Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slaves of the State

Banishing Thought

Time and again we hear of that holy of holies which is all things military from our national leaders for ever since the defeat of the mighty U.S. military in the fields of Vietnam Americans, in particular our leaders, have been looking for a way to wash the stain of defeat from the history books. For it has been the U.S. role in WWII that until Vietnam has defined what the U.S. is, what it stands for, and our supposed greatness in our own eyes.

After the Gulf War where George H.W. Bush had led Saddam Hussein to believe that an attack on Kuwait was something he could do without fear of reprisal from the U.S. it was broadly discussed that the defeat in Vietnam was finally laid to rest for America had proven once again that she was the same super power that helped to defeat Nazi Germany. However, the Gulf War could have been entirely averted for like the present Iraq War it was entirely manufactured.

Philip Agee discusses how H.W. Bush set the stage for an unnecessary war.


During the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, the U.S. sided with Iraq and continued this policy right up to August 2, the day of the invasion. In April, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, John Kelly, testified before Congress that the United States had no commitment to defend Kuwait. On July 25, with Iraqi troops massed on the Kuwait border, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, met with Hussein. Minutes of the meeting were given by the Iraqis to the Washington Post in mid-August. According to these minutes, which have not been disputed by the State Department, the Ambassador told Hussein that Secretary of State James Baker had instructed her to emphasize to Hussein that the U.S. has "no opinion" on Iraqi-Kuwait border disputes. She then asked him, in light of Iraqi troop movements, what his intentions were with respect to Kuwait. Hussein replied that Kuwait's actions amounted to "an economic war" and "military action against us." He said he hoped for a peaceful solution, but if not, he said, "it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death..." A clearer statement of his intentions would be hard to imagine, and hardly a promise not to invade. The Ambassador gave no warning from Baker or Bush that the U.S. would oppose an Iraqi takeover of Kuwait. On the contrary she said, "I have a direct instruction from the President to seek better relations with Iraq." On the same day Assistant Secretary of State Kelly killed a planned Voice of America broadcast that would have warned Iraq that the U.S. was "strongly committed" to the defense of its friends in the Gulf, which included, of course, Kuwait. During the week between the Ambassador's meeting with Hussein and the invasion, the Bush administration forbade any warning to Hussein against invasion, or to the thousands of people who might become hostages. The Ambassador returned to Washington as previously scheduled for consultations. Assistant Secretary Kelly, two days before the invasion, again testified publicly before Congress to the effect that the U.S. had no commitment to defend Kuwait. And, according to press reports and Senator Boren, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, the CIA had predicted the invasion some four days before it happened.

I can still recall the television coverage of the Gulf War it was rather like a Monday night football game with the news media whipping up the usual insane patriotic garbage needed for all wars to proceed as planned. There was spectacular footage of the bombing of Baghdad at night with bombs bursting in air as the U.S blanket bombed the citizens of Iraq. There was even film of smart bombs flying down chimneys as Americans cheered the brutal slaughter of people they never met and knew nothing about. At work one of my co-workers told me that when you see a bully picking on a little guy wouldn’t you want to stop it, a reference to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Another co-worker asked me didn’t I think the people of Kuwait were nice. I in turn asked her if she had ever heard of Kuwait before the war, she had not. And throughout the whole spectacle cartoons of the most racist type were circulated throughout the workplace demeaning the people of Iraq rendering them as something not quite human. This is all par for the course when a nation goes to war without any real justification which there rarely is.

After the end of the Gulf War I can recall the parade of military vehicles rumbling down the city streets, tanks with their turrets twirling like so many phallic symbols, and people cheering the homecoming heroes. It was quite a sight and one that frankly made me sick to my stomach. For this was all part of the militarization of America, part and parcel with American exceptionalism at its worst, the fantasy, the fraud, the sickening soul grinding mystique of glamorizing war and all things military. How I despise patriotism in all its manifestations for it brings out the worst in people, the ignorance, the violence, the indoctrination, the destruction of any kind of thought, the double standards, the murder, the lies, and the rivers of human blood soaking the earth. And it ought to be shocking how little it takes to convince the gullible masses for the need of war. All it takes is a little propaganda. A few lies repeated over and over, the bogey man of manufactured non-existent threats. And ignoring history off we go on another ill-advised military adventure because here in the U.S. as in many other nations the military is sacred, a high calling, for there is no past in the minds of the conned, there is only the here and the now.


Even with the ending of the Gulf War the indoctrination continued full bore. Market stores hawked toys for the kiddies. There were little Desert Storm toy tanks, soldier figures, and play cards like the baseball cards that kids used to collect and trade when I was growing up. It would seem there never was enough propaganda or pledges of allegiance to a flag that all too few ever understood for what it stood for. Not too long ago I was at a friend’s house and there were toys for his kid scattered about the place including some action figure super hero dolls with huge bulbous muscular bodies and little tiny pinheads hilariously all out of proportion to the body. Truly these are some great values we instill in our youth. Don’t think, just smash and destroy with brute strength and never ever question that holy of holies the American military. And thus another generation is prepared for war, indeed it begins at a very early age. How easy we make it for our national leaders to wage war.

The indoctrination of our young people is a deluge propagated by television, movies, toy manufacturers, the news media, and if that weren’t enough the military sends recruiters to our public schools to fill young heads with all manner of lies and garbage about joining the military. Even organized sports is a tool to prepare young people for the military with its emphasis on team effort, being part of a team, following orders, and the glorification of ritualized violence as in football. It all seems innocent enough, after all, it’s only a game but it does condition the mind to accept the propriety of such thinking when a child becomes old enough to join the military. Thus individualism is actually de-emphasized and thoughts of the consequences of what war actually is are banished. Even the ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag induces a mindless state of obedience and why should anyone be required to pledge their allegiance to a piece of cloth? Don’t you trust your children? Are you afraid that without this mindless ritual that they will destroy the U.S.? How ridiculous. And so from an early age we are taught to trust in authority, trust and grovel before the figures of authority, don’t think just trust, and how easy it is and how comforting knowing we need not think. This is all mighty convenient to those who would send your children into the meat grinder of the endless wars that the U.S. has perpetuated for more than a century. Think of it, your children are nothing but cannon fodder to be used, mangled physically and mentally or killed outright at the whim and whimsy of national leaders who though in positions of authority represent the lowest and vilest form of life on the planet.

Even as I write another person of authority, the latest and greatest model, one Barack Obama, is confiding with a gathering of war hawks making plans for spreading the imperial footprint in Afghanistan by sending more and more troops to that war torn land. Even now Obama’s cronies like Robert Gates is telling us we shall be in Iraq long past the year 2011, perhaps as many as 40,000 strong defined as a residual force but then words and promises that propel leaders to the forefront are and have always been quite elastic in the world of national leaders. And as the imperial war spreads from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then on into Iran and God knows where else, possibly Russia, where will the warm bodies come from to feed the gaping and bloody maw of war? Could it be, is it possible that our new and improved anti-war imperial manager will reinstate the draft? It is not all that farfetched if you think about it. Bush Junior promised us endless war, the phony war on terror, for in his feeble mind he imagines that he war on terror will be never ending and in this instance he is quite correct for all we have done is to create animosity in every far away land that he has touched with the mindless destruction of human life. And so if our leaders are digging in for endless war they will need an endless supply of pliable and gullible young and warm bodies to toss into the fray. Oh, Obama wouldn’t do that now would he, he is the anti-war president isn’t he? Well then consider this excerpt from an interview at Colombia University.


But it’s also important that a president speaks to military service as an obligation not just of some, but of many. You know, I traveled, obviously, a lot over the last 19 months. And if you go to small towns, throughout the Midwest or the Southwest or the South, every town has tons of young people who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country, in more urban centers. And I think it’s important for the president to say, this is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some.

And there you have it, how much clearer can it be said that reinstatement of the draft is in the works and what a nice turn of phrase, “tons of young people” , why not oodles of young people, mountains of young people, a never ending supply of young people, and Obama is ever so anxious to sacrifice their lives though he never seriously considered risking his own neck much like the neocons who scream for war, none of them volunteered for the army, for they are indispensible to the well being of the nation so it is far better that they stay nice and comfy in the warmth of their homes than sacrifice their lives as they are so eager to sacrifice yours or your children’s. For you see once figures of authority attain power over other people’s lives it is oh so important that they retain their seat of power by being at the beck and call of the ruling class, those who put them in power in the first place. But there is another side to the draft and since we are all indoctrinated hardly anyone at all considers it. Arthur Silber illuminates this aspect very nicely.


About a draft, I will briefly note that most of its advocates and defenders will never acknowledge what compulsory national service of any kind actually is: slavery. If the government, backed by brute force and the threat of legal penalty (either imprisonment or in any other form), has the power to compel young men and women as to how they must spend several years of their lives -- and if the government can even order them into battle, perhaps in a cause they absolutely oppose, and possibly to be killed -- then individual rights have been obliterated at the most fundamental level. This kind of servitude to the state is slavery, pure and simple. Compulsory national service of any kind, including a military draft, is one of the greatest evils known to mankind, and it is no wonder that its defenders absolutely refuse to identify its true nature.

Slavery is such an ugly word yet so is war. How ironic it is that people are comparing Obama to Abraham Lincoln who sought to end the slavery of black people which shall forever be an ugly blot on our shining history and that Obama may well be planning to reinstate another form of slavery. How Americans love to speak of individuality, the sanctity of freedom, but how quickly do they throw it all to the wind in the name of patriotism despite that patriotism is merely a tool employed by the rapacious, the liars and villains, the murderers and thieves that we so admire and whose bloody faces appear on the only God that they revere, money. And in the end that is what the endless wars are about, profit for the ruling class and all you need do is to not think but sacrifice your very life so that they can stuff their coffers with more blood money than they could ever possibly need while the rest of the rabble scrabbles for their sustenance, the scraps left over from the rich man’s table. I know this much, if I had a child that was of age for the military I would do everything in my power to keep that child from joining the military or being drafted. There are already far too many desperate suckers of indoctrination as it is.


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