If you think that America, our strategic and tactical mistakes aside, still clearly holds the moral high ground in the war on terror, well, think again, contends Gary Kamiya in the leftist online magazine Salon.
Kamiya believes that in the "war on terror" -- his quotation marks, not mine -- we're actually like one Mafia family that's fighting a turf battle with another, and that this "moral ambiguity" explains in part the popularity of HBO's The Sopranos, the last episode of which ran this past Sunday night.
Oh, and another thing: George W. Bush is driving us crazy. "Quiet violence and repressed mayhem," Kamiya writes, "haunt our own oh-so-respectable lives," and
this is one reason why..."The Sopranos" speaks to us. Like Tony Soprano at the start of the series, America is a little stressed these days, a little anxious. On the surface, everything is fine. Under our devoutly Christian leader, we are all highly moral. We have right and God on our side as we fight the evildoers. Except that, well, we've been feeling kind of weird. And, to tell the truth, we have a few skeletons in our closet.
Somebody whacked some of our crew, and we were scared, so we whacked Iraq. Just like Tony ordered the hit on Adriana. Steps were taken, as Sil would say. Except it turned out there were some unexpected consequences. We basically killed an entire country, and a whole lot of Americans, and people are dying all the time. And what are we doing? Nothing. We're going to the Bada Bing. We're having dinner at Artie's. Same old same old. Everything's fine. It's just fine.
Except that it's wearing us down, having this strange war that no one thinks about, and this president who keeps preaching about good and evil and how we're the greatest country in the world and why we have to keep fighting this "war on terror" that no one understands. And it's hard to say anything back to him because he's really prickly and self-righteous...
We're trying to act like nothing's wrong but all this stuff is working on our minds. Nothing they tell us about right and wrong seems to make sense anymore. It's all self-contradictory...They tell us lying is wrong. But after Lewis Libby was convicted of lying to federal investigators, the same people who were screaming the loudest about America's moral decline and the need to embrace transcendent values are now raging that it didn't matter because no crime was ever discovered. What's that about? It's all confusing, and the pressure is building up, and we're starting to get these anxiety attacks. And there's no Dr. Melfi in sight.