Thursday, March 10, 2022

The "sacrifice" of war

Accordingly, we commonly say that in war, we “sacrifice” our sons and daughters. Taken at all seriously, this amounts to child sacrifice—a practice common to some ancient religions but considered outmoded in modern civilization. Discomforting as talk of child sacrifice may be, we do not usually admit another religious aspect of our wars. For no nation sets out to lose a war, to simply sacrifice its children. Wars are fought to be won. The point is not to die but to kill. To that end, our soldiers are commissioned with priestly power: the power to purify the world of our enemies. In short, soldiers are preeminently not to be sacrificed but, like priests, to enact or commit sacrifice—the sacrifice of the enemy other. We thrust upon our soldiers the godlike power to kill, to decide who lives and who dies.— Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, 123–24

<idle musing>
And then we wonder why they come home with PTSD…
</idle musing>

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