Two Cheers for Apathy

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Two cheers for apathy — This is not an argument [cries of “Thank God!”]; it’s an observation. America is on the brink of war, but it is as calm and relaxed as anyone can remember it being. There is nothing like the expectation, or the anger, that was aroused by the lead up to the last Gulf War. At that time, people – not just politicians – could be found on every hand, angrily debating motive, cause, strategy, and risk. Friendships were broken; business plans were altered. There is nothing like that now.

Of the people who are intellectually awake (and they are all that matters in this context), perhaps ten percent are violently repelled by the prospect of war; a scattered few of these protest in public. Another ten percent, perhaps, are eagerly awaiting the great moment when America finally starts cleaning house in Mesopotamia. The remainder, frankly, do not seem to care.

Why? Here are some contributing causes:

Awareness that America easily won its last Gulf War. Anger over Sept. 11, tempered by skepticism about whether the Iraqis had anything much to do with it. Boredom. Saddam Hussein is one of the world’s most boring people.
Contempt for foreign, especially Islamic, technology, tempered by fear that the dictator of Iraq might actually have some devastating weapon at his command.

I suppose it would be better if the public avidly sought the truth and was eager to follow wherever it led, yet the absence of hysteria is not greatly to be regretted. I’ll take “apathy” as a second choice, at least.

A not-contemptible degree of awareness of the risks of war, tempered by a not-contemptible degree of awareness of the dangers of letting yet another jerk get an atom bomb.

Disappointment with America’s failure, so far, to crush the terrorist insects absolutely, coupled with the realization that it may be impossible for America to do that.

If this is what’s going on in the popular mind, then the nation’s famous “apathy” may not be the deplorable thing that both the warmongers and the peace freaks believe it to be. I suppose it would be better if the public avidly sought the truth and was eager to follow wherever it led, yet the absence of hysteria is not greatly to be regretted. I’ll take “apathy” as a second choice, at least. But I’m sorry; I seem to have strayed into the argument zone. Oops! You have to admit, however, that, I haven’t posed as a military expert.

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