Monday, January 23, 2006

Revenge


Last week, I dropped over to "The Blue Voice," and felt compelled to comment upon a particular posting. Not the rah-rah, "You go!" comment I usually make—TBV is a left-leaning blog penned by folks whose views generally closely mirror my own. But I had to take issue with some statements that I felt went off in a direction that left-wingers, like, say, Hillary Clinton, seem all too prone to go these days.


I was reminded of the—shall we call it a point of disagreement?—when I stopped by Tina’s post on Ride Along With Me, where she linked back to a study pointed out by her husband. It seems the men in the study took measurable pleasure in seeing "bad people" receive painful physical stimuli-—revenge? As opposed to the women partipants, who evidently reacted sympathetically to witnessing anyone--good or bad--receive the electric shocks administered in the study.


This whole scenario hearkened back to an exchange I had with Neil last week at The Blue Voice. He posted an entry lauding the reported killings of some high-ranking Al Queda members in a bombing raid somewhere in Pakistan. He went on, in the comment string, to insist that Osama Bin Laden’s death was absolutely vital in retribution for 9/11. Admitted in so many words that his desire was for revenge, and that revenge was good and proper. Adding that once we attained that revenge, it would of course serve as a deterrent to other terrorists bent on attacking the US.

This just goes to show how even men whose political sympathies don’t necessarily follow the right-wing, war-hawk, get-them-before-they-can-get-us model that kept the Texas Cartel in power in Washington, can rationalize their basest instinctive bloodlust enough to claim it has practical and political merit. Who on earth could credibly conclude that murdering those who have no respect for any human life, not even their own—evidenced by their weapon of choice: young people willing to blow themselves to bits for the glory of taking a few of the godless invaders along with them—would serve as a deterrent? Certainly any thinking person would realize that the execution of those who believe that dying in jihad at the hands of infidels earns them a pass straight to paradise—only calls up longer and longer queues of zealots eager to do the same? In such a case, revenge becomes an emotional luxury in which we are foolhardy to indulge.


But, it’s not revenge. It’s justice. It’s "an eye for an eye." It’s courage. It’s patriotism. It’s proof of our lofty principles and our willingness to defend them. Our males have employed this semantic sleight of hand since we crawled far enough beyond the mouths of our caves to realize that, in order to keep ourselves from wiping out our own species, we needed social codes to curb our violent behavior. And the females…since time immemorial, we are the ones left behind to testify that all this exchange of blood changes nothing. We who have been brushed aside, trapped beneath the combat boots of the men who would ensure our complicity, we shake our heads and endlessly wonder why our men cannot comprehend the futility of their actions. We’re sent home to tend the graves of our fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons who acted upon their "noble instincts" at any cost. Or we are ourselves buried, as collateral damage of our mates’ unreasoning lust for blood.


I know. Not every man harbors a violence-obsessed alter ego. Only the ones, it seems, who do the most damage. And not every woman recoils from the blood that stains the hands of her mate. Only the ones whose mournful wails have composed the score of all man’s bloodiest battles throughout time.


I'm sorry, Neil. I know it seems easy for me to pay lip service to adhering to a higher code, to overcoming emotions and thinking rationally about the consequences of the taking of any human life. I live a continent away from Ground Zero. What I know of the tragedy is, at best, second-hand. I didn't personally know anyone, or the family of anyone, killed on 9/11/01 at Osama Bin Laden's command. Still, I have to ask: What wrong, in all history, was ever made right by a vengeful killing? What transgression was ever washed clean in a bucket of blood? When will we ever learn? Thousands of years of human-upon-human violence have not yet given us cause to employ these massive brains, encased in these great skulls, perched upon these peculiarly upright spines, to contrive a way to keep us from destroying one another. From destroying ourselves. We will be the death of us, yet.

9 comments:

Gannet Girl said...

You go!

ckays1967 said...

We will be the death of us, yet.




Indeed.

Cynthia said...

Wow!

Anonymous said...

Well it would appear that you have moved away from your block. I remember that entry and I think I made a sarcastic remark. I shall go look and be back! Hold on...

Anonymous said...

That was me up there why didn't it give my name....

ChasingMoksha said...

Okay I remember the post now. I wrote:

What makes Bin Laden more worthy of being killed than George Bush? George Bush has done more murdering than Bin Laden has. Is Bush's murdering more acceptable because he is our team captain?

And followed that up with a sarcastic,

Go team go, rah rah rah! Meaning, I feel like some Americans (apparently the ruling ones) treat life like a football game and one must win at all cost.

I honestly do not see how Bush is better than Bin Laden. If the revenge strategy is excused for Bin Laden then why is it not excused for the Middle East? Some can say Bin Laden murdered Americans to avenge the destruction that we have reaped across the Middle East (by the way, they do not consider their area the Middle East. It is our arrogance that has labeled it such because our mother continent-Europe-was center of the world and everything else has a directional offshoot from them, --now us. Technically the region would be North Africa/Southwest Asia).

Anyway, George W. Bush has almost killed as many AMERICANS fighting in Iraq that Bin Laden has killed at the World Trade Center. No one ever wants to hear it, but white or white associated life is valued over non-white life. That is why Americans (and blacks have been brainwashed, perhaps because of internalized self hatred, to believe it as well) feel that it is okay to murder but never look at it’s own crimes.

Bush is a murderer. He has murdered American soldiers. He has murdered countless Iraqis. Now he wants to murder Iranians for having nukes, but we have nukes. Who shall murder us for having nukes?

Besides Bin Laden had nothing to do with Iraq. It is all about the oil so we can continue to live the way we feel as predominately white Americans are entitled to live, ----------utilizing far more resources than the rest of the world. It seems like Americans (collectively) don't want to admit that. They always have some excuse excusing their behavior.

Neil said...

My very idealistic son agrees with you Lisa. I certainly respect your viewpoint on this. I admire people who can hold to non-violence as a matter of principle, and I accept that even those who would resort to violence under some circumstances will refrain when there is no useful purpose other than the gratification of a revenge impulse.

I am not one of those admirable people. And I am fairly certain that there are very few such people (which may be why they deserve such admiration). I suspect that natural selection accounts for the aggressive attitude among males -- after all, flight is not always an option and sometimes you have to fight or die.

I believe in fighting back as a matter of principle. I believe it may not result in any practical benefit, just as he who turns the other cheek may not achieve any result except his death and that of those he loves.

I hope we can disagree sometimes and still be friends.

Neil

emmapeelDallas said...

When will we ever learn? It (the propensity for violence) just seems to go on and on and on - and we don't manage to move forward from it. This is an excellent post, thank you.

Judi

Robbie said...

I couldn't agree more. Even if I had someone close to me die in the tragedy of 9/11 or the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and I too adopted a vengeful bloodlust does not justify that killing for whatever reason is wrong in the most basic sense. What I feel as a result of something and what is right are two very separate things.

:-)