This article by the Publisher of MER, Mark Bruzonsky*, appears in a European edition
of Playboy Magazine this month and was written on 17 September 2001:
color="#000080"> WAR OF THE WORLDS
size="+1">"This crusade, this war on terrorism,
is going to take a while. We will
rid the world of the evil-doers."
President George W. Bush, 16 Sept
The United States of America will surely prevail in the new war of our worlds -- in the short term.
That is the case not because of any gods out there taking sides and not because of good or evil – metaphysical concepts both of the mismatched combatants constantly insist on invoking each within their own rich historical paradigms. The sheer military might and technological superiority of the Americans, now fully engaged in the wake of the surreal events of 11 September 2001, is simply beyond the capabilities of anyone else on the planet to successfully resist -- in the short term.
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.
This is hardly the next war that most anticipated since the Great Wars that decimated so much of Europe and Asia in the last century. But radical as it may sound to many this is the war many in the American military-industrial establishment have been waiting to engage.
And certainly this is not a war that actually began on 11 September 2001. Rather it is a war that has been alternatively erupting and smoldering around the globe for some time now with engagements already fought in many locales with a human toll already in the millions. From the "genocide" perpetrated on the people of Iraq (the chosen word of none other than a former Attorney General of the United States as well as a resigned-in-moral-disgust Assistant Secretary of General of the United Nations); to the teeming refugee camps of Lebanon and occupied Palestine; to the now rekindled war in Afghanistan; to the bloodbaths which have in recent years savaged places like Algeria, Kashmir, Chechnya and the former Yugoslavia.
Not even consciously aware of where and how the early battles of this new war have already been fought, nor of the immense number of casualties others have already endured, the American people are now embarking on a crusade to cleanse the world of their enemies. All who oppose them are branded with the broad-brush label "terrorists" to be hunted down and destroyed; all who refuse to comply with the new order of things are to be considered complicitous and targeted.
And yet, there is an ominous nevousness at least within American intellectual circles as this massive reassertion of the "New World Order" begins to unfold. Whatever the upcoming fate of America’s enemies, there will also be a huge cost the Americans will bear at least in economic and psychological ways if not in a basic undermining of the very pillars of their empire both at home and abroad.
New World Order Revisited
Like the term "Star Wars" before it, "New World Order" was understood by the powers that be to represent too many negative associations to be carried over into the 21st Century. But a fading of terminology only masked the underlying depths of both policy and perspective. It took President George W. only a few days to evoke the refrain "This Will Not Stand", just as his father did a decade ago. Never abandoned, the "New World Order" is now being resurrected in far more massive form even though this time heavily masked under tons of rhetoric about "the war against international terrorism". The fact that the American President has himself publicly used the very terminology of “crusade” shows just how insensitive the Americans still remain to Arab and Islamic history.
Like most serious wars, underneath all the saber rattling and patriotic slogans are imperial goals. The U.S at this historical moment is the only "superpower"; but others, most especially the Chinese, are rising up determined to assert their own interests and visions of the future. As for the Arab and Muslim countries, they remain essentially carved up and de facto occupied, the lingering result of the end of World War I when the dominant European powers of that day brought about at the Paris Conference the "Peace To End All Peace" -- leading to the bloodiest era in history to date.
Who Will Be Left Standing?
Like the huge Trade Towers which to everyone's amazement crashed down in just a few moments, the real questions about the future of our world are, when the winds of war subside this time, which regimes will be left fully standing; which will be so weakened they will have to dismantled and rebuilt; and what political, military and economic structures will emerge anew to replace the dead, the dying, and the disfigured.
The recent events already now behind us and sure to reverberate for foreseeable history on planet earth are historical blowback for so much that has happened around the world in recent history. Future blowback because of what is happening now is inevitable, but not really predictable.
This new War of the Worlds is not likely to end soon or cleanly. Even should some new unstable point be reached by overwhelming force of arms the whole host of terrible world tensions from before will remain – from the new space arms race; to the potentially cataclysmic conflicts in Palestine and in Kashmir; to the proliferation of deadly weapons of mass destruction; to the contradictions and inequities inherent in another of those American paradigms, “globalization”. And when it comes to this new War of the Worlds exploding in front of our eyes, it needs to be appreciated that a whole new generation of destitute, desperate, and outraged Osamas has already been born.
The “New World Order” was originally a construct attempting to explain and to organize the post-Cold War world according to multi-faceted Western interests, overwhelming American power, and considerable American public innocence. Like “Star Wars” before it, the “New World Order” was abandoned rhetorically in order to further disguise it’s actuality. Now both are reborn with a second President Bush as Commander-in-Chief leading America on a crusade it doesn’t really understand, one that has very little to do with the previous world of Pearl Harbor, and one which will surely not end with a clear-cut surrender on the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Washington, DC - 9/17/01
* Bio information about the author can be found at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/mab
"Today's events will, very likely, be
exploited to increase the pressure to develop these systems (space weapons)
and put them into place. 'Defense' is a thin cover for plans for militarization
of space, and with good PR, even the flimsiest arguments will carry some
weight among a frightened public. In short, the crime is a gift to the hard
jingoist right, those who hope to use force to control their domains. That
is even putting aside the likely US actions, and what they will trigger --
possibly more attacks like this one, or worse. The prospects ahead are even
more ominous than they appeared to be before the latest atrocities.
"We can do no better, I think, than to listen to the words of Robert Fisk, whose direct knowledge and insight into affairs of the region is unmatched after many years of distinguished reporting. Describing 'The wickedness and awesome cruelty of a crushed and humiliated people,' he writes that 'this is not the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days. It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps.'"
Professor Noam Chomsky - M.I.T.
"What is most depressing is how little time is spent trying to understand America's role in the world... You'd think that 'America' was a sleeping giant rather than a superpower almost constantly at war all over the Islamic domains... Collective passions are being funnelled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured at home for the first time. Manichaean symbols and apocalyptic scenarios are bandied about with future consequences and rhetorical restraint thrown to the winds.
"Rational understanding of the situation is what is needed now, not more drum-beating. George Bush and his team clearly want the latter, not the former. Yet to most people in the Islamic and Arab worlds the official US is synonymous with arrogant power, known for its sanctimoniously munificent support not only of Israel but of numerous repressive Arab regimes, and its inattentiveness even to the possibility of dialogue with secular movements and people who have real grievances. Anti-Americanism in this context is not based on a hatred of modernity or technology-envy: it is based on a narrative of concrete interventions, specific depredations...
"Political rhetoric in the US has overridden these things by flinging about words like 'terrorism' and 'freedom' whereas, of course, such large abstractions have mostly hidden sordid material interests, the influence of the oil, defence and Zionist lobbies now consolidating their hold on the entire Middle East, and an age-old religious hostility to (and ignorance of) 'Islam' that takes new forms every day."
Professor Edward Said - Columbia University
"This is the wrath of Allah," said the imam [in Pakistan]. "You Americans commit oppression everywhere, in Kashmir, in Palestine, and you do not see the blood spilled... If America attacks Afghanistan, I myself will kill George Bush," vowed Zikria Agha, 18, his eyes and voice cold with conviction. "The Muslims of the world are united. We are the real superpower. If America attacks, it will be the beginning of World War Three."
Washington Post, 15 Sept, page 1.
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