War is made possible by systems of power and domination. This is true of the violent war-making regimes of yesterday, and it is still true today. It is important to remember that the most violent among us are caged by an inhumane ideology. Those with a thirst for war are themselves dominated by and stuck within systems of power – be they the politicians, their supportive subjects or violent terror cells. Warmongers wish to dominate, as opposed to participate in, humanity. They are captives in need of liberation.
These systems of power thrive on the obedience of their subjects. Once these institutions are challenged, once the environment that grants them power is changed, their authority is called into question. They become feckless when challenged by humanity.
I am a big believer in humanity. It is important to remember that all races and all creeds labor together, peacefully, globally, everyday. The creative, inclined labor of human beings builds markets, mutual aid, relief, commons regimes, charity and generally decent societies. Human labor crafts peace.
Peace is liberty. When peace is realized every human being will be free to pursue their own interests and develop their capacities into individual and social account. We all deserve such liberty, especially the most vulnerable among us – children.
The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars.
You should at least read the first piece in the series, The Assassination Complex. Here’s a taste:
From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.
Kevin Carson has a great piece up at C4SS on the United Nations:
The UN’s stated mission is to prevent aggression; yet it does absolutely nothing to restrain the one country whose aggression far outweighs all others in the postwar period — perhaps in all of history. In the past seventy years the United States has invaded more countries, overthrown more governments and backed more dictators and terrorist death squads than any other country on Earth. There isn’t even a close second.
Jonathan Carp at C4SS offers up a solid retrospective:
If you’re an American, you’d be forgiven for thinking the war in Iraq was over. After all, Barack Obama, after being thwarted in his desperate attempts to extend the American military presence there, has been crowing about how he “ended” the war in Iraq. But the war never ended.
Last night, 13 people were killed when a café in Baghdad was bombed, bringing the total killed yesterday to forty-six. In America, we are still discussing a terrible shooting at a school that killed 28 people, including the perpetrator, over a year ago. In Iraq, more than 2,000 people have been killed just so far this year. Every single one of those deaths, and every single one of the 500,000 killed since 2003, is an entirely foreseeable consequence of American foreign policy.
But today, rather than rehashing the well-known arguments against the war, let us focus on what the war has cost us. The American death toll is well known- 4,489 killed, 32,021 wounded. According to several studies, a minimum of 4% and a maximum of 17% of American veterans of the Iraq War suffer from PTSD. Applying the lower bound to the population of Iraq, we can estimate that at least 1.3 million Iraqis suffer from this debilitating condition, which can cause difficulty sleeping, emotional detachment and outbursts of rage, among other things, and which denies those who suffer from it the possibility of leaving their suffering behind and living a normal life.
Worse still, these victims of the Iraq War, along with the survivors left behind by the dead and the wounded, do not have the support structures American veterans enjoy. American veterans are eligible for disability pensions, career retraining, and free medical care for their war wounds, physical and psychological. However dysfunctional the institutions providing these services may be, American veterans still fare much better than the Iraqi people. The Iraqis, who bore the brunt of the war, are simply left to suffer while some “libertarians” wonder why they are not more grateful for their plight.
The Iraq War was, as wars go, not an especially harsh or brutal one, and was largely conducted according to all the latest precepts of “humanitarian intervention.” The free-fire zones of Vietnam were largely absent, as were the brutalities of massed, prolonged aerial and artillery bombardment. And yet, the results are unimaginably horrific to us in our First World comfort. Sandy Hook and Columbine reverberate to this day in America; in the hell into which we plunged Iraq, neither would even make the front page. There is no war without horrific violence and nightmarish suffering. Never forget.
We’re back with another installment of our favorite philosophically relevant music. Today we feature “Mother Superior” by Santa Cruz-based hardcore punk band Good Riddance.
The tune is off their debut full-length album, For God and Country (Fat Wreck Chords – 1995), and tackles the all too unfortunate reality of politicians and leaders of men lying us into wars and other atrocities. Enjoy!
How ready are you
To die for an ideal?
What’s the connection
Between a lie and what is real?
I’ve got an angel on my back
I’m one of the righteous
And I’m never going back
No, I’m never going back
Who’s that shining forth-right man
About to die behind me?
He’s waiting for the portress to
Send me head over heels
Who’s that black-heart four-star general
Walking up the hill
To ask the liberals nicely
To help finance his private war?
And if I didn’t trust that man
When he puts the rifle in your hand
Sings you songs of pageantry and grace
And how much you want to bet on the other side
There’s a man with twice your pride
And they put you feet first in an unmarked grave
There was a time in our history
When we justified by saying
Our destiny’s manifest
Now imperialism is
The manslaughter of the west
See those trigger happy college boys
Love a chance to try out their new toys
Then they wash the city streets clean
With the blood of infidels
As the fabric of democracy
Left tattered in the dust
We could put
Another greedy man into the
Dictatorial puppet show
Now tell me who do you trust?
And an abominable hemisphere
Would perpetuate a heart-whole atmosphere
Call it a threat to national security
Call it just a poor-sick face
One more place
To export cheap labor
Hail the monarchy!
Hail the oligarchy!
A potential for anarchy
And we pat ourselves firmly on the back
Image via Good Riddance
From last Friday’s Real Time on HBO:
Here we go again. This time it looks like Syria is up for some good ole U.S. military intervention. Hopefully it won’t come to pass. Maybe if enough people listen to Anti-Flag’s song “Power to the Peaceful” from their 2003 release The Terror State we could avoid these military disasters. Probably just wishful thinking. Enjoy:
Sons and daughters of a dream
The urge to struggle for an ideal
To stay and fight
Oppose war fever
Refuse to kill or be killed
There’s voices calling in the wind
Power to the Peaceful
Power to the peaceful
With a readiness for war
They come down hard in dissent of all forms
Blood and militarism has swept the country by storm
This is not a war of the urging people
This is not a war of economic independence
It’s a war for conquest
It’s a war for military power
It’s a war for money
The road to universal slaughter
Alright, check this out
There’s repression and intolerance
On any deviation from the norm
In all factions of your life
At this time of entry into war say Hey!
Do you know what they sing. Say Hey!
Yeah you know what they sing. Say Hey!
Do you know what they sing? Say Hey!