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With respect, this time you're off-track.

Reader comment on item: War as Social Work?

Submitted by David Scholem (United States), May 6, 2003 at 11:19

Dear DP:

When I was a child support investigator, tracking down deadbeat parents (an equal-gender crime) and finding them under rocks around the world to bring them to book, I was doing "social work"... a person working on an aspect of this-here American society to accomplish some improvement of just one unit of society: the, usually desperately struggling, custodial family.

On an immensely larger scale and addressing ALL aspects of society, Social work is EXACTLY what the U.S. did in Germany to rehabilitate its society desperately struggling with the total overturn of everything familiar. You may want to visit www.germans-and-democracy.com to taste the PBS documentary I've been doing on the subject for over 2 years.

The point is, when America intervenes on the massive scale of going to war, as in Iraq or the Germany you quote, it IS also implicitly undertaking an equally massive post-war continuity of mission. Demolishing the known that results from decapitating a tyrant-hydra is a job for the long haul. And being in denial about that is perilous to the settlement of the undertaking. "Social work," so scorned as a political expletive, is the other side of any regime-change coin of true value. It behooves opinion-leaders championing democracy to face this and show a path out of the Pavlovian misuse of language-- in this case social work a derogation-- that is dangerously near the language control of tyrannies.

As ever, in respect and admiration, David.
Submitting....

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