As the Bush war machine attempts to plant the flag of imperium wherever its over-sized jackboot takes it, Americans must fight to reclaim that most precious ground, ceded to the forces of the right after long wars of attrition: our minds.
No less than the collective fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
The struggle is as easy or as hard as we make it. It’s hard because in a sense, we start already defeated; in the absence of an affirmative campaign to reclaim our minds, we think the master’s thoughts: he rules us as a colonial power. In the absence of a concerted, irreverently irredentist campaign to reclaim the territory that is rightfully ours, we are slaves in our own houses and our slavery removes the most fundamental check on the colonizer’s desire to find new worlds to conquer (with the attendant toll of human degradation, suffering, and death.)
But its easy too because the moment we start the battle, the moment we acknowledge the simple fact that our minds have been colonized, the colonizer’s modes and methods, its purpose, its theology become ever so clear.
Lets look at the case of Iraq and the stentorian bleats for war emanating from Washington. I think what we’ll find is an enemy (the colonizer from D.C.) made clumsy by years of success. The time is now to capitalize on this fact and to kick him out forever.
For more than a year now, the Bush administration has been calling for war on Iraq, claiming that this forlorn and broken country poses an immediate and fundamental threat to the safety of the world’s citizens.
Saddam, their argument goes, is flush with materiel and is busily enhancing his already formidable stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction; moreover, he is willing to use them. How this is true despite a brutal bombing war 11 years ago coupled with the most onerous sanctions in the history of the modern world – sanctions that have kept Iraq not only under the microscope but in the viselike grip of the West, poor, destitute—they don’t tell us. Another obvious question that they don’t even dare to answer is why a military attack would work this time if the might U.S. military machine couldn’t “do the job” last time.
The colonizers’ argument is pathetic, clumsy, obfuscatory, and entirely dependent on our mental inaction. A couple examples of arguments that might seem compelling until we start fighting for our minds: 1. In a news conference, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld claimed that Iraq could be 12-18 months away from developing a nuclear weapon. He went further to mention that, apparently, Saddam has been trying to develop nukes for the last twenty years.
Okay, Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon. Sound scary? It may be until we look a tiny bit deeper.
What went unsaid? 1. Iraq has no delivery capability for nukes; 2. Iraq has NO incentive for using nukes even if it had them; 3. This stems DIRECTLY from what Rumsfeld himself said in the second part of his argument: if indeed Saddam Hussein has been trying to develop nukes for 20 years, then why on Earth would we will think this macabre task would reach fruition in year? If indeed he has been trying for 20 years, it would appear that Iraq is totally inept or has no access to fissionable material.
In order to start asking these questions, one need not be an expert on nuclear weapons. In fact, all one really needs to be armed with is the knowledge that in producing an argument, the colonist is driven by his need to conquer new lands. The moment we realize this, we become skeptical of just about anything he claims since in a mad rush for power, people and institutions become utterly mendacious. Once we are skeptical, we are in luck because the colonizer has become sloppy: his arguments are easily dissected, easily seen to be repugnant, and are thus easily rejectable.
Another argument the colonizer has recently been making requires us to believe that Iraq accepting the UN Weapons inspectors and pledging to give them unfettered access is a bad thing. Since the day Hussein pledged to comply, Washington and the fulsome private media have been talking of deception, game playing, obfuscation, and the general mendacity of the Arab leader.
Sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? It does until one considers what the reaction would have been if Iraq decided not to comply. Most of us would be indignant wouldn’t we? And war would be imminent, wouldn’t it? Iraq had two choices in front of it: one, to comply and two, not to comply. If non-compliance proves intransigence and compliance proves both intransigence and utter mendacity, what is left for the poor nation to do? Sound confusing until one realizes that the colonizer wants war and has to have it. Once we understand this, everything they say about Iraq’s WMD and Hussein’s hiding weapons in palaces and in the “vast desert Kingdom that is Iraq” seems suspect.
The arguments put forth by the colonizer are ever changing and specious. Once we start the battle of reclamation, we see them for what they are. And once we see them for what they are, we must resist the colonizer with all the forces we can muster.
The importance of this battle is not academic. Its about two very important, very real things- freedom and humanism.
The freedom to be able to think, to be logical and just in our thoughts. The freedom for us to live in a society that represents our morals, desires, and strong feelings of amity for fellow humans.
The humanism that holds clearly that empires are evil.
Dismantling empires has always started with the crucial and epic struggle for the one territory that is truly ours: our minds.
Rahul Mahajan is a member of the Nowar Collective and serves on the National Board of Peace Action. He is the author of The New Crusade: America’s War on Terrorism, (http://www.monthlyreview.org/newcrusade.htm). His other work can be found at: http://www.rahulmahajan.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org