Tuesday September 26, 2023

Pity war distills

November 22, 2021

The USA and its allies are waging multiple wars in the Middle East. One of them is public and respectable: No war crimes permitted! But the other one is free of any sort of legal bureaucracy and does what it wants, claiming, whenever necessary, that it took the action it did because troops were in imminent danger. Under such circumstances, legal approval of a military strike isn’t necessary. Just do it, and if there’s fallout later, hide (ie, classify) the details, minimize (lie about) the results and, if necessary, have an official spokesman express a meaningless and absolutely consequence-free token of regret and wait for everyone (except the families of the dead) to forget about it and move on, eg:

“We abhor the loss of innocent life and take all possible measures to prevent them," the chief spokesman for the US Central Command said in a statement, according to the Times. "In this case, we self-reported and investigated the strike according to our own evidence and take full responsibility for the unintended loss of life.”

Any questions?

The only questions I have feel too big, that is to say, too naive, to ask, but let me ask them anyway, directed in particular at those members of Congress who shrug and give the military-industrialists whatever they ask for, year after year:

How many people have to die by our hands – how big do the piles of women’s and children’s corpses have to get – before mass murder (war) begins looming as wrong? Are you too much of a coward to demand a complete rethinking of the meaning of national defense? Are you too stupid to realize that Planet Earth is a single planet, and that security for one can only mean security for all? Are you incapable of seeing that dehumanizing people is wrong – and counterproductive – and must not be the basis of national security? As ‘the leader of the free world,’ can we not take the lead in evolving beyond war, borders and national dominance? Is the soul of the nation dead?

War dehumanizes everyone it touches, as Paul Tritschler put it, writing at Open Democracy:

“Dehumanization – the process of debasing one’s perceived enemy – is not the preserve of evil people: humiliation, alienation, non-recognition, exclusion, the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, and even campaigns of genocide, all fall well within the realm of possibility for the majority of human beings. There are many examples since WW2 of dehumanization at the extreme: Vietnam, Indonesia, Rwanda, Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria, where populations have also been described as less than human, and where civilians have been killed as a result of so-called ‘precision bombing.’”

At best, change comes slowly. At worst, it doesn’t come at all – or rather, it comes on its own terms, as the consequence of ignorant behavior.

Excerpted: ‘How Many Dead Kids Before We Admit US "National Security" Is a Lie?’