james carroll on the connection between celebrity culture and war

From Today’s Boston Globe, via Daily Kos.

In the emerging Democratic consensus, forged by Congressional leaders and presidential front-runners, supposedly in opposition to Bush’s war, “out now” is becoming “out when conditions permit” — which is, of course, Bush’s exact position. Such conditions will never come; therefore — Garrison Forever.

Yet, speaking of history, this conjuring of the appearance of opposition where none actually exists has been mandated by the American political system since the onset of the Cold War. The quadrennial political puppet show, highlighting not opposition but its appearance, is essential to keeping the captive-taking war machine running and to inoculating the American people from the viral knowledge that they themselves were first to be captured.


  1. Jim taught me fiction at Emerson…but I think his nonfiction work is better.

    I’m a registered Democrat, but was able to vote for the Green candidate running against Nader in the 2000 CA primary. I’m not wild about any of the Democratic candidates–and would vote for Dianne Feinstein before Hillary Rodham Clinton–but short of moving to the UK I don’t know what other choices I have. USAian is one of my identities, and as fucked as this country is, I’m not willing to give that up. My uncle sometimes puts a sticker on his mail with Carl Schurz’s quote ” My country, right or wrong; if right to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

    I vote and send letters/email.

  2. I am against the war (and war in general) and have always been. Where does a person, however, find truth among all the voices — left, center, and right — in all the commentary? On Sunday, in the NYT “Week in Review” section, I read this (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/weekinreview/29marsh.html), which enumerates the challenges in getting the troops and their stuff out of Iraq. On Sunday, it was persuasive; the enormity of the task does seem huge. And now I read, on your blog, Carroll’s profound remarks, which puts me in mind of Althusser’s theory about how the state and *every* institution associated with it works, and it complicates, maybe even negates, the Times piece. You know what’s so frustrating about this war, and every war? There’s no clarity. Or at least none that gets much press.

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