Friday, March 22, 2002

CAN'T AFFORD TO FORGET: Jonah Goldberg's essay Wednesday on NRO, "Bring Back the Horror," reminds me that this usually goofy writer can be powerful and eloquent. His best point:
[V]iolence is not nearly so desensitizing as some believe. Indeed, violence has been an essential plot device for telling and teaching moral lessons for thousands of years (see "Violent Fantasy"). What can be desensitizing, however, is the moral context the violence is put in. ... Postmodernists and other sophisticates who want to mix concepts of good and bad in their literary mortar and pestles until everything is a gloppy gray are fond of talking about how America "deserved" or "invited" these attacks. This is desensitizing in the only sense that desensitizing means anything at all. It numbs the conscience, saps conviction, and demoralizes those who know they are right. It engenders apathy among the right and encourages imbecility from the wrong.
The war with the America-hating Chomsky-ites has only just begun, and the press is denying us our best weapon: the images of the mayhem and death inflicted upon our countrymen. Those images made us angry, reminded us that those "Red" and "Blue" states make one America, and convinced us to hunt and kill our enemies wherever they may hide, whatever we must pay. And we will pay a lot before this war is over. When dozens, hundreds, or thousands of American soldiers die, we'll be tempted to cut our losses; when we topple the next terrorist state, or drag bin Laden's corpse out of his cave, we'll be tempted to quit while we're ahead. In either case, we'll need love of country and countrymen, and righteous anger, to press on. The press thinks we can't afford to be "disturbed" by the images of September 11. Fact is, we can't afford not to be disturbed.

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