When a war is not a war unless they call it a war.
By E.F Nicholson
“This is not a war, it is a humanitarian mission with military elements “.
Which is as believable as “shock and awe” was a firework’s show put on for the public of Iraq with the use of planes, when in reality it was the indiscriminate bombing of the Iraqi people.
The US are now employing even more ambiguous terms rather than calling it as it is. Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee,
“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Isis] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said, preferring the term “close combat advising”.
So they are not calling the US forces placed in Iraq “soldiers” but “advisors”. It is a term that is meant to detach them from the reality of the war they placed themselves in. As advisors are only there to “advise”, like a platoon of combat consultants. Yet, if it’s just advice, why not utilise skype video conference calls? Then he adds later
“Advisor that may engage in close combat”
So now “close combat advising” has suddenly become “advisors in close combat.” Meaning they cease advising, get their guns out and start shooting people. It is hard not to think the terms used by Brandi and Dempsey have been carefully chosen in an order that would not press the public’s disapproval button. They continue patronising the public thinking that if they do not call it a war then it must mean it is not a war.
Yet it feels like we have been here before. It seems once the war drums start beating, the mainstream media fulfils its unspoken rule, to rally around the establishment’s position, amplifying the agreed strategy. This means the public hears no voice of dissent or is exposed to other viable alternatives which do not include waging war. The media likes to talk-up its credentials and expert “know-how” by showboating former generals, admirals and defence department personal. They all are, unsurprisingly, pro-war. Then, to make the media’s position even less credible, Lee Fang of the Nation reveals in a recent article that many of the key “former army” pundits are linked to defence contractors that will profit from their advice to “go to war”. Yet why should former general and admirals, implementer of war crimes be so venerated? For example, General Allen who is fawned on in the press. Such as this PR puff piece in the Guardian stating,
He has experience battling extremist insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he also boasts impressive intellectual credentials and an unusual amount of foreign policy experience for a senior officer. Thoughtful and softly spoken, 60-year-old John Allen”
This is a man proud of the fact he commandeered troops in Afghanistan, making him an architect of a botched and costly war that brought nothing but death and destruction to local population. He is paraded out like he is “The authority” or “The go to guy” on what to do in Syria and Iraq. With a straight face, John Allen calls ISIS
“An entity beyond the pale of humanity.”
Yet how much even further “beyond the pale” were his army and actions after the plundering murders and mayhem in Afghanistan and Iraq? So why are these military authorities being asked for advice and insight into what should be done? It is not much different to the farcical approach to fixing the financial crisis where the perpetrators of the crisis were brought in and were suddenly called the “solution makers”. It is so fucked up its almost surreal.
Now war in the US establishment is not a last resort, but rather it is the first response. As it seems, the option of negotiation is not even on the table. Obama has already ready lost standing for not striking hard and fast in Syria in the first place. Non-negotiation was the same route the US took with the Taliban, “We won’t negotiate with terrorists “they brazenly affirmed. Then, after years on years of failure, they conceded this was an option they had to consider. So this mind set of “Bomb first, ask question later”, is clarion call for all other nations to join and get behind. As the world unites behind the goal of destroying ISIS they rally around a simplistic narrative, which is exemplified in Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s response to ISIS (probably in the hope of getting a back slap or high five from Obama)
“To join ISIS. It is very dangerous. It is wrong. It is against God. It is against religion. It is against our common humanity”
Framing it in this goodie versus baddie, god on our side and not theirs, ensures a number of things. Firstly, it dehumanises the enemy and takes away any genuine, no matter how twisted they have become, grievance about what they are warring for, as they become Anti-god and anti-humanity lessor beings. Second it ensures that we make no effort to really understand the root cause of how and why ISIS has come into existence, as it is assumed that history started three months ago. As outlined in this Christian Science Monitor article, the formation of ISIS has come from years of the Sunni minority in Iraq feeling persecuted and punished. The Shite government of Iraq is no more or less corrupt than the Baathist government was under Saddam Hussein; with the exception it is open to US business interests and giving access to its oil.
What they are up against with ISIS isn’t an evil army, rather a distorted and twisted consequence of how victims can so easily become the villains, as those who have violence put upon them respond to that with more violence to those who do so. Thus perpetuating an endless cycle of violence. We see this in Israel, as the Israeli government is acting more and more towards Palestinians like the Nazi acted towards the Jews. So locked into this way of thinking we are that we can’t even see the cruel irony of what is happening to them.
The cynic in me feels it is hard to think that these military advisors and high-ranking politicians don’t know what I know. It is hard to consider that they are unaware that this will not end quickly, that you can’t bomb away grievances and the fact that many innocent people will be killed in the process. They know they aren’t looking for war that will be resolved quickly but war that will be drawn out and protracted. Then giving the defence industry further profits that they are looking for. Already BAE, Britain largest defence contractor has admitted that shares have gone up as talk of war heats up. We have billions of dollars of invested interest in creating and arranging a demand for war. It wouldn’t surprise me if the CIA had undercover operatives imbedded within ISIS encouraging the act of barbarity in order to trigger the public outcry. That may not be, of course. I have no idea but what I know is they will use whatever treacherous and Machiavellian means that are required to get war on the table.
So this is the place we have arrived upon, where we have a theatre of actors nodding their head with sombre gravitas in the senate subcommittee. All reciting their lines to a script built for public consumption. Yet like the Iraq war, all the debate and discussion was mute anyhow as they had already decided they were going to invade. Yet the fact they have to put on a show and use different wording, tells us that how the public response does matter. That even though it doesn’t feel like it, these people are answerable to the public, as the money they waste on war and murder comes from everyone’s hardly earned tax dollars. So the only way to stop this sociopathic insanity of war for the sake of war is to demand something different. We now see in Scotland a real tangible example of this taking place. As one of the key planks in the SNP campaign is “No more nuclear submarines in Scotland” and a commitment not to renew Trident at the cost of £40 billion. It is because of positions like this that everyone, all of the who’s and what’s of the elite establishment are coming out against independence. As with that type of mind-set, they say “we, citizens of Scotland decide if we have your weapons of mass destruction, not politicians in Westminster“ So we can take Scotland’s lead and put war in its rightful place as a barbarous, cruel racket to be avoided at all costs. Even though the No vote ends up winning, the fact against all odds, with the weight over every single newspaper and TV station against them, the YES vote got 45% of the people behind them. As depressing as I find the loss to be, it is encouraging that it shows what can be done when we come together under a unitary demand of wanting things to be better, not for ourselves but for everyone else as well.