The Aestheticizing of War

by evanmcmurry

This is a sharp sub-point, in a longer article* against American intervention in Syria that might accurately be retitled “Bill Keller is a Stupidhead”:

One of the tricks of persuasion of the liberal section of the war party, from Iraq through Libya to Syria, has been to aestheticize war. The Iraqi advisers of the Bush administration—Ahmed Chalabi, Kanan Makiya, and others—frequently said that American forces occupying Iraq would be “greeted with sweets and flowers.” The optimism of Bill Keller departs from that pattern to some degree, and offers elevating comparisons to dance and music: “All of this [program of military intervention] must be carefully choreographed and accompanied by a symphony of diplomacy.”

[snip] The same article quotes Anne-Marie Slaughter without mentioning her close association with Hillary Clinton and the strong position she took in pressing Obama to execute “regime change” in Libya. Slaughter treated Filkins to the inverted aestheticism typical of much war propaganda when she imagined a result of a Syrian chemical attack: “Syrian civilians rolling on the ground, foaming at the mouth, dying by the thousands while the United States stands by.”

“Symphony of diplomacy” is inspired. If you didn’t already know this guy was Thomas Friedman’s editor, you could guess it blindfolded.

* Thanks to the strange tactic of print publications putting material on their websites in advance of the actual print edition, this article claims to have  been written on June 20, 2013, or three-and-change weeks from now. Alas, it’s not from the future.