Monthly Archives: December 2013

On War, Part 7

When one considers war, it is most often with regard to the actions of the state against its enemies, and these enemies are almost always represented as nations or groups external to the state and its people; that is, the “us vs. them” conflict of one country or tribe against another. However, war can also be turned internally, initially in the form of civil disobedience, progressing up the turmoil curve through rioting and radicalism, and ending with revolution and civil war.
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On War, Part 6

It was inevitable, after the long, grinding quagmire of the post-9/11 Iraq War, that it would be compared to the quagmire of Vietnam. Of course, there are many differences: one occurred in Indochina, the other in the Mid-East; they occurred in different generations and under different political circumstances; one involved use of the draft, the other did not, with resulting differences in the scale and depth of public resistance; the access to information by the public was substantially different, as the Internet obviously did not exist in the Vietnam era; and, most notably, the fact that the planners of the Iraq War had something that the planners of the Vietnam conflict did not: the example of the Vietnam War. Yet, for all their differences, the most important comparisons are where they are remarkably the same: specifically, the disturbing degree to which propaganda and doctrine served to almost completely remove the decision makers from reality, with predictable results.
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On War, Part 5

It is undeniable that the ability of a government to control and manipulate information – whether through the propaganda machine or outright lies – is intrinsic to the process of preparing a society to embrace war. For when left to their own devices, and provided with the ability to make reasoned decisions in the presence of unaltered information, the vast majority of the masses have historically proven very unsupportive of aggression when their own lives may be at stake.
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All our lives a slave

I have yet to see the movie 12 Years a Slave, mostly because after nearly twenty years in a committed relationship with a “woman of color” I am not sure what feelings the movie will instill in me that I have not already explored during the course of my own experience and studies. An intense sense of outrage, certainly. The shock that comes with witnessing, albeit through the magnifying lens of the camera, the terrible and dehumanizing cruelty that one man can inflict on another. The shame of being associated, if only through the accident of hereditary skin color, with those who perpetuated such acts. But I do not need the spectacle of a movie event to awaken those emotions; I can run the full gamut on any given day by merely opening the newspaper, or reading through the online comments section of any story that has the temerity to discuss the concept of slavery in this so-called post-racial America.
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