February 27, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Because you can

By |2024-02-23T15:15:38+01:00December 21st, 2023|Area 51|
Around 20,000 have been killed in Gaza, but many more lie beneath the rubble.
S

ince the West went to war to excise its two cancers, Nazism and Communism, its moral compass malfunctioned, jiggered by an overbearing righteousness. What has occurred in Gaza is only the latest example of a century-long trend.

Into mind comes the London blitz, in which Nazi bombers pummeled both the city and the nation. The horror lasted about a year until the tide was turned.

Into focus came a three-year long mighty vengeance, now forgotten, in which Allied planes dropped millions of pounds of bombs on Germany, engaging in a horrific overkill. Hamburg was razed, Dresden leveled. No reason or lenience intervened. The bad guys deserved a memorable lesson. Call it payback.

In 1945, the United States faced a terrible choice: either invade the Japanese mainland at the cost of perhaps a quarter-million troops or employ a magical new bomb that would change warfare forever. It chose this magic, not once but twice, and Japan capitulated. So good was done. The moral compass remained hidden in the West’s back pocket. Good riddance, cruel Japan.

In the mid-1960s, the U.S. faced yet another quandary. The Communist North Vietnamese sought to create an independent nation. This could not be allowed. Out came B-52 bombers striking Hanoi and thousands of acres of jungle. Down came napalm, setting the landscape alight. Down came Agent Orange, a contaminant. This had to be, said those who ordered it. The enemy sought no less than a global takeover. Broken once more was the compass, its bearings set to indisputable right against indisputable wrong.

Time for reprisal? Of course not. Time for war. All out war, sanctioned by faith and state.

Decades later came an improbable terrorist attack, not by a nation but by a non-Christian entity bent on arousing the wrath of infidels.

Out came the word “war,” when reprisal might have been the wiser choice. But the compass has no sway over the urges of might. Afghanistan was shaken, later Iraq, and cries of “mission accomplish” made the rounds. But it was not accomplished. And in the ensuing years drones and bombs made the infidel-haters run for cover. Or so went the tune. They were not “of us” and thus the compass was again suspended. Nor did it budge when the war was exposed as a sham, since the Muslin enemy possessed no endgame weapons. No matter. The right people had done the right thing. The compass’s chosen had prevailed, never mind intimations of the pyrrhic.

Cometh Israel, the compass squarely in its “good” hands, hands beyond reproach by its Western partners. How not to uphold the verve of a nation crafted by the survivors of death camps and surrounded by non-Christian interlopers with endlessly awful intentions.

How not to love it especially in times like these, with evil Russia gnawing illegally on its Ukrainian bone. For Russia and Vladimir Putin, the compass had gone gyroscopically wild. Madman. War criminal. Killer of women and children. Old Communist on a new warpath. What a pleasure to isolate him.

So perfect, all this indignation, until Hamas, the successor of the Palestine Liberation Organization, opened its maw wider than ever before. Suddenly hostages. Suddenly dead Israelis by the thousands. The chosen punched and bloodied.

Time for reprisal? Of course not. Time for war. All-out war, sanctioned by faith and state. As the British and American bombers extracted their German pound of flesh eight decades ago, so the Israelis extracted theirs, hospitals be damned, villages and city blocks razed, the compass reading A-OK in the hands of its selective masters, morality suspended to complete a clean sweep of the enemy. No atom bomb dropped but the effect almost as devastating. Gaza the Hamburg and Dresden, if not the Nagasaki of the 21st century.

But “hey,” say the right-mongers, the hey-knowers, it’s all good, because to exterminate the bad can’t but be good. All the more so if most of the West applauds, and this who do now, well, hey, fuck-‘em – “America, right or wrong” become “Israel, right or wrong”.

As for the moral compass, who last adjusted it to a true North? Not certainly the West, whose sense of true and false, just and unjust, came undone the instant it decided to adjust the struggle against tyranny to reflect its own priorities, thus bombing cities not twice but three times. Why? Because – the horror – it’s for the good. And because you can.

About the Author:

Christopher P. Winner is a veteran American journalist and essayist who was born in Paris in 1953 and has lived in Europe for more than 30 years.