Battlefield Earth


“Our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a short-cut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a mass scale.”

George W. Bush

A legitimate fear indeed from the fearmonger-in-chief. But what about the far more likely scenario–that these short-cuts to mass destruction will be supplied not by outlaw regimes, but by “lawful” states instead?

What if, say, some hardline element in the Chinese military slips a bit of chemical fireworks to a ragtag group looking to wreak freelance hell on the West? Or the Taliban’s patrons in Pakistan’s secret service provide their jihadic soulmates with nuclear ready-mades from that country’s bristling atomic arsenal? Or a zealot in India’s Hindu extremist government decides to usher in the world-ending age of Kalki with his nation’s nukes? What then?

All these scenarios represent a much more imminent possibility than the doom-crying threat now attributed to the brokenbacked regime of Saddam Hussein. Yet we don’t hear calls to bomb Beijing or incinerate Islamabad from the sternly pursed lips of President Can’t-Chew-a-Pretzel. Nor does the vast, porous storehouse of technodeath that is the former Soviet Union inspire chest-thumping demands for “pre-emptive” strikes on Moscow or Kiev.

Of course, beyond the ever-increasing likelihood of bad juju leaking out of one of America’s many business partners, there lies the most realistic possibility of all: that the “short-cut” technology of mass murder will come from the United States itself. Because God knows, America’s gilded “guardians” won’t be able to stop it.

This month, with Washington’s attention diverted by a series of Bush Regime botches and embarassments–the maladroit economic shuffle, the Kissinger fiasco, the Trent Lott scandal, etc.–Congress released a heavily redacted report on its highly anemic, tightly-constricted probe into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Yet even this kid-gloves treatment underscored the horrendous record of lies, laxity and criminal negligence that constituted the response of America’s $30 billion security apparatus to the howling threat of impending attacks on U.S. soil

If the security apparatchiks couldn’t stop 19 marked men–most of them under suspicion by international intelligence services, and two of whom were even roommates of an FBI informant–from hijacking four airplanes in broad daylight, flying freely through U.S. airspace for almost an hour, then slamming into some of the nation’s most famous buildings, then how can we expect them to prevent some far more obscure but equally deadly threat? How will they keep, say, some disaffected player deep in the bowels of America’s gargantuan military-security complex from shuffling a bit of atrocious whizbangery to a well-heeled foreign terrorist? Or to a shifty middleman willing to buy–and sell–with no questions asked? Or to his second cousin in the Ku Klux Klan?

No, the genie is long gone from the bottle in regard to “short-cut technologies.” They are out there, in endlessly mutable forms, with an almost infinite range of possibilities for their sale, transfer and deadly application in the “war against civilization.” Of course, it was “civilization” that developed these technologies and loosed them on the world in the first place. They were expressly designed–by the “civilized” world–to kill large numbers of people as quickly and indiscriminately as possible: the precise strategy followed by the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Even now, avatars of civilization like Don Rumsfeld are working with billions of secret dollars in secret labs to develop ever-more deadly weapons for secret armies: fearsome new weapons of mass destruction, “precision” ordnance to incinerate and obliterate human matter without mercy–and sci-fi torture implements to control “unruly” crowds with blistering rays that induce illness, boil skin, scramble brains and destroy nerves.

And all of these weapons can be directed against anyone on earth–including American citizens, on American soil–at the unchecked, unchallengeable order of civilization’s supreme leader, George W. Bush, who has now openly claimed this power for himself, AP reports. This chilling announcement was merely the public unveiling of a secret presidential directive issued a few weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, and first noted here in November 2001.

As we said then, Bush’s license to kill is deliberately vague. The definition of those worthy of death is left entirely up to the president: there is no legislative oversight, no judicial review, no public scrutiny. If he wants you dead, he can have you killed. It’s as simple as that.

These assassinations are “legitimate,” we’re told, because “the Bush Administration and Al Qaeda together have defined the entire world as a battlefield.” Hence any action anywhere–“targeted killing,” kidnapping, torture, imprisonment–can now be justified as a “military necessity.”

The measures taken by these “civilized” men go far beyond those necessary for the adequate defense of the country. They are obviously designed to facilitate a system of military dominance abroad and repression at home, whenever it’s deemed necessary. If the Regime actually cared about security, it could simply use the overwhelming powers and resources the government has long possessed.

Instead, Bush blocked billions in bipartisan Congressional funding that would have sent immediate assistance to the real frontline against terrorism: the police, fire and emergency services of America’s communities. Instead, he budgeted $30 billion for a “Homeland Security” department that doesn’t even include the failed security appartus in its “reforms.” At every turn, he undercuts international efforts to curb nuclear proliferation, chemical weapons, landmines, money laundering, and arms peddling, while his CIA operatives grease the international drug trade for their hired hands, the Afghan warlords.

These are not the actions of someone whose primary concern is security for his people and peace in the world. But they are no doubt an inspiration for terrorists and “outlaw regimes”. To be successful, Bush says, to be a “great power,” you must squander your nation’s treasury on technologies of death and dominance; you must scorn law, embrace corruption, operate in secret; you must demonize your adversaries, strike first, kill their civilians–and subjegate your own people to the arbitrary will of the leader.

“Mad ambitions” indeed. Yes, when it comes to devoting human ingenuity to mass slaughter for political purposes, the “civilized” world has indeed proved to be a beacon of enlightenment to barbarians everywhere.

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com


Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.

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