In a secretive vote, the International Olympic Committee recently decided not to include wrestling in the 2020 games. The reasoning for the decision was not made clear and the lack of clarity has brought forth a broad amount of criticism. While not a wrestler, I am inclined to side with the opinion of the dissenters. Outside of vainly trying to escape the tormenting grip of my older brother as child, I have little experience in the sport. But it doesn’t take a well-versed athlete to recognize the value in this form of athletic competition.
In what may be the only instance of agreement I have with torture advocate Donald Rumsfeld, itâ€™s evident that wrestling “develops self-reliance, discipline, perseverance and strategic thinking.â€ In other words, itâ€™s a specialized discipline involving the precise use of oneâ€™s body. What sets wrestling apart from its peers is the lack of spectacle, gimmicks, or elaborate venues for competition- it is simply man versus man. From any match, the strongest, most clear-thinking emerges the victor.
As Scott Locklin writes, the sport which dates back to the Iliad and the Odyssey will now be retired from the Olympics in favor of â€œapogees of athletic achievement as canoeing, handball, ping-pong, badminton, sailing, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and volleyball.â€ Of course these games require practice and dexterity similar to the ancient sport of grappling. So the question then becomes why the Olympic Committee decided to single out wrestling and treat it differently.
In our compulsory age of egalitarianism (better termed â€œfairness at gunpointâ€) it appears political correctness may have been the culprit. The classical version of wrestling has no female division. And because gender equality is always a lingering concern for any organization that doesnâ€™t want to face the wrath of horribly unattractive females who find injustice in not being fed government birth control, the threat of a public relations smear might have influenced the International Olympic Committee.
So as a once-noble sport falls by the wayside, a new mark of righteousness is currently being concocted. Around the time the IOC was voting to exclude an age-old sport from an age-old tradition, the Pentagon announced the creation of a new congratulatory medal for a growing sect of the U.S. military. Called â€œThe Distinguished Warfare Medal,â€ this new reward would be given exclusively to those who take part in waging cyberwarfare as well as operators of unmanned drones.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta openly admits this new bestowment is for the brave men and women who fight the perpetual War on Terror from the dangerous terrain known as their computer chair. These â€œsoldiersâ€ put their life on the line as they steadily grip a joystick and shower third-world villages with hellfire missiles. As a retired Green Beret quipped, â€œI suppose now they will award Purple Hearts for carpal tunnel syndrome.â€ Even the Veterans of Foreign Wars has criticized the medal as it now outranks the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Of course, such ecstatic praise for these warriors is a distortion of reality. The medals come included with the phrase â€œexception achievement,â€ thereby gifting the wearer with a title wholly undeserving of such esteem.
There is no skill required in killing people halfway across the globe with an unmanned predator drone. Any teenager that finds pleasure in vanquishing innocent bystanders in a video game is capable of piloting the death machines. When it comes to bravery, drone warfare completely removes the aggressor from both harm and any witnessing of the destruction wrought by their actions. By dehumanizing the victims, free-flying murder is much easier to carry out. Acknowledging the pilots as brave is an insult to the English language. As Glenn Greenwald writes,
Whatever one thinks of the justifiability of drone attacks, itâ€™s one of the least â€œbraveâ€ or courageous modes of warfare ever invented. Itâ€™s one thing to call it just, but to pretend itâ€™s â€œbraveâ€ is Orwellian in the extreme. Indeed, the whole point of it is to allow large numbers of human beings to be killed without the slightest physical risk to those doing the killing. Killing while sheltering yourself from all risk is the definitional opposite of bravery.
As militant feminism continues its assault on the natural fact that a difference exists between the sexes, the man in the White House who buys their votes with free contraceptives is busy giving orders that result in the indiscriminate killing of women and children. Donâ€™t expect a women liberation movement to rise up in opposition of this tragedy. Fleecing taxpayers to fix their menstrual cycle is far important than speaking out for the children of dead mothers.
There is nothing praiseworthy in participating in the systematic upholding of state imperium. Just war, in the traditional sense, is when people band together to fight off a domineering threat. In observing this simple dictum, itâ€™s clear the foreign policy of the United States and its Western allies is profoundly unjust. Congratulating the soldiers who fight in these wars of aggression is unjust as well. To invade, occupy, and destroy the property of others is immoral and only fosters a burning resentment toward the assailants.
There is no denying that wrestling is violent, but its difference from state-orchestrated coercion is revealed in the voluntary nature of the sport. Participants agree to the physical duel and there is often a mutual respect for each other. There is no mutual respect in total war anymore; especially for civilians. Today, mass murder receives a medal and an ancient practice of face-to-face combat is slowly being swept into the dustbin of history. Shooting is currently an Olympic sport. One wonders if destroying clay figures of children with targeted drone strikes will soon work its way into the games.