FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A BARBAROUS WORD FOR BARBAROUS ACT

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

A number of people are saying that what NATO has been doing shouldn’t be called “war”. The word “war” suggests nations fighting each other. In this case, a group of the richest and best-armed nations on earth, led by the greatest military power in history, have ganged up to beat the hell out of one small, surrounded country which never harmed any of them and couldn’t possibly defend itself. Day after day, the great powers destroy the little country’s factories, bridges, power stations, leaving men, women and children, old and young, infirm or healthy, without light or running water. Then the bombers start in on residential areas and hospitals. Bit by bit, destroying a whole country. If the victim offers to give in, the big powers bomb some more, reitering that “all they understand is force”.

Insult is added to injury. Cartoonists and pundits invent a fictional version of the target country to hold up to public scorn, ridicule and hatred. Political leaders, spotlighted spokesmen and highly paid opinion-makers escalate the verbal abuse, comparing the population of the victim country to Nazis and suggesting that they must be conquered, punished, occupied and taught how to behave by the superior civilized governments that are bombing them. The bombs even destroy the victim country’s means of communication with the outside world, so that neither their pain nor their wounds, neither their tears nor their courage are visible or audible to their torturers. Yes, that’s the word: torture. Make a country suffer, in darkness and silence, until it gives in. Meanwhile, strut around on the world stage congratulating yourselves on your success, while planning further ways to demonstrate what happens to little countries that don’t behave properly.

Is this war, or is this torture? Here’s a suggestion for a word to designate this abject use of military might: “warture”. It’s a barbarous word, for a barbarous practice. But even the perpetrators might like to pick it up. It could fit right in with current projects to dump the restraints of national and international law. Congress is supposed to declare war, but it was never required, and could never be expected, to declare warture. Warture is something the President does on his own, an obscene practice for those enjoying the deepest sort of corruption of power, the total insensibility toward those they destroy.

The word has one disadvantage. It wouldn’t be easy to translate into other languages. But in the brave new NATO world order of warture, no other language than English is really needed. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail