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Morat points to a nice Slacktivist post that elaborates the title of Chris Hedges' book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. He describes how knee-jerk support for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars was an attempt to find meaning in our otherwise banal turn-of-the-century lives, to make this what a letter to Josh Marshall called "the most critical time in the history of the modern world."

But I think the post is made unnecessarily narrow by Slacktivist's use of the concept to bash hawks. In addition to the knee-jerkers, I think the war gives meaning to many who have well-thought-out reasons for supporting the war, adding an emotional level to the intellectual. More importantly, he misses that the war gave meaning to many opponents. War draggged many people out of their apolitical postmodern malaise and into a political program charged with emotion -- horror at the deaths that would come, fear of the specter of an American Empire, excitement at identifying with the popular revolution trying to stop it. It reawakened that sense of righteous protest that we associated with the 60s. What better proof that we're in "the most critical time in the history of the modern world" than the carrying out of an unprecedented preemptive attack, the stirrings of fascism in the Patriot Act, and the near-demise of international institutions like the UN? And that goes as much for the knee-jerk "Bush sucks" crowd as for the most well-informed and reasonable dove.


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