Monday, September 24, 2007
Learning About the Iraq War from Hannah Arendt
By DAVID KEEN
(This essay is excerpted from David Keen's new book, Endless War? Hidden Functions of the 'War on Terror')
".......Second, even a lack of success may lend legitimacy to the insistence that America and its allies must devote ever-greater energy to defeating terrorism. Indeed, those waging war on terror seem to have an interest in insisting that they are simultaneously both winning and losing. This is a confusing message, to be sure; but a mixed message has the significant advantage that it can never be disproved. Any form of evidence, any positive or negative turn of events, can be harnessed to the (ambiguous) official line. Each victory brings some new atrocity and some new struggle in its wake: the toppling of the Taliban is followed by the bombing of Bali; the ousting of Saddam is followed by the bombing of Madrid; elections in Iraq, but bombings in London. It would seem the task is never done: as Mark Duffield pithily puts it, "It is always a case of one more massacre, of winning this endless war, and we will be free." Just as we breathe a sigh of relief, we find some new anxiety catching in out throats. The war on terror is drawing to an end; long live the war on terror! "