Have the people of the United States become desensitised to the horrendous suffering inflicted by their government, or are they blissful co-imperialists?
The ratcheting up of tensions has placed two culturally and geographically dissimilar countries – Iran and Venezuela – firmly in the cross hairs of yet more illegal American wars based on lies. But lies have now become commonplace and staple in the Empire’s pursuit of her habitual acts of lawlessness and unprovoked aggression. There is push for an American hegemony and control of the natural resources of weak countries first, for the economic windfall of corporate robber barons, and second, for providing a military front on behalf of Israel. Both phenomena have ceased to raise eyebrows. No more pretences after the infamous Pompeo declaration, “We lie, we cheat, we steal”, which inadvertently but accurately summarised the history and essence of the United States since its nascent stages. Donald Trump once smugly called it “taming” the country, implying in his typically overt racist fashion, that before being tamed, the American land mass was an unforgiving wilderness inhabited by savages.
Beyond the impetus for merciless hegemonic quests, Franz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth” have been given a stark choice: surrender to the will of Empire, or follow your independent path at your own assured peril – economic devastation first, then the final blow delivered by a merciless military hammer, if you eschew nuclear arms, that is. Many of these countries have effectively surrendered their sovereignty as they get ever more deeply mired in neoliberal economic muddles prescribed by Washington, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank against the interests of their own impoverished and disenfranchised citizens. Equal numbers had participated in comprehensive armed struggles against English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Belgian, Zionist and German colonial rule. They are now being systematically and seriously sapped of the energy and political will to stand up to neo-colonialism, a phenomenon decidedly grimmer and infinitely deadlier than its classic counterpart.
Israel’s partnership in this imperial adventure is becoming less masked and increasingly brazen. The Israelis are sending 1,000 special IDF forces to Honduras, a US puppet regime, in quiet preparation for the coming war against Venezuela. Other more vociferous accomplices on the margins (Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis and Bahrainis) are gleefully rubbing their hands at the prospect of their sworn religious nemesis, Iran, being wiped off the map or being turned into yet another failed state.
True to gangster tradition of making offers that dare not be refused, the US singles out countries as renegades, pushes them against the wall in the hope that they will react, then blames the victims desperately groping for survival.
What of Venezuela? What possible grounds have led to their rebuke from the newly evolved god, the USA? Whatever the answer, it cannot be on religious grounds. The fact that Venezuela is an overwhelmingly Christian (88%) country does not shield it from the secular god’s wrath who alone can offer salvation with all its earthly rewards, or damnation with the accompanying indiscriminate terrestrial hell. Rewards of worldly heaven for the sycophants and living hell for the audacious and assertive. This is a posture much resembling a prescription from the scriptures. But then designated apostates (only god can designate nations as terrorist, target them for sanctions or embrace them as allies) like Venezuela do not deserve to sit on the world’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas. That is the natural right of Uncle Sam, via the auspices of his installed puppets.
True to gangster tradition of making offers that dare not be refused, the US singles out countries as renegades, pushes them against the wall in the hope that they will react, then blames the victims desperately groping for survival. The sanctions being expanded now force countries once exempted and allowed to buy Iranian oil to look elsewhere for fuel. Among them is the second most populated country in the world, India.
But who gives a damn? If the US did in fact give a hoot about inferior peoples, it would not have acquired their empire by means mostly foul, cruel and unscrupulous. The frontier cowboy bushwhacking mentality lives on and thrives. Naturally, the US is chief among potential beneficiaries of this criminal embargo with higher prices likely to turn it into an exporter of oil, its petroleum magnates and corporate masters raking in the profits borne out of the abject misery visited on millions of targeted victims.
Lest we forget about the 500,000 children murdered by American sanctions against Iraq, which denied these children essential medicines, prompting Madeline Albright to soberly reflect that that macabre criminal measure was “worth it”. The sanctions resulted in the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme, which was equally mired in scandal and controversy that resulted in the loss of billions of dollars.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, recently declared without an atom of remorse or shame, “The Iranian leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat,” abandoning all pretence of caring about Iranian innocents while flaunting the latest overpowering sanctions. So, the US doctrine, evolving in plain sight, is “to make their economy scream”, in the words of the late American President and thug, Richard Nixon, followed by orchestrated starvation of Iranians a la Pompeo and then a wiping out of the Iranian regime with all the military might at America’s disposal (famished and ailing children included).
But here we posit morally searching questions to ponder: In the face of America’s brazen acts of war before even the first bullet is fired, is this not the time for the anti-war warriors to embark on serious preventive and deterrent anti-war stands, and to take to the streets in the tradition of the Yellow Vests in France to carry out civil unrest and make it clear that the crimes of their leaders will not be given a free pass? They are not visible yet, save for the buried voices from the much-maligned Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna, Walter Jones and Barbara Lee. (The latter’s prescient stand against the Afghanistan war led to death threats against her). Where is the Black Caucus when you need it? Where on earth can they possibly be? Or has the American government and the Israel First lobby so effectively neutralised the movement as to make it irreversibly inoperable and useless?
Indeed, has the public become so desensitised to the horrendous suffering of fellow humans beyond their frontiers so callously wrought by their government that they have taken refuge in silence as the easier, gutless exit out of their inescapable burden of guilt – that is if they have any left? Or have they been rendered totally ignorant by servile, cheerleading corporate media that knowingly conceal the criminal acts of their government abroad so much so that the public’s ignorance has become a source of virtual bliss and inaction? Have the lessons of the lies of the Gulf of Tonkin, the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, lies about saving Libyans from Gaddafi, Cubans from Castro, Nicaraguans from Ortega, Haiti from Aristide and Venezuelans from Maduro, about Mandela being a terrorist, about Hamas being designated a terrorist organisation been entirely lost on the public? What of the hitherto essentially abandoned, redundant falsehoods of spreading democracy and human rights, the rule of law and order by a country that clearly ranks as the worst offender of these once lofty principles, running roughshod over civilised norms and international law.
Karl Marx once asserted that religion is the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…the opium of the people. It is doubtful that the sheer magnitude of befuddlement and pacifying of the American public produced with such lethal efficacy by the corporate media could have been foreseen by Marx.
Are these not the same warriors who truncated that other brutal, criminal war in Vietnam by their leaders by protesting courageously until their leaders could no longer continue to play deaf? Or was it simply for nepotistic reasons of not bearing the prospects of more body bags wrapping their relatives who had wasted their lives fighting a criminal and unjust war for an elite that never visited the front lines? Can the American public be credibly oblivious to their country’s unsavoury distinction of having launched more unprovoked and criminal wars of aggression post-WWII, killing more innocents than the rest of humanity combined? What exactly are they teaching these young men and women, boys and girls in schools, colleges, universities and temples of worship where salvation is ostensibly at hand and the honourable pursuit of divine justice a matter of moral duty?
Karl Marx once asserted that religion is the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…the opium of the people. It is doubtful that the sheer magnitude of befuddlement and pacifying of the American public produced with such lethal efficacy by the corporate media could have been foreseen by Marx. Or is it a newly-found potent mix of propaganda, employing religion as a mass pacifier instead of agitator, along with runaway consumerism that has produced this unprecedented state of brain demise, amorality and bizarre insensitivity to the suffering and pain of others? Why this inexplicable, thunderous silence and moral turpitude from what should instead be the conscience of the nation and voices of reason? Why?
Identical questions could be asked of European anti-war warriors. No ready answers seem to be forthcoming from there either. Did their leaders not commit to stand by Iran to circumvent the evil American sanctions so Iranian civilians can enjoy a reasonably normal life in the face of so much adversity after their government had complied with the letter and spirit of the original Iran nuclear deal that Trump had trashed? Have any of their commitments borne fruit yet? Not one. Nada. Zilch. Yet they have the gall to reject Iran’s ultimatum to remove the cap on enriching uranium, something that Iran perhaps should have done well before the ill-fated agreement was to be signed and unceremoniously discarded. That posture may well have put Iran on par with North Korea which at least is allowed the luxury of occasional fake negotiations and bogus dialogues (albeit mostly on Washington’s terms) but still North Korea is resolute enough not to yield to the machinations of certified, compulsive liars. All the impassioned discussions from the White House about evil Iran’s nuclear programme make no mention, not a word, of Israel’s estimated 400 nuclear warheads.
The real heartbreak comes not from the lack of sensible and satisfactory answers to the many questions posed here. It comes from a sense of impotence both inside and outside the US. It is one occasioned by the one-way orders and edicts issuing from the modern secular deific entities collectively constituted by the American leadership. They are deities with barely any modicum of demonstrable compassion. It is reminiscent of the god of the Old Testament – vindictive, cruel, merciless, racist and bloodthirsty. Such traits and the aversion to peace have become the defining qualities of these deities, their disciples and the secular lumpen spiritariat.
And to such a deity, his creatures have been left with no choice but total and unconditional submission. Freedom as a dream, as aspiration, as a catalyst for hope, is now being consigned to the trash bins of revisionist history because the new gods thus ordain it. Francis Fukuyama’s erroneous title of “The End of History” fell flat on its face because it was myopic and deceitfully triumphalist. It should have read, “The End of Resistance”.
This article was originally published in the Black Agenda Report with the title, Where have all the anti-war warriors gone? It is published on The Elephant with permission from the author.