The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Stop the insanity abroad

 Stop the insanity abroad
Stop the insanity abroad

Stop the insanity abroad

Patriotism is said to be the last refuge of scoundrels, and when one looks at the past and present that seems to be a severe understatement. Even looking solely at the recently departed 20th century, one can see the nightmarish consequences of people worldwide subverting their will to the wishes of their leaders, shrugging off the consequences with the assumption that one should follow one’s country, right or wrong.

Unfortunately, this is hardly a 20th-century development, as one can see by examining human history since the rise of the nation-state, and even before.

In a column that ran in The Daily Campus on Friday, Elaine Cochran takes refuge in patriotism as she chastises the anti-war and anti-Bush protesters for their alleged “selfishness and insolence,” in contrast with the “God-and-country loving” patriotism she saw displayed by most of the Coliseum audience. In a university with the motto “the truth shall set you free,” this is both dangerous and sad.

The governments of the United States have waged or helped wage inexcusable wars, coups or other attacks against the indigenous people of North America, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Spain, Haiti, Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Vietnam, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

It’s a long, sad list filled with millions of dead, maimed, tortured, raped and abused humans, and one could probably add other slaughters to the list. Most elicited at least some domestic protest.

When Cochran criticizes those who are voicing their displeasure with adding another potential atrocity to the list of American crimes, I am left wondering what prevents her and her associates from seeing the truth: a lack of will or a lack of ability. Both are equally frightening.

My opposition to attacking Iraq has several philosophical components, chief among them an important historical example: South Africa. The apartheid regime in that nation had all the characteristics of today’s official enemy. That government used chemical and biological weapons, possessed nuclear weapons, crushed internal dissent through state terror, attacked its neighbors covertly and overtly and was generally evil.

But how did the rest of the world deal with South Africa? The regime was taken down through a global effort consisting of all sorts of very clever subterfuge, diplomatic and otherwise.

Why is such a reasonable solution not suggested for the Iraqi government? Dare I suggest it is because the South African government was composed of white Protestants?

To ask tough questions about the activities of one’s own government is not easy (or legal, in a dictatorship). To do so requires knowledge of history and a willingness to suffer the slings and arrows of those whose visions of the world are shaped by a largely mythical version of said history.

In this case, I find myself being called unpatriotic by those such as Cochran. It is a label I wear with no shame.

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