Caitlin Johnstone

Beating around the Bush: Stop normalising war criminals

bush

At the recent funeral of John McCain, the media fawned at George Bush showing off his more sensitive side. No. He’s a warmonger, and we should not forget that.

 

 

As of this writing, a tweet by disgraced Broadway fraud convict Roland Scahill has 90 thousand shares and 362 thousand likes, which if you’re not used to Twitter is a ridiculously high amount that nobody generally hits. The tweet features nothing but four seconds of video footage from the John McCain funeral, and the caption “George W. Bush sneaking a piece of candy to Michelle Obama is warming my heart.”

That’s it. That’s all it took to win Twitter for the day. Those four seconds of footage have been circulated around television news stations to “ooh”s and “ahh”s of fawning establishment pundits yammering incessantly about how the death of War Hero John McCain™ has let everyone Put Aside Our Political Differences™ and Come Together As Americans™ to celebrate the life of a man who dedicated his entire political career to sowing death, suffering and devastation at every opportunity. A war criminal giving a piece of candy to the wife of another war criminal at the funeral of a war criminal is all it took to get mainstream American brains gushing with dopamine and oxytocin.

Because that’s how compartmentalised Americans are from the reality of what war is and what it means. The explosions, the screams, the charred and shredded human bodies, the chaos and displacement and all the suffering, terrorism, slavery and rape that necessarily always comes with it, the million Iraqis killed under Bush, the unfathomable humanitarian disasters created in Libya and Syria under Obama, all the devastation created in all the military interventions McCain helped push for, all of that is so peripheral and distant in American consciousness that it can be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a piece of fucking candy.

The United States is the most important player in the imperial alliance centralised around it, and therefore its citizenry are necessarily the most propagandised people on earth. You can’t have the populace of such an important nation suddenly demanding that troops be brought home and the resources being spent on bombs be spent eliminating the economic inequality on which your empire depends instead, so you’ve got to get into their minds early and aggressively to manipulate the way they think about war. Everything from flag worship to the fetishisation of military personnel to Pentagon-controlled Hollywood movies are used from early childhood to install the assumption that their nation’s bloated military budget is only ever going toward good and never evil.

Day after day after day after day, from when they are small until their dying breath, the American psyche is pummelled with this relentless assault upon its natural senses of empathy and reason. So it’s understandable that every now and then one of them snaps and shoots up a building full of people, inflicting the same kind of mass murder at home they’ve been trained to accept as normal abroad. And it’s understandable that they’d be duped into thinking the monstrous evils that have been inflicted upon our world by Bush, Obama and McCain (and Henry Kissinger, who also made an appearance at the funeral) are innocent little oopsie-poopsies which pale in comparison to something so monumentally heroic as correcting a woman who called Obama an Arab once, or sharing a piece of candy.

That’s all it took to win Twitter for the day. A war criminal giving a piece of candy to the wife of another war criminal at the funeral of a war criminal is all it took to get mainstream American brains gushing with dopamine and oxytocin.

But if Americans are ever going to escape from the chains of oligarchy, they’re necessarily going to have to cease consenting to imperialism. Without their resources being funnelled into hundreds of bases and countless military and intelligence operations overseas, there’d be a chance to fix America’s infrastructure and make sure everyone gets what they need. Without the US economy being propped up with the barrel of a gun to ensure the success of globalist agendas, Americans would have a chance to create a real economy based on real things that they themselves own and control. Without the ability to use the US war machine to advance their agendas, the oligarchs who control America’s economy, government and media will be unable to rule over the increasingly wealthy and powerful masses. Without the best technology and the brainpower of the brightest Americans being sucked up into the war machine, the nation’s most creative minds will lose their incentive to point their ingenuity at death and destruction, and will point it at useful innovations instead.

And then the propaganda machine which holds the whole empire together will be useless and impotent, and the shackles on American minds will crumble. And the rest of the empire will follow.

The first step in this direction is to cease normalising the monsters who facilitate human butchery around the world. Stop believing they need to be regarded as “heroes” just because they wore a uniform at some point. Stop believing that it’s ever okay to push for needless wars which butcher innocent men, women and children. Stop believing a man can facilitate the slaughter of a million people and not have that clearly be his single defining legacy. Stop believing that it’s worse to criticise a warmonger than it is to be a warmonger.

 

Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone is a Melbourne-based journalist who specialises in American politics, finance and foreign affairs. You can find her on Twitter at @caitoz Her website at https://caitlinjohnstone.com/ Or on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/caitlinjohnstone Her new book ' Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers' is now available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Woke-Field-Guide-Utopia-Preppers/dp/064823455X/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

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