How to sanctify mass murder

Proponents of the Iraq war are quick to absolve the occupation forces of the violence taking place in Iraq. Lenin’s superb post nails this wafer-thin argument.

Let’s deal with this bullshit once and for all, because I’m sick of hearing every time American military forces blow up a wedding ceremony, or a refugee convoy, or family home, that it’s all the fault of the bad guys. If you choose war, you choose its consequences. If you choose the tactic of urban warfare and sectarian death squads, you are responsible for what takes place. If you choose to pound a school with shells, even if – and I want to be absolutely clear about this – even if you are under the impression that there might be nefarious folks hanging around in the vicinity, then the deaths are your fault. It doesn’t matter if you think the military are bullshitting on this or not: there is a whole ideology involved here, which is inherently exculpatory and in many of its manifestations deeply racist.

He pulls no punches, getting to the very crux of the argument about how we legitimize and justify our use of violence.

The racism of this ideology couldn’t be clearer: only Americans are entitled to self-defense (and even, tacitly, a great deal of vengeful excess) if their citizens, territory or even claimed interests are attacked. Everyone else has to suck it up. And of course, the military supremacy comes with an added dimension of ideological supremacism. The very fact that military aggression is presented as, variously, emergency management, democratisation and security – all tapping into universalist claims with axiomatic appeal among the target audience (the population of the warmaking states), means that any opponent is automatically disqualified from the normal range of human consideration because by simple virtue of resisting, They’re Opposed To Democracy. And if they’re opposed to that, ironically enough, they are not entitled to self-determination (catch 22: if they’re not opposed to it, then they aren’t entitled to self-determination either, because the United States claims to be delivering democracy).

No one could have put it better. The fact is that every time we are told US troops must remain to secure Iraq, what this ultimately involves is the killing of more Iraqis. This particularly applies to the axiom that things will get worse before they get better.

I highly recommend reading this article in its entirety.