A Politician’s Promise

Barack Obama is declaring “Something Accomplished” in Iraq. Behind the television smiles, 50,000 US military personnel will remain, the State Department is increasing the size of its contractor army, and the largest embassy in the world will serve as an imperial outpost. An Antiwar.com editorial by Jason Ditz pretty well sums up the story in its title: “US Announces Second Fake End to Iraq War.”

It’s no wonder that an administration struggling to maintain political dominance over a state that continually fails to deliver what it promises would play a back-patting opportunity for all it’s worth.

“Mission accomplished” is a frequent rallying cry of governments trying to keep up appearances of success. If the economy was in better shape now, recovery would be credited to the wisdom of our glorious leaders. But we’re supposed to believe that the benefits just haven’t reached us yet and without the bold measures of politicians, things could only be worse (but of course!). No matter the outcome, politicians will take credit for the good, and pass the bad onto rivals while claiming that they did not have enough control over your life to do what was necessary.

It’s the same as when failing state budgets are dealt with by kicking the ball down the road to the future and crime statistics are manipulated to make whatever point politicians are trying to get across.

Tough talk and reforms around the margins are meant to crowd out the real questions. Questions like: “How is military empire building, the biggest government program on the planet, affecting the economy?” “Who are you using political power to pay off this time?” and “Why are you telling us what to do in the first place?”

Fortunately the internet makes it easier to find out what the reality is behind the official story. But this is not enough when online information is selected through bias. So information must be made more accessible and interest-grabbing. It needs to be actively put in front of people who are accustomed to looking in specific places for answers.

And building up alternatives to state power while inspiring people to live independently from government will undermine the power of politicians until it is easy enough to resist and treat as any other crime.

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory