This weekend, the U.S. sent an “Immediate Response Force” of 3,500 soldiers to Kuwait as reinforcements in our abruptly escalated conflict with Iran. Some didn’t have time to say goodbye to their families. Yes, these are people for whom military service is a steady job or even lifelong career, but I don’t suppose many relished the call to the Middle East or the prospect of a long separation from their loved ones. Few who have been at war can be gleeful over another.
The same isn’t true of chuds at home, however — these guys pop a boner at the thought of bloodshed.
There are many reasons these assholes won’t see action in a far-off theater. Lindsey Graham is a sitting senator and too old; age disqualifies columnist Eli Lake as well; Jacob Wohl has to deal with that felony charge before he’s eligible to serve. Their cheering for violence against the Iranian people has no connection to the real, only the symbolic — as when our rage-choked president vows to commit the war crime of annihilating 52 of the country’s most precious cultural sites, one for each American held hostage there in a crisis four decades ago.
Implicit in all such hostile braggadocio is the presumption that America has advanced far beyond the means of conventional warfare, while places like Iran are working with virtually prehistoric technology and unable to mount significant retaliation. Trump supporters believe we can “wipe them off the map” with the push of a button, and with everything he’s saying, Trump must believe it himself.
Again, these aren’t the people we may one day task with the murder of enemy combatants, the people who will have to make unthinkable choices and sacrifices, risking their own lives or else grave injury and lasting mental trauma. At best, these shitposters are cretinous pundits with neoconservative politics (which means they’re always for the wholesale destruction of a non-white society sitting on oil reserves), while at the bottom of the ladder, you have the plain old #MAGA drones (a demographic that hardly needs a specific reason to endorse barbarity against brown people, wherever they happen to live).
This shared belligerence is nothing deeper than the yearning to swing around a big dick they don’t actually possess — to have a big dick swung around on their behalf, and pretend that dick is guided by their own hand. It’s just like a basketball fan who acts as if his team won a title because he watched every game, except the sport is military adventurism, and we haven’t notched a meaningful win since 1945.
And should you be concerned that only men are capable of this reductive, chauvinist approach to dealing with sovereign nations, fear not: There are plenty of women ready to twist this catastrophe into a matter of testicular valor. By laying the subtext so hideously bare, they confirm that the lone possible defense of Trump’s action is visceral rather than cerebral — it might have been stupid, but at least he did something, dammit! Like a man! A man who has not been castrated! Good for him! Finally, a chief executive willing to conform to gender norms by recklessly lashing out in a way that makes us all less safe.
Because in the end, isn’t that what war is all about? Brute force without strategy? Shooting first and never asking the question later? Also, not sure if you heard: The general we killed was a super bad guy, and you’re supposed to kill bad guys, always, regardless of the circumstance or potential consequences.
The refusal to separate the fate that Qassim Soleimani “deserved” from the manner in which it was delivered cuts to the backbone of Trump’s foreign policy, and the attitude that his bootlickers adopt in kind: total indifference. For if decisions of this sort put Americans and Iranians in terrible danger, they still don’t threaten the zealots carrying water for the White House on social media. The worst outcome, per the values of this set, would be the casualties among our armed services, yet even “respecting the troops” is an empty slogan for the commentators eager to send them into battle. The duty of a fanatically interventionist keyboard warrior isn’t to protect, but to antagonize, always in the naive faith that the U.S. government can act both quickly and surgically in chaotic zones, dictating every condition of hyper-complex geopolitical struggle to its own advantage.
It’s possible this misplaced trust is a mask, too, for raw insecurity — a type that’s appeased by the suffering of whoever you wish to seem inferior.