I’m Already Against the Next War and You Should Be Too

by Thomas L. Knapp
I’m Already Against the Next War and You Should Be Too

This week, the boogeyman is North Korea. Is anyone surprised? The Stalinist “Hermit Kingdom” is right out of central casting. Isolated, always bellicose, unpredictable, and on a war footing for decades: If the Korean War was an American citizen, it would be deciding about now whether to take Social Security early or keep brandishing its atomic weapons for a few more years.

But that narrative is shaped by nearly unavoidable bias. It’s easy to bash North Korea, but if I address my own knowledge of the country honestly, I must admit that most of what I think I know about it is really just what other governments choose to tell me. And those other governments routinely lie — to everyone, about everything, day in and day out, as a matter of policy so ingrained in their character that it can only be accurately characterized as pathological.

So, I can’t really know whether Kim Jong Un is a nuke-waving megalomaniac or a milquetoast reformist whose every public utterance is filtered by other states’ censors to make him LOOK like a nuke-waving megalomaniac, pursuant to those other states’ agendas.

Nor can I know whether his generals are egging him on to confrontation, or working frantically to cool things down. Or whether his armies are the brainwashed oriental hordes of US propaganda or just a starving gaggle of scarecrows who’ll throw down their weapons and throw up their hands the first time they see what a US “smart bomb” does to their positions along the DMZ.

If this particular war breaks out — or to be more exact, breaks out again — we’ll be deluged with detailed accounts of how “they” fired first and how the “free world” merely responded in kind. And once again, we’ll have any way of knowing whether those accounts are true stories or heaping piles of bovine scat. The most we’ll really be able to know (and then only if we’re willing to look closely and carefully) is that even if Kim is as bad as we’re told he is, his adversaries aren’t much better on their best days.

And of course we can know — when we take the time to think about it, we DO know — that war is evil, that as Sherman put it, it is “all hell,” and that it always, every time, serves the interests of the politicians and their crony corporate profiteers at the expense of the victims on all sides who pay the butcher’s bill in blood, treasure or both.

The state did not invent war (in fact it may have been the other way around), but the state has normalized war. It has perpetuated, and continually worked to perfect, wholesale murder for four centuries now. Not just Kim’s state, but all of them. Even if anarchy resulted only in Hobbes’s imperfect, retail “war of all against all” — a doubtful proposition, in my opinion — that would be a dramatic improvement.

flattr this!

3 responses to “I’m Already Against the Next War and You Should Be Too

  1. It seems we never tire of war. Not for longer than a few years. Then we’re ready for it again.

    Perhaps it’s the ultimate form of reality TV. For most of the public, it seems no more real than a video game. This is especially true in the U.S., which hasn’t seen a war on its soil in well over a century. We love to tramp around old battlefields, reading the historical placards and picking up fragments of musket ball. I suppose it’s as titillatingly close to the action as we dare to get.

    Some think 9-11 changed all that. “This is WAR!” we all screeched. We were in the action at last.

    So we sent a bunch of poor people’s kids over to the Middle East and left them there for ten years. Just to “win” our “war” for us. It occurs to very few that this may very well be why it still goes on.

  2. Truth is hard to find. I’ve read reports that the fat little bastard is a wimp and , like Richard Cromwell is not a patch on his dad and the reason for the warlike noises is to try and bolster his failing empire. Other stories say he has fitted right in and is indeed a chip off the old block and war-talk is him giving tyranny a tune-up. Others put the vlame on the US federal tyranny who curse NK even as they try to re-create it at home.

    On a lighter note you may enjoy this

  3. The very fact that we don’t know for sure what North Korea and its leader is up to tells me that America should prepare for the very worst and not try to kid themselves that Kim Jong Un is just a misunderstood young man, a product of a disfunctional family background in need of counseling. Anymore than some would have us believe Ahmadinejad is only kidding when he speaks of annihilating Israel.

    And I don’t like the way this blog seems to hint at a kind of relevance between the West and its institutions and North Korea.

    There is no relevance whatsoever. North Korea is probably the most evil society in the world right now, and second only to Iran in the degree of danger it presents to the world.

    A pity that other evil great power, China, can’t simply cut them adrift and let the chips fall where they may. Though it may even come to that, rather in the way East and West Germany were reunited. China isn’t exactly a model of stability as its peculiar demographics steadily increase its own society’s stresses.