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It’s Freedom White Phosphorus, Damn Commies

Yeah look we all know what you’re going to say already. That, for example, military aggression, state terrorism and imperialism are concerned you say one thing and do another, and have done since you decided that the best way to ensure a free and democratic world was to identify movements towards independent national development with a global communist conspiracy.

We know you’re going to bring up that but about how we bombed the countries concerned back into the stone age, and or overthrew their governments, installing in their stead corrupt and brutal fascist dictators who would let you use their people as an open-air lab for your latest wacko economic doctrines cooked up the last time scotch and cigars at Milton’s spilled over into a three-day meth binge.

We know you’re likewise bound to point out that the use of chemical weapons is only a problem when it’s other people using them as sources as varied as Democracy Now! and the BBC have reported, pointing out that we have already admitted to using white phosphorous during our ill-fated assault on Fallujah, a name now synonymous with the Vietnam II that was the Iraq War.

Yes, we imagine you will be disgusted at the institutional amnesia relating to anything that the reigning power does which is so bad you will imagine goldfish having a problem with it.

‘Did you hear Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack attributed to Assad, even though he had no reason for a Trump-level PR catastrophe by virtue of winning the war, and which actually aided Islamic State who Assad is fighting?’

‘Ha ha that’s insane, you would have to be smoking crack to take his peace-loving rheotoric seriously.’

‘Do you remember that Bill Hicks joke about how did the US know that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction?’

‘Do I ever! They kept the receipts!’

‘Ha ha that’s hilarious!’

‘It sure is! Hang on, what does the letter ‘Q’ look like again? All of a sudden I can’t remember.’

‘I don’t know, what’s an alphabet?’

Small things please small minds, don’t they.

We further anticipate you pointing out that using chemical weapons on an enemy population after having invaded their country on the basis of lies about chemical weapons owned by one of those aforementioned dictators who Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with one stage — lies that are now the stuff of legend — is hypocrisy of a meter-exploding magnitude. Likewise, we are fully ready for you to make some crack about how we’re probably the reason there aren’t hypocrisy meters to begin with, because if you can see a heinous self-injury coming you can prevent it, which is why you don’t give grenades to 3-year-olds either. Hur hur try harder fucker.

Yes, we are fully aware that Chomsky called our use of war to distract away from the fact that your so-called ‘President Anyone-For-Golf’ is enjoying a lower approval rating than Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate before we even did it; yes we are aware of the obvious parallels with using terror scare to shift the blame for the consequences of neoliberalism onto Muslims after 2001. Oh, you remember there was an anti-globalisation movement prior to 9/11 that was crushed into silence by patriotic jingoism and war fever? Isn’t that nice.

Well we suppose you will want to draw further parallels to other times when crises were used to take the steam out of endlessly delayed and avoided issues of domestic political unaccountability and endemic social justice and inequality in favour of therapeutic psychodrama in the latest of a long string of existentialist threats stretching pack into the dim folds of history, from terrorists, refugees and communists to immigrants, illuminists, masons, Catholics, heretics, witches and pirates.

Yes, yes, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Julius and Ethel Rosenbergs, the Domino Effect in Latin America, the Domino Effect in the Middle East, Mohammed Mossadegh, Communists in Hollywood, the War Scare of 1948, the Reichstag Fire, the assassination of Sergei Kirov and counter-revolutionary Trotskyists, alien unionists from southern and Eastern Europe and their un-American ideals of workers rights, The Yellow Peril, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Jews who are Communists and Capitalists at the same time, and then all the stuff that happened before the modern era like the European Witch Hunts, we do know how you like to carry on.

The fact of the matter is that the world is unstable place, and there has to be order. Okay, you might say we have something to do with that, doing everything in our power to bleed the world dry so that a very opulent few can afford to colonise another planet once we’re done destroying this one and that a neofeudal global corporate aristocracy render ourselves cause and cure of the same problem.

If you were in our position, you would do the exact same (though, I mean shit, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, are we are ever thankful that the privileges accorded to us by birth alone mean that you never will be). In any event, never let the facts get in the way of a good story I always say. The people like and want order and want to crawl back into the womb of authority just like they want to return to the womb — and that’s totally okay! At the end of the day that’s what we all want, right?

But no. Some insist yet on holding this total grudge over the way the mythology of rogue states who support terrorism helps us avoid the fact that there was no Islamic State in Iraq until we invaded, and you may want to nurse the massive chip on your shoulder so that it ends up fixating on how we inherited rogue state mythology from the Cold War where we associated opposition to our rule with support for the existential threat de jure.

What you have to understand is that there’s a bigger picture, and that’s that if there wasn’t terrorism it would need to be invented, because the people need a pretext to crawl back inside the womb of authority and the armaments manufacturers need permanent war so that they have a permanent market for their wares. Some will say that this is crazy, but if you think about it it’s really what makes everyone happy! Nobody has to reflect on the meaning of their lives and you can stream all the sitcoms you want within your monthly cap, what more could anyone ask for. It’s a Noble Lie, but one that we perpetrate unselfishly for nobody’s benefit but yours; you can call us a nanny state if you will, but we love you like we love our own children. Anyone who tells you otherwise? Well they’re just giving aid to the terrorists.

So a few unpeople got exploded in the name of the idea that it’s bad to kill people who are usually unpeople with chemical weapons which maybe we manufactured in the first place, big deal. It was done for the greater good. We’re the adults in the room after all; look at the guy in charge. If he isn’t the biggest adult on the room, who is?

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Ben Debney is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Deakin University, Burwood, Melbourne. He is studying moral panics and the political economy of scapegoating. Twitter: @itesau  

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