The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

Common Dreams – by Norman Solomon

After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”

In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”  

Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.

One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market. “The bombs struck next to the hospital complex and near the market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia’s third-largest city with shrapnel,” a dispatch in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 8, 1999.

And: “In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots.”

Pointing out that cluster bombs “explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius,” BBC correspondent John Simpson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare.”

Savage did not preclude usage. As a matter of fact, to Commander in Chief Bill Clinton and the prevailing military minds in Washington, savage was bound up in the positive attributes of cluster bombs. Each one could send up to 60,000 pieces of jagged steel shrapnel into what the weapon’s maker described as “soft targets.”

An unusually diligent reporter, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Timesreported from Pristina, Yugoslavia: “During five weeks of airstrikes, witnesses here say, NATO warplanes have dropped cluster bombs that scatter smaller munitions over wide areas. In military jargon, the smaller munitions are bomblets. Dr. Rade Grbic, a surgeon and director of Pristina’s main hospital, sees proof every day that the almost benign term bomblet masks a tragic impact. Grbic, who saved the lives of two ethnic Albanian boys wounded while other boys played with a cluster bomb found Saturday, said he had never done so many amputations.”

The LA Times article quoted Dr. Grbic: “I have been an orthopedist for 15 years now, working in a crisis region where we often have injuries, but neither I nor my colleagues have ever seen such horrific wounds as those caused by cluster bombs.” He added: “They are wounds that lead to disabilities to a great extent. The limbs are so crushed that the only remaining option is amputation. It’s awful, awful.”

The newspaper account went on: “Pristina’s hospital alone has treated 300 to 400 people wounded by cluster bombs since NATO’s air war began March 24, Grbic said. Roughly half of those victims were civilians, he said. Because that number doesn’t include those killed by cluster bombs and doesn’t account for those wounded in other regions of Yugoslavia, the casualty toll probably is much higher, he said. ‘Most people are victims of the time-activated cluster bombs that explode some time after they fall,’ he said.”

Later, during invasions and initial periods of occupation, the U.S. military dropped cluster bombs in Afghanistan and fired cluster munitions in Iraq.

Today, the U.S. State Department remains opposed to outlawing those weapons, declaring on its official website: “Cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility. Their elimination from U.S. stockpiles would put the lives of its soldiers and those of its coalition partners at risk.”

The State Department position statement adds: “Moreover, cluster munitions can often result in much less collateral damage than unitary weapons, such as a larger bomb or larger artillery shell would cause, if used for the same mission.” Perhaps the bomber(s) who stuffed nails and ball bearings into pressure cookers for use in Boston had a similarly twisted rationale.

But don’t expect explorations of such matters from the USA’s daily papers or commercial networks — or from the likes of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” or the PBS “NewsHour.” When the subject is killing and maiming, such news outlets take as a given the presumptive moral high ground of the U.S. government.

In his novel 1984, Orwell wrote about the conditioned reflex of “stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought . . . and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.”

The doublethink — continually reinforced by mass media — remains within an irony-free zone that would amount to mere self-satire if not so damaging to intellectual and moral coherence.

Every news report about the children killed and injured at the finish line in Boston, every account of the horrific loss of limbs, makes me think of a little girl named Guljumma. She was seven years old when I met her at an Afghan refugee camp one day in the summer of 2009.

At the time, I wrote: “Guljumma talked about what happened one morning last year when she was sleeping at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. At about 5 a.m., bombs exploded. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm.”

In the refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where several hundred families were living in squalid conditions, the U.S. government was providing no help. The last time Guljumma and her father had meaningful contact with the U.S. government was when it bombed them.

War thrives on abstractions, but Guljumma was no abstraction. She was no more or less of an abstraction than the children whose lives have been forever wrecked by the bombing at the Boston finish line.

But the same U.S. news media that are conveying the preciousness of children so terribly harmed in Boston are scarcely interested in children like Guljumma.

I thought of her again when seeing news reports and a chilling photo on April 7, soon after 11 children in eastern Afghanistan were even more unlucky than she was. Those children died from a U.S./NATO air strike. For mainline American journalists, it wasn’t much of a story; for American officials, it was no big deal.

“Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip,” Orwell observed, “but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.”

One thought on “The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

  1. On the dog trail with a neighbor a few days back, I asked him if the president is the leader of the so called “free world”.

    He responded, “No, but he is our leader.”

    And therein lies the root of the republic’s problem.

    In mechanical devices there are gadgets called “governors”, The job of the “governor” in those devices is not a a source of power. Mechanical “governors”, instead, restrict or limit power.

    The constitution is very similar to a corporate charter. The CEO of Goldman Sachs is not the leader of Goldman Sachs’ share holders. He powers are limited to oversight of Goldman Sachs employees serving in the corporate structures prescribed by Goldman Sachs corporate charter. He can’t arrest, detain or assassinate a shareholder.

    A difference between a commerce charter and the republic’s charter, is that the controlling shares (proxies), or “votes” are typically held by the board. In a republic, each citizen has a proxy. Republics do not have a board of directors with controlling proxies.

    Corporate governance, as is the republics governance, is the domain of those with voting proxies.

    Another difference between commerce corporate charters and the republics corporate charter, is that commercial corporate proxies can be audited after a vote. There is a record – a paper trail, Many of the republic’s voting precincts rely on electronic voting systems that cannot be audited. And, as we saw in the republican primaries, in some caucuses, where Dr Paul was polled to be in the lead, before the vote was counted, lost. Even in cases where the votes were paper ballots.

    In the context of a constitutional republic, the “government” is an organizational structure (executive, congress and judicial). The persons elected and employed by the commons to serve as functionaries in the nodes of the structures prescribed by the constitution are not leaders, they are public servants employed at the grace of the commons.

    No government employee can claim they are the leader of those that elected them. The president is not the leader of the commons, he is there servant, an employee. His only leadership function is the oversight of civil and uniformed services. The only unrestricted authorizations the commons grants the president is the privilege to sign or veto a purchase order offer by the congress, political appointments and to defend the republic from invading armies.

    A crime is not cause for war. Afghanistan and Iraq are not wars, they are war crimes.

    So whose to blame for all this sh*t? Is it the pathetic face we see on CSPAN? Is it the banks that send their lobbyists to Watergate suites so they can loose big poker pots with the politicos we employ, while the bank’s lawyers in another room are writing a bill for the always “lucky at cards” congressional to introduce on the floor of the house? Is it the Zionist or the War Usury’s “marketing loss leader” suffered upon the state of Israel? Is it the fault of Christian or Muslim extremists?

    Is it the unholy houses of the War Usury that, by some reckonings, successfully executed a coup, and, with stealthy precision, took control of the republic in 1913?

    Let’s be honest for a minute. Ask whose is supposed to really be in charge of the republic. If we answer that question “honestly”, then the answer is none of the above.

    The blame, my friends, lies behind the that face we see in the mirror every morning. That “face” allowed this to happen.

    Of course it was not without a massive campaign by the coup participants, through the so called “news” and “entertainment” programming. Has anybody NOT seen Demille’s epic, “The Ten commandments”? Did anybody take note that all the characters in that flim flam were played by white actors (except my fav scene where the leggy Nubian Dancers we presented to Pharaoh’s court)? Any middle schooler knows that 4 thousand years ago Egyptians and Hebrews were African. I guess it wouldn’t have been such a comforting Block Buster had Demille attempted to anthropologically precise. Hagee would have been at the pulpit shamming it as heresy to high heaven and low hell (which is expected, dominion heretics like Hagee always accuse others as being guilty of crimes they commit.).

    Most Corporate Christian Theologists shill the citation, “I am the King of Kings” that is attributed to an ancient scholar humanist and very radical Rabbi as claim of some “right of dominion”. Some of us may have been blessed with a pastor that allowed the 23% in congregation who fear death and need the comfort of the notion of an “here after” as a dominion claim,. The cite was offered as a mantra of empowerment to the remaining 76% of congregation living their lives knowing that all they are and all they will ever be ends at the grave.

    All Rabbis are not like those in main stream of shill blogs. There are humanist scholarly radical Rabbis that still prothlesize to individual empowerment.

    The corporate theologians of dominion heresy tell their congregation that Islam’s designation for g*d, Allah, is a source of evil, despite the fact that Christians, Jews and Islam all rely of the same god, the god of Abraham. They justify an attack on Iran because Iran hates Jews (despite the fact Iran enjoys the 3rd largest population of Jews on the planet).

    So, and, admittedly, we’ve had a lot of heavy Orwellian sh*t shoved down our souls by the War Usury’s agents, provocateurs and media. We substituted logic for common sense and bling as value.

    The leaders of the republic, by law, are the commons, “for, by and of the people”. So, “leaders” what are you going to do?

    A baby step piecemeal restoration, bit by bit, or the faux notion that our vote is reflected by whoever the face on the lame stream tells us we voted, is like a surgeon removing pieces of a tumor. The cancer will spread and hide someplace else. It is too late for that now.

    The only way to restore constitutional control is a complete house cleaning. This would mean all current employees serving in political functions, would need to resign, or forced out, immediately, and be place under house arrest of a transitional provisional council. The provisional council would be chaired with elected representatives from most our employees serving in non-political uniformed and civil services positions. They would need to assure that possible evidence of crimes is secured. They would be charged with developing a structure to begin a fact finding.

    Corporate handouts would end. The troops at all FOBs will come home and work with the provisional council. The council would continue to manage affairs with other sovereigns the republic has business with. All privatized prisons shut down. Drug offenders are released. The death penalty would be no more.

    The commons is never again to be referred to as “consumers”. We are the only producers on this rock.

    A streamlined referendum system (by paper ballot) would allow the commons to give direction to issues previously managed by political functions.

    That is the most civil approach. We can convince the politicos of the physics of mass. The commons stops doing what it does – and the politicos won’t be able to feed, drive, fly, flush a toilet or play find the quarter at thier favorite K-Street Kiddie Brothel.
    Less civil: House arrest of political functionaries by rank and file vivil and uniformed services.

    Lesser civil: House arrest by the commons.

    The remaining alternatives is that every politico functionaries ends up as a spit target hanging by their heels on the cherry trees lining the national mall.

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