Killing Them is Killing Us

Killing Them is Killing Us by Robert Gore – Straight Line Logic

The murdered cannot forgive. Their blood won’t be washed.

There is something eerily fascinating about cold-blooded murderers—a staple of Hollywood thrillers and crime dramas—killing without emotion or remorse. Ordinary humans, afflicted with guilt for minor, not even criminal transgressions, can’t conceive of pulling the trigger and then sitting down for dinner. In real life, the number of people who can is glancingly small. Even for those few, actions have consequences. The blood never washes away.

“Live and let live,” is, in American mythology, a benevolent and almost uniquely American attitude. We destroyed Japan and Germany in World War II and then helped rebuild them. Live and let live goes down well with the living, the winners. However, it’s often nothing more than balm for an uneasy conscience, hand sanitizer for bloodstained hands. A century and a half later, many Southerners lack this “unique” American attitude towards their conquerers in the War of Northern Aggression.

The war on terror has laid waste to large swaths of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Cities, towns, and villages have been reduced to smoking, bombed-out rubble, chaos reigns, the carnage is ubiquitous. The US military keeps count of its own personnel wounded and killed, a number in the thousands. Civilian casualties —or collateral damage as the military calls it—across Chaostan (Richard Maybury’s apt coinage) are in the millions, as are the number of people displaced (an estimated 11 million in Syria alone). Imagine the American fury and media sensationalism if a small US town was carpet-bombed by a foreign power. YouTube’s servers would melt from the overflow of viewers watching videos of parents pulling their dead children from collapsed homes.

The war on terror’s refugee flows threaten to upend civic order and submerge the cultures of the countries receiving them. It’s a vicious act of intellectual corruption to maintain that the war on terror does not create terrorists, that those killed, wounded, or displaced have no friends or family who will exact what they consider justified vengeance. The terrorism we see now is lava trickling from a volcano of hatred that has boiled, bubbled, and occasionally erupted for centuries, and will continue to do so. There will be no live and let live. Blood will have blood, not banalities.

Macbeth was a dramatic psychological study of two murderers. They screwed their courage to the sticking place, but they couldn’t turn themselves into killers without conscience. In Mafioso parlance, “button men” are hit men. Figuratively they “push a button,” literally they murder. With the US government, the figurative and literal have merged. Someone pushes a button on a drone, missile, or bomb control and murder is done in furtherance of never-ending American war. It’s as disassociated, remote, and cold-blooded as murder gets. Nevertheless, neither the murderers nor the public from which they try to hide reality will have any more success eluding the psychological turmoil and toll than the Thane of Cawdor and his lady.

During the entirety of President Obama’s terms and most of President Bush’s, the US has been fighting one or more wars. Odds are there will be no peace during Trump’s tenure either. What does it do to a government, and the people in it, when collateral damage, a bloodless term that now applies to millions of bloody deaths, wounds, and lives upended, prompts no remorse or reappraisal, and only occasionally half-hearted apologies to meet the exigencies of diplomacy and public relations?

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Robert Gore

Robert Gore was born in 1958 in Livermore, California. He grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where both his parents worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His undergraduate education was at UCLA. He graduated in 1980 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in economics and political science. He completed the JD/MBA program at UC Berkeley in 1984. He held part-time jobs throughout undergraduate and graduate school. He passed the bar exam and is an inactive member of the California Bar Association. Mr. Gore’s career in finance began in 1984 with a bank in San Francisco, trading municipal bonds. In 1985, he went to a Wall Street firm’s west coast municipal bond office in Los Angeles as a bond trader. He developed its block and institutional sales capabilities and after four years was promoted to manager of the region.