Saturday, September 24, 2005

Tell me I'm supposed to give a fuck.
For these "grunts" as Mr. Kaplan calls them, the mission is everything. Political implications and larger strategic thinking they leave to others. As Mr. Kaplan writes of the Green Berets in Colombia: "They lived for the particular technical task at hand, and were willing to die, provided there would be someone behind them to pick up the task where they had left off." Or as Bob Innes, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, says of Vietnam: "I learned that honor and integrity are personal qualities, not institutional ones, not ones we should expect the state to always have. If you don't like the policy, tough. Bad things happen in this world. You do the best you can in your job, and let the crybabies write the books."In fact, most of the noncom and middle-level officers Mr. Kaplan meets in the Philippines do not speak in terms of "saving" or "improving" the country. Rather, he writes, "these men saw their charge in terms of developing a cadre of Westernized officers and useful contacts in both the Christian and Muslim communities who could be influential even in the event that the state broke up. None of the Americans were cynical [!!?], yet all of them were aware of America's limitations amid vast and roiling cultural and political forces. But they persevered, finding deep personal meaning in their jobs."

On a wider note in regards to the nationalism light [cute?] of the idiots at Democracy Arsenal, and my general contempt for the American variety of politicized intellectualism:

Why do science and scientific logic offer such a lousy template for cosmopolitan internationalism?
For the same reason the ideal of an objective journalism is absurd (and the British press is so much better than our own). Cosmopolitanism takes pleasure in disunity and discontinuity, not out of nihilism but out of respect.

The problem (for me) with the majority of self styled "mature' political thinkers in and around the US is not that they have beliefs I'm opposed to but that they pretend they don't have beliefs as such (beliefs of course which are not and can not be rational). It's for others to remind them of the self interest hidden behind their assumptions.
As to the link above: Between impartial morality and nationalism -and given that power tends to corrupt- nationalism wins.
These people are as deluded as the Chomskians with whom they have so little patience.
Again the difference between wanting to be 'right' and wanting to be 'skilled.'

One of the problems of modern art as well of course. but I've only realized recently and by accident, how personally I took this years ago, as I was trying to come to terms with the 'fictive' space of photographs, movies and classical pictorial as opposed to modern 'factual' or 'presentational' painting. One of the wonders of fiction is that it can both describe and invent. It contains/exhibits by it's nature an ironic duality of objective and subjective. And it articulates rather than hides that duality. Modernity as ideology rather than era stood as opposed to this. If power corrupts, politics makes vulgar.

But of course postmodernists- (again: ideology rather than era)- have been most often little more than self indulgent rebels, the angry adolescent offspring of their overbearing and contemptuous teachers.

a bit rough
I gotta go

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