
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