The ongoing U.S. Colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa is an endless war fought for generations, which stands to grow ever stronger with last night’s address to the nation by Barack Obama.
Once again, Iraq has become another place for drones to fly under the command of the White House and Pentagon, joining Yemen, Jordan, Somalia, and Afghanistan (to name a few), in an endless, borderless war on terror. The president will incorporate more of Iraq and Syria into the international program of precision bombing; and the flood of American arms and military technology to support the unspecified “Syrian opposition” will escalate. The president is proceeding without an overt declaration of war, instead claiming to be launching a, “counter-terrorism campaign,” operating within a strange place both in and outside of a legal authority to wage war.
The executive authority has now outlined his plan to, “degrade and ultimately destroy,” what is described as pure evil: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Despite the presentation of ISIS as a ‘medieval’ organization opposed to all normal types of western civilization, they are a thoroughly modern social movement. Like every political power since the 18th century, ISIS seeks to seize the State, by waging war for State sovereignty. The tactics of ISIS are tactics of warfare invented and used by the United States and European governments throughout the 20th century, deep in the laboratories of imperialism. The violent dispossession of land to finance further warfare, the calculated use of starvation, torture, public executions; these are things that all modern governments have done to establish their sovereignty over people they claim the right to govern. These tactics are routine practices of State-building. They are examples of governing, whether it is democratic governance, totalitarian, Shia majority, Sunni majority or otherwise.
ISIS has taken power because in certain areas of Iraq and Syria, it claims a monopoly on the right to death; a monopoly on the exception to kill without any form of external oversight or restraint. The United States is now trying to win back their fading monopoly on the right to kill without judgment
“Government,” is another word for the authority to kill with impunity; as both the United States and the Islamic State demonstrate.
Reviewing the long and short 21st century history of Iraq, it is undeniable that the dire choices facing most Iraqis are the consequences of global capitalism. The United States invasion of Iraq was a launching pad for the radical political project of neoliberal policymakers and private military contractors. The people of Iraq have experienced one of the most violent and technologically advanced campaigns of economic dispossession and reorganization in human history. No one can underemphasize the destabilizing impact of the wealthiest nation in the world attempting to forcibly redesign a population based on the doctrine of neoliberalism.
The social engineering of Iraqi society, from secret police forces to the exploitation of inter-sectarian conflict of Sunni and Shia factions, has created the context for a social movement devoted to the politics of death. The lasting social order left behind by the plan to marketize Iraq from above is the everyday reality of the politics of death for those on the bottom.
Capitalism from above coexists with a radically increased risk of biological extermination for those on the bottom.
Thinking and acting outside the politics of death and exploitation means rejecting the false choice between the power of ISIS or the United States and the American backed puppet government. The demand coming from the mouths of every politician and media figure today is that we need to act now, but who is the, “we,” that must attack?
Does it refer to U.S.-allied military dictatorships (such as Egypt and Turkey), with brutal human rights records of their own?
Does it refer to the United States Government and the private corporations that pillaged Iraq and helped engineer a society of death?
Or does it refer to the ages of Western colonialism in the region that has crushed indigenous forms of power for hundreds of years?
President Obama’s vision for an extension to an endless war reveals the basic tactics used everywhere to protect State power over the universal authority to kill, without need for justification. The future of the non-owning classes lies in our ability to create social movements that break with the systems organized through the use of death, war, and accumulation.
Say no to their war and seek to build solidarity with ordinary Iraqis without relying on the politics of death. End the endless war on the Middle East and North Africa.