The current drive to war in the middle east is often explained in terms of a desire to control the worlds mineral resources and destabilise any threat to the USA’s military hegemony. In the main it is fuelled by the corporate media’s control of public opinion and financed by the arms and oil industries.
However I am not concerned here to flag up the numerous instances of deception, state corruption or blatant profiteering which goes on in the name of the ‘Just War’. My point, after watching and contributing to the deconstruction of the official ‘War on Terrorism’ myth and narrative, is that much of the indignation which accompanies the revelations of overt subterfuge by the military, merely echoes the paranoid proclamations that we are all under attack.
As I have said before in face of the blatant cover up of the 911 episode, to some extent a thriving 911 truth movement adds fuel to the fire of military imperial ambitions because it shocks people into a realisation that they are even more helpless than they thought they were when they nurtured the idea of homeland security as the solution to their angst.
Fundamentally, the enemy in this situation is within us all as it demands that we confront the truth of living in a tolerant and compassionate multi-cultural global village. The possibility of substituting the revelations that we are being lied to on a massive scale, in effect a form of truth based on the discovery of hidden deceptions, for the deeper truth that we are partially responsible for the state of complicity with those powers, tends to confuse the issue and ultimately it is this type of confusion which deters a real sense of justice and the alternative to war which is a more peaceful and open quality of life.
Some of the pieces of the puzzle
Without elaborating on my argument about who is culpable and how we could react to the ongoing crisis of identity in the world, I want to lay down a few facts of the story as perceived through the media or as experienced in this part of the world.
The war on terror is a device concocted by those in power to further their imperial designs and subdue the majority of their populations into complicity with this false agenda.
The main psychological tool of this state is the fear that people have to confront in attempting to challenge the official narrative. The possibility that our own citizens are being murdered for the sake of an elaborate destructive fantasy is more frightening than the digestible sound-bytes of media doublespeak which lull the masses into submission.
The concept of participation through democracy has always been an ambiguous principle. It relies on the championing of majority views by virtuous individuals. Not only is trust at stake, but the credibility of such a system to be an effective means of implementing such aims is debatable.
On this basis people abnegate their moral responsibility for the planet because they have decided that either the democratic process is obviously transparent and above board, or they realise that it is fallible but represents the best option in a flawed universe.
Various atrocities have been committed in the name of anti-imperialism or a war on terror. The moral justification for these peddled by often-contradictory news outlets does not really matter; if we are incapable of seeing through the deception that requires others to take responsibility for us, we will not question the validity of their means.
The intentions of those who successfully fabricate myths about the superiority of one group over another or who lay claim to one territory or resource or another, bears little relation to the method by which they choose to enforce their ambitions. Their violent coercion is the equivalent of their inability to comprehend any other viewpoint than their own.
So once we understand that the tactics of military domination and media subversion of the public draw on both the moral intolerance of the perpetrators and also their lack of regard for any reasonable process of dialogue, we can see that their success is largely a matter of the capacity of the public, who allow or indirectly fund them, to adopt the same rationale of war as their governments.
The fact that each side in the equation plays a role in which the drama of the court room is played out as a moral debate between good and evil, allows not only for the flourishing of countless narratives of heroic martyrdom and divine right, but gives the impression that progress towards some state of ultimate truth is being made.
A long dark tunnel
I would argue that the opposite is the case. The more people prevaricate on the particular merits of one method of rendition, or another process of public participation in the battle for God, the more the veil is pulled over the eyes of any sense of personal responsibility and hence the potential for individuals to recognise the value of virtue as a personal experience.
Whether we are duped into conformity with a patriarchal military fairytale or jump on the bandwagon of an outraged but ultimately docile protest movement, the outcome is broadly of the same type. The fact of our belief in the process of moralistic mudslinging as a means of establishing some kind of objective order in the world is the real problem.
Ultimately this is the same kind of partial denial but on different ends of the scale. Whether we are flying the bomber which drops cluster bombs on Lebanese children or we are watching or reading about it in the comfort of our own homes, the destruction goes on. It is not a sense of moral indignation which will cause us to confront the absurdity of blood for oil or the sweat of the child who dies making our shoes for twenty pence a day, when we have no intention of securing a more just source of fuel or thinking about ethical footwear.
Well you may fret at the ‘news’ that NATO troops are amassing in the Persian Gulf or are creating a corridor to Syria on the pretext of stability in Israel. Indeed you may need another beer, you may lose an hours sleep, the ink cartridge on you computer may run out from all that printing of conspiracy theories, but who is paying for these luxuries. Who is bankrolling this war as usual – you guessed – it is you the taxpayer – you the consumer of cheap imported goods - and you the weekender who pumps Iraqi oil into your car because you just can’t take the strain of city life.
What a relief that all that mayhem about liquid bombs on jets turned out to be misinformation – but at least we are now safe! Are we really? Do you really want some truth about the London and Madrid bombs? Chances are you wouldn’t get very far anyway, not unless you were Mossad or could afford to hire an army of mercenaries. Perhaps Armageddon doesn’t sound so bad after all – at least we’d know!
Peace is a better quality of life
So what am I suggesting – that we just sit around and wait for the bombs to drop out of the sky? Well I suppose on that count it would make sense to get informed about where the bombs are likely to fall and move somewhere else, but in this day and age the coke machines are all pervasive – wherever you go it’s hamburgers and Marlboro.
Seriously though, I want to get back to where I started – peace is just as much about being aware of your own capability as it is about taking someone else to task for their faults. Of course protesting about dropping tactical nukes on Iran is hardly a case of throwing stones from a glasshouse. I am not questioning the perspective on the situation.
The point is that the outrage of what is going on in the name of so-called ‘Freedom’ can seem to create as much consternation as the imbalance constituted by the destructive imbalance of warring factions. In the words of R.D.Laing in his 60’s book ‘The Politics of Experience’: we have come to define ourselves more in terms of what we are against than what we are for.
And this protest against the war and the lies peddled which justify it, only goes so far. It says you can fight wars as long as they comply with Geneva conventions; as long as it protects our lifestyles without inflicting moral or actual deprivation on innocent people. But as the goal posts of what we have come to expect shift ever more into the realms of what was considered luxurious twenty years ago, so the blinkers to what is going on in order to sustain those lifestyles become narrower and narrower.
The erosion of our freedoms as individuals in a modern democracy echoes the erosion of our concern for those who suffer from capitalist imperialism. It is no coincidence that such decay of our moral concern is reflected in our governments lack of concern for its citizens rights, but then only in a world where people have become so complacent to the plight of others would they acquiesce under such oppression themselves.
So basically we have to make the connections between the kind of lifestyle we think reflects a concern to live in harmony with the rest of the world, and the sort of morality that lifestyle engenders as a foreign policy. A major part of this sense of balance in our own lives, as part of any particular culture, must come from a sense that we are autonomous beings who participate in the collective agenda through a process of consensual politics.
This sense of individual balance can be easily destabilised by the environment in which we live and this fact of claiming to create a secure space for us is what power hungry deceivers rely on. Ultimately there can be no sense of order in the world which does not emanate from at least one individual. Unless you live in a dictatorship that consensus will inevitably be a product of multiple inputs.
This is really a natural law about evolution which determines the possible effect of any individual as part of a whole system. We have to understand the difference between our own sphere of autonomy and the world at large which is constituted by the subjective contributions of respectively autonomous beings.
In terms of countering negative influences from outside we have to assess how the rationale of destruction colludes with the morality which we use to organise our personal lives. It is the sense that our own values are being protected by the state that draws us into complicity.
I believe we have been gradually drawn into a conspiracy of capitalist individualism which has now undermined our individual autonomy such that even though we can recognise the corruption in the official narrative, we have no sense of real individuality left to restore a sense of truth. We have become co-opted by a monoculture of self-interest.
Therefore what I am suggesting is that this drive to war represents our individual apathy in face of the need to take responsibility for our own lifestyles. It is only a half-hearted solution to protest against the gross excesses of imperial aggression while we ignore the blatant inequalities we uphold in our lifestyles. Because it is to maintain the hierarchy of privilege that these wars are fought, and we are all part of the hierarchy unless we start to take responsibility for our own lives as part of a just solution for equal and compassionate sharing of the planet.