We're ten years from 9/11 and still in the Long War. Can we open our eyes in time?
The Long War casts a shadow not only over our economy and future budgets but our innocent and unborn children's future as well. This is no accident, but the result of deliberate lies, obfuscations and scandalous accounting techniques. We are victims of an information warfare strategy waged deliberately by the Pentagon. As Gen. Stanley McChrystal said much too candidly in a February 2010, "This is not a physical war of how many people you kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up. This is all in the minds of the participants." David Kilcullen, once the top counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, defines "international information operations as part of counterinsurgency." Quoted in Counterinsurgency in 2010, Kilcullen said this military officer's goal is to achieve a "unity of perception management measures targeting the increasingly influential spectators' gallery of the international community."
This new war of perceptions, relying on naked media manipulation such as the treatment of media commentators as "message amplifiers" but also high-technology information warfare, only highlights the vast importance of the ongoing WikiLeaks whistle-blowing campaign against the global secrecy establishment. Consider just what we have learned about Iraq and Afghanistan because of WikiLeaks: Tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq, never before disclosed; instructions to U.S. troops to not investigate torture when conducted by U.S. allies; the existence of Task Force 373, carrying out night raids in Afghanistan; the CIA's secret army of 3,000 mercenaries; private parties by DynCorp featuring trafficked boys as entertainment, and an Afghan vice president carrying $52 million in a suitcase.
The efforts of the White House to prosecute Julian Assange and persecute Pfc. Bradley Manning in military prison should be of deep concern to anyone believing in the public's right to know.
The news that this is not a physical war but mainly one of perceptions will not be received well among American military families or Afghan children, which is why a responsible citizen must rebel first and foremost against The Official Story. That simple act of resistance necessarily leads to study as part of critical practice, which is as essential to the recovery of a democratic self and democratic society. Read, for example, this early martial line of Rudyard Kipling, the poet of the white man's burden: "When you're left wounded on Afghanistan's plains/ And the women come out to cut up what remains/ Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains/And go to your God like a soldier." Years later, after Kipling's beloved son was killed in World War I and his remains never recovered, the poet wrote: "If any question why we died / Tell them because our fathers lied."
A HOPE FOR PEACE
An important part of the story of the peace movement, and the hope for peace itself, is the process by which hawks come to see their own mistakes. A brilliant history/autobiography in this regard is Dan Ellsberg's Secrets, about his evolution from defense hawk to historic whistleblower during the Vietnam War. Ellsberg writes movingly about how he was influenced on his journey by meeting contact with young men on their way to prison for draft resistance.
The military occupation of our minds will continue until many more Americans become familiar with the strategies and doctrines in play during the Long War. Not enough Americans in the peace movement are literate about counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and the debates about the "clash of civilizations", the West versus the Muslim world.