Thursday, April 21, 2011
"I’d rather fight them over there than here," deception....
'I’d Rather Fight Them Over There Than Here'
by Michael S. Rozeff
"I’d rather fight them over there than here." This is one of those sayings designed to garner the support of Americans for the government’s 21st century wars.
Let’s see what’s wrong with this slogan, which, on the surface, sounds plausible..
In the runup to the U.S. attack on Iraq in March of 2003, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice kept repeating "weapons of mass destruction." This was to arouse your fears and short-circuit your rational thought. To demonize Saddam Hussein and link him to 9/11, they spoke of his "arsenal of terror." They wanted to scare you into supporting an attack on Iraq.
Come 2011 and Obama calls forth visions of "massacre" in Benghazi. or "protecting civilians" so that you will support his and NATO’s war in Libya.
In the same class of propaganda as these examples is "I’d rather fight them over there than here."
Rumsfeld, Rice and Bush all pushed this line repeatedly in 2006 and earlier.
Let’s not accept this saying at face value. Let’s ask who is the "them" and where is the "there"? You may have been thinking that the government was after terrorists. Maybe, but it seems to have other objectives guiding its foreign wars.
The U.S. government made the Iraqis and the Taliban the "them" and made Iraq and all of Afghanistan the "there." The terrorism in those countries rose sharply. On one reading, the U.S. government is so dumb that it cannot even identify terrorists and their precise location, even with huge amounts allocated to the CIA. On another reading, the government has made these wars for geopolitical reasons that have little to do with terrorism. On a third reading, the government has been led into these wars by various interest groups. These three readings are not mutually exclusive. All three may apply.
"There than here" is the choice of where to fight. That’s a diversion. When Bush and his gang pushed that line, they intended to divert attention away from a long list of troubling and central questions being asked by critics of their wars. Whom are we fighting? Why are we supposed to be fighting them? Have we identified the right enemy? Why do they want to fight us? Are we responsible in part for their grievances? Do we need a war to settle our differences? Have we tried and exhausted other means? If we are going to war, has Congress debated it and declared it? Is this war pragmatically or prudently justified? Is this a just war? Do we understand what conditions mean an end to this war? Have we set out appropriate objectives?
Bush chose this trick in order to shift attention away from his weak spot. He wanted to shift the ground of the debate away from the criticism that there did not have to be this fight. There did not have to be this war on Iraq. The Iraq war was not only immoral and unconstitutional, it had become evident that the war was not even justified pragmatically on Bush’s own terms.
Bush and company could not justify their attack on Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction there. Saddam Hussein planned no attack on the U.S. None was imminent. He didn’t launch an attack on the Trade Towers or the Pentagon. Bush couldn’t and didn’t connect him with the terrorists who hijacked the airplanes. Bush had no grounds for the war, so he shifted the debate. He shifted the debate away from justifying the war to the notion that the war was a given and that what really mattered now was fighting it "there not here."
"There than here" doesn’t address all the important questions. It narrows the choice down to "where." It assumes that there is an appropriate them. It assumes that fighting is the appropriate means to deal with this appropriate them. It assumes that a war is appropriate. It assumes that appropriate procedures have been followed in getting into this war. If all of this and more were really so, then indeed maybe it would be better to fight this "them" over "there" than here. However, even the "there" is not self-evidently every foreign land where terrorists are or might be lurking. For example, expanding the U.S. attacks into Pakistan is a bad idea. In general, overseas wars may prove far more costly for Americans than taking other more defensive measures.
Obama did much the same trick when he told us that Gaddafi was going to massacre the population of Benghazi. He presented us with a false choice: massacre vs. NATO intervention. Massacre, however, was and is implausible. It is a remote possibility. It is an imagined threat. If it were a real threat, we would have been given evidence that massacre was one of Gaddafi’s strategies or that he had used it on other towns he had captured. We would have had evidence that he was bringing up the technology to carry out a mass extermination. There would be satellite photos or other evidence. If massacre were a real threat, wouldn’t Obama and NATO leave open the option of sending in forces to secure the city while it was evacuated? Instead they ruled out this option. The term "massacre" has the earmarks of a big lie. This is a highly inflammatory term, like holocaust. Obama chose this term intentionally.
In the same exact way that Bush justified attacking Iraq by what he imagined to be Saddam Hussein’s war-making intentions, Obama attacked Libya by imagining a Gaddafi massacre. If any nation can go to war against another and attack it or intervene in its affairs because of what it imagines might be someone’s intentions, this planet is going to be racked by continual warfare...