The age of perpetual war.

March 25, 2010

John Pilger in New Statesman.



  1. I deeply liked this article, not because I approve the sentiment but because it seems entirely accurate. The parallels with Orwell’s 1984 scenario are too depressingly obvious to even mention. Within a year or two of the collapse of the traditional enemy of the USSR it became obvious that rather than a “peace dividend”(remember that?) we would have to have a new enemy in pretty short order.

    We got a few of them. The Mujadheen. Our brave allies in the war against the Evil Empire, as Reagan described the USSR. Those Taliban terrorists, as we call them now. The ones we gave Stinger missiles to, to shoot down Soviet helicopters. Except we never do deals with terrorists. The IRA? We don’t talk to them, ever. Except we did all the time and they’re in government now.

    And Sadam of course, another of our friends until we decided to call him our enemy. We in the West sold him munitions including chemical weapons and long range artillery that was effective out to 40 miles compared to the 15 mile effective range of our artillery at the time. And we did not care about it. The British government tried to jail the directors of Matrix Churchill who supplied the long range artillery until it became clear that Matrix-Churchill could prove in court that it was the very same British government that had approved the sale in the fist place. We sell any weapons to anyone, then pretend to be horrified when they want to do more than show them off in the May Day parade.

    1984 always bears re-reading. The section at the end, about the Three Minutes Hate, is particularly apposite. It predicted eternal war. In half an hour the “eternal enemy” switched from one to another, exactly as we do now. Winston Smith and everyone else knew that the news was the opposite of the way it had been the day before and always would be and that it did not matter.

    Russia has always been our friend, Iraq has always been our enemy. Until the next time we’re told the opposite. The most depressing thing is that it’s judged extremely ill-mannered and downright rude to even mention any of this, especially in any mainstream newspaper.

    It is the age of perpetual war, and the three minutes hate. We also already have the place where there is no darkness, where prime ministers are more than happy to tell us that the facts didn’t matter and still don’t, because they knew what they were doing was right. There is no darkness, only the shining certainty that what we think about anything doesn’t matter anymore, until election time. Then we can be placated with some fluffy pictures of Leader’s Wives, get back in our boxes and shut the fuck up for another four years while things get sorted out without any more meddling from us.

    Perpetual War in the name of democracy, by the people who brought you Guantanamo Bay. And that’s not just the USA.

  2. […] The age of perpetual war. […]

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