The Consequences of Perpetual War
Our government has permeated our minds with fear. We fear everything today. From lawlessness to relentless threats of redundancy, mass migration of refugees, financial market meltdown, personal economic ruination to global conflict and especially terrorism.
We allow that fear to become the imaginable. Just as at a funeral, gazing on a polished oak coffin, involuntary thoughts about one’s own death blend with the anguish of a dear friend now deceased. One imagines for a fleeting moment black clad masked gunmen bursting onto the scene with Kalashnikovs, waving flags and mowing us all down.
In the months after the 2001 terror attacks, passenger miles on the main US airlines fell by around 15%. Road use jumped, killing an extra 1,600 people – mainly because of a government and media induced frenzy that changed the world. Those people would not be dead if they had taken the plane.
In the last ten years over 15,000 people have died on the streets of Britain driving cars, riding bikes or simply walking down one.
In that same ten year period 88 people, in four incidents have died as a direct result of an act of terror in Britain. Four times more than that died from falling down the stairs just last year, twice as many drowned and twice as many choked to death on food and over 4,000 committed suicide. Life has its risks.
Road deaths have increased recently in Britain for the first time in decades. The director of the parliamentary advisory committee on transport safety says local authority budget cuts have had a substantial impact – after cuts in everything from lollipop people, to street lighting and road repairs. That’s not fate but government cuts to blame.
Both the increased road deaths and deaths through terrorism were preventable. If Britain had not blindly followed America into wars in the Middle-East it would have had the funds to stop those increased road deaths and wouldn’t be victims of terrorism.
We all seem prepared to allow our leadership to corrupt our democratic system to deal with terrorism, and appear to have allowed ourselves to become enslaved by it in the backlash from various real or perceived events that as individuals we cannot control.
We rarely see the road side carnage happening every day. Images of mangled cars, blood and oil seeping from the wreckage, blanket covered stretchers and emergency services are not the focus of mainstream media. The government does not want you to see its failures. The media goes into overdrive when a Nazi lookalike Isis icon ‘Jihadi John’ so graphically executes one person. It does so, quite rightly but still, it percolates irrational thoughts later.
We have entered the fear market, where mainly ignorance and mere perception drive our thoughts, emotions and responses. Thanks to wall-to-wall fear mongering by politicians and their media mouthpieces, the public is now terrified.
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Terrorism, imagined or real is the pretext for mass surveillance.
A decade ago the former head of MI5 has accused ministers of exploiting fears over terrorism to restrict civil liberties, adding to mounting criticism of the government’s record on human rights.
In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, Stella Rimington said state interference in people’s privacy played into the hands of terrorists. “It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, [which is] precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state,” she told La Vanguardia. How right she was.
The Orwellian climate of state control becomes indispensable to rooting out terrorists where they hide – so their argument goes.
Therefore, in order to hunt down terrorists who may be hiding anywhere and everywhere, it is necessary that the government has the technological means of mass surveillance and seizure of your data. It is in this manner, with the ‘war on terror’ that has provided the pretext for the systematic invasion of privacy and destruction of civil liberties.
Now, convinced that terrorists are living amongst us we abdicate privacy rights won by previous generations. As a result we now have an illegal state surveillance system that Hitler and Stalin would have been proud of.
The Obama administration has made David Cameron a powerful European role model for impunity, with unapologetic violations of domestic and international law and he is taking advantage.
Speaking to the Guardian weeks after his appointment as the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci described British surveillance oversight as being “a joke”, and said the situation is worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen.
Recent decades have seen a dramatic curtailing of hard won civil liberties. These restrictions have been inadvertently cushioned by the expansion of the internet and the ability to exercise some of these rights by proxy on the web.
Now a new fear raises its ugly head. The ability of a government to execute its own citizens has been a mark of tyrannical psychotic leaders from the days of Caesars Rome to Kim Jong-un. Assassinating British citizens for whatever reason without being brought to trial is unlawful in Britain, or it was.
Our prime minister, elected by a flawed democratic process is now the CEO of Britain with executive powers to override a toothless board sitting in comfy parliamentarian leather clad seats.
By now, most elected officials and constituents take this multi-front war against a vague and dubious foe for granted as an immutable necessity, however unfortunate. The cumulative, unrelenting and destructive effects are now integral to daily life.
Governments crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant. By increasing the fear-factor, citizens dependency on the state boosts the election prospects of one party against the other.
David Cameron and George Osborne have no knew ideas on the economy other than austerity and war.
The UK has long known, and its own studies have emphatically concluded, that “terrorism” is motivated not by a “hatred of our freedoms” but by US and UK policy and aggression in the Muslim world. This causal connection is not news to the governments. Despite this – or, more accurately, because of it – they continue with these policies.
The UK is the worlds second largest arms and weapons exporter. BAE Systems is the worlds third largest weapons manufacturer. Perpetual war needs justification and rationalisation and fear underpins the foundations of this chain of death. War becomes perpetual when it becomes the rationale for peace.
The “war on terror” now looks so endless that no one speculates anymore about when it might conclude. But perpetual war creates endless consequences. The fear of those consequences perpetuated by our government is also infinite.
Politicians have to pretend they can deliver zero risk in this self bred fear driven environment. If a parent kills its offspring, someone must be to blame – social workers with impossible caseloads will be castigated and attacked. In modern Britain, very few children are murdered, yet they are locked indoors due to the visions and nightmares of paranoid parents. In the meantime, the greatest threat to mankind, sits on the political back burner as climate change menacingly stares at us with an all knowing grin.
In all this chaos, not just fear but anger galvanises us. Terrorism works because it does exactly that. Jihadi John is nothing more than a deranged and maniacal misfit but government and its media machine has scorched his image into our hearts and minds far beyond the real risk.
Jihadi John is not a product of Isis. He is a creation of the west. Thanks to aggression in a foreign land, Isis is now in every home in Britain. We wake up every day with the news of more bloodshed. Societies across the world are losing the battle between peace and prosperity verses profit and war. These are the consequences.
Fear is perpetrated and propagandised by our government for their own vested interests and that’s what we should all fear the most.
Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica