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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

 

the madness of decline


i've mentioned before the neoconservative obsession with iran, which it sees as the bogeyman of their paranoid fantasies. a subject of speculation since the bush administration tried to light the fuse on a global democratic revolution in iraq some two years ago, seymour hersh dug up sources citing invasion as a plan of action months ago, all part of the bringing the revolution to tehran. all in all, the election of ahmadinejad appears only to have whetted their appetite for mayhem.

now comes news from the american conservative print edition that vice president dick cheney -- whose office has been at the heart of american militarism and treasonous criminality since the bush adminstration's inauguration -- has ordered a first-strike war plan involving nuclear weapons, for employment in response to a terrorist attack on american soil, apparently regardless of any actual iranian culpability.

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing -- that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack -- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
i have long thought this much about nuclear weapons: no instrument of war ever devised by man has long sat idle and unused. every tool finds its purpose. eventually, there is always a madman mad enough who will use it to further their delusional lust for power and control, to sate an insecure inner child that was never taught how to grow and mature. unfortunately, it seems that several such madmen now occupy offices in the american white house -- spiritual descendents of alcibiades in a new epoch of decline unfolding along very old creases.

we today live in the bankruptcy of western civility. the age of western nationalist technological militarism has, i'm afraid, only begun to wreak its horrors upon us and the world in the manner it has in so many civilizations laid waste by suicidal folly spawned of the social and personal schism and confusion that is the consequence of the rejection of history and tradition. to think this atrocity beyond us is, i fear, to underestimate the capacity for madness that lies in every human soul when unhinged from a moral law that might guide it. we are not rational -- and without a moral law, cannot aspire to be. nihilism looms. said justin raimondo:

The more I look at it, and the more I think of it, the more I sense a monumental evil casting its shadow over the world, and I have to tell you, it makes me wonder how much more time I want to spend on this earth. In my more pessimistic moments, I doubt whether we can avoid the horrific fate that seems to await us just around the next corner, the next moment, looming over the globe like a gigantic devil stretching its wings and blotting out the sun.

It seems to me that the question of whether life is really worth living anymore is inextricably bound up with the question of whether or not these madmen can be stopped. If not, then the only alternative is to live it up while we can and laugh defiantly in the face of the apocalypse. Why write columns, why comment at all, if we can't have any effect on the outcome?

this indeed was also the sentiment of a decadent hellenic world under the yoke of a sequence of insane roman emperors. on the one hand, cynics and stoics preached an ascetic withdrawal yet further into cleansing the personal soul, ending in perfect detachment from the material plane; on the other, epicureans lauded the death of god and fear with the blinding indulgence of the senses with individual gratification. both impulses can obviously be discerned in the makeup of postmodern man -- and neither is the salvation of the west, nor proof against the psychopathology of its leadership, just as it was not for the romans and hellenes of that time.


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