We've lost a war without being able to surrender -- and thus divest ourselves of the consciousness that got us into it. We are unable to look honestly at what we did and why, and determine not to do it again.
Ten years later, an enormous question looms: How do we get the poison out of our system? I think that's what atonement means.
In a lengthy report on the
Oh, and it cost a few trillion dollars -- maybe four trillion, maybe five trillion, depending on how one chooses to measure the cost -- and failed to achieve any of its political objectives, but helped wreck the U.S. economy. It fomented deep, global hatred of
And it's not simply that many of the war's promoters are still in positions of power in the government and media, but militarism itself -- the socioeconomic consensus that might not only makes right but is extremely profitable no matter what the outcome -- remains our default religion. This consensus, with the help of its servants, scribes and a few scapegoats, is infinitely adept at freeing itself from the moral filth of past -- lost, forgotten -- wars and reclaiming its position at the center of current power, scrutinizing the horizon for the next enemy it can invent and the next conflict it can maximize with the latest weaponry.
Acknowledging the 10th anniversary of the
"There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we've never seen them until now," Dr
How do we get the poison out of our system? As long as it's present, we'll go to war again. The shame and remorse that should be borne collectively are scattered among a million isolated souls: the soldiers and vets who bear, alone, the moral consequences of what they did and what they were a part of. Some of them speak out, and many of us hear, but their voices don't reach the centers of political power, where future wars are being plotted.
Before the invasion of
We're stuck in a situation in which the only power that can defeat the hyper-militarized
But the perpetrators of this war cannot surrender. The moral force to require atonement and a new direction is MIA, or perhaps too fragile and unsure of itself at this point to make effective demands on the unrepentant giant.
There is a despairing obviousness to this conclusion. What I know with greater certainty, however, is that the millions of us engaged worldwide in the creation of peace cannot give up. Building peace is the same thing as building the future. Even when it seems futile, what choice do we have?
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