Saturday, April 4, 2009
Bases Overseas by George Weller
The American people have been politically bewildered about their foreign policy for fifty years. In war they are alternately drugged about the promise of bloodless and easy victory, then whipped up with official warnings that peace will be expensive and far off...Politically this new American is not only ignorant; he is indifferent. There is the United States, or Home. And there are all the other places...
Unsupplied with statesmen capable of building him an enduring peace consonant with his own sacrifices, the American turns by reductio ad absurdum to an emotional apprehension of war. If you cannot think about the war, can you not at least feel about it? Besides the escapism away from the war there is in the United States a unique escapism into war , into atrocity stories, into magic-weapon stories, into hero stories, into sex-and-war stories, that defeats the political teacher.
Today the fighting man overseas is waiting for the statesman at home to do something. The statesman at home is waiting for the people to suggest for him to do something. The people are waiting for the press and radio to suggest what they should ask the statesman to do. The press and radio are waiting for their foreign correspondents and war reporters overseas to suggest to them what they should suggest to the public. And the reporters and correspondents are unable to analyze, much less suggest political action, because the fighting man (officers and censorship, that is) want one last orgy of home town stories, more mindless and more alike than the slow molasses drippings of four years of sloppy, apolitical, dear-mom war and say that politics is the affair of the statesman back home.