Perpetual War

I’m reading a biography of Howard Zinn. I picked it up at the Maine State Library, my bi-weekly way station where I gather books and do research for whatever article I’m writing, or thinking about writing.

Zinn, who left us with one of the best quotes about the inanity of the ideology that fuels America’s never-ending need for war and killing that I’ve ever run across, said that “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

Similarly, men like Paul Craig Roberts, who knows the American ideology of war from being on the inside of power, penned a Memorial Day column for Counterpunch, indicating how once again, Washington is trumping up their case for war, and the American public, ever-gullible, will accept it without question.

Roberts wrote,

The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything.  These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.

Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers.  The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves.  Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression.

There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.

Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains.  As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists.  A different entity has taken its place.

A friend of mine, echoed a similar sentiment about the saber-rattling taking place in Washington, in an email sent to me over the weekend.

It all reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984, and the state of perpetual war between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The enemy is ambiguous, and the battlefield exists in an elusive and distant land—sort of like the war on terror, waged in a faraway place like Iraq.

Perpetual war allowed Orwell’s superpowers to justify psychological and physical control over their populations, to keep their people busy, fearful and hateful towards an enemy. Our current perpetual war also serves as an excuse for a nation’s failings and shortcomings—our economy, the breakdown of our vaunted systems across the board, our crumbling infrastructure—war and the propaganda of war takes our eyes off our dwindling standard of living and all the other failures inherent in 21st century America.

3 thoughts on “Perpetual War

  1. Despite the fearful reports, ISIS storming Baghdad like the Nazis taking Paris, it’s not going to happen. What we call Iraq has for most of the past millennia been three “nations,” one Sunni, one Shia, and one Kurdish, with various minorities like the subclasses of ancient Christians and the swamp Arabs in the south. They none of them get along, never did and never will, and the smartest thing we could have done was set Iraq back to that.

    Which we did, despite ourselves. We let Iran reclaim what it wanted for Persia, including Baghdad. The “Surge?” What rubbish. Peace came to Baghdad because the Shia were done driving out the Sunnis, and the entire might of the US military turned on the Sunni insurgency. The Sunnis just got smart and waited us out. Took our weapons, took our training, took our money, and just waited until we left. The Kurds, meanwhile, looked out for themselves the entire time, and like it or not, we were forced to deal with them as a sovereign.

    The one reason we propped up the illusion of a central government in Iraq was because it was much easier to twist the arms of one government into all sorts of lucrative contracts, than to twist the arms of multiple governments. The Kurds? They won’t be twisted, period.

    The psychology of sunk investment comes into play now–we’ve sacrificed so much, so many lives, so much money. No, we didn’t sacrifice them. We pissed them away for bankers, just as Smedley Butler did in his day. They were slaughtered, just as we look at the soldiers in the trenches and say they were slaughtered. It’s all good after bad at this point.

    We should wipe our hands and just leave them. Except for that damned oil habit we have, like a junkie strung out and ready to commit violent assault to get what we need for that next fix.

  2. @LP I like the junkie analogy. Yes, we are addicted to oil for sure, and we sure get crazy and violent when we can’t get that fix of petro.

    @JAB Whatever audience I had is probably gone. Perhaps someday, when the US is sunk and someone is combing the wreckage, maybe they’ll find the remnants of the JBE and a few other sites and realize that not everyone acted in lockstep.

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