Last week NPR reported that another American kid has been killed in what is referred to by the Pentagon (but no one else) as â€œOperation Iraqi Freedomâ€ (freedom, used as a euphemism for death, is the Bush administrationâ€™s poetic license at its most perverse). This kid, Tenzin Choeku Dengkhim, was apparently the first Tibetan-American war casualty. Heâ€™d enlisted in the Marines, not to go shoot motherfuckers, but to save up money for college. He was 19. NPR reported that he was a devout Buddhist.
[Incidentally, when war departments bandy freedom rhetoric, it is always code for â€œKILL! KILL!â€ For instance, when Chairman Maoâ€™s fancifully named Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army invaded the aforementioned Tibet in 1949, the Dalai Lama was forced to sign an â€œAgreement For The Peaceful Liberation Of Tibet.â€ The PLA then dispersed into the Tibetan countryside to dish out liberation in the form of mass rape and murder. Chinese occupation of Tibet, as is common knowledge among all politically correct Americans, continues to this day. Millions have been killed.]
Anyway, I was surprised by this Buddhist revelation, because you never hear about Buddhists in wars. If Buddhists ever go around chanting â€œBuddha loves America best! Letâ€™s go kick some Iraqi ass! Boo-ya!â€ it would be news to me.
In fact, for the past two and a half millennia, itâ€™s the patriarchal Judeo-Muslo-Christian warrior cults who have started all the wars. By â€œallâ€ I mean every single one. Buddhists, conversely, have started zero wars. Zip.
The Buddhaâ€™s views on the subject, it turns out, were pretty firm: there is no justice in war.
[It apparently takes the pathologically butch American military to turn Tibetan Buddhists into killing machines. In the early 60â€™s the CIA operated a top-secret training camp in Colorado specifically for that purpose, ostensibly to aid in the Tibetan resistance effort against the Chinese. In reality commiephobe American fucktards had decided that the US should be using Tibetâ€™s own â€œdeeply unhygienic tribesmenâ€ to create a â€œrunning sore for the Reds.â€ (Nixon eventually hung the Tibetans out to dry, quelle surprise). Brainwashing a 19-year-old refugee boy would have been pie compared to that.]
What chaps the Twisty hide about this dead Buddhist soldier story is the insidious way it reinforces the tired old tool-of-the-patriarchy, as-seen-on-TV narrative of glorious war and heroism. The subtext is â€œSee? Even a peace-loving Buddhist was inspired to make the ultimate sacrifice for the war!â€ Pious young Tenzin Choeku Dengkhim had been intending, the report claimed, to take his newly-acquired war skills home to Tibet and fight for its liberation. In other words, he wanted to go home and kill Chinese, and who canâ€™t get behind that?
Tenzin Choeku Dengkhim died for nothing, and it’s terribly sad. His posthumous heroification–i.e. the process of imbuing him with a sort of superhuman glory that only war can confer (and that war can confer only on a man)–is an absolutely essential step in the justification of any war. Thanks, NPR!
Look, I know itâ€™s been since junior high, but doesnâ€™t anybody remember Slaughterhouse Five? Is Afghanistan just a tiptoe through the tulips, Abu Ghraib mere infotainment? What will it take to convince people that war and its phony heroes and vulgar impulses degrade the entire species?
I guess itâ€™ll take a lot, because without war, patriarchyâ€™s got bupkis.