My old friend, Neocon, wrote a message to me today, asking me--well, let's quote him so there's no misunderstanding (from this posting):
"Funny, I was in downtown Manhattan on September 11, about a block and a half from 1 WTC, and it sure looked like a battlefield to me...
But as you see no purpose in our nation seeking to defend itself except (in your phrase) to `spend excess ordinance', perhaps you'd care to explain how we should deal with those who are planning further such attacks?"
The question put to me, then, is how should "we" (in his words, "our nation") defend ourselves (again, the collective form is used; it appears Mr. Neocon has no identity outside of his chosen affiliation) against those faceless evil doers who are even now plotting greater peril for the Empire (the inherent paranoia in this view speaks for itself.)
There are solid levels of ideological purity reflected in this message. On the one level, as symbolized in the first paragraph, we have the Witness testifying to the Truth of the State. Like Walter Cronkite, he was there, and knows the "war" is real, because he has experienced it. Never mind that no bullets flew over his head, nor any depleted uranium rounds are irradiating his environment; Mr. Neocon sleeps well in his bed tonight, dreaming of his revenge against the wanton criminals who dared strike against his god (the State, in this case the US government). That thousands died in this terrible tragedy is enough only to justify the deaths of thousands more for him; justice isn't necessary in the land of the free and the home of the brave. He knows this because he has seen it, felt it, and by god, there will be a reckoning. (Yes, this is all a bit purple, but the "eye-for-an-eye" mentality *is* purple to those who can see it for what it is, particularly in the context of human destruction. In the world of true believers, there is never enough blood to be had; kill them all and let god sort them out is the mantra for the perfect little citizen in the modern State.)
On another level, after establishing his moral authority through his "eyewitness account", Neocon demonstrates his devotion with his rhetorical device of the second paragraph, drafted in such a way as to elicit response--not all that different from a flame, really--with the unspoken understanding that the question cannot be answered in any "logical" way other than what his ideology makes self-evident to him. Literally for Neocon, views outside his strigently defined worldview do not exist; they are heretical in the most insane way--like explaining quantum mechanics to a goldfish, it's just nonsense to him. An advocate of a position other than Neocon's manufactured belief system is simply beyond the pale. Yes, they're disloyal, unpatriotic, perhaps even ee-vil, but they're just fundamentally *wrong*, in the same way the natives were when Columbus and the missionaries arrived: poor savages, they can still be saved, if only the Neocons of the world can shake them from their madness. That's Neocon's raison d' etre for posting on Slashdot, after all--folks like me need to be rescued: we need to be taught the Way of the State.
However, if I were to take his question at face value and answer it (which will go unheard even as Neocon's eyes scan this entry), I would answer it thusly: remove all US troops from the Middle East, Asia, and wherever else they are risking their lives supporting oppressive regimes (dependent on them to protect the profits of multinational corporations whose extorted booty winds up in places off the shores of the US anyway), and work through the legal mechanisms established in the civilized world (largely ignored by the US, except when supporting the ideological aims of the Washington Consensus) to bring the criminals to justice. Simply, if the US behaved like a true world leader, as opposed to a rogue state defending a failed ideology--neo-liberalism, corporate capitalism, whatever one wishes to call the socio-economic policy that condemns most of humanity to misery--most of the motivation the fanatics use to wrap themselves in dynamite would disappear. (Yes, this is not a truly "anarchistic solution", but I'm not too far gone from pragmatism that I deny the victims of 911 their right--and the human necessity--of punishing those who wantonly murder. What I do deny is the autocratic use of force by *any* State, and the greatest of these, the US, is not exempt from this. If the US was a just state, administered by just people, this would not even need to be said.)
I've a feeling, though, that the entrenched ideology of the Neocons is going to drive thousands--maybe millions--more to their deaths. They'll feel good doing it, too, because they're right, damn it--how can they not be?