by Emmett R Smith
From the New Yorker magazine comes the following article, about US soldier Sabrina Harman at abu Ghraib:
Plainly, there is much to the task of leading of a nation that will trip up people who have exclusively a power-attitude, know the price of everything and nothing whatsoever of the value of anything.
The worst failure of all, of what Winston Churchill called the moral theme in History, is to be not aware of the actual condition and value, the real character, of subordinates.
Generally by History such leaders will be found out, with very few exceptions, to have been overly energetic personalities who never learned that their “best intentions” can only be in effect as good as — and never better than — the morals of the lowest people taking part in any in any “big operation.” In fact, if the looming Chinese have not yet learned this, then their coming turn in the World Round will be only another weary rehearsal of the same historical tragedy, and they will last no longer in the game than did anyone else before them. This is all the more to be regretted as, now, obviously, a bare handful here and there among this last generation of american officials are doing all they can in this final summing up of the american story, to teach to their Han successors the limits on the fantasy of “total power.” It is a mode of communication that we are witnessing, although no longer directed by “our” leaders to us but, rather, by a small clique of the gifted to their actual heirs in the World as it is, today. By the leadership of their example is the information being communicated. To the future. Today, but as I have noted not to us. Today in Iraq. Today, and to China tomorrow.
[Emmet R Smith all rights reserved 21 March 2008]