Mars, symbol of power and majesty, began as the guardian of the land but developed into the god of war as Rome pursued the ambition of empire. Imperial Mars traveled with Roman Legions into battle at the far reaches of the world. He protected the homeland from afar and made peace by means of war, unlike the Greek god Ares for whom destructive warfare was an end in itself. The union of Mars and Venus (war and love) produced Harmonia (harmony and concord).
War travels to pacify, following the logic of the archetype. It moves from one place to another, relocating periodically in search of enemies to engage. Migration is the mythic dynamic, the self-sustaining act, of militancy. And as the state embraces the wayfare of militarism, it drifts from republic to empire (Rachel Maddow, Drift, 2012).
Obama’s war on terrorism not only is timeless, but it also is migrant. The traveling image of America at a crossroads frames the President’s speech on drone warfare (May 23, 2013). (more…)