So, I'm still reading Thomas Pynchon's masterpiece, Gravity's Rainbow. (Thomas Pynchon, is you
don't know him, is one of the major American writers of the XXth century, in my
opinion.) I found a quote, that seems to be appropriate to our troubled times :
(the hero, Tyrone Slothrop, an American, is hiding from the MP in Zürich
in 1945, and thinks
For possibly the first time he is hearing America as it must sound to a non-American. Later he will recall that what surprised him most was the fanaticism, the reliance not just on flat force but on the rightness of what they planned to do...
(This can be compared to this excellent paper, which I found via Simon). And in fact, the current attitude of the USA may actually pay in the short term, for the limited zone of Iraq; but, for a load of reasons, it's also creating more anti-americanism, more anti-semitism, and thus more terrorism, while it weakens also the UN and the NATO, and thus the worldwide regulative powers that should help fighting terrorism. Those are problems that shouldn't be underestimated by the USA : they are not alone. The long term effects of a war in Iraq might well be the exact opposite of what they want.
-- Title of this journal entry by Ornette Coleman.