The Same, Yet Again
by Ian Buckley – from: Israel Shamir 8 Jul 2008
Comedian Spike Milligan once jested - quite accurately - that Britain was about the only place to name its honours and awards after something that doesn't exist : the British Empire. That particular empire may have long gone, but it has been supplanted by a global financial imperium whose relentless onward march continues. Smash up. Rebuild for profit; and smash up again.
While the former British Empire has disappeared, one or two interesting by-products remain as evidence, including James Morris's excellent history, the Pax Britannica Trilogy. As a mere footnote to the book's account of the 1842 British retreat from Kabul - which left one survivor out of an army of 5,000 - the following passage occurs:
"We found many people ready to point out the sites of the tragedy, and recall family exploits. I asked one patriarch what would happen now, if a foreign army invaded the country. 'The same', he hissed between the last of his teeth."
The same, again. Afghanistan has remembered, while the western politicians have forgotten, assuming they even knew in the first place. Who can doubt that it will be again 'the same' in the end, despite all the technological innovation à la Star Wars or Terminator? Yes, there are now unmanned drones on the loose in Afghanistan, most sinisterly entitled 'Reapers'.
These weapons are intended to target what the system media cynically terms 'important terrorist leaders' - in plain English, people who don't like foreign troops in their own land, and are prepared to fight. Dare we recall George Washington? Remote control is somehow apt, given that US itself might be said to be under remote control from Likud on the Potomac.
But 'intended targets' are the very least of it, after the numerous Western aerial sorties against Afghan wedding parties, and before that against Iraqi shepherds and flocks of sheep, perhaps as some sort of expression of random diabolism. The United States of America operates most Reapers, of course, but even cash-strapped Britain has got in on the act, buying three of the infernal devices for the Royal Air Force, at a cost of £500 million.
This largesse for destruction takes place at a time when Little Britain is being encouraged to tighten its belt by several notches in all areas not related to military expenditure. Harold Macmillan contemptuously called this process solvency through bankruptcy, but over the years idiocy has become economic orthodoxy. So immaculately tailored middle-class ladies scurry through the supermarket bins in search out-of-date bread. So our ancient cathedrals crumble, lines of buckets left in the aisles to catch the water from the roof. The government is most unlikely to - quite literally - bail out these ancient monuments of faith. These days, cavernous concrete malls are our 'cathedrals', the holy places of consumerism that hardly see any old fashioned money, merely mountains of plastic, recycled debt.
Over the last 20 to 30 years, a massive drain of wealth has taken place, a flushing away of cash away from the ordinary masses and into the hands of a fractionally small elite. By the power of the purse, this elite determines the policies enacted by tamed and complaisant politicians. It is a little novel to (supposedly) desire to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan, when nothing of the sort exists in Britain, France, America or Germany. How inconvenient for the Afghans to still cling to belief in God and Country, instead of the more modern rule by media and multi-national money that masquerades as democracy!
It used to be customary in establishment circles to disparage the 'People's Democracies' of Eastern Europe because they provided no real choice for their electors. But at least the old communist regimes maintained full employment and a degree of social cohesion, neither of which are on offer from the billionaires' democracies of Britain and the United States.
This is the age of reversal. Superficial appearance and actuality are wide apart; monsters are humanitarians, war is peace keeping.
Afghanistan is a borderland, a point of intersection, in more ways than one. Paradoxically, all of the greatest multi-billion trades of plutocracy converge on a dusty, poor land : oil, armaments and drugs, each industry involving lucre on a scale beyond the comprehension of common folk.
As Marine General Butler commented - write it high in massive letters - WAR IS A RACKET. Despite the propaganda, about the worse that can be said of the Taliban is that they are obscurantist religious conservatives. Somewhat naïve as to the realities of the world too, as seen when they refused to allow the oil pipeline from Turkmenistan through their territory. Even more naïve when they suppressed the growing of opium poppies, so that by 2001 there were great fields of wheat where once the poppies grew. All of this ended with the US-NATO invasion, which has ensured a restoration and massive increase in opium production. And yet the Taliban are the 'extremists', universally condemned by conventional thinkers!
Similarly, there is an organisation called Hizb ut-Tahrir, heartily disliked by various establishment functionaries for some reason or other. True, the group is dubious about certain aspects of the commonly-received version of World War II history, but it is very definitely opposed to violence.
On the Hizb ut-Tahrir website, one typical article bemoans pensioner poverty and the fragmentation of society. An example of the way of the weak are treated in a capitalist society, they say :
'For the past twenty five years Britain has drifted on the maxim that there is no such thing as society. The fragmentation of society has been like the breaking of a glass window. Some from amongst the individual shattered pieces are large, strong pieces with jagged edges capable of serious harm. Others are thin splinters which can further break even under the slightest pressure. Children and the elderly generally fall under the categories of the weaker sections of society. They often need support from society. But when society has become every man or woman for themselves those support mechanisms are lost.
'Pensioner poverty in Britain is huge. Last year 24,650 people in Britain died as a result of cold related matters according to Age Concern. They also say six out of 10 older people are at risk of becoming malnourished. Furthermore up to 14% of older people aged over 65 years in the UK are malnourished. According to the Department of Work and Pensions, in the three year period 2001/2 to 2003/4, 22 per cent of pensioners in England were living in households with relative low-incomes.
These are shameful statistics, masking the tragic lives of thousands.'
For merely stating obvious good sense like the above, Hizb ut-Tahrir have been classed as extremists, banned in Germany and under the threat of a ban in Britain and Denmark. The politicians who preside over the degradation, the squalor and ruthless demolition of society, however, are not extremists. It is a strange state of affairs, only explicable if we realise that it isn't bearded mullahs who brainwash entire societies, but rather the Western mainstream media, which usually condemns the reasonable and decent, and promotes the evil and utterly unbelievable, all under a facade of neutrality.
Last updated 15/07/2008