FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rethinking Weapons of Mass Destruction

 

Conventional wisdom informs us that “weapons of mass murder” in the hands of terrorists is the greatest danger facing the world today. Regrettably, people from both sides of the political aisle accept this pronouncement as though it was a fundamental law of physics. Leftists are just as apt to advocate ratcheting up surveillance, increasing covert operations and circumventing the law to make sure that, as Bush says, “the world’s most dangerous weapons don’t get into the hands of the world’s most dangerous people.”

This could be a mistake. At the very least we should challenge the perceived wisdom and analyze its meaning according to the same principles of justice and security we would apply elsewhere.

There’s no doubt that the highest ranking members of the Bush administration have thoroughly examined the issue of WMD. They have consistently isolated WMD as “the greatest threat facing civilization today.” That may be, but the more likely explanation is that WMD is the most serious obstacle facing the Bush administration’s skewed plan for world domination.

To begin with, these weapons are always developed by governments that claim they are vital to insuring the nations’ defense. By that logic, who would deny the Palestinians the means to defend themselves against the brutish assault of invaders who are now rampaging through their cities destroying anything and anyone who doesn’t fit into Israel’s security blueprint?

Who would deny the people of Samarra the means to defend themselves against a carefully calculated massacre by an occupying army trying to establish military rule over a civilian population?

By any standard, native people should be provided with the wherewithal to deter aggression. If anything, this suggests more widespread use of WMD.

Is this a solution that American liberals would advocate?

Of course not. Instead, they have cast their lot with the religious leaders, pacifists and “hand-wringers” of every stripe who have joined Bush’s campaign to rid the world of WMD.

This is nonsense. Justice must precede safety, and the right to self defense must precede anxiety over bloodier conflicts. The alternative is what we see taking place right now in both Iraq and Palestine. Given half a chance the superior powers have crushed the opposition, stealing land and resources and leaving them in a state of helpless subjugation. How well this matches up with George Orwell’s grim prediction for mankind: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.”

If Iran had WMD in the form of ballistic missiles, you can bet that the spirit of negotiation would be sweeping through Tel Aviv and Washington right now. Similarly, if Saddam had nuclear weapons, the administration never would have embarked on their murderous campaign. We shouldn’t ignore the implications of these observations. The administration is telegraphing to the world that WMD is the only real deterrent to their global onslaught. (Currently) There’s nothing we can do to change this fact. When public sentiment, democratic institutions and international condemnation fail; what’s left is force or the threat of force. Ignoring this dismal reality invites the brutality we are now seeing on a daily basis in Palestine and Iraq.

To a large extent, the war in Iraq has clarified this issue. The Bush team has abandoned the discretion that was the hallmark of previous administrations. Iraq was a candid display of unprovoked aggression. The intention was to send the world a message that the empire would henceforth be governed by an iron fist. To that end, Iraq’s wealth has been divided up among Bush supporters and cronies with scant attention to the watchful eyes of the world. Prisoners have been locked away and tortured without the slightest regard for conventions, treaties or international law. As the situation has steadily deteriorated, all pretense of “liberation” or “democratization” has been shorn and replaced with raw military might. The “pacification” of Samarra and Fallujah (with their attendant massacres) suggests that the war has entered a new phase that eschews all political solutions, opting instead for West Bank-style repression.

If this is the paradigm of “world order” we are being offered, we need to revisit our conclusions about WMD.

Is there really no greater threat to humanity then weapons in the hands of the wrong people?

Is it a greater threat than 50 or 100 years of Iraq-type interventions to secure the world’s resources and subdue the indigenous populations?

Is it a greater threat than the 1984 world of surveillance and circumscribed liberties that is being constructed for us brick-by-brick by the Bush team?

Is it a greater threat than a system that institutionalizes torture, war and deception to keep wealth and power in the hands of the few?

Most people would like to see a serious reduction, if not a total elimination of WMD. However, this “wishful thinking” does nothing to help us wrestle with the current dilemma. The real question is whether the US monopoly on force is making the world safer and more democratic or tilting the world inexorably towards tyranny. Again, we only need to observe Iraq to make our judgment.
There’s no question that WMD will fall into the hands of terrorists, guerrillas, insurgents, nationalists, liberation fighters or non-state actors. Their urgent need for such weapons will undoubtedly hasten their success in acquiring them. The question is whether that will signal the end of the “client-based” colonial system that currently reigns supreme or drive the species closer to extinction.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail