11/06 Open Thread: We Need a War on War, Wars, Warfare and all that

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pace_colomba

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The US, has been engaged in some sort of war, overt or covert, hot or cold, direct or by proxy, military or economic, for my entire life and I have passed my 3 score years and 10. Actually, we've been at it for almost our entire history, both as a nation and as colonies before that. It is what we do, and, seemingly, what we love. Before you dispute the idea that we are fond of war, consider our linguistic habits. We can't even perform basic hygene without invoking a WAR on Cavities. If you want public support and commitment in the US, you declare a war on something. We've had, in addition to the war on cavities, a war on poverty, a war on cancer, wars on crime, a war on drugs, a war on terror, a war on opioids and more. Luddites among us decry the alleged war on lightbulbs and the war on plastic straws in an attempt to enlist support for their cause. Certain christianistas attempt to terrorize their followers by telling tales of some mythic War on Xmas. (snerk)

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I have, for most of my life, opposed war and, more broadly, violence. I have participated in a type of war on war in the streets, in meeting halls, campus plazas, in print and from the podium. So far I seem to be losing. I am not alone, I know that there are many who truly oppose war, many who conditionally claim to do so, under appropriate circumstances, and I know of great numbers who claim not to like, favor or desire war. So why are we here. Why are we, face it, a warfare state with a war dependent economy? Well, one contributing factor is the fact that we've had a powerful propaganda machine, actually, several, pushing war and related goals and ideas since the fifties, and a serious yellow press for many decades before that. We've been insular and isolationist while being imperialist, jingoist and globalist and a ton of other things that don't seem to belong in the same box, but somehow did and do. So how should we address this?

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As I said above, we need a war on war. Whomever controls the narrative controls the past, present and future, and declaring war on something is, as it seems to be, the tried and true way to "git 'er dun", than let's go for it. A War on War, isn't, of course, anything close to a narrative or narrative control, just a slogan or bumper sticker. So, at this point I'm going to hand things off to Caitlin, and simply post here a complete copy of her column entitled In A Society Built On War, We Must Do More Than Just Prefer Peace. Please read and re-read it. Then save it and drag it out and refer to it quarterly or so while beginning to try to act upon it.

In A Society Built On War, We Must Do More Than Just Prefer Peace

In A Society Built On War, We Must Do More Than Just Prefer Peace
by Caitlin Johnstone
American activist Angela Davis once said, "In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” Our responsibility to truth and justice isn't fulfilled by merely witnessing the perverse tendency in western society toward white supremacy without participating in it, any more than our responsibility is fulfilled by merely witnessing but not participating in a gang rape. Simply choosing not to participate in a grave injustice while giving it our tacit permission to continue is insufficient, especially if the color of your skin gives you an advantage resulting from that injustice. This injustice must be forcefully opposed.

The same is true of war, which is the glue that holds together the empire which dominates our society.

There is a painfully common notion among leftists and progressives that it is perfectly acceptable to focus on domestic policy while de-emphasising the importance of foreign policy, or even ignoring foreign policy entirely. Politicians can generate immense support for themselves simply by promoting decent domestic policies while maintaining foreign policy that is not terribly distinct from the CIA/CNN mainstream consensus. I'm not as familiar with right-wing political circles, but I gather that libertarians and other right-leaning anti-interventionists often encounter a similar deprioritization of sane foreign policy.

War is the worst thing in the world. In terms of death, destruction and suffering caused to human beings, nothing else comes close: it's just the absolute worst thing. It is worse than economic injustice. It is worse than racism. It is worse than sexism. It is worse than homophobia and transphobia. It is worse than draconian drug policies and immigration policies. All of those things are bad. War is worse. The politics of anyone who claims to care about people should reflect this.

If you don't think that war is the worst thing in the world, it's only because you haven't looked closely enough at exactly what it is and how it works. Wars always necessarily involve not just mountains of human corpses, but lives ruined forever, bodies ripped apart, brains permanently destroyed by neurological trauma and minds permanently destroyed by psychological trauma, millions displaced from their homes, rape and slavery and human trafficking rising exponentially in the chaos, extremist factions rising to power and inflicting unspeakable evils on people. The suffering that is inflicted by every one of these military operations which get promoted by middle-aged men in DC think tanks in a casual tone of voice with the occasional joke mixed in, the suffering is literally unfathomable.

We live in a civilization that was built by war. A civilization that is currently propped up by war. A civilization that has its future mapped out with war as its career and war as its retirement plan. The political and economic system which dictates the way our society moves and operates has its roots sunk deep into the soil of war. The only thing separating us from the wars our government is waging in our name is physical proximity.

In such a society, it is not enough to merely not be a warmonger. It is not enough to simply have a preference for peace. Our responsibility to truth and justice does not end in our non-participation in warmongering, because the wars go on regardless. In fact, those who are responsible for keeping the wars going would much prefer that we didn't think too hard about them. Because they know that if we thought with lucid intellectual honesty about the horrors that our civilization is unleashing upon the world every single day, we would find this entire system intolerable.

It is the responsibility of anyone who wants to be a good person, anyone who wants to be a just person, anyone who wants to be a truthful and authentic person to stand in ferocious opposition to this system. To look closely at what's being done by your government and its allies overseas, to learn as much as you can about it, and to oppose it loudly and forcefully. This is more important than any other political agenda you could possibly fight for. If you don't undertake it you have no basis on which to call yourself a good person, a just person, or a truthful or authentic person. You're just another tacit facilitator.

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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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So, what is needed, IMHO is active Peacemongering

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Title Image is Pace_Colomba

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It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours
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Comments

Good to see some data bits devoted to challenging the 'national security' scam.

Cheers!

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8 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS
both waging peace and attacking war. I know I've been backsliding in that area, but it always seems so repetitive. Ah well, more to come, perhaps.

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7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

thanatokephaloides's picture

@enhydra lutris

Good morning QMS. We all really should find a bit more time for
both waging peace and attacking war. I know I've been backsliding in that area, but it always seems so repetitive. Ah well, more to come, perhaps.

It's downright Sisyphean. But we must keep at it, and we do.

Persevere, my friend.

Smile

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6 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Lookout's picture

Caity's piece is nice.

Have you ever seen the comic book "Addicted to War"?
http://www.addictedtowar.com/book.html

Howard Zinn, author of 'A People's History of the United States' says: - "Addicted To War is a witty and devastating portrait of U.S. military policy, a fine example of art serving society."

ADDICTED To WAR is also endorsed by Veterans For Peace, Noam Chomsky, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Ramsey Clark, Ron Kovic, S. Brian Willson, Father Roy Bourgeois, Kathy Kelly, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, Woody Harrelson, Susan Sarandon, Kris Kristofferson, Rev. James Lawson, Blase Bonpane, Patch Adams, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Franti, Fernando Suarez del Solar, and Col. James Burkholder.

I need to order the 2015 version. You can read the 2004 edition on line at the link above. Basically the book re-enforces your points above.

Wishing us all peace and happiness. Have a good one!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

@Lookout
Can't say, especially without looking, whether I've ever seen it or not. I definitely need to take a look though, and will for sure in a bit. Have a good one.

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3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

has her own site up now.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com

new to me

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6 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS
e-mails (I'm a patron), but still haven't visited. Maybe today or tomorrow as part of my current feeble attempt to get my act more together and create time by being "organized", heh.

Have a good one.

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5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

Takes too long to get organized!
And as nik'e would say
'just to do it'

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3 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

It is the responsibility of anyone who wants to be a good person, anyone who wants to be a just person, anyone who wants to be a truthful and authentic person to stand in ferocious opposition to this system. To look closely at what's being done by your government and its allies overseas, to learn as much as you can about it, and to oppose it loudly and forcefully.

And "loudly and forcefully"?

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7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@Wally
when I was at least tenaciously, if not ferociously, opposing war, devoting over 1/2 of my time toward working in various ways large and small toward that end. I do believe that "loudly and forcefully" means, in the context of her title, more than simply passively and silently/quietly; make it known and spread the word, be adamant about it. Become a peace voter and make that known to all the political classes, for example.

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10 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

e.l. I wonder how we get from here to there. Many have been trying for a long time and yet here we are in an era that looks just horrific if we look at what we are doing in other countries.

Dylan sang this a long time ago, as we all know:

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6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@randtntx
the narrative control machine and the pro-war, pro-conflict narrative widely and fully, and challenging it thoroughly has to be part of the process. I don't have much hope for street actions involving less than a huge chunk of the populace and significant geographical saturation will get us too far, and consumer boycotts also need to be volume based. Perhaps an "all approaches" approach is needed.

Have a good one.

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8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris innovation, imagination, art, music, mass participation, education, conversation, etc. etc..
As Anja said, we have to keep pushing.

Caitlin is awesome, bookmarked. Thanks again. Pace.

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3 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

Happy hump day to those of us still in the workforce!

Give peace a chance.

Have a peaceful day, folks! Pleasantry

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6 users have voted.

“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

enhydra lutris's picture

@Raggedy Ann
reading and have a good one.

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

ggersh's picture

we won the battle in stopping the war in Nam
but it sadly seems we lost the war in stopping
all wars.

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8 users have voted.

trump will be amerika's last president

What if the impeachment of tRumpolini is meant
to destroy the D party, makes sense doesn't it?

elections = tptb excuse for sayin ameriKa is a
democracy

enhydra lutris's picture

@ggersh

Have a good one.

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5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

thanatokephaloides's picture

@ggersh

Caitlin is so right: we won the battle in stopping the war in Nam
but it sadly seems we lost the war in stopping all wars.

punctuation adjusted for format change

The tweak:

"Caitlin is so right: we won the battle in stopping the war in Nam
but it sadly seems we are still fighting the war in stopping all wars."

Smile

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4 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

ggersh's picture

@thanatokephaloides PardonPardonPardonPardonPardon

up
2 users have voted.

trump will be amerika's last president

What if the impeachment of tRumpolini is meant
to destroy the D party, makes sense doesn't it?

elections = tptb excuse for sayin ameriKa is a
democracy

thanatokephaloides's picture

@ggersh

One day then I might get it right

You and me both!

And the Ultimate grant we both live to see it!

Smile

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2 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

ggersh's picture

@thanatokephaloides

And the Ultimate grant we both live to see it!

could be scary*help* Help

up
2 users have voted.

trump will be amerika's last president

What if the impeachment of tRumpolini is meant
to destroy the D party, makes sense doesn't it?

elections = tptb excuse for sayin ameriKa is a
democracy

Anja Geitz's picture

Or as the Davis quote astutely points out, does not. While fighting against the powerful machinations to wage war may feel futile at times, closing our eyes is not an option either if we are humanitarians in any sense of the word. We must find ways to protest the vile "policies" perpetrated by this country in our name, and with our tax dollars.

Thank you for including Caity's piece. As usual she succintly zeroes in on the pernicious evil that passes for U.S. Foreign Policy.

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12 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

@Anja Geitz
leverages we have, what "weapons' (figuratively) are available to us, and keep working a little each day. It really is them against us and they really are winning.

Have a good one.

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9 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

It seeems that people who are anti-war bring along issues that allows others to bash them. For example, it seems to me that people who are anti-war don't believe the Russiagate hoax and nor do they participate in knee jerk Russian xenophobia about the Russians being the causes of domestic problems. This makes sense because Russiagate and everything around it uses the language of war, suspicion, and even racism.

Russiagate and everything around it is fertilizing the population with imagery and reasons to justify war with Russia, or any other country who is attacking our society just with "dangerous" memes. And of course, what happens? Smear after smear after smear about loyalty, being a dupe, etc.

The other is "humanitarian war". "We must stop Assad from killing his people--bomb Syria. What you oppose that? You moral monster. You support bloody dictators!!" A variation of that argument is attacking some leader describing him as the most vile and evil person on the earth, and then denouncing any diplomacy. Which happened with North Korea and pretty much Russia now.

Of course then comes the sanctions which of course are fatal to the populations as we seen currently in Syria and VZ. No war, but kill off their populations with economic and other sanctions--just as good as a war. Of course, if you push diplomacy instead of lethal sanctions, the smears come one after another-Saddam lover!!!. Engaging in the vilification also validates the moral cause for intervention the war mongers are pushing.

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10 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@MrWebster
luv sentences like that.) That is why we must figure out ways to destroy those narratives, preferably multiple ways. In addition to any frontal assault on, for example, Russiagate, we also need some "so what" narratives. How about Englandgate -- they meddled too. What is "meddling" really, mere propaganda, which we are bombarded with from a myriad of sources daily and which it is our job to see through and ignore as appropriate. Etc. That is all a huge project that we can all work on, off and on, as we are able.

Have a good one.

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9 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

snoopydawg's picture

Gee who woulda thunk it?

Turns Out That Feeding People Might Help Them Not Die

People are a little less likely to die prematurely if they receive federal food assistance, according to a new study looking at benefits receipt and death records.

The findings come as U.S. policymakers are grappling with rising numbers of “deaths of despair,” such as those from drug overdoses and suicide, and an overall decline in U.S. life expectancy.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has been pushing food benefit cuts that could affect millions.

So how much money will it save to kick certain folks off SNAP? $2.6 billion a year. Yep. Trump and his goons think it is worth kids and other useless eaters starving to death just to save $2.6 billion a year. But they sure could find billions for their pet projects with a drop of a hat now can't they? I think we should outlaw hats. No more dropping them then.

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

enhydra lutris's picture

on with the tablet later. Everybody have a good one.

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

lotlizard's picture

illustrated with two examples: Julian Assange and Syria.

http://thealtworld.com/caitlin_johnston/propaganda-narratives-are-custom...

And, sociology from San Francisco:
The porch pirate of Potrero Hill can’t believe that it came to this (The Atlantic)

When a longtime resident started stealing her neighbors’ Amazon packages, she entered a vortex of smart cameras, Nextdoor rants, and cellphone surveillance.

To which the right-wing columnist Steve Sailer adds:

For some reason, there’s no mention of 2014’s Proposition 47 that made it no longer a felony to steal up to $949 per day.

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@lotlizard

KSL has an article on this too today and in the comments lots of people say that they got the Amazon ring for just this purpose. Yeah it's great for keeping an eye on your property, but the cops love people having them. "Crime in your neighborhood? Mind if we take a look at your video?" The ACLU is getting the word out about people needing to know their rights when cops come a ringing. But what I find worse is that people buy surveillance devices that are then used against them. Alexa doesn't always wait till one says "Alexa" and it just starts recording whenever it wants to. TVs are spying on us too and listening to what people say. "But I've got nothing to hide."

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

smiley7's picture

Hear, hear to your column. Love instead of war.

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6 users have voted.
magiamma's picture

Et all

Late to the party. Great thread. Complicity.

Simply choosing not to participate in a grave injustice while giving it our tacit permission to continue is insufficient, especially if the color of your skin gives you an advantage resulting from that injustice. This injustice must be forcefully opposed.

Looks like more folks are waking up. Go DSA. We need all the tools in the toolbox on all fronts. Visualize...

Thanks for this. Have a good one...

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