War Is Not The Answer. What Was the Question?

by admin on August 25, 2007


Here in Arlington VA, the land of pilates mats and lattes, one will notice an abundance of vehicles with the famous “War Is Not the Answer” sticker slapped on the bumper. This is usually placed beside either a Jim Webb sticker, or, if the driver is a serious fire-breathing “radical”, a Code Pink or fading Howard Dean sticker. There has always been something about the whole “War Is Not the Answer” thing that irks me. I know I should like it, I mean they are placed on cars by well intentioned people and I suppose I am a fellow progressive or whatever we’re called these day’s, (I’d prefer super-duper, radical Leftist, but I guess that’s kinda spooky to some.) It’s not just that the expression is sort of “namby-pamby” and I kind of hate the “peace dove” thing, I mean, can’t we anti-war types be called something more bad-ass than “Doves”, how about Cougars or Hammer-Heads from now on?

What bothers me is this: It’s another example of how we on the Left drop our trunks and grab our collective ankles even before we get into the ring with the Right. It’s an example of how the Left voluntarily lets the Right set the terms of the debate. The slogan “War Is Not the Answer” implies a question or some dilemma. Well, in terms of Iraq, if I recall correctly, there was no question or dilemma. There was no looming threat, no link to 9-11 and no forthcoming mushroom clouds for that matter. We all know this already. So why do we cede this ground to the Right?

Once we concede that there was no question to be answered we can tackle other expressions. We read a lot about the evil of Bush’s “pre-emptive” war. Well if there was no looming Iraqi aggression on the horizon, then there was nothing to pre-empt. Right? So it was not a “pre-emptive” war at all. It was a war of aggression, a war crime. Allowing the right (or the Democrats) to frame this bloodbath as “pre-emptive” shields the perpetrators from their very real war crimes and, most importantly, from accountability.

Just to beat this thing to death we can also say this: There really wasn’t a war at all, not really, not in the traditional sense. It wasn’t a clash of two great armies or anything. It was simply the mass slaughter of Iraqi civilians and infrastructure devastation through aerial-bombardment, followed by an invasion, (incedently this part really was a “cake walk”) occupation, (not a “cake walk”) and all of this was eventually met with a fierce local resistance. That’s it.

I’m not trying to be cute here. The reason for bringing up all of this language of obscuration is that it all serves as a mask for the real war. It distracts us, makes us believe the “war on terror” is real and lends legitimacy to the actions of the maniacs who are very committed to the real war. This war is so constant and all-pervasive that it is easy to overlook. It is the war against the poor, it is the war felt from Detroit to Chiapas to Gaza to South East D.C. It is the putrid gift from the Powerful to the powerless. It is the simple fact that:


Straight down the hierarchy like an anvil falling from the sky. Ouch. This class war is also one-sided much like the invasion of Iraq. Of course, viewed through the prism of class, the event in Iraq can now really be considered a war. In fact, viewed this way, all of the unreal declared “wars” can be demystified and seen for what they really are: class warfare. The wars on crime, drugs, terror and not to mention, the cold war are the same war. Together, they are the perpetual war for perpetual greed, in which the primary objective is to hold the global economic and social order of overwhelming inequality in place. One-sided class war is the beating heart of savage Capitalism, Globalization and the War Machine Inc. It’s also the chains that hold the American and Western population in a death grip by giving us a hated “other” for the powerful to “protect” us against. Let’s very briefly touch on some of these “wars”.

“War on Crime and Drugs”

We can see that the “War on Drugs” had very little to do with drugs. Hell, rich people love drugs just as much as anyone!

Washington D.C. is essentially fueled by Scotch, Cocaine and prostitutes. As far as cocaine is concerned, exhibit A. is to go to any bathroom in any upscale bar in DC and check for white specks in the stalls or on the sink. That ain’t talcum powder!

No, the ruling class is not concerned with drugs so much as they are concerned with controlling how we think (drugs sometimes create the “wrong” thoughts) on the one hand and with “rolling back” the hard fought victories of the Civil Rights and Labor movements on the other. From Nixon’s “get tough on crime” race baiting campaigning to the “Rockefeller” laws, the effect has been the same: to smash the lives, families and communities in the poor and black portions of the cities. This in turn has wrecked the black power movement, much organizing ability and working class ownership of homes, much less businesses. These laws in concert with COINTELPRO, framing community leaders for crimes, purposeful neglect of inner-city infrastructure, union busting, moving factories out of the cities and making sure a large portion of the black community is rotting in prison, (often times for lesser crimes than little Gore jr.) has left the poor and black inner-city susceptible for one of the upper-middle class’ favorite past times: Gentrification.

Gentrification is the prize of this Class War. After the “white flight” of people from the cities to the suburbs, they eventually wanted back what was “theirs”. The project is almost complete.

Picture a mini-Katrina everyday for the last thirty-plus years.

“The Cold War”

Part of this story is actually real. There were two very violent and arrogant super-powers that were in a fierce competition for world hegemony and were locked in very stupid, wasteful and deranged arms race. Scary stuff. But the rest of the story is just absurd, (and scary.) This absurdity can be summed up with one word: Grenada.

The “Cold War” for the most part was merely US class war on a global scale. Fighting the spread of “communism” was the excuse to crush all movements for self determination and democracy all around the world all in the name of, well, “self determination” and “Democracy”. Fun times. Even the smallest hint of people who lived on or near “US interests” exercising Democratic urges or using local resources for local use was met with hysteria from the US press and spectacular and historically unprecedented violence from the corporate super state Team America.

We could fill encyclopedias with lists and details of interventions of this kind: Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua…and on and on and on. One of these interventions really stands out. The violent attack on the smallest speck of dirt on this god forsaken globe: Grenada.

Grenada is a small Eastern Caribbean island of about 133 square miles and had about 110,000 humans living on it when, on October 25, 1983, 2000 marines from the most powerful army in human history invaded it. It was called “Operation Urgent Fury”.

What was all of the fuss about? Essentially, (I am going to simplify for space here) what happened was “Leftists” overthrew the Socialist leader Maurice Bishop whom the US was already trying to topple. The new leaders were going to run the little island nation, whose primary export was the, oh so important product called nutmeg, a little more “to the left”. Six days later, “Bang!” Uncle Sam kicked in the door.

This event, on an island difficult to even see on a map, was such a “threat” to the US that it had to send 2000 marines in to smash it into oblivion? Nonsense. Would Grenada have ever been insane enough to let the Soviet Union use their tiny island as a launching pad for an attack? Not in a million years.

The “threat” never really has anything to do with the defense of “the American people” it’s instead about protecting business interest abroad and protecting against what Noam Chomsky refers to as “the threat of a good example”. In other words, if any poor nation were to ever successfully throw out their colonial corporate pirates and have an independent, democratic nation that met the basic needs of its inhabitants, then all the other little countries might follow suit. This would spell the end of US and western domination of the world’s people and resources, of course. It would mean the dawning of a democratic age for the world and that is why all third world movements, no matter how small, had to be crushed. The inequality is meant to be permanent.

The Cold War at home was also really just class war. With the backdrop of the Soviet Union and the “threat of communism” as a pretext, the ruling class stomped the US Left out of existence. They were able to bust up unions, beat up protesters, infiltrate the anti-war movements, use illegal wiretaps (starting to sound familiar?) and assassinate civil rights leaders with impunity. The results of these activities can still be felt today.

The Torture Is Propaganda

I want to take a step back for a second and talk about framing of issues, in this case about torture. I have heard liberals say the main reason to stand against torture is that “it doesn’t even work”. This plays right into the whole Jack Bauer flim-flam about a “ticking-time-bomb” scenario horseshit. I for one suspect there is not a time-bomb at all and would add that torture does work. It works just as it was designed to do: to get false confessions out of terrified people.

If we know that these “wars” are not about what we are told they are then we can also expect that our “leaders” might have a lot of difficulty finding “perps”. We also know that our “leaders” use terrifying myths about “others” that only they can protect us against to keep us in line. Well to keep us in line then requires that they produce these “evil conspirators” from time to time right? Of course the real conspirators, like say- Osama bin Laden, are too valuable as a propaganda tool to actually arrest. So instead we get low level operatives; and I suspect we also get a few totally and/or mostly innocent people who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Question: If you were held in an isolated cell for months and months, then years and years, tortured and then viewed your child being molested by a soldier, would you confess to anything to make it stop? I don’t have kids, but I suspect I would confess to being Osama himself to make it stop. Guess what, this really takes place.

Whether it was torturing a “witch”, a Black Panther or some poor guy from Afghanistan in Guantanamo Bay, the propaganda of torture is the same and twofold. For those that believe the war is real, it acts as reinforcement for the belief that those in power have everything under control. For those that don’t believe, it acts as a warning. I think those in power want us to know what goes on in those dungeons or, in “the Brig”. It shows those of us who might resist these “wars”, what they are capable of, and willing to do on a whim.

They want us to know that any one of us could be Jose Padilla.

Everyone Is An Iraqi

I’m not going to end this with a dissection of the Iraq situation or the “war on terror”. Everyone already knows about the oil, no-bid contracts, extreme violence and so on. We know that “the war on terror” is nothing more than continued class war in the post-cold war era. I want to finish with the primary method of this perpetual festival of ghouls and madmen of global and local class war. It’s always the same, whether it’s the Ludlow massacre, the killing of those kids at Kent

State, the murder of Fred Hampton, the imprisonment of Fred Hampton Jr., or the murder of Rachael Corrie. It’s the same whether it’s dropping nuclear bombs on Japan, Napalm on

Vietnam or white phosphorus on Falluja. From “Shock and Awe” to the “Surge”. It is the favorite method of the corporate controlled death machine. It’s the use of violence to create a desired political or economic outcome. There is a word for this method. The word is Terrorism.

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