Thursday, December 10, 2009

War, terror and intelligence

The 'War on Terror', aka the 'Struggle Against Violent Extremism', are terms used to "sell" or rationalize the West's military engagement in many parts of the developing world, especially the oil rich regions of Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.

The conventional wisdom, propounded by government officials and foreign policy experts, postulates a world in which the developed nations are threatened by radical religious fanatics and violent extremists who are determined to attack us.

Accordingly, our only recourse against such an irrational, implacable and demonic threat is a massive military engagement of indefinite duration and unspecified cost. Without such effort we are sure to be overrun by terrorists of evermore cunning and sophistication.

The ultimate, undeniable proof of this grave danger, is the ever-present specter of 9/11. Lest anyone doubt the gravity of our predicament, or the necessity of our war, simply recite the official refrain, "they attacked us on 9/11", and who dares argue with that?

Needless to say, conventional wisdom is not always right. Indeed, it can even be an obstacle to introducing new theories, or explanations.
"This is to say, that despite new information to the contrary, conventional wisdom has a property analogous to inertia that opposes the introduction of contrary belief, sometimes to the point of absurd denial of the new information set by persons strongly holding an outdated (conventional wisdom) view. This inertia is due to conventional wisdom being made of ideas that are convenient, appealing and deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to them even as they grow outdated. The unavoidable outcome is these ideas will eventually not match reality at all, so conventional wisdom will be violently shaken until it doesn't so blatantly conflict with reality." Wikipedia

With the mainstream media shackled to a trivia driven, non-stop entertainment frenzy, and an academia steeped in technical minutia and controlled by corporate interests, it is not surprising to find a dearth of critical literature, or informed commentary, extolling the virtues of our campaign and recounting its successes, since there are none.

Instead, we have the same old rhetoric, the tired, hackneyed monologue, the political doctrine of the Bush/Cheney regime ...
the unassailable official dogma.

But why would anyone want to question the official narrative?

Why would anyone doubt the honesty of government officials, or the veracity of their pronouncements? Is there any justification for such a lack of trust in government and officialdom?

Of course not! Government officials are honorable, respectable, upright characters, they wouldn't stoop to crime or misconduct. Of course, they're only human, so sometimes they make mistakes, but they'd never intentionally do anything naughty.

You believe me, don't you?

Okay, so you think they might be influenced by large sums of money, tempting promises or perhaps even career advancement ... let me assure you, that sort of thing does happen, but not on any sort of organized scale, just a few bad apples, you know.

No look, government officials are trying to protect us, they want to do a good job keeping the terrorists at bay so we can all be safe... that's all there is to it. These guys are simply doing a difficult job as best they can, and we shouldn't be trying to second guess their methods, cos they're the experts, right?

In fact, snooping around trying to find out what they're really up to is only making their job harder, exposing methods and sources, informing the public, all this does is make it easier for the terrorists, don't you see?

I mean, really, who needs to know that our intelligence agencies infiltrate terror groups, recruit terrorist operatives or even fund, arm and train private militia run by war lords and drug barons. If people hear about all this, next thing they'll want to know just how much influence we have with these terrorist organizations, and why are we helping them, if we're supposed to be at war with them.

And you can't expect the public to comprehend the subtleties, the nuances of international relations and the geostrategic balance of power... they're too stupid to understand the real situation, that's why they must be kept distracted and deluded.

Let's face it, if too many people wake up to what's really going on, things could get messy!

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