~ ‘Retaliation gone bad’ raises the question of what is ‘retaliation that is good’.
Monday, August 17, 2015
The backstory is a story from Albuquerque about the recent arrest of a shooter, in a less recent drive-by, that is the son of a noteworthy politician, a woman in New Mexico that has attained a position in the halls of power.
The notable quote in the story is the summary of the situation, “a retaliation gone bad.” The point apparently being that since the shooter did not shoot-up his intended victim, the ‘retaliation’ for the perceived previous wrongs had not been ‘righted’ in the right way.
All this of course caused me to immediately consider the question of what is ‘retaliation that is good’, and what does that mean, and where do we get this stuff, and finally – why should we care?
My first image of course was the Twin Towers, 9/11, the attack on the Pentagon and on Building 7. Forgiveness back then was of course not an option. It may have been an option with me, but I was not in a position in the halls of power. The word of the day was revenge, retaliation, pay-back at whatever the cost. In retrospect, the cost has been very, very, and even extremely, high.
Very high too was the cost of ‘right retaliation’ in the case of Pearl Harbor, that ‘day of infamy’ event that ushered the U.S. into the second World War, and made a simple war in Europe an almost world-wide calamity. Retaliation is code-word for escalation and escalation is always the key to increasing the violence and not ending it.
At Pearl Harbor the Japanese military orchestrated the death of approximately 2,400 members of the American military. On August 6 and 9, 45 months later, in 1945, the American military orchestrated the deaths of approximately 240,000 Japanese, mostly civilians, with just two bombs, dropped on two days. This single event in the war was a 100 to 1 retaliation; need I say more? And this was the ‘good war’ with ‘good retaliation’?
There is probably nothing more (or else) that is as firmly embedded in the American psyche as the theory and importance of retaliation. Retaliation is what made the murder and massacre of Bonnie and Clyde, without charges or trial, so palatable and acceptable. Retaliation is the keystone to the American prison system, a ‘correctional’ system characterized by rape, degradation, and numerous forms of officially sanctioned and tolerated human depravity.
American style corporate capitalism is perhaps the hallmark of the retaliatory system. The system begins by severely punishing the employees that made the mistake of believing in the system in the first place. The corporate world turns 80% of its workers into ‘bottom feeders’ that often are not paid enough to get by, or to only get by very poorly.
The system leeches off the government by refusing to pay the costs of job preparation (training), which is the ‘public education’ factor. The system then goes on to leech the system by being dependent upon free government food, often housing, and subsidized medical care to keep the underpaid workers afloat.
The workers are further punished (retaliated against) by being made to feel that they are ‘slackers’ that they are not ‘wealth creators’ and therefore are contributing next to nothing to the system.
Most ‘mid-level’ managers do not fare much better. By the end of the typical corporate career they are left imbued with a belief in a life-style that they can little afford. Their greatest memories are often a few years in public education, or of military service. They are left in the trash-heap of history with the feeling that until retirement, life just passed them by. In most cases that ‘retirement’ would not ever have been possible without the government ‘dole’ of military pensions or Social Security, or in so many cases, both.
The truth about the American system is that it is not the world that is out to get you, it is the system itself that is out to get nearly everyone, and so often it does. And too, sometimes it misses someone, or so it is said.
The premise of the system is that everyone should always be looking out for someone ‘out there’ that is always ready to do someone wrong. The ‘rape of Belgium’, the ‘persecution of the Jews’, the ‘poor sailors on the good ship Arizona’; all are examples of wrongs that must be ‘righted’ by the infliction of violence and the destruction of most everything once regarded as sacred.
The ensuing violence is always an orgy, a ritual, a ‘learning experience’ in which the event is never complete until the orgy spills over into the inevitable ‘slaughter of innocents’, which is the only thing that really gives the whole ordeal its proper (really improper) meaning.
9/11 is perhaps the perfect example. At least 1.5 million people world-wide have died in retaliation for the ‘3,000’ that were killed in the eastern U.S., mostly in New York. It is a 500 to 1 retaliation affair.
But, it doesn’t stop, and hasn’t stopped, there. We are now in the ‘slaughter of innocents’ phase. Our terrorist drones search out and destroy whole families, family members, friends and neighbors, often of ‘friendlies’. There are just not enough real enemy combatants to feed the machine of war and retaliation. The blood lust has no end as long as the mantra is ‘never again’.
As everyone knows by now the Japanese military had a 1.2 million man army in Manchuria (Manchukuo) on August 6th and 9th. They were just sitting there mostly, ‘ripe for the killing’, just waiting to be bombed with an atom bomb or two, directed against the military, and a traditional military target, troop concentrations.
Not the point? No, the point of retaliation is to inflict pain, to punish the perpetrator by saying, “look, look at the damage and destruction that you made me cause.” Like in Albuquerque, ‘retaliation gone wrong’ is really always ‘retaliation done right’. It’s the name of the game, it’s understanding the game that is the only thing that is important. My advice; don’t play.