What I really wonder is whether or not it would be possible for there to ever be an American president who wasn’t a war criminal. If someone could ever hope to do that job and not at some point violate international law. Good president, bad president, whatever. Just one who didn’t deserve a trial at The Hague.

I’m not sure it’s something we’ll see in our lifetime, because at this point I don’t think the American War On Terror is ever going to end. Nor is it supposed to end. I think it’s our permanent war. It’s the dream crisis that will continue to feed our capitalist system for as long as it exists, making a very small group of people a whole lot of money and killing off just enough of our children to keep a healthy jingoism going. We may destabilize entire regions of the planet, and we may turn entire generations of people against us, but screw it, we’re the United States of America. Being the greatest country in the world comes with responsibilities. Like being awful.

But I think of how far we’ve come in the last decade-plus since all this madness began—or at very least since we bothered to notice it; and if you think it’s anything less than post-trauma kneejerk reaction to 9/11, you’re simply mistaken—and how we’ve moved from battleground to battleground. At very least the veneer has gotten sleeker. I liken it to the difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama themselves. Bush was clumsy, an oaf, and his war ran like a lunkheaded giant stomping out buildings. It was King Kong. Obama’s War On Terror basically does all the same things, but it’s cleverer. It uses more robots and it’s smart enough to dress up its heinous deeds in patriotic piousness that’s more than “These colors don’t run.” It’s Hannibal Lecter.

Where Bush might’ve sent ground troops into Libya and Somalia to take out a whole bunch of people, Obama strategically deployed special ops personnel to neutralize two targets. Same bullshit, nicer package.

Truth is, I try really, really hard most of the time not to think about this kind of stuff because all it does is make me angry and sad and there’s nothing I can do about it and every time I imagine that there are people who ever were on board and still are on board with what’s essentially exported genocide I have a really hard time imagining there’s any good at all in the world when here we are in this bright fucking future waging a holy war because somebody flew planes into our buildings. What a strange and awful era this has been, and how unlikely it is to end anytime soon.

Because there’s always going to be someone else. Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab, it doesn’t matter. There will always be somebody whose interests lie enough out of line with our own that they’ll be a “threat” and we’ll defy this or that Geneva Convention to take them out. Don’t like it, Libya? Well, get a dirty bomb and set it off in one of our cities and see what happens. Meanwhile, we can’t even keep our own fucking government open because the megalomaniac toddlers running the joint are too afraid of getting their dicks stepped on. It’s a mess. It’s all a mess and nobody is coming to clean it up. It’s always going to be this way. It’s only ever going to get worse. Someday things will be fucked up and terrible enough that you’ll look back on this and think of it as the glory days. Mark my fucking words.

JJ Koczan

jj@theaquarian.com

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