Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Oxymoron War

The Oxymoron War on Terror - 
The Greatest Hypocrisy of Our Time - Jimmy Carter

By Ethan Indigo Smith

    Terrorism [noun]: The unlawful use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
War is politically motivated violence. War is, therefore, terrorism, enshrined in the law of one warring party.
By its definition, war threatens and enacts violence on behalf of the State, for its own benefit, at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of countless others. And yet we have come to accept their invasion, their suppression, and even their deaths as necessary to our lives — to our sense of peace. So we occupy lands, we kill leaders, we overturn cities in the hunt for weapons that don’t exist — and all because the lawmakers who decide which violent acts are “war” and which are “terrorism” tell us such violence is necessary to achieve peace. So, remind me again… Who are the terrorists? Who are the war heroes, and who are the war criminals? How do we discern military from militia? Do we really believe peace can be achieved by declaring war on war itself?
The world’s political institutions — from the U.S. to Russia, from Israel to ISIS — seek to gain and maintain power through the use of violence, terror, and military coercion. In fact we live in a world where legally-sanctioned acts of terrorism are carried out more often than illegal terrorism — but, as they are conducted within someone else’s borders, in someone else’s homeland, we separate ourselves from this reality, in a dissonant attempt to protect ourselves from it.
    “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are each deeply and profoundly disturbed by the war world we live in; we are disturbed that hate is the language of our leaders. We are disturbed that we send our sons and daughters away to participate in it. and we are disturbed that we allow it. And we are disturbed by feeling we are unable to do anything about it. For most of us, war has been an ever-present part of our lives, and we accept the state of war as the state of “normal” — simply because it has always been.
The United States has been at war for 224 years out of the last 241 years. Not one U.S. president qualifies as a solely peacetime president, and the only time the United States lasted 5 years without going to war was between 1935 and 1940 — during the period of the Great Depression. Sadly, but true to form, America centered its post-Depression economic recovery around its military industry. Subsequently, every U.S. President since the end of World War II — from Truman to Kennedy, Eisenhower to Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, ‘Dubya’, and Obama — enacted a Presidential Doctrine directly pertaining to war, either by inviting U.S. involvement in conflict or inciting it directly. Today, with President Trump having just assumed office, the military industry is critical to the survival of the U.S. economy — and indeed, of the United States of America — employing over 3.5 million Americans and generating over $300 billion in revenue each year for private military companies. Call it what you will, such institutionalization of war is terrorism. It does not matter how crazy or legitimate their goals are perceived to be; violence in order to express a point is terrorism. But with a warring mentality firmly embedded in both the psyche and economy of the United States, Americans have not learned the lessons of history and failed Presidential policy, and allow these systems of war to continue on their behalf under the Orwellian guises of “liberty”, “peacekeeping” and “freedom”. However the reality shows us that the result of those systems is anything but free, peaceful liberty.
Institutional Thinking: The Mind of The State
    “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” ~ James Jesus Angleton
No matter how confusing the War on Terror becomes, no matter the geopolitics involved, no matter who is wearing which uniforms, or what book they hold, or flag they fly, people who kill and die in the name of institutional abstracts are terrorists — whether they are lawmakers, rebels, military soldiers, suicide bombers or Heads of State. Those who willingly kill and terrify on behalf of a geopolitical agenda are terrorists. Period.
Those who do so are conned, convinced through varying levels of propaganda. The most obvious (yet diabolical) form is friendly old Uncle Sam beckoning young unemployed teens to “see the world” by his side. But it isn’t just our troops who have been conned. We Americans are proud to see our children put boots to the ground (primarily 18-21 year olds) and engage (kill) the enemy. We celebrate their “successes” (killing) and mourn their “losses” (being killed). We have learned to euphemistically minimize deaths as ‘casualties’, when there is nothing casual about it. We falsely believe the killing and maiming of innocent civilians to be the exception and not the rule of war, rationalize killing and dying in the name of perverted, monolithic geopolitical ideologies. Whatever way you look at it, using violence to coerce is terrorism. Not only is it commonplace, it the design of our society’s institutions — from the more obvious government and military institutions to the less obvious nuclear energy industry, which feeds materials to nuclear weapons programs, and the media, which portrays the acts of war in perfect alignment with government rhetoric. Yes, the machinery of war is so commonplace in the United States that we can’t even see the problem let alone then begin to define it!
Make no mistake, the cause of violence and terror today is our so-called leaders. They control the military might to destroy entire countries, yet claim not to have the resources to simply defend our borders against attack, preferring instead to enact “preemptive strikes” on foreign soil — to attack first rather than defend. Invariably, such policy requires increasingly authoritative, punitive and even fascist policies on home soil, to keep the confused (and disturbed) public in line. So, to put an end to the U.S. doctrine of perpetual war, we need to stop asking why individuals resort to acts of terrorism and ask why we allow our institutions to do so as example to world’s individuals. Why is terrorism increasing? Why would a terrorist sacrifice their own life to inflict harm on individuals? What are they responding to? Look no further than the reality of the behavior exhibited by the world’s leaders: If another nation’s policy or politician is disliked, debate. If you don’t get your way, drop bombs on entire populations and take over their nation by force — even if it requires complete fabrication and propaganda (WMD’s anyone?) to gain public support. In simple terms, extreme militarism can only lead to the rise of extremist terrorism; the response of violent resistance to acts of violent imperialism. One cannot exist without the other. They are two sides of the same devastating and irreconcilable coin.
In more complex terms, however, violence is the result of conflicting ideologies. Our warring institutions don’t just drop bombs to destroy “enemy” cities and bases, they are attempting to eradicate alternative (“enemy”) ways of thinking and being. This is evidenced by the way the “War On Terror” has become a war on Islam, a war on American privacy, a war on our freedoms of speech and even our right to peaceful assembly. Government transparency is at an all-time low, while public surveillance and corporate-media manipulation are at an all-time high. This is a war for your thinking and being; a war on what you think and what you do. And in the process, our warring institutions are not just imposing authoritarianism on the population they claim to represent, they are seeking to impose “American-Style Freedom” on other diverse nations by force, perpetuating a culture at home that accepts and even supports perpetual conflict while conducting their wars abroad so that only “others” suffer for their misdeeds. In this way, we are never forced to confront the stark reality of our nation’s wars beyond the (carefully selected) images we see on our TV screens. So once again: Who are the terrorist? Who are the war heroes? And really, how the hell do we tell the difference? What is the difference between an IED (homemade bomb) and an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade)? The reality is, both are used to kill and influence, for political ends, to influence thinking and being. Both are extremely effective at ending lives, thereby engendering more violence. No matter what ‘side’ a terrorist is on, they all use the same methods of violence, and they all create the same outcome — more violence. The only difference is in the way we think.
The war mentality both encourages and is encouraged by separation, not oneness. One of the best ways to gain and maintain power is to keep the people in constant fear — in fear of wars, of outsiders, and “terrorism”. Built on a narrative of “us” versus “them”, a culture of war-minded fear ensures the public consent to the constant funding of the military-industrial-complex, under the guise of security and protection. In war, institutions and collective thinking become the focus: the “us” becomes “our country”, “our flag”, “our boys overseas”. Or more accurately, “our institutional war identity”.
Indeed, the only entities to ever benefit from war are the individuals who hide behind warring institutions and the legal formalities that enshrine them. Those who control the military industrial complex and the private companies that support it have arranged things so that, by design, no matter how the national fervor plays out, no matter what happens or which side ‘wins’, they still prosper one way or the other, and have the protection of their own domestic laws. But, as President Jimmy Carter so rightly pointed out, America cannot be both the world’s champion of peace and the world’s major supplier of weapons. So, with war institutionalized and sold to the public as a legal instrument of peace, it was inevitable we would find ourselves in the perpetual — and hypocritical — cycle of war and conflict we see today. And where are the peacemakers? Where are the protagonists of peace?
Today it is not just the United States that is built on a foundation of war; nations around the world pour their resources into preparing for war, building billion dollar war machines, reinforcing polarizing “us and them” thinking at home, espousing the virtues of imperialism and endless “growth”, and promoting violent “intervention” as the only way to achieve it. But the United States is becoming the worst type of nation imaginable. It enacts increasingly anti-individual/pro-institutional domestic laws, and is home to the biggest prison population (and private prison industry) in the world. It employs the biggest military budget in the world (while scrimping on domestic social and infrastructure development), “preempts” wars with other nations and aggressively establishes military bases on their borders, all while maintaining its position as the world’s leading manufacturer of military weaponry. In the process, the United States has transformed from a state that is at peace, promotes peace and yet is prepared for defense, into a state that is at war, promotes war and prepares for war, but uses the Orwellian language of peace.
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