Sunday, January 29, 2012

Endless Enemies

The Greatest Threat

It's not the Mooslims.

"There’s always a Looming Danger, an Ominous Threat lurking somewhere – that’s the War Party’s bread-and-butter. Back in the day, it was the Germans, who were going to cross the Atlantic and meet their Japanese allies somewhere near the Mississippi. Then it was the Commies, who were not only in the process of swallowing Asia but supposedly had their Fifth Column right here in the US, ready willing and able to take the Capitol at a signal from the Kremlin. After that there was some hesitation in deciding just who or what would take the place of the Red Threat, but that was decided on September 11, 2001, when Osama bin Laden’s Global Caliphate emerged as the Bogeyman of the moment. It turned into quite a long moment, as we have seen, one that still lingers to this day, even after bin Laden’s death and the crushing of al-Qaeda: Americans, being sentimentalists, hang on to their villains long after their shelf life has expired.

That’s because these dark eminences are alluring, in their way: the narratives we construct tell us a story we can be proud of, a tale of derring-do in which the American people are made of Heroic Stuff, holding aloft the Torch of Freedom lest it be extinguished by rampaging hordes of Orcs, sacrificing their pelf, their liberty – and, often, their lives – in the name of Saving the World.

The Threat has great value to our rulers: they cling to this narrative because it justifies their power, and their insatiable desire for more. President Barack Obama started out his recent state of the union address by invoking the Threat and holding up the military’s response to it as a shining example:

“These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s armed forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.”

Yes, just imagine if civil society was organized along military lines, with all of us taking orders from our commander-in-chief – what a glorious time it would be!

Our rulers invoke these militaristic metaphors as exhortations to get us in line: we hear much about “unity,” “unselfishness,” glorification of “the mission” (whose mission?). These are the bromides uttered by tyrants and would-be tyrants, who would love to turn society into a civilian army. Their vision of the future is of a collective marching in lockstep down the road to whatever hellish fate they have in store for us."



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Speaking of threats...did you watch the interview with former Navy Seal Bill Wood that I sent you earlier?

Probably one of the most mind blowing links I've seen for the past while.


29/1/12 3:18 PM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

I've got to admit I haven't gc, but I've favorited it and when I have a couple hours I'll forgo a movie and do it instead, it sounds fascinating.

30/1/12 7:20 PM  

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