I suspect that Kotsko features himself an interesting radical rather than a mere liberal. It would seem that in this context, both liberals and radicals are “inconsequentialist.” The difference is that the liberals are committed to discussion (perhaps “at other blogs”) that goes nowhere, if without their knowledge; the radicals continually re-commit themselves to nothing – openly and consistently – that is, hypocritically.
The drone policy in all of its horror is itself a reaction to and indirect consequence of previous rounds of entirely well-intentioned criticism of the same type, and represents a further, as ever two-sided, penetration of legalism and humanitarianism into the conduct of war, not some “unprecedented” departure from legality and humanity.
The word “hero” in contemporary usage is an unambiguously affirmative, but anodyne, secular-sounding term for the conversion of the “fallen” from tragic victims into celebrated martyrs within a long tradition, indeed within a trans-generational chain of sacrifices all the way back to the founding of the nation in revolutionary war. To deny access to this form of transcendence, as Hayes and many like him seem to want to do – are in a sense ideologically compelled to do – is to reduce whatever act of war into killing and mayhem merely, the conduct of a state possibly unworthy of allegiance at all, much less of even one individual’s life, liberty, and happiness. It is to convert the martyr symbolically into the pitiful dupe at best, the murderer or war criminal at worst.
How dare you pause to think when the Devil Incarnate Is Poised Not Just to Annihilate You, but to Annihilate You Fully?
The concept of revelatory sacrifice may even be the best frame for understanding potential Israeli action, but also the potential withholding of action, against Iran. If the effect is more maddening than practical or helpful, it may be because the whole predicament is already so tragically mad, something Morris probably understands, or at least understood, as well as anyone.
just for the sake of keeping track of this stuff and maybe someday doing something more with it, for the best social-scientific-philosophical reasons,
“was gesagt werden muss”/”what must be said,” Guenter Grass’s un-poetic poetic response to current events involving Germans, Israelis, Iranians and all of the rest of the world, is dominated, and justified, by a recognition emerging from geopolitical facticity, by that murderously coercive course of the world that Adorno juxtaposes to art: The wheel of historical fortune has turned in such a way that the national heirs of Nazism (of the genocidal) are supplying delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction (weapons of genocide) to the heirs of Zionism (and of genocide).
Put simply: Israel = friend, and Iran = enemy – designations that, not incidentally, neither country’s leaderships have striven much to alter over the last generation or two.
If we had significant constituency of Islamophobic nut-jobs in the U.S., I might be less positive about the idea.