Monday, January 4, 2010

Stoking Anxiety for Fun and Profit

Faced with the threat of exploding underwear, the administration has expanded our “Long War” to include the small country of Yemen. This is encouraging news for our corporate-military infrastructure as Iraq winds down and as we move closer to declaring victory in Afghanistan and splitting, thus threatening two of their revenue streams.

Couple this with increased saber rattling over Iran and it looks like its flush days for the Pentagon for several more decades.

It’s all part of the Beltway’s Terror Feedback policy in which we pick a small, impoverished Muslim country, start bombing it , thus creating another generation of terrorists who will provide the rationale for future military campaigns, though military campaign is a misnomer since you can mount a credible campaign against an elusive insurgency.

But campaign or no campaign, our Empty War provides one additional benefit: it stokes America’s anxiety level and turn flying into an even more wretched experience than it already is.

Even though recent attempts to blow up airplanes have been exercise in ineptitude, the Beltway’s response has been one of studied hysteria in which a remote probability is treated as an imminent threat. Personally, the benchmark I use is to ask if the probability of being blown up in an airplane is greater than the possibility of being wacked in an automobile accident. If the probability of death by airplane is less than death by car, I don’t sweat it.

Of course, Beltway couldn’t afford to take this attitude since it would endanger a very viable profit center.

It would also help if our leaders realized that the most effective way of fighting terrorism is to stop producing terrorists. But that would be too boring. It would mean our leaders would have to give up the adrenalin high that comes with bombing impoverished villages into oblivion.

Then there is the stimulation that comes with playing the Great Game, that nineteenth-century struggle between the White nations to control Central Asia and the Middle East. It’s a replay of an aged geopolitical chess game. What our leaders don’t realize is that the rules have changed. The lowly pawn now carries a Kalashnikov and can move with the same impunity as the queen. Not only that, the pawn can leave the board, hide behind the game box and blow away the queen as she passes.

But then, much of our thinking is mired in the nineteenth century, which was the acme of White male supremacy and we’re loathe to let go of it. So we will continue our march into bankruptcy and oblivion just to pump life into a dead past. It’s the only way to keep our credibility intact. Besides, our corporate-military infrastructure is the only one we have left. We’ve off-shored all the others.


Ivan Hentschel said...

Well, either off-shored or sub-contracted: the latest estimate I've seen is that we have one independent contactor on the ground in Iraq/Afghanistan for every soldier we have there. This is a great way to keep the M-I complex whirring while disavowing direct responsibility. Even in 18th and 19th centuries nations did not sink to that level of self-deception.

I knew all had run further amock when I looked at the Sunday "news" and saw that Obama has already been authorizing military support and weapons for activity in Yemen, and because of "threats" from the new arch enemy (Al-Queda in the Arabian Penninsula: oooh...really scarey) and the not-so-successful Christmas day airplane underwear bomber, both the US and Britian have shuttered their Yemenese embassies (absurd paranoia). And Michael Chertoff has monetary ties to the makers of full-body scanners...which will be installed in the US to used on travellers BEFORE THEY LEAVE the country????...And we will pat down people entering the country from "dangerous countries" AFTER they enter the US and have deplaned??? I'm confused.

Meanwhile, as Sec of State, Hillary has raised $54 M to erect a US pavillion in Shanghai? Did I get that right? This will help US-Sino relations HOW, exactly? And this d fund raising is the job of the S of S since WHEN, exactly?

Old white men (with no hair or white hair and/or expensive suits...and I am one) have been holding the empire-ical nations hostage and devising compliance through backwards thinking, fear and nostalgia ( things were much better back when...)for probably as long as anyone can remember or has been recorded: America wants it to be 1952, Israel would like for it to be 1948 and the Catholic Church would like for it to be the age of Augustine and "Holy" roamin' empires again.

I recommend a trip through George Lakoff's "The Political Mind" as an antidote to this malady. And Paul Krugman (especially today 1/4/10) in the NYT or Robert Reich's will help clear up why our thinking economically is outdated, drives the military economics and lacks any rearward perspective.

As an earlier column here documented, the Chinese have managed to be a nation of production (vs. our consumption)without complete dependence upon war machinery: if we stopped thinking like yesterday and focused on the needs of the future, we might not be in this unholy mess.

Case, I'm not certain this is a "geopolitical chess game". I fear it is more like a big game of musical chairs, and the available chairs are becoming fewer and fewer and smaller and smaller. And he with the most guns and best propaganda wins. For now.

Anonymous said...

is porn the only winner during credit crunch?

Case Wagenvoord said...


True, but he who has the most guns usually goes bankrupt buying them.

The tragedy is that our leaders think it is a chess game.