28 July 2005 — The New Dark Age
A major shift in the language of conflict has commenced on both sides of the Atlantic this week. It is a shift we should note with concern, because it helps to mask another rasp on the ratcheting up of control over our freedoms of speech, thoughts and ideas.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General Myers chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as such the supreme military commander of US Forces worldwide (and the guy who was shooting the Breeze with Congressman McLellan in his office whilst Manhattan burned across the Hudson river and the Pentagon was blitzed and a field in Pennsylvania became the instant grave of hi-jacking Saudi terrorists and their passengers that clear September Morning in 2001) have spoken of “a global struggle against violent extremism” rather than “the global war on terror,” which had been the catchphrase, the leitmotif, the cliché for almost any military activity anywhere that the US chose to use it. Hitler of course used the title for his autobiography of “Mein Kampf” … My Struggle.
The “War on Terror” is evidently a phrase that has outlived its usefulness, not because it doesn’t frame the policy but it exposes the failure of that war, and hence the failure of the Military in fighting that war.
General Richard Myers, told the National Press Club on Monday (25/7) that he had “objected to the use of the term ‘war on terrorism’ before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution.”
He said the threat instead should be defined as violent extremism, with the recognition that “terror is the method they use.”
Whilst military might has evidently failed – although that is not what he said, he saw that we need to use “all instruments of our national power, all instruments of the international communities’ national power.” The solution is “more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military,” he concluded. i.e after having fumbled the ball too often, we military heroes are passing the ball to the Politicians.
The scuttlebut on the Hill from a swarm of spinners and Presidential apparatchiks says this reflects the evolution in Bush’s own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks. It is also said to follow through from Bush’s recent utterances emphasizing freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas.
To emphasise this shift in “thinking” ( a word we don’t often attribute to POTUS) Rumsfeld used the new language of deceit on Friday when addressing an audience for the retirement ceremony of Admiral Vern Clark as chief of naval operations at Annapolis, Maryland. Rumsfeld described America’s heroic efforts as it “wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization.”
Since then “Rummy” has jetted off to Iraq and been seen in photo ops with the token black female soldiers. He arrived there on a surprise visit via Tajikistan and Kyrgistan. Prompted by the joint July 5th announcement by Russia, China, in recommending a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from bases Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan which the US had used as well as air access and overfly rights rights since the 2001 war in Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld held separate meetings with leaders in Kyrgyzstan, who promised continued base facilities in the country, and in Tajikistan, which permits flyover, fueling and emergency operations. The public assurances marked an official turnaround by the countries, both of which on July 5 joined Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in recommending a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops.
Most critical in the region was a commitment by Ismail Isakiv, Kyrgyzstan’s defence Minister that U.S. forces can continue operations at the strategically important Manas (also called Ganci) air base. About 1,000 U.S. troops are stationed at the base, established near a civilian airport outside the capital of Bishkek in December 2001 to carry out refueling, airlift and fighter missions to support the war in Afghanistan.
In Dushanbe, the capital, of Tajikistan Rumsfeld met with President Imamali Rakhmonov, who provided words of comfort for the US “war on terrorism”.
Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov appeared with Rumsfeld on the lawn of the Presidential dacha and confirmed Tajikistan’s commitment “We intend to continue our active cooperation with the United States and other anti-terrorist coalition in terms of the anti-terrorist struggle,”
So no real change in the “War on terrorism” in central Asia then. Military build up and carrots and sticks for the ruling despots.
In the real world of US and European politics this shift in language is one of the most public changes in the administration’s strategy to battle ‘al-Qa’eda’ and its alleged affiliates, and it follows through from Bush’s recent speeches emphasizing freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas. It is also echoed – surprise, surprise, by the comments at a Press briefing by Tony Blair, lawyer and Prime Minister on 26th July at No 10
Again this is very difficult to say, but I want to say it to you nonetheless, people have got to be prepared to go into the Muslim community and say, what you are saying about America is rubbish. Now that is difficult because look, there are lots of people, there are people who write things in this country saying America has an evil foreign policy and all the rest of it, look leave aside whether it is right or wrong, American foreign policy or not, or British foreign policy, America is not acting to suppress Islam. People who are Muslims in America, or Muslims in this country, are entitled to worship. We have got to confront this in a more fundamental way, otherwise what happens is, and as I say I know this is a difficult thing to say but it has to be said I think otherwise you don’t get to grips with this properly, we have got to be prepared to confront the ideas of these people as well as their means, their ends as well as their means. If you don’t do that, you never get to the heart of this, because what will always happen is that there will be people there who, if it is accepted as a matter of course, yes of course Israel shouldn’t exist, yes American foreign policy is evil, yes what happened in Iraq or Afghanistan was designed to suppress Islam, if people accept those as ideas it is far less of a step into the extremism of terrorism. If you challenge the ideas, you challenge it at its roots.
Steven Hadley, the US national security adviser is quoted in the International Herald Tribune “It’s a global struggle against extremism. We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative.”
Which is again reflected in our Dear leader’s remarks on Tuesday, in a chilling and telling way, displaying how this Christian zealot aligns with the defenders of Zion.
There is only one side, it is the side of the people wanting a democracy. Yes of course that is what they want to do, what they want to do everywhere, the people who expound this terrorist ideology, they want to divide us. That is why I don’t even agree actually Michael that in the end they just want us out of Arab countries, they don’t, it is far more fundamental than that, they want a war between Islam and other religions, that is what they want, that is why they keep to referring to this as the crusader Zionist alliance and all this sort of rubbish. That is what they want, they want a situation in which we end up being divided.
Again and again he returns to the belief in an ideological struggle..
There is no justification for suicide bombing … the ideology of this evil. Not just the methods but the ideas. When we actually have people going into the communities here in this country and elsewhere and saying I am sorry, we are not having any of this nonsense about it is to do with what the British are doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, or support for Israel, or support for America, or any of the rest of it. It is nonsense, and we have got to confront it as that. And when we confront it as that, then we will start to beat it.
This declared (and let’s face it, uncontested by anyone ) shift in emphasis won’t change policy one bit but is carefully designed ;
1. To stress to the public that the effort is not only military.
2. The unnerved leadership also wants / needs to reassure those in uniform (and their families) who complain that it is only the armed forces who are making the sacrifice for the war on terror.
Opinion polls highlight that the US voter is increasingly pessimistic about the mess / mission in Iraq, and show that many more now doubt it has anything to do with the much publicised counter – terrorism mission. The Administration (who have better spinners than the Australian Cricket team – and that’s an admission) is therefore trying to force the public to realise the broader, long-term threat to the United States and “put into perspective”, i.e diminish the daily mayhem in Iraq and the mounting military casualties which increasingly form a slice of TV news. Indeed there has been such an emphasis on the events in London, that one suspects this is to blank out the recent carnage in Baghdad. (Incidentally did you see that the first pics, inside the ruined Tube trains was first seen by the US public on ABC TV?). It also helps of course to internationalise the “struggle” – a modest plus which conspiracy theorists might seize on as evidence of authorship for the slaughter on London Transport.
Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, who with his father were hugely responsible for the Zionist neo-con sea change in US foreign policy which was engineered into place by 9/11, is quoted in an interview that if America restricted itself to “protecting the homeland and attacking and disrupting terrorist networks, you’re on a treadmill that is likely to get faster and faster with time.” The key to “ultimately winning the war,” he said, “is addressing the ideological part of the war that deals with how the terrorists recruit and indoctrinate new terrorists.” Which on analysis means, keep up smashing the anti-Zionists in the Middle East – and making life even more difficult here in the UK.
In the most reported sound and sight bite of his Press Conference, at which he gave a bravura performance, our Dear Leader chose a striking metaphor..
(On 9/11 )… a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again. And we are not going to deal with this problem, with the roots as deep as they are, until we confront these people at every single level. And not just their methods, but their ideas.
In a million saloon bars, and golf clubs the heads nodded in agreement. Of course it’s their ideas we must attack, extreme views, books, the Internet … and secretly the members of Parliament whose members are elected to protect our interests, sit down and tick off the Policemen’s shopping list, at the behest of policemen like Blair of the Yard, who can 4 hours after the event, barefacedly lie that a man lying dead with 8 bullets in his head, mercilessly shot by his men was “connected with the terrorist bombings”.
The language not only shifts, but with it the increasing stranglehold on liberty and ideas. For a pessimistic view on the solipsistic universe that our dear leader has connection with, listen to a man who has seen his rise from closer than many- Sir Roy Hattersley, the former deputy Labour leader,
“The ultimate justification for the war in Iraq – when it was no longer possible to pretend that weapons of mass destruction were only 45 minutes away – was that Blair’s conscience allowed no other course of action.”
“The notion of accepting a view other than his own has never entered his head.”
Mein Kampf indeed