It seems official, the United States is a permanent wartime state. Senior Obama Administration officials have stated that the War on Terror, in its “limitless form,” will carry on for another decade, possibly two. Given our role in the world, as an economic and military super-power, and given the economic, social and environmental crisis we see the world in, we must no longer deny that US foreign policy is a great agent of repression. We are a global threat to peace, security, liberty and the environment.
Violence has become our foreign policy – it is the status quo. Our nation-state acts as an agent of terror to occupied territories and lesser states under its influence. The system will stop at no cost. As Bush-era “shock and awe” grew unpopular, the system was able to change the face of its aggression with the Obama era drone wars.
Perhaps what is most disturbing is the support the public lauds on politicians who support aggressive foreign policy. This represents the decaying moral fabric of the nation – the economy, scandals and social issues dominate public thought. Hawks such as Lindsey Graham (waging an all out assault on the habeas corpus), vulgar libertarians such as Rand Paul (whose filibuster, cheered as patriotic by the very people who supported the invasion of Iraq, did not call for the end of drone attacks overseas, only to protect us Americans) and let’s not forget the most effective evil, the noble peace prize-winning Commander-in-Chief (whose NDAA effectively silences dissent, much more ominous than the Patriot Act – who he himself signed again) are all popular politicians. What has become of the anti-war movement?
Our foreign policy is morally unjust. As our troops are separated from their loved ones, flown overseas, killed and maimed, so too are innocent people in our occupied territories. Towns and villages are bombed, occasions such as weddings, birthdays and funerals are bombed, first responders are bombed, men, women and children are murdered, families are torn apart, hundreds of thousands are displaced, people are indefinitely detained and tortured in detainment. Our tax dollars fund this inconceivable aggression, but what is the scandal – the targeting of political groups? What about state sanctioned murder?
We are laying waste to helpless people, who have often been repressed by dictators and authoritarian regimes we placed in power. Where is our national conscience? We were hurt when people cheered September 11th, but then acted just as barbaric at the news of Bin Laden’s death. How do we not get it?
Change must come from within. The system will obviously still act, regardless of falling public support for the war. But, we are an obedient society. The more we obey the harsher the state becomes, and the more it is able stop dissent. With laws such as the NDAA, the state has defined what is just, but it is the state that is unjust.
The state says in order to uphold the American way we must be strong, and our economy must grow at any cost – this rhetoric is championed by conservatives and liberals alike. We can stand for this no more. We need freed markets, we need to decentralize our institutions, we need to develop alternatives to power, we need to change our moral consciousness. Humanity needs peace.
Our crisis is institutional, but also moral and intellectual. If the government will not stop the war, we must stop the government. Will we?