Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
ANATOMY OF TORTURE — Historian Christopher Dietrich on the 100-year-long history of American torture; Jeffrey St. Clair on the implications of giving impunity to the CIA’s torturers; Chris Floyd on how the US has exported torture to its client states around the world. David Macaray on the Paradoxes of Police Unions; Louis Proyect on Slave Rebellions in the Open Seas; Paul Krassner on the Perils of Political Cartooning; Martha Rosenberg on the dangers of Livestock Shot-up with Antibiotics; and Lee Ballinger on Elvis, Race and the Poor South. Plus: Mike Whitney on Greece and the Eurozone and JoAnn Wypijewski on Media Lies that Killed.
The Ghosts of Violence

A Warrior Nation Weeps

by MICHAEL McDAETH

Buried deep beneath our warrior nation’s handwringing exercises our true guiding principle is: violence works. Violence kept us on the continental shelf. It served us as we moved across the continent: all those little babies, young children, women, men, elderly; savages (to use the parlance of times) violently murdered for their land. It is their bones that grind under our feet, chalk the ground. Their telltale hearts that still beat.

Violence kept black people as slaves and then set them free. It was there to keep them separate and unequal as it still does today.

Violence met violence in two world wars. Violence to end violence. Absurd? Not for the warrior nation. Violence is often the question and the answer.

All that violence makes for brittle, paranoid souls. It makes for a reactionary nation that lashes out at every perceived ghost taking scores of real innocent victim’s lives in the process, and in a horrific ironic twist, the victims are likened to ghosts; scary, fleeting, invisible, forgotten.

In a warrior nation violence seeps into every crook and crevice and even into the nation’s DNA where it births whole new technologies, economic systems, sports and entertainment. Most of them inherently violent. What is the engine of an automobile but enclosed violence used to propel us down a road violently cut into the good earth. Violence is used to obtain and control the precious fuel used in the machines that violently push us along. Smokestacks expel toxic plumes violating the clean air. Toxic chemicals violate the water and soil.

Violence carves up the world into linear patches and says these are mine. Violence keeps those lines in place.

In a warrior nation violence is said to be used to keep the peace and almost everyone agrees that it must be that way, sadly. But when violence breaks out and strikes the warrior nation from within, it sobs, weeps and is absolutely mortified. An unexplainable event for which there are no words to describe. Like it just saw a ghost.

But it wasn’t a ghost it was one of their own with spiked DNA thinking they could solve their problems with violence.

Michael McDaeth is a writer and musician living in Seattle. He is the author of the novel Roads and Parking Lots. He can be reached atmmcdaeth@msn.com