Lapham hits the mark, as usual
Jason of museunlimited pointed me to an article by Lewis Lapham in this month's Harper's which analyzes Ashcroft's and Bush's crusade mentality. There are two quotes from that article that particular grabbed me:
I happened to read "The Psychology of War," a study of the ways in which human beings adjust their interpretations of reality in order to recognize the mass murder of other human beings as glorious adventure and noble enterprise. First published in 1992 but fortunately brought back into print this year by the Helios Press, the book, written by Lawrence LeShan, draws a distinction between the sensory and the mythic perceptions of war. Let war become too much of a felt experience, as close at hand as the putrid smell of rotting flesh or the presence of a newly headless corpse seated in a nearby chair, and most people tend to forget to sing partiotic songs.
Because the civilian population finds itself drafted into service as the target of opportunity for terrorists armed with asymmetric waeapons, we're being asked to believe that we're opposed by Morgoth and the Corsairs of Umbar rather than by an incoherent diaspora of desperate human beings, most of them illiterate and many of them children, reduced to expressing their resentment in the impoverished vocabularies of violence. Best not to see our enemies as they are; better to go quietly into the caves of myth thoughtfully prepared by our news media and our schools, there to find, praise be to Allah, our comfort, our salvation, and our glory.
See also Jasons post on the Politics of Fear.