Monday, March 28, 2016

War is a Game - part 2

[In case you missed it, here is part 1]

     Here are more thoughts and rantings about the issue of war, using more of my old concept art from my old video-game-job days as a tool or visual aid.
     Recently, at my current job, I overheard a co-worker talk about how she thinks that, yes the spying on Americans is terrible and doesn't like it, but if it helps catch terrorists, she's fine with it. I wanted to yell "BULLSHIT!" That's the most ridiculous, idiotic thing to say. She has clearly not done an iota of research, really dug into the news, learned any history. The ignorance in America is unbelievable in this day and age where information is at your fingertips.
     It's March 2016. We (or the US govn't rather) are in over a decade and a half in the so-called "War 'O Terror." The whole middle east seems worse than before -- getting rid of Saddam and Gaddafi left power-vacuums. You'd think a lesson would be learned before going after yet another regime change, like Assad. The US presidential candidate debates around terrorism sound as paranoid as the Red Scare, when the reality is that the world is safer, and chances of real terrorism here is miniscule. Fear and emotion are the worst things to drive politics. Where's rationality and logic? The calls for more war and more national security make zero sense. You're OK with spying now, but the next president could very well be Trump or Hillary, and I'm not sure which warmonger is worse. The war drum rhetoric from the Republicrazies are the most insanely fascist, but we already are, aren't we? We tortured some folks, we warred a bit, we have a bit of a police state problem. Pretty much the road to fascism has become normalized -- a highly militaristic crony-capitalistic nationalistic hegemony. "The new normal."...smh. "It's the times we live in." god, it's like nails on a chalkboard.
    Why the complacency? Is it the fault of the media's war-saturated news, "go army" Bay and Bigelow movies, or FPS shooter video-games? Who knows. As an artist, I say art is art. Feel free to express yourself, but then there is basically propaganda -- direct or indirect -- that I feel is sometimes just factually wrong, logically faulty, based on lies, etc.  I feel conflicted to work on jobs that promote pro-war lies and views. Perhaps if the project had actual intelligence, I'd consider it. The truth basically comes down to war being all about politics. It's saving face, a show of force, and that it's like a ridiculous boyish child's game. Look, what were once our allies are now our enemies, and our enemies are now our allies, to fight a bigger enemy, when it should be no surprise if, in the future, that bigger enemy becomes our ally for whatever reason. See "part 1" for more.

     At any rate, it's obvious, the more we war, the more we increase so-called homeland security. The $ecurity indu$trial complex, ready to burn through your tax money. Here's some common paraphrased statements that I hear time and again by the pro-war establishment, and then my responses.

NSA surveillance spying has helped catch terrorists.

     Those 54 attacks thwarted? Nope. Mostly terrorists have been caught by regular policing, with warrants, from informants, from their families warning authorities, their own bragging, etc. [1,2,3]
     "The overall problem for US counterterrorism officials is not that they need the information from the bulk collection of phone data, but that they don’t sufficiently understand or widely share the information they already possess that is derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence techniques," wrote New American Foundation National Security Director Peter Bergen [1,2]. One of those hyperlinks gives example after example of that, and namely that some of the 9/11 hijackers were already known and lived under the FBI/CIA's noses, were warned about by the flight schools, etc. and nothing was done about them! The recent Belgium attacks was warned about and ignored. [1]. Over and over, example after example. So, why spy on the rest of us? No logical reason.
     Thwarting attacks has also included FBI entrapment of lost simpletons and idiots, basically handing bombs to those who can't make em, etc.[1,2,3,4,5,]

If you have nothing to hide and if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

     Pleeese. I know I'm not doing anything wrong. And we could talk about the constitutionality of illegal search 'n seizures. The point is: you must be OK with mass profiling, like racial profiling. I.e. Of blacks by police. Japanese internment camps. Everyone's suspect, right? Personally, I have no interest in the Muslim religion or culture and therefore have no interest to defend them in particular, but the Muslim community is harassed increasingly after every terrorist attack, and the media pesters them, as if they have anything to do with terrorism [1,2]. I mean, why not harass and profile all Christian communities when there's a KKK, anti-abortion, or white supremacist attack? Regular policing has been sufficient, so mass surveillance should be completely moot.
     Celebrities don't like being hacked. The senate and other politicians don't appreciate being spied on. Why should we? The same of the NSA goes the TSA. Is grandma doing anything wrong to deserve a strip search? The handicapped? Babies? Or how about handicapped babies who now doesn't want to go to Disneyworld anymore? Chewbacca? It's security theater, it's for show.
     Glenn Greenwald makes a great point, "...the Brussels attack is now the fourth straight attack, after Boston, the Charlie Hebdo massacre and then the Paris attacks, where siblings, brothers, were at the heart of the planning... the attacks were carried out by people who live in the same communities, who live very close to one another, and who almost certainly met in person in order to plan them. And yet, the exploitive mindset of Western politicians is to say, every time there’s a successful attack carried out, it means we need to wage war on encryption, we need greater surveillance, we need more police in these communities. But the reality is, if people are meeting in person, if you’re talking about siblings and cousins and family members and people who go to the same mosques, who are meeting in person to plan the attacks, none of that will actually help detect the attack."

Isis/Daesh promise a life of adventure, heavenly riches, wants to establish an Islamic caliphate, hate us for our freedoms, etc. We need to combat their narrative, their appeal on social media, blah blah blah.

     The mainstream media would have you to believe they're all a bunch of crazy evil inhuman religious nuts. Some Daesh [and, btw, I sometimes use Daesh, cuz Isis sounds stupid] recruits believe the hype, but most don't. Some aren't even that religious. This article writes, "In what was one of the stupidest decisions of America’s war in Iraq, the US demobilized veterans of Saddam Hussein’s defeated army, many of them experienced soldiers and officers, leaving them with no place to go and no means of earning a living. Many of them, stinging from the shame of their rapid defeat, were only too happy to join ISIS, which gave them employment, a renewed sense of honor, and a way to continue their fight against Shia Muslims and the United States. These veterans have provided ISIS seasoned military and organizational expertise. An important thing to understand here is that few of these Hussein-era veterans share the extreme religious views of the ideologues who run ISIS. It’s a marriage of convenience, not conviction."
      That leaves revenge as a reason they fight. Why is blowback so hard for politicians to admit? Because they really can't admit they're wrong. Since our bombing of Daesh started, their numbers haven't changed [1]. Obamadronebombs multiple civilians to target one terrorist -- naturally their surviving family members want revenge. Interviews with captured fighters state exactly this [1,2,3]. They say they literally have nothing left, no home, no jobs -- and duh, the terrorists are paying. It's that simple. Why is it so hard to understand?
      So, why do anti-war people like myself always refer to history? How does it help stopping bad guys like Daesh now? Because if we don't know history, we're doomed to repeat it, and repeat it we always seem to do, so it doesn't seem like we are reminded of history nearly enough. Robert Scheer always brings up this view as well, and that it would be a good idea to investigate who funds Daesh, countries like America's head-lopping "ally" Saudi Arabia and others [1]. Bringing democracy and regime change to the middle east failed (and with the state of our corrupt democracy, who are we to spread democracy?). The US hasn't won a war since WW2 (and even then, the Russians fought more than we did), so why anyone would ask for our help militarily is beyond me. And leaving the middle east, like we left Vietnam, really can't make it any worse than it is now, in fact it might be better.

[To read more, click for part 3]