“We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy to win the war on terror. We’re taking the fight to the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.” ~ George W. Bush, July 4th, 2005
Nearly 13 years later, we are still fighting them over there. Who are “them”? They are who authorities tell us to fear in order to manufacture carnage and profits. The war on terror has become a war of warfare where endless billions are spent to demolish nations and dispossess their resources. All the while, our broken cities and the crumbling infrastructure of our country remain neglected. Genocides are cash cows; corporations, politicians, pundits, non-profits think tanks and the cottage industries that profit from wars make fortunes each time a bomb explodes overseas. Administrations come and go, but the policies of death and bloodshed remain constant regardless of which party is in power.
We have become numb to these things. There was a time where people marched against wars and demanded an end to illegal occupations. In less than two decades, bipartisanship has broken out as the left and the right have seemingly joined forces in demanding more hostilities. This morning, the CIA newsletter that is the Washington Post published an article titled “How American neglect imperils the victory over ISIS” by Tamer El-Ghobashy. The article is a most subtle form of propaganda, Tamer highlights the Syrian people’s plight as a way of arguing for a sustained occupation and a continued policy of aggression. Never mind the UN charter the calls for respecting territorial integrity of nations and the quaint notion of the rule of law. After all, laws are for lesser nations that are not applicable to those who have greater weapons.
In the same article, a Syrian woman notes, “my city has been liberated, but I can’t live in it”. Instead of using this woman’s plight to speak against interventionism, Tamer takes Donald Trump to task for cutting and running from Syria. It’s a deft piece of writing, you have to really read the article with discernment to realize that the author is advocating a continued presence in Syria. But to what ends? How much longer will we blitzkrieg a country that has already been bombed back to the stone ages? Obama dropped tens of thousands of bombs on Syria from 2011 to the time he left office only for Trump to continue unleashing hell upon a country that never attacked us.
Last Friday, in the span of a few minutes, over 100 high tech missiles were launched at Damascus and Homs. Each missile costs roughly $1.5 million; nearly $200 million flushed down the toilet all under the insane logic that a proper response to immorality is yet more immorality. This is how war perpetuates itself; nations are destabilized and torn asunder by bullies only for the bullies to turn around and justify aggression by citing the havoc they created from the beginning. It’s a nice hustle, an endless stream of people enrich themselves by feeding at the trough of the military-financial complex while humanity bleeds for their gluttony. Government has gone from purportedly protecting the public interest to explicitly preserving private concerns and we are all suffering for it.
All the while, our country is sinking into the abyss. America has become a tale of two nations; Malibu for the 1% and Mogadishu for the rest of us. I don’t write this to in any way cast aspersions at Somalia, rather I mention Mogadishu to tie in the plight of people in developing countries to the plight of people in so-called “first-world” nations. The scourge of capital theft and greed that is killing hope in Africa is nullifying opportunities in America, Europe and beyond. The neo-aristocracy are leading lives of royalty while the rest of us have been indentured by capitalism. The rich sell patriotism from their bunkers while the poor bear the cost of compliance in trenches over there only to come back home broken by wars and become statistics living in shelters, missions and city concretes.
We have been conditioned to accept that the wealth of Wall Street is the wellness of society. Economic imbalances and social injustices are presented through the rose-tinted glasses of euphemism. Acronyms and terms like GDP, consumer confidence, and “full employment” mask a continued upward wealth transfer that is kneecapping a vast majority of Americans into either a pervasive mood of economic anxiety or a perpetual state of poverty. Consider the following:
- 1 in 5 households experience economic hardships
- the earning power of the average American has regressed since 2008
- four billionaires are worth more than 40% of Americans put together
- only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency
- this next generation entering the workforce will be worse off than their parents
This is but a tip of the tip of the iceberg that is sinking USS America. Instead of addressing these issues that gash at our nation and gnaw at the side of humanity, we invest our nation’s treasure and mortgage the next generation’s future to declare wars and dispense pestilences globally. This is not a war on terror as much as it is a terror of war; a constant state of conflict where bogeymen are created in order to justify fighting them. We fight them over there so that we can’t focus on injustices over her. Sadly, we the people have been rendered irrelevant. We wail and gnash our teeth but for a moment before we retreat back to our corners. Flint, Dakota, Parkland, Vegas, each tragedy immediately becomes a hashtag and a meme before it bleeds into the recesses of our collective egos. Outrage one minute, we hardly knew ye the next. Click To Tweet
The eulogy of our species will one day read “here lies humanity; departed at the hand of greed and compliance”. If we are to turn around the course of our nation and that of our planet, we must do so through collective action driven by the individual choices we all make. We can’t depend on those who are thriving through the status quo to make a difference. The decisions we must make are not at the ballot boxes but the choices we all make daily. Voting for a troupe of narcissists and expecting them to be selfless once they attain power is the height of delusion. Saviors will not come from the pharisees, expecting redemption from the gentry is akin to hoping for a snowstorm in the Gobi desert.
The change we want will come from us or it won’t come at all. We must get past the addiction of politics to understand that the truest threat to justice is consolidated power that births corruption. We can march and protest from here to kingdom come, but if we don’t find a way to decentralize power from DC and empower our communities by diminishing the grip corporations have on our lives, we might as well stop fighting and accept bondage. Eat, shop and grow locally or we will become slaves globally. Above all, stop viewing the world through tribe and understand that we are all getting mobbed together; either stand for inclusive justice or we count ourselves allies of injustice. #BombThemThere
“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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Check out this Ghion Cast where I discuss how a war on journalism and speech is serving to silence dissent and leading to an era of manufactured compliance to policies of aggression and theft.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
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