May 26, 2003
You know how you sometimes like a song, for nebulous reasons -- a haunting tune, a turn of phrase in the lyrics? I have several like that. One of them is "Making love out of nothing at all," by a band called Air Supply. On the face of it, it has nothing to do with anything -- it's a song. Just a song. But that refrain -- those two phrases -- making love out of nothing at all -- those just transformed themselves in my head of late.
Watching the turns that history has taken in the past ten years or so, watching the role that the United States has played in that history, the Air Supply song's refrain comes back to haunt me as something completely different.
Making war, out of nothing at all.
War is the closest thing the human race as a whole has to insanity. It's an aberration of the collective brain. The fact that there are always individuals willing to put such aberrations to good use in order to generate profit and riches is neither here nor there -- there are always profiteers, in every walk of life, wherever we turn. But these particular profiteers would not have been able to ply their trade if the collective insanity hadn't been discovered, nurtured, urged to play with new toys, fed with hate, with fear, with lies.
Particularly the lies.
Two recent wars come to mind, led and fought by the United States in the name of a "moral imperative." First they destroyed Yugoslavia because of "genocide." Then they destroyed Iraq because of "weapons of mass destruction."
The thing is -- there was NO genocide in Yugoslavia, and there is now a preponderance of evidence that there were NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Well, either that, or Saddam Hussein is the most patient and self-controlled dictator in ten thousand years. If you were a tyrannical despot in the high seat of power and someone turned up and started riding roughshod over your fiefdom, wouldn't you have used weapons of mass destruction if you had them? What did they think Saddam Hussein was waiting for -- what was he saving those weapons for? It certainly wasn't that he was waiting until he saw "the whites of their eyes" -- it wasn't long before the invaders were swarming in the streets of Baghdad, practically rubbing noses with him. What was he doing, restraining himself because it was his city, his people? But isn't that dramatically opposed to the picture we have been given of the great tyrant of Babylon? It is inescapable that those who were instrumental in the destruction and looting of Baghdad were the foreigners (and the rabble, but then nobody in even the wildest conjectures has tried to put forward the theory that the rabble was in fact Saddam Hussein's collection of weapons of mass destruction...)
War is defensible in one case, and one case only -- if you defend yourself against someone who raises their hand against you. Anything else, ANYTHING else, is invasion, is occupation, is coercion at the point of a gun to accept someone else's morals, religion, or simply a jackboot on your neck. The first and only war crime on the books should be the starting of a war. And starting a war for frivolous reasons is worst of all.
In the era that we live in, it is becoming frighteningly clear that reasons for a war no longer need to be even nominally defensible if you have the firepower to back up your intentions. It doesn't matter if you are utterly ignorant of a nation's culture, its background, and the real story behind the "genocide" which you have invented in order to justify its annihilation. It doesn't matter if the only reason you suspect the existence of "weapons of mass destruction" is because you yourself once sold such weapons to the tyrant whom you are now holding to account for having given you money for them.
That Air Supply song gets downright scary, when you look at it in that context:
Out of nothing at all.
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FOOLS' CRUSADE: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions, by Diana Johnstone (Book Excerpt)
The Balkans and Yugoslavia on Swans
Aleksandra Priestfield on Swans (with bio).
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This Week's Internal Links
FOOLS' CRUSADE: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions - by Diana Johnstone (Book Excerpt)
Diana Johnstone's "Fools' Crusade" - Book Review by Louis Proyect
Diana Johnstone On The Balkan Wars - Book Review by Edward S. Herman
Diana Johnstone And The Demise Of 'Yugoslavism' - Book Review by Gilles d'Aymery
Selective Recognition and the Dismantling of SFR Yugoslavia - by Konstantin Kilibarda
Lessons From Yugoslavia: Blueprint for War? - by Jan Baughman
We Have The Right To Live - Interviews by Gregory Elich
Embedding The Truth - by Deck Deckert
Courage And Cowardice - by Richard Macintosh
An Awful Lawful World: Who Wins, Who Loses - by Philip Greenspan
Accomplishments - Poem by Sabina C. Becker
My Appearances - Poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith