Narcissistic Stockholm Syndrome: War Machine

Photo Credit: flickr/Kenny Holston 21. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

A couple of friends are filling in for me while I’m away on break. This post is written by Jason M. Dye of the blog Left Cheek.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” -Mahatma Gandhi

Someone out there is planning a counter-demonstration to a peace march. Oddly enough, it’s not Boeing, Haliburton, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, nor any of the other war profiteers taking out the banners and megaphones to stymie the influence of the peace activists.

It is a Marine who served in Vietnam.

Please don’t miss the irony of this. Someone who suffered under the direction of war-mongers and profiteers believes that those who oppose the war-mongers and profiteers need to be opposed.

It’s as if he’s fallen in love with his captors- a Military Industrial Stockholm Syndrome. Not unlike the vast majority of Americans whom also adore the Conquering Warlords, the Invested Bankers who finance them, and their Corporate Bosses.

But we shan’t talk badly about them, shan’t we? Republican President Bush got a little bit of flack for starting some wars. And he was called some bad names. And that made others very angry, for to them it’s much more disrespectful to kill a man’s reputation than to kill an actual man.

Who has been harmed worse: the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who lost their lives, homes, families, basic needs through the American War Machine’s acts of aggression, or the leader (or is it puppet?) of that Machine who was compared to Hitler?

And now, a Democratic president is feeling the heat.

Not as much heat as the dozens of civilians who have come into contact with our Patriot bombs, but, maybe just a little bit, right?

This most current manifestation of America’s War Machine was sold as the only hope for a people (Libyans, who were being butchered by tanks, warplanes, and mercenaries- the last one turned especially tragic as Libyan civilians went out hunting and clubbing for any sub-Saharan African on the grounds that they may be mercenaries) from their mad dictator (Gadhafi). The world watches as we respond with a military intervention, and all just to level the playing field a little bit. If, perhaps, there was a way it could be limited to the agreed-upon No-Fly Zone action, then perhaps it would be justifiable. That is, if the War Machine weren’t so apt to make sure that their mission is accomplished first.

And it will be. Because they’d like to replace Gadhafi with someone more compliant to US and coalition (meaning, other Corporation-backed “democracies”) desires.

A cruise missile blasted Moammar Gadhafi’s residential compound in an attack that carried as much symbolism as military effect, and fighter jets destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital. The U.S. said the international assault would hit any government forces attacking the opposition.”

The War Machine is itself only one of several arms of Empire. And Empire exists for the aim of Empire. In the current US climate, the driving force of Empire is corporate need. And corporations need cheap gas. So, um, congratulations, Libyans! We’ll be able to liberate you AND get cheaper gas. We thank you for your sacrifice. It allows us to more easily oblige with our captors.


Jason M. Dye will be continuing this series on his fantastic blog Left Cheek so be sure to visit his site.

4 thoughts on “Narcissistic Stockholm Syndrome: War Machine

  1. If we’re going to be so hard on the marine who is allegedly blind to his own domination, I think we need to more clearly articulate our diagnosis, and make sure we’re not merely dwelling on moral condemnation but rather moving on towards prescriptions and ways in which social movements can reveal injustice and reshape these relations.

    I say ‘we’ because I think we might share a good deal in terms of diagnosis and prescriptions, so I am writing the following points in the effort to be constructive. There are several inferences here, I hope they aren’t appropriate, and I hope my points are somewhat coherent:
    - I think we need to say clearly why ‘empire’ is a useful concept in understanding global power relations. Does it mirror the traditional understanding of ‘empire’ that falls down nation-state lines, and if so, how? My preliminary assertion would be that transnational market (what I understand with your use of corporate) power functions under a fundamentally different logic. This brings me to point #2->
    - I think the idea of ‘corporate need’ is worth unpacking. If corporations are the expression of the market that are established for them, I think the comprehensive and most precise definition would be ‘growth’ or ‘accumulation’…
    - Still on this line of thought – I think it’s incorrect to say that all corporations need cheap oil: some of them do, but many of them (biofuels companies, speculators, any company with significant landholdings, among others) would also greatly benefit from price volatility or a general increase in prices. This is not to say that there is not an important lobbying block that influences policy, or a particular dynamic related to energy, but if this is the case we need to say so.
    - Our entire lives and societies are also built around the availability of cheap oil, I think it’s necessary to widen our lens a little bit to understand oil in a broader historical and social context.
    - Finally, although we may all agree that there are significant powers that shape and influence decisions, I absolutely disagree that they determine outcomes with no room for agency, even at the state level (it seems like this is the picture painted here). I realize that the use of words like ‘puppet’, and the depiction of complex relations and contingent events as predetermined master/slave relations may be used for rhetorical purposes, but if we eliminate the role of social movements, agency and action in our diagnosis, we also eliminate it in our prescription…
    - In this sense I think it’s necessary to discuss a little bit more about the sincerely good intentions that find avenues for action only when allowed by structural power (maybe compare Libya to Bahrain, maybe), examine these struggles a little more, including when they are denied, rather than discount anyone who supports the action as blind to the reality of the war machine.

    All the best-

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