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Glenn Greenwald's criticism on gender politics; historical, literary precedents

Many of his posts sound like ACLU newsletters, but this one critiques the central "crisis of masculinity" that defines the neoconservative movement.

Ultimately, the only cure for this level of insecurity over one's masculinity is to become a cheerleader for wars, torture, "getting tough" with our current Enemy (today: Iran), and politicians who prance around in fighter pilot costumes on the decks of aircraft carriers.  The vicarious sensations of pulsating strength must be so soothing to someone like this, so desperate to prove their manhood.
Greenwald's points match the brutal spasms of the British Empire as it slowly crumbled. Torture, killing unarmed civilians; the violence is justified, O'Dwyer-style, by the tough guys back home. The US had its Blackwater massacre, the British had their Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. This mindset also find satirization in All Quiet on the Western Front:

It is my German head-master, and he fastens on me with the usual question: "Well, how are things out there? Terrible, terrible, eh? Yes, it is dreadful, but we must carry on. And after all, you do at least get decent food out there, so I hear. You look well, Paul, and fit. Naturally it's worse here. Naturally. The best for our soldiers every time, that goes without saying."

He drags me along to a table with a lot of others. They welcome me, a head-master shakes hands with me and says: "So you come from the front? What is the spirit like out there? Excellent, eh? Excellent?"

I explain that no one would be sorry to be back home.

He laughs uproariously. "I can well believe it! But first you have to give the Froggies a good hiding. Do you smoke? Here, try one. Waiter, bring a beer as well for our young warrior."
[...]
They argue about what we ought to annex. the head-master with the steel watch-chain wants to have at least the whole of Belgium, the coal-areas of France, and a slice of Russia. He produces reasons why we must have them [...].
Yesterday I watched the Tatar attack scene in the film Andrei Rublev, the Tarkovsky masterpiece. Considering that scene, we forget, or choose not to acknowledge, one aspect of the invasion of Iraq: the attack was essentially on a defenseless, third-world nation, justified because of the suspicion (later proven totally false) that "weapons of mass destruction" might be used against the United States.

More an act of fear -- of cowardice -- than heroism. And all those Iraqis killed -- for what? Likewise torture is the brutalization of defenseless suspected terrorists, justified by a new form of racism based on the belief that all Arab and/or Muslim men are probably threats. If some get unnecessarily tortured and killed in the process, good then; it's intimidation -- the Tom Friedman "Suck. On. This." principle. As Greenwald points out, the process is a simple one of cowards sending off other people to fight wars and commit torture, a crime against humanity.

It's all enough to make a person sick.
No profanes - sacred
 
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