America's hyperreal war on terrorism

America’s hyperreal war on terrorism by Anis Shivani

The best way to understand “America’s new war” is as a convenient legitimizing rubric to extend American economic and military power abroad, and to complete the repressive domestic agenda already set in motion during the post-cold war years in the guise of the “war on drugs.”

In both instances, corporate globalization’s increasingly intolerant attitude toward dissent of any kind is implicated. This is not so much a war against “terrorism,” but a pre-emptive strike against domestic and international opposition to the hegemony of transnational capital in the early years of the twenty-first century. (…)

This is the postmodern form of repression, where terror-originating from the state is completely unlocalized, and it penetrates to the very core of the potential dissenter’s heart and mind, and allows no possible refuge from the panoptical sights of the police state. (…)

In effect, the anti-terrorism legislation of 2001 is analogous to Hitler’s 1933 Enabling Act, converting the hithertofore soft American totalitarian state into a hard one, making explicit by writ of law what was already occurring in terms of supression of free speech, dissent against the corporate global order, and massive inequalities in access to power and justice. The usurpation of the voters' will in the 2000 election was a test-run: since this judicial coup engendered no noticeable dissent among the intelligentsia, press, and common people, the stage was set for an all-out assault on the remaining liberties of the people. (…)

Racial profiling of Arab and Muslim Americans has been endorsed by even liberal Senators. Anti-globalization activists wonder if their shop has been closed for good. The distinctive element of this wave of repression is that it is accompanied by soft talk. The president and his surrogates will continue to make the correct multicultural noises about acceptance of difference, even advocacy of a Palestinian state should that be necessary to buy the short-term allegiance of recalcitrant Muslim states, but the words will be as hollow as the administration’s “compassionate conservative” ideology. As more than $2 trillion was handed out to the richest Americans in a “tax cut” designed to starve the federal government of resources for public spending, the compassionate part of this policy relied on the armies of compassion to rally ordinary people to public service and on so-called faith-based initiatives to handle the welfare discards. (…)

The war on terrorism signifies not a return to multilateralism, as some have suggested, but an escalation of the unilateralist position already taken by conservatives during the first eight months of this administration. “You’re either with us or against us.” Is that multilateralism? The US is only seeking a thin cover for its avowed military and economic goals (including assertion of hegemony in the key, oil-rich Central Asian region), but it is not multilateralism by any means.

randomWalks @randomWalks