I promised my fellow Roundtree contributors that I would write something about the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, so naturally I haven’t been able to think of anything to say about the war in Iraq. I don’t have much to say about war in general, although I generally have plenty to say about how the overemphasis on standardized testing has led to compartmentalizing the public school curriculum which undermines critical thinking which, in connection to other socioeconomic factors, feeds the all volunteer military and provides an endless stream of low-wage workers.
I don’t have much to say about the military either. Bradley Manning’s situation sums up pretty much everything anybody needs to know about the military. Here’s Ethan McCord, an eye witness to the events of Collateral Murder, in a film by The Sanctuary for Independent Media:
There are all kinds of polls showing things like 60% of the public opposes cutting the military budget by 8%, which is what happens in the event of that sequester bullshit (Business Insider). 54% of Americans support using drones on terrorists, and 29% are good with drones even when innocent civilians are blasted to bits (HuffPo). These statistics stand to reason when you consider that public education in the US is structured so that people can’t make connections. Jonathan Kozol outlines the whole thing in his book, The Night is Dark and I Am Far from Home: a political indictment of US public schools (1975). When I was in grad school for Education years ago, that book was the first reading assignment. Woody, who was a curriculum theory professor for about 20 years, is convinced Richard Nixon was looking at all the kids saying “Hell No, We Won’t Go,” to Vietnam and decided then and there to dumb down America. Given that Dick Cheney found his way into Nixon’s White House through Donald Rumsfeld, you can see how that could happen and how the system became fully entrenched with all the shit that has trickled down since Reagan was inaugurated.
The whole thing gives me a sick head ache and is why I really have nothing to say about war except:
In deference to my atheist friends, let me just say that evolution and creation can be the same thing – and even though we clearly did not create ourselves, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we were created by Grandpa in the Sky. I don’t believe in Grandpa in the Sky either, but I do believe there is a creative energetic force in the universe. Who knows what it is or where it came from? Similarly, as someone whose existentialism was cemented firmly in my philosophical foundation when I first read Cat’s Cradle in 1976, I resist the idea that people come into being for any reason or purpose at all whatsoever. Once we start living our lives, we find our own reasons for being. Love is a good one.
To me, war is pretty much the biggest example we have of what happens when people operate from Fear instead of from Love. Marianne Williamson writes about this idea, and so do a lot of other people who also reference A Course In Miracles, but Daniel Quinn’s novel, Ishmael lays it out from the perspective of cultural anthropology. Fear/Love; Spirit/Ego or as Quinn says Leavers/Takers.
Dick Cheney metaphorically leads the Taker charge when it comes to waging war for direct, instant profits and for future profits when he and his buddies grab the mineral rights. We know there’s a shit ton of minerals in Afghanistan that the New York times calls, “essential to modern industry” (June 13, 2010). Who knows what’s in Iraq? We just know there never were any weapons of mass destruction. Bokonists will tell you that anything you hear from the government is all foma. Lies, Lies, Lies. In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut makes the point that governments need outlaws, especially religious outlaws, to maintain control over the people. Vonnegut was writing about LBJ and Vietnam at the time, but the same idea has played out in spades in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and so many other places where the US has covert boots on the ground combatting Terror that I’ve lost count. Right now, it looks like Bradley Manning is going to wind up on The Hook – the method of public execution on the fictional island of San Lorenzo reserved for anyone practicing Bokonism which is a lot like telling Truth to Power.
Although this administration has officially pulled out of Iraq, Blackwater (aka Xe aka Academi) is keeping the peace along with other military contractors like DynCorp. DynCorp used some of the 691 million tax payer dollars it has received in government contracts to bankroll a party where young boys were auctioned off to stoned Afghan cops (Houston Press, 12.7.10). US Central Command has given KBR the opportunity to compete for $3.8 billion of construction projects over the next few years in 20 Middle Eastern countries (Washington Technology). For the record, KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton, one of Dick Cheney’s corporate spawn. As it happens, Halliburton was up to it’s big fat ass in the Deepwater Horizon rig which opened a fissure on the floor of the Gulf that is evidently still leaking. This administration cleared the way for BP to drill in the gulf again back in 2011, and believes it’s fair for BP to take a tax deduction for fines and and penalties related to the destruction of that ecosystem. In real life, Endless War and Ecocide combined are destroying the planet just like Ice-9 did in Cat’s Cradle. Busy, busy, busy.