Commander Kerry: Thanks, But No Thanks

Brian Cook

Say what you will about the recent work of Christopher Hitchens (and what I would call his all too eager enlistment into the ranks of the Bush administration???s wars on terror), his latest column about the Dems??? rallying around John Kerry???s military service in Vietnam is a much-needed reality check. I???m not sure why so many on the left have decided to go all goo-goo eyed at the sight of a man in uniform (and in the process, to abandon any critical approach toward how the hyper-militarization of our society has radically deformed the realization of its democracy), but I much prefer the mindset of Paul Virilio, who said in Pure War: One is civilian only insofar as one is not afraid. If the civilian is characterized by his cowardice at confronting situations, then he???s really what the military wishes him to be. In that case, it???s the military that assumes the courageous role: ???Live in peace, my brothers; live in peace, my women; I will confront death for you.??? ???Thanks, dad, I???ll do it myself??????that???s my reaction.

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Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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