Mea Culpa: War on War

I was (very probably) wrong.
Many months ago, I argued in this monologue that war in Iraq, despite its likely ill effects, was relatively worthwhile. I bought the bottom line of the journalists while also questioning the veracity of the administration. It was a thinking-man’s line of poor thought: if the papers and the government say it’s true, it must be pretty true. I was wrong and I’m willing to admit that war in Iraq was built on trumped-up charges of state sponsored terrorism, fear-mongering, and logic based on belief instead of evidence.
Leon Wieseltier writes in this week’s The New Republic a similarly kind of weak-kneed mea culpa. Much of the piece is typically astringent and non-linear journalism but one paragraph, with regard to the murder of children, spoke to me clearly, thoughtfully, and elegantly and I wish it were mine:
Of course one’s own dead mean more than the other’s dead, but the other’s dead cannot mean nothing. The primacy of the obligation to one’s own, the natural solidarity of the same, the love that precedes principle: These fundamental attainments of human association should not be taken to suggest that moral consciousness is essentially tribal. Indeed, the knowledge of our own mystic bonds is what enables us to imagine the mystic bonds of others. Since we are particular in our affections and our affiliations, we can understand particularity of affection and affiliation in general. A general understanding of particularity: That is a fine definition of universalism, and there are no escapes from universalism, except willed ones.

2 thoughts on “Mea Culpa: War on War”

  1. You believed in the war for the same reason that Judith Miller did — you’re an apocalypsist. The fiction of inner dread is projected onto the world as it is. This war is about the attempt to conform Earth to fiction and look at the results.

  2. It would seem that you and everyone else – every major paper – were apologizing for ‘carrying the water’ for the Bush Administration about a week ago.
    From the beginning, I thought it was all pretty much a load of sh@t, so I’m the worst of the bunch – I got off the boat early, and have been eating lotus in my own private little fantasyland, where idoelogues *don’t* rule the world.
    You have nothing to be ashamed of, really. We’ve all been sucked up into the wake of Regis Bush II. Is there an end in sight? I don’t know, but we can vote in November and hope that ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ is as scary as Michael Eisner has made it out to be.

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