What makes the American public so gullible about going to war?
Let's dispense with the obvious. The media, especially TV, has been dumbed down and manipulated by the same corporations that run our government. The more TV we watch, the more misinformation we get.
But there is more going on than that. It is much easier to believe what the media is telling us then to look for the truth elsewhere. Five minutes of TV news is all the time we need to spend. The stories are simple; the bad guys and good guys are there in black and white. People in charge, the good guys, are bombing and shooting the bad. On to "American Idol."
Were it merely intellectual laziness, however, making war would not be as compelling as it is. There is also an emotional component, and that is the fantasy of revenge. What adventure movie is without this most satisfying way of spilling the blood of others. "Make my day." We are strong; we are just; and we have a moral imperative to murder. The ecstasy of war is like a drug.
Like most drugs, however, it has a nasty hangover. The war movie we were starring in is suddenly lost. The body bags coming home make us feel uncomfortable and ashamed. Blood on our hands?
Most troubling, we suspect that the butchery in Iraq does not belong solely to the madmen in the White House. It belongs to us all.