War–beyond good and evil

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Earlier this month, a number of European leaders bailed on V–”E Day celebrations in Moscow to attend to an economic crisis on the home front.

Greece, as we all know, is bankrupt, and its government bonds are so worthless they cannot be used as collateral for intergovernmental or interbank loans. Without a public bailout–”where have I heard that before?!–”Greece would have been forced to default on its obligations, thereby undermining the euro and the entire European banking system.

At length, European leaders grudgingly put together a 750-billion euro rescue package, but at the price of forcing Greece to impose onerous austerity measures on its citizens. The Greek people responded with mass demonstrations, rioting and strikes. Can’t blame them, really–”it wasn’t their fault the Greek government blew the budget on the Olympics and can’t pay its bills.

I bring this up because the coincidence of this financial fiasco fallout with a World War II commemoration was a priceless opportunity to disabuse ourselves of delusions and prejudices about war and peace that are rooted in our collective understanding of WWII. Of course, the moment passed unnoticed because our culture is founded on WWII-related delusions and prejudices–”Nazis “evil”/Allies “good”; war “evil”/peace “good.” An uncensored treatment of 20th century history would find plenty of blame to go around, and this was the time to acknowledge it.

First, the austerity measures imposed on the Greeks bear at least some allusion to the punitive measures the “good” victors of World War I imposed on Germany in the 1918 Treaty of Versailles. The more Germany had to produce to pay foreign governments, the less it produced for the German people. In addition, the more pressure the U.S. put on Great Britain to pay back the “lend-lease,” the harder Britain squeezed Germany.

By the beginning of the 1930s, so much of Germany’s production went to pay foreign banks and governments that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party won a plurality in the 1932 general election, as voters embraced his promise of a better economic future. The European bankers and governments that bailed out Greece should have learned from this example that impoverishing people radicalizes them. They should have been prepared to write off much of Greece’s debt, just as the U.S. and Great Britain should have done for Germany 80-90 years ago.

Inasmuch as Hitler is responsible for the invasions that led to the outbreak of war–”the Rhineland, Austria, Western Czechoslovakia, and Poland–”he would not have come to power had not the greed, vindictiveness and stupidity of the World War I allies made his rise possible. V-E Day, with its simplistic moral message, is an indulgence in anti-German triumphalism that grows less and less relevant each year.

Ritualizing anti-German stereotypes also deludes us about the nature of war itself. After defeating Germany and winning the war in Europe, the victors created an artificial, “peace-loving” world order based on the denial of war as an instrument of politics. It is as if the Allies defeated “war” itself, along with Germany. Yet, as any sentient being can see, the victors over German fascism have now become collaborators in Jewish/American fascism, and the crimes that caused us to go to war are now the ones much of the world makes excuses for. The West has committed the inexcusable blunder of equating war with Hitler thereby demonizing it as evil, yet war is not evil. To pretend otherwise forecloses any possibility of waging it properly or understanding an enemy.

Thus it has come to pass that the “non-evil” Western armies are committing torture and other atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and losing “wars” they don’t know how to fight. Too bad Germany is held in such low regard on the subject of war because the logic, candour and clarity of the great 19th-century general and strategist Carl von Clausewitz is sorely needed.

Clausewitz gave us the most valuable definition of war, most commonly, but superficially, translated as:

“War is the continuation of politics by other means”

The full quote from Book VIII of Vom Kriege (On War) is much more powerful:

“The only source of war is politics–”the intercourse of governments and peoples; but it is apt to be assumed that war suspends that intercourse and replaces it by a wholly different condition, ruled by no law but its own. We maintain, on the contrary, that war is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means…. War in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials, that intercourse continues irrespective of the means it employs.”

For Clausewitz, war had rules and served a national political purpose. For the U.S. and other “democracies,” “war” consists of committing acts of gratuitous murder and destruction that harm the national interest. Clausewitz considered war to be an active instrument of self-interest. We deny any such connection, yet we commit violence in the name of national defence, making war purely reactive and devoid of any rational political calculations.

For example, the U.S. and its coalition of the clueless are getting their asses kicked in Afghanistan because the military misadventure is divorced from political logic. The official story is that the U.S. bombed and invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Centre attack because the Taliban government would not surrender Osama bin Laden, whom the U.S. blamed for the attack despite having no evidence whatsoever.

The truth is that bin Laden was, and is, irrelevant to the decision. The U.S. wanted to destroy the Afghan government because it would not let a U.S.-led consortium lay a pipeline across the country. The attack, which laid waste virtually the entire country, killed untold thousands of people for no reason! It was a cowardly act of intimidation not defence. Yet, how much more honest it would have been for the U.S. government to tell its people: “We are going to attack Afghanistan and cause untold misery because the Taliban government won’t let us push them around.”

After nine years, the U.S.-led imperial invasion force is still there. Now we’re told the mission is to rebuild Afghanistan, fight the Taliban and “bring democracy” to the Afghan people. Since when is that the job of an army?! We are rebuilding a country that we destroyed; the Taliban is not an army; and exporting democracy is a noxious euphemism for subjugation.

Without an army to fight, and no defensible political objectives to attain there can be no war! Nevertheless, the press and our governments continue to go to great lengths to present the operation as necessary for peace.

If we compare the farrago in Afghanistan to the 19th-century expansionism of Germany–”Prussia, really–”I see little reason to object to Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s limited wars of aggression against Denmark (1863), Austria (1866) and France (1870) to expand and consolidate Prussian power. The losing sides might disagree, but the decision to launch these wars for selfish national motives was rational, calculated and efficient.

Our modern cultural fetish for peace hobbles our ability not only to understand war, but to admit errors. As soon as a society wraps itself in the mantle morality, it becomes difficult to quit a war without tremendous loss of face. At this point, war degenerates into an exercise in public relations fueled by hypocrisy and sentimentality.

On April 3, a group of relatives of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, appealed to the federal government not to pull out of the country in 2011. “I don’t want him to die in vain,” said Myles Kennedy, whose son Pte. Kevin Kennedy died in a 2007 roadside bombing. “We came in to do a job. And our job will not be complete, if [the government] pulls out the whole group.”

This bereaved father expects the government to send other people’s children to die in Afghanistan just so he can feel better about losing his own son. As selfish as that sounds, it comes close to capturing the stupidity of modern, democratic warfare.

In Book II of On War, Clausewitz said: “War is not an exercise of the will directed at inanimate matter… In war, the will is directed at an animate object that reacts.” The simplicity of this fact escapes us today. We no longer fight wars because we no longer fight animate armies. Instead, we kill civilians indiscriminately, and fight inanimate bogeymen like “terrorism,” “drugs” and “al-Qa’ida,” which brings me back to the WTC bombing.

Alan Sabrosky, former director of Studies at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, says he has found conclusive proof that Israel was responsible for the attack: “I have had long conversations over the past two weeks with contacts at the Army War College and at Headquarters Marine Corps, and I have made it absolutely clear in both cases that it is 100% certain that 9/11 was a Mossad operation…. period.”

If war were still respected as a rational instrument of national policy, a premeditated, co-ordinated attack on Israel would be an entirely justified and justifiable war. It is, after all, the modern analog to Nazi Germany, and like Nazi Germany we the virtuous, democratic, peace-loving West are responsible for its creation.

It is time to consign German fascism to history and pay attention to the modern threat posed by Jewish fascism.

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