Discussion:
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
(too old to reply)
g***@internet.charitydays.uk.co
2004-07-04 01:42:47 UTC
Permalink
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
_______________________________________________________________




It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.



But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.



http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=8&u=/latimests/20040703/ts_latimes/armystagemanagedfallofhusseinstatue



_______________________________________________________________
peter
2004-07-04 03:48:48 UTC
Permalink
CRY FOR ME ISLAMIE.
--
PETER

If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.


<***@internet.charitydays.uk.co> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
_______________________________________________________________




It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.



But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.



http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=8&u=/latimests/20040703/ts_latimes/armystagemanagedfallofhusseinstatue



_______________________________________________________________
AKnaff
2004-07-04 06:20:43 UTC
Permalink
If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more =
violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.
If the looney liberals stopped their crying, they wouldn't have
anything left to say

http://www.sg-eye.com
http://www.daisaku-ikeda.com
http://www.sokacult.com
Donald L Ferrt
2004-07-04 23:25:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by AKnaff
If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more =
violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.
If the looney liberals stopped their crying, they wouldn't have
anything left to say
http://www.sg-eye.com
http://www.daisaku-ikeda.com
http://www.sokacult.com
http://www.spiked-online.com/Printable/0000000CA554.htm

Essay1 June 2004
Postmodernity goes to war

by Philip Hammond


In 1991, when the philosopher Jean Baudrillard offered a postmodernist
assessment of the Gulf War - predicting that it would not take place,
asking if it was 'really' taking place, and claiming that it 'did not
take place' - many thought that it demonstrated the political
irrelevance of the latest French intellectual fashion. Even some who
were sympathetic to post-structuralist thought dismissed Baudrillard's
writings as rarefied nonsense (1).


Today, by contrast, postmodernism is mainstream. Robert Cooper (deputy
secretary of the defence and overseas secretariat in the UK Cabinet
Office, before becoming the European Union's director of external
affairs) sees Britain as a 'postmodern state' practicing 'postmodern
imperialism' (2), and discussions about postmodernism have reached the
American military. One contributor to the US army's National War
College journal, Parameters, argues: 'The concept of "postmodernism",
with its core meaning of the absence of absolute values, [is]
increasingly applicable to the contemporary military.' (3)


The attacks of 9/11 sparked a debate about postmodernism. On 22
September 2001, New York Times columnist Edward Rothstein saw the
attacks as a 'challenge' to postmodernists, arguing that '[t]his
destruction seems to cry out for a transcendent ethical perspective'.
On 24 September, Time magazine proclaimed 'the end of the age of
irony', with Roger Rosenblatt asking combatively: 'Are you looking for
something to take seriously? Begin with evil.' Yet the age of irony
continued: US News and World Report editor John Leo complained that
the reaction to 9/11 on university campuses was characterised by
'radical cultural relativism, non-judgmentalism, and a postmodern
conviction that there are no moral norms or truths worth defending -
all knowledge and morality are constructions built by the powerful'
(4).


The subsequent 'war on terror' was denounced as postmodern. Left-wing
academic Douglas Kellner saw the October 2001 bombing of Afghanistan
as 'a new step toward postmodern war', while in the conservative
National Review Victor Davis Hanson complained that the 2003 invasion
of Iraq was a sign that war had 'become fully postmodern'. In the
Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Anis Shivani condemned 'America's hyperreal
war on terrorism', which he described as 'an intended replay of the
Cold War with a new postmodern gloss' (5).


Why did what was formerly seen as an esoteric cultural theory go from
the margins of academia to the mainstream of public debate?


Postmodern war


If, as Kellner suggests, 'the concept of postmodern war is widespread
in the media and public sphere' today (6), perhaps this is because
postmodernist theory seems to describe what contemporary warfare is
like.


For example, in 1991 Baudrillard described how Saddam Hussein's
military strength was exaggerated: '…brandishing the threat of a
chemical war, a bloody war, a world war - everyone had their say - as
though it were necessary to give ourselves a fright, to maintain
everyone in a state of erection for fear of seeing the flaccid member
of war fall down' (7). His account of this 'futile masturbation' seems
even more applicable to the talking up of Iraq's non-existent weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) capability in 2003, or the hyping of
al-Qaeda. Similarly, Baudrillard's remark that '…the war ended in
general boredom, or worse in the feeling of being duped…. It is as
though there were a virus infecting this war from the beginning which
emptied it of all credibility' calls to mind the efforts to build
public support for the 2003 invasion with unconvincing dossiers of
'evidence', and the seemingly endless inquires and post-mortems that
followed.


Baudrillard wrote of the 1991 conflict as a 'non-war', a war that
'never began', the outcome of which was 'decided in advance': 'We
should have been suspicious about the disappearance of the declaration
of war, the disappearance of the symbolic passage to the act, which
already presaged the disappearance of the end of hostilities, then of
the distinction between winners and losers (the winner readily becomes
the hostage of the loser…).' The second time around, the allies'
'victory' looked even more suspect. US President George W Bush's
speech on 1 May 2003 announcing the 'end of major combat operations'
was the nearest thing to a declaration of victory, but many took the
symbolic toppling of Saddam's statue on 9 April as marking the moment
when the regime fell. The fact that the image was staged in front of
the media hotel, and that a year later the coalition troops admitted
they were 'no longer in control' of some parts of the country,
indicated that this was a victory on television only (8).


Such apt description suggests that Baudrillard's essays on the 1991
Gulf War merit closer attention. Was he on to something about the
nature of contemporary war? The term 'postmodern war' is often used
loosely, sometimes as little more than an acknowledgement that things
are different from the past. Even in the specialist literature there
tends to be an overemphasis on relatively superficial, technical
changes, and analysts are often vague about why the developments they
describe should be understood as 'postmodern'. Clarifying this
slippery concept, however, suggests that the most important changes
pointed to by postmodernism are political.


Baudrillard is usually interpreted as making two main points about the
1991 Gulf War: first, that the USA's technological superiority and use
of overwhelming force made the conflict so one-sided that it could not
properly be understood as war in the traditional sense; and second,
that the deluge of information and images produced, not a
representation of the reality of war, but a media spectacle in which
it was impossible to distinguish the virtual from the actual. Yet as
Baudrillard's English translator points out, both of these arguments
were also made by critics hostile to postmodernism. In an essay titled
'The media and the war: what war?', Noam Chomsky wrote: 'As I
understand the concept "war", it involves two sides in combat, say,
shooting at each other. That did not happen in the Gulf.' Chomsky's
essay appeared in a collection called Triumph of the Image that
examined how TV images served to obscure, rather than to reveal, what
was going on (9). This suggests that there is nothing specifically
postmodernist about Baudrillard's propositions.


Others have attempted to develop Baudrillard's notion of postmodern
war. Kellner argues that the 1991 Gulf War was postmodern for three
reasons (10). Firstly, it involved 'a carefully manufactured attempt
to mobilize consent to US policy, in which…image and spectacle
prevailed' - Kellner claims that audiences reacted with 'euphoria' and
'delight' to spectacular images that evoked the pleasures of video
games and Hollywood special effects. Secondly, the war involved an
'implosion between individuals and technology': as events unfolded in
real time on TV we saw the digital images of 'smart' bombs and
missiles appearing on the cockpit screens of pilots or tank commanders
(who in turn use simulations, virtual environments and videogames such
as Doom as part of their training) (11). The distinction between doing
and watching, or between the real experience of war and the
consumption of its image, became blurred. Thirdly, the conflict was 'a
form of cyberwarfare, with information technology and new smart
weapons prominently displayed', as the US sought to demonstrate its
predominance in both weapons technologies and the propaganda war.


Despite claims about new types of 'cyberwarriors' and 'cyberwar',
however, Kellner's description sounds like modern war with better
technology; and despite assertions that 'reality' became blurred, the
account still implies a clear distinction between the reality of the
war on the ground, which we mostly did not see, and the manufactured
image which served a propagandistic purpose.


Chris Hables Gray's 1997 book Postmodern War also highlights the use
of information technology, charting in detail how the US military has
developed new doctrines such as C4I2 (command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence and interoperability) to match
the 'revolution in military affairs' that new technology is said to
have brought about, and argues that soldiers are now effectively
cyborgs (12). Yet the military's extensive development and use of
technology is nothing new, and the notion of 'cyborg soldiers' seems
rather forced. Again, it is not clear why these technical developments
should be seen as 'postmodern'.


More promisingly, Gray characterises postmodern war as 'contradictory'
and 'paradoxical'. Weapons are more developed than ever, to the extent
that the planet could be obliterated, but this makes the actual use of
such weapons impossible. War has continued in the form of 'low
intensity conflicts', cold wars, information wars, and so on. His
argument is evidently inspired by Baudrillard's observation: 'Today
[deterrence] functions all the more effectively as self-deterrence…the
profound self-deterrence of American power and of Western power in
general, paralysed by its own strength and incapable of assuming it in
the form of relations of force.' Yet there is an important difference
between these arguments. In Baudrillard's view, the 'paralysis' of
Western power derived not, as Gray argues, from the 'devastating
technologies' of the military, but from the uncertainty of
contemporary politics.


A more convincing argument about the nature of 'postmodern war' could
be made by recalling Jean-Francois Lyotard's declaration: 'I define
postmodernism as incredulity towards metanarratives.' (13) It is
perhaps the absence of metanarratives today that explains the unique
features of contemporary warfare.


Lyotard's definition of postmodernism implies exactly the 'ironic',
sceptical attitude toward truth claims and political and moral values
that so troubled conservatives in the reaction to 9/11. Yet as New
Left Review editor Perry Anderson notes: 'Just one "master narrative"
lay at the origin of the term: Marxism.' (14) That is to say,
Lyotard's incredulity was directed, in the first instance, at the
promise of liberation and freedom offered by the 'grand narrative' of
Marxism. Lyotard's critique of capitalism was directed primarily at
the alternative to it: 'Reason is already in power in kapital. We do
not want to destroy kapital because it is not rational, but because it
is. Reason and power are one…socialism, it is now plain to all, is
identical to kapitalism. All critique, far from surpassing, merely
consolidates it.' (15)


Where Marxism had traditionally claimed to be the true heir of the
Enlightenment, upholding values of reason, progress and emancipation
in a way that the bourgeois order could not, postmodernists rejected
those values as inevitably compromised, as complicit with power.
Baudrillard echoed these sentiments when he wrote of: 'All these
events, from Eastern Europe or from the Gulf, which under the colours
of war and liberation led only to political and historical
disillusionment….' His attempted critique of the 'consensual
traditionalism' of the West was a rejection of 'the Enlightenment, the
Rights of Man, the Left in power…and sentimental humanism'. It was
from this perspective of disillusionment that the only option seemed
to be the 'ironic' postmodern attitude, dismissing everything as mere
images. Baudrillard's advice was to: 'Resist the probability of any
image or information whatever. Be more virtual than events themselves,
do not seek to re-establish the truth, we do not have the means, but
do not be duped….'


Without any means to establish the truth, not being duped can only
mean disbelieving everything. As another writer on postmodern war,
James Der Derian, puts it: '...better strategically to play with apt
critiques of the powerful new forces unleashed by cyberwar than to
hold positions with antiquated tactics and nostalgic unities.' (16) In
the 1991 Gulf War, Baudrillard couldn't see the possibility of an
alternative grand narrative to challenge the hegemony of the West: his
essays are peppered with references to the decline of Arab
nationalism, the containment of radical Islam, the collapse of
communism in Eastern Europe, and the defeat of the 'revolutionary
potential' of the Algerian uprising against colonial rule in the
1950s.


As James Heartfield has shown, it was the Algerian uprising that was
the formative experience in the development of the postmodern
sensibility. In France, both the establishment and the Left justified
the suppression of Algerian claims for independence in the name of the
Enlightenment, and some radical thinkers - including Lyotard and
Baudrillard - drew the conclusion that Enlightenment humanism itself
was flawed (17). By the time Lyotard announced postmodernism's
'incredulity towards metanarratives' in 1979, this disillusionment had
been consolidated by further experiences of defeat, but it was still a
marginal outlook. When the Berlin Wall came down a decade later, the
incredulity became somewhat more generalised. Even so, maintaining an
'ironic' attitude as tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed was
easily dismissed as irresponsible foolishness at the time of the 1991
war.


It is not immediately apparent why postmodernism, which originated as
a sceptical rejection of the 'grand narrative' of Marxism, should be
of such concern to conservatives that commentators interpret 9/11 in
terms of its ability to overcome the ironic cynicism of intellectuals.
To understand this, we need to look back to another war: Vietnam.


Culture Wars and the 'post-Vietnam condition'


Michael Bibby argues that 'the Vietnam War can be seen as foundational
to the emergence of postmodernity': 'It took the Vietnam War to give
rise in the United States to the notion that the Enlightenment project
of modernity and humanism could have its own horrors.' (18) The US
Left's reaction to Vietnam paralleled the earlier French reaction to
Algeria. As Douglas Kellner puts it, 'the Vietnam War was a highly
modern war that showed the pretensions and flaws of the project of
modernity'. Vietnam, he suggests, 'revealed the limitations of the
modern paradigm of technocratic domination of nature and other people
through the use of science, technology, and cybernetic control
systems' (19).


In the reaction against the Vietnam War there was a repudiation of the
Enlightenment belief in reason and progress, expressed, for example,
by the rise of environmentalism and a growing distrust of science as
an inherently risky enterprise that creates more problems than it
solves. More broadly, in the post-Vietnam 'Culture Wars', as Mick Hume
observes: 'Everything about the past was called into question, notably
through widespread allegations that America's history was tainted by
racism and colonialism.' In terms of international politics, these
battles over values made it difficult to project US power confidently
and coherently: 'These bitterly contested Culture Wars corroded old
certainties about truth, justice and the American way. Without a clear
consensus around established values at home, it became much harder to
underpin America's adventures abroad.' (20)


This is the 'Vietnam Syndrome': not simply the traumatic military
defeat itself, but the way that the war became, as Simon Chesterman, a
senior associate at the International Peace Academy, notes, 'a defeat
on both military and moral fronts' (21). The Vietnam Syndrome might be
understood as an ongoing crisis of meaning for the elite. As
Christopher Coker, professor of international relations at the London
School of Economics, argues, after Vietnam 'America is no longer
engaged in great projects': 'It no longer finds legitimacy in a vision
of the future; instead, it has been reduced to managing the present.
The "crisis of meaning"…is expressed in a disquieting gap between
expectations of change (the need to act, to project oneself into the
future before being caught out), and an ideological discrediting of
grand schemes and grand narratives. The United States may project its
power into the future but not in tune with a particular project.' (22)


These trends came to a head with the end of the Cold War. At first,
the end of the Cold War seemed to promise a way to resolve the Vietnam
Syndrome - because there was no longer an ideological alternative to
Western capitalism, and no Soviet deterrent to the exercise of US
military power. Yet although there were fewer restraints on the open
use of military force and the pursuit of US interests and influence
around the globe, the overarching rationale for action had also
collapsed.


The West was robbed of ideological cohesion at the very moment of its
victory. At home, the aggressively pro-capitalist ideology promoted
under right-wing governments in the 1980s floundered without the foil
of the labour movement to lend it coherence. Internationally, having
intensified the Cold War in the 1980s, the implosion of Soviet
communism left the West without an enemy and without any cohesive
identity. In the post-Cold War era, military actions tend to be
undertaken by temporary 'coalitions of the willing', rather than by
the more stable Cold War alliance under assumed US leadership.


At the same time as the Western elite's crisis of meaning makes the
coherent projection of American power more difficult, however, it also
creates a situation in which the elite is driven to use war as a way
to try and overcome such difficulties. When George Bush Senior
declared that with the 1991 Gulf War, 'By God, we've kicked the
Vietnam Syndrome once and for all', he was hoping that the war had
overcome the lack of cohesion and consensus at home and that US
military power would be seen once again as a moral force. This was the
president who famously had difficulties articulating what he called
'the vision thing', but the war allowed him to strike a statesmanlike
pose: 'In the life of a nation, we're called upon to define who we are
and what we believe.' (23) Bush Senior declared of Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait: 'It's black and white. The facts are clear. The choice is
unambiguous. Right vs. Wrong.' (24) Yet the moral clarity that Bush
Senior claimed to have discovered in the Gulf was able to offset the
elite's ideological crisis only temporarily and partially - no sooner
had he declared a 'New World Order' than critics were pointing out
that actual disorder seemed to reign.


Despite having the most powerful military machine ever, the Western
elite has no metanarrative to allow the projection of power.
Baudrillard repeatedly emphasised this point in his Gulf War essays,
when he wrote of 'the profound self-deterrence of American power and
of Western power in general': 'Unlike earlier wars, in which there
were political aims either of conquest or domination, what is at stake
in this one is war itself: its status, its meaning, its future. It is
beholden not to have an objective but to prove its very existence….In
effect, it has lost much of its credibility.'


Without a grand narrative to make sense of the enterprise, war is
unable to inspire belief or enthusiasm. Instead, war becomes
meaningless and empty, a mere image. In this context, argues
Baudrillard, war 'no longer proceeds from a political will to dominate
or from a vital impulsion or an antagonistic violence': instead of
being a means to realise definite political aims or interests,
'non-war' is 'the absence of politics pursued by other means'.


It is this lack of political purpose and vision that gives rise to the
features of what has been called 'postmodern war', such as the use of
hi-tech 'smart weapons' and the importance of media spectacle. When
war is not 'born of an antagonistic, destructive but dual relation
between two adversaries', Baudrillard contended, it becomes bloodless:
'an asexual surgical war, a matter of war-processing in which the
enemy only appears as a computerised target….' In the West's
propaganda, there is an emphasis on its 'humane' approach to killing
people, using 'smart weapons' to minimise 'collateral damage' - but
the more important aim of this hi-tech weaponry is to eliminate the
risk to Western troops themselves. As Baudrillard noted mockingly in
1991, American soldiers were actually safer in the war zone than at
home: the casualties were lower than the rate of deaths from traffic
accidents in the USA.


The fear of 'another Vietnam', which surfaces whenever the US military
goes into action, is a fear that deaths cannot be justified by the
political rationale for war. As US secretary of state Colin Powell has
argued, referring to the 1994 withdrawal from Somalia following the
deaths of 18 US servicemen, the public are 'prepared to take
casualties', but only 'as long as they believe it's for a solid
purpose and for a cause that is understandable and for a cause that
has something to do with an interest of ours' (25). The lack of any
such 'solid purpose' means that casualties are avoided - and also
means that the media presentation of war assumes a disproportionate
importance, because staging the spectacle of war becomes a substitute
for an inspiring cause to rally public support. As Baudrillard put it:
'The media mix has become the prerequisite to any orgasmic event. We
need it precisely because the event escapes us, because conviction
escapes us.'


President George W Bush has tried to use the war on terrorism as his
father used the Gulf, to 'kick the Vietnam Syndrome'. According to New
York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: 'It is the latest chapter in the
culture wars, the conservative dream of restoring America's sense of
Manifest Destiny…. Extirpating Saddam is about proving how tough we
are to a world that thinks we got soft when that last helicopter left
the roof of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975.' (26) It was in
this spirit that Bush advisor Richard Perle said that: 'If we just let
our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we
don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total
war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now.' (27)


Yet even Perle's 'just do it' approach to war entails some 'vision of
the world', the content of which seems difficult to specify. No doubt
the clique of neocons at the Project for the New American Century see
the war on terror as part of a grand strategy, but few other people
seem to have been convinced.


Despite their fulminations against unpatriotic cultural relativists in
US universities, what conservative commentators are really railing
against is their own inability to project a clear and inspiring cause.
In reality, postmodernism represents little challenge. Literary critic
Stanley Fish, for example, who came to postmodernism's defence against
its conservative detractors after 9/11, resented what he saw as a
contemporary equivalent of the red-baiting scares of the McCarthy era,
but was at pains to show that he was not unpatriotic. Indeed,
postmodernism might even make the war on terrorism more effective, he
suggested, by allowing greater understanding of the motives and goals
of the enemy. Fish argued that postmodernists 'can and should invoke
the particular lived values that unite us and inform the institutions
we cherish and wish to defend', but that it was better to do so
'without grasping for the empty rhetoric of universal absolutes' (28).


If conservative commentators exaggerate the extent of postmodern
intellectuals' anti-Americanism, postmodernists are apt to
overestimate the elite's 'universal absolutes'. The war on terrorism
claims to be a war for Western values. On 5 March 2004, Blair argued
that: 'The best defence of our security lies in the spread of our
values', and that 'we cannot advance these values except within a
framework that recognises their universality' (29). Yet it would be
more accurate to say that it is a war fought over the crisis of
Western values. In Foreign Affairs, the house journal of the US
foreign policy establishment, even ardent Atlanticist Dominique Moïsi
felt called upon to ask 'Does "the West" still exist?'. As Moïsi
observed, 'Islamic fundamentalism, international terrorism, and
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have not had the same unifying
effect as yesterday's Soviet threat'.


Moreover, the 'universal' values of the West are unable even to bridge
the divide between the USA and Europe over Iraq. Moïsi noted that
'European intellectuals, such as Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida,
see in the recent antiwar demonstrations the emergence of a European
civil society that chooses to define itself negatively against the
United States.' (30) Meanwhile, Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United
Services Institute argues, 'the old habit of transatlantic partnership
has now been replaced by the idea that the natural and even desirable
state of affairs if for the Europeans to disagree with the Americans'
(31). There are divisions within Western countries, and there is an
apologetic, defensive attitude in projecting 'Western values'.


The postmodern war on postmodern terrorism


Contemporary terrorism also seems to lack a grand narrative. In the
past, acts of terror were acts of political violence, linked to a
definite programme or a specific set of demands, and carried out by
close-knit organisations with an explicit ideology and a clear
objective, often that of national liberation. Today, by contrast, acts
of terror are carried out by amorphous and disparate groups with no
clear aims, and are about image rather than political content. In that
sense, the spectacular destruction of 9/11, targeting symbols of US
prestige and power, was an act of postmodern terrorism. Emptied of
political content, the image becomes an end in itself.


The same is true of the West's response, which has been all about
creating an image of purposefulness. Whole military operations in
Afghanistan and Iraq have been staged in order to produce the right
pictures. The US special forces who went into Kandahar in October
2001, for example, were essentially actors - the operation was of
doubtful military value because, as Seymour Hersh reported in the New
Yorker, army pathfinders had already gone in beforehand to make sure
the area was secure (32). The point of the operation was for the
soldiers to videotape themselves for the benefit of world's media.
Such incidents recall Baudrillard's comment on the 1991 war: 'Never
any acting out, or passage to action, but simply acting: roll
cameras!'


The Pentagon's Public Affairs guidance for the 2003 'shock and awe'
campaign in Iraq advised that the use of helmet-mounted cameras on
combat sorties was 'approved and encouraged to the greatest extent
possible' (33), producing such memorable episodes as the rescue of
Private Jessica Lynch from al-Nasiriyah. As Richard Lloyd-Parry
revealed in The Times, in reality this was not 'the heroic Hollywood
story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified
patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her
life' (34).


Coalition troops in Iraq encountered more difficulty than they had
expected in securing control of towns, claiming to have 'taken' Umm
Qasr no fewer than nine times before actually doing so, for example.
It was far easier to create the impression of control by rolling tanks
and armoured vehicles over shrines to Saddam, painting over his
murals, and ripping up his pictures. As Jonathan Glancey noted in the
Guardian, this was 'not…a knee-jerk reaction by angry soldiers…. The
photographs are too many, press coverage too knowing for that' (35).
The calculated images were designed to produce a simulation of victory
and liberation. One year on, an Iraqi interviewed by the BBC observed
that: 'The only thing that has really changed is the pictures.
Saddam's pictures have gone.' (36)


This obsession with appearances is self-defeating. Bush's speech
announcing 'the end of major combat operations', for example, was
highly contrived, with a team of former media professionals employed
by the White House to design the backdrop, plan camera angles and
provide lighting (37). The performance, which involved Bush
co-piloting a fighter plane and striding around the deck of an
aircraft carrier wearing a military flight suit, reportedly cost
around $1million and delayed the return of the ship. Bush emphasised
the image, rather than the fact, of victory, claiming that: 'In the
images of falling statues, we have witnessed the arrival of a new
era', and that 'in the images of celebrating Iraqis, we have also seen
the ageless appeal of human freedom'.


Yet the result of this assiduous attention to presentation was that
the image became too self-conscious. BBC reporters described it as
'carefully choreographed', 'stage-managed', 'made for American TV' and
'pure Hollywood'. Diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall even
suggested that the war had merely provided a 'useful prop' for Bush's
re-election campaign (38). Politicians are inclined to blame media
cynicism for disillusionment with the war, but it is their own empty
image mongering that is the problem. After 9/11 the US government
consulted marketing and PR companies and put a former advertising
executive, Charlotte Beers, in charge of 're-branding' US foreign
policy. Some critics have suggested that Beers' efforts were 'an
abject failure' because they did not address the underlying causes of
resentment of the US in the Muslim world (39). A more fundamental
problem, however, was the uncertain nature of the 'brand' itself.
Beers' 'shared values' advertising campaign was bound to fail
precisely because of the lack of agreed values in Western societies.
While some commentators thought that, as Rosenblatt put it in Time,
'one good thing' to come out of 9/11 would be that postmodernists
would no longer be able to say 'nothing was real' (40), in the event
leaders have found themselves obliged to insist repeatedly on the
'reality' of the war on terrorism. Blair's assertion of the 'reality'
of weapons of WMD in Iraq was doomed from the start. In a 24 September
2002 speech he claimed: 'The threat…is not imagined. The history of
Saddam and the WMD is not American or British propaganda. The history
and the present threat are real…there are many acts of this drama
still to be played out.' (41) Similarly, in March 2004 he maintained
his 'fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in
Britain and round the world is real and existential' (42).


The prime minister protested too much: the more he asserted the
reality of the threat, the more illusory it seemed. While Blair was
acting out his existential drama, the US military was consulting
Hollywood filmmakers about how to handle terrorist threats. The army
asked the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) to 'create a group
from the entertainment industry' to help them 'think outside the box'.
The ICT, established at the University of Southern California in 2000
with a $45million US army contract, was set up to conduct computer
modeling and simulation research with applications for the media,
film, games, theme park and IT industries as well as the military.
Extending this cooperation from technical research to policy
brainstorming is a sign of the policy elite's desperate search for
ideas (43). Never mind the postmodern ironists, the political and
military elite appear to have only a tenuous grip on reality.


Traditional ideological standbys - such as celebrating a martial,
national or Western identity - now seem to cause disquiet instead of
cohering support. This was why news audiences witnessed the Stars and
Stripes being proudly hoisted in Iraq one minute, only to see it
hauled down in embarrassment the next. This happened at Umm Qasr at
the start of the war, and again when the flag was draped over the face
of Saddam's falling statue on 9 April 2003 - an image that reportedly
caused 'a moment of concern' in Washington (44).


There were also worries about appearing too militaristic, as
exemplified by the debate in the UK about whether to hold a victory
parade, a 'cavalcade' or a church service after the Iraq campaign. In
the event, a 'multi-faith service of remembrance' was held at St
Paul's Cathedral, designed to be 'sensitive to other traditions, other
experiences and other faiths', including Islam. The service
commemorated Iraqi military and civilian dead as well as British
losses. As the Dean of St Paul's explained: 'I don't believe in
today's world we can have a national service behaving like little
Brits.' (45) Similar considerations applied beforehand, one journalist
revealed: 'We were not allowed to take any pictures or describe
British soldiers carrying guns. I was told that there was…a decision
made by Downing Street that the military minders of the journalists
down there were to go to any lengths…to not portray…the British
fighting man and women as fighters.' (46)


An inability to celebrate victory or to portray soldiers as soldiers
is symptomatic of the elite's lack of confidence. Conservatives such
as John Leo may complain that the US campus reaction to 9/11 was
marred by 'cultural relativism and non-judgmentalism', but the leaders
of war on terror have reacted in a similar way, making a great show of
'respect' for Islam. Bush visited a mosque in the wake of 9/11, for
instance, and Blair claimed to be reading the Koran. Meanwhile, the
Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was forced to apologise for
saying that Western civilisation was superior to Islam. After his
remarks provoked a 'storm of condemnation from the European Union and
the US', Berlusconi said it was a 'great' religion for which he had
'deep respect' (47). Even the name of the attack on Afghanistan had to
be changed when it was found that 'Operation Infinite Justice' could
be seen as offensive to Muslims.


These problems have not gone unnoticed in the military itself. As the
authors of an article in the US army's Parameters journal observe:
'militaries now lack a shared interpretative framework with their
publics. As a result, post-modernist and anti-institutionalist
cultural shifts in public attitudes and opinion further devalue the
military institution and its absolutist ethos.' (48) Another
contributor to Parameters illustrates the 'absence of absolute values'
in the military with a number of anecdotes of political correctness:


-- In 1997, the secretary of the army hired somebody as a temporary
consultant who advocated replacing a 'masculinist' with an 'ungendered
vision' of military culture;


-- In 1999, the US army chaplaincy recognized the neo-pagan Wicca as a
legitimate faith. More than 40 active-duty 'witches', male and female,
celebrated the Rite of Spring at Fort Hood, Texas;


-- The American Federation of Government Employees filed a complaint
after a squadron commander ordered a male civilian Air Force employee
to change his attire. The man had been wearing a dress, bra, and
makeup (49).


Similarly, after a row about airmen scrawling offensive slogans, such
as 'High jack this, fags', on bombs dropped in the Afghan war, the US
navy instructed commanders to 'keep the messages positive', and US
troops sent to Iraq had to go through a 'cultural boot camp' to
educate them about Arab culture (50). A culturally sensitive army of
non-masculinist, cross-dressing Wicca sending 'positive messages' to
the enemy while killing them from afar is an absurd but telling
symptom of the West's ideological incoherence.


In the spirit of Baudrillard, one could conclude that the 'war on
terrorism' is not a proper war, and certainly it will never be won. As
Coker argues: 'post-modern societies are principally interested not in
victory but in safety; they are primarily interested not in attaining
the good but preventing the worst. And they are plagued by risks and
threats.' (51) The collapse of grand narratives makes war a matter of
risk management at the same time as it gives rise to an exaggerated
feeling of vulnerability. The inability to cohere society around any
inspiring, future-oriented project empties war of meaning even as it
makes war more likely as an attempt to discover some common, unifying
values.


Philip Hammond is senior lecturer in media at London South Bank
University.


(1) Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War,
Christopher Norris, Lawrence and Wishart, 1992


(2) 'The Post-Modern State', Robert Cooper, in Re-ordering the World:
the long term implications of September 11, Mark Leonard (ed), The
Foreign Policy Centre, 2002


(3) What Ails the All-Volunteer Force: An Institutional Perspective,
Parameters , Summer 2001


(4) 'Attacks on U.S. Challenge the Perspectives of Postmodern True
Believers',New York Times22 September 2001; 'The Age of Irony Comes to
an End', Time, 24 September 2001; 'Campus hand-wringing is not a
pretty sight', uexpress.com, 30 September 2001


(5) The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in the Age of Bush II,
Douglas Kellner, c. February 2002; 'Postmodern War', Victor Davis
Hanson, National Review Online, 7 March 2003; 'America's hyperreal war
on terrorism', Dawn, 5 November 2001


(6) The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in the Age of Bush II,
Douglas Kellner, c. February 2002


(7) The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Jean Baudrillard, Indiana
University Press, 1995, p74


(8) BBC2 Newsnight, 8 April 2004. For further discussion of
Baudrillard's relevance to the 2003 invasion see 'From the "Death of
the Real" to the Reality of Death: How Did the Gulf War Take Place?',
Shelia Brown, Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media, Vol.1, No.1,
2003 and Back to Baudrillard, by Josie Appleton


(9) Introduction, Paul Patton, in The Gulf War Did Not Take Place,
Jean Baudrillard, Indiana University Press, 1995; Triumph of the
Image, Hamid Mowlana, George Gerbner and Herbert I Schiller (eds),
Westview Press, 1992


(10) 'From Vietnam to the Gulf: Postmodern Wars?', Douglas Kellner, in
The Vietnam War and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of
Massachusetts Press, 1999, p218-219


(11) Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment
Network, James Der Derian, Westview Press, 2001, pxix


(12) Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict, Chris Hables Gray,
Routledge, 1997. See also 'Posthuman Soldiers in Postmodern War',
Chris Hables Gray, Body and Society, Vol. 9, No. 4, December 2003


(13) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Jean-Francois
Lyotard, Manchester University Press, 1984, pxxiv


(14) The Origins of Postmodernity, Perry Anderson, Verso, 1998, p29


(15) Jean-Francois Lyotard quoted in The Origins of Postmodernity,
Perry Anderson, Verso, 1998, p27


(16) Quoted in 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its
Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond', Simon Chesterman,
Postmodern Culture, Vol. 8, No. 3, May 1998


(17) The 'Death of the Subject' Explained, James Heartfield, Sheffield
Hallam University Press, 2002


(18) 'The Post-Vietnam Condition', Michael Bibby, in The Vietnam War
and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of Massachusetts
Press, 1999, p167, n15; p162


(19) 'From Vietnam to the Gulf: Postmodern Wars?', Douglas Kellner, in
The Vietnam War and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of
Massachusetts Press, 1999, p200, 216


(20) 'One war that Bush has already lost', by Mick Hume


(21) 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its Re/Presentation in the
Gulf War and Beyond' Simon Chesterman, Postmodern Culture , Vol. 8,
No. 3, May 1998


(22) 'The United States and the ethics of post-modern war',
Christopher Coker, in Ethics and Foreign Policy, Karen E Smith and
Margot Light (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 157


(23) Quoted in Writing Security, David Campbell, University of
Minnesota Press, 1992, p3


(24) Quoted in 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its
Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond', Simon Chesterman,
Postmodern Culture , Vol. 8, No. 3, May 1998


(25)Quoted in 'Clarifying the CNN Effect', Steven Livingston, Joan
Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard
University, 1997, p7


(26) Culture War with B-2's, New York Times, 22 September 2002


(27) Daily Mirror, 29 January 2002


(28) 'Condemnation Without Absolutes',New York Times, 15 October 2001


(29) Full Text of Tony Blair's Speech, Guardian, 5 March 2004


(30) 'Reinventing the West', Foreign Affairs November/December 2003


(31) 'Europe and the United States: An End to Illusions', in War in
Iraq: Combat and Consequences , Jonathan Eyal, Royal United Services
Institute, 2003, p40


(32) 'Escape and Evasion', Seymour M Hersh, New Yorker, 12 November
2001


(33)'Public Affairs Guidance on Embedding Media During Possible Future
Operations/Deployments in the US Central Commands Area of
Responsibility', Department of Defense, February 2003


(34) 'So who really did save Private Jessica?', Richard Lloyd Parry,
Times, 16 April 2003


(35) 'Down and Out', Jonathan Glancey,Guardian, 10 April 2003


(36) BBC Radio 4, PM, 19 March 2004


(37) Keepers of Bush image lift stagecraft to new heights, Elisabeth
Bumiller, New York Times, 16 May 2003


(38) BBC Radio 4, PM, 3 May; BBC1, 10pm News, 2 May 2003


(39) Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War
on Iraq, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Constable and Robinson,
2003, p34


(40) 'The Age of Irony Comes to an End', Time, 24 September 2001


(41) Quoted in 'From the "Death of the Real" to the Reality of Death:
How Did the Gulf War Take Place?', Sheila Brown, Journal for Crime,
Conflict and the Media, Vol.1, No.1, 2003, p60


(42) Full Text of Tony Blair's Speech,Guardian, 5 March 2004


(43) Epidemic of fear by Frank Furedi; Hollywood on terror, Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, 21 October 2001. For details of the ICT see
Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment
Network, James Der Derian, Westview Press, 2001


(44) BBC News 24, 9 April 2003


(45) 'Anger and tears as families remember the victims of Iraq war',
Independent, 11 October 2003


(46) Correspondent, BBC2, 18 May 2003


(47) 'Berlusconi hails "great" Islam' BBC Online, 2 October 2001


(48) 'The Future of Army Professionalism: A Need for Renewal and
Redefinition',Parameters, Autumn 2000


(49) 'What Ails the All-Volunteer Force: An Institutional
Perspective', Parameters, Summer 2001


(50) 'Gulf War meets Culture War', by Brendan O'Neill


(51) 'The United States and the ethics of post-modern war',
Christopher Coker, in Ethics and Foreign Policy, Karen E. Smith and
Margot Light (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2001, p163



Reprinted from : http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA554.htm
AKnaff
2004-07-05 01:41:49 UTC
Permalink
What a long drivel worthy of Algore
Post by Donald L Ferrt
http://www.spiked-online.com/Printable/0000000CA554.htm
Essay1 June 2004
Postmodernity goes to war
by Philip Hammond
In 1991, when the philosopher Jean Baudrillard offered a postmodernist
assessment of the Gulf War - predicting that it would not take place,
asking if it was 'really' taking place, and claiming that it 'did not
take place' - many thought that it demonstrated the political
irrelevance of the latest French intellectual fashion. Even some who
were sympathetic to post-structuralist thought dismissed Baudrillard's
writings as rarefied nonsense (1).
Today, by contrast, postmodernism is mainstream. Robert Cooper (deputy
secretary of the defence and overseas secretariat in the UK Cabinet
Office, before becoming the European Union's director of external
affairs) sees Britain as a 'postmodern state' practicing 'postmodern
imperialism' (2), and discussions about postmodernism have reached the
American military. One contributor to the US army's National War
College journal, Parameters, argues: 'The concept of "postmodernism",
with its core meaning of the absence of absolute values, [is]
increasingly applicable to the contemporary military.' (3)
The attacks of 9/11 sparked a debate about postmodernism. On 22
September 2001, New York Times columnist Edward Rothstein saw the
attacks as a 'challenge' to postmodernists, arguing that '[t]his
destruction seems to cry out for a transcendent ethical perspective'.
On 24 September, Time magazine proclaimed 'the end of the age of
irony', with Roger Rosenblatt asking combatively: 'Are you looking for
something to take seriously? Begin with evil.' Yet the age of irony
continued: US News and World Report editor John Leo complained that
the reaction to 9/11 on university campuses was characterised by
'radical cultural relativism, non-judgmentalism, and a postmodern
conviction that there are no moral norms or truths worth defending -
all knowledge and morality are constructions built by the powerful'
(4).
The subsequent 'war on terror' was denounced as postmodern. Left-wing
academic Douglas Kellner saw the October 2001 bombing of Afghanistan
as 'a new step toward postmodern war', while in the conservative
National Review Victor Davis Hanson complained that the 2003 invasion
of Iraq was a sign that war had 'become fully postmodern'. In the
Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Anis Shivani condemned 'America's hyperreal
war on terrorism', which he described as 'an intended replay of the
Cold War with a new postmodern gloss' (5).
Why did what was formerly seen as an esoteric cultural theory go from
the margins of academia to the mainstream of public debate?
Postmodern war
If, as Kellner suggests, 'the concept of postmodern war is widespread
in the media and public sphere' today (6), perhaps this is because
postmodernist theory seems to describe what contemporary warfare is
like.
For example, in 1991 Baudrillard described how Saddam Hussein's
military strength was exaggerated: '…brandishing the threat of a
chemical war, a bloody war, a world war - everyone had their say - as
though it were necessary to give ourselves a fright, to maintain
everyone in a state of erection for fear of seeing the flaccid member
of war fall down' (7). His account of this 'futile masturbation' seems
even more applicable to the talking up of Iraq's non-existent weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) capability in 2003, or the hyping of
al-Qaeda. Similarly, Baudrillard's remark that '…the war ended in
general boredom, or worse in the feeling of being duped…. It is as
though there were a virus infecting this war from the beginning which
emptied it of all credibility' calls to mind the efforts to build
public support for the 2003 invasion with unconvincing dossiers of
'evidence', and the seemingly endless inquires and post-mortems that
followed.
Baudrillard wrote of the 1991 conflict as a 'non-war', a war that
'never began', the outcome of which was 'decided in advance': 'We
should have been suspicious about the disappearance of the declaration
of war, the disappearance of the symbolic passage to the act, which
already presaged the disappearance of the end of hostilities, then of
the distinction between winners and losers (the winner readily becomes
the hostage of the loser…).' The second time around, the allies'
'victory' looked even more suspect. US President George W Bush's
speech on 1 May 2003 announcing the 'end of major combat operations'
was the nearest thing to a declaration of victory, but many took the
symbolic toppling of Saddam's statue on 9 April as marking the moment
when the regime fell. The fact that the image was staged in front of
the media hotel, and that a year later the coalition troops admitted
they were 'no longer in control' of some parts of the country,
indicated that this was a victory on television only (8).
Such apt description suggests that Baudrillard's essays on the 1991
Gulf War merit closer attention. Was he on to something about the
nature of contemporary war? The term 'postmodern war' is often used
loosely, sometimes as little more than an acknowledgement that things
are different from the past. Even in the specialist literature there
tends to be an overemphasis on relatively superficial, technical
changes, and analysts are often vague about why the developments they
describe should be understood as 'postmodern'. Clarifying this
slippery concept, however, suggests that the most important changes
pointed to by postmodernism are political.
Baudrillard is usually interpreted as making two main points about the
1991 Gulf War: first, that the USA's technological superiority and use
of overwhelming force made the conflict so one-sided that it could not
properly be understood as war in the traditional sense; and second,
that the deluge of information and images produced, not a
representation of the reality of war, but a media spectacle in which
it was impossible to distinguish the virtual from the actual. Yet as
Baudrillard's English translator points out, both of these arguments
were also made by critics hostile to postmodernism. In an essay titled
'The media and the war: what war?', Noam Chomsky wrote: 'As I
understand the concept "war", it involves two sides in combat, say,
shooting at each other. That did not happen in the Gulf.' Chomsky's
essay appeared in a collection called Triumph of the Image that
examined how TV images served to obscure, rather than to reveal, what
was going on (9). This suggests that there is nothing specifically
postmodernist about Baudrillard's propositions.
Others have attempted to develop Baudrillard's notion of postmodern
war. Kellner argues that the 1991 Gulf War was postmodern for three
reasons (10). Firstly, it involved 'a carefully manufactured attempt
to mobilize consent to US policy, in which…image and spectacle
prevailed' - Kellner claims that audiences reacted with 'euphoria' and
'delight' to spectacular images that evoked the pleasures of video
games and Hollywood special effects. Secondly, the war involved an
'implosion between individuals and technology': as events unfolded in
real time on TV we saw the digital images of 'smart' bombs and
missiles appearing on the cockpit screens of pilots or tank commanders
(who in turn use simulations, virtual environments and videogames such
as Doom as part of their training) (11). The distinction between doing
and watching, or between the real experience of war and the
consumption of its image, became blurred. Thirdly, the conflict was 'a
form of cyberwarfare, with information technology and new smart
weapons prominently displayed', as the US sought to demonstrate its
predominance in both weapons technologies and the propaganda war.
Despite claims about new types of 'cyberwarriors' and 'cyberwar',
however, Kellner's description sounds like modern war with better
technology; and despite assertions that 'reality' became blurred, the
account still implies a clear distinction between the reality of the
war on the ground, which we mostly did not see, and the manufactured
image which served a propagandistic purpose.
Chris Hables Gray's 1997 book Postmodern War also highlights the use
of information technology, charting in detail how the US military has
developed new doctrines such as C4I2 (command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence and interoperability) to match
the 'revolution in military affairs' that new technology is said to
have brought about, and argues that soldiers are now effectively
cyborgs (12). Yet the military's extensive development and use of
technology is nothing new, and the notion of 'cyborg soldiers' seems
rather forced. Again, it is not clear why these technical developments
should be seen as 'postmodern'.
More promisingly, Gray characterises postmodern war as 'contradictory'
and 'paradoxical'. Weapons are more developed than ever, to the extent
that the planet could be obliterated, but this makes the actual use of
such weapons impossible. War has continued in the form of 'low
intensity conflicts', cold wars, information wars, and so on. His
argument is evidently inspired by Baudrillard's observation: 'Today
[deterrence] functions all the more effectively as self-deterrence…the
profound self-deterrence of American power and of Western power in
general, paralysed by its own strength and incapable of assuming it in
the form of relations of force.' Yet there is an important difference
between these arguments. In Baudrillard's view, the 'paralysis' of
Western power derived not, as Gray argues, from the 'devastating
technologies' of the military, but from the uncertainty of
contemporary politics.
A more convincing argument about the nature of 'postmodern war' could
be made by recalling Jean-Francois Lyotard's declaration: 'I define
postmodernism as incredulity towards metanarratives.' (13) It is
perhaps the absence of metanarratives today that explains the unique
features of contemporary warfare.
Lyotard's definition of postmodernism implies exactly the 'ironic',
sceptical attitude toward truth claims and political and moral values
that so troubled conservatives in the reaction to 9/11. Yet as New
Left Review editor Perry Anderson notes: 'Just one "master narrative"
lay at the origin of the term: Marxism.' (14) That is to say,
Lyotard's incredulity was directed, in the first instance, at the
promise of liberation and freedom offered by the 'grand narrative' of
Marxism. Lyotard's critique of capitalism was directed primarily at
the alternative to it: 'Reason is already in power in kapital. We do
not want to destroy kapital because it is not rational, but because it
is. Reason and power are one…socialism, it is now plain to all, is
identical to kapitalism. All critique, far from surpassing, merely
consolidates it.' (15)
Where Marxism had traditionally claimed to be the true heir of the
Enlightenment, upholding values of reason, progress and emancipation
in a way that the bourgeois order could not, postmodernists rejected
those values as inevitably compromised, as complicit with power.
Baudrillard echoed these sentiments when he wrote of: 'All these
events, from Eastern Europe or from the Gulf, which under the colours
of war and liberation led only to political and historical
disillusionment….' His attempted critique of the 'consensual
traditionalism' of the West was a rejection of 'the Enlightenment, the
Rights of Man, the Left in power…and sentimental humanism'. It was
from this perspective of disillusionment that the only option seemed
to be the 'ironic' postmodern attitude, dismissing everything as mere
images. Baudrillard's advice was to: 'Resist the probability of any
image or information whatever. Be more virtual than events themselves,
do not seek to re-establish the truth, we do not have the means, but
do not be duped….'
Without any means to establish the truth, not being duped can only
mean disbelieving everything. As another writer on postmodern war,
James Der Derian, puts it: '...better strategically to play with apt
critiques of the powerful new forces unleashed by cyberwar than to
hold positions with antiquated tactics and nostalgic unities.' (16) In
the 1991 Gulf War, Baudrillard couldn't see the possibility of an
alternative grand narrative to challenge the hegemony of the West: his
essays are peppered with references to the decline of Arab
nationalism, the containment of radical Islam, the collapse of
communism in Eastern Europe, and the defeat of the 'revolutionary
potential' of the Algerian uprising against colonial rule in the
1950s.
As James Heartfield has shown, it was the Algerian uprising that was
the formative experience in the development of the postmodern
sensibility. In France, both the establishment and the Left justified
the suppression of Algerian claims for independence in the name of the
Enlightenment, and some radical thinkers - including Lyotard and
Baudrillard - drew the conclusion that Enlightenment humanism itself
was flawed (17). By the time Lyotard announced postmodernism's
'incredulity towards metanarratives' in 1979, this disillusionment had
been consolidated by further experiences of defeat, but it was still a
marginal outlook. When the Berlin Wall came down a decade later, the
incredulity became somewhat more generalised. Even so, maintaining an
'ironic' attitude as tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed was
easily dismissed as irresponsible foolishness at the time of the 1991
war.
It is not immediately apparent why postmodernism, which originated as
a sceptical rejection of the 'grand narrative' of Marxism, should be
of such concern to conservatives that commentators interpret 9/11 in
terms of its ability to overcome the ironic cynicism of intellectuals.
To understand this, we need to look back to another war: Vietnam.
Culture Wars and the 'post-Vietnam condition'
Michael Bibby argues that 'the Vietnam War can be seen as foundational
to the emergence of postmodernity': 'It took the Vietnam War to give
rise in the United States to the notion that the Enlightenment project
of modernity and humanism could have its own horrors.' (18) The US
Left's reaction to Vietnam paralleled the earlier French reaction to
Algeria. As Douglas Kellner puts it, 'the Vietnam War was a highly
modern war that showed the pretensions and flaws of the project of
modernity'. Vietnam, he suggests, 'revealed the limitations of the
modern paradigm of technocratic domination of nature and other people
through the use of science, technology, and cybernetic control
systems' (19).
In the reaction against the Vietnam War there was a repudiation of the
Enlightenment belief in reason and progress, expressed, for example,
by the rise of environmentalism and a growing distrust of science as
an inherently risky enterprise that creates more problems than it
solves. More broadly, in the post-Vietnam 'Culture Wars', as Mick Hume
observes: 'Everything about the past was called into question, notably
through widespread allegations that America's history was tainted by
racism and colonialism.' In terms of international politics, these
battles over values made it difficult to project US power confidently
and coherently: 'These bitterly contested Culture Wars corroded old
certainties about truth, justice and the American way. Without a clear
consensus around established values at home, it became much harder to
underpin America's adventures abroad.' (20)
This is the 'Vietnam Syndrome': not simply the traumatic military
defeat itself, but the way that the war became, as Simon Chesterman, a
senior associate at the International Peace Academy, notes, 'a defeat
on both military and moral fronts' (21). The Vietnam Syndrome might be
understood as an ongoing crisis of meaning for the elite. As
Christopher Coker, professor of international relations at the London
School of Economics, argues, after Vietnam 'America is no longer
engaged in great projects': 'It no longer finds legitimacy in a vision
of the future; instead, it has been reduced to managing the present.
The "crisis of meaning"…is expressed in a disquieting gap between
expectations of change (the need to act, to project oneself into the
future before being caught out), and an ideological discrediting of
grand schemes and grand narratives. The United States may project its
power into the future but not in tune with a particular project.' (22)
These trends came to a head with the end of the Cold War. At first,
the end of the Cold War seemed to promise a way to resolve the Vietnam
Syndrome - because there was no longer an ideological alternative to
Western capitalism, and no Soviet deterrent to the exercise of US
military power. Yet although there were fewer restraints on the open
use of military force and the pursuit of US interests and influence
around the globe, the overarching rationale for action had also
collapsed.
The West was robbed of ideological cohesion at the very moment of its
victory. At home, the aggressively pro-capitalist ideology promoted
under right-wing governments in the 1980s floundered without the foil
of the labour movement to lend it coherence. Internationally, having
intensified the Cold War in the 1980s, the implosion of Soviet
communism left the West without an enemy and without any cohesive
identity. In the post-Cold War era, military actions tend to be
undertaken by temporary 'coalitions of the willing', rather than by
the more stable Cold War alliance under assumed US leadership.
At the same time as the Western elite's crisis of meaning makes the
coherent projection of American power more difficult, however, it also
creates a situation in which the elite is driven to use war as a way
to try and overcome such difficulties. When George Bush Senior
declared that with the 1991 Gulf War, 'By God, we've kicked the
Vietnam Syndrome once and for all', he was hoping that the war had
overcome the lack of cohesion and consensus at home and that US
military power would be seen once again as a moral force. This was the
president who famously had difficulties articulating what he called
'the vision thing', but the war allowed him to strike a statesmanlike
pose: 'In the life of a nation, we're called upon to define who we are
and what we believe.' (23) Bush Senior declared of Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait: 'It's black and white. The facts are clear. The choice is
unambiguous. Right vs. Wrong.' (24) Yet the moral clarity that Bush
Senior claimed to have discovered in the Gulf was able to offset the
elite's ideological crisis only temporarily and partially - no sooner
had he declared a 'New World Order' than critics were pointing out
that actual disorder seemed to reign.
Despite having the most powerful military machine ever, the Western
elite has no metanarrative to allow the projection of power.
Baudrillard repeatedly emphasised this point in his Gulf War essays,
when he wrote of 'the profound self-deterrence of American power and
of Western power in general': 'Unlike earlier wars, in which there
were political aims either of conquest or domination, what is at stake
in this one is war itself: its status, its meaning, its future. It is
beholden not to have an objective but to prove its very existence….In
effect, it has lost much of its credibility.'
Without a grand narrative to make sense of the enterprise, war is
unable to inspire belief or enthusiasm. Instead, war becomes
meaningless and empty, a mere image. In this context, argues
Baudrillard, war 'no longer proceeds from a political will to dominate
or from a vital impulsion or an antagonistic violence': instead of
being a means to realise definite political aims or interests,
'non-war' is 'the absence of politics pursued by other means'.
It is this lack of political purpose and vision that gives rise to the
features of what has been called 'postmodern war', such as the use of
hi-tech 'smart weapons' and the importance of media spectacle. When
war is not 'born of an antagonistic, destructive but dual relation
'an asexual surgical war, a matter of war-processing in which the
enemy only appears as a computerised target….' In the West's
propaganda, there is an emphasis on its 'humane' approach to killing
people, using 'smart weapons' to minimise 'collateral damage' - but
the more important aim of this hi-tech weaponry is to eliminate the
risk to Western troops themselves. As Baudrillard noted mockingly in
1991, American soldiers were actually safer in the war zone than at
home: the casualties were lower than the rate of deaths from traffic
accidents in the USA.
The fear of 'another Vietnam', which surfaces whenever the US military
goes into action, is a fear that deaths cannot be justified by the
political rationale for war. As US secretary of state Colin Powell has
argued, referring to the 1994 withdrawal from Somalia following the
deaths of 18 US servicemen, the public are 'prepared to take
casualties', but only 'as long as they believe it's for a solid
purpose and for a cause that is understandable and for a cause that
has something to do with an interest of ours' (25). The lack of any
such 'solid purpose' means that casualties are avoided - and also
means that the media presentation of war assumes a disproportionate
importance, because staging the spectacle of war becomes a substitute
'The media mix has become the prerequisite to any orgasmic event. We
need it precisely because the event escapes us, because conviction
escapes us.'
President George W Bush has tried to use the war on terrorism as his
father used the Gulf, to 'kick the Vietnam Syndrome'. According to New
York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: 'It is the latest chapter in the
culture wars, the conservative dream of restoring America's sense of
Manifest Destiny…. Extirpating Saddam is about proving how tough we
are to a world that thinks we got soft when that last helicopter left
the roof of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975.' (26) It was in
this spirit that Bush advisor Richard Perle said that: 'If we just let
our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we
don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total
war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now.' (27)
Yet even Perle's 'just do it' approach to war entails some 'vision of
the world', the content of which seems difficult to specify. No doubt
the clique of neocons at the Project for the New American Century see
the war on terror as part of a grand strategy, but few other people
seem to have been convinced.
Despite their fulminations against unpatriotic cultural relativists in
US universities, what conservative commentators are really railing
against is their own inability to project a clear and inspiring cause.
In reality, postmodernism represents little challenge. Literary critic
Stanley Fish, for example, who came to postmodernism's defence against
its conservative detractors after 9/11, resented what he saw as a
contemporary equivalent of the red-baiting scares of the McCarthy era,
but was at pains to show that he was not unpatriotic. Indeed,
postmodernism might even make the war on terrorism more effective, he
suggested, by allowing greater understanding of the motives and goals
of the enemy. Fish argued that postmodernists 'can and should invoke
the particular lived values that unite us and inform the institutions
we cherish and wish to defend', but that it was better to do so
'without grasping for the empty rhetoric of universal absolutes' (28).
If conservative commentators exaggerate the extent of postmodern
intellectuals' anti-Americanism, postmodernists are apt to
overestimate the elite's 'universal absolutes'. The war on terrorism
claims to be a war for Western values. On 5 March 2004, Blair argued
that: 'The best defence of our security lies in the spread of our
values', and that 'we cannot advance these values except within a
framework that recognises their universality' (29). Yet it would be
more accurate to say that it is a war fought over the crisis of
Western values. In Foreign Affairs, the house journal of the US
foreign policy establishment, even ardent Atlanticist Dominique Moïsi
felt called upon to ask 'Does "the West" still exist?'. As Moïsi
observed, 'Islamic fundamentalism, international terrorism, and
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have not had the same unifying
effect as yesterday's Soviet threat'.
Moreover, the 'universal' values of the West are unable even to bridge
the divide between the USA and Europe over Iraq. Moïsi noted that
'European intellectuals, such as Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida,
see in the recent antiwar demonstrations the emergence of a European
civil society that chooses to define itself negatively against the
United States.' (30) Meanwhile, Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United
Services Institute argues, 'the old habit of transatlantic partnership
has now been replaced by the idea that the natural and even desirable
state of affairs if for the Europeans to disagree with the Americans'
(31). There are divisions within Western countries, and there is an
apologetic, defensive attitude in projecting 'Western values'.
The postmodern war on postmodern terrorism
Contemporary terrorism also seems to lack a grand narrative. In the
past, acts of terror were acts of political violence, linked to a
definite programme or a specific set of demands, and carried out by
close-knit organisations with an explicit ideology and a clear
objective, often that of national liberation. Today, by contrast, acts
of terror are carried out by amorphous and disparate groups with no
clear aims, and are about image rather than political content. In that
sense, the spectacular destruction of 9/11, targeting symbols of US
prestige and power, was an act of postmodern terrorism. Emptied of
political content, the image becomes an end in itself.
The same is true of the West's response, which has been all about
creating an image of purposefulness. Whole military operations in
Afghanistan and Iraq have been staged in order to produce the right
pictures. The US special forces who went into Kandahar in October
2001, for example, were essentially actors - the operation was of
doubtful military value because, as Seymour Hersh reported in the New
Yorker, army pathfinders had already gone in beforehand to make sure
the area was secure (32). The point of the operation was for the
soldiers to videotape themselves for the benefit of world's media.
Such incidents recall Baudrillard's comment on the 1991 war: 'Never
any acting out, or passage to action, but simply acting: roll
cameras!'
The Pentagon's Public Affairs guidance for the 2003 'shock and awe'
campaign in Iraq advised that the use of helmet-mounted cameras on
combat sorties was 'approved and encouraged to the greatest extent
possible' (33), producing such memorable episodes as the rescue of
Private Jessica Lynch from al-Nasiriyah. As Richard Lloyd-Parry
revealed in The Times, in reality this was not 'the heroic Hollywood
story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified
patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her
life' (34).
Coalition troops in Iraq encountered more difficulty than they had
expected in securing control of towns, claiming to have 'taken' Umm
Qasr no fewer than nine times before actually doing so, for example.
It was far easier to create the impression of control by rolling tanks
and armoured vehicles over shrines to Saddam, painting over his
murals, and ripping up his pictures. As Jonathan Glancey noted in the
Guardian, this was 'not…a knee-jerk reaction by angry soldiers…. The
photographs are too many, press coverage too knowing for that' (35).
The calculated images were designed to produce a simulation of victory
and liberation. One year on, an Iraqi interviewed by the BBC observed
that: 'The only thing that has really changed is the pictures.
Saddam's pictures have gone.' (36)
This obsession with appearances is self-defeating. Bush's speech
announcing 'the end of major combat operations', for example, was
highly contrived, with a team of former media professionals employed
by the White House to design the backdrop, plan camera angles and
provide lighting (37). The performance, which involved Bush
co-piloting a fighter plane and striding around the deck of an
aircraft carrier wearing a military flight suit, reportedly cost
around $1million and delayed the return of the ship. Bush emphasised
the image, rather than the fact, of victory, claiming that: 'In the
images of falling statues, we have witnessed the arrival of a new
era', and that 'in the images of celebrating Iraqis, we have also seen
the ageless appeal of human freedom'.
Yet the result of this assiduous attention to presentation was that
the image became too self-conscious. BBC reporters described it as
'carefully choreographed', 'stage-managed', 'made for American TV' and
'pure Hollywood'. Diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall even
suggested that the war had merely provided a 'useful prop' for Bush's
re-election campaign (38). Politicians are inclined to blame media
cynicism for disillusionment with the war, but it is their own empty
image mongering that is the problem. After 9/11 the US government
consulted marketing and PR companies and put a former advertising
executive, Charlotte Beers, in charge of 're-branding' US foreign
policy. Some critics have suggested that Beers' efforts were 'an
abject failure' because they did not address the underlying causes of
resentment of the US in the Muslim world (39). A more fundamental
problem, however, was the uncertain nature of the 'brand' itself.
Beers' 'shared values' advertising campaign was bound to fail
precisely because of the lack of agreed values in Western societies.
While some commentators thought that, as Rosenblatt put it in Time,
'one good thing' to come out of 9/11 would be that postmodernists
would no longer be able to say 'nothing was real' (40), in the event
leaders have found themselves obliged to insist repeatedly on the
'reality' of the war on terrorism. Blair's assertion of the 'reality'
of weapons of WMD in Iraq was doomed from the start. In a 24 September
2002 speech he claimed: 'The threat…is not imagined. The history of
Saddam and the WMD is not American or British propaganda. The history
and the present threat are real…there are many acts of this drama
still to be played out.' (41) Similarly, in March 2004 he maintained
his 'fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in
Britain and round the world is real and existential' (42).
The prime minister protested too much: the more he asserted the
reality of the threat, the more illusory it seemed. While Blair was
acting out his existential drama, the US military was consulting
Hollywood filmmakers about how to handle terrorist threats. The army
asked the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) to 'create a group
from the entertainment industry' to help them 'think outside the box'.
The ICT, established at the University of Southern California in 2000
with a $45million US army contract, was set up to conduct computer
modeling and simulation research with applications for the media,
film, games, theme park and IT industries as well as the military.
Extending this cooperation from technical research to policy
brainstorming is a sign of the policy elite's desperate search for
ideas (43). Never mind the postmodern ironists, the political and
military elite appear to have only a tenuous grip on reality.
Traditional ideological standbys - such as celebrating a martial,
national or Western identity - now seem to cause disquiet instead of
cohering support. This was why news audiences witnessed the Stars and
Stripes being proudly hoisted in Iraq one minute, only to see it
hauled down in embarrassment the next. This happened at Umm Qasr at
the start of the war, and again when the flag was draped over the face
of Saddam's falling statue on 9 April 2003 - an image that reportedly
caused 'a moment of concern' in Washington (44).
There were also worries about appearing too militaristic, as
exemplified by the debate in the UK about whether to hold a victory
parade, a 'cavalcade' or a church service after the Iraq campaign. In
the event, a 'multi-faith service of remembrance' was held at St
Paul's Cathedral, designed to be 'sensitive to other traditions, other
experiences and other faiths', including Islam. The service
commemorated Iraqi military and civilian dead as well as British
losses. As the Dean of St Paul's explained: 'I don't believe in
today's world we can have a national service behaving like little
Brits.' (45) Similar considerations applied beforehand, one journalist
revealed: 'We were not allowed to take any pictures or describe
British soldiers carrying guns. I was told that there was…a decision
made by Downing Street that the military minders of the journalists
down there were to go to any lengths…to not portray…the British
fighting man and women as fighters.' (46)
An inability to celebrate victory or to portray soldiers as soldiers
is symptomatic of the elite's lack of confidence. Conservatives such
as John Leo may complain that the US campus reaction to 9/11 was
marred by 'cultural relativism and non-judgmentalism', but the leaders
of war on terror have reacted in a similar way, making a great show of
'respect' for Islam. Bush visited a mosque in the wake of 9/11, for
instance, and Blair claimed to be reading the Koran. Meanwhile, the
Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was forced to apologise for
saying that Western civilisation was superior to Islam. After his
remarks provoked a 'storm of condemnation from the European Union and
the US', Berlusconi said it was a 'great' religion for which he had
'deep respect' (47). Even the name of the attack on Afghanistan had to
be changed when it was found that 'Operation Infinite Justice' could
be seen as offensive to Muslims.
These problems have not gone unnoticed in the military itself. As the
'militaries now lack a shared interpretative framework with their
publics. As a result, post-modernist and anti-institutionalist
cultural shifts in public attitudes and opinion further devalue the
military institution and its absolutist ethos.' (48) Another
contributor to Parameters illustrates the 'absence of absolute values'
-- In 1997, the secretary of the army hired somebody as a temporary
consultant who advocated replacing a 'masculinist' with an 'ungendered
vision' of military culture;
-- In 1999, the US army chaplaincy recognized the neo-pagan Wicca as a
legitimate faith. More than 40 active-duty 'witches', male and female,
celebrated the Rite of Spring at Fort Hood, Texas;
-- The American Federation of Government Employees filed a complaint
after a squadron commander ordered a male civilian Air Force employee
to change his attire. The man had been wearing a dress, bra, and
makeup (49).
Similarly, after a row about airmen scrawling offensive slogans, such
as 'High jack this, fags', on bombs dropped in the Afghan war, the US
navy instructed commanders to 'keep the messages positive', and US
troops sent to Iraq had to go through a 'cultural boot camp' to
educate them about Arab culture (50). A culturally sensitive army of
non-masculinist, cross-dressing Wicca sending 'positive messages' to
the enemy while killing them from afar is an absurd but telling
symptom of the West's ideological incoherence.
In the spirit of Baudrillard, one could conclude that the 'war on
terrorism' is not a proper war, and certainly it will never be won. As
Coker argues: 'post-modern societies are principally interested not in
victory but in safety; they are primarily interested not in attaining
the good but preventing the worst. And they are plagued by risks and
threats.' (51) The collapse of grand narratives makes war a matter of
risk management at the same time as it gives rise to an exaggerated
feeling of vulnerability. The inability to cohere society around any
inspiring, future-oriented project empties war of meaning even as it
makes war more likely as an attempt to discover some common, unifying
values.
Philip Hammond is senior lecturer in media at London South Bank
University.
(1) Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War,
Christopher Norris, Lawrence and Wishart, 1992
the long term implications of September 11, Mark Leonard (ed), The
Foreign Policy Centre, 2002
(3) What Ails the All-Volunteer Force: An Institutional Perspective,
Parameters , Summer 2001
(4) 'Attacks on U.S. Challenge the Perspectives of Postmodern True
Believers',New York Times22 September 2001; 'The Age of Irony Comes to
an End', Time, 24 September 2001; 'Campus hand-wringing is not a
pretty sight', uexpress.com, 30 September 2001
(5) The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in the Age of Bush II,
Douglas Kellner, c. February 2002; 'Postmodern War', Victor Davis
Hanson, National Review Online, 7 March 2003; 'America's hyperreal war
on terrorism', Dawn, 5 November 2001
(6) The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in the Age of Bush II,
Douglas Kellner, c. February 2002
(7) The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Jean Baudrillard, Indiana
University Press, 1995, p74
(8) BBC2 Newsnight, 8 April 2004. For further discussion of
Baudrillard's relevance to the 2003 invasion see 'From the "Death of
the Real" to the Reality of Death: How Did the Gulf War Take Place?',
Shelia Brown, Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media, Vol.1, No.1,
2003 and Back to Baudrillard, by Josie Appleton
(9) Introduction, Paul Patton, in The Gulf War Did Not Take Place,
Jean Baudrillard, Indiana University Press, 1995; Triumph of the
Image, Hamid Mowlana, George Gerbner and Herbert I Schiller (eds),
Westview Press, 1992
(10) 'From Vietnam to the Gulf: Postmodern Wars?', Douglas Kellner, in
The Vietnam War and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of
Massachusetts Press, 1999, p218-219
(11) Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment
Network, James Der Derian, Westview Press, 2001, pxix
(12) Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict, Chris Hables Gray,
Routledge, 1997. See also 'Posthuman Soldiers in Postmodern War',
Chris Hables Gray, Body and Society, Vol. 9, No. 4, December 2003
(13) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Jean-Francois
Lyotard, Manchester University Press, 1984, pxxiv
(14) The Origins of Postmodernity, Perry Anderson, Verso, 1998, p29
(15) Jean-Francois Lyotard quoted in The Origins of Postmodernity,
Perry Anderson, Verso, 1998, p27
(16) Quoted in 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its
Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond', Simon Chesterman,
Postmodern Culture, Vol. 8, No. 3, May 1998
(17) The 'Death of the Subject' Explained, James Heartfield, Sheffield
Hallam University Press, 2002
(18) 'The Post-Vietnam Condition', Michael Bibby, in The Vietnam War
and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of Massachusetts
Press, 1999, p167, n15; p162
(19) 'From Vietnam to the Gulf: Postmodern Wars?', Douglas Kellner, in
The Vietnam War and Postmodernity, Michael Bibby (ed), University of
Massachusetts Press, 1999, p200, 216
(20) 'One war that Bush has already lost', by Mick Hume
(21) 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its Re/Presentation in the
Gulf War and Beyond' Simon Chesterman, Postmodern Culture , Vol. 8,
No. 3, May 1998
(22) 'The United States and the ethics of post-modern war',
Christopher Coker, in Ethics and Foreign Policy, Karen E Smith and
Margot Light (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 157
(23) Quoted in Writing Security, David Campbell, University of
Minnesota Press, 1992, p3
(24) Quoted in 'Ordering the New World: Violence and its
Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond', Simon Chesterman,
Postmodern Culture , Vol. 8, No. 3, May 1998
(25)Quoted in 'Clarifying the CNN Effect', Steven Livingston, Joan
Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard
University, 1997, p7
(26) Culture War with B-2's, New York Times, 22 September 2002
(27) Daily Mirror, 29 January 2002
(28) 'Condemnation Without Absolutes',New York Times, 15 October 2001
(29) Full Text of Tony Blair's Speech, Guardian, 5 March 2004
(30) 'Reinventing the West', Foreign Affairs November/December 2003
(31) 'Europe and the United States: An End to Illusions', in War in
Iraq: Combat and Consequences , Jonathan Eyal, Royal United Services
Institute, 2003, p40
(32) 'Escape and Evasion', Seymour M Hersh, New Yorker, 12 November
2001
(33)'Public Affairs Guidance on Embedding Media During Possible Future
Operations/Deployments in the US Central Commands Area of
Responsibility', Department of Defense, February 2003
(34) 'So who really did save Private Jessica?', Richard Lloyd Parry,
Times, 16 April 2003
(35) 'Down and Out', Jonathan Glancey,Guardian, 10 April 2003
(36) BBC Radio 4, PM, 19 March 2004
(37) Keepers of Bush image lift stagecraft to new heights, Elisabeth
Bumiller, New York Times, 16 May 2003
(38) BBC Radio 4, PM, 3 May; BBC1, 10pm News, 2 May 2003
(39) Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War
on Iraq, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Constable and Robinson,
2003, p34
(40) 'The Age of Irony Comes to an End', Time, 24 September 2001
How Did the Gulf War Take Place?', Sheila Brown, Journal for Crime,
Conflict and the Media, Vol.1, No.1, 2003, p60
(42) Full Text of Tony Blair's Speech,Guardian, 5 March 2004
(43) Epidemic of fear by Frank Furedi; Hollywood on terror, Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, 21 October 2001. For details of the ICT see
Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment
Network, James Der Derian, Westview Press, 2001
(44) BBC News 24, 9 April 2003
(45) 'Anger and tears as families remember the victims of Iraq war',
Independent, 11 October 2003
(46) Correspondent, BBC2, 18 May 2003
(47) 'Berlusconi hails "great" Islam' BBC Online, 2 October 2001
(48) 'The Future of Army Professionalism: A Need for Renewal and
Redefinition',Parameters, Autumn 2000
(49) 'What Ails the All-Volunteer Force: An Institutional
Perspective', Parameters, Summer 2001
(50) 'Gulf War meets Culture War', by Brendan O'Neill
(51) 'The United States and the ethics of post-modern war',
Christopher Coker, in Ethics and Foreign Policy, Karen E. Smith and
Margot Light (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2001, p163
Reprinted from : http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA554.htm
http://www.sg-eye.com
http://www.daisaku-ikeda.com
http://www.sokacult.com
AKnaff
2004-07-04 06:19:47 UTC
Permalink
Wow! You mean all those arabs were really all zionist christian white
criminal Bush guys with towels on their heads! Amazing!
Tell X98 about this I'm sure he'll be stunned
Post by g***@internet.charitydays.uk.co
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
_______________________________________________________________
It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.
But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=8&u=/latimests/20040703/ts_latimes/armystagemanagedfallofhusseinstatue
http://www.sg-eye.com
http://www.daisaku-ikeda.com
http://www.sokacult.com
AK
2004-07-05 06:57:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by AKnaff
Wow! You mean all those arabs were really all zionist christian white
criminal Bush guys with towels on their heads! Amazing!
What all those Arabs? There were two dozen of them brought to Iraq with Chalabi.
This has been confirmed by pictures (a body guard of Chalabi was there dancing
on the statue).
AKnaff
2004-07-05 19:05:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by AK
Post by AKnaff
Wow! You mean all those arabs were really all zionist christian white
criminal Bush guys with towels on their heads! Amazing!
What all those Arabs? There were two dozen of them brought to Iraq with Chalabi.
This has been confirmed by pictures (a body guard of Chalabi was there dancing
on the statue).
Oh we're busted now, time to fess up! Iraq is really just a location
in Studio city CA, created by the zionist jews that call themselves the
Bagelburgers. They did this to take control of the oil industry, and
steal the money of the international banker jews, which they stole
from us after they enslaved us during the 1933 FDR restructuring plan.
They hired the zionist christian right winger Mel Brookes to be their
front man producer for the fake country that we pretended to liberate.
Rock Hudson plays Sadham (oh I'll bet you didn't know- he's really
still alive. That whole aids thing was also just a hollywood produuction
to scare people out of being gay!) Peter Sellers stars as Teriq Azziz
and Marty Feldman as Baghdad Bob.
The facist nazi Arnold Swarzenegger plays the marines (they simply
computer generated him over and over and made him look like a whole
brigade). Now you know why he was rewarded with governorship of
Califruity. Chemical Ali is played by Algore (with lots of makeup).
They hired zillions of illegal mexicans to play the Iraqis in various
roles, mostly all they had to do was lay down and play dead. Now
you know why the criminal Bush has offered them amnesty!
Anyhoo, the plot was ingenious- it was designed to double the price
of oil so the criminal Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld could make even more
greedy profit from the sale of gas. But they couldn't have done it
without blowing up the twin towers. They were quoted as saying "if you
want to make Eggnog you gotta break some eggs!" To keep all of us
dupes under control, they used this clever trick to pass new laws so
anytime they want they can round us all up and put us in huge concentration
camps they have constructed in Zion national park, which is of course,
owned by the zionnists. Pretty slick eh!

http://www.sg-eye.com
http://www.daisaku-ikeda.com
http://www.sokacult.com

Leigh_Bee
2004-07-04 11:15:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@internet.charitydays.uk.co
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
_______________________________________________________________
It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.
But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=8&u=/latimests/20040703/ts_latimes/armystagemanagedfallofhusseinstatue
_______________________________________________________________
So it was an "On the shores of Iwa Jima" thing, one wonders if they
have a department for this sort of thing, wonder if the Crossed Swords
of Saddam avenue got footage?
LB
The Real Diddy Pop
2004-07-04 22:26:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leigh_Bee
Post by g***@internet.charitydays.uk.co
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.
But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.
So it was an "On the shores of Iwa Jima" thing, one wonders if they
have a department for this sort of thing, wonder if the Crossed Swords
of Saddam avenue got footage?
So what, big friggin deal!! If you read the article, it was a spur of
the moment decision by a Marine colonel. That statue was a target of
opportunity, and they brought it down. Plain and simple.
kuff (Isaac Adams)
2004-07-05 15:11:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Real Diddy Pop
Post by Leigh_Bee
Post by g***@internet.charitydays.uk.co
army admits they stage-managed the fall Saddam's statue
It was done by the US military and not by the residents of Baghdad.
But everybody in these newsgroups knew this many months ago.
Or they should have known, if they had been reading the messages.
So it was an "On the shores of Iwa Jima" thing, one wonders if they
have a department for this sort of thing, wonder if the Crossed Swords
of Saddam avenue got footage?
So what, big friggin deal!! If you read the article, it was a spur of
the moment decision by a Marine colonel. That statue was a target of
opportunity, and they brought it down. Plain and simple.
It was a PSYOPs plain and simple. (That colonel deserves some recognition or
even promotion. It was a good 'un.)
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