Another stirring & verifiable report from John Latta today. I don't see eye-to-eye with him on the politics - I don't have the same faith in the anarchist's righteous thunderous "No" - but I appreciate his discerning literary ear.

So where do I stand now on the War (Kent Johnson wants to know)? I accepted the "WMD" argument & aligned it with 1) Saddam tyranny; 2) egregious failure of Iraq "sanctions" regime; 3) Saddam's unwillingness to negotiate before the war. I was offended by what seemed to me the knee-jerk, partisan and doctrinaire mentality on the anti-war (& poetry-world) left. I was tempted (as I often am) into gratuitous contrarianism.

What it comes down to, however, is that I assented to another round of war and military violence in history; moreover an "unnecessary" war (in that it was not provoked in defense against a real & immediate threat). This puts me in a rather demoralized and discouraged state of mind. (I suppose if the follow-up to the war had been more successful, I would not be having these twinges of conscience; I would have accepted the justification for violently pulling down the tyrant Saddam; it's easier to be complacent if you're among the victors.) On the other hand, I also believe the situation in Iraq is not amenable to simple armchair abstractions; good & bad are emerging together out of the great spectrum of intentions and actors on that vast stage. I think many (if not all) Americans there are working hard to make the best of it, to steer toward a better future. If history is any guide, that future will not justify the pronunciamentos of doctrinaire politicos & prigs on either side of the debate. I would be not at all surprised if John McCain's strategic view of the situation in Iraq proves (surprisingly) correct in the long run.

I'm not (obviously) a strict pacifist, but I do hope for a global, historical evolution beyond war, aggression, violence, oppression, and exploitation. This will not happen in some deterministic fashion, but depends on the decisions and actions of the human race. The arrogance and vanity of nation-states is maintained by the complacency and brutality of nations themselves. "Why do the nations rage, and the peoples imagine vain things?"

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