One of the spookiest symptoms of war fever is the way
it debases language and herds people into ideological quarantine.
As communication breaks down, ever more unrestrained behaviour
becomes acceptable against one's opponents, who eventually
loom as simply The Enemy.
With what glee, for instance, has the U.S. been trashing the
French lately, as though the silver lining in the war on terror
has been liberation from the restraints of political correctness.
The gutter press is amplifying the menace of its anti-Europe jibes
with barbaric overtones. "If we'd sprinkled some
A-bombs back in World War II," opined the Weekly World News,
"Germany wouldn't be a thorn in America's side
today." The unthinkable begins in small rivulets of hatred.
War fever feeds on this.
And so it is excruciating to watch the deterioration of
discourse at the level of national leadership. In lieu of
retaining its power to declare war, Congress changed its menu.
This great deliberative body has chosen to dumb itself into the
role of trivial cheerleader for unilateralism, giving us - sacre
bleu - freedom fries to chew on.
Freedom fries are to freedom what french fries are to the
potato: nutritionally empty slivers of something that once kept
As Adlai Stevenson once said, it hurts too much to laugh and
I'm too big to cry. Groping to express my dismay at such
grim foolishness, I recall, also, what Susan Sontag wrote in the
New Yorker soon after Sept. 11, calling the wrath of the
righteous down on herself: Source.