Patriotism and the Celebration of Murder
May 2, 2011
Nationalism is a powerful force. It has the power to make ordinary people abandon basic human values and it can overshadow moralism with a mere soundbite or an image. It deifies the symbolism of a country, it purports to exist beyond the realm of politics, and it’s employed by political leaders to command allegiance and respect for some of the most heinous policies and atrocities carried out in the name of the nation.
Human compassion is killed under the weight of patriotism’s blind arrogance. And so nationalism can unify an entire nation in celebrating the assassination of one person. It does so by dehumanizing others and making a population forget about the millions of innocent lives destroyed in order to kill one man.
Finally, as it overwhelms the national psyche, it allows millions to forget or dismiss as irrelevant the fact that their own government sponsored the rise of the very enemy whose demise they now celebrate.
After spending hundreds of billions of dollars and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, launching multiple wars and covert interventions in the Arab and Muslim world, the U.S. has finally eliminated one symbol, one man.
Witness the president’s hubris in describing an operation carried out unilaterally on Pakistani soil. Celebrating murder. This is evidently another “defining moment” of the Obama administration – an assassination.
Now the media is leading a national orgy of patriotism – the kind of arrogant imperial triumphalism that can only be inspired by jingoistic bloodlust.
Nevertheless, the wars will go on and the body count will continue to climb.