Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Strategy of Permanent War. . .

We live in difficult times for anyone who is wants to promote justice and equality. We are living through an era in which large, globalizing corporations have overwhelmingly dominated the political discourse for more than 30 years. And as the Neo-Liberal consensus has begun to show cracks and is basically breaking down, the rightwing has begun to ramp up its strategies of fear: fear of change, and fear of 'the other.' The primary target of this strategy of fear has been the relatively soft target of Islam. I call this a soft target because this has been a pretty safe target for Western leaders for hundreds of years. It is easy to feed on people's underlying bigotry, particularly religious bigotry. And the Neo-Liberal leaders of the West, desperate to consolidate their power and narrow our political discourse, thrive on religious bigotry. Oh, of course they will never admit that this is their strategy because that has become socially unacceptable. But they are fully aware that this is what is going on.

The most interesting (and tragic) part of this strategy is that for a long time now, Western leaders have been quite intentionally aggravating so-called Islamic extremism with the clear knowledge that they need this "enemy" to drive their economy of war and their politics of fear. The grandest deception of modern times is the portrayal of Israel as "victim." But the focus of political Zionism has been fairly clear from the beginning. The creation of Israel was orchestrated by violent "terrorists" like the Stern Gang who intentionally created as much conflict as possible with Palestinians in order specifically to create an image of Middle Eastern Jews as victims. They did this because it was the only ideological shield that they could use to hide behind as they took more and more Palestinian land. This strategy among Israeli leaders has continued unabated now for generations. Take Palestinian land, lock them up in giant prison camps and then portray yourself as a victim on the defensive every time the Palestinians fight back, meanwhile continue to take Palestinian land (in clear violation of international law) while everyone is looking at and blaming the Palestinians. It is a strategy has even deceived many Israelis as so well illustrated by the Israeli peace activist Miko Peled.

But our own leaders have more or less adopted the very same strategy. Part of this has been the simple and clear knowledge that failure to support the Palestinian people will continue to feed the ranks of desperate and angry groups who actively, and understandably, use any means at their disposal to fight back. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also been central to this strategy. The strategy is this - create conflict, ignore or exploit religious and ethnic differences, arm and incite these groups either directly or through proxy states like Saudi Arabia, and then use these enhanced conflicts to further expand war, military spending, and increased security powers in our own countries. It is, in fact, an age old military/political strategy; create conflict and then use that conflict as the excuse to enhance your power, military might, and surveillance or our own population.

It is a sad strategy in every possible sense. It destroys lives, creates chaos and death, and it is easily sold to a surprisingly gullible population. Part of the problem is that there is a significant conceptual deficit among people when it comes to the issue of power. Most people have only a one dimensional view of power which sees power moving in only one direction and misses the subtleties of how it is used to deceive and how it moves through structures and can expand backward toward the source. Thus, people in the West will, for example, demonize Islam or Islamic nations, failing entirely to see how Western nations not only created these countries (mostly during the First World War) and then exploited thees nations to enhance the need for continual war. It really is just a more complex version of using provocateurs, which governments and capitalists have been doing forever.

Arguably the worst by-product of this strategy of fear and one dimensional view of power is bigotry. You see it all the time and it is profoundly frustrating. People will see the terrible actions of 'the other,' (in this case Muslims) as the main source of conflict and evil, meanwhile they will ignore not only our own Western history of violence and evil, but completely ignore the active part that our governments and arms dealers play in the sustaining this history of violence etc. Thus people will ignore the fact that George Bush started a war almost solely for personal vengeance that killed over half a million innocent people, but they will drone on and on about a single murder perpetrated by 'the other.' This is the kind of ignorance that our leaders are actively promoting.

As Bertrand Russell once said, "Most people would rather die than think; many do."

1 comment:

Pamela Mac Neil said...

The communication of choice Kirby of Western governments is the continuous repeating of myths. I happened to listen the other night to Ilan Pappe, the Israeli historian, on you tube. He said when he was doing his PH.D he went to England to read the actual archives, which had just been released after 30 yrs, about the 1948 war of Israel and Palestine. He found that everything that Israel taught in it's schools about this period was a complete lie. As you mentioned the Israeli narrative was that they were the victims and in fact they said they could be victims of another, holocaust. They also presented themselves as being like David slaying Goliath, when in fact the Israeli's were the ones with superior weaponery and a better armed military.There is more to the narrative, but you get the idea. Pappe said that he and all Israeli's
education was a sham. He of course searched for the truth and found it and has been writing about it ever since. Far from being victims Pappe concludes that Israel is actually performing genocide on Palestinians. "The Strategy of Permanent War" can only be sustained through myths.Once a person starts to question the myths that we are taught, instead of the knowledge that we are not taught, they're real learning begins and what a learning it is, particularly when it comes to understanding America's foreign policy and it's real agenda. So pervasive are these myths that they permeat almost every facet of western governments. Promoting justice and equality is done by individuals or institutions created by individuals. I know of no western government that fights for justice and equality.Myths are really just dressed up lies. Permanent war is a creation of those in government who pursue power and use it to control and dominate others. Harper very much want's to be a part of the alliance that practices permanent war. He's trying to prove himself by sending Canadian pilots to bomb ISIS in Iraq. It is interesting Kirby that you put permanent war in the context of a strategy. This means that governments plan and execute wholesale state violence, a sort of premeditated murder, but on a grander scale. Your identifying permanent warfare as being a strategy is truly frightening. Aristotle said "know thy enemy" for those whose self imposed ignorance contributes to their unquestioning acceptance of whatever their government tells them, they are the real enemy.