The Idea of War

The Idea of War

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August 10, 2012

According to Slavenka Drakulic, author of The Balkan Express, war is a simple matter. No politics, no dilemmas, nothing but struggle.

Prior to this state of affairs, though, comes a process of getting used to the idea of war, making the idea a part of everyday life. “Then,” she observes, “rules can change, rules of behavior, of language, of expectations…no room for dialogue anymore, but only for opposing sides to issue warnings, threats, conditions…”

The social conflict that precedes war or political violence is replete with abnormal conduct and rhetoric. References to fears and grievances—real or imagined—proliferate. It is during these times, in particular, that other narratives function as community safeguards against organized aggression, xenophobia, vigilantes.

This is particularly so with the pervasive police posture of the US military and its mercenary proxies like NATO, serving as enforcers of the neoliberal global agenda. Distortions of reality and omissions of history are requisites of their cover story posturing aggression as humanitarian intervention.

Even in Guernica magazine, a fair-minded analytical publication, framing current conflict in terms of future intervention is common. Just the act of labeling the indigenous rebellion in Mali, for example, as an ethnic separatist group diminishes the legitimacy of their quest for self-determination under international law.

Compare that with the more even-handed coverage here at IC about the Tuareg and the Amazigh Congress, which — like the Kurds of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran — seek to reestablish an autonomous homeland for their indigenous nation displaced by colonial invaders and fragmented by corrupt successor states. If one supports the right of indigenous peoples to establish an independent Kurdistan or plurinational state of Azawad, then one must not succumb to the state-centric rhetoric designed to undermine their political legitimacy and condone their cultural annihilation.

We saw what happened in Yugoslavia when indigenous republics became embroiled in the escalated vitriol perpetrated by state-controlled media. While tensions existed as a result of IMF sanctions, it was the idea of war promoted by NATO and the US that helped to engulf the plurinational republics in ethnic cleansing.

As NATO and the US eagerly await the chance to directly exercise their armed might in Saharan Africa, we mustn’t forget it was the introduction of US arms and NATO intervention in Libya that fueled the opportunity for warfare in the region. While making indigenous armed rebellion logistically possible, it also served as pretext for intervention by NATO and the US, whose interests are decidedly different from the Fourth World nations who reside there.

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