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The War Comes Home

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

Now concerts of Marilyn Manson and KMFDM havebeen canceled. President Clinton will probably propose laws soonbanning long black coats and making it an indictable offense touse the word “gothic.” In his radio broadcast last SaturdayClinton said piously-amid celebrations of the violent NATO alliance-that”every one of us must take responsibility to counter theculture of violence. The government must take responsibility tocounter the culture of violence. The government must take responsibility.”

In terms of hypocrisy, this is on a par withClinton telling little kids in a school in Anacostia to conductthemselves in an upright moral fashion not long before he wasunzipping his pants for Monica L. There’ll be further vindictiveassaults on the rights of young people, who as usual will incurcollective guilt. Meanwhile the obvious lesson-that war breedsviolence?is once again being carefully ignored. Watch thebombs fall and watch the indices of social violence here in theU.S., which had been falling, begin to rise again. As MalcolmX said when JFK was assassinated amid rising U.S. commitment tothe war in Vietnam: “The chickens are coming home to roost.”

By now apologies for what happened at ColumbineHigh are mandatory for Marilyn Manson, video-game manufacturers,Hollywood, publishers of Mein Kampf, the Internet. The only peoplewho apparently don’t have to apologize are the U.S. military andtheir civilian overseers, who trained and paid the pilot dad ofone of the teen killers; who sent F-16s over the funerals in Littleton;who are now pounding the Serbs each day and night; who mint thecurrency of violence.

In the aftermath of the Littleton shootingsin Colorado there’s been collective determination among editorialwriters to omit from possible motivating factors the U.S. bombingof Serbia. The typical editorial response has been “keepguns out of the hands of troubled youngsters.” Of coursethe institution most adept at putting guns into the hands of youngsters,many of them troubled, is the US military which insists on theright to accept teenagers at an age younger than most nations

People bicker endlessly about the effect splattermovies have on people. Doubtless the Dan Quayle candidacy willroll forward on this issue. Japanese films and tv offer blood-soakedstuff on a round-the-clock basis, but the level of social violencein Japanese society is exceptionally low, so it’s hard to figure.But one thing is indisputable. Wars are always accompanied bya rise in criminal violence on the domestic front. This appliesboth to the victorious and defeated countries.

The Boston Globe’s editorial writer avoidedthe usual call for accelerated gun control, but emphasized thetheme that “Adults should have noticed and intervened…Better to speak up and take the heat from a rebellious teenageror a defensive parent than to risk the eventual explosion of rageinto bloodshed. This emotional war zone demands the attentionof every community before there is gunfire.”

How about the actual war zone? Bombing campaignsencourage the idea of invulnerability of the bombers, and theillusion of omnipotence. Not so far from Columbine High Schoolin Littleton is Fort Carson Army base, where they practice invadingcountries like Serbia. One of the families of the killers (two-parent,suburban) had a breadwinner retired from the military. This isHarris’ dad. His mother works at a gourmet food shop. Mr. Kleboldis a geophysicist and Mrs. Klebold works with the disabled. KleboldJr. drove a BMW.

If the parents had been single mothers on welfare,or hippies, or in a small religious sect, we surely would havebeen inundated with preachments against single mothers, hippiesand religious sects as trainers for mass murder. But there’s beena certain embarrassment about the parents of Eric Harris and DylanKlebold, who appear to have embodied the suburban American dream.

Commentators have fastened onto the fact thatone of the two youths had a personal website “espousing anaddled philosophy of violence.” Those were the words of TheNew York Times’ editorial writer, either Howell Raines or oneof his stable. Yes, the same editorial team that espoused an addledphilosophy of violence a few days earlier, suggesting that NATO”intensify the bombing” of Serbia. Perhaps nytimes.comwas the website the kid had in his computer. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

CounterPunch Magazine

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