Wednesday, 17 September 2008

We're warmongerers. Deal with it.

Reading a book on Aeschylus' The Orestia this evening I came across a quote by Jean-Pierre Vernant on fifth-century Athenians: "War is to a man what marriage is to a woman." Which means war is everything to an Athenian man. Like everything. Really. War makes men men. Chest thumping all around.

And now a comparative perspective: "I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war." Guess who? None other than our own, inimitable G.W. Bush.

So what I want to know is why so many liberal intellectuals are anti-war if warring is clearly just keeping in line with the heritage of Western civilization? War is just another thing we inherited from our ancient Greek forefathers, along with all those other great Greek institutions - like, um, the "Olympics" (nekkid wrestling!), citizenship (pride, patriotism, and passports! Sieg Heil), and uhh...democracy (we would like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to the above G.W. Bush quote and ask you to reflect upon the state of democracy in the Western world - apologies for the lack of subtlety). We love democracy, patriotism, and especially our Olympians, so why don't we love war too?

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