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Arthur Silber: The Fragile Vanity of the War Criminal

The Fragile Vanity of the War Criminal

    I wrote the following almost five blood-soaked, barbaric, murderous, goddamned, fucking years ago:

    If you have ever wondered how a serial murderer -- a murderer who is sane and fully aware of the acts he has committed -- can remain steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show not even the slightest glimmer of remorse, you should not wonder any longer.

    The United States government is such a murderer. It conducts its murders in full view of the entire world. It even boasts of them. Our government, and all our leading commentators, still maintain that the end justifies the means -- and that even the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents is of no moral consequence, provided a sufficient number of people can delude themselves into believing the final result is a "success."


    It is useless to appeal to any "American" sense of morality: we have none. It does not matter how immense the pile of corpses grows: we will not surrender or even question our delusion that we are right, and that nothing we do can be profoundly, unforgivably wrong.

    As I detailed in "The Blood-Drenched Darkness of American Exceptionalism," the United States exhibits all the symptoms of severe neurosis brought on in significant part by "the extreme nature of the delusions necessitated by an unquestioned belief in the myth of American exceptionalism."

    It is not enough that our national political culture completely ignores the deadly, catastrophic consequences of the U.S. government's actions. Our national delusions, and our national neurosis, compel us to invert every moral value and principle. This is a world in which evil becomes good, and death becomes life:

    The American exceptionalist myth tells us that the United States is unique and uniquely good. It is not sufficient to ignore negative consequences of our actions: we must transform any and all negative consequences into a positive good. This process has been rigorously followed for every American intervention ever undertaken (going back to the Philippines, then with the American entrance into World War I, on into many interventions after World War II, on into Iraq and Afghanistan today), and the identical process has been well underway for several years in connection with Iraq in particular.


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