Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

Winning

by DIANE CHRISTIAN

"They say we can’t prevail. I see that violence and say we must win."

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld urging the troops not to believe those who say the insurgents cannot be defeated or who otherwise doubt the will of the military to win, asking help to "win the test of wills."

Like Satan in Paradise Lost who said he would melt at the sight of the loving Adam and Eve and leave them in peace had he not promised his constituents to lead their righteous war of revenge, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld framed the challenge to the troops in Iraq as winning for our side. The poet Milton, a veteran of political speeches, remarks about Satan’s line "so spake the Fiend, and with necessity,/ The tyrant’s plea, excused his devilish deeds.". Milton understood this is always the rationalization: we do it for God and country and goodness and peace and democracy and freedom and Allah and our land and good guy winning. He also kept noting that Satan spoke ‘glozing lies’-glossing, flattering, smooth empty words to mask the malice.

"I see that violence and say we must win." Help "win the test of wills" against the insurgents. The insurgents no doubt say the same thing. They see American violence-over 100,000 civilians killed, cities in rubble and without security-and say they must resist the occupying violent force. Who is winning what?

Pork Chop Hill? Fallujah? Hearts and minds? Freedom? Democracy? Our land? Our religion?
The test of wills for Rumsfeld is military will. We will fight.

Winning is a sports figure-competitive, fight team fight. If we import ‘winning’ to war the rationalization of violence goes from exerting energy and living to fight another day to rationalizing death. Enemy violence becomes bad violence because they are evil and our violence becomes righteous violence because we are good. Violence is the necessary tool-as torture can be or the death of 100,000 civilians. Not a bad thing. The good end justifies the bad means. ‘You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.’ ‘Freedom is messy,’ as Rumsfeld flippantly said about pillaging and looting Baghdad. Rumsfeld slings cliches like guided missiles taking out objections. He’s excellent at guerilla comments.

Lately people have taken exception to his slingers. ‘You go to war with the army you have not the army you want’ was called arrogant and insensitive. Signing death letters with a machine was called callous and contrasted with the commander-in-chief’s personalized signatures. The President then defended his warrior chief as a kind fellow and the warrior chief himself talked about his deep compassion and feeling.. The current cliches are feeling cliches.

The winning the Secretary of Defense is good at is word winning. We have lost the war of hearts and minds. We are losing the war of violence, that contagious poison we unleashed and can’t control.

During the Vietnam War many said we should just declare we won and leave-cynically understanding that we cannot bear to lose. Though we absolutely did lose despite incurring more devastation than we can measure.

Iraq invasion was presented as a preemptive but defensive war against weapons of mass destruction. Then it was defended as bringing freedom and democracy to an oppressed people. Now it is pursued as a war against insurgent anti-democratic violence. Whether these are all glozing lies or delusions or public relations packaging Milton would say God alone knows. In Milton’s view only God can pierce hypocrisy because humans and even angels are fooled by the pretense of piety.

The great thing about the idea of God is that it asserts that human judgment is imperfect. We should understand we cannot read hearts and minds. We should read actions. Which speak louder than words. Destruction is not liberation. Death is not freedom. Evil is not good. No matter the excuse or repackaging.

Winning can be glozing.

DIANE CHRISTIAN is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at University at Buffalo and author of the new book Blood Sacrifice. She can be reached at: engdc@acsu.buffalo.edu

July 07, 2015
ANDRE VLTCHEK
In Ecuador, Fight for Mankind; In Greece, Fight for Greece!
Binoy Kampmark
Warrior Economist: the Varoufakis Legacy
Shamus Cooke
Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow
Dave Lindorff
The Greek People Have Voted ‘No!’ to Austerity and Economic Blackmail
Mateo Pimentel
The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima
Raouf Halaby
Beware Those Who Speak With Forked Tongues
Ron Jacobs
The Grateful Dead: The Ship of the Sun Bids Farewell
Jonathan Cook
Hasbara Industry: Why Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat
Rev. William Alberts
Charleston: a Reality Check on Racism in America
Ellen Brown
A Franciscan Alternative: the People’s Pope and a People’s Bank?
Colin Todhunter
The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist
John Wight
Who Will Join With Greece?
W. T. Whitney
Colombia’s Fensuagro Union is Revolutionary, Persecuted, and Undaunted
Mel Gurtov
Keep It in the Ground, Obama
July 06, 2015
MICHAEL HUDSON
Greece Rejects the Troika
Steve Hendricks
Will FIFA’s World Cup Sexism Ever Die?
Binoy Kampmark
Oxi in Greece
Gareth Porter
How US Spin on Access to Iranian Sites has Distorted the Issue
Peter Bach
ISIL and Ramadan in the Rag
Paul Craig Roberts
A Rebuke to EU-Imposed Austerity
Robert Hunziker
Looking Inside Fukushima Prefecture
Quincy Saul
The View from Mount Olympus
ADRIENNE PINE, RICHARD JOHNSTON, FIONA WILMOT, et al.
Seven Reasons to Scrap the USA’s $1 Billion Aid Package to Central America
Norman Pollack
Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices
David Macaray
Could Justice Scalia Be the One to Rescue Labor?
Linn Washington Jr.
Storm Smashes Chris Christie’s Presidential Candidacy
Benjamin Willis
US and Cuba: What Remains to be Done?
Robert David Steele
The National Military Strategy: Dishonest Platitudes
Joan Roelofs
Whatever Happened to Eastern European Communism?
Weekend Edition
July 3-5, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World
Jason Hirthler
Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg
Rob Urie
Greece and Global Class War
DIMITRIS KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
The Future of Greece Without Illusions
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites
David Rosen
White Skin Crisis
Jerry Lembcke
Nobody Spat on American GIs!
Stavros Mavroudeas
The Greek Referendum and the Tasks of the Left
Andrew Levine
Dumping on Dixie Again
Richard Pithouse
Charleston (It’s Not Over)
Arun Gupta
What Does It Mean to Call Dylann Roof a “Terrorist”?
Michael Welton
The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada
Brendan McQuade
The Right Wing Resurgence and the Problem of Terrorism
Chris Floyd
Heritage and Hokum in Rebel Banner Row
Victor Rodriguez
Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.
John Halle
Four Thoughts on the Sanders Insurgency