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Today is:
Without Debate: The logic of the enemy
By Ace

Both candidates for president agree that the American republic needs to have an "enemy." They may have differing views on how to rein this "enemy" in, but both their fundamental logics require the US to always have at least one to be the container for the nation's unavoidable angst. Bush thinks we should go to wherever the defined enemy is, regardless of a nation's sovereignty, hunt him down and kill him. Kerry agrees that the defined enemy needs to be hunted down and killed, but he doesn't think we should do it in such a hasty and arrogant way like Bush. Kerry may believe, like his Democratic predecessor, that million dollar cruise missiles can be lobbed at the enemy, whereas the Republican incumbent opts to invade the enemy's host country. Kerry might rely more on the CIA who can buy cooperation from the world's intelligence community or coerce them to combine resources to try to disrupt the enemy wherever he may be.

There are stark contrasts between the two candidates, but their similarities may prove to be more striking. They both come from an elite class of privilege, studied at the same Ivy League campuses, and both were a member of the same secretive organization at Yale, the Skull and Bones Club. Bush has reminded us that in their political residing they both see the same intelligence. They both have voted for resolutions that require the use of force against an enemy without provocation. Kerry claims to have been misled by Bush's administration, nonetheless his vote was cast. As president, what if Kerry receives intelligence on the whereabouts of an enemy? Would he go for assassinating him from above with stellar spy technology, with or without the approval of the proper military lawyers as the incumbent has? Or would Kerry try to capture him, which would risk the lives of any soldiers sent to do the bidding? The truth is always the first casualty of war, the second, the aggressors' conscience. The enemy has too many stories to tell, so it's much easier to assassinate than to air any enemy's dirty laundry. Compelled to act, the commander in chief must do whatever it takes to protect the American people. Any enemy combatant is fair game to the final and simple solution of assassination, a decision well within the reach of the chief executive officer.

Both of their logics acknowledge that their tact does not recognize any of the possible grievances or underlying causes of why their adversaries were driven to violent action. The adversaries are just labeled evil and are portrayed as being devoid of any human dignity. If either of the candidates were deeply committed to preventing the recruitment of more disenfranchised and desperate people to the enemy's cause, they would cease all overt aggressions and punitive sanctions for an amount of time where agreements could be reached. A genuine agreement though, not one bound with demeaning pressure intended to intimidate cooperation. One cannot be authentic when looking down the barrel of a hostile gun or if the immediate biased bargaining can feed one's starving family. Any hasty solutions at that point will do. Both candidates pledge to in fact increase the antagonisms (Bush in Iraq, Kerry in Iran) because that is what they feel is required of them. That's what they think the American people need to feel safer in the world, by participating in and perpetuating the cycle of violence instead of ending it.

The ideology of the "enemy" comprises the biggest market in this country so naturally the current power structure is not set up to deal with extinguishing it. War, drugs, and black-market weapons deals are some of the fluffy pillows the elites' fragile economy rests on. If there were a vacuum that sucked all of this revenue out of circulation, their levers of power in the world would be seriously tilted. To think: how would the many American defense contractors fill their quotas if there were no enemies in the world? Could programs like NASA absorb and subsidize all of the excess resources of the defense industry without war? Could the nefarious "black" operations, intended to uphold democracy and provide a large part of their own budgets, go on without an enemy to target and exploit? When dealing with the enemy, a savvy defense contractor understands that conflict perpetuates their profits. The more armed enemies there are, the more profits there are to be made by the contractor. It makes sense fiscally: the more weapons the enemy has requires more defense contracts for the US government, or any other close ally's government, to go defeat the enemy and rebuild their own devastation in the name of freedom at the taxpayer's expense. And the ones who are making the profits will do everything they can to keep Uncle Sam from keeping any of their spoils. Providing arms and logistical support is enough of a service to their country that their profits don't need to be shared in the tax base. As we have seen in past clandestine government debacles like the Iran Contra Scandal, the most ideal scenario is arming two enemies so they can annihilate each other while the profits are reinvested in whatever activity the participating ruling elite sees fit. The ethical and moral conflicts of doing this is a liability for the politicians who partake, but is a custom for the defense industry.

Without an enemy the logic of the armaments industry would be undermined and they would be forced to scramble to find another way to make a dollar. Stealth bombers and smart bombs are high ticket items and without war our many valued client states, who take most of these weapons off the American company's hands, would not be required to spend their billions on defeating their enemies. Maybe they would in turn invest that money into financially unprofitable trades like providing proper health care or building schools for those in need. Without conflict the massive American coffers would dwindle. As we see now in our nation, government officials and defense contractors are two sides of the same coin. (Our vice-president has been the CEO of Halliburton and his wife, a children's book author and chairwoman of the National Endowment of the Arts, has served on the board of Lockheed & Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer.)

It takes much less effort to understand than to inflame. The doling out of multi-billion dollar defense contracts before the current Iraqi quagmire was a lengthy and involved process. Considering this was planned early on as a "contingency plan," this small part of the march to war required the skillful yet shortsighted hand of hundreds of corporate overseers and tax subsidized military bureaucrats. Imagine the capability of hundreds of compassionate and intelligent people, encouraged to think critically and independently about a pressing topic. Intelligence in this sense would be defined as one who is not trained in the corporate atmosphere where they must only keep their eye on the balls of bottom lines and market-shares. The dirty business of war planning wouldn't be possible without the use of indoctrinated personnel where it can be second nature to someone who believes in the "free-market" that all of the "externalized" costs in the business of destruction are absent from any meaningful debate about the impact of their work. How could anyone's intuition not be challenged by the graphic, pressing nature of the true nature of war? One way is being subject to the ruthless corporate tactics that accompany any lucrative industry, especially the high yielding defense industry, war profiteering. The morass of these kinds of day jobs is more of public relations problem as opposed to being a real life-threatening problem rooted in reality, one where innocent lives are being taken or destroyed with each passing moment. The bureaucrats are awash of any accountability whereas a group of independent minds might find objections along the way when realizing the severe human and environmental tolls falling under their microscope.

Those two men vying for the presidency fail to truly recognize the self-destructive pathology of the perpetual "enemy." The enemy isn't a terrorist or a state harboring a terrorist; it's the faceless, fanatic nature that drives that terrorist or terrorist state to the extreme, one where the taking of life is justified by one's own perceived moral endgame. That same fanaticism underlies the foundations of George W. Bush's beliefs (if they aren't just an empty political façade) as well as those of Osama Bin Laden. John Kerry may not be fueled by the same religious fundamentalism but he strives to head the largest state whose cohesion is underpinned by some of those same laws of fanaticism and exclusivity that have contributed to our current confrontations. Anyone doomed to inherit that position in its current state will be forced by constitutional law to uphold its questionable role in the global tempest.

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Sen. John Kerry, Pres. Bush
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