I’ve been thinking about this and talking about it for a while now, the structuralized cultural insanity necessitated by war that has taken on new form thanks to NeoConservatives and NeoLiberals capitalizing (literally, in most cases) on 9/11.
I do not, however, believe that this is just a matter of bald propaganda, where the powerful push a lie they are fully cognizant of being 100% false in order to further their own very personal interests. Howard Zinn noted that “war corrupts everyone” and he really did mean everyone involved. War, by nature of how horrid it is, necessitates believing in an enemy where such acts are are at least excusable if not justified. Those who carry out and promote the war have to believe in these lies too.* What makes the current war unique is that as a war defined as Global and undefined as to ultimate objective (a way or time to end it), this lie that is taken for granted by all (including its sellers) must be all-encompassing in scale and be reinforced continually. Something reinforced over so much time (we’re talking over a decade now) becomes ingested culturally, as not just a cultural insanity but a structural one. Take the Cold War, its fear and paranoia of a looming enemy that could be anywhere in the world and its enforcement over decades, make its clandestine actions of war (proxy or otherwise) public and guided/justified by law and mandate, add in blatant armed conflict in the traditional sense… well, we may be living through a third World War though no one seems to want to call it that (I am fine not calling it that).
This mythology of Al Qaeda is a part of the larger Islamophobia-Industrial Complex. There are those involved in the traffic of these ideas who are concerned about the “the threat” and there are those who are helping sell the ideas because it is simply the way the market of ideas is trending for maximal profit, but either way the continuation of this reinforces the myth into realm of accepted fundamental “truth” and investigation into unseating the myth is eventually seen not only as unnecessary but dangerous. When the insanity is dominant in a perpetual war atmosphere to be sane places one in the camp of the enemy, and you know how we feel about The Enemy.
*This is not to say that there aren’t war profiteers who are more concerned with selling their product than the nature of the war. Of course these figures fit nicely into the current structure and structural stability of the War/Islamophobia-Industrial Complex regardless.
But then Galula put the boot in to the aspiring counter-insurgents. Whether it was due to his disenchantment with what had happened in Algeria is not clear - but Galula laid out the central problem for the counterinsurgents when they tried to mirror the communist revolutionaries - they didn’t have a cause:
“One basic difference between insurgency and counterinsurgency is that the insurgent starts out with nothing but a cause and grows to strength, while counterinsurgent often starts with everything but a cause and gradually declines in strength to the point of weakness”
So the RAND corporation decided to find something equivalent to a cause, powerful enough to bring the villagers in SE Asia over to the American side.
Up to this point RAND had been exclusively dealing with the tactics of nuclear warfare, but in the mid 60s it turned its attention to counterinsurgency - or what they started calling COIN. And very quickly there was a furious debate within the think tank.
The traditionalists argued that you stuck with the Hearts and Minds approach - or what they now called HAM. But others said that this never worked because the Americans didn’t have as powerful a vision to offer the peasants as the communist revolutionaries did. They didn’t have a romantic picture of creating a new world.
The solution, they said, was to fuse counterinsurgency with modern economic theory - above all the theory of the free market - and treat the villagers as “rational actors” in an economic system. You didn’t offer them a vision, or a cause, instead you gave them “selective incentives” to co-operate with the government, plus disincentives to stop them resisting.
wow. So a former true-believer who has seen how worthless counterinsurgency is (Galula) tells counterinsurgency wonks the obvious reason why this is so (that frankly I’m baffled no one realized in the first place): They begin to work from a place of zero vision, particularly vision FOR those they want to dominate and pretend to help (this in itself being a problem as well that goes unsaid). So instead of abandoning counterinsurgency the RAND corporation (essentially the forefathers of COIN) try to infuse something that’s even worse and more morally bankrupt than having no vision whatsoever: modern economic theory, the theory of the free market, Rational Choice theory, and all that nonsense for fucking academic 2-year olds…
I mean, I knew COIN was some absurd, dumb shit devised by clueless assholes, but holy crow it’s somehow even a lot worse than that.
Every American President pulls this sort of fucked up shit when it comes to international policy. Every supporter of any given American President will tell you “Oh he’s got access to information that we can’t understand, oh he’s actually playing strategy, oh he’s actually so wise.” Despite this claim of access to information and Nth Dimensional Chess, every American President manages to make the world more unstable and a worse place via actions like this. Also, the evidence always overwhelmingly supports the idea that actions like this have fuck-all to do with “intelligence” and everything to do with protecting American power and hegemony at the cost of foreign lives and livelihood.
I guess I’d be commenting under anonymity too if I was speaking such absolute horseshit in defense of what amounts to State-based terrorism. Fuck this guy,