Saturday, May 20, 2006

Seeing ourselves as others see us

The blogger Soj who writes at Flogging the Simian has recently returned to the States from several years living at a modest level of comfort in Romania. Her blog is an interesting window on the world, steeped in her U.S. origins, but also consciously explaining how this country looks to the rest of the world.

In a new post she describes the culture shock she encountered in the freezing aisles of U.S. supermarkets on her return. But then she gets down to the hard stuff, to popular U.S. consciousness of the Iraq war.

...this has perhaps become the first war in the history of civilization which has not had any major impact on the country fighting it. I'd say right off hand that the incident of 9/11 has had FAR MORE impact on the life and culture of Americans than the 3 year war in Iraq. It's simply incredibly mindboggling to think that America really is so tremendously wealthy that it can fight a war and barely feel it. What other country could do that? ...

So here I am, in the land of those so rich and powerful they can fight a war on the side, something unthinkable in the history of civilization. And what does that do to the American psyche? What impact does it have on people to know their land is so f--king powerful that it can fight a war and barely feel it?...

It's always been hard for me to understand the fervor of those who want even more war. I'm talking about the neocons and PNACers and those who push for wars with Syria and Iran and whomever else. But I'm starting to see where it comes from. 100 years ago a war the cost of Iraq might not have touched the aristocracy too badly but the peasants would've been eating crusts of bread to pay for it and there's only so much blood you can squeeze out of a turnip. But in America? By god, there's at least two or three more big wars and maybe up to 10 "police actions" that could be started and you still wouldn't even have to ration food....

I also think that explains the apathy so many people have for these wars. I understand the zealotry of those profiting from them, but why the apathy? It's because there's apathy for pretty much anything that doesn't affect you. Do you really give a crap if children in Malawi starve every year? You probably barely even heard of Malawi and unless you see some commercial at 2am, it doesn't even enter your consciousness. And neither does the Iraq war.

We're so rich we don't care; we think we don't have to.


Everyday Activist said...

Brilliant post at:

or go to to find out more.

*Christopher said...


This sums it up pretty well. The prophets were not to kind to this sort of apathy.

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