Perhaps the horrors of 2020—the fires and hurricanes, Trump’s vicious attacks on democracy, the death, sickness, and economic dislocation caused by Covid-19—can force a real conversation about national security in 2021. Maybe this time we can finally ask whether trying to prop up a dying empire actually makes us—or indeed the world—any safer.
While Fussell wrote on a wide variety of subjects over his long life—ranging from Augustan humanism, Samuel Johnson, and Kingsley Amis to the 2nd Amendment, the Indianapolis 500, and travel in between-the-wars Europe—war, the irony of war, the suffering and lunacy and permanent damage of war, the unfairness of war, lay at the heart of his writing and of his being.
You see them there
their arms weary with
holding the guns
withholding their fire
You see them in the light
But what of the happiness they wrought?
Laughter around a table, flavor of onions
and mustard and salt, music to drown the sound
of his weeping. All the gods are fallen.
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