Friday, August 06, 2004

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Here's a fantastic article by H. Arthur Scott Trask: American Outlaws.
I suspect that most Americans think of themselves, both collectively and individually, as Josey Wales. I can imagine a band of U.S. Marines recuperating in one of Saddam’s palaces watching the movie and cheering as Wales outwits his pursuers or engages in the final climactic battle with Terrill and his fanaticized men. They probably think of the burning of Wales’ farm and the murder of his wife and son as the equivalent of the destruction of the Twin Towers. Americans seem to be incapable of viewing themselves as anything other than outraged innocents and noble altruists, hated because they are so good, so rich, and so free. That they are really a nation of happy-faced Lanes and Terrills is a truth, so at odds with their deluded perception of themselves, their "education," and the sycophantic speeches of their leaders, that they may never accept it, however necessary it may be for a recovery of sanity and a less imperialistic foreign policy.