April 24, 2008
The Big Lie
In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
In America today, what is the Big Lie? In an era where power-grubbing politicians spout self-serving rhetoric daily, there are many candidates. In my opinion, one falsehood stands out - the claim that US soldiers fight for our freedom. This seems to be the number one bromide used to excuse murder, torture, and wanton destruction. Ask a war-monger politician or ignorant flaghumper why they support the "war," or a military recruit why he joined up, and most likely this is what they vomit: "We're fighting for freedom."
Let's examine this claim objectively to see if there is any truth to the claim. First we need to clarify what they mean. Who is "we" in "We fight for freedom?" Since Americans in general don't fight - most are simply mulcted for money to pay - the "we" refers to members of the military and certain contractors who engage in wars and occupations, and those who aid and abet those military operations. We take "we fight for freedom" to be an objective claim - that the fighting actually promotes freedom - rather than simply the claim that poor deluded grunts think that they are fighting for freedom. In other words, we take it to be a claim about reality rather than simply bragging about how well soldiers and citizens are brainwashed. Also, we need to ask whose freedom is allegedly being promoted. Certainly the financial "freedom" of certain political rulers and munitions industry shareholders is promoted spectacularly. However, we take the "who" to be American people in general, and perhaps also people in occupied territories. Finally, we need to define what we mean by freedom. According to Die.net, freedom is "the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints."
Do the military and contractors, as used by US rulers' military policy, actually promote freedom for Americans? The answer is an unequivocal "no." US military policy has resulted in a significant loss of freedom. Political fallout from military intervention and its associated crisis-mongering has resulted in the PATRIOT Act, the nationalization of airport security by the TSA, the Military Commissions Act, and government propaganda and disinformation overwhelming mass media. The legislative acts allow unprecedented spying on Americans, suspension of habeas corpus on government whim, official condonement of torture, secret renditions of citizens, and many other "externally imposed restraints." Are Americans freer than they were 10 years ago? Of course not. Will future Americans, who will have to pay (or default on) the massive interventionist debt be freer by bearing the cost? No.
Some Americans succumb to the fear-mongering, saying that we should surrender freedom for security. Besides Ben Franklin's wise warning, "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either," there is the hard fact that US interventionism increases rather than reduces danger for American people. Everyone from professional intelligence analysts to terrorists themselves say that US military bases in the Middle East (particularly Saudi Arabia), US support for the Israeli military, and past operations such as the CIA's installation of the Shah of Iran created anti-American terrorism. There would no doubt have been terrorism in the Middle East without chronic US interventionism, but it would not have been anti-American. In the absence of US militarism, terrorists would have been going after local tyrants and addressing local injustices. Fundamentalist Muslim terrorism would have been a danger to despots like Saddam Hussein and the Saudi family, but not to the average American. It is quite clear that the increase in anti-American terrorism caused by interventionist US military policy has increased the danger to Americans of death or injury by terrorists. This is a loss of freedom.
What about the freedom of people in war-torn occupied territories - in Iraq and Afghanistan? The bombing of cities and villages does not make them freer - except in a cynical sense that the dead are free. Starvation, lack of potable water, and the destruction of infrastructure does not make these people freer. Checkpoints where innocents are routinely murdered by US soldiers are clearly the antithesis of freedom. (Of over 2000 killed at checkpoints by last tally, less than a hundred were verified as insurgents.) Shooting rockets or tank rounds into residential areas does not make the victims free. Ransacking homes, kidnapping men, and raping women do not promote freedom. Shooting anyone moving about after curfew, or holding a cellphone or binoculars, or salvaging on the roadside, does not promote freedom. If you don't believe these things happen, happen routinely, and happen by order of officers, you need to listen to the first-hand testimony of solders who witnessed and even perpertrated such actions. Access the Winter Soldier Project at http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier/testimony. Pay particular attention to the "rules of engagement" sections. We come to the obvious and irresistible conclusion that occupations are not a force for freedom, but a gross violation of it.
It's time to put the Big Lie to rest. When you read in some newspaper column or on some web page that "we fight for freedom," take it for what it is - a war criminal's pitiful excuse for mass-murder in foreign lands, and an insidious lie to dupe young "useful idiots" into becoming cannon-fodder for an evil military machine. Death to the US Empire!
O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! - Tom Paine, Common Sense