Endless War?

Hidden Functions of the ‘War on Terror’
David Keen

Pluto Press London • Ann Arbor, MI

First published 2006 by Pluto Press 345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA and 839 Greene Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 www.plutobooks.com Copyright © David Keen 2006 The right of David Keen to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 0 7453 2416 9 hardback ISBN 0 7453 2417 7 paperback Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data applied for

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Designed and produced for Pluto Press by Curran Publishing Services, Norwich Printed and bound in the European Union by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham and Eastbourne, England

Contents
Acknowledgements vii

1.

Introduction Aims and argument of the book 1 Fuel on the fire: predictably counterproductive tactics in the ‘war on terror’ Two models of terrorism 8 Violence for a safer world? 11 The doctrine of pre-emption 19 Fuelling anger 23 Anger in the targeted countries 25 Anger outside the targeted countries 31 Concluding remarks 48 War systems: local and global Introduction 51 Insurgency and terror 54 ‘Counter-insurgency’ and ‘counter-terror’ 57 Concluding remarks 80 Elusive enemies and the need for certainty Economic insecurity and the search for certainty 91 Concluding remarks 95 The new witch-hunt: finding and removing the source of evil Devils and details: the neglect of reconstruction 107 Concluding remarks 113 The retreat from evidence-based thinking Concluding remarks 127

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Action as propaganda ‘Just world thinking’: might is right 132 Making your predictions and assertions come true 137 Concluding remarks 143 Warding off the shame of powerlessness Violence as power 146 Dependence and omnipotence 150 Piggybacking US power 157 Shame, purity and violence America ‘goes soft’: weakness, emasculation and impurity 160 Resisting those who ‘blame America’ for 9/11 170 Counter-terror and the proliferation of enemies 177 Conclusion 187

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10. Culture and magic US history and sense of mission 190 Magic, consumerism and advertising 194 Intellectuals 201 11. Conclusion

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Notes Bibliography Index

220 270 279

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Acknowledgements
At LSE, I would especially like to thank Sue Redgrave, Drucilla Daley and Stephanie Davies, as well as Teddy Brett, Tim Allen and Dennis Rodgers. I thank James Putzel in particular for helping to fund the research via the Crisis States Research Centre at DESTIN, LSE. For valuable episodes of intellectual exchange and input, I would particularly like to thank Clive Hall, Mark Duffield, Edward Balke, Freda Bear, Zoe Marriage, Thi Minh Ngo, Adekeye Adebajo, Mats Berdal and the late Dominique Jacquin-Berdal. At Pluto, I warmly thank Debjani Roy, Robert Webb, Julie Stoll, Melanie Patrick and most especially Anne Beech, as well as Liz Orme for the cover design. Big thanks, too, to Chris Carr at Curran Publishing, and to Stuart McLaren for meticulous copyediting and Susan Curran for the index. And also to Joe Raedle for the cover photograph. A huge thank-you to all my friends, and to mum, auntie Anne and the best sister in the world. My greatest debt is to my beloved wife Vivian for her constant love, kindness and support – and for her judicious advice and her faith in me throughout this project. I would like to dedicate this book to the memory of Dominique Jacquin-Berdal. Her passing in January 2006 is a major loss to scholarship and to all who had the privilege to know her.

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1 Introduction
Aims and argument of the book
Current tactics in the ‘war on terror’ are predictably counterproductive. These tactics have included the use of military offensives to combat terrorism: notably in the attack on Afghanistan, the attack on Iraq and the heavy handed suppression of resistance and use of collective punishment inside Iraq. Torture has been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba and a range of other countries, and the British government has taken the radical step of telling its diplomats they can use information obtained through torture (as long as the torture is done in some country other than Britain).1 International law – and often the whole concept of the rule of law – has increasingly been set aside. The counterproductive effects of such strategies are set out in Chapter 2. During the Cold War (and also before), a militaristic state-based framework suggested that you could sensibly respond to threats with war or the threat of war. But this framework, always risky and costly, is now hopelessly out of date. This is because of the dangers posed by elusive and often decentralised international terror networks, by a proliferation of powerful weapons around the world, and by a type of violence that is continuously fuelled by widespread feelings of humiliation and anger, notably among many Muslims. These feelings in extreme cases have created a willingness to take innocent lives and to lose one’s own life in the process. The problem of weapons proliferation has been deepened when suicide-killers have turned even non-weapons like planes and skyscrapers into instruments of death. In these circumstances, trying to apply the old militaristic model to the problem of terrorism is like trying to destroy a liquid with a sledgehammer or a virus with a bullet. The idea of a centralised enemy and the focus on states – both more plausible during the Cold War – have been disastrously retained.2 Attacks on states are now particularly redundant and counterproductive. The growing importance of sub-national and transnational dynamics, as Carl Conetta notes, means resentments can’t be sealed neatly within the ‘black box’ of the nation state.3 And a militaristic approach to terror, apart from [ 1 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? being directly counterproductive, has also taken attention and resources away from other, more promising, approaches to dealing with terrorism. Since terror is fuelled by anger and since terror networks are quite decentralised, trying to physically eliminate terror and terrorists is not going to work. This lesson should already be clear from civil wars.4 Today more than ever, we need to understand why non-state actors participate in violence and how abusive counter-terror or counterinsurgency operations tend to fuel the fire of violence. Although it has become clear to most observers, including diplomatic and intelligence officials, that militaristic and abusive actions are proving counterproductive, they have nevertheless been adhered to (and often with renewed enthusiasm and ferocity). Why is this? Simply condemning the tactics or pointing out that they are counterproductive provides no answers here; indeed, it deepens the puzzle. The bulk of statements about the ‘war on terror’ are concerned either with justifying recent actions (the approach of the US and UK governments and the US ‘neoconservatives’), dismissing abuses as ‘mistakes’ or ‘failings’ (broadly, a liberal perspective), or (usually from the left) condemning the US-led coalition’s behaviour as immoral and counterproductive. However, trying to explain why these counterproductive tactics have been adopted and retained is a rather different task, and may ultimately help in challenging them. Since the US-led approach has not been based on facts so much as on faith and power, it has exhibited a certain immunity to conventional empirical challenges; it is therefore particularly important to explore its inner logic and the (deluded) beliefs that sustain it. All this becomes more urgent because George W. Bush has often stressed that the ‘war on terror’ is both wide-ranging and ongoing. Bush told West Point military cadets in June 2002 that the United States must be prepared to take the ‘war on terror’ to up to 60 countries if weapons of mass destruction were to be kept out of the hands of terrorists. 5 Iran has been a particular target for belligerent talk, and Bush described Iran in February 2005 as ‘the world’s primary state sponsor of terror’.6 For his part, Tony Blair responded in October 2005 to the Iranian President’s admittedly outrageous call for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’: ‘If they carry on like this, the question people will be asking us is – when are you going to do something about Iran? Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having nuclear weapons?’7 Chapter 3 looks for political and economic explanations for the current counterproductive tactics. It is suggested that the global ‘war on [ 2 ]

INTRODUCTION terror’ is a system conferring important benefits, where the aim is not necessarily to win. If the ‘war on terror’ is an endless war in the sense of a perpetual war, it does not appear to be an endless war in the sense that it lacks any goal or purpose. The suspicion that the ‘war on terror’ may have hidden functions is heightened by the succession of ‘wars’ of one kind or another in which the United States has declared its involvement since the Second World War. Whilst taking off from the analysis of Chomsky and others, the discussion here draws on my previous analysis of civil war as a system: where militarily and politically counterproductive tactics have been commonplace and where (contrary to common belief) the aim has not necessarily been military victory. A variety of civil wars have shown the militarily counterproductive nature (and the hidden political, economic and psychological functions) of indiscriminate counter-terror. Chapters 4–9 explore the psychological functions of predictably counterproductive actions in the ‘war on terror’, and the psychological factors that have shaped the changing – and often arbitrary – definition of the ‘enemy’. The book suggests that the search for magical and psychologically satisfying solutions has interacted with old-fashioned militaristic paradigms in profoundly damaging ways. Again, the intention is to examine not only why such counterproductive behaviours and unhelpful definitions of the enemy were originally adopted but also why they have been maintained. The book looks at the appeal of doomed tactics not only for leaders but also for large sections of the electorate. It emphasises the mismatch between psychologically satisfying solutions (eliminating ‘the evil ones’) and solutions that might actually work. Part of the aim is to go beyond condemnation of the United States and its allies and to throw light on the thought-patterns that underpin the war on terror. Since these embody dangerous fallacies, it is important to examine their origins and assumptions, their appeal, and how they are made to appear plausible. Here, the analysis draws on Michel Foucault’s insights, especially his discussion of how practices that may seem (to many) unobjectionable and obvious nevertheless embody assumptions that at a later point in history (or if we highlight a previously excluded set of voices or step outside the ‘charmed circle’ of policy-makers) may appear highly irrational.8 The analysis also draws on a number of other authors who are not usually discussed in the context of the ‘war on terror’, including the psychiatrist James Gilligan, the philosopher Hannah Arendt, the sociologist Susan Faludi and historians Keith Thomas and Omer Bartov. [ 3 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Chapters 4–7 suggest that the ‘war on terror’ has provided a sense of safety and certainty that has repeatedly ‘trumped’ a more rational and realistic sense of what is likely to promote lasting physical security. There has been a re-birth of what I will call magical thinking, something that produces plausible (but spurious) answers to the problem of explaining suffering and plausible (but spurious) answers to the project of minimising future suffering. Magical thinking boils down to the hope that we can order the world to our liking by mere force of will or by actions that have no logical connection to the problem we seek to solve. Part of this has been a repeated resort to scapegoating – to a witch-hunt that finds someone, anyone, on whom blame can be heaped. Scapegoating can be a way to deal with trauma and bewilderment;9 but it provides only a temporary solution to the problem of identifying (and destroying) the enemy, and there is always a danger that the process will be repeated. The attack on Iraq followed that on Afghanistan, and even after the Iraq debacle there is still an appetite in some quarters of the US government for attacking Iran and North Korea in particular. Scapegoating is replicated not only within Western countries but also within countries targeted in ‘counter-terror’ operations: most notably, whilst targeting Iraq had provided an identifiable and accessible victim, the occupation of Iraq meant that ‘the enemy’ became once more elusive; this seems to have encouraged the targeting of more accessible enemies, including prisoners. Bizarre systems (including witch-hunts) can be made to appear reasonable, logical, unavoidable and incontrovertible – at least for a period. In other words, magic can be made to look reasonable and rational, helping to explain how populations could be so readily mobilised into a project that is so counterproductive in terms of the expressed aim of defeating terrorism. This is partly because dissenters risk being labelled as ‘enemies’, partly because we often take punishment as evidence of guilt (‘just world thinking’), and partly because enemies can be made to resemble one’s pre-existing (and distorted) image of them. Hannah Arendt’s idea of ‘action-as-propaganda’ is used (in Chapter 7) to explain how abusive actions have come to acquire – particularly for many Bush supporters in the United States – an air of legitimacy and inevitability. Part of the psychological function of counterproductive tactics is that they have helped to ward off feelings of shame and powerlessness. This is analysed in Chapters 8–9. Warding off shame involves finding others who will confirm you in your illusions and reassure you that your behaviour (however irrational and immoral it may appear to most people in [ 4 ]

INTRODUCTION the world) is really rational and moral after all. If and when these others refuse to confirm your illusions and to sanction your definition of enemies, they too are likely to become part of an ever-expanding category of ‘enemies’. The USA’s dangerous project of serial persecution has been consistently backed by the UK as well as getting sporadic support from whoever else can be flattered, bribed, cajoled or coerced into compliance. It is precisely the irrationality of this potentially endless endeavour – somewhere between Bush magic and the Blair witch project – that creates the necessity of orchestrating and bullying approval. Warding off shame and powerlessness has also involved an attempt to combat elements of apparent weakness and impurity – both in US foreign policy and in policies aimed at ‘moral regeneration’ at home. This response has important historical precedents. Chapter 10 discusses a number of discourses that seem to have fed into predictably counterproductive tactics. Foucault suggests in I, Pierre Riviere that a crime cannot usefully be considered in isolation from the texts, including religious texts, in which the perpetrator and his society are immersed. Writers like Noam Chomsky and John Pilger tend to portray discourse as merely a smokescreen for power. They see distorted media coverage of the ‘war on terror’ as a pretty direct expression of US war-mongers’ interests and as strongly reflecting US government propaganda in particular. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber have also produced important analysis along these lines. But this is only part of the story. David Miller – in the introduction to his edited collection, Tell Me Lies – touches on an important qualification to the emphasis on ‘lies’ in the book’s title: ‘members of the elite come to believe their own lies,’ he writes, ‘and seem unable to break free of the operating assumptions of the system … they come to believe that the world seen through the distorting lens of their own self interest is how the world really is’.10 The point is not elaborated in much detail, but it is important to try to examine the nature of these ‘operating assumptions’ and where they come from. As Foucault noted, officials may in some sense be trapped by dominant rhetoric, including their own. Whilst often self-serving, misconceptions also spring from a particular culture and a particular tradition, which help to sustain them in the face of mounting evidence that they are not working. Paradoxically, belief in these ‘operating assumptions’ seems to be strengthened by evidence of their falsity, and an interesting question is this: what kind of evidence would it take to convince Bush and Blair that they are wrong? The question of intentions is a difficult one.11 Were the counterproductive effects of the ‘war on terror’ foreseen or even desired? It is [ 5 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? hard to give a definitive answer. But I would like to draw on Foucault again and suggest that key leaders in the ‘war on terror’ have been trapped within systems of language and thought that are at once a part of a shared culture and also (as they surround themselves with those sharing similar views) partially of their own making.12 This helps to explain how the irrational can come to seem rational. Meanwhile, the practical political and economic benefits accruing from perpetual war have helped to ensure that challenges from within the dominant nations and their local allies are insufficient to shake up the cosy and erroneous ‘truths’ that have underpinned the current counterproductive approach. Although Bush, Blair and other close allies surely do not want the ‘war on terror’ to fail, it would seem that other priorities take precedence and help to cloud their awareness of what works and what doesn’t. It is notable that, even once the (foreseeable) counterproductive effects become clear, they are still adhered to. Counterproductive tactics have become part of a dysfunctional system that not only yields certain benefits but also has a (fallacious) internal logic. Revealingly, the idea that bad things are the responsibility of a few ‘evil individuals’ has informed both the tactics in the ‘war on terror’ and the official US response to revealed abuses like those at Abu Ghraib, which were dismissed as the work of a few ‘bad apples’. The use of torture in third-party countries like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia13 has also helped to preserve the idea that bad things are the responsibility of ‘them’ and not ‘us’. These denials of responsibility are part of a persistent tendency to exaggerate the decentralization of violence in relation to one’s own ‘side’. Alongside this has been an enduring habit of underplaying the decentralization of violence among one’s ‘enemies’ (the terrorists). Thus, abuses in the ‘counter-terror’ system (if admitted) are said to reflect a ‘breakdown’ in the chain of command, while the enemy’s abuses are held to reflect a ruthless imposition of command. This neatly sidesteps responsibilities in the West as well as the widespread anger that informs terrorism (and Western nations’ part in fuelling this anger). Not dissimilarly, during the Cold War, abuses in countries friendly to the West (if they were admitted at all) were frequently depicted as aberrations or the result of loose chains of command. A classic example was the dismissal of government-sponsored famine in Western-backed Sudan as the result of ‘ancient ethnic hatreds’.14 At the same time, abuses in Communist-backed countries were seen as demonstrating the essence of an abusive and rigidly imposed Communist ideology. Of course, the Soviet Union could also play this game in reverse. [ 6 ]

INTRODUCTION Part of my work on civil conflicts has involved extensive study of humanitarian aid: for example, in Sudan and Sierra Leone.15 When things have gone wrong with humanitarian operations (for example, relief is not delivered), this has usually either been disguised or dismissed as arising from ‘mistakes’ or ‘failures’. But such ‘failures’ have typically been actively produced by a range of interests affecting relief distribution at all levels and by a range of discourses (for example, the idea that relief induces ‘dependency’ in the recipients) which have helped to sustain counterproductive policies and to lend them legitimacy. As Edward Clay and Bernard Schaffer (themselves influenced by Foucault) say in relation to ineffective development projects: The … important question is not why public policy ‘fails’. It does not always necessarily or completely do so. The formulation expresses an odd reification. Public policy is, after all, what it does. The point is to explain what that is, and then see if that explanation can itself be an instrument for change and improvement. Chapter 10 also suggests that the ‘war on terror’ appeals for many of the same reasons that consumerism appeals. The ‘war on terror’ has been sold with tried-and-trusted advertising techniques. And like consumerism, it feeds on its own failure; crucially, failure sustains the demand that is necessary for constant renewal, whether of consumerist fantasies or of the fantasies behind the ‘war on terror’. In the case of the ‘war on terror’, the key demand sustained by failure is the demand for safety. All that is needed to sustain this dishonest and counterproductive system, as with the false promises of advertising, is that we quickly forget that the solution we were recently offered and readily ‘bought into’ (attacking Afghanistan, attacking Iraq) has not magically met our need for security. Here, much of the media has been complicit in helping us to forget. This book is intended as an aid in not forgetting.

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2 Fuel on the Fire: Predictably Counterproductive Tactics in the ‘War on Terror’
Two models of terrorism
US President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have been very clear, repeatedly proclaiming that America and its friends must ‘wage war on terrorism’, that they must ‘hunt down the terrorists’ and destroy them. In his State of the Union speech in January 2002, Bush summoned all nations to ‘eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own’. After the bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 2003, Cheney advised an audience in Washington ‘to recognise the fact that the only way to deal with this threat ultimately is to destroy it. There’s no treaty can solve this problem, there’s no peace agreement, no policy of containment. … [W]e have to go find the terrorists.’1 The idea is that evil must be physically eliminated. As Bush put it, ‘our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil’;2 or again, ‘This will be a monumental struggle between good and evil. But good will prevail.’3 Peter Singer’s research, published in 2004, found that Bush had referred to evil in 319 different speeches, and had usually used the word as a noun, a force in the world, rather than simply as an adjective describing certain acts.4 The US-led approach to terror rests on the assumption that terrorists are a discrete group of evil individuals who can be isolated and eliminated. The approach has often been underpinned, as in Bush’s reference to parasites, by dehumanising language that may flash a warning light in the mind of any student of fascism.5 The ‘destroy-the-evil-ones’ approach took tangible form in Bush’s desk at the Oval Office, where 9/11 prompted him to keep a file of the 22 most wanted terrorists, ‘his own personal scorecard for the war’, as ‘Watergate’ reporter Bob Woodward put it.6 Bush would put an X through the picture of those who were not still ‘at large’. 7 (In the State Department’s website showing the ‘most wanted’ terrorists,8 Osama bin Laden is helpfully described as approximately 160 pounds in weight, thin, with an ‘olive’ skin. He is believed to be in Afghanistan, we learn, is left-handed, and walks with

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a cane. A US$25 million reward is offered for information leading to his apprehension or conviction. The website adds cautiously, ‘Should be considered armed and dangerous’). Israel has a similar rogue’s gallery of wanted terrorists, and the Bush model is very much in line with that of Israeli hardliners like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with whom the neo-cons have had a great deal of sympathy. The idea that you can effectively isolate and eliminate ‘the evil ones’ was eloquently criticised during the Cold War by the dissident Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who suffered persecution by a Soviet Communist regime that had its own project of isolating and eliminating evil: If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.9 While Solzhenitsyn was lauded by the West when Communism was the enemy, his wisdom is now in danger of being forgotten. Although the Bush administration’s model of combating terrorism has gained ascendance, there is an alternative (and more accurate) model that places terrorist thinking at the extreme end of a continuum. According to this alternative model, terrorists are not an entirely discrete, isolated or finite group but rather a group whose numbers can always be swelled (or diminished) – depending crucially on the way the threat of terrorism is handled. In this approach, the key is to undermine support for terrorists and to tackle the process by which some of those sympathising with terrorist aims or grievances may themselves embrace or facilitate violence. Paradoxically, certain kinds of liberal and ‘politically correct’ thinking may feed into the (superficial) plausibility of the model portraying terrorists as a distinct group. Not least because of the need to try to protect the increasingly precarious human rights of Muslims in the West, many liberals find it necessary to repeat that terrorists are a small minority whose views are emphatically rejected by the majority of Muslims. This way of speaking, while perhaps accurate in relation to 9/11 and in many ways constructive, tends nevertheless to distract attention from widespread feelings of indignation among Muslims at the ‘war on terror’. Polls suggest that large numbers of British Muslims, for example, now view the ‘war on terror’ as a war on Islam.10 A poll of British Muslims in March 2004 found that 13 per cent believe that [ 9 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? ‘further attacks by al-Qaeda or similar organizations on the USA’ would be justified.’11 Even if we focus on the al-Qaida network itself, the problem cannot be reduced to a few individuals. The demise of more hierarchical organizations like Shining Path in Peru may have clouded the picture and encouraged false optimism. In a debate with John Kerry on 30 September 2004, Bush noted that ‘75 per cent of known al Qaida leaders have been brought to justice.’12 Yet al-Qaida was estimated in May 2003 to have more than 18,000 members in up to 90 countries.13 They cannot all be killed or captured, and even if they could, the process would inevitably be imprecise and would predictably produce replacements. As an International Institute for Strategic Studies report put it, ‘If the minions were killed or caught, their spectacular demise in the name of Islam’ would move others to take their place.14 The case of Sayyid Qutb, often credited as the father of Islamic fundamentalism, showed how this could work: he was a relatively obscure writer before the Egyptian government executed him.15 Ethnicity, as British anthropologist David Turton eloquently argues, may be a result of conflict as much as a cause of it. This would seem to be true of the extreme ethnic identity of ‘holy warrior’. If al-Qaida cannot be physically eliminated, neither can the Iraqi resistance (often dumped under a general heading of ‘the terrorists’ by the Bush administration). Some 24,000 Iraqi resistance fighters were detained or killed between May 2003 and August 2004, according to estimates by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.16 Yet the number of Iraqi resistance fighters actually rose from 5,000 in November 2003 to 20,000 in September 2004, the Pentagon reported, and the Deputy Commander of the Coalition forces in Iraq, General Andrew Graham, told Time magazine in early September 2004 that he thought the real number was 40–50,000. Significantly, the alternative model for combating terrorism is in line with much current thinking on the disarmament of more conventional military factions: we have learned that even disarming a particular group will not be enough for peace if the conditions turning civilians into fighters persist, particularly since decentralised violence is encouraged by proliferating weapons and by opportunities for exploiting global markets.17 Al-Qaida itself has benefited from diamond-trading networks, including in West Africa, and shifted its focus from East to West Africa as controls in the East tightened in the wake of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.18 A significant degree of local initiative – and indeed local fund-raising – has been built into the structure of the organisation. The targeting of the leadership has in many ways reinforced this decentralisation.19 [ 10 ]

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Violence for a safer world?
We were sold the war in Iraq as part of the ‘war on terror’. This was a war that would supposedly make the world safer in the wake of 9/11. Iraq was supporting terrorism and Saddam’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were an immediate threat: they might either be deployed directly or passed to terrorists. Spreading democracy would itself promote security – if only on the logic that democratic countries are less likely to go to war. Yet the reasoning in all this was profoundly flawed, and a detailed investigation in 2004 by James Fallows found that nearly all US national security professionals saw the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 as a catastrophe.20 Eight flaws stand out. First, there is no evidence of any significant connection between Saddam and al-Qaida (let alone 9/11). Indeed, al-Qaida seems to have been strongly opposed to Saddam’s regime, and Osama bin Laden denounced Saddam as an ‘infidel’. The administration of George W. Bush tried hard to prove a connection between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, but failed.21 Questioned by British parliamentarians on 21 January 2003, Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that no evidence had been found of any links between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein – something his intelligence agencies had told him repeatedly.22 Bush also eventually admitted, ‘We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11th’.23 A second major flaw with the project of making the world safer by attacking Iraq was that, despite the best investigations of American and British personnel inside occupied Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction were found. Removing the alleged threat posed by these weapons was the main justification given for the war. However, it now seems clear that the existing system of weapons inspection was working well. As the UN’s chief weapons inspector Hans Blix observed in 2004, ‘The much maligned, relatively low-cost policy of containment had worked, and the high-cost policy of counter-proliferation [in other words, war] had not been needed’.24 A July 2003 report from the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee noted that documents claiming Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger turned out to be crude forgeries. The urgency of disarming Saddam was underlined in the British government’s September 2002 report on Iraq, now discredited and known unaffectionately as the ‘dodgy dossier’. The Foreign Affairs Committee report went on: [ 11 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? The dossier also claimed that the Iraq military would be able to deploy warheads containing biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of receiving an order to do so. It is known that the claim rested on a single source and that there was no corroborating evidence.25 As a former Labour government adviser put it, ‘no attempt was ever made to explain that the notorious 45-minute claim referred to battlefield munitions only, and came from single, uncorroborated sources. If the attempt had been made, the Sun would not have declared [in September 2003] ”Brits 45 minutes from doom.”’26 The third problem with the attack on Iraq – perhaps the most fundamental, and discussed in more detail later in this chapter – is that the attack itself has already proven profoundly counterproductive in combating terrorism. In looting that was prompted by the invasion, nearly 380 tonnes of nuclear-related high explosives went missing from a factory south of Baghdad, and the UN’s Atomic Energy Agency warned that terrorists could be helping themselves ‘to the greatest explosives bonanza in history’.27 More fundamentally, the attack has deepened the anger that is fuelling terrorism among Islamist militants in particular. It has led to major resistance inside Iraq, and whilst the majority of resisters have been Iraqi, Iraq has also become something of a magnet and a cause célèbre for these militants from elsewhere: much in the same way that Afghanistan did during the struggle against the occupying Soviet forces. Anger and fear have also been stoked by more general US proclamations of a right to unilateral military action and ‘preventive self-defence’. Time magazine noted that its interviews with religious leaders, Islamic scholars, government analysts and ordinary citizens in dozens of countries around the world ‘reveal that the fervor of those who adhere to radical forms of Islam has intensified since 9/11’.28 Even the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee noted in July 2003 that the war with Iraq may have impeded efforts to combat bin Laden and al-Qaida, and that the war may have enhanced the organisation’s appeal to Muslims.29 The Iraq war has been helping the al-Qaida network with its propaganda, recruitment and fundraising, as well as serving as a training ground;30 it provides a particularly useful training in urban tactics.31 Meanwhile, when the United States uses heavy firepower during counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, many of the effects are videoed and later used as propaganda for insurgency.32 Toby Dodge, a specialist on Iraq, commented that the Iraq war had had a bigger impact on British Muslims than Chechnya or Israel–Palestine, [ 12 ]

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where British and American soldiers had not been directly involved in killing Muslims.33 It is true that the 9/11 attack predated the 2003 Iraq attack, but this of course was targeted at the US, not the UK. Hugh Roberts, an authority on Algeria and Egypt, stresses that there is often nothing ‘natural’ or even long-standing about anti-American sentiments (notwithstanding Chomsky’s emphasis on the longevity and continuity of American abuses). Yet anger with one’s own government has increasingly interacted with anger at the United States to make a potent and dangerous combination.34 In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Algeria and elsewhere, the 2003 attack on Iraq has greatly intensified anti-American sentiments – just as the earlier Gulf War did in 1991. Following the 2003 attack on Iraq – in a world that was supposed to be safer for the deposition of Saddam – we have seen bombings linked to Islamic militants in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Morocco, Russia, Chechnya, Turkey, Indonesia, the UK and elsewhere.35 Blair was anxious to dismiss any connection between the July 2005 London bombings and the Iraq war, but most British people disagreed. It had been David Blunkett, Blair’s Home Secretary at the time, who defended anti-terrorism legislation in December 2001 with the view that ‘a heightened level of risk comes with our military alliance with the US’.36 Intelligence officials in the USA and UK reported in early 2005 that a key threat came from ‘bottom up’ groups of young, radicalised Muslims who might have little or no connection to al-Qaida. In Britain, intelligence chiefs and senior police officers said in early 2005 that planned terrorist attacks had been thwarted there.37 On 7 July 2005 there were four deadly explosions on London’s tube trains and a bus, with a further four bombs failing to go off two weeks later. In October 2005, Bush said that at least ten al-Qaida attacks had been thwarted since 9/11, including three in the US.38 A fourth flaw in the promise to make the world safer – at once obvious and virtually unnoticed – is that the attack on Iraq and the subsequent occupation have themselves been a source of terror.39 Terror to end terror makes no sense. One study compiled from media reports concluded that up to 7,350 civilians were killed in the ‘major combat’ phase prior to 1 May 2003.40 Many more were killed in looting, subsequent crossfire and coalition retaliation, as well as from poor health infrastructure. A detailed study in the Lancet, published in October 2004, found that ‘Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.’41 As [ 13 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? one Iraqi internet ‘blogger’ put it in April 2004, ‘I hope someone feels safer, because we certainly don’t’.42 Part of that danger has come from the most sustained suicide bombing campaign in history. In all, between August 2004 and May 2005, Iraqi civilians and police officers were dying at a rate of more than 800 a month, with an increase in death rates since the election of January 2005.43 A fifth flaw in the idea that attacking Iraq would make the world safer is that it has exposed many foreigners in the country to violence and death. This, of course, includes coalition soldiers. As of 25 October 2005, there had been 2,198 coalition troops deaths in Iraq, with at least 15,200 US troops wounded in action.44 On 19 August 2003, the bombing of the Canal hotel used by the UN in Baghdad killed at least 23. Aid agencies left Baghdad in large numbers. A sixth problem is that the attack, so far from limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, appears likely to encourage nuclear proliferation. The fact that the United States has been talking, in effect, about a nuclear ‘first strike’ against terrorist targets adds to a climate of fear. It seems to be only those who do not pose an immediate threat that the US/UK Atlantic coalition has been prepared to attack, and this policy creates a perverse incentive to arm yourself rapidly (and covertly) so that you can climb out of this vulnerable category. As in civil wars, an emphasis on attacking the unarmed serves, in practice, as a major incentive to acquire arms.45 US officials and international atomic experts say Iran could have a nuclear bomb by 2006. It already seems to have mastered the technology for uranium enrichment.46 John Kerry noted in a pre-election debate with Bush that at the moment when Iraq was invaded, some 35 to 40 countries had greater capability of making weapons than Iraq. Comparing the capabilities of Iraq and North Korea suggests that it is the lack of WMD that may create conditions for invasion. As North Korea’s foreign ministry put it, ‘The Iraqi war shows that to allow disarmament through inspections does not help avert a war, but rather sparks it,’ concluding that ‘only a tremendous military deterrent force’ could prevent attacks on countries the United States dislikes.47 As Isabel Hilton commented in February 2003: Since the Korean war, [the North Korean regime] has understood that the disappearance of the Kim [Jong Il] regime, and even of North Korea itself, is a long-term goal of US foreign policy. Deterring the US, therefore, has been its fundamental long-term objective. … China, Russia, Japan and South Korea all want a nuclear-free North Korea. But they know that such [ 14 ]

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an agreement would require a guarantee that the US will not stage a pre-emptive strike. On September 20 last year, the US proclaimed its right to stage pre-emptive strikes.48 Russian military spending has been rocketing during the Bush era; in February 2004, Russia carried out its largest military exercises for two decades, and Russian generals and defence minister Sergei Ivanov announced that they were responding to Washington’s plans ‘to make nuclear weapons an instrument of solving military tasks’. Some reaction from China can also be predicted.49 We seem to have forgotten that US atomic attacks on non-nuclear Japan in 1945 helped to spur the Soviet atomic programme in the first place. A seventh problem with the attack on Iraq is that it has helped undermine the whole idea of collective security and has severely damaged the institutions – notably the United Nations – charged with achieving it. One could say that the attack on Iraq was effectively a vigilante operation: except that this would be too kind. Vigilantes typically respond to crimes, but this attack was essentially pre-emptive. In this it differed from the coalition attack in 1991 when Bush senior responded to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Levels of international consent were also very different: to put the matter in a catch-phrase, while the Iraq war of 1991 was UN-endorsed (with Security Council approval), that of 2003 was simply un-endorsed.50 The 2003 attack was opposed by a majority of the UN Security Council members, and many prominent international lawyers deemed it illegal.51 UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix commented, ‘It was not reasonable to maintain that individual members of the Security Council had the right to take armed action to uphold decisions of the Council when a majority of the Council was not yet ready to authorize that action’.52 The UK Attorney General told Blair that it was for the UN Security Council, not him, to decide whether Iraq was complying with the earlier UN Resolution (1441) of November 2002 that called on Iraq to allow free access for weapons inspectors.53 As international lawyer Chaloka Beyani makes clear, it was also for the Security Council to decide what would be the ‘serious consequences’ referred to in resolution 1441.54 In any case, the usual code for war is ‘to use all necessary means’, not ‘serious consequences’. Significantly, Resolution 1441 was introduced with an assurance from British UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock that the resolution would not have any ‘automaticity’ that would trigger a war without further discussion by the Security Council.55 A final problem with the attack on Iraq is that the enterprise of spreading democracy by force is deeply flawed. The humiliation of an [ 15 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? imposed solution is one problem. George Soros, who knows something about practical steps to promote democracy, said of the attempt to use force to bring democracy to Iraq, ‘In light of the ethnic and religious divisions, the introduction of democracy could easily lead to the disintegration of the country.’56 Ethnic tensions are indeed rising, with many Sunni Arabs feeling marginalised from negotiations over the new constitution, Shi’ites and Kurds sitting on most of the oil, Sunni Arab insurgents targeting Shi’ite mosques and pilgrims, and growing numbers of retaliatory killings by Shi’ites; even the growing use of ethnic terminology implies – and perhaps assists – the ethnicisation of Iraqi politics.57 If the logic of the attack on Iraq was thus deeply flawed, what then of the earlier attack on Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9/11? Though the issue of weapons of mass destruction did not arise, there were still many flaws in the approach. First, the connection with 9/11, though less far-fetched, was still very questionable. Certainly, the attack on Afghanistan reflected the fact that the Taliban had allowed al-Qaida to establish its headquarters and training camps in Afghanistan,58 and the attack did succeed in disrupting al-Qaida, its leadership and its supporters in the Taliban – not least by forcing many to flee.59 Bin Laden was certainly an important connection between 9/11 and the Afghanistan attack, but he famously escaped, helped by the US reliance on local militias and by the gathering US focus on Iraq.60 Significantly, none of the 9/11 attackers were Afghans; most were Saudis, with financial backing also coming in large part from Saudis.61 Yet Saudi Araba escaped any retaliation. In a detailed report for the Project on Defense Alternatives, Carl Conetta observed: The Taliban regime, which absorbed most of our attention, bore only a contingent relationship to Al Qaeda’s activities outside the region. In fact, most of the Al Qaeda facilities and most of the foreign troops under their control in Afghanistan had to do with the civil war there. Most of the organization’s capabilities to conduct far reaching terrorist acts resided and resides outside of Afghanistan, and thus fell beyond the scope of Operation Enduring Freedom [the US-led attack].62 When it came to the activities of al-Qaida beyond the region, Afghanistan’s importance was not so much in providing sanctuary and training; rather it lay in providing a recruiting ground for future cadre [ 16 ]

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(with most al-Qaida volunteers used as shock troops in local civil war or as a Taliban security force). Al-Qaida doesn’t really need states or massive open-air training facilities, as Conetta notes; warehouses and small ad hoc sites (like Florida flying schools) have served its purposes well.63 A second flaw with the Afghanistan attack was that other more peaceful options were neglected. Previous US efforts to get the Taliban to hand over bin Laden had not yielded him, but a deadline could easily have been set.64 Taliban leader Mullah Omar had asked the US government for evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11, and indicated that if this was done he would be ready to hand bin Laden to an Islamic court in another Muslim country. (Later, in an even more conciliatory offer, the Taliban said bin Laden could be handed over to a court with at least one Muslim judge.)65 Pakistan had a lot of leverage on the Taliban and a patient approach might have borne fruit over six months or so.66 In fact, the leaders of two Pakistani Islamic parties are reported to have negotiated the extradition of bin Laden to Pakistan, but extradition was blocked by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, quite conceivably on US advice.67 US demands for turning over bin Laden and the al-Qaida cadre, and the closing of al-Qaida camps and sites, were framed as non-negotiable, and Conetta comments that this required that the Taliban assume a supine posture. A nationalist reaction should have been predictable. And this gave leverage to the [Taliban veteran] hardliners in Kandahar, rather than the more flexible shura (a council of village clerics and mullahs) in Kabul.68 A third problem was that the attack on Afghanistan prompted significant and continuing resistance inside the country. Fourth, the attack itself was again a source of terror. Fifth, the attack on Afghanistan stoked up anger among many Muslims around the world. These points are elaborated later in this chapter. Finally, the attack on the al-Qaida camps was of dubious benefit in the context of an increasingly decentralised and amorphous enemy. Indeed, the attack contributed to the decentralisation of al-Qaida, tending to disperse rather than eliminate the terror group. A top FBI counter-terrorism expert estimated that the Afghanistan war led to only a 30 per cent reduction in al-Qaida’s capacity. Many al-Qaida operatives fled to Iran.69 Many of the al-Qaida leaders returned to their home countries, with destinations including Chechnya, Yemen, East Africa and Georgia.70 [ 17 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Whilst some dispersed al-Qaida terrorists will certainly have found it difficult to operate,71 dispersal is unlikely to have proved a major hindrance. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al-Qaida, noted in 2003 that regional commanders were now operating independently of centralised control. Crucially, the dispersal of al-Qaida seems to have helped to foster an increasingly decentralised leadership that often has its own local sources of funding.72 In late 2001, American intelligence officials said they believed bin Laden had delegated authority for launching terror strikes to individual cells within the al-Qaida network.73 In May 2003, Jonathan Stevenson of the International Institute for Strategic Studies commented that, perversely, the counterterrorism effort ‘impelled an already decentralized and elusive transnational network to become even harder to identify and neutralize. … Thanks to technology and the multinational allure of jihadism, the Afghanistan camps were [now] unnecessary.’ Stephenson noted that mid-level coordinators, already trained in Afghanistan, had subsequently been able to operate in dozens of countries, and that bombings like those in Kenya in 2002 could be left to ‘local footsoldiers’.74 Certainly, the Afghan attack did not prevent the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October 2002 – an atrocity coordinated by Jamal Islamiyah, a south-east Asian Islamist terrorist group drawing funding from alQaida.75 The Bali bombing of October 2002 cost perhaps US$35,000 to carry out, a sum easily gathered from the credit card fraud and petty crime networks that certain Islamist extremists run.76 Referring to alQaida training camps in Afghanistan, Roland Jacquard, a French expert on terrorism, commented, ‘What cost al-Qaida millions was the camps. The group doesn’t have the same financial needs as it did before’. The cost of planning and executing the 9/11 attacks has been estimated at no more than US$4–500,000.77 Acting Assistant Director of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, J. T. Caruso, reckoned that Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan would cause a ‘stuttering’ in al-Qaida’s operation but not necessarily a ‘pause’: because of the decentralised nature of the organization. AlQaida has sometimes reportedly acted like a foundation, giving grants to those who present ‘promising’ plans for terrorist attacks. It has also been compared to a corporation with a common ‘mission statement’ and potential for local-level initiative. Decentralised organizations can be harder to monitor and control.78 Whether the loose network of Islamist terrorists is even accurately described as ‘al-Qaida’ is also questionable. William Dalrymple wrote in the New York Review of Books: [ 18 ]

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While al-Qaeda has dominated the news since September 11, 2001, there are dozens of similar groups made up of freelance Islamic radicals trained since the 1980s in camps on the Afghan border. Many of these were run by the ISI [Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence] and funded initially by the CIA (one reliable estimate puts the US contribution at 7 billion dollars), and later, after the Soviet withdrawal, by Saudi intelligence.79 In an important study of al-Qaida, Jason Burke observed that by 9/11, bin Laden had the loyalty of about a hundred motivated individuals – the al-Qaida hardcore.80 Further: For all but five (or arguably three) years of his life, bin Laden was a peripheral figure in modern Islamic militancy. … Over the past 15 years, tens of thousands of young Muslim men made their way to training camps in Afghanistan. Many, as late as 1998, had never even heard of Osama bin Laden.81 Even in terms of Afghanistan, the problem of al-Qaida was never ‘solved’: both the Taliban and al-Qaida remained present inside the country’s borders. Al-Qaida was reported by the UN to have subsequently reopened training camps in remote areas of eastern Afghanistan and new recruits were pouring in.82 While the war in Afghanistan has long been presented as ‘over’, US bombing in Afghanistan did not end in 2001. Indeed, Washington was still bombing in 2005: trying desperately to eliminate a force containing elements of the Taliban and al-Qaida.83

The doctrine of pre-emption
Alongside the apparently serial selection of enemies there has been an alarming and revealing change in expressed US foreign policy. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Haass stated: What you are seeing in this [George W. Bush] administration is the emergence of a new principle or body of ideas … about what you might call the limits of sovereignty. Sovereignty entails obligations. One is not to massacre your own people. Another is not to support terrorism in any way. If a government fails to meet these obligations, then it forfeits some of the advantages of sovereignty, including the right to be left alone inside your own [ 19 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? territory. Other governments, including the United States, gain the right to intervene. In the case of terrorism, this can even lead to a right of preventive … self-defense. You essentially can act in anticipation, if you have grounds to think it’s a question of when, and not if, you’re going to be attacked.84 Referring to ‘those terrorist organisations of global reach and any terrorist or state sponsor of terrorism which attempts to gain or use weapons of mass destruction or their precursors’, the US government stated in September 2002: While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country.85 Note that this is not just advocating pre-emptive strikes against those with weapons of mass destruction; it is advocating pre-emptive strikes against those attempting to acquire them, and indeed attempting to acquire ‘their precursors’. It is not clear who is being excluded from this wide-ranging project. Furthermore, Bush has declared, ‘We will make no distinction between those who planned these [9/11] acts and those who harbor them’.86 In fact, the doctrine seems almost infinitely extendable. All this represents a major shift from a policy of nuclear nonproliferation to a policy of actively removing nuclear (and other WMD) threats. The Pentagon has stated that the United States should prepare to use nuclear weapons to prevent, or retaliate against, use of WMD.87 Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who pushed for Iraq to be made a principle target in the ‘war on terror’ after 9/11, observed: It’s not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism. It will be a campaign, not a single action. And we’re going to keep after these people and the people who support them until it stops.88 All this adds up to a very wide-ranging license to kill and a pretty strong hint of endless war. Donald Rumsfeld said in June 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency could last as much as 12 years.89 Even the name that [ 20 ]

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was initially adopted for the strikes on Afghanistan (‘Operation Infinite Justice’) seemed to suggest a kind of hunger for perpetual warfare.90 The Pentagon has referred to the need for ‘regime change’ in Iran. David Frum and Richard Perle, influential neo-Conservatives with positions at the American Enterprise Institute, noted in 2003 that Iran was ‘a terrorist state, the world’s worst’.91 Of the regimes in Iran and North Korea they observed, ‘both regimes present intolerable threats to American security. We must move boldly against them both and against all the other sponsors of terrorism as well: Syria, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. And we don’t have much time.’92 Saudi Arabia was accused of inciting terror and of being a ‘disguised enemy’.93 Turning to the Far East in more detail, Frum and Perle noted, ‘our interests (and those of Japan) differ from those of South Korea. Put bluntly: A North Korean nuclear warhead that might be sold to al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group is more dangerous to us than a war on the Korean peninsula. … In Korea, the surest way to avoid war is to prepare to fight it.’94 In one chilling passage, Frum and Perle suggest: Next, we must accelerate the redeployment of our ground troops on the Korean peninsula so they are beyond the range of North Korean artillery and short-range rockets. President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have already begun to do this. U.S. troops originally served to deter the North from invading a second time; today they have become hostages, whose vulnerability the North exploits to deter us – and whose presence discourages the South from improving its own defences… as we reposition troops, we should develop detailed plans for a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities.95 There were also vague threats towards China: ‘the North Korean nuclear program is a Chinese responsibility, for which China will be held accountable.’96 The authors referred to the possibility that China may become ‘menacing’ over the long term.97 This worry found an echo in a Pentagon review of America’s military needs – leaked in 2005 – which mentioned China in the context of the need for huge military spending to deter would-be superpowers.98 Nor is this kind of hunger for war restricted to the United States. Tony Blair has said that if Bush had held back from intervention in Iraq, he would have been pushing him in that direction. The British Prime Minister is also on record as saying that after Saddam was toppled, it would be necessary to ‘deal with’ North Korea. While there seem in [ 21 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? practice to be limits to this project (not least because of the prospect of a Labour revolt), Blair’s own inclinations appear to set few limits. Blair stated just before the attack on Iraq, ‘What amazes me is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why we don’t get rid of Mugabe, why not the Burmese lot. Yes, let’s get rid of them all. I don’t because I can’t, but when you can, you should.’99 Pre-emption is now widely lauded as legitimate. But as a principle on which to base international relations or international law, preemption is woefully incoherent and dangerous. One difficulty is that a government might say a war is pre-emptive when actually it has other motives.100 More fundamentally still, a doctrine of pre-emption would be totally unworkable if even remotely generalised.101 Let’s suppose it is right to attack another country if you believe you are about to be attacked. For those countries who see that this doctrine might be turned against them (North Korea? Iran? Iraq itself?), do they then have a right to attack the United States to pre-empt the coming attack?102 In September 2004, following the terrorist attack on Beslan school, Russia asserted a right to pre-emptive strikes on terrorist bases around the world.103 It would not be good (or welcomed by the US) if Russia took it into its own hands to enforce UN Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-occupied territories, for example.104 Peter Singer notes that ‘America harbors Cuban exiles who have used Miami as a base from which to carry out terrorist attacks in Cuba’, and asks whether this gives Cuba a right to attack the US.105 Few would think that US support for anti-Sandinista terror in Nicaragua would have justified Nicaraguan bombing of the US.106 Nor are more distant historical precedents a good advertisement for attacks on the alleged ‘state backers’ of terrorism. In 1914 when Austria-Hungary went to war on Serbia (precipitating the First World War), the Austro-Hungarian government cited Serbian involvement in the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand.107 The grave problems arising from the assertion of a right to preemptive strikes become even clearer if we apply the principle to the realm of law and order within states. What kind of community would it be if an attack on an individual was deemed acceptable and desirable merely because some other member of the community believed they had grounds for thinking that the individual intended harm to them? Perhaps a community like Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692? What kind of country would it be, moreover, if entire groups could be attacked because some other groups believed the victims intended them harm? Perhaps a country like Rwanda in 1994 or Germany in the 1930s? Mass violence has [ 22 ]

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long been hailed and legitimised as ‘preventive’, and has been facilitated precisely by such dubious predictions; in this sense, as in many others, the Bush doctrine follows a long and dangerous tradition.

Fuelling anger
Despite the evident satisfactions of Bush’s high-stakes game of Oval office bingo, the problem of terrorism – unfortunately – goes rather beyond the 22 ‘evil’ individuals in his deck of cards. (In any case, three years after 9/11, 19 of the 22 were still free.) Almost 2,700 ‘known or suspected’ terrorists had been arrested by the United States and its allies by May 2003.108 (The category of ‘suspected’ is itself suspect, particularly given the major role that wrongful arrest has tended to play in generating terrorism.) The figure of 2,700 arrested is still a fraction of the estimated 18,000 al-Qaida members in 90 countries in 2003. The CIA itself has claimed that some 70,000 to 120,000 recruits went through bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan,109 though this seems to involve adding al-Qaida terrorists together with other international terrorists as well as many terrorists with a national agenda.110 What is very clear is that the problem of terrorism cannot be contained by a regime that assumes that the number of terrorists is both small and finite. We can see this even within individual countries. In the wake of the Bali bombing of October 2002, Indonesian police arrested more than 80 members of Jamal Islamiyah, the south-east Asian terrorist network linked to al-Qaida. That did not prevent the bombing of a Western hotel in Jakarta in August 2003, killing at least ten, or the repeat bombing of Bali in October 2005.111 This is not to say that such arrests are a waste of time; merely, that the apparently endless supply of ‘new’ terrorists has to be taken seriously. Even when dealing with insecurity inside Iraq, there has been an erroneous assumption among US officials and generals that the enemy represents a hierarchy – very much on the lines of the occupying forces – and that elimination of the enemy leadership (first Saddam’s sons, then Saddam) will disable the violence. The habitual sense of shock when this happy outcome has persistently failed to materialise reveals a particular mind-set. While some US administration officials have optimistically compared al-Qaida to a snake which will die when the head is cut off, other analysts argue more plausibly that the network resembles a mould: you have to tackle the environment in which it grows.112 Rather

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E N D L E S S WA R ? than imagining that terrorists are a discrete group of evil individuals, we need to look at processes of becoming. How do people come to be terrorists? This means looking at repressive domestic structures and at the damaging effect of international conflicts: not least the damage done by the ‘war on terror’ itself. In counter-terrorism, as in the evidently very different field of famine relief, there has been a tendency to focus on a target group without considering the processes by which people arrived at this extreme state.113 To understand a process of becoming we need a sense of individual and national history, as well as a sense of the West’s impact on the problem. But these have generally been lacking, particularly in the United States. Bush put it with characteristic aplomb when he said, ‘I think we agree, the past is over.’114 When it comes to history, the very word is frequently used in the United States to mean something that is dead or irrelevant (as in ‘you’re history’). At the same time, history is frequently an arena for narcissism: notably, for Bush and Blair themselves, who have often invoked ‘history’ to allude to how key actors (notably, themselves) will be judged in the future. For example, Bush said in the introduction to the National Security Strategy on 17 September 2002, ‘History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act.’115 Blair told the US Congress that if Saddam’s WMD capabilities were being wrongly assessed, ‘That is something I am confident history will forgive.’116 Former UK International Development Secretary Clare Short noted that Blair had a preoccupation with his own legacy.117 The point that counter-terror critically determines the strength of the terror threat might be lost on Bush, but it is not lost on the terrorists. As Thomas Friedman put it, Islamist terrorists ‘want to trigger the sort of massive US retaliation that makes no distinction between them and other Muslims. That would be their ultimate victory – because they do see the world as a clash of civilizations, and they want every Muslim to see it that way as well and to join their jihad.’118 Quite apart from the effect of violent counter-terror in radicalising people, Bush’s statements have also been encouraging a politics of polarisation. Bush famously said after the 9/11 attacks, ‘You are either with us or against us in the fight against terror.’119 The phrase was apparently intended to cajole would-be neutrals into supporting the ‘war on terror’. But for those who do not want to be ‘with’ Mr Bush in his chosen path, the perverse and unacknowledged logic of the instruction is: join the terrorists. Of course, many people are relieved to see the back of the Taliban and Saddam. But the Bush/Blair retaliation has generated significant [ 24 ]

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anger both inside and outside the chosen target countries. Consider the ‘insiders’ first.

Anger in the targeted countries
In theory, the US-led military forces responding to 9/11 were to distinguish sharply between the evil people and the good ones: bombing was to be targeted, abusive governments were to be overthrown and the welfare of ordinary people was to be protected with humanitarian aid. However, there have been at least four problems here, all of them fuelling anger with the US-led coalition. First, such a project of ‘separation’ is inevitably difficult in practice: bombs do not always find their targets, economies are inevitably disrupted, civilians are forced to uproot and so on. The attack on Afghanistan produced some 500,000 new refugees and displaced persons,120 and a three-month interruption in humanitarian supplies cost many lives.121 Even after the Taliban collapsed, banditry and lawlessness impeded distribution.122 An estimated 3,400 Afghan civilians were killed by US military action between the start of the Afghanistan attack in October 2001 and end of March 2002.123 Highlevel bombing was designed to avoid US casualties, and in this it was successful: by 10 January 2002 only two US personnel had been killed by enemy fire.124 The Pentagon’s most optimistic estimate was that 85 per cent of US bombs hit their targets. But even that implied some 15 per cent – 450 or more – went astray.125 The United States acknowledged dropping two 225-kg bombs in a residential area north of Kabul.126 Navy spokesmen said 60 per cent of bombs dropped on Afghanistan were smart bombs, though most of these were originally ‘dumb’ bombs smartened with satellite-guided tail-fins.127 Killings in Afghanistan continued even as press coverage faded almost to nothing. For example, eleven civilians were killed in Paktika, eastern Afghanistan, on 10 April 2003, after a US warplane mistakenly dropped a laser-guided bomb onto a house. Such incidents inevitably alienated the local population. Between March and September 2002, a massive 1.7 million refugees are estimated to have returned to Afghanistan. But lack of funding for reconstruction meant many were finding it difficult or impossible to survive, and some were having to leave once more. Much of the reconstruction money was used for internally displaced people after ethnic unrest in the north and widespread drought.128 In February 2003, one visiting journalist described the country’s ‘utter desolation and

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E N D L E S S WA R ? poverty’, adding, ‘already about half of the 3 billion pounds from the UN [pledged towards reconstruction] is said to have been spent, though the Afghan government claims to have seen only a fraction of the money’. Very large numbers of aid agencies were working in the country but ‘with notable exceptions, their achievements are difficult to discern’. Tens of thousands of refugees were living in the bombed-out ruins. Meanwhile, the Afghan Army stood at only 4,000 – roughly onetwentieth of its proposed level. ‘As fast as new soldiers sign up for training at 20 pounds a month – if, indeed, they are paid at all – others are homesick for their remote villages and are quitting’.129 In May 2003, mines or unexploded shells were killing 100–150 people a month in Afghanistan.130 A second problem was that the proclaimed international project of separating the good from the evil, already unrealistic, was made more so by the corresponding incentive in the ‘enemy’ countries to ‘muddy the waters’, notably by mixing themselves with civilians. Taliban artillery was sometimes adjacent to mosques and schools131 – at least in part a legacy of the old Soviet-backed government, which put military facilities in urban areas to protect them from the mujahadeen.132 In Iraq, soldiers reported that some guerrillas dressed as civilians,133 and Sean Huze, a US infantryman attached to the 1st Marine Division in 2003, complained: the position we were put in – fighting an enemy that used women, children, and other civilians as shields; forcing us to choose between firing at ‘area targets’ (nice way of saying firing into crowds) or being killed by the bastards using the crowds for cover – is indescribably horrible. I saw more than a few dead children littering the streets in Nasiriyah [southern Iraq] along with countless other civilians.134 A third problem was that civilian casualties inevitably fuelled resistance, which led to further civilian casualties. Newsweek interviewed three Iraqi resistance fighters in the summer of 2003 and noted, ‘The fighters seemed able to move openly in Amriyah [some 30 miles east of Baghdad], without fear that anyone might report them to the Americans’.135 The resistance fighters added that they had 5,000 armed fighters and were angry with US forces for the deaths, on 29 April 2003, of 18 parents and children protesting the military occupation of their primary school in Fallujah. This was an incident that transformed the threat to US soldiers, who had been largely safe in Fallujah and other [ 26 ]

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cities north of Baghdad.136 The US military claimed US soldiers were returning fire on gunmen in the crowd, but Human Rights Watch found no ‘conclusive evidence’ of bullet damage on the school where US soldiers were based.137 When four security contractors were killed and mutilated in Fallujah on 31 March 2004, there was massive retaliation by US marines against the city, killing perhaps 600–700. US commanders claimed nearly all were legitimate targets, but local doctors said most were women, children and the elderly. US-led forces attacked again in November 2004 and one week into the siege a BBC reporter put the unofficial death toll at 2,000. An estimated 36,000 homes were destroyed in the devastated city.138 Abuses by interrogators have been very widespread in Afghanistan, with many of those arrested having few provable connections to any outlawed organization. US officials have been torturing prisoners not only at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, but also at Bagram in Afghanistan and Guantanamo in Cuba.139 The CIA has been flying suspects to prisons in Egypt, Jordan and Syria where they have been tortured.140 In Iraq, arrests scooped up insurgents and non-insurgents alike, mimicking the indiscriminate choice of Iraq as a target in the first place. In an alarming admission, coalition forces’ military intelligence officers estimated that between 70 and 90 per cent of those deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake.141 Mark Danner commented that given the paramount need for good intelligence, ‘arresting and imprisoning thousands of civilians in murkily defined “cordon and capture” raids is a blatantly self-defeating tactic.’142 Ill-treatment following capture in many parts of Iraq was documented by the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross).143 With coalition forces’ casualties mounting, there was pressure to ‘break’ the prisoners and extract information.144 Well before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, Newsweek reported: As many as 8,000 people have disappeared since Saddam’s regime collapsed, and many relatives are searching for answers about their fate. More than 5,000 are in U.S. custody. … Those who have been detained are nearly always held incommunicado, without access to lawyers or even the right to contact their families. In most cases their loved ones can’t find out where they are. … Conditions are primitive. … A frequent punishment is to make men kneel outside in the sun, where afternoon temperatures exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Those under interrogation are subject to sleep deprivation, loud music and other methods the military believes stop short of [ 27 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? torture. Authorities even held a suspect’s wife and children as hostages until he turned himself in, which he did. … [O]ne Red Cross delegate says [of the US authorities], ‘What they’re doing is completely illegal, and they know it.’145 These atrocities – and especially those at Abu Ghraib – have fuelled anger in many Arab and Muslim countries as well as encouraging large numbers of young men to take up arms across the Sunni belt of Iraq.146 Atrocities by armed groups inside Iraq sometimes dramatised the links with US abuses: several captives were beheaded when dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange jump-suit. Abu Ghraib in particular must have seemed to confirm extremists’ propaganda that depicted the Western world as sexually immoral and decadent. Importantly, the shame extended far beyond those who were directly humiliated. After the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted, an Iraqi woman in her mid-twenties – living in Baghdad and known on her website as ‘Riverbend’ – noted, ‘We burn with shame and anger at frustration at not being able to do something.’147 One Iraqi civilian commented in April 2004, ‘Anyone who does not fight will have a spot of shame on their face for generations’.148 A young commander of Sunni insurgents, Abu Theeb, said that after the invasion of Iraq: I roamed the streets with a dagger in my pocket. I was too ashamed to come back home and see my family while Baghdad was under the occupation, dead bodies and bullet shells everywhere. … When the infidel conquers your home, it’s like seeing your women raped in front of your eyes and like your religion being insulted every day.149 Referring to ‘the trauma of occupation’, Scilla Elworthy commented, ‘In cultures where the concept of honour is profound, those who humiliate and dehumanize do so at their peril’.150 A young man at Fallujah told journalist Mark Danner in November 2003: For Fallujans it is a shame to have foreigners break down their doors. It is a shame for them to have foreigners stop and search their women. It is a shame for the foreigners to put a bag over their heads, to make a man lie on the ground with your shoe on his neck. This is a great shame, you understand? This is a great shame for the whole tribe. It is the duty of that man, and of that tribe, to get revenge on this soldier – to kill that man. Their [ 28 ]

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duty is to attack them, to wash the shame. The shame is a stain, a dirty thing; they have to wash it. No sleep – we cannot sleep until we have revenge. They have to kill soldiers.151 A fourth problem with the proclaimed project of separating ‘military’ and ‘humanitarian’ spheres is that the US-led coalition has repeatedly been tempted to manipulate the humanitarian project so as to boost the military enterprise (and this in turn has reinforced the determination of some local actors to disrupt the humanitarian project). The credibility of the USA’s ‘humanitarian’ project was not helped by previous actions and inactions. Western interest in Afghanistan had waned in the 1990s with the end of the Soviet occupation and then the rise of the Taliban. Humanitarian needs were severely neglected, and by mid-2001 widespread famine conditions existed, with a deficit of over one million tons of food.152 In Iraq, sanctions had killed perhaps 500,000 children under five in the 1990s.153 While the events of 9/11 freed up humanitarian resources, the military and political motivations were hard to miss. Bush and Blair tried to use humanitarian aid to show that they were hostile only to the Afghan and Iraqi regimes and had only good intentions towards civilians. However, civilian deaths were certain: not least because of the tactic of high-altitude bombing. Some way had to be found to sugar the kill. As Bush put it when planning the Afghan war, ‘Can we have the first bombs we drop be food?’154 Some of this aid was indeed dropped from a great height, and may have exposed recipients to dangers from mines.155 For the most part, the US media seems to have enthusiastically embraced this feed-as-you-bleed approach. Yet the idea that people will love you because you drop food as well as bombs is perhaps a strange one; the parallel is not exact, but it is not entirely clear, for example, that Osama bin Laden would have been forgiven for destroying the World Trade Center had he decided simultaneously to drop food packages on the homeless of Chicago.156 On 29 October 2001, Bush told his inner circle of security advisers in the US National Security Council: We also need a public relations campaign focused around the Taliban. We need a donors’ conference [a conference of food aid donor countries], someone who will organize it as an offset to Ramadan [due in mid-November]. We need – how to get the coalition something to hang its hat on when we continue the bombing during Ramadan. We need to have humanitarian help [ 29 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? during Ramadan, the likes of which Afghanistan has never seen. We also need a political initiative in this time period.157 With bombing planned for Ramadan, Bush added a note of cultural sensitivity: the United States should ease up on strikes during prayer time.158 Bush was ready to take this ‘sensitivity’ even further. At a National Security Council meeting on 31 October, he said, ‘We need a humanitarian donors’ conference as we head into Ramadan. We ought to be calling on the Taliban to let trucks pass. And if they don’t, that will violate the principles of Islam.’159 In Afghanistan, food was useful not only in legitimising violence but also as cover for military missions: a dual purpose also served by humanitarian aid in earlier conflicts in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan.160 On 6 October 2001, there was a meeting of the National Security Council, with a video link to Bush at the Camp David retreat. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld worried that bombers would be noticed leaving Missouri, and that since there were still 15 or more hours before they arrived, the enemy might get valuable early warning of the coming attack. Bush replied, ‘Let them go. Try some disinformation.’ Rumsfeld in turn responded, ‘We’ll tell people they are full of food.’ 161 On the ground, US soldiers in Afghanistan were soon to link relief distributions to provision of information about the Taliban and al-Qaida.162 The blurring of military and humanitarian agendas seems to have confused some key players who were instinctively distrustful of the rush to war with Iraq. Most notably, Clare Short, a prominent critic of Blair’s approach to war with Iraq, recalls that she nevertheless held on to her position as International Development Secretary during the attack on Iraq – in large part because she felt she was needed to lead the UK humanitarian and reconstruction effort.163 Harnessing humanitarian operations to political agendas created major problems for NGOs. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) did not accept NATO funds and this helped it to operate, but many others in Afghanistan were taking USAID money while still wanting to be seen as neutral humanitarians.164 Despite MSF’s stance, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder of five MSF workers in June 2004, and a Taliban spokesman stated that ‘international aid workers were working for the policy of America’.165 In July 2004, MSF announced it was withdrawing from Afghanistan after 24 years.166 Bush said humanitarian aid to Iraq was ‘an opportunity to change the image of the United States’,167 while US Secretary of State Colin Powell called for NGOs to act as ‘a force multiplier to us … an important part of [ 30 ]

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our combat team’.168 Journalist Peter Stothard, who spent 30 days with Blair from 10 March 2003 during the Iraq crisis, commented, ‘Labour MPs like “a Kofi plan”. “We’d better Kofi this” means we had better obscure this bit of military planning with a good coat of humanitarian waffle.’169 UN and NGO staff quickly became a target in occupied Iraq. Atrocities included the capture and killing of Margaret Hassan, director of CARE International in Iraq. There was a widespread perception that all assistance to Iraq was part of the US political agenda.170

Anger outside the targeted countries
Outside Afghanistan and Iraq, the ‘war on terror’ has also been stoking up anger, especially among Muslims. The US and UK governments have repeatedly stressed that they have nothing against Muslims as a whole. Yet a State Department list of 26 countries whose nationals present an elevated security risk within the United States had 25 Muslim countries (and North Korea).171 How does that look if you are Muslim? The violent side-effects of violence can be wide-ranging. For example, the attack of Afghanistan seems to have stirred up conflicts in Israel/Palestine and Kashmir, with India moving troops to the Line of Control in the latter.172 Anger has been directed both at the main Western protagonists of the ‘war on terror’ and at regimes collaborating in this ‘war’. Indeed, the ‘war on terror’ has often meant that hostility towards the West and the USA in particular has been ‘added on’ to what was previously hostility towards one’s own government.

Anger at the West
The strength of those using terror against their own regimes should not be taken for granted, and neither should the vehemence of their antiAmerican ideology. Michael Mann has suggested that ‘al-Qaeda consists of Arab exiles too weak to take on their own states.’173 Further, many of those lumped in by the United States as ‘al-Qaida’ are essentially national terrorists (Chechen, Kashmiri, Pakistani, Indonesian etc.) Mann asks an important question, ‘Why should any of these national terrorists consider themselves enemies of the US?’174 He concludes, ‘Jihadis … alienate most people through extreme violence, as they did in the early 1990s in Algeria and Egypt. Islamism and jihadis were declining from the mid-1990s. But then US actions began to revive them.’175

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E N D L E S S WA R ? In Indonesia, even after the attack on Afghanistan, 61 per cent of those surveyed reported that they viewed the United States favourably; but by August 2004, after the attack on Iraq, this had fallen to only 15 per cent.176 The Iraq war has had the effect of hardening anti-US sentiments throughout Arab and Muslim worlds.177 Feargal Keane, a widely-travelled journalist, commented on the 2003 Iraq war, ‘If there is a silent Arab majority – or even minority – who believes this war is a good thing, I have yet to find it.’178 Top US counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke noted, ‘Nothing America could have done would have provided al-Qaeda and its new generation of cloned groups [with] a better recruitment device than our unprovoked invasion of an oil-rich Arab country.’179 Acts of terror naturally prompt the astonished and horrified reaction, ‘Why on earth would anyone do this?’ Incomprehension is almost mandatory. But we now understand quite a lot about the making of a terrorist and the role that world events may play in this process. Individual personality disorders seem to be no more common among terrorists than non-terrorists.180 Everything we know suggests that a perceived abuse of American power (including attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq) has helped to push significant numbers of people along the path of anger and alienation that can produce a terrorist.181 The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan had earlier set a benchmark for the production of resistance and, later, terror. Now that interventions have increasingly been seen through the prism of locally controlled media, this process has been reinforced. The television station al-Jazeera (with an estimated 35 million viewers even before the 2003 war) has provided a credible alternative to CNN’s coverage of international conflicts, and during the 2003 attack on Iraq, al-Jazeera showed footage of Iraqi casualties several times an hour.182 After the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted, photos were shown on some Arab TV channels every few minutes. The potential mobilising power of images is suggested by the tactics of extremist groups: for example, at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, extremists have sometimes used footage of abuses against Muslims (including in Bosnia) to cement the loyalty of their followers and even to prepare them for fighting. Of course, recent counter-terrorism wars do not arrive in a vacuum: they come in the context of a long historical experience of colonialism and institutionalised humiliation in Arab and Muslim countries. The colonial experience has shaped perceptions not just in the Middle East but also, for example, in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Part of the humiliation of colonialism came when the Muslim Umma [ 32 ]

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(community) was divided into nation states by the West.183 Bernard Lewis notes that, ‘Muslims … tend to see not a nation subdivided into religious groups but a religion subdivided into nations.’184 Independence did not necessarily solve the problem: for example, the influential Egyptian Islamic extremist Sayyid Qutb saw nationalism as a usurpation of God’s sovereignty, putting reverence for the nation and the people where God alone should be.185 Humiliation has been repeatedly stressed by terrorists as something they wish to redress. A bin Laden videotape of 7 October 2001 noted the ‘humiliation and disgrace’ that Islam had suffered ‘for more than eighty years’186 The figure seems to hark back to the decline and fall of the Ottoman Caliphate after the First World War. Speaking of the terrorists who killed 24 US servicemen in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, bin Laden said they had ‘washed away a great part of the shame that has enveloped us.’187 After her research on terrorists from various faiths, Jessica Stern noted, ‘While the terrorists I met described a variety of grievances, almost every one talked about humiliation.’188 While Islam is often seen – particularly in the West – as legitimising a violent reaction to grievances and humiliation, it can also be seen as tempering this reaction. Fuad Nahdi, publisher of the Muslim magazine Q-News, commented, ‘The humiliation of the Arab world has been much worse than what the Germans went through. Thank god we have not seen a Hitler in the Arab world, largely because of Islam.’189 The attack on Iraq in 2003 looked to many in the region and beyond like a process of recolonisation. The longer the coalition forces stay, the more this impression will be confirmed. While Saddam’s demise brought widespread relief in Iraq and Kuwait in particular, the assertion of Western power and the continued occupation has reopened many historical wounds in the Arab world: not least the humiliating defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan by Israel in 1967, a defeat that led to Israel’s occupation of Sinai and the Golan Heights. The managing editor of the Cairo-based al-Ahram Weekly, Hani Shukrallah, commented: The sense of humiliation born out of June 1967 was perhaps the most shattering of all in proportion to the immense hopes of emancipation and restored national dignity that the wave of pan-Arab nationalism, led and symbolised by Nasser’s leadership, had come to trigger.190 Linked to this, of course, has been the widespread anger at abuses of Palestinians by Israel, a country strongly supported by the United [ 33 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? States – anger that can only be stoked up by everyday frustrations at repressive regimes in the Arab world. Radical Islamists have often equated the US occupation of Iraq with Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.191 One man whose family have for generations been keepers of an ancient Muslim shrine at Kerbala, Iraq, commented, ‘If you compare the two countries – Iraq and the US – their power [the US] is greater, so people have to believe that there can be a stronger force, and that force is God.’192 After noting the enthusiastic reception of the news that an old Iraqi man had shot down a US Apache helicopter during the ‘major combat’ phase of the Iraq war, al-Ahram’s Hani Shukrallah suggested that such resistance gave a sense of pride and humanity to many in the Arab world: for the Arabs, as galling and bitter as the sense of injured dignity has been and continues to be, it has also been disabling, creating a situation and mindset in which their choices seemed to be limited to either suicidal vengeance or abject and bitter hopelessness. It remains to be seen whether the war in Iraq will put the Arab masses on a new trajectory, one in which they fight to win, rather than just to die while maintaining some sense of their basic human dignity. But whatever the course of the war in the coming days or weeks, for the moment the Arab masses have two things going for them: They are not mice, and they are not alone.193 Any sense of empowerment, however, was fleeting in the face of the overwhelming force of the United States. Humiliation during the war has taken many forms. In April 2003, senior Guardian journalist Jonathan Steele observed that in Jordan, ‘Many cite a photo, shown on several front pages, which they found a shocking symbol of the looming occupation. It showed three Iraqi women in long black robes and veils being body searched by an American soldier.’194 Sheik Khaled el-Guindi, a moderate imam in Cairo, commented, ‘Most of the pictures we see are of Iraqi heads stepped on by American Army boots. It is no longer just an occupation, but a humiliation’.195 Of course, the Abu Ghraib atrocities added greatly to the sense of humiliation. Musdah Mulia, a progressive scholar in Indonesia, observed, ‘Moderates are finding it more difficult to discuss issues like human rights and democracy when photos of Americans torturing Iraqis keep appearing’.196 The atrocities of 9/11 produced a need to retaliate, and this was natural enough. The phenomenon of ‘killing to wipe one’s eyes’ – of making someone else mourn instead of oneself – is familiar to anthropologists.197 [ 34 ]

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9/11 saw thousands of innocent people slaughtered in cold blood, and while some Americans urged restraint (including many relatives of the 9/11 victims),198 many members of the public as well as government officials and media reporters stressed that the USA should respond with military strikes. Yet it is precisely this impulse to retaliate which should show us why a ‘war on terror’ cannot be won.199 Why would other people not feel similar emotions and impulses when they are attacked, when their innocent people are bombed or shot in the name of somebody else’s ‘justice’? If in addition it is stated publicly and repeatedly that the ‘war on terror’ will make the world a safer place (as the US and UK governments have done), does this not reinforce the message that you do not believe your victims – and there are always innocent victims – are the same as you, with the same emotions, including the same all-toohuman desire to retaliate? To your victims, your very confidence in your own violence as a solution proclaims your racism and your failure to recognise their humanity. Paradoxically, those who have been repeatedly insulted and systematically dehumanised may demand revenge in part to remind themselves and their oppressors that they are human (‘they are not mice’), that they do exist.200 This mechanism is hard to grasp because such ‘brutal’ acts of revenge – as the adjective implies – inevitably make the perpetrators seem less than human. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Shylock explains his seemingly inhuman desire to mutilate Antonio (who owes him money) precisely as a manifestation of his own humanity in a context where others have dehumanised him: He hath disgraced me … laughed at my losses … and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? … If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? Similar sentiments can be found among civil-war rebels. During Sierra Leone’s war, the main political pamphlet of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) stated that the military government ‘behaves as if we are despicable aliens from another planet and not Sierra Leoneans.’201 Significantly, after the joint army–rebel coup of May 1997, the RUF broadcast an ‘Apology to the Nation’. It included the statement, ‘We did not take to the bush because we wanted to be barbarians, [ 35 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? not because we wanted to be inhuman, but because we wanted to state our humanhood’.202 Meanwhile, government soldiers increasingly conformed to the insult that they had become rebels or ‘sobels’. And again, at the level of global terrorism, a tape apparently from bin Laden asked, ‘Under what grace are your victims innocent and ours dust, and under which doctrine is your blood blood and our blood water?’203 In Afghanistan, a pro-Western military commander named Haji Muhammad Zaman, said, ‘Why are they hitting civilians? This is very bad. Hundreds have been killed and injured. It is like a crime against humanity. Aren’t we human?’204 While Shylock presents his violent revenge as a manifestation of his humanity, he is also ready to adopt the inhuman persona he has been saddled with, ‘Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.’ One of the sickening pictures from Abu Ghraib prison was of a prisoner being pulled along on a leash. It is hard to imagine a more dehumanising – or incendiary – image. Demonising and infantilising people can have much the same effect as dehumanising them. This is part of the problem with labels like ‘axis of evil’. In April 2002, North Korea in effect challenged Bush to stop calling it part of the ‘axis of evil’, agreeing to resume dialogue with the United States on the condition that it was not ‘slandered’ again.205 Bush has also tried to infantilise North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, referring to him as a ‘pygmy’ and a ‘spoiled child at the dinner table’.206 Frantz Fanon, a psychiatrist who grew up in the French Caribbean island of Martinique and then went on to work in an Algerian hospital during the Algerian war for independence, pointed to a feeling of nonexistence among those subjected to colonialism, the result of not being treated as human beings. His radical solution was expressed in The Wretched of the Earth, first published in 1961, ‘At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction, it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.’207 We do not have to approve of this line of thought or action to see that it makes a good deal of psychological sense. The idea that violence could alleviate a feeling of non-existence was also put forward by Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism, first published in 1951. Arendt stressed that what she called ‘totalitarian terrorism’ was different from earlier revolutionary terrorism: It was no longer a matter of calculated policy which saw in terrorist acts the only means to eliminate certain outstanding personalities who, because of their policies or position, had [ 36 ]

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become the symbol of oppression. What proved to be attractive was that terrorism had become a kind of philosophy through which to express frustration, resentment, and blind hatred, a kind of political expressionism which used bombs to express oneself, which watched delightedly the publicity given to resounding deeds and was absolutely willing to pay the price of life for having succeeded in forcing the recognition of one’s existence on the normal strata of society. … What the mob wanted, and what Goebbels expressed with great precision, was access to history even at the price of destruction.208 Some variation of Fanon’s ‘feeling of non-existence’ would be unsurprising in the case of Palestine, where Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously asserted in 1969, ‘There is no such thing as a Palestinian people. ... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.’209 A similar idea was expressed in the older, infamous slogan coined in 1901 by the writer Israel Zangwill in relation to what is now Israel, ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’. In certain social contexts, participation in terrorism may bring kudos and recognition for the perpetrator and his family. This has often been the case in Palestine.210 In Pakistan, thousands will attend the funeral of a boy who has ‘martyred’ himself in terror attacks in Kashmir. The father of one such ‘martyr’ said that poor families became celebrities after losing a son, and that everyone began to treat them with more respect.211 If Fanon understood how humiliation feeds violence, this mechanism has also been explored by American psychiatrist James Gilligan (on whom more in Chapter 4) and by Mark Juergensmeyer in his book, Terror in the Mind of God. Juergensmeyer observed that for a wide range of religious terrorists (including in the paramilitary Palestinian organization, Hamas) remedying dishonour and humiliation seems to have been of central importance.212 Juergensmeyer went on, ‘I do not think that economic or social despair lead automatically to violence, since virtually everyone on the planet has experienced some sort of economic and social hardship in his or her life.’213 The most important factor, he concluded from his case-studies, was: the intimacy with which the humiliation is experienced and the degree to which it is regarded as a threat to one’s personal honour and respectability. These can create the conditions for a [ 37 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? desperate need for empowerment, which, when no other options appear to be open, are symbolically and violently expressed.214 Preaching rights that you do not uphold has long been a source of anger and violence. Hannah Arendt understood that rage comes more from hypocrisy than from simple injustice.215 Somewhat similarly, Evelin Lindner – who worked as a psychological counsellor in Germany and the Middle East and who did research on humiliation and violence in Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi – concluded that: Deprivation is not in itself necessarily perceived as a form of suffering that calls for action. However, deprivation that is perceived as an illegitimate violation of ideals of equality and dignity is perceived as a humiliation that has to be responded to with profound sincerity. … Feelings of humiliation are triggered when those – often referred to as the West – who preach human rights and the inclusion of every human being within a global ‘us’, are at the same time perceived as violating their own preaching. This is called ‘double standards’.216 Again, the implication in these ‘double standards’ is that the victim is not considered entirely human. After all, if human rights exist and are heralded and yet a particular group is repeatedly abused, does it not follow that the system is implicitly labelling them as not human?217 What conclusion can logically be drawn from the proclamations that humans have rights and the reality of holding individuals incommunicado, indefinitely and in cages at Guantanamo and other camps? When Afief Safieh (the representative of the Palestinian authority in the UK) expressed his anger at Israeli government indifference to Palestinian victims, he added, ‘I don’t belong to a species that have children of a lesser God’.218 Demonising the enemy can also be counterproductive in making him more alluring. The ‘war on terror’ has apparently increased the allure and mystique of bin Laden. The New York Times reported that ‘the Afghan conflict seems to have confirmed Osama bin Laden as a folk hero’.219 There is no doubt that bin Laden now has a cult following among many people in the Arab and Muslim world.220 For example, in Saudi Arabia, according to a 2004 poll, 49 per cent of the population sympathised with the aims of bin Laden.221 Many British government officials, including senior military figures, believe that American [ 38 ]

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demonisation of bin Laden over the years has encouraged many people in the Arab world to regard him as an icon.222 In his brief but insightful history of banditry, British historian Eric Hobsbawm described the thin line between outright criminals and ‘social rebels’ (on the lines of Robin Hood) whose crimes are taken as blows against the system. Hobsbawm referred to a category of bandits he called ‘the avengers’. These were bandits who carried out spectacular acts of terror, often but not always against the powerful, and who proved, Hobsbawm observed, that ‘even the poor and weak can be terrible’.223 Of course, bin Laden was never poor, but many have still come to see him as symbolising the political strength of the weak. Saddam Hussein was another figure who attracted followers in the Middle East by conspicuously standing up to the United States from a position of weakness: for some at least, his status as ‘hero’ was strong enough even to outweigh abuses against hundreds of thousands of people – nearly all of them Muslims – within Iraq. In the manner of colonial and other repressive governments in the past, the US government sought to pin rebellion in Iraq on ‘external elements’. Whilst this seriously underplayed the preponderance of Iraqis in the resistance, Iraq has indeed become something of a magnet for militants elsewhere in the Middle East. It has offered a chance to escape surveillance in the militants’ own countries and a chance to fight jihad against identifiable and accessible targets. American forces in Iraq have arrested Egyptians, Palestinians, Tunisians, Yemenis and Lebanese. Sunni Muslims of bin Laden’s Salafi persuasion were seen in Fallujah. Shia Muslims from the Lebanese Hizbollah were reported by the British Army to be active in Basra. London-based Saudi dissident Saad al-Fagih said efforts to crack down on terrorism in Saudi Arabia could be driving jihadis across the border into Iraq, ‘If a young man is confronted with no choice but to end up in a small cell being tortured and the other option is to flee to Iraq, Iraq is a good option. It’s an ideal place and there’s an ideal enemy.’224 The process by which people have been radicalised to the point of becoming terrorists is one that has played out differently in different countries; but it seems to have some common elements. Very often, anger at injustice in one’s own society has interacted with anger at international events. Among those feeling angry at injustices at home have been first and second generation immigrants in Western societies. The ‘war on terror’ has tended to deepen this double-anger: not only by increasing grievances at Western foreign policy but also by reinforcing domestic oppression in many countries around the world and by boosting [ 39 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? discrimination and anti-Muslim prejudice in the West. Particularly in the United States, part of the Western reaction to 9/11 has been increased suspicion of ‘internal enemies’ (see Chapter 9). It is important to understand the factors that encourage Muslims in the West to see themselves as part – or not part – of Western societies. Such factors – especially the interaction of anger at one’s own society and anger at international events – are well illustrated by the case of Zacarius Moussaoui (who eventually pleaded guilty to helping al-Qaida carry out the 9/11 hijackings). The story told by his brother, Abd Samad, is worth recounting in some detail.225 As a boy, Zacarius showed no particular signs of ‘evil’. Abd Samad describes his brother as ‘an ideal younger brother. He was smart, clever and kind – a really nice boy.’ They were born in France to Moroccan immigrant parents. Their parents were divorced when they were little, and their mother put them in an orphanage. The brothers joined a gang on a housing estate in Narbonne in southern France. They were rivals with a gang from a neighbouring estate which had nearly all white people. Zacarius made some middle-class friends at secondary school but requested a move to a vocational school to be a mechanic. Abd Samad comments, ‘I realised that he quite simply lacked self-confidence because of his social roots. The son of a Moroccan cleaning woman in the midst of sons of company directors? So he switched schools and joined me at the vocational college. In no time he realised he had made a mistake.’ The boys’ mother and stepfather moved to a smart area of Narbonne. ‘We were the only north Africans in the area. We went from one swimming pool to another, tried our hand at tennis and even, sometimes, pony-riding … thanks to Zacarius who was quickly accepted in this circle.’ However, Abd Samad remembered being cut off from north African culture: Aicha [the boys’ mother] never talked to us in Arabic. So we felt discriminated against even among the north African community, because we didn’t speak its language. … Nor did she teach us anything about Arab customs, or Muslim culture. Zac and I asked her several times how you prayed and why. I was 25 when I went into a mosque for the first time, in Montpellier. I think the first mosque Zacarias went into was in Britain [as an adult].226 The boys did not feel accepted in the West either – they were between two worlds, ‘We didn’t feel French, and we realised as much every time [ 40 ]

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we came up against racism’. At school, the boys were repeatedly asked why they were not eating pork. When they said it was because they were Muslims, Abd Samad remembers the reply was, ‘Oh for heaven’s sake! Can’t you Muslim people be like everybody else?’ Zacarius had a white girlfriend. He got into a fight at a club and while being hit, he heard, ‘Had it with these niggers! They’re even taking our women.’ Of course, not everyone chooses to react to such incidents with violence; indeed, Abd Samad’s account suggests the brothers reacted very differently to similar circumstances, ‘When Zacarius was faced with humiliation, he reacted differently from me. He locked himself away in his suffering, nurtured it, it gnawed away at him quietly.’ Zacarius seemed to his brother to be quickly discouraged in looking for work, and quick to suspect racism if refused. But racism was a fact, Abd Samad recalls, and some bosses were quite frank, saying ‘I don’t want any Arabs.’ The 1991 Gulf War seems to have been important in further radicalising Zacarius Moussaoui. At the time, he was studying engineering at Perpignan in southern France. During the war, classes split into pro- and anti-American factions – as Abd Samad saw it, between those cheering bombing and those ‘who were touched by the plight of Iraqi civilians’. Abd Samad recalls, ‘We had the feeling that the France that sent in troops to fight alongside the Americans was not our France. I think it was at that moment that Zacarius started to feel that he belonged to the ‘Blacks’, whereas people of French extraction were ‘Whites’.’ Zacarius had new friends. He hardly spent time with born-and-bred French and his new friends cultivated an attitude of rebellion, ‘They were forever denigrating politicians and intellectuals – French ones in particular.’ Zacarius then went to South Bank University in London. He said the English were tolerant only on the surface. Abd Samad had started to practice Islam, but Zacarius showed no interest. Zacarius wanted to get rich and asked his girlfriend to go to England with him. Abd Samad recalls, ‘Zacarius was deeply wounded by her refusal to follow him.’ The brothers’ sister said that Zacarius came to her saying, ‘Abd Samad and [his wife] Fouzia are doing tawassul, they’re heathens. Be on your guard with them, but whatever else happens don’t say anything to them.’ (For Sunni Muslims, tawassul involves asking Allah for a favour, invoking the name of a prophet or saint. It is rejected by Wahhabis [a Sunni reform movement originating in Arabia].) Abd Samad heard that his brother had behaved strangely during a visit to Morocco, ‘Everything for him was forbidden (haram), but he was contradictory. He would forbid others to smoke and yet he’d go to a corner of the building to smoke cigarettes.’227 Abd Samad describes the recruiting techniques of the extremists: [ 41 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? ‘Recruiters’ invariably proceed in the same way. First of all, they pick out young people who have been estranged from their families, the strong moral anchors that are their father, mother, brothers and sisters, even friends. After several months exclusively with an extremist group, the recruit is ready to go for training in a camp: Once in the camp, it is easy, as in any sect, to make him lose his bearings. He is made to go hungry, belittled and set tasks he can’t complete, but told that others before him have succeeded and gone on to ‘great things’.

Abd Samad comments:
Because he is ‘incompetent’, the only thing he can do to help the cause is to give his life to it. And this will also prove to others that, at the end, he met their expectations. He is now ripe for suicide.228 The story of Zacarius Moussaoui shows how an individual can turn against the West when a feeling of attraction to Western ways feeds into an identity crisis. Simple antipathy does not capture the whole story. The way that hostility towards the West in particular can co-exist with an attraction to Western culture was noted by reporter John Burns in a perceptive article just after 9/11. Burns wrote that: When the Taliban began their rule in Afghanistan in 1996 by hanging television sets from trees and outlawing music and films, they were at the extreme edge of an uneasiness that is widespread in traditional societies that have begun to feel inundated by Western, and particularly American, culture.229 The lure of America – and long visa queues outside US embassies – found a counterpart in anti-American feelings, in disappointment at rejection, and often in resentment arising from harsh conditions in the United States itself: Often, in discussions with Islamic militants, anger over Israel or Iraq or Bosnia spills over into a recounting of more personal experiences, sometimes trifling, sometimes not, in which encounters with America – time spent working in menial jobs [ 42 ]

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or studying in the United States, or a brush with United States immigration authorities – stirred resentments that became a trigger for antagonism.230 Writer Jonathan Raban gives an account of a strain of terrorist thought that has reacted violently to a Western decadence that has proven, very often, all too tempting.231 Evidence that some terrorists have been tempted by ‘Western decadence’ is plentiful. For example, the Kuwaitiborn Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – said to be al-Qaida’s ‘number 3’ and arrested in Rawalpindi in early 2001 – was a frequent visitor to the redlight district in Manila when he lived in the Philippines, and had a reputation as a womaniser.232 Zaid Jarrah, who crashed US Airlines flight 93 in Pennsylvania on 9/11, was a gregarious party boy from Lebanon.233 The attractions of the ‘high life’ may also fuel resentments more directly: one 17-year-old Palestinian, whose attempt to carry out a suicide bombing had failed, commented, ‘Our life is worthless. … Israelis enjoy their life. They go out at night, they have cafes and nightclubs. They travel all over the world. They go to America and Britain. We can’t even leave Palestine.’234 When Juergensmeyer interviewed Mahmoud Abouhalima, an Egyptian and one of the men convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Abouhalima stressed the deceitful character of many contemporary politicians claiming to be Muslim but following secular codes of conduct.235 In 1981, at a time when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was rounding up Muslim activists like Abouhalima, the young man decided to go to Germany on a tourist visa. There he married a German nurse, and when they broke up, another woman. During his initial years in Germany, Abouhalima recalled, he lived a ‘life of corruption – girls, drugs, you name it’. ‘He went through the outward signs of Islamic reverence – daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan – but he had left the real Islam behind.’ Then he ‘got bored’ and returned to a committed religious life. His (second) wife became a Muslim.236 In 1988, Abouhalima joined the Muslim struggle in Afghanistan, though he claimed it was only in a non-military capacity.237 An analysis by the veteran journalist Maruf Khwaja illuminates some of the pressures that are created by conflicting demands on young Muslims, particularly in the West. He notes that Islam is demanding in terms of the expected rituals and sacrifices, and detects in Britain: [a] widening generation gap within Muslim families – manifested in the loss of parental control and decline in the moral [ 43 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? authority of the family elder, and in the imposition of draconian restrictions (particularly on female dependents). … Muslim young people, after all, want to do what their secular friends do – have nights out, go clubbing, have boyfriends or girlfriends. … The young resent the fact that in the traditional Muslim home all the things that attract them – music, dance, cinema, television, even many kinds of hobby and sport – are taboo, cardinal sins, regarded as Satanic.238 People react to these processes in very different ways. But for a very small minority, a violent rejection of all things Western seems to be an attractive option.239

Knitting together diverse grievances
The Bush administration tends to stress that international terrorists ‘hate America’ and that they ‘hate our freedoms’. We have seen how a variety of US government actions have indeed fuelled anger and terror, but there is also an element of inverted narcissism in the ‘they hate us’ analysis. Many of the grievances harboured by terrorists have historically been directed at local regimes. US actions become relevant, first, because they have often bolstered undemocratic and unpopular regimes and, second, because they have relatively recently encouraged a coalescing of diverse grievances under an anti-American or anti-Western ideological umbrella. In fact, the ‘war on terror’ has played a key role in knitting diverse grievances together into an anti-American agenda. Even in West Africa, Muslim populations express increasing opposition to US policy in the Middle East, and a corresponding increase in fundamentalist proselytisation.240 AlQaida, in effect, has capitalised on a range of essentially local struggles, including Islamic groups using terror against their own governments – for example, in the Philippines, Uzbekistan and Algeria. The ‘war on terror’ has also given additional licence for domestic repression, and, as Time magazine noted, one factor intensifying the terror of radical Islamists has been opposition to crackdowns on militancy carried out by governments like those of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.241 Hugh Roberts stresses that al-Qaida is a synthesis, sealed in 1998, of Wahhabi activism (bin Laden and company) and Egyptian extremism (centred on Ayman al-Zawahiri), with both wings embracing antiAmericanism rather recently. Egyptian extremists have traditionally focused their hostility on the Egyptian state. For his part, bin Laden was allied with the Americans over the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and

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Wahhabism focused on non-US enemies. Wahhabism took on an antiAmerican aspect with the large-scale US military presence in Saudi Arabia (home of Mecca) during and after the first Gulf War.242 Also underpinning resentments in Saudi Arabia (which produced 15 of the 19 hijackers of 11 September as well as bin Laden himself) has been a major social and economic crisis, with an estimated 35 per cent of Saudi youth being unemployed.243 Rapid population growth has produced a situation where half the country is under 18. Debt repayments have escalated, fuelled by costly military purchases, an expensive welfare system, and generally moderate oil prices (one of the main benefits to the United States of its alliance with the Saudis). Said Aburish has written of a permanent uprising.244 There has been widespread anger at the Saudi regime and, by extension, at US support for it. 245 Hugh Roberts stresses that, insofar as Algerian jihadis have had foreign targets at all, they have usually had France in their sights – notably in the 1993–96 period. This choice of target reflected the colonial experience, French resistance to decolonisation, and a profound interference by French governments in Algerian politics from the 1980s. Attacks on foreigners have not been directed at Americans. Yet hostility to US policies has been gaining ground in Algeria (as also in Tunisia and Morocco, where France has again been the traditional enemy); at the extreme, Algeria’s GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) has ties to al-Qaida and its anti-American ideology has been strengthened. One key factor in the rise of (violent and non-violent) radicalism in Algeria, Roberts suggests, has been the subversion of the authority (moral, intellectual, social) of the ulema (the Muslim legal scholars), with religious radicals going back to a more rudimentary version of Islam. A second factor – as in Saudi Arabia and Egypt – has been US foreign policy, notably the wars with Iraq. Significantly, in Algeria the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism gave a new lease of life to a waning domestic military campaign. By the spring of 2001, the Algerian military had been very much in the dock for a variety of abuses. Roberts argues that the most pressing need in Algeria is constructing a state (including an army) that is bound by the rule of law. Yet with 9/11, the Algerian army has been able to secure a rehabilitation and say, in effect, to the Americans, ‘Thank you, at last, for joining us in the war against terrorism!’ At the same time, the rehabiliation of the Algerian state has also been assisted by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s initiatives in retiring generals associated with Algeria’s 1990s ‘dirty war’.246 In Afghanistan, too, anti-American sentiment is neither natural nor of long standing. Jason Burke notes that, ‘The Taliban used to be wary of [ 45 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Osama bin Laden and his brand of hard-line internationalised militancy. Their project was limited to Afghanistan and they bore no ill-feeling to America or the West.’ All that has changed, however.247 In an important study that chimes with Roberts’ and Burke’s analysis, Fawaz Gerges notes that jihadi movements have tended to focus hostility on the ‘near enemy’ (governments in Algeria, Egypt and so on) rather than the ‘far enemy’ (the USA and its Western allies). These movements were largely in retreat through the 1990s: ordinary Muslims tended to recoil from their excesses, and meanwhile national security services had weakened the jihadis, who were also reeling from poor financial management and internal divisions. In many ways the al-Qaida focus on attacking America represented a desperate attempt to reignite flagging jihadi movements by provoking US retaliation, with Egyptian leader alZawahiri failing to convince key henchmen that the ‘far enemy’ was a wise focus for attacks. The power of bin Laden – though given a great deal of emphasis in the 9/11 Commission report – was by no means absolute. However, US-led retaliation for 9/11 – and the Iraq war in particular – has succeeded in doing just what bin Laden had hoped.248 As al-Qaida commander Seif al-Adl put it, ‘The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap’.249 In the Philippines, Islamist extremists have been given a boost by the ‘war on terror’, as James Putzel shows.250 Despite the US vilification of the Islamist rebel movement Abu Sayyaf, the crisis in the Philippines is complex, and again cannot be reduced to the ‘evil’ of a few terrorists. Responding to pressure on land in the Philippines’ major agricultural regions, and to a militant peasantry, the Philippine government encouraged mass resettlement. The Muslim population of Mindenau, fully 76 per cent in 1903, was down to 20 per cent from the 1960s. Muslims in Mindenau and the Sulu archipelago have found themselves in a permanent minority, with little prospect of remedying their poverty through democratic means. To maintain its rule over Mindenau, Putzel suggests, the state relied on a Christian settler elite, a tiny Muslim elite and private armed forces. These processes helped to create Abu Sayyaf and the armed movement in Mindenau. The government military campaign against the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (based in Mindenau and neighbouring islands) in 2000 was ruthless and helped the rebels to gain support. In this context, 9/11 gave the government of the Philippines an opportunity to secure direct assistance from the United States in bringing Mindenau under control. In early 2002, the first of some 660 US troops went into combat – something that violated the Philippine constitution.251 [ 46 ]

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In February 2003, the Bush administration announced that these troops would be joined by an additional 3,000.252 The US intervention has tended further to unite Muslims in Mindenau in opposition to that intervention.253 In fact, a revived Abu Sayyaf has now gained considerable support among the local population.254 US involvement may help Islamic militants to seize the nationalist mantle.255 Whereas the Muslims are a minority in the Philippines, they are a majority in Indonesia and Malaysia. This means that the Indonesian and Malaysian governments need to keep more distance from US foreign policy. Even so, Indonesia has found the ‘war on terror’ useful in relation to armed separatists in Aceh and Irian Jaya.256 In the major military offensive against Aceh in May 2003, the Indonesian government seems to have been emboldened by 9/11.257 In Uzbekistan, repression linked to a terror crackdown has fed into extremism. Police use of torture has been routine, something acknowledged by the US State Department. The British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, said, ‘The intense repression here combined with the inequality of wealth and absence of reform will create the Islamic fundamentalism that the regime is trying to quash.’258 Torture has been used to provide (almost entirely bogus) information to the CIA and Britain’s MI6: information that links elements of the Uzbek opposition with Islamist terrorism and al-Qaida.259 Pakistan also shows clearly some of the radicalising tendencies of the ‘war on terror’. While Iraq was attacked on the basis of weapons of mass destruction it did not possess, Pakistan does have the nuclear bomb – and the US-led ‘war on terror’ has threatened to put this armoury into the hands of religious extremists. The Bush/Blair response to 9/11 has already given a powerful shot in the arm to religious revivalism in Pakistan. One Guardian journalist reported in May 2003: In the months that followed September 11, a tide of Islamic revivalism swept through Pakistan. Anger at American foreign policy is deeply and universally felt. For many it began with the US-led campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the recognition in the months that followed that Washington and London have neglected their promises of reconstruction in the country they bombed. It is being fuelled again by increasingly overt FBI raids across Pakistan in the search for al-Qaida suspects and, inevitably and overwhelmingly, by the war in Iraq. In Pakistani eyes, American foreign policy is targeting the religion of Islam. Will Pakistan be next? It is the question on [ 47 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? everybody’s lips. Suddenly, the Islamic parties no longer seem to be on the margins of society but triumphantly riding a new wave of national bitterness and frustration.260 Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s popularity in Pakistan foundered when he gave his support for the attack on Afghanistan, not least because people from the Pashtun ethnic group in Pakistan saw the fall of Pashtun power in Afghanistan.261 This drop in support was particularly intense in North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Isabel Hilton notes that: In the NWFP, Musharraf’s support of the US was taken as betrayal, and nothing has altered the conviction that the Afghan war was a war against Islam. … On the ground, in the NWFP and in southern Afghanistan, armed confrontations continue between Pashtun fighters on both sides of the border and US-led forces who are still trying to subdue what they characterise as al-Qaida and Taliban resistance.262 Conservative religious parties have gained partial control not only of NWFP but also of Baluchistan, another province to which many Taliban and al-Qaida operatives fled from Afghanistan.’263

Concluding remarks
The ‘war on terror’ has not only been actively counterproductive; it has also taken attention and resources away from a range of issues that have to be tackled if terrorism is to be minimised. Part of this has been a neglect of US homeland security. In this sense, it is part of an attention deficit disorder. (George W. Bush said in his first pre-election debate with Kerry, ‘The best way to protect our homeland is to stay on the offence.’) Another part of the attention deficit was allowing the escape of bin Laden and neglecting the reconstruction of Afghanistan while concentrating on the planned attack on Iraq (see Chapter 3).264 Alongside the focus on Iraq there has been a significant neglect of nuclear proliferation. The bizarre incentive that the Iraq attack creates for covert nuclear arms programmes has been mentioned. If anything, this is made worse by new US enthusiasm for so-called ‘mini-nukes’ (designed to attack buried nuclear, chemical or biological threats) as well as by the expressed willingness of the United States and the UK to engage in ‘first use’.265 Unlike in the Cold War, the Pentagon now [ 48 ]

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contemplates ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons against countries that may not have nuclear weapons themselves.266 The ‘war on terror’ also distracts from the need to render secure the fissile material that already exists. As Peter Singer notes: Probably the most effective action that can be taken to prevent terrorists from getting hold of nuclear weapons is to ensure that all fissile material, whether from weapons programs like those of Russia or Pakistan, or from nuclear power programs, is rendered harmless, or safely stored and protected.267 Yet the Bush administration first tried to eliminate this programme for the former Soviet Union, and then severely under-funded it.268 Russia has perhaps 1,000 metric tonnes of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium.269 More than three-quarters of its supplies are not properly secured.270 Richard Norton-Taylor observed that in Russia: more than 20,000 nuclear warheads sit in 120 separate storage sites. A single artillery shell of nerve agents is small enough to fit into a briefcase and contains enough lethal doses to kill 100,000 people. The US is blocking funds to secure Russian stores while it spends billions sending tens of thousands of troops to the Gulf, with British support, to topple a dictator who presents no existing threat to American or British security.271 One final point is worth mentioning. Anger resulting from the ‘war on terror’ may yet feed into terrorism by individual Americans (especially soldiers). A key role in the second worst terrorist attack on the US, the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, was played by a 1991 Gulf War veteran horrified by the killing of civilians in that war. Gore Vidal comments, ‘At the close of the [1991] war, a very popular war, McVeigh had learned that he did not like the taste of killing innocent people. He spat into the sand at the thought of being forced to hurt others who did not hate him any more than he them.’272 At first glance, this is pretty hard to square with the fact that McVeigh later killed a large number of innocent people. But the Gulf War experience does seem to have helped propel McVeigh down a bizarre and violent path. It encouraged a belief that the US government was waging war on civilians (a view subsequently reinforced by the deaths of cult-members at Waco, Texas, in 1993, after US federal agents attacked – a tragedy that McVeigh journeyed to witness). The anger of many American soldiers at the way they were misled into [ 49 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? the Iraq war is not to be underestimated.273 Violence begets violence: we often do not know how until afterwards. If the idea of a war on terror is so counterproductive, how then are we to explain the persistence and appeal of such counterproductive tactics? Chapter 3 will consider self-interested elements, looking particularly at ‘war systems’. Some will hold that explanations based on selfinterest are less plausible than so-called ‘cock-up’ theory: the idea that we are in the hands of a bunch of idiots – led by the archetypal ‘fool on the Hill’ – who are making a series of horrendous mistakes. The latter possibility is not discounted. However, it is important to investigate the psychological functions of failing tactics, and how the magical thinking behind these tactics is made to appear plausible. This is attempted from Chapter 4 onwards.

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3 War Systems: Local and Global
Introduction
To understand the ‘war on terror’, we need to look more closely at the notion of ‘war’. We may think we know what war is, but do we? Many contemporary civil wars can be better understood as systems than as contests. The normal assumption is that the aim is to ‘win’ – a position that assumes that there are ‘two sides’ with aims that are essentially military and set ‘at the top’. However, the aims in a war are likely to be numerous, with many of the most important actors being more interested in manipulating (and perhaps even prolonging) a declared war than they are in gaining a military victory. In contemporary civil wars in Africa and elsewhere, both government and rebel forces have repeatedly engaged in attacks on civilian populations that have predictably radicalised these populations and have predictably attracted support for the enemy. There have also been many instances of soldiers selling arms to ‘the other side’ as well as various other forms of co-operation between ostensible enemies; an example of the latter came in May 1997 when there was a joint military coup by Sierra Leonean soldiers and rebels who had ostensibly been fighting each other for most of the previous six years. Within a framework focused on ‘winning’, these behaviours seem incomprehensible or irrational (or perhaps appear to be ‘mistakes’). However, aims other than winning have often been important in civil wars. They include: carrying out abuses under the cover of war, enjoying a feeling of power, making money, and even creating or preserving some kind of ‘state of emergency’ so as to ward off democracy or provide cover for the suppression of political opposition.1 When it comes to war, in other words, winning is not everything; it may be the taking part that counts. Indeed, as Orwell saw in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, certain kinds of regimes may thrive off enemies and perpetual war. The irrationality of counterproductive tactics, in short, may be more apparent than real, and even an endless war may not be endless in the sense of lacking aims or functions. Michel Foucault gave some advice to those who might wish to understand the internment of dissidents – which he refers to as the Gulag – in the former Soviet Union. He emphasised the importance of: [ 51 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Refusing to restrict one’s questioning to the level of causes. If one begins by asking for the ‘cause’ of the Gulag (Russia’s retarded development, the transformation of the party into a bureaucracy, the specific economic difficulties of the USSR), one makes the Gulag appear as a sort of disease or abscess, an infection, degeneration or involution. This is to think of the Gulag only negatively, a dysfunctioning to be rectified – a maternity illness of the country which is painfully giving birth to socialism. The Gulag question has to be posed in positive terms. The problem of causes must not be dissociated from that of function: what use is the Gulag, what functions does it assure, in what strategies is it integrated?2 Foucault also stressed that power shapes knowledge, and vice versa; when it came to any set of social practices, he wanted to know who had been given the right to speak what counted as the truth. His approach to the Gulag and to power/knowledge are both useful in relation to civil wars. First, the problem of the causes of these wars should indeed not be dissociated from that of function. Second, in analysing civil war, we can also usefully ask who has been given the right to speak what counts as the truth; whose interpretations, conversely, have been marginalised and disqualified; and what practical purposes have been served by the language and definitions adopted? In civil wars, while both ‘sides’ have often portrayed the conflict as a battle between ‘us’ and ‘them’, civilians (if they are consulted at all) have frequently pointed to systems of collusion and to motivations that have very little to do with military victory.3 Part of the key to understanding these systems is rejecting the temptation to take the fault-lines of conflict at face value. What are the systems of collusion obscured by ‘war’? What are the hidden conflicts (for example, class conflict, conflict between armed and unarmed groups, conflict between men and women, between young and old) that are obscured when officials and journalists portray civil war as a battle between two or more armed groups? Which groups effectively rise above the law in the context of a conflict and which fall below the law? While conflict is an undeniable reality, we need to keep a very open mind about the nature – and the functions – of any particular conflict. Experience with civil wars and local wars should impress on us the dangers of simplistically dividing the world into good and evil, those who are ‘with us’ and those who are ‘against us’. It is not just that a [ 52 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S complex world will always resist such oversimplifications. It is also that we need to understand the reasons for violence, including extreme violence and terror directed at civilians. What is more, many civil conflicts teach us that it is precisely the initial or apparent legitimacy of a particular struggle that may provide the space, opportunity and impunity for abuses that will not be denounced or corrected; the most striking examples of ‘legitimised abuse’ seem to arise when legitimacy is derived from being the victim of a genocide (as in the case of Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians; Rwanda and its exploitation of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and even Serbia, where suffering at the hands of Croatian Ustashe in the Second World War fed into the 1990s persecution of Bosnians and Kosovan Albanians). This chapter brings some insights from civil wars into an understanding of the global ‘war on terror’: significantly, the global ‘war on terror’ and contemporary civil wars share many of the same dynamics. Some of these similarities seem to be inherent in the idea of ‘war’ itself and the legitimacy it habitually bestows on very varied kinds of violence.4 Other similarities reflect the fact that similar global forces have helped to shape both contemporary civil wars and the current ‘war on terror’. The advantages of bringing an understanding of civil wars to bear on the ‘war on terror’ are underlined by the fact that the global ‘war on terror’ is itself made up of civil wars to quite a large extent: for example, in Colombia, the Philippines, Chechnya, Afghanistan and, increasingly, Iraq. Aggressive approaches to the problem of ‘terror’ in relatively localised wars have often created opportunities for lucrative abuse (for example, by paramilitaries in Colombia or Russian generals and soldiers benefiting from looting, kidnapping, taxing, salary diversion and oil extraction in Chechnya); aggressive approaches also tend to prolong the conflict that legitimises these abuses. Presenting civil wars within the framework of a global ‘war on terror’ has often encouraged additional demonisation of rebels and additional resources for counter-insurgency, making a resolution more difficult. Of course, one should not fall into the trap of insisting that dynamics in the ‘war on terror’ are exactly the same as those in civil wars (which themselves vary greatly). For one thing, a global war immediately runs into problems of sovereignty. For another, the fact that counter-terror is being waged in large part by major and well-resourced democracies produces a significant difference from counter-insurgencies waged by under-resourced autocracies: not least, perhaps, in heightening the need to carry public opinion. Even so, there are valuable lessons to be learned [ 53 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? from combating ‘terror’ in the context of a civil conflict. The main focus in this chapter will be on experience with counter-insurgency and some of the implications for global counter-terror operations. But first it is important to examine some similarities between insurgency and terror networks.

Insurgency and terror
Contemporary insurgencies and terror networks have some significant common characteristics – many of them linked to the nature of contemporary globalisation. The first is decentralisation: factions have tended to proliferate and chains of command have often been weak. This makes it all the more difficult to isolate a fixed and finite group of rebels or terrorists whose elimination will ‘solve the problem’, not least because any such elimination would likely be followed by the emergence of more armed rebels or terrorists.5 The tendency for factions to be numerous and for chains of command to be weak reflects, in part, the proliferation of cheap weaponry in the global market. Also significant has been the increasingly free circulation of information, of a range of primary commodities, and of money itself.6 The access which terror/ rebel organisations have enjoyed to lucrative global markets (as with al-Qaida and diamonds in East and then West Africa)7 not only adds to the difficulty of destroying them; it simultaneously encourages relatively decentralised patterns of command by helping diverse groups to gain access to weapons and to build organisational capability. Weak states and underpaid officials have tended to be poorly positioned to confront rebel or terror networks that are tied into global trading networks. Nor are the sums of money required necessarily huge: it may not be very expensive to acquire a few bombs to put on some trains or buses, for example. Also encouraging weak lines of command has been a tendency for rebel/terror movements to try to take advantage of a wide range of grievances, many of them only tangentially related to the expressed goals of the various movements. In Sierra Leone, rebels took advantage of the grievances of politically sidelined chiefs, marginalised traders, ousted government officials and even underpaid government soldiers. Yet members of these groups rarely subscribed to RUF (Revolutionary United Front) ideology or even submitted to RUF commands. Many of the grievances feeding rebellion were primarily local, reflecting in part the way colonial and post-independence governments had ruled through a kind of ‘decentralised despotism’ (to use Mahmood

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WA R S Y S T E M S Mamdani’s phrase), a mode of rule that tended to defuse any incipient national politics and to channel grievances in the direction of local chiefs in particular.8 In a civil war, local grievances are most likely to acquire some kind of coherent anti-government tone in circumstances where there are major abuses within the government’s counter-insurgency operations. Within international terror networks, we can see a combination of an anti-American agenda (very strong in al-Qaida propaganda) and a very wide variety of local grievances against specific governments – grievances that do not necessarily have much to do with anti-American feelings.9 Hugh Roberts has stressed that anti-American feelings are neither natural nor or long-standing in countries such as Algeria and Egypt, but that aggressive US actions tend to superimpose an American enemy on top of local grievances.10 Jason Burke has drawn attention to the loose and shifting hierarchies among very diverse militant Islamic groups involved in terrorism, and to the fact that bin Laden has often exerted weak or non-existent control over many of these groups. Burke comments, ‘Some “Islamic terrorists” share most of bin Laden’s aims, some share a few, some share none. The hundreds of groups, cells, movements, even individuals, lumped together under the rubric “Islamic terrorism” are enormously diverse.’11 As noted, the dispersal of al-Qaida after the attack on Afghanistan tended to reinforce the decentralization of violence. Burke points out that crackdowns on terrorist leadership have frequently encouraged a more decentralised violence and an increasing focus on ‘soft targets’.12 In both civil and global wars, abusive counter-insurgency/counter-terror tends to knit together the diverse grievances of those whose targets might otherwise be resolutely local. A third important similarity between insurgencies and terror networks has been the key role of anger (an anger exacerbated by abusive counter-insurgency). In recent civil wars and in terrorism, some of the anger – which seems to be particularly strong among young men – comes from a sense of exclusion that is linked to globalisation: human rights have been proclaimed and desirable lifestyles publicised, whilst the harsh reality is that economic, social and political rights have fallen short (either for the rebellious individuals or for groups they identify with).13 Perhaps significantly, rebellion in Sierra Leone has been most common among the semi-educated, those whose expectations have been raised and horizons widened beyond what a rock-bottom economy can provide.14 Terrorists, too, have normally had some education: as one man who has defended British Muslims convicted of terrorist offences in Yemen commented, ‘These are intelligent and semi-integrated people.’15 [ 55 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Those living in a democracy (like those who carried out the July 2005 London bombings) may be in a better position than many, but their anger (whatever the cause) would seem self-evident, and the expectation that rights will be observed is perhaps heightened by living in the West with its pervasive talk of rights and freedoms. A fourth important similarity between rebel and terror networks is that, in an age when media visibility is crucial in projecting your power, these networks have frequently shown an interest in taking responsibility for atrocities, whether or not they have actually carried them out. This can help to create an exaggerated image of coherence and power. Atrocities may ‘advertise’ the ability of terror groups to stand up to a greater power.16 In Sierra Leone the rebel RUF – often rather uninterested in holding territory – boosted its image of power and brutality by claiming ‘credit’ for a wide range of atrocities against civilians when many of these were actually carried out by government soldiers. Somewhat similarly, an analysis of al-Qaida in Time magazine noted in December 2003: Since the invasion [of Iraq], the number and frequency of attacks have risen dramatically. It serves al-Qaeda’s propaganda purposes to make people believe it is behind every outrage – even if like-minded groups are acting on their own. Investigators suspect bin Laden’s outfit had a direct hand in the May bombings in Saudi Arabia and the August suicide assault on Indonesia. But Moroccan and French security officials say the synchronized bombings in Morocco in May [2003] were primarily a freelance affair.17 Considerable autonomy has also been attributed to those responsible for the Madrid bombings of March 2004,18 and similarly to those who carried out the London bombings of July 2005.19 Jason Burke stresses that bin Laden has been ambiguous about his own responsibility for atrocities, but adds that he does have an interest in enhancing the importance of his own role in Islamic militancy.20 A fifth similarity between rebel and terror networks is the desire on the part of some insurgents to create a brutal response which will bring them additional recruits, while simultaneously confirming the insurgents’ propaganda about the callous nature of the enemy or even of the world in general. As Hannah Arendt observed in relation to totalitarian terror in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, action may constitute the most effective propaganda – not least by making your enemy resemble [ 56 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S the image in your verbal (or visual) propaganda. (This is discussed further in Chapter 7.) Frantz Fanon believed that anti-colonial terror could provoke retaliation that would expose the true, brutal nature of colonialism (especially of French colonialism in Algeria);21 in this way, terror would attract recruits to rebellion. Bin Laden is widely held to be trying to create a kind of ‘clash of civilisations’ that will make Muslims as a whole ‘realise’ the true enemy. Again, we have seen variations of this before. In Guatemala during the 1980s, guerrillas were aware that brutal counter-insurgency could bring them new recruits. For example, the EGP (Guerrilla Army of the Poor) used a tactic that evangelical missionaries called ‘provoked repression’. This included planting flags in a village at night to force villagers to choose between retaining the flags (and perhaps attracting government retaliation) and uprooting them (which would identify them to the guerrillas as government supporters).22 In Liberia, Charles Taylor’s 1989 rebellion gained strength by provoking massive retaliation against certain ethnic groups on the part of Samuel Doe’s brutal regime.23 Escalating violence and making your propaganda come true may have a less calculating element: Paul Richards stresses that some of Sierra Leone’s rebels were trying to reduce the world to ruins in line with their view that the world was inherently corrupt and rotten.24 A sixth important similarity between rebel and terror networks is that actions by them which tend to widen and prolong the conflict may bring immediate benefits that outweigh any concern with ‘winning’. The exercise of power-through-violence may bring immediate satisfactions, especially where the perpetrator feels a deep sense of powerlessness or shame. There is also the possibility that rebel/terror networks will evolve profitable trading mechanisms that begin to become an end in themselves – helping to cement the desire to keep a conflict going.25 How far this has gone with al-Qaida is unclear, but there is some evidence of profiteering.26

‘Counter-insurgency’ and ‘counter-terror’
If contemporary insurgency and terror have some important similarities, so too do contemporary counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism. The first is the prevalence of counterproductive tactics. The second is that violence (including extreme, indiscriminate and counterproductive violence) has often had functions for a diverse coalition creating it. In other words, it has often served a range of practical and psychological purposes even as it fails in its proclaimed aim of defeating or reducing

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E N D L E S S WA R ? terror. In many ways, fuelling opposition and sustaining conflict can actually be regarded as a policy success.27

Counterproductive tactics
Counterproductive tactics have taken three main forms: killing civilians, letting the enemy escape, and trading with the enemy. Both counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism have frequently included the killing of civilians. Those responding to rebellion/terror can opt for a precise operation that carefully targets rebels/terrorists, in which case ordinary people are relatively unlikely to be alienated and radicalised. In its purest form, this option involves simply bringing individual rebels or terrorists to justice via appropriate legal channels. At the other extreme, those responding to rebellion/terror can opt for a policy of intimidating or attacking a much wider group. This is likely to radicalise many people, generating additional enemies rather than reducing their number. In Chapter 2, we saw the counterproductive effects of the ‘war on terror’ in fuelling anger and terror: notably, as a result of the killing of civilians. This is also a vital lesson from civil wars: abusive violence creates the enemies it claims to be trying to defeat. Lessons from the decolonisation experience seem to have been forgotten. As US terrorism ‘tsar’ Richard Clarke noted when he saw the portrayal of French anti-insurgency in Algeria in the film The Battle of Algiers: ‘After the known terrorist leaders were arrested, time passed, and new, unknown terrorists emerged.’28 Much more recently, Algerian army officer Habib Souaidia has documented how the Algerian Army’s brutal and self-serving ‘counter-terrorism’ tactics have swelled the ranks of the terrorists there.29 Part of what has characterised contemporary civil wars has been the avoidance of outright battles against a strong enemy and a simultaneous tendency to pick on easy targets, notably civilians. This has at least something to do with the weakness of many of the states experiencing civil war, and in particular the failure of these states to establish a monopoly of legitimate violence. In some ways, this contemporary pattern echoes patterns of medieval warfare in Europe, a period before strong European states were established. The conflicts in both Sudan and Sierra Leone included apparently irrational attacks on hitherto uncommitted civilians, which predictably radicalised them and strengthened the enemy.30 In Sudan, northern Sudanese militia raids on a variety of groups from the mid-1980s prompted those groups to affiliate with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army.31 Rebellion spread

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WA R S Y S T E M S as previously neutral sections of the southern Sudanese Dinka, for example, were drawn into the struggle by indiscriminate attacks.32 In Sierra Leone, too, nothing helped the insurgency quite so much as the abusive and indiscriminate nature of the counter-insurgency. Ironically, it was the Blair administration – and in particular the UK’s Department for International Development – that played the leading role in reining in abusive counter-insurgency in Sierra Leone by innovative work in strengthening and reforming the army and police force. Yet a key lesson – that reining in abuses by the counter-insurgency is vital – does not seem to have been extended to the global ‘war on terror’. Drawing the wrong lessons from Sierra Leone has been encouraged by the widespread impression that the British brought peace to Sierra Leone by defeating the vicious RUF rebels – apparently a boost to the idea that you can somehow physically eliminate evil. In fact, British forces never directly engaged with the RUF. Any weakening was done by Guinean forces and local civil defence fighters. The importance of the British contribution lay more in sending a signal of strength and resolution while simultaneously reforming the abusive army. Abusive counter-insurgency that fuels disorder and rebellion is by no means a purely African phenomenon. Examining the US-backed counter-insurgency in Guatemala in the 1980s, historian David Stoll observed: The army’s violence backfired. Instead of suppressing the guerrillas, it multiplied a small band of outsiders into a liberation army, mostly Indians drawn from local communities. By the end of 1980, government atrocities seemed to have alienated the entire Ixil population [Mayans living in Guatemala’s Quiche region].33 In Colombia, we have seen a variation of this pattern. Here, the government has adopted a strategy of encouraging defections and of destroying the rebel FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in particular areas.34 However, the paramilitaries that form part of the counter-terror apparatus have routinely abused and killed civilians, turning many civilians against the government and sometimes even pushing them towards the rebels. Isabel Hilton has noted, ‘The Colombian security services have had a long-term strategy of civilian terror and sabotage of negotiation with the guerrillas’.35 A key instrument deployed against the FARC has been the destruction of the crops that sustain it (a tactic increasingly emphasised in Afghanistan too). Yet these crops also sustain large [ 59 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? numbers of Colombian peasant cultivators, and the coca-eradication project has itself created significant new recruits for the rebels. Plans for the economic and social transformation of coca areas have been largely shelved, and in any case they pale in comparison to plans for social transformation (including land reform) under the 1960s scheme known as Alliance for Progress; instead, the focus has been on building up the army.36 As in the global ‘war on terror’, the underlying assumption seems to be that there exists a limited number of deranged or evil individuals whose eradication will solve the problem. Again, there seems to be little sense of history: little sense of how individuals have come to join the FARC, for example, and little sense of the grievances that have led people to embrace the risks of combat.37 In Chechnya, the Russian military adopted tactics, especially bombing and other forms of violence against civilians, that proved militarily counterproductive, helping to generate resistance and to increase the strength of Islamic militancy.38 As David Hearst observed, ‘Chechens were not very observant Muslims when the republic declared its independence in 1991. … Russia’s assault [first in 1994–96] had the effect of increasing both the Islamic and the fundamentalist nature of the Chechen resistance.’39 Noting the increasing importance of fundamentalism in the Chechen resistance, Anatole Lieven notes, ‘We all pray when under fire.’40 Russian abuses helped precipitate a terrorist attack on a Moscow theatre in October 2002, which itself drew a violent response when Russian troops stormed the theatre.41 In October 2003, it was revealed that Israel’s army chief LieutenantGeneral Moshe Ya’alon had acknowledged in an off-the-record briefing that the government’s hard-line treatment of Palestinian civilians was strengthening ‘terror organisations’.42 Israel’s assassination of its leaders has only prompted Hamas into new atrocities.43 Indeed, Hamas’s work in clinics, universities and mosques has helped to create a degree of mass loyalty that cannot be countered by Israeli elimination of leadership.44 Conversely, since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, security along Israel’s northern border has improved.45 A perverse variation of the killing of civilians in counter-insurgency has involved soldiers impersonating rebel groups. This bizarre pattern has been observed in Sierra Leone, Algeria and also, it appears, Russia.46 In Algeria, the GIA [Armed Islamic Group] rebels became, in effect, a weapon for discrediting Islam and persecuting members of the FIS (Islamic Salvation Front), the Islamic political party that won the aborted 1991 elections.47 In a detailed review, Gordon Campbell noted in 2004: [ 60 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S The details of French/Algerian collusion with the GIA are … disturbing. It is not simply that Algerian death squads would impersonate the GIA and carry out massacres or create local militias – the so-called Patriotes – to do likewise. In recent years, firm evidence has begun to emerge from Algerian military sources and leading academics that the dreaded GIA has been – perhaps from the outset and certainly under [Djamel] Zitouni’s bloody leadership – a dummy, or ‘screen’ organisation managed by French/Algerian counter-intelligence.48 Even within industrialised societies, violent counter-terror that kills civilians has sometimes been marked, and has consistently been counterproductive. Northern Ireland is a case in point. As Irish novelist Ronan Bennett put it, ‘Bloody Sunday propelled thousands of young men and women to take up the gun.’49 The counterproductive violence extended to abuse of prisoners. Britain’s harsh internment policy in the 1970s, including use of torture, tended to radicalise the population.50 A second aspect of the counterproductive tactics has been a tendency to allow key rebels and terrorists to escape capture, despite the very significant inequality of resources between the demonised rebels/terrorists and the forces ranged against them. Of course, even where such capture is seriously attempted, it can be very difficult. All the same, it is remarkable how little concerted effort is sometimes put into this task. In many civil wars, a persistent failure to capture or even seriously to confront rebel groups has frequently led to suspicions that warfare has too many benefits for it to be allowed to end. During civil wars in such diverse countries as Guatemala, Uganda and Sierra Leone, relatively small groups of rebels have been able to survive and even grow in strength in the face of much larger counter-insurgency forces. In Uganda and Sierra Leone, a large proportion of rebels have been children; yet these rebel groups have survived over long periods, often gaining in strength in the midst of almost universal condemnation. This has led some local analysts to question whether the respective governments really wanted to bring their civil wars to an end.51 In Peru, government soldiers sometimes released captured Shining Path guerrillas, something that tended to perpetuate insecurity in areas where some soldiers were making money from drugs. In the Philippines, senior officers in the army have been accused by their own soldiers of helping convicted terrorists to escape.52 In the 1994 Rwandan genocide, some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Aided by a French government-sponsored [ 61 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? ‘humanitarian’ intervention known as ‘Operation Turquoise’, many of the perpetrators fled to neighbouring Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After the Rwandan genocide, the new, Tutsi-dominated government felt understandably threatened by these perpetrators, who were using relief aid to regroup and to plan more mass killings. Rwandan troops were sent to DRC to confront the ‘Interahamwe’ militias responsible for genocide. However, many diplomats, fighters, aid workers and refugees reported that Rwandan soldiers were now increasingly collaborating with their supposed enemies. They appeared to be stalling on the disarmament of the Interahamwe and making little effort to engage the Interahamwe in battle. In 2002, one Rwandan-trained rebel fighter said his orders were no longer to pursue the Interahamwe, adding, ‘Rwanda came here to fight the Interahamwe but its objectives have changed. These days, we only pretend to fight them – it’s all politics.’53 In April 2002, the International Rescue Committee estimated that some 4.7 million people had died as a direct result of the DRC war.54 In terms of the global ‘war on terror’, Michael Scheuer, a senior US intelligence official involved in the hunt for bin Laden, reports that the United States had up to a dozen serious chances to kill or capture bin Laden in the year from May 1998.55 After 9/11, the Taliban’s offer to hand bin Laden to a neutral country (if the United States presented evidence of his involvement in 9/11) was rejected. Despite the US targeting of al-Qaida camps in the 2001 attack, bin Laden famously went free. Virtually all leading military analysts say the US government should have used more American troops to capture bin Laden, rather than relying on Afghan proxies.56 There was no attempt by US forces to seal the border with Pakistan during operations against bin Laden and al-Qaida in late November 2001,57 and Scheuer said the United States missed its biggest chance to capture the al-Qaida leader at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in December 2001 when General Tommy Franks relied on unreliable surrogates rather than his own troops.58 Subsequently, the planning and execution of the Iraq adventure took attention and manpower – including Arabic speakers – from the hunt for al-Qaida.59 Within Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, seen as a key US ally, proved much more interested in taking Kabul than capturing bin Laden. Meanwhile, Pakistan barely pretended to close its borders to assist this capture.60 In fact, former CIA station chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gary Schroen, has argued that a fundamentalist strain within the army and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) has undermined the desire of the [ 62 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S Pakistani authorities to capture bin Laden.61 Experts have suggested Musharraf agreed with the United States after the Afghan war that he would not seriously go after bin Laden, because he feared inciting trouble in his own country as well as increased terror attacks on Western targets abroad.62 Certainly, the popularity of bin Laden among many in Pakistan means capture would create problems for Musharraf.63 The point is not that Bush did not want to capture bin Laden: such a turn of events would certainly have given a boost to Bush’s electoral chances in 2004. However, first, the US government had other priorities that took attention and resources from this enterprise; and, second, the counter-terror was a collaborative effort in which the aims reflected the priorities of many parties beyond Washington. As former Labour government adviser David Clark pointed out, a successful counterinsurgency tends to have a military campaign aimed at the perpetrators of violence and a political campaign designed to isolate them; the current ‘war on terror’ has neither.64 A third element in the counterproductive tactics has been the pursuit of some kind of business relationship between ostensible enemies. In many civil conflicts, there has been significant trading with the enemy, including selling arms to the other side, not only in Chechnya but also in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the Congo, where Rwandan troops were observed selling arms to Interahamwe militiamen.65 Government soldiers in the Philippines have protested at their own senior officers who they say are responsible for several bombings and for selling weapons and ammunition to rebel forces.66 The clearest example of ‘trading with the enemy’ in the context of the ‘war on terror’ is also a civil war: the conflict in Chechnya. During the first war of 1994–96, the Russian Army frequently sold arms to rebels.67 Shamil Basayev, who rose to become the most powerful Chechen warlord, boasted that he got 90 per cent of his arms from Russian troops. Even the leader of the Arab fighters in Chechnya, Amir Khattab, was able to get money from the Russian ‘enemy’ as well as from Chechen allies. The Russian Army reportedly valued him as a provocateur to destroy the Chechen cause, and he did indeed help to provoke massive Russian destruction of Chechens from 1999 by leading a Chechen attack on Russian Dagestan in that year.68 Even the briefest acquaintance with history should be enough to tell us that the current definition of enemies and ‘evils’ is contingent on important financial as well as political calculations. One of the paradoxes of the ‘war on terror’ is that the strong trading relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia (including large-scale [ 63 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? arms sales to the Saudis) has stood in the way of effective diplomatic pressure on the Saudis to stop the kind of inculcation of violent ideologies that helped produce the perpetrators of 9/11. The links are personal too.69 Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton did more than US$174 million of business developing oil fields and other projects for the Saudis. Condoleezza Rice was formerly on the board of directors of Chevron, which does a lot of business with the Saudis. George Bush the elder has worked as a senior adviser for the Carlyle Group, which has a stake in US defence firms hired to equip and train the Saudi military.70 We know that members of bin Laden’s family were speedily hustled out of the United States after 9/11.71 Saudi funds have supported jihadists in Bosnia and Chechnya,72 and the Saudis did not seriously start to root out al-Qaida until the truck bomb attacks in Riyadh in November 2003.73 Despite the so-called ‘financial war on terror’, the Saudis were slow to co-operate with US officials in hunting for the intermediaries helping to finance terrorists,74 and they also balked at freezing the assets of organisations linked to bin Laden (though collaboration in private may have been more than either side will admit).75 Of course, the targeting of the ‘state backers’ of 9/11 conspicuously excluded Saudi Arabia. Some of those who have been vilified in the ‘war on terror’ – notably Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden – are characters that the West helped to arm and make powerful in the first place,76 though of course providing arms to someone who becomes your enemy is not as strange as the phenomenon (observed in civil wars) where parties may provide arms to someone who is already their enemy.

Functions for a diverse coalition
In both the ‘war on terror’ and civil wars, counterproductive tactics in the counter-terror have had important functions for diverse groups shaping counter-terror. These functions have been economic and political (discussed in this chapter) and also psychological (dealt with in subsequent chapters). In failing to achieve the expressed goal of defeating or even weakening insurgency or terror, key actors have nevertheless succeeded in realising other (more hidden and often more valued) goals. In both civil wars and the current global ‘war on terror’, we can see an abundance of opportunities for political, economic and psychological ‘pay-offs’ among actors collaborating – or claiming to collaborate – with

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WA R S Y S T E M S a particular war effort but not necessarily sharing the aim of eliminating the named terror. Part of this is because both counter-insurgency and global counter-terror operate through a kind of licensing or harnessing of violence by diverse groups. (As noted, this also applies to insurgency/terror to some extent.) The licensing and harnessing of diverse violence within the counter-terror means that the aims of the ‘counterinsurgency’ or ‘counter-terror’ are very diverse (although certain parties, for example the United States in the case of the ‘war on terror’, have clearly had a disproportionate influence in shaping these aims). As Foucault observed, power is not simply located ‘at the top’ of any given system but is dispersed (albeit very unevenly) through societies and through systems of intervention. Significantly, the limits to US power on a global stage tend to create strategies that mimic the strategies of governments pursuing counter-insurgency within weak states. The ‘war on terror’ represents an aggregation of aims within shifting coalitions that collaborate for a variety of reasons and that claim to be participating in this ‘war’. While the benefits for US corporate interests and the US military are extremely important (as stressed by Chomsky and Pilger, for example), pinning everything on Washington can take attention away from important domestic dynamics within countries around the world.77 The beneficiaries of the ‘war on terror’ are located not only in the United States and the UK but also in a variety of dubious regimes whose cooperation has been sought and offered. Given this conglomeration of benefits, the desire to defeat terror cannot necessarily be taken for granted – whether in Western capitals or at a local level (for example, the often-collusive behaviour of Russian troops in Chechnya where Russian generals have made a lot of money). Crucially, as in civil wars, demonisation of a particular enemy creates space for abuses by those who claim to be fighting this pariah. The Cold War pattern of impunity for one’s friends is being reinvented for the ‘war on terror’. Though there is some loss of control of the aims of counter-terror, the dispersal of violence through a complex coalition may also have certain benefits for those who are ‘at the top’ of this system. In both civil wars and the global ‘war on terror’, the licensing of violence (by governments who encourage ‘tribal violence’ as part of a counter-insurgency, by coalition partners involving private firms in the running of Iraq and its jails, by Washington in using third-party states for torture or the Northern Alliance for deposing the Taliban) has the advantage that it creates many opportunities for ‘deniability’ when abuses are revealed. It minimises the violence that is directly inflicted by the dominant power, and it reduces the exposure to violence of the dominant power’s own forces. [ 65 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ?

Economic functions of civil wars
Militarily and politically counterproductive attacks on civilians in Sudan and Sierra Leone have been mentioned. If the aim of war is simply to win, such actions make little sense. But perpetuating these civil wars has brought important economic benefits. In Sudan, military factions and allied traders and herders have enriched themselves from raiding, from land-grabs, and from the price distortions accompanying and fuelling famine. Persistently counterproductive tactics have helped to keep the war system going.78 In Sierra Leone, rebels lost political support as a result of vicious attacks on civilians, but these attacks nevertheless served to underwrite a system of resourceextraction, notably through creating a partial depopulation of diamond-rich areas. Abuses by Sierra Leonean government soldiers, whilst also eroding political support, often had similar economic functions. In Uganda, aid workers have reported army officers selling supplies to the LRA and benefiting from inflating the numbers on the payroll; ending war would end these benefits.79 The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from the mid-1990s shows clearly the economic functions of violence as well as the limits to any desire to defeat the ‘enemy’. The ostensible hunt for the Interahamwe ‘genocidaires’ (or genocide perpetrators) served as cover for the Rwandan Army’s desire to strip minerals.80 While the DRC is a very poor country, it is extremely rich in natural resources, and over time these became an important factor in Rwandan calculations as well as those of Uganda and Zimbabwe, countries that also became embroiled in the conflict. There is evidence of Ugandan commanders actually inciting violence between rebel groups, apparently so as to remain in regions rich in gold and coltan.81 With the number of conventional battles between rival armies falling, more and more energy was spent on economic exploitation. Actual fighting in the DRC has often been concentrated in areas rich in cobalt, copper and diamonds.82 In these circumstances, the enemy Hutu militiamen came to be seen not simply as a threat but as a useful threat. In collaborating with their supposed enemies, Rwandan soldiers were cynically prolonging their stay in DRC.83 Promising steps towards peace have proved fragile, and in November 2004 Rwanda sent troops across the border into DRC, claiming to pursue the Hutu extremist Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (linked to the 1994 genocide).84 This sinister process is not entirely dissimilar to dynamics in Sierra Leone where the RUF was [ 66 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S sometimes maintained as a useful threat that justified profiteering by parties other than the RUF. In Central America, civil wars had a more obviously ideological dimension. In Guatemala, however, many observers became suspicious that the wider agendas of economic accumulation and the suppression of democratic forces meant the government did not want to end the war; even after the 1996 peace agreement, the Guatemalan Army was able to disguise its own involvement in organised smuggling rackets under the cover of anti-narcotics operations and suppressing ‘subversives’.85

Economic functions of the ‘war on terror’
The ‘war on terror’ has important economic functions. Rather in the same manner as counterproductive tactics in civil wars, counterproductive tactics in the ‘war on terror’ have helped to perpetuate a number of (often hidden) economic benefits – by helping to prolong and deepen the conflict. This does not mean that this is the intention. However, the persistence of counterproductive tactics over time suggests, first, the evolution of a system that is functional in important ways, and, second, at the very least, a lack of desire to dismantle or reform this system. Vested interests have subtly undermined and corrupted the drive against terrorism itself. The uses of global ‘wars’ are not new: the terror of the Cold War nurtured and sustained a lucrative military-industrial complex in the United States (not to mention its Communist variant in the Soviet Union). In the White House cabinet room in 1947, Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg told President Harry Truman that he could have the militarised economy he wanted, but only if he first ‘scared the hell out of the American people’ in relation to the Soviet threat.86 The Cold War is over, but the spending spree is not. In fact, the US military budget (in constant dollars) is near the peacetime average for the Cold War period of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.87 Pentagon spending rose by about a third even between 2003 and 2004.88 The history of conflict in Korea and Iraq appears to have created institutional interests in the US military in sustaining spending in these areas in particular – feeding into the felt need for a ‘two war’ capability.89 The current Pentagon budget of some $400 billion represents nearly twice the defence spending of the rest of the world’s military powers combined.90 The Pentagon requested $419 billion for 2006. The three largest US weapons makers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing and

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E N D L E S S WA R ? Raytheon – receive over $30 billion per year in Pentagon contracts,91 and there is a cosy relationship between the defence industry and many top government officials. For example, James Roche held several top positions with defence giant Northrop Grumman before becoming air force secretary, and Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, acted as a consultant to the same company. Ronald Sugar, chief executive of Northrop Grumman, said in 2003 that he saw ‘very significant growth in sales and earnings’ as a result of hikes in budgets.92 How can all this be justified in the context of massive world poverty and the high and growing levels of poverty within the United States itself? The answer, to a large extent, has been through continued conflict, whether the enemy has been Communism, ‘rogue states’, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, ‘drugs’ or, most recently, ‘terror’. The ‘war on terror’ represents a new application of an old doctrine: the doctrine of endless war. Even in the post-Second World War ‘peace’, war has been not so much the exception as the rule. The United States has intervened militarily in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq again, not to mention proxy wars in Angola, Mozambique and Nicaragua or the support for abusive governments in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere.93 As Noam Chomsky notes, the war on terror has not so much been declared as re-declared (and by some of the same people): the first declaration occurred when Ronald Reagan came into the Presidency and announced a war on state-supported terrorism in the Middle East and Central America. An almost tangible sense of relief at the emergence of a new enemy was expressed by Vice-President Dick Cheney in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in February 2002: When America’s great enemy suddenly disappeared, many wondered what new direction our foreign policy would take. We spoke, as always, of long-term problems and regional crises throughout the world, but there was no single, immediate, global threat that any roomful of experts could agree upon. All of that changed five months ago. The threat is known and our role is clear now.94 The anti-terrorism agenda appears to have been fused with the agenda of modernising US military capabilities, making it hard to question the project of weapons modernization.95 In what could be seen as a cruel application of a martial arts principle, it was the United State’s own [ 68 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S strength – its skyscrapers and its planes – that was turned against it on 9/11. But if high-tech weapons systems were not the problem on that day, they have repeatedly been hailed as part of the solution. Even before 9/11, Bush and Rumsfeld were telling Americans that deterrence didn’t work in the age of terror and rogue states, and that therefore they needed a missile shield.96 Some three-quarters of the additional military funding since Bush took office is not directly related to fighting terrorism, and includes spending on the missile shield.97 The new enthusiasm for ‘mini-nukes’ is also part of the new weapons bonanza. Also forming part of the military–industrial complex in the United States are the large American firms carving out big bucks from reconstruction, particularly in Iraq. The biggest contract for reconstruction in Iraq – potentially worth US$680 million (or £415 million) – went to the Bechtel conglomerate, which has close ties to the Bush administration and makes substantial donations to the Republican Party and its candidates.98 Halliburton, headed from 1995 to August 2000 by Cheney (who retains stock options), was awarded the main contract for restoring Iraq’s oil industry; the contract was awarded without competitive tendering and Halliburton has been charging coalition authorities over the odds for oil.99 In all, Halliburton’s Iraq contracts up until October 2004 were worth US$9 billion.100 In a move that suggests the evolution of a profitable system based on destruction-and-reconstruction, the Bush administration created in August 2004 an ‘Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization’, with a mandate to draw up detailed ‘post-conflict’ plans for up to 25 countries that were not, as yet, in conflict.101 As with the ‘modernisation’ of the military, the priority of gaining access to oil has effectively been fused with the anti-terrorism agenda, making it hard – as Michael Klare points out – to question the oil motive.102 Oil has certainly been a factor in the USA’s choice of enemies during the ‘war on terror’, influencing the choice of who will not be attacked as well as who will. To say that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were part of a ‘war for oil’ would be a major oversimplification. There is no doubt, however, that the US government has been anxious to expand oil imports and to reduce its reliance on the Saudis; nor is there any doubt that Afghanistan and Iraq have played a significant role in this strategy. The Bush administration’s close links with the oil industry have been noted. In May 2001, the report of the Cheneyheaded National Energy Policy Development Group (often called the ‘Cheney report’) predicted that US oil imports would need to rise from 10.4 million barrels a day to 16.7 million barrels a day by 2020. The [ 69 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? United States was projected to import 66 per cent of its petroleum by 2020, up from 52 per cent in 2001,103 and the Cheney report called on the White House to make the pursuit of imports ‘a priority of our trade and foreign policy’ and to go for more geographical diversity in sourcing.104 At present, the United States leans heavily on Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for crude imports, but political turmoil in Venezuela virtually halted its oil exports to the USA while some investment and oil specialists have come to see Saudi Arabia as an unreliable political ‘powderkeg’.105 Of course, the major role of Saudi nationals in 9/11 made continued reliance on the Saudis all the more uncomfortable.106 From around the mid-1990s, the desire to use Afghanistan as an oil pipeline became a major consideration in US foreign policy. Top US officials have increasingly been mindful of the Caspian basin’s vast reserves of fossil fuel (oil and natural gas). In a speech to oil industrialists in 1998, Cheney observed, ‘I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.’107 But how were these reserves going to be transported to market? Funnelling them through Russia or Azerbaijan would greatly increase Russia’s control over the Central Asian republics. Channelling oil and gas through Iran would go against the US policy of trying to isolate Iran. Going through China would give China a strategic boost and would in any case be a long way round and expensive. That left a pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India as the strongly favoured option. Among those involved in negotiating for the pipeline under President Clinton were Dick Cheney, representing nine oil companies, and Condoleezza Rice, then a director of Chevron-Texaco with special responsibility for Pakistan and Central Asia.108 After the fall of the Taliban, there were extended negotiations aimed at getting a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan (a long-standing project of California-based company UNOCAL), with future President Karzai as a top UNOCAL adviser, but insecurity continued to hamper the plan.109 John Maresca, formerly of UNOCAL, became US Ambassador to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, US interest in Uzbekistan has been fuelled directly by oil as well, perhaps, as by the need for a base for operations in Afghanistan.110 What was the importance of oil in the Iraq attack? According to Bob Woodward, ‘Before the [9/11] attacks, the Pentagon had been working for months on developing a military option for Iraq.’111 Richard Clarke remembered that just after the 9/11 attacks:

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WA R S Y S T E M S I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq some time in 2002.112 Oil was not the only motive here, but it was significant. Iraq exports some 1.5 million barrels a day but experts say that by 2008 it could export 6 million barrels a day.113 Even Christopher Hitchens, who strongly defended the war on Iraq, observed, ‘The recuperation of the Iraqi oil industry represents the end of the Saudi monopoly, and we know that there are many Wolfowitzians who yearn for this but cannot prudently say so in public’.114 The Bush administration has said it aims to reverse the historic nationalisation of Iraqi oil before it has finished with ‘reconstruction’.115 If oil has helped make some countries vulnerable, it has also protected others. As noted, Saudi Arabia was the origin of 15 out of 19 hijackers on 11 September 2001, and yet there was no retaliation against the Saudis. This reflects Saudi Arabia’s status as a key US ally and the USA’s heavy dependence on Saudi oil. Saudis’ role in 9/11 may have brought home the urgency of finding alternative US bases in Iraq.116 An often forgotten part of the war industry is the pro-war media machine. This has not only promoted war but has also profited from this promotion. Rupert Murdoch exploited and fuelled the war-fever over Iraq with pro-war editorial positions. His 140 tabloid newspapers around the world were selling 40 million a week.117 Murdoch’s hyper-patriotic Fox news channel showed bombers heading for Baghdad to the accompaniment of the US national anthem. With far fewer correspondents in the Middle East than its competitors,118 Fox still won the ratings war in the United States. MSNBC, third behind Fox and CNN, had a 350 per cent rise in viewers during the Iraq war,119 which of course means more revenue from advertising. A Los Angeles Times survey in April 2003 found 70 per cent of Americans were getting most of their information from allnews cable channels like Fox, CNN and MSNBC, with only 18 per cent relying on the traditional nightly news.120 Public relations businesses also benefited. For example, the Rendon Group got $397,000 to handle PR aspects of the US military strikes in Afghanistan.121 The economic benefits of the ‘war on terror’ extend well beyond the United States. For example, those controlling Russia’s war budget have [ 71 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? benefited from a Chechen conflict that has now been incorporated into the framework of the ‘war on terror’. In 2001, the Russian government’s accounting board found nearly $45 million missing from the budget. Most of it was soldiers’ salaries.122 The profits from selling arms to Chechen rebels have been mentioned. In Colombia, paramilitaries and their wealthy backers have profited from a civil war – again now officially part of the ‘war on terror’ – in which the rebel FARC and ELN (National Liberation Army) have been the declared enemies but in which the majority of (rebel and paramilitary) attacks have been on civilians. Economic benefits have also sometimes extended even to ordinary people in poor countries. One mechanism runs parallel to the petty rivalries that have fuelled violence in civil wars and even in many witchhunts: at least two prisoners at Guantanamo Bay believe they were picked up by the Americans after being falsely denounced as terrorists by rivals looking to take over their property in the Afghan town of Khost, near the border with Pakistan.123 Given that American troops have been anxious to show they have captured enemy personnel, the potential for such misindentification is considerable.

Political functions of civil wars
In addition to their economic functions, civil wars have also had political functions which go well beyond (and even work against) the goal of winning. The political functions of violence – even militarily counterproductive violence – have included the pay-off from uniting a country around a common and clearly identified enemy. A second function has often been the legitimisation of the military’s interference in politics. A third (and often related) function in civil conflicts has been warding off the threat of democracy, for example, by creating or maintaining a ‘state of emergency’. Part of the aim here has often been to facilitate and legitimise the intimidation of a wider group of non-rebels under the cover of ‘war’: maintaining conflict can be useful in the suppression of free speech, unions and democratic forces.124 In Sierra Leone’s eleven-year war, some politicians and military officers seem to have encouraged and even helped the rebels in the belief that a ‘state of emergency’ was useful in warding off democracy. In Rwanda, a small elite within the Hutu orchestrated a genocide when faced with the threat of democracy arising from the 1993 Arusha peace agreement.125 In Colombia, as Naomi Klein observes: the government’s war against leftist guerrillas has long been

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WA R S Y S T E M S used as cover to murder anyone with leftist ties, whether union activists or indigenous farmers. But things have got worse since President Alvaro Uribe took office in August 2002 on a WoT [War on Terror] platform.126 Consider also the case of Guatemala. One analyst of the US-backed counter-insurgency in Guatemala in the 1980s commented: Most observers are in agreement that the purpose of the Guatemalan army’s counter-insurgency campaign was as much to teach the Indian population a psychological lesson as to wipe out a guerrilla movement that, at its height, had probably no more than 3,500 trained people in arms. In essence, the purpose of the campaign was to generate an attitude of terror and fear – what we might term a ‘culture of fear’ – in the Indian population, to ensure that never again would it support or ally itself with a Marxist guerrilla movement.127 The Guatemalan rebel movement got new recruits as a result of this tactic. But democratic forces were suppressed, the war system was maintained and the United States continued to bask in its self-image as the defender of freedom against (tenacious) Communist rebels. Violence against certain ‘delinquent’ groups is routine even today in Guatemala, and police action has frequently been arbitrary, failing to target the expressed enemy but succeeding in intimidating a much wider group. In this respect, the current system resembles the preceding counter-insurgency;128 indeed, there is a logic to failing counter-terror operations that to some extent transcends conventional distinctions between crime and civil war (and between civil war and the global ‘war on terror’). Sergio Morales, who has carried out a detailed study of crime and young people in Guatemala City, told me in 2002: The logic of the strategy towards youth – during the conflict, it was to get young people onto drugs, so they wouldn’t participate in politics. The military introduced it on purpose. And they made young people participate in religious meetings. At least 20 young people are assassinated weekly in the city, now. The authorities say they are delinquents, but we have doubt, because when they catch the guys, when we see police catching maras [marabuntas, or gangs], these young people are often killed. They [the young people] use these hand-made pistols or [ 73 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? other small weapons and must be killed with big calibres – not what the gangs use. The police authorities use AK47s. And the way of killing – four to six guys in a cafeteria or a store, and they kill everyone. The police don’t make a good investigation. They keep saying they are delinquents and it isn’t important. The final objective is to keep young people afraid, so they don’t participate. It’s striking how many of the victims are girls – maybe 20–25 per cent women – young women, often very young like 13. People are often killed in a horrible way, with elements of torture – a manifestation of the [earlier] counterinsurgency project. There’s a strong discourse against youth, an open discourse against youth, especially those who dress strangely and have tattoos. …129 There’s an ideological construction where mara is equal to delinquent. The government is always talking about security, and they need to create the impression they have been taking action. If there aren’t enough of them – criminals, gangs – you create some. So you make it appear as if you are countering it. This statement uncannily echoes several aspects of the global ‘war on terror’. First, the attempt to divert political radicalism into religion has resonance in the United States as well as in many Muslim countries.130 Second, the proper gathering of evidence has been set aside in the ‘war on terror’ (as we shall see in Chapter 6 in particular). Indeed, killing without proper legal process or proper investigation has been turned into official US doctrine: ‘They keep saying those are delinquents [read ‘terrorists’] and it isn’t important.’ Third, the clumsy and violent counter-terror demonstrates that its authors are taking action, and the kudos is bizarrely increased by failure: ‘If there aren’t enough of them – criminals, gangs – you create some.’ Fourth, and perhaps most importantly in terms of the functions of the violence, the indiscriminate nature of the violence is in some sense functional: it maximises fear and is seen as a deterrent to political particpation.131 In terms of domestic or regional wars, abusive rulers like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein have long understood the economic and political advantages of perpetual conflict, including the perceived need for a strong leader (that is, the need for them). Though often seen in the West as a dictator, Milosevic was not unsuccessful in elections (though these were compromised by state media control and intimidation).132 When I was in Belgrade in 1999, many of those I spoke with argued that Milosevic and his cronies had actually courted international sanctions, [ 74 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S and that these sanctions had helped him both politically and economically. First, they reinforced a sense of siege in Serbia, a sense that ‘the world was against them’. In these circumstances, Milosevic was able to put himself forward with some success as a strong leader who would vigorously defend the interests of the Serbs. As one UN official with long-term involvement in humanitarian aid to the region commented, ‘Milosevic’s strategy is to create conflict and offer a solution – protection’.133 Second, the sanctions significantly increased price differences between Serbia and surrounding countries. While this damaged the majority of Serbs, it created very profitable opportunities for the clique around Milosevic who were able to bypass the sanctions and to benefit from these enhanced price differences. In this sense, Milosevic’s political and economic system in Serbia was arguably based on two kinds of ethnic war: first, periodic warfare with a variety of ‘ethnic groups’ and, second, a ‘wider war’ – the stand-off between Serbia and much of the international community, itself largely the result of Milosevic’s local wars. Many believe that Milosevic fell from power, in large part, because he ran out of plausible wars. The Chechen conflict is another where violence has served political as well as economic functions. When Vladimir Putin (then serving as Acting President after Yeltsin’s retirement) conducted the second vicious war in Chechnya from 1999, it boosted his popularity and helped him to win Russia’s presidential election in March 2000. This war was billed as Russia’s own ‘war on terror’ after Chechen terrorists were alleged to have killed more than 300 in a series of bombings of blocks of flats in Russia. In September 2004, Putin cited the threat of terrorism – and Beslan in particular– when proposing to appoint local officials himself and more generally to centralise power in the Kremlin.134

Political functions of the ‘war on terror’
In the period before 9/11, Bush seems to have been less worried about al-Qaida than he was about Al Gore. Bush received fewer votes in the 2000 election than his Democratic rival, and at the time of the attacks on New York and Washington, Bush’s standing in the opinion polls was at its lowest point since his inauguration, with only 50 per cent of respondents giving him a positive rating. Within two days of the attacks, the figure had shot up to 82 per cent. By 13–14 March 2003, the figure had slipped back to 53 per cent, but on 18 March Bush declared war with Iraq and his rating shot up to 68 per cent.135 Sidney Blumenthal commented in February 2005, ‘The more terrorism dominates the

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E N D L E S S WA R ? media, the higher his ratings; and whenever terrorism declines, he begins to sink.’136 Bush certainly seems to have watched the polls. When Bush’s ratings rose from 55 per cent to 84–90 per cent in the month after 9/11, his strategic adviser Karl Rove (hailed by many as architect of Bush’s victories in 2000 and 2004) took the polling information to Bush and explained that history suggested they had 30 to 40 weeks before polls returned to normal. Woodward recalls: ‘”Don’t waste my time with it”, Bush told Rove, pretending to have no interest but looking at the data. … [T]he president carefully monitored his political standing’.137 The head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, told Rove that support would dissipate if the public did not see Bush acting harshly, and the message was duly passed on to the president.138 After a 2004 campaign in which the ‘war on terror’ was a key issue, Bush won significantly more comfortably than he had in 2000. The overriding message of the preceding Republican convention was that America was at war and it could not trust the Democrats to be resolute in fighting this war. The tactic seems to have worked reasonably well. In addition to boosts in popularity, the ‘war on terror’ has facilitated the intimidation of domestic opponents and a degree of suppression of dissent (something dealt with more fully in Chapter 9). The arbitrary and unpredictable nature of much of the counter-terror seems to be actively useful here, and torture too has played a part. The climate of fear was well conveyed by Naomi Klein, who described how community leaders kept silent at an event honouring Maher Arar, a Syrianborn Canadian who had been taken from New York to Syria and held for ten months while being periodically beaten. Klein commented: Some speakers were unable even to mention the honoured guest by name, as if he had something they could catch. And perhaps they were right: the tenuous ‘evidence’ – later discredited – that landed Arar in a rat-infested cell was guilt by association. And if that could happen to Arar, a successful software engineer and family man, who is safe?139 Commenting on a new disrespect for law, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, observed in early 2004, ‘The Bush administration has used war rhetoric precisely to give itself the extraordinary powers enjoyed by a wartime government to detain or even kill suspects without trial’.140 America’s founding fathers had made explicit their concern that war would increase the president’s [ 76 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S power and that the executive was the most prone to war – a key reason for their vesting the power of war in the legislature, which proved compliant after 9/11. The founding fathers had understood that public fear, in Al Gore’s words, ‘can trigger the temptation of those who govern themselves to surrender that power to someone who promises strength and offers safety, security and freedom from fear’.141 Certainly, counter-terror legislation has also exhibited a tendency to seep into other spheres, and not just in the United States. In 2003, special powers under the UK’s 2000 Terrorism Act were used against demonstrators at a London arms fair.142 Just a few days after Britain’s Home Secretary David Blunkett proposed lowering the standard of proof in terrorist cases in February 2004, Blair posited the same change for drug trafficking and other organised crime.143 In September 2005, an 82 year-old party member, Walter Wolfgang, was manhandled and thrown out of the Labour Party conference after heckling Foreign Secretary Jack Straw as the minister defended Britain’s role in Iraq; the old man was prevented under anti-terrorist powers from re-entering the hall.144 Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar banned the Basque political party Batasuna, even though no direct link had been established with terrorist acts; he also banned Basque human rights groups and the Basque language newspaper.145 An important part of the political function of the ‘war on terror’ has been the way it legitimises political intimidation by a range of allies beyond the Bush/Blair/Aznar axis. In effect, the ‘war on terror’ has given a license to internal repression in countries supporting this war. This was discussed in Chapter 2 in relation to the anger generated by the ‘war on terror’. As in many civil wars, demonising one party has created space for the (hidden) abuses of others. As Michael Mann observes, labelling opponents as ‘al-Qaida’ ‘allows repressive governments to do what they want with limited international criticism’.146 The war on terrorism has given opportunities for Israel to present its own actions as part of a joint worldwide struggle against terrorism, and Rumsfeld and Cheney have argued that consistency in fighting terrorism requires support for Sharon.147 Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director Brad Adams said, ‘The worldwide campaign against terrorism has given Beijing the perfect excuse to crack down harder than ever in Xinjang [north-west China]’ where some 8 million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking group, live.148 In India, anti-terrorist legislation has facilitated abuses against minority groups and political opponents.149 Even abuses in the former Yugoslavia have been retrospectively justified as ‘anti-terrorism’. Certainly, the ‘war on terror’ [ 77 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? has been a major threat to Musharraf’s regime in Pakistan, notably because of opposition to the US-led attack on neighbouring Afghanistan. But in compensation, Pakistan got $600 million in cash, help in rescheduling debt, the lifting of earlier US sanctions linked to nuclear weapons tests, a lack of scrutiny for its nuclear programmes and the shielding of rogue nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan from US investigators.150 The autocrat Musharraf has been able to present himself as a pillar of freedom. In the Philippines, labelling opponents as ‘al-Qaida’ has fuelled repression.151 This has included intimidation of trade unions, the apparent targets of President Gloria Arroyo’s denunciation of ‘those who terrorise factories that provide jobs’.152 In Colombia, the war against drugs allowed brutal counterinsurgency to delegitimise its enemies as ‘narco-guerrillas’, and many Colombian observers believe the global ‘war on terror’ has fed into abuses there. In June 2002, the rebel group FARC was placed on the USA’s list of foreign terrorist organisations, and FARC has been directly targeted as part of the Plan Colombia and the ‘war on terror’. 9/11 encouraged the United States to loosen restrictions on the use of funding to confront guerrillas (as opposed to drug control operations), and in general the USA encouraged the Colombian government to harden its stance in relation to the FARC and the ELN rebels.153 Importantly, there has been increased room for manoeuvre for Colombia’s paramilitaries, who have carried out numerous and severe human rights abuses, often maintaining close ties with Colombian military units.154 Western criticism of Russian brutality in Chechnya has been notoriously muted.155 Arab fighters have been involved there since 1998, but Michael Mann observed in 2003, ‘Russia exaggerates the links between Chechen rebels and al-Qaeda to get American blessing for state terrorism.’156 We have seen how terrorists – like rebels in civil wars – may have an interest in exaggerating the prevalence and coherence of the insurgency/terror network; such exaggerations may also be peddled by the coalition that makes up the ‘counter-terror’, a coalition that may find this threat useful in important ways. In February 2002, the United States agreed to blacklist three Chechen rebel groups, a long-standing Russian request.157 Uzbekistan, which provided a base for operations in Afghanistan and which has received large quantities of US aid, has been another dubious bedfellow in the ‘war on terror’. In May 2003, there were some 6,500 political prisoners. The United States hardly protested.158 In May 2005, Uzbek government troops killed 500 protestors.159 Suppression of [ 78 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan – a weak movement thought to have been crippled by the coalition operations in Afghanistan – has been used to justify repression of Islamists more generally. Some reforms were implemented – for example, registering a human rights group and a new newspaper – but the local representative of Human Rights Watch said these were basically window-dressing to get military funding through the US Congress’s ethical laws.160 The Uzbekistan security service has cracked down on Hizb-ut-Tahrir (meaning ‘the party of liberation’), an Islamist group (later banned in the UK by Tony Blair). Another group targeted has been the Muslim group Akramiya, whose ideology seems more based on economics than religious dogma.161 Uzbekistan’s Ferghana valley has been a base for another Islamist group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (ISU), which the USA and UK say has links with al-Qaida. Significantly, as in Algeria and in Iraq, a democratic vote could lead to an Islamist government unfavourable to the United States.162 Some of the local functions of the ‘war on terror’ are subtle, but no less damaging for that. While not directly participating in the ‘war on terror’, some of the countries involved in destabilising the Democratic Republic of Congo – notably Rwanda and Uganda – have benefited from being labelled (not least by the UK government) as among the ‘good guys’ in Africa. Rwanda’s biggest ally and backer has been Britain, which has given considerable financial aid to Rwanda and which for a long time said little or nothing about these abuses. Uganda and Rwanda, already favoured by the USA and UK, were part of the ramshackle ‘coalition of the willing’ recruited to support the Iraq war in 2003.163 Perhaps we are seeing a potentially dangerous coming together of two ideas: one is the war against terrorism, which (reinventing a Cold War discourse) involves deciding who is with us and who is against us. Another is what appears to be an increasing fashion for concentrating aid on countries deemed to have good governance (at least within their own borders). Any war carries the need to win allies and with it the implication that abuses by these allies will be tolerated. The war against Communism gave valuable leeway to the Sudan government, for example, in waging a vicious war in southern Sudan and in manufacturing famine there. After increased hostility in the 1990s, there has been a partial rapprochement between Washington and Khartoum, with increased co-operation over intelligence for the ‘war on terror’ (and Washington showing renewed interest in Sudan’s oil). The effects have been ambiguous: on the one hand, the partial détente has [ 79 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? encouraged the Sudan government to accede to a peace in the south; on the other, the rapprochement seems to have fed into a weak international stance in relation to government-sponsored abuses in Darfur, western Sudan. On top of this, in May 2005 Amnesty General Secretary Irene Khan said the United States had been unable to garner support in Africa for military intervention (for example, in Sudan) at least partly because it had spent its ‘moral currency’ in Iraq.164 Telling the Sudan government to observe human rights was not made any easier by Abu Ghraib.

Concluding remarks
Although we have often been told that 11 September 2001 was ‘the day that changed the world’, most of us know that extreme terror was not invented on that day. There are important lessons to be learned from attempts to combat the use of terror within a range of civil wars, and counter-terrorism can draw important lessons from counter-insurgency. One crucial lesson has been that proliferating weapons and deep-seated anger at political and economic exclusion have fuelled conflicts that cannot be adequately understood, or addressed, as the struggle between two teams: let alone between good and evil. A second is that patterns of violence and terror are profoundly shaped by the nature of the response to them: counter-insurgency has all-too-often attracted new recruits to an otherwise-weak rebellion. Most importantly, rebels – like terrorists – cannot sensibly be treated as a distinct and finite group that can be physically eliminated by violence. And focusing exclusively on some demonised group – however vicious and violent it may be – creates space for abuses by diverse actors who claim to be opposing this group. In Sierra Leone, violence against civilians by government soldiers impeded efforts to win hearts and minds in the war against the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The conceptualisation of Sierra Leone’s war as a struggle between two teams (one good, one bad) was deeply damaging. Identifying the RUF as the source of all evil – a common position not only in the Sierra Leonean government but among international donors – actually created space for terror: first, it served to distract attention from underlying grievances that fuelled the country’s terror; and second, it distracted attention from abuses by the various counter-insurgency forces. Similar problems surround the attribution of terror to ‘evil’ or ‘an evil ideology’. Ultimately, whether in Africa’s neglected conflicts, in Central America or in the higher-profile attacks of 9/11, lasting security can only

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WA R S Y S T E M S come from defusing, rather than deepening, the underlying anger. In the long term, this implies development and fostering democracy by peaceful means. In the short term, it implies not making things worse through violence and indiscriminate counter-terror. A basic medical principle must urgently be applied to counter-terrorism: ‘First, do no harm.’ While the idea of a ‘war on terror’ legitimises violence with the label of war, the status of ‘prisoners of war’ has been denied to ‘the other side’. Thus, we are invited to believe that this is simultaneously a war and not a war. This mirrors the schizophrenic official discourse in many civil wars where the state habitually delegitimises rebel violence as ‘criminal’,165 while legitimising its own violence as ‘war’ (and usually favouring a military rather than a policing response). At the same time, the terrorists have taken the idea that this is indeed a war and used it, for example, to legitimise attacks on civilian contractors in Iraq and other civilians in terror attacks around the world. The so-called ‘war on terror’ has quickly become a pernicious system. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic have familiarised us with the importance of securing complicity in violence. Both men cemented their own power by encouraging collaborators into their own petty corruption or other crimes. In other words, loyalty and complicity were cemented by crime. Local leaders’ participation in the ‘war on terror’ may help silence any criticisms they might have of US initiatives in this ‘war’ or reservations they might have about US imperialism. Meanwhile, US officials have sometimes been reluctant to criticise abusive detentions in countries around the world, seeing themselves as on thin ice in relation to detentions in US facilities.166 One question that arises from Chapters 2 and 3 is this. If the ‘war on terror’ (and its predictably counterproductive tactics) nevertheless have important functions, does the counterproductive nature of these tactics not nevertheless undermine the legitimacy of their creators? In other words, isn’t consistent failure a bit of a problem?167 The answer seems to be: not necessarily. Rewards may not be dependent on correct identification of a threat; and appearing to defeat a common enemy may be more important than actually defeating it. As with humanitarian aid (where failure to deliver relief has sometimes been praised as not creating ‘aid dependency’ or even as promoting migration and modernisation),168 ‘failure’ in the ‘war on terror’ has often been accommodated by redefining the objectives (and by defining them rather vaguely in the first place). While this damages the international credibility of the United States in particular,169 it can often [ 81 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? bolster a crumbling image of success, particularly within the USA. When bin Laden proved elusive, Bush said part of his strategy was to get bin Laden ‘on the run’, so he couldn’t be ‘plotting and planning’.170 On 21 October 2001, CIA Director George Tenet stated the objectives in Afghanistan were, first, the collapse of the Taliban, and, second, for Osama bin Laden to be ‘killed, captured or on the run’.171 In general, the focus on bin Laden tended to recede in US government discourse, with overthrowing the Taliban correspondingly elevated, and, later, overthrowing Saddam. For his part, Tony Blair stressed that one reason to attack Afghanistan was to rein in the drugs trade. But opium production has boomed since the Taliban was toppled,172 with Afghan warlords (often backed by the West) bankrolled by a drugs boom.173 The Taliban had actually managed to cut opium production dramatically, in part to encourage food production during a drought. Predictably, the expressed Western aim of controlling the drugs trade has rather fallen from view. The Taliban’s oppression of women was also sometimes stressed as a justification for military intervention, but sexual violence has remained widespread and we do not hear much about this now.174 When weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, the aim of intervention was frequently redefined as freeing the Iraqi people. Very early on, Rumsfeld had set the tone for shifting objectives: just after the 9/11 attacks, he was asked what would constitute victory in the war on terrorism, and he replied that victory would be persuading the American people that the war would not be ‘over in a month or a year or even five years’.175 Winning, in other words, was not winning; and if winning the war on terrorism was unlikely (given in particular the counterproductive effects of counter-terrorism), then the very definition of winning could neatly be changed. Redefining civilians as enemies is part of what makes clumsy counter-terror so counterproductive. However, it can also help in presenting an ‘image’ of success. One British soldier stationed in Afghanistan said, ‘if you carry a gun, as half Afghan men do, and point it at one of the coalition special forces, you will inevitably die quickly and once you’ve been shot, you are al-Qaida/Taliban by definition’.176 There is evidence that US officers in Iraq have been rewarded for entering into battles rather than for holding back and winning hearts and minds. US Staff Sergeant Camilo Meija, who led his squad on many dangerous missions in Iraq, said, ‘You had a bunch of officers who had been in the military for 20 to 25 years and who had no combat experience. They were looking for fights so they could have it on their resume. No commander ever said, “I am doing this to get medals”, but [ 82 ]

WA R S Y S T E M S it was pretty obvious.’ Meija’s commanding officer disagrees with the charge, but the Pentagon admitted morale has been perilously low in Iraq, with three-quarters of the troops believing their superior officers had little concern for their well-being.177 Again, some of these dynamics are familiar from other wars. In Sierra Leone, civilians were sometimes ‘counted’ as rebels when soldiers tried to prove they had done a good job. This included the killing of small children.178 In Vietnam, Michael Bernhardt, a US soldier who tried to oppose atrocities including the My Lai massacre, said that in every encounter with a Vietnamese, you could decide whether: the person is a threat to the security of yourself and your unit, or not a threat. The person is a threat and you decide to kill the person and that’s a correct action. … Or the person is not a threat, and you can kill the person. The trouble is, the outcome looks the same as the correct action. It doesn’t look any different, and it’s not scored any differently. And you need the score. The individual soldier needs the score, the commanding officer needs the score, the battalion commander and the division commanders need the score. So what else is going to happen?179 Sometimes it seems that everyone wants a piece of the ‘war on terror’. Even DVD manufacturers have railed against piracy on the grounds – poorly supported with evidence – that it was funding terrorists.180 In the UK, the Blair government tried to ‘tie in’ its domestic disorder agenda to the ‘war on terror’: as Times columnist Simon Jenkins observed, ‘Security is used neatly to link the world of al-Qaeda, bombings and beheadings to a harmless drunk rolling down the neighbourhood street’.181 One of the urgent tasks today is to be vigilant about what kinds of diverse agendas are being hitched onto the bandwagon of ‘counter-terrorism’. Many are much more dangerous than the drive against piracy or drunken behaviour, and many are actively fuelling the terror itself.

[ 83 ]

4 Elusive Enemies and the Need for Certainty
Although the current tactics in the ‘war on terror’ are fuelling the anger that in turn fuels terrorism, the ‘war on terror’ nevertheless has held out the (false) promise of certainty and safety in an increasingly frightening world. Whether in launching their international attacks or in dealing with insurgency within Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush and Blair have acted on the basis that there exists a discrete and finite group of terrorists and state backers who can usefully and legitimately be eliminated. Whilst counterproductive in reducing terror, this approach has the advantage, above all, of identifying an enemy in circumstances where the threat is both diverse and obscure. Bush and his team have consistently pushed certainty as itself a promoter of safety. For example, in his first pre-election debate in 2004, Bush observed: ‘People know where I stand. People out there listening know what I believe, and that’s how best it is to keep the peace’.1 In the 2004 presidential campaign Bush’s rival John Kerry, by contrast, was repeatedly depicted as vacillating and confused, and hence a source of danger. On top of the insistence on the connection between certainty and safety, there may also have been a (secondary) concern with certainty as a part of prosperity. In November 2002, Bush found plans for further tax cuts were running into the problem of a stagnant and uncertain economy amidst all the talk of war with Iraq; he told his advisers, ‘Until we get rid of Saddam Hussein, we won’t get rid of uncertainty.’2 In a rallying speech to the UK parliament on 18 March 2003 on the brink of the Iraq war, Blair noted, ‘the world is ever more interdependent. Stock markets and economies rise and fall together. Confidence is the key to prosperity. Insecurity spreads like contagion. So people crave stability and order.’3 For most Americans, the feeling of vulnerability seems to have been heightened by the high degree of immunity to war that they had previously enjoyed. There has been no war on mainland American soil since the Civil War ended in 1865. (The United States did once come directly under attack – by Japanese forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in December 1941 – a profound shock that precipitated US participation in the Second World War and, arguably, culminated in the obliteration in August 1945 of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.4) While [ 84 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES fear was certainly intense during the Cold War, the stand-off with the Soviet Union was precisely that: both sides, for the most part, stood off from actual fighting. When there were wars, these were usually fought by proxy: casualties, in effect, were exported to the developing world. A partial exception was war in Vietnam, which killed large numbers of Americans. But this seems only to have reinforced the feeling that American lives were sacrosanct. In the early 1980s, when I was living in Texas (where George W. was to become governor), I remember a strange feeling of invulnerability, a feeling that you were very far away from the problems of the rest of the world (not to mention the rest of America). In this environment, the Reagan administration’s madcap ‘Star Wars’ scheme (for knocking incoming missiles out of the sky) had an oddly plausible ring to it – as if missiles were indeed no more than baseballs which could be quickly dispatched by a former film-star president with a particularly big bat. One day in September 2001 dramatically destroyed this cumulative sense of immunity, and subsequent official measures (for example, colour codes for different levels of terror alert) have only heightened the sense of dread. An article in Time magazine just over a month after the 9/11 attacks vividly expressed the new climate of fear when it said, ‘Everybody finds himself caught on the frontlines’.5 In addition, there was a profound sense of disorientation. Keeping the peace during the Cold War was based largely on the principle of deterrence: anyone contemplating a war had to reckon with the threat of large-scale retaliation. The principle of deterrence has also infused domestic law enforcement, with firearms possession, widespread incarceration and frequent use of the death sentence all seen as deterring criminals in the United States.6 However, deterrence will not work with suicide terrorists. Part of this is because the terrorist is elusive and frequently escapes punishment. Highly mobile and un-uniformed, the terrorist often blends into the host society.7 He or she may draw sustenance from a criminal underworld that constantly adapts to surveillance and attempted suppression. Very frequently, the terrorist is elusive even in death, with the worst perpetrators often escaping interrogation or punishment because they have committed suicide in the course of their crimes. This presents another problem for those who believe in deterrence: the terrorist may actively wish to die. Can anyone, for example, have appeared so visibly elated at a death sentence as the Bali bomber, Amrozi bin Nurhaysim, a smiling car mechanic from East Java? In September 2002, Bush himself stated in the USA’s National Security Strategy: [ 85 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Traditional concepts of deterrence will not work against a terrorist enemy whose avowed tactics are wanton destruction and the targeting of innocents; whose so-called soldiers seek martyrdom in death and whose most potent protection is statelessness.8 One timeless rule of war would appear to be this: when the enemy is elusive, more accessible enemies must be found. In Liberia’s civil war, Bishop W. Nah Dixon of the Pentecostal Church said of abusive government soldiers, ‘Incapable of facing the enemy on the battlefield, [they] turned against innocent civilians …, killing them on suspicion of abetting and hiding the rebels’.9 A similar problem emerged in Sierra Leone.10 It seems retribution will always find its victims, and explanation for suffering will find its object. Just after 9/11, Bush declared, ‘Somebody is going to pay’.11 He told King Abdullah of Jordan, ‘There’s a certain amount of blood-lust, but we won’t let it drive our reaction. … We’re steady, clear-eyed and patient, but pretty soon we’ll have to start displaying scalps.’12 As Rene Girard has noted, ‘When unappeased, violence seeks and always finds a surrogate victim. The creature that excited its fury is abruptly replaced by another, chosen only because it is vulnerable and close at hand.’13 A similar mechanism is highlighted in a different context by American psychiatrist James Gilligan, who shows how violent criminals have repeatedly vented their fury at past humiliations on those who are unfortunate enough to be close at hand and to have somehow reawakened past humiliations (a perspective discussed more fully in Chapter 9). After 9/11, Osama bin Laden, widely held to be the architect of the September atrocities, was proving elusive. The old habit of making threats against states itself fed into the identification of an accessible target. Vice-President Dick Cheney revealed some of the underlying ‘logic’ when he said, ‘To the extent we define our task broadly, including those who support terrorism, then we get at states. And it’s easier to find them than it is to find bin Laden.’14 Rushing to war with Afghanistan was not justified. For one thing, as noted, steps were reportedly being taken by Pakistan and the Taliban after 9/11 to allow the extradition of bin Laden himself from Afghanistan; of course, this may not have worked, but a deadline for extradition could have been set. In any case, the 19 hijackers (none of them Afghan) trained for their mission in Europe and the United States, not Afghanistan.15 Yet key leaders could not seem to let go of that tried and (strangely) trusted solution: war. Enemies still had to be identified, and a military response had to be exhibited. [ 86 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES When policy-makers were planning war in Afghanistan, the target country stood in pleasing contrast to the terrorist. Whilst the terrorist was invisible and elusive, Afghanistan was right there on the map with ‘Afghanistan’ conveniently stamped on top of it: an identifiable, immovable enemy. The same was true of Iraq, which was in some ways considered a more desirable target: for one thing, as top US counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke recalls, Rumsfeld complained in the wake of 9/11 that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that the administration should consider bombing Iraq, which he said had better targets.16 However, for American soldiers and their allies fighting inside these countries, the situation was once again reversed, and the enemy tended once again to become elusive, intangible and terrifying. Violence in Afghanistan and Iraq took on elements of a civil war between insurgents and Western-supported forces, and as in many purely internal wars, soldiers were soon seeking accessible and identifiable targets. In fact, targeting the enemy spilled over all too easily into killing civilians. American Sergeant First Class John Meadows commented on his experience in Iraq: You can’t distinguish between who’s trying to kill you and who’s not. Like the only way to get through shit like that was to concentrate on getting through it by killing as many people as you can, people you know are trying to kill you. Killing them first and getting home.17 US Marine Michael Hoffman wrote of his Iraq experience, ‘When your enemy is unclear, everyone becomes your enemy.’18 This way of operating may even have been reinforced by the evident lack of links between Iraq and 9/11: Hoffman observed: ‘War for oil’ is a term the troops in Iraq know well. That is the only reason left for this war, leaving those on the ground with only one reason to fight – get home alive. When this kind of desperation sinks in, it is easy to make the person across from you less than human, easier to do horrible things to them. Communication problems added to the difficulty of distinguishing combatants from non-combatants,19 as did the fact that insurgents often wore no uniform.20 In the event, no target proved more accessible or [ 87 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? more tempting than the prisoner, and many of the prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq had no link to the respective insurrections.21 When considering the reflexes of Bush/Blair and of soldiers on the ground, it is worth remembering the position of US soldiers facing their own elusive enemy in Vietnam: a Viet Cong force that was adept at using both the forest and Vietnamese civilians as cover. Former GI Greg Olsen told the writer Susan Faludi, ‘We did a lot of walking in the jungle, but never once did we have a confrontation with a mass enemy that we could see.’ Most of the casualties in Olsen’s division had been inflicted by booby traps and land mines. The US Army’s Lieutenant William Calley played a key role in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, carried out by members of Charlie Company, Americal Division. His atrocities seem to have arisen in part from his attempts to ‘solve’ the problem of the ever-elusive Viet Cong (VC). He wrote later: At last it dawned on me – these people, they’re all the VC. … I realise there are Americans who say, ‘How do you really know it?’ Well, I was there. I made decisions. I needed answers, and I didn’t have a more logical one.22 Calley also stated: My duty in our whole area was to find, to close with, and to destroy the VC. I had now found the VC. Everyone there was VC. The old men, the children, the babies were all VC or would be VC in about three years. And inside of VC women, I guess there were a thousand little VC now.23 At one point, Calley threw a two-year-old Vietnamese child back into an irrigation ditch where civilians were being shot. Faludi commented perceptively in her book Stiffed, ‘the killing of civilians was not simply a primal rampage in an out-of-control realm; it was also an attempt to reimpose an expected framework, no matter how ridiculous the fit … the men would have their mission, one way or another.’24 It is fair to point out that Bush and Blair made some efforts to minimise civilian casualties. Even so, the largely indiscriminate nature of their choice of targets – as well as the tendency for violence to spill over from targeting rebels to targeting ‘rebel suspects’ to targeting civilians – echoes the determination of Calley and co. to ‘have their mission, one way or another’. The desire to find an enemy came first: resistance to this neo-imperial project stepped obligingly into the vacuum and supplied one. [ 88 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES Identifying an enemy – even if the choice is arbitrary – seems to offer the cognitive satisfaction of certainty in uncertain times, as Hannah Arendt made clear in her study, The Origins of Totalitarianism. In one of the pre-election debates with Bush in 2004, presidential candidate John Kerry made a telling comment. ‘It’s one thing to be certain,’ he said, ‘but you can be certain and be wrong.’ Yet Hannah Arendt stressed that for those leaders wishing to attract a mass following, the point was not be right, it was to be certain. Arendt suggested that part of the appeal of fascism was that the identification of a clearly identified enemy – while frightening – was less frightening and less disorienting than a world in which the source of insecurity remained obscure. In Germany, the fascist project involved taking those ‘enemies’ who were ‘already amongst us’, labelling them, separating them and eventually eliminating them. Significantly, Nazi propaganda tried to heighten fear of and hostility towards the Jews by playing on the fact that, very often, they could not be easily distinguished from non-Jews. Thus, dehumanising language was linked with the statement, intended to shock and frighten, that they look just like us!25 No group identified more deeply with German culture than the Jews; no national minority was more successfully assimilated. And yet this did not save the Jews. In fact, assimilation was successfully redefined by the Nazis as pollution and infection, and the implication drawn that the pollutant or infection should be eliminated. The terrorist, too, is also seen as all the more threatening because he (or she) cannot easily be identified, separated out and labelled. Very often, he is already amongst us. He may be attending our college or flying school, or sitting next to us on the tube.26 How tempting, then, to find a way of separating out the terrorist, identifying him on a map, and attacking him! At the same time, this displacement from elusive terrorist to identifiable ‘state backer’ has the (dubious) advantage of helping to keep the old doctrine of deterrence alive. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz commented: a desire for martyrdom need not eliminate all possibilities of deterring the act by threatening severe punishment. It merely requires that the severe punishment be directed against someone, or something, other than the potential martyr himself – such as his cause, or those who harbor him.27 In other words, deterrence is dead; long live deterrence! So far from [ 89 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? thinking of innovative solutions to an emerging problem, policy-makers have defined the problem of terrorism in such a way that it invites the old solution of war. The terrorist threat is very complex, with diverse and often decentralised security threats springing from complicated political and cultural processes. All the more tempting, then, to achieve some kind of cognitive certainty by lumping everything together into a neat (but ultimately meaningless) category labelled ‘evil’. One manifestation of this ‘lumping’ tendency was Bush’s notion of an ‘axis of evil’, which evoked the Second World War axis of Germany, Italy and Japan as well as implying, erroneously, that Iraq, Iran and North Korea were collaborating with each other.28 (The listing of evil enemies does not always run smoothly. Rumsfeld observed helpfully in early 2003, ‘There are four countries that will never support us, never – Cuba, Libya and Germany.’ ‘What’s the fourth?’ somebody asked. ‘I forget the fourth.’29) The tendency to ‘lump’ was again exemplified during Bush’s first pre-election debate with John Kerry, when the president blended the 9/11 attackers and the Iraqi resistance with the militants who attacked a school in Beslan, Russia: This nation of ours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate, and that’s what they are, this is a group of killers who will not only kill here but kill children in Russia, that will attack unmercifully in Iraq hoping to shake our will. We have a duty to defeat this enemy. … The best way to defeat them … is to constantly stay on the offensive. At some level, Bush really does seem to lump all his enemies together, hence in part the muddled response to 9/11 and the disconnect between problem and solution. For Bush, the profound uncertainty and disorientation arising from 9/11 demanded action. The key question was not whether anyone thought it would work but whether anyone had a better idea. Action was venerated for its own sake, and Bush told West Point military cadets in mid-2002, ‘In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action.’30 US government terrorism ‘tsar’ Richard Clarke observed that Bush felt he needed to ‘do something big’ to respond to 9/11.31 Remembering the scepticism of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Woodward reported, ‘Powell realised that his arguments begged the question of well, what would you do? He knew that Bush liked, in fact insisted on, solutions.’32 Bush, it seems, would have his mission, one way or the other. [ 90 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES

Economic insecurity and the search for certainty
In the close-fought US Presidential campaign of 2004, it seemed that the economic and social insecurity associated with the Bush regime might contribute to a Kerry victory. No such victory occurred, and perhaps Hannah Arendt provided part of the clue when she suggested that in an earlier era economic and social insecurity had fed not only into radical consciousness and protest but also into a more supine yearning for leadership, for certainty, and for the kind of ‘respect’ one may get from identifying strongly with a powerful nation or ethnic group. According to Arendt, the Nazis’ vilification of the Jews served to encapsulate and render manageable a range of fears about modernity and economic insecurity.33 The Nazis offered an explanation for economic insecurity and defeat in the Great War, and large numbers of ordinary people rushed to embrace it. In this case, the identification of a named threat seems to have stood in for other fears whose source was much harder to label or locate. Arendt saw increasingly atomised individuals in interwar Germany who faced a world they could not control or predict, a world where sources of income and self-respect were under threat. This had given rise to a ‘self-centred bitterness’,34 with anti-Semitism holding out the prospect of restoring selfrespect.35 Referring to economic disasters like unemployment and loss of savings in hyper-inflation, Arendt noted, ‘The fact that with monotonous but abstract uniformity the same fate had befallen a mass of individuals did not prevent their judging themselves in terms of individual failure or the world in terms of specific injustice’.36 She added: From the viewpoint of an organization which functions according to the principle that whoever is not included is excluded, whoever is not with me is against me, the world at large loses all nuances, differentiations and pluralistic aspects which had in any event become confusing and unbearable to the men who had lost their place and their orientation in it.37 Mark Juergensmeyer makes a related point when he notes, ‘To live in a state of war is to live in a world in which individuals know who they are, why they have suffered, [and] by whose hand they have been humiliated.’38 In Germany, economic insecurity and the resulting dissatisfactions had also apparently reinforced elites’ determination to channel resentment away from economic issues and towards foreign enemies and cultural issues: in this sense, the foreign enemy could usefully stand in for the class enemy.39 [ 91 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Of course, the United States has not faced an economic crisis on the scale of interwar Germany. Even so, the ‘them and us’ certainties projected by the Bush administration do seem to have gained in allure as a result of conditions of extreme economic and social uncertainty and inequality, misfortunes which this administration has simultaneously promoted. Meanwhile, inequality and insecurity have helped to provide the necessary manpower, as poverty has fed powerfully into military recruitment, particularly in the southern states and among racial minorities.40 The United States is a profoundly unequal society, where the richest 1 per cent hold more than 38 per cent of the national wealth and where life expectancy is lower than any other major industrialised nation.41 In 2001, a total of 9 million people in the United States were classed by the country’s agriculture department as experiencing ‘real hunger’, with fully 31 million food insecure. Poverty and inequality have been getting worse under the Bush administration as recession has deepened and welfare reform has put a time limit on social security payments – hence, in part, the rise of a peculiarly America institution, the drive-through soup-kitchen.42 In the 1990s, millions of ordinary Americans pursued the fairy-tale of rags-to-riches through the stock market, boosting share prices. Capital gains taxes were cut, adding to the windfalls. When prices started to tumble from 1999, corporate executives – helped by the deregulation of oil, energy and financial institutions – were often quick to pull out their money even as they advised ordinary shareholders and local employees to keep investing.43 Enron – a major sponsor of the Bush family – was only the most spectacular example of defrauding investors. With the Enron debacle and other corporate scandals getting increased media attention by the end of 2001, Karl Rove worried that there could be a fall-out for Bush and Cheney.44 The potential for a popular backlash was all the greater since US middle-class wealth had generally been stagnating and Americans were was increasingly taking on consumer debt they could barely manage.45 Instead of any kind of retribution or political backlash, the rich got a huge tax cut courtesy of George W. Bush.46 In 2001 the Bush administration presided over a total tax cut (income and estates tax) of $1.35 trillion (to take effect over ten years). About two years later, another big cut was pushed through.47 All this added up to a great escape for America’s elite, the kind of people Bush was addressing at a fundraising dinner when he acknowledged, ‘This is an impressive crowd – the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you [ 92 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES my base.’48 Michael Moore, who has a particular feel for the class dimensions of the ‘war on terror’, has written: Perhaps the biggest success in the War on Terror has been its ability to distract the nation from the Corporate War on Us. In the two years since the attacks of 9/11, American businesses have been on a punch-drunk rampage that has left millions of average Americans with their savings gone, their pensions looted, their hopes for a comfortable future for their families diminished or extinguished.49 Thomas Frank provides a revealing case-study of how economic insecurity has fed into support for Bush and for right-wing politicians more generally. Frank documents the devastation in the middle American state of Kansas and highlights the paradox that a state where farming has been ravaged by free-market reforms has been solidly behind George W. Bush. Significantly, some of the poorest areas of Kansas have been the strongest supporters of hard-line Republicans. At the turn of the twentieth century, a powerful radical politics had flourished in Kansas, with strong support for unions, for anti-trust legislation and for public ownership. But these old remedies today mean little to most people in the state. Indeed, Frank argues that the old hostility towards corporations has been displaced onto hostility towards a range of ‘outgroups’ and towards the forces (science, evolution, secularism, pluralism) that seem to undermine old and comfortable certainties.50 These forces are often seen as residing in the cities and in the coastal strips of the United States. Simon Schama has argued very eloquently that there are effectively ‘two nations’ in the United States: in ‘Godly Middle America’, Republicans have tended to dominate. The ‘Worldly America’ of immigrant-rich big cities and coastal areas is more outward-looking, culturally and commercially, and seen by many in Godly America as a source of corruption, impurity and promiscuity. Godly America is about the farm, the church, the barracks (places that are fenced and consecrated) and about making over space in its own image, Schama suggests, whilst Worldly America is about finding ways to share a crowded space.51 In Kansas, five or six huge agribusinesses have come to dominate the farming sector, charging high prices to the consumer. Meanwhile, farmers – having lost the combination of price subsidies and acreage set-aside schemes originating in the 1930s ‘New Deal’ – have tried to stem the drop in incomes by increasing production, pushing prices still lower. Farmers [ 93 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? getting reduced payments from agro-conglomerates have been forced to take loans from the conglomerates’ banks: assuming mortgages, suffering foreclosures and selling land to agribusinesses.52 Contributing to low wages in agribusiness has been a large-scale use of immigrant labour in the meatpacking industry and frequent relocation of plants to remote areas. Both have undermined unionised labour.53 It is not hard to see how this can feed into hostility towards ‘out-groups’, as in California, where guest workers have faced increasing deportation hearings as the economy turned sour.54 Meanwhile, US companies have become skilled at playing towns and states off against each other, always looking for the biggest tax breaks, and Thomas Frank reports from Kansas that this has helped create a major revenue crisis for local government. One town sold its state school on e-Bay. Meanwhile, megastore chain Wal-mart has badly damaged local retail businesses.55 Given the prominent idea in America that ‘everyone can make it if they only try hard enough’, there is inevitably plenty of scope for what Arendt referred to as judging oneself ‘in terms of individual failure’.56 The resulting bitterness and insecurity have fuelled what Frank calls the ‘backlash’ politics of the Republican right, a politics that favours ‘tough’ foreign policy while stressing a diverse range of mostly cultural issues. Adherents of this politics are in favour of capital punishment and against a whole range of domestic ‘threats’ such as water fluoridation, gay marriage, stem-cell research, evolutionary theory, gun-control, gangsta rap and teen drug-use. Frank points to a surge of popularity for the religious right since the 1980s and a dramatic switch of opinion on abortion in particular. Influenced by Karl Rove more than anyone, the Bush administration adopted the tactic of mobilising its domestic supporters with a clear ideological stance and good organisation.57 In her 1999 book, Stiffed, Susan Faludi considered some of the economic insecurity that also worries Frank, highlighting its corrosive effects on traditional masculine roles that centre on protecting and providing. She wrote of ‘the search for someone to blame for the premature death of masculine promise,’58 and she elaborated: What began in the 1950s as an intemperate pursuit of Communists in the government bureaucracy, in the defence industries, in labor unions, the schools, the media, and Hollywood, would eventually become a hunt for a shape-shifting enemy who could take the form of women at the office, or gays in the military, or young black men on the street, or illegal aliens on the border, and from there become a surreal ‘combat’ with nonexistent black [ 94 ]

ELUSIVE ENEMIES helicopters, one-world government, and goose-stepping UN peacekeeping thugs massing on imaginary horizons.59 The desire to find some kind of an enemy was already in place, in other words. The terrorist, perhaps the ultimate shape-shifter, stepped into an existing template. And the displacement of aggression from the terrorist to his (alleged and imagined) shadowy supporters mimicked the rapid and arbitrary pre-9/11 shifts in the definition of enemies.

Concluding remarks
Part of the function of the ‘war on terror’, then, is that it provides a sense of certainty and safety in a world where security threats do not conform to old models based on deterrence and on states, a world where economic insecurity has been exacerbated by market liberalisation and the erosion of social welfare. The search for certainty feeds not only into Bush-style fundamentalism, but also into fundamentalism within the Islamic world. As Scilla Elworthy observed in relation to the occupation of Iraq in particular, ‘In an atmosphere of chaos and humiliation, fundamentalism offers a firm philosophy which can give the impression of certainty in an uncertain world.’60 The work of a number of analysts – Girard, Gilligan and Arendt in particular – teaches us that enmity can be quickly displaced onto those who are close at hand, vulnerable and ‘available’ for victimisation. Again, this is relevant not only in relation to the ‘war on terror’ but in relation to terrorists, who face the problem that their principal enemies – presumably Bush and Blair prominent among them – are well protected, and who have generally preferred to attack more accessible targets. The lack of discrimination, precision or judicial procedure within the ‘war on terror’ opens the way for a kind of a modern-day witch-hunt, a phenomenon to which we now turn.

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5 The New Witch-Hunt: Finding and Removing the Source of Evil
If a calamity happens, how are we going to explain it? In his classic study Religion and the Decline of Magic, Keith Thomas noted that when suffering is not explicable within existing frameworks, human beings have tended to resort to magical thinking: in other words, to turn to solutions with no logical or scientific connection to the problem. The limits of medical knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example, created a powerful impulse to explain illness through ‘witchcraft’. Thomas wrote, ‘In the seventeenth century … doctors were quite unable to treat or diagnose most contemporary illnesses. … Nowhere was the inadequacy of contemporary medical technique more apparent than in its handling of the threat presented by the plague.’1 The situation was so bad that one leading British physician Thomas Sydenham, was led to remark that many poor men owed their lives to an inability to afford conventional medical treatment.2 No explanation was available for deaths that are today attributed to heart disease or cancer, and the absence of germ theory made many kinds of infection utterly inexplicable.3 Indeed, Keith Thomas notes that it was ‘generally believed that the inability of learned physicians to identify the cause of their patient’s sufferings was a strong indication of witchcraft’.4 Belief in witchcraft remains widespread in many parts of the world where alternative explanations (and medical expertise in particular) are relatively inaccessible. Moreover, even in those parts of the world where modern, scientific frameworks have gained a strong hold, these frameworks often cannot answer the question, ‘Why me? Why did I get sick at that particular time and place, and not some other person who was perhaps exposed to the same source of infection?’5 Significantly, witch-hunts have usually intensified in periods of upheaval and anxiety.6 The English Civil War of the 1640s saw a surge in accusations of witchcraft, as people sought scapegoats and explanations for widespread suffering. Ongoing civil war in Uganda has also seen a proliferation of witchcraft accusations.7 In Sierra Leone, various military factions have sometimes blamed military setbacks on witchcraft.8 More generally, Chabal and Daloz’s study of sub-Saharan Africa

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T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T suggested that the greater the disorder, the greater may be the temptation to invoke some form of magical counter-measures and perhaps to pursue a reinvigoration of occult customs.9 In the West, we often imagine that such superstitions are behind us. But Michel Foucault, for one, reminded us to seek out the ‘irrationalities’ of the present as well as the past. Today, in the face of the ‘disease’ of contemporary terrorism and the increased disorientation and anxiety after 9/11, severe shortcomings in explanatory frameworks have helped to create political and intellectual space for explanations and prescriptions that are once more leading us into the realms of the superstitious and the persecutory. In many ways, we see a return to magical thinking: the belief and hope that we can re-order the world to our liking by mere force of will or by actions that have no logical connection to the problem we are addressing. Such thinking – as Edward Evans-Pritchard showed in relation to the Azande people in Sudan – may often exist alongside more scientific frameworks. Most of us have at times adopted behaviour that we feel may make us safer but that bears little or no logical connection to actual threats: avoiding cracks in the pavement, for example. Situations of extreme fear and powerlessness seem to bring out this propensity for magical thinking, however secular or rational our normal outlook. Some of us cross our fingers when our plane hits turbulence; naturally, if the plane does not crash, we may at some level believe that our superstitious behaviour somehow ‘worked’. At the level of individual psychology, it seems to be this mechanism that reinforces obsessive compulsive disorders: we keep on doing what we do (however bizarre) because it seems to have helped in warding off whatever it is that we fear.10 The same could perhaps be said for the Cold War nuclear arms build-up: it was crazy, but somehow as long as no one pressed the button, it seemed to many to be ‘working’. The personalities of both Bush and Blair have apparently contributed to the latest wave of magical thinking. US analyst Joe Klein said of Bush, ‘The President seems to believe that wishing will make it so’.11 Novelist Doris Lessing said of Blair, ‘He believes in magic. That if you say a thing, it is true.’12 Commenting specifically on Blair and the supposed Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’, Polly Toynbee observed that the British Prime Minister: is so easily carried away by the persuasiveness of his own words and the force of his own arguments that you can hear him mesmerise himself. … There is an almost childish blurring [ 97 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? between the wish and the fact: if he says something strongly enough, his words can magic it into truth.13 While personalities have played a role, the resort to magical thinking also follows a well-worn historical path. The search for someone ‘evil’, someone who can be blamed, someone whose removal will produce a safer world, is characteristic of a long sequence of witch-hunts. This has sometimes served to get leaders ‘off the hook’. In the early modern era, plagues often prompted a witch-hunt. Anne Barstow comments, ‘By condemning women to ritual violence, the leaders escaped the Christrole that would dictate that they sacrifice themselves in order to remedy the problem’.14 Of course, it was natural that Bush, Condoleezza Rice and company came under considerable pressure to explain why they had failed to prevent the 9/11 atrocities.15 Inevitably, this added to the pressure to find some external or internal actors to blame. The disconnect between problem and solution that is manifest in the leap from 9/11 to attacking Iraq was also a characteristic of the witchhunt; and as with the collective hysteria in seventeenth-century Salem in North America,16 for example, a strain of superstitious, paranoid and quasi-religious thinking has interacted damagingly with more mundane aims (like economic gain). If magical thinking thrives on the absence of credible explanations, it is striking how existing approaches to conflict analysis leave a huge gap when it comes to explaining something like 9/11. For one thing, there has been relatively little mainstream discussion of why hostility to America might be strong in some quarters (see Chapter 9). This means that many Americans have been genuinely bemused about 9/11 and correspondingly predisposed to accept the explanation (and, by extension, the solution) that has been offered by their government. Deficiencies in conflict studies may also be part of the problem. The field has been partially appropriated by economics, as in the attempts to explain violence as a manifestation of ‘greed’ (an approach made prominent by Paul Collier at the World Bank and one to which I have also contributed). This kind of ‘rational actor’ framework has some advantages (especially in countering the notion of violence-as-chaos) but does not do a very good job with the anger that feeds violence nor with people who might want to die.17 It also runs the risk of reinforcing the blinkers of those with little sense of history and little willingness to listen to historical grievances,18 perhaps contributing to deficiencies in understanding how people became violent and the role of counter-insurgency and counter-terror in this process. [ 98 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’ framework, which at least addresses some cultural dimensions of conflict, is nevertheless very much a part of the problem. In particular, it assumes rather than explains cultural antipathies, and, in so doing, tends to reinforce them. The same goes for the still-common (and related) explanation of war as ‘ethnic’ or ‘tribal’. Meanwhile, ‘politics’ has been too often appropriated by a form of ‘political science’ that relies heavily on the deployment of numbers, often trampling marginal voices in an army of figures. Even humanrights reports, which can clearly play a very constructive role, can also contribute to a culture that tends simply to condemn violence rather than seeking to understand it: a culture of naming, blaming and shaming. Words like ‘brutal’ and ‘inhumane’ – though part of an attempt to convey the severity of violence – routinely take violence away from the sphere of the human and the explicable, whilst tending to dehumanise the perpetrators and increasing the shame that can fuel atrocity (see discussion of James Gilligan in Chapter 9). Perhaps the greatest problems lie with the discipline most often invoked to explain major international conflicts: namely, international relations. The end of the Cold War brought three major problems for the discipline. The first was the failure to predict this turn of events; in particular the demise of Communism in the Soviet Union – the single biggest event in the field – came as a near-total surprise.19 Second, the predominance of civil wars as the Cold War thawed created major problems for a discipline emphasising relationships between states. Third, the rise of terrorism as the major perceived threat at the turn of the twenty-first century represented the ascendance of an activity in which non-state actors have been critical. These problems all highlighted the importance of areas in which international relations has traditionally been weak: understanding the relationship between states and civil society, understanding the values and priorities of ordinary people and understanding the nature of decentralised violence.20 As Mark Duffield has observed, Western policy-makers have switched from a centralised enemy (the Soviet Union) to a decentralised one; yet state-based strategies have proved persistent.21 It seems significant that some key actors in Bush’s ‘war on terror’, like Rumsfeld, were groomed under Reagan. The emphasis on state-based solutions and on hierarchies also fits with the addiction to ‘war’ as a solution for security problems. Whatever the limitations of existing frameworks for understanding violence, magical thinking cannot afford to advertise itself as such. The old magical cures and beliefs studied by Keith Thomas generally wrapped themselves in some kind of religious or scientific plausibility. [ 99 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? And today, while there may again be no logical connection between the problem and the favoured solution, this disconnect is obscured by many means, both subtle and unsubtle. Whether the witch-hunt is old or new, we need to understand how magical and irrational beliefs are made to seem somehow rational and legitimate, how, in Foucault’s terms, they are ‘made to function as true’. The aim in a witch-hunt has been not simply to eliminate some named and accessible evil; it has also been to generate legitimacy for this dubious activity. Past experience suggests that where evidence in a witch-hunt was lacking, the persecutors attempted to legitimise their activities by getting the accused to condemn themselves: one possible source of ‘proof’ has been a confession, and the greater the suspicion that an accusation is not well-founded, the more a repressive system seems to require a confession to legitimise it. In witch-hunts, a woman accused of witchcraft could often save herself only by ‘admitting’ she was a witch. Keith Thomas said of suspected witches in pre-modern Europe, ‘If the witch confessed, that settled the issue; if she refused to do so, she was adding perjury to her other sins.’22 Confessions have also been important when witch-hunts have taken the form of mass persecution by totalitarian regimes. As Hannah Arendt noted, confessions were much favoured in the Soviet system as a way of legitimising the mass persecution of dissidents.23 Today, our self-appointed witch-finder generals – mostly besuited rather than in uniform – presume to locate the contemporary source of evil and set out to provide the world with ‘proof’. At the individual level, torture has again been routinely used to extract information that might incriminate the suspect or third parties.24 While torture was used during the Cold War (for example, in Vietnam), a new shamelessness has attached to the practice, legitimized by new definitions and laws.25 Bush made clear that Saddam’s only way to avoid war was to give a ‘full and complete’ declaration of the illicit weapons of mass destruction, which he did not in fact possess. UN weapons inspector Hans Blix himself compared the aborted weapons inspection in Iraq to a witchhunt; and when US officials rejected the idea that Iraq could meet specified ‘benchmarks’ so as to show willingness to co-operate with inspectors and disarm (a path favoured by Germany and Russia and being considered by the UK), Blix understood the US position to be, ‘The witches exist; you are appointed to deal with these witches; testing whether there are witches is only a dilution of the witch hunt.’26 John Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for Non-proliferation, said that the necessary ‘dramatic change’ in Iraq’s position on weapons of mass [ 100 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T destruction (WMD) ‘would have necessitated that it admit openly, not under pressure, that it had and has WMD and WMD programs’.27 Since pressure does not come much more intense than the threat of war, this option was clearly not available, even if Iraq had been willing to ‘admit’ to WMD that it did not have. A UK proposal setting out some benchmarks (against which Iraq’s disarmament performance could be measured) also required Saddam to confess that Iraq had in the past tried to conceal its weapons of mass destruction (which were said to include, as with any self-respecting witch, an array of noxious chemicals).28 Blix commented, ‘Requiring humiliation, I thought, would be a sure way of getting the emperor of Mesopotamia to reject the idea of a declaration. Perhaps this was the intention?’29 It is only fair to point out that the belief that Iraq had some WMD was quite widely shared, including by the French and German governments, reflecting genuine gaps in information as well, perhaps, as a degree of collective hysteria or ‘group-think’. But significantly not everyone drew the same policy conclusions from their suspicions. Possession of WMD does not in itself constitute a threat to the United States, and means were in place for intrusive inspections to deal with any that did exist in Iraq.30 As war with Iraq loomed, the French in particular pressed for two separate UN resolutions: the first would be for a new round of inspections; then, if there was any serious breach, that would be debated by the Security Council, which would then need to pass a second resolution if war was eventually to be authorised. However, in mid-to-late 2002 Secretary of State Powell thought VicePresident Cheney was terrified that the diplomatic route to the Iraq weapons crisis might head off war.31 Powell noted that Cheney had ‘the fever’ – an ‘unhealthy fixation’ with nailing the connection between alQaida and Iraq.32 In October 2002, the head of the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, told his employees that given the weather in Iraq and the requirement that US forces would have to wear chemical protective gear (itself necessitated, in a further circularity, by the presumed WMD), ‘You can’t start a war in Iraq later than March. You’ve got to do it in January, February or March.’ Cheney insisted that after a UN resolution for a new round of inspections, Saddam should have to submit a declaration of all his WMD. Bob Woodward comments, ‘It was designed more or less as a trap for Saddam. He would claim he had no WMD and that lie would be grounds for war. Or Saddam would confess he had WMD, proving he had lied for 12 years.’33 The point, clearly, was not to find a way to avoid war but to find a way to go to war. [ 101 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? As the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ failed to materialise, there was much talk of Saddam concealing them, destroying them or shipping them abroad. The US and UK governments argued that Saddam may have destroyed his own weapons on the eve of war.34 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi observed, ‘If I was in the position of President Saddam Hussein, I would have made these arms vanish, either by destroying them or sending them out of the country’.35 Keith Thomas commented on more ancient witch-hunts, ‘If she were searched for the Devil’s mark, her body was certain to offer some suitable mole or excrescence; if not, then she must have cut it off, or perhaps concealed it by magic; it was known that these marks could mysteriously come and go’.36 Does that ring any bells in Downing Street, the White House or the Palazzo Chigi? Magical thinking has been invoked at least three times. First, there is a mystical focus on ill-will, which is presumed to be dangerous in itself. Alarmingly, the contemporary US official discourse on terrorism, and on the pre-emption of threats more generally, includes the presumption that you can know who is intending to do you harm and, more contentiously still, that you can address major (past) setbacks like 9/11 by linking them to evil intentions, notably, the evil intentions of a Saddam Hussein. This is in line with the persecution of witches (continuing in many parts of the world), where already occurring setbacks have habitually been attributed to evil intentions. Second, there has been a failure to discern – or even interest oneself in – causal relationships lying beyond an egocentric universe: thus, Iraq and al-Qaida can be assumed to be in league because it is convenient to do so, and because they are said to have a shared hostility to the United States; anti-Americanism is frequently seen as a normal or natural state of affairs (‘they hate us and envy us’), marginalising the possibility that many people’s main grievance (before the violent counter-terror gathered steam) has been with their own government; and, more generally, the need for evidence on cause and effect has been routinely denigrated (see Chapters 6 and 7). A third element of magical thinking has been that eliminating designated evil individuals will somehow miraculously solve complex social and political problems; the causal process by which terrorists are made and replaced has not been taken seriously. What this all amounts to is a peculiarly doubleedged egotism: one minute, ‘we’ (meaning, principally, the United States) are at the centre of a world which ‘will never be the same again’ and in which everybody hates/envies/wants-to-be us; the next minute, awareness of self seems to disappear and almost no account is taken of the effects that US-led actions will have in enraging others. [ 102 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T The focus on evil intentions, of course, raises the question of who gives themselves the right to presume to know these thoughts and intentions. To judge evil intentions you may need access to some secret occult powers, and it is here that the mystique of ‘secret intelligence’ proved so useful in lending spurious legitimacy to the witch-hunt. Richard Norton-Taylor comments, ‘It seems that in his determination to go to war, Mr Blair believed his trump card would be the publication of “secret intelligence”, a kind of exotic substance that, he hoped, when released, would convince even the most sceptical’. 37 We now know just how flawed and dishonest this approach was. In any case, the occult is not always a source of wisdom: as former UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd said, ‘There is nothing particularly truthful about a report simply because it is a secret one. People sometimes get excited because a report is secret and they think that therefore it has some particular validity. It is not always so in my experience.’38 The focus on pre-emption and on the intentions of Saddam and others also prompts comparison with George Orwell’s Nineteen EightyFour and his imaginary regime’s prohibition of ‘thought-crimes’. As in Orwell’s novel, you can today be punished for what you thought or intended or are presumed to have intended, rather than for what you have actually done.39 During the Cold War, whilst the United States flirted with the idea of a ‘first strike’, the dominant idea was that nuclear weapons would be used only if there was an attack (and that their function lay in deterring an attack). Current policy is based on the idea of pre-emptive attacks, and this even includes the possibility that nuclear weapons will be used against non-nuclear powers. Saddam had an appalling human-rights record: my own research in northern Iraq was enough to tell me that.40 However, Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds in 1988 did not prompt any significant reaction by the West. When violence is justified in terms of what someone is about to do, a profoundly dangerous step has been taken. Indeed, propaganda about ‘What they are about to do to us’ is a hallmark of regimes preparing for genocide: the destruction of a social group (the Jews in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe, the Tutsis in Rwanda) can arguably only be achieved if large numbers of people can be convinced that this group is about to destroy them.41 The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews can itself be seen as a twentiethcentury witch-hunt, whose magical solution for Germany’s ills proved deeply alluring and even convincing despite lacking any basis in reality. The business of isolating the evil ones and eliminating them has not only informed the fascist project; it has also featured prominently in the [ 103 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? paranoid Communism that Solzhenitsyn suffered and that led him to warn against trying to isolate and destroy the ‘evil people’. Past experience suggests that where a person is presumed to intend you harm, this may be related to your own bad conscience in relation to that person.42 Keith Thomas links many witchcraft accusations with prior refusal of charity requested by the accused. For example, in England: It was no accident that Ruth Osborne, who was lynched for witchcraft by a Hertfordshire mob in 1751, had been previously refused buttermilk by the farmer whose subsequent mysterious illness provoked the accusation against her. The majority of other informal witch accusations recorded in the eighteenth, nineteenth and even twentieth centuries conform to the same old special pattern of charity evaded, followed by misfortune incurred.43 Could it be that an element of bad conscience has similarly fed into a perception of evil Iraqi intentions towards the West and thereby to Western hostility towards Iraq? What more massive refusal of assistance could there be than the international sanctions which killed perhaps 500,000 children in Iraq in the 1990s, sanctions that those responsible for children’s welfare had repeatedly tried to get lifted? Of course, these deaths could be blamed on Saddam’s regime, which did indeed share the responsibility.44 Even so, the logic, at one level, is impeccable: since we have been harming them, we may presume that they intend to harm us; and when harm does happen to us (9/11), who then are we going to blame?45 Afghanistan, too, may have been a source of bad conscience (see Chapter 9). Related to all this is the possibility that persecution reflects assumed envy. Research on German witchhunts in particular suggests that old women were typically the targets and were frequently assumed to harbour ill-will as a result of envy towards younger and still-fertile women.46 It is of course possible to get too carried away with such comparisons; but it is striking how dominant has been the discourse that terrorists attack because of the envy they feel for Western lifestyles and for Western freedom in particular.47 As early as 1948, the influential US State Department analyst George Kennan wrote a memo making clear that America’s disproportionate wealth would attract ‘envy and resentment’ (and that the real task was to maintain economic disparities by dispensing ‘with all sentimentality and day-dreaming’).48 Some element of guilt about extreme global [ 104 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T inequality may be feeding today’s variants of this discourse: given the scarcity of understanding about terrorism and its causes, presumed envy steps in readily as both explanation for misfortune and (implicit) justification for persecutory violence. Also notable in recent decades, as in a witch-hunt against the elderly or women or any isolated individual, has been the weakness of those who are claimed to embody the greatest threat; as Arundhati Roy was prompted to observe by the 2003 attack on Iraq, ‘We once again witnessed the paranoia that a starved, bombed, besieged country was about to annihilate almighty America. (Iraq was only the latest in a succession of countries – earlier there was Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, Grenada, Panama)’.49 Of course, weakness has the very practical advantage that the target cannot easily hit back. One is reminded that during the Cold War, the two superpower governments – who seemed to find the perpetuation of (limited) conflict to be both politically and economically useful – were concerned to avoid direct (and suicidal) military confrontation with each other, but nevertheless created havoc among many less powerful nations through proxy wars. Neither then nor today do we see US attacks on Moscow on the grounds that the Russians have ‘weapons of mass destruction’, for obvious reasons. Instead, we have a bully’s focus on easy targets who cannot easily hit back. Drawing on Rene Girard, British anthropologist Tim Allen has suggested, controversially, that witch-hunts may, in some circumstances, serve some kind of positive function in focusing community hostilities onto a single individual and helping a society escape a cycle of revenge.50 It is an interesting idea, and Girard himself stated, ‘the rites of sacrifice serve to polarize the community’s aggressive impulses and redirect them toward victims that may be actual or putative, animate or inanimate, but that are always incapable of propagating further vengeance’.51 Whether we agree that this is in any way ‘functional’ for society, Girard’s reflections on the law are worth noting: He who exacts his own vengeance is said to ‘take the law into his own hands’. There is no difference of principle between private and public vengeance, but on the social level, the difference is enormous. Under the public system, an act of vengeance is no longer avenged; the process is terminated, the danger of escalation averted.52 Following this logic, in circumstances where there is some kind of generalised consent to a war (to a degree, the 1991 Gulf War), the potential for [ 105 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? fuelling future violence will be far less than where the war is seen as an act of private vengeance (Iraq 2003), which may itself be revenged. Evidence from witch-hunts past and present suggests that they operate within closed systems of thought that make them difficult to challenge. When the killing or banishment of a witch does not eliminate a particular problem, the conclusion is usually not that the witch-hunt was ill-conceived but that more witches must be found. Similarly, when the persecution of a larger group runs into problems or proves counterproductive, a common response has been to redouble one’s efforts, to intensify the witch-hunt. This is well mapped by Robert Robins and Jerrold Post in their book, Political Paranoia, notably in relation to purges by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.53 We can see hints of this impulse when terror attacks have occurred in various countries in the wake of the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq invasions. Such terror bombings indicate, at the very least, that the punitive action has not eliminated the problem. But the conclusion in official circles is typically not that the counter-terror was ill-conceived or ineffective; rather, it is that we must reinforce the existing strategy and perhaps widen the pursuit of culprits. Time will tell whether Iraq’s fellow members in the ‘axis of evil’ – Iran and North Korea – are also to be attacked in the name of prevention. Significantly, the ‘war on terror’ was not the first time that international interventions were based on the (comforting) belief that eliminating evil individuals would provide the key to safety. In the early 1990s, US attempts to relieve famine in Somalia foundered on a complex war whose political and economic agendas were quickly boiled down by the US government to the alleged ‘evil’ of one General Mohamed Aideed. Aideed was the subject of the US government’s ‘most wanted’ posters and the target of a botched US raid in 1993 that led to the deaths of as many as 1,000 Somalis in the fire fight. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the complex problems of West Africa were often neatly and dangerously simplified into the ‘evil’ of Liberian President Charles Taylor – a profoundly destructive force, to be sure, but hardly the only problem in a region where corruption and weak states have repeatedly fed into brutal rebellion and equally brutal counter-insurgency. In relation to Liberia, Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs, said in mid-2003, ‘Some on the Security Council seem to believe regime change is desirable but lack any vision of what happens once Taylor is gone’.54 More recently, the United States focused a lot of hopes in the Middle East on removing Yasser Arafat, but the International Crisis [ 106 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T Group (ICG) noted wisely, ‘Defects in Palestinian democracy did not cause the Israeli–Palestine conflict any more than addressing them will resolve it’.55 The personification of evil has long been a tempting and perilous solution to complexity.

Devils and details: the neglect of reconstruction
The Bush administration has persistently proved more interested in devils than details, more concerned with removing the evil ones than with the painstaking business of reconstruction. Indeed, putting too much faith in the elimination of evil individuals has encouraged great naivety in relation to what happens next. Like the Communists and Karl Marx himself, who analysed the shortcomings of capitalism without saying much about its replacement, today’s neo-imperialists have rarely considered the nature of the state after the bad guys have been banished. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge observe, ‘There was a straightforward contradiction between the pessimism of the neocons’ diagnosis (the world is a much more dangerous place than you think) and the optimism of their trust in transformation.’56 It is the focus on evil leaders that largely explains this contradiction. With all the focus on bin Laden and the Taliban, reconstruction in Afghanistan was apparently little more than an afterthought. Bob Woodward reported on a US National Security Council meeting on 4 October 2001, three days before Afghanistan was attacked: As for post-Taliban Afghanistan, [Paul] Wolfowitz and [Condoleezza] Rice talked about getting other countries to put up money for rebuilding. ‘Who will run the country?’ Bush asked. We should have addressed that, Rice thought. Her most awful moments were when the president thought of something that the principals, particularly she, should have anticipated. No one had a real answer, but Rice was beginning to understand that that was the critical question. Where were they headed?57 As usual, Woodward seems at least half blind to the outrageous nature of the conversations he is documenting. (This may help to explain how he was able to get the invaluable information in the first place, and indeed the Bush administration seemed generally happy with his work.)58 In the event, reconstruction was under-funded, and impeded by drastically falling media coverage. The collapse of the Taliban [ 107 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? unleashed centrifugal forces and gave a boost to warlordism, ethnic politics, banditry and opium production.59 The US government was reluctant to provide or allow peacekeeping troops, fearing they might become targets or restrict US freedom of action against the Taliban and al-Qaida.60 As a detailed and informative study for the Project on Defense Alternatives (based in Cambridge, Massachusetts) observed, ‘The rush into a large and ambitious military operation precluded making adequate arrangements for the post-war political environment and humanitarian needs.’61 Neglect of reconstruction created anger at what some Afghans called ‘a second desertion’ by the West, after the earlier abandonment when the Soviets were defeated. James Dobbins, who was Bush’s special envoy for Afghanistan and its first representative in liberated Kabul, said the outcome in Afghanistan was shaped by the US government decision to avoid peacekeeping activities, to oppose anyone else playing this role outside Kabul, and to avoid engaging in counter-narcotics activities.62 The aim of the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan was to hunt down the Taliban and al-Qaida, not to provide security for the Afghan people.63 Richard Haass, the Director of Policy Planning for the State Department, said in late December 2001, ‘We don’t want to get involved in the intrusive nation-building which would be resented by Afghans or resisted by them ultimately.’64 (One might think that bombing would also be ‘intrusive’, but it went ahead nonetheless.) As war with Iraq loomed closer, another factor impeding the security presence in Afghanistan was the practice of holding back troops for use in Iraq.65 The ousting of the Taliban in Afghanistan was followed by a USapproved ‘Transitional Administration’, depending heavily on the Tajik and Uzbek ethnic minorities. This produced a sense of exclusion among many Pashtun in the south, creating a fertile climate in which the Taliban, al-Qaida elements and warlords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were able to operate.66 Like the Iraqi Army in 1993, the Taliban disappeared quickly but resurfaced to create problems later. An April 2003 report by British aid agencies working in Afghanistan observed: The indications are that the Taliban and other radical elements have succeeded in their efforts to undermine the reconstruction process in the south of the country, at least, with the withdrawal of the aid community from effective programming in that area. This inevitably risks further alienating the Pushtun population from the transitional government and raises questions about the [ 108 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T future integrity of Afghanistan as a nation state. The US-led coalition forces appear powerless to reverse this trend and there are strong indications that they may be reinforcing it.67 Most of the power in President Hamid Karzai’s US-approved government seemed to rest with former Northern Alliance commanders – like the Tajik defence minister Mohammed Fahim, who opposed admitting other ethnic groups to his army. Karzai used aid money to try to buy the support of regional warlords, while the warlords – and not central government – benefited from taxing trade routes.68 This gave rise to some pretty strange bedfellows for the West, as Isabel Hilton observed: The British have been shipping cash to Hazrat Ali, the head of Afghanistan’s eastern military command and the warlord of Nangahar, who worked with the US at Tora Bora. His men specialize in arresting people on the pretext that they are Taliban supporters and torturing them until their families pay up.69 A consortium of British aid agencies noted in April 2003, ‘Resentment may also be generated over the support given by the US-led coalition forces to particular local power holders whose power base might otherwise be tenuous’.70 Certainly, many abuses have been carried out by armed militia, regional commanders and police.71 Under Karzai, the authority of the central government did not extend much beyond the capital, Kabul. The reach and size of the new Afghan Army grew only slowly.72 The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), with no US troops, was restricted to the capital.73 One major impediment seems to have been that US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld, busy planning the war with Iraq, did not want men tied down in peacekeeping.74 In Iraq, as in Afghanistan, destruction was more carefully planned than reconstruction. In Iraq, as in Afghanistan, the failure to ensure essential services under a new regime added force to insurgency. Despite promises of massive assistance made before the war,75 the United States was reluctant to embrace the intellectual and financial challenge of Iraqi reconstruction, but also unwilling to allow a major role for the UN or the European Union. As Giles Foden put it in mid2003, ‘the careless approach to civil administration and humanitarian relief in post-war Iraq has compounded the impression that opposing evil does not, for Bush and his cohorts, mean the same thing as doing [ 109 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? good’.76 Blair also gave little sign of having thought through Iraqis’ reception for the invasion/occupation.77 Post-Saddam Iraq has paid heavily for the tendency to reduce every problem to the evil of Saddam and his fellow Ba’athists. The hierarchical organisation that is the US military has tended to imagine the enemy in its own image, that is, as a hierarchical organisation which will be fatally weakened by the elimination of key leaders. In late 1993, military strategist Jon Arquilla said of the hunt for Saddam in Iraq, ‘We are a hierarchy and we like to fight hierarchies. We think if we cut off the head, we can end this.’78 Saddam’s removal was supplemented by the rapid dismantling of the Ba’athist state: again, an identifiable body of apparently evil individuals whose removal would ostensibly make everyone safer. In effect, Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer fired the entire senior civil service,79 and up to 30,000 Ba’ath Party officials were automatically excluded from office (a policy later partially reversed).80 Even more dangerously, an army of some 400,000 Iraqi soldiers was demobilised without any re-employment programme or pensions. While these state structures had certainly proved profoundly abusive, attempting to eliminate them overnight had the effect of compounding insecurity, starting with widespread looting in the immediate aftermath of the US-led attack. Dismantling an entire state in a matter of weeks, though it might fit neatly with a neo-liberal agenda as well as with the impulse to demonise a finite group of enemies, represents a pretty dangerous enterprise. (The flooding of Louisiana in 2005, and information on the previous neglect of levees, of emergency planning and the free-for-all building on wetlands were soon to remind Americans, in a manner more damaging for Bush, of the dangers of a Republican ideology that seemed to have little faith even in the idea of government.81) In Iraq, the dangers from angry ex-officials themselves were compounded when the damage to services gave a boost to insurgency and, in particular, the Shi’ite religious activism that so worried the United States. As the International Crisis Group (ICG) observed: In the immediate aftermath of the war, the virtual absence of an effective central authority in a society in which 60 per cent of the population relied on the state for its daily bread prompted many who might not otherwise have done so to turn to the clergy for help. Shi’ite activists provided welfare services, health care and law and order. Without an effective police force, vigilantes designated by religious leaders patrolled the streets and administered hospitals and universities.82 [ 110 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T Moqtada al-Sadr and his ‘Mahdi army’ were guarding factories from looters (and even helping to direct traffic) until Bremer provoked Sadr into armed conflict by shutting his newspaper and arresting and killing his deputies.83 Plentiful warnings on the consequences of wholesale sackings were ignored. Although the Pentagon tended to favour a purge of those tainted by the Ba’ath Party and Saddam, the US State Department wanted to keep the government apparatus largely intact, at least until elections could be held.84 The State Department also predicted the widespread looting which duly occurred.85 At the end of May 2003, Ramiro Lopes de Silva, the UN’s most senior humanitarian official in Iraq, warned that the sudden decision to demobilise a massive army without any re-employment or pensions could generate a ‘low intensity conflict’ in the countryside, particularly given the tightened security in the capital.86 These sackings did indeed prove a significant factor in the post-occupation insurgency. An American special forces officer stationed in Baghdad said that after the dissolution of the Army, ‘I had my guys coming up to me and saying, “Does Bremer realize that there are four hundred thousand of these guys out there and they all have guns?” So did these decisions contribute to the insurgency? Unequivocally, yes.’87 Iraq’s police force was another problem, as was the failure to deal with unemployment. Andrew Balthazor, for ten months the senior intelligence officer for part of Baghdad, noted in August 2004 that the former Iraqi police had been engaged far too late in the reconstruction, that unemployment had foolishly not been made a priority and that ‘idle hands are dangerous’.88 The working assumption of the US government in particular has been that if you remove Saddam (the heart of the problem), a democracy would naturally grow up in its place. But Saddam loyalists proved a significant force and were joined by nationalists driven by desire for independence and security, and by Islamists wanting to return political Islam to Iraq.89 There are reasons why democracy was absent in Iraq through the twentieth century (not least the artificiality of colonial borders and the artificially bolstered power of Sunni allies), and many of these reasons persist. Removing a totalitarian regime creates a vacuum, to be sure; democracy may have a chance, but it is only one of the political systems which could fill that vacuum. A truly democratic Iraq, moreover, could eventually put in power the kind of Islamist government that the West doesn’t like (and helped forestall in Algeria). Part of the problem with the United States’s aggressive [ 111 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? ‘democratisation’ programme has been the marginalisation of specialists.90 In 2002, the US Defense Department announced the closing of the Army’s Peacekeeping Institute (PKI), the only government agency devoted to studying how to get peace in failed states or post-conflict situations.91 In April 2003, the Observer quoted a senior former diplomat in Baghdad as saying, ‘There are no serious Arabists left in the [US] government now; only those who have been telling the White House what it wants to hear. The dragons have taken over.’92 When it came to decisions by the US authority in Iraq, State Department Arab specialists were marginalised while most decisions were made by Pentagon appointees reporting to Rumsfeld.93 The Pentagon was warned by US diplomats, soldiers and peacekeeping experts not only that post-war chaos in Iraq was likely but that a substantial military police force would be needed to control it. Yet, once again, these warnings were ignored. This was despite precedents like the US invasion of Panama in 1989, when much of the damage to Panama City occurred after combat operations were over.94 Apart from the crude attempt to dismantle the Iraqi state, another key problem was the corruption and inefficiency within the external reconstruction effort itself. By the time the occupation was officially declared ‘over’ in mid-2004, the US government had spent only 2 per cent of the $18.4 billion obtained from Congress for the reconstruction of Iraq, a White House budget office report revealed. The US government blamed insecurity.95 Iraqi oil revenues also went missing. A special report to the US Congress found that lack of adequate controls and transparency meant, ‘there was no assurance that the funds [some 8.8 billion dollars out of a total reconstruction fund of 20 billion raised from oil revenues under the occupation] were used for the purposes mandated by the UN Security Council’.96 Halliburton had won key ‘no bid’ contracts, and US senior intelligence officer Andrew Balthazor said that the use of no-bid contractors made things worse ‘by driving out or discouraging some international and non-US NGOs who were working the same areas that contractors like Bechtel were hired to fix’.97 Hiring the cheap labour of rural Iraqis had annoyed urban unemployed Iraqis and Balthazor observed, further: CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] was as much our enemy over there as the people planting roadside bombs and shooting weapons at us. Several times they put US profit or CPA control as more important than security for either Iraqis or the US troops over there. CPA was mostly staffed by young [ 112 ]

T H E N E W W I T C H -H U N T Republicans who want to put CPA/Iraq on their resume so they won’t be left out of the Party.98 In a detailed review of the CPA in September 2004, Peter Galbraith noted that, ‘Republican political connections counted for far more than professional competence, relevant international experience, or knowledge of Iraq.’99 Experienced professionals had sometimes been replaced by Republican political cronies. (This phenomenon also appears to have helped to undermine the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the run-up to the US Hurricane Katrina disaster; as Paul Krugman points out, if you don’t believe government can do any good, why not help your friends to a share of the pie?100) In Iraq, the slow and misdirected US spending through the CPA (labelled by some Iraqis as ‘Cannot Provide Anything’) had left unemployment at around 50 per cent,101 fuelling Iraqi bitterness. The marginalisation of popular Shi’ite politicians by the CPA had made it easier for Moqtada al-Sadr to portray the transitional government as an instrument of American occupation. Iraq’s Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi responded as alSadr had hoped, authorising US Marines to attack Shi’ite insurgents in Najaf’s holy centre, leaving hundreds dead and producing new recruits for al-Sadr. Meanwhile, the CPA Iraqi Army was not, for the most part, a serious force. An exception was the 36th Iraqi National Guard battalion (with its mostly Kurdish militiamen), which was used against Fallujah and Najaf, thereby intensifying Shi’ite–Kurdish tensions.102

Concluding remarks
The focus on removing identifiable evil individuals has led, then, to a neglect of complex reconstruction issues, and has fed into solutions that have little or no connection to the problems posed by terrorism, with accessibility favoured over logic. Significantly, the witch-hunt reflex seems almost infinitely extendable. For one thing, the identification of foreign enemies has usually gone hand-in-hand with the identification of some ‘fifth column’ at home, a phenomenon explored in Chapter 9. Moreover, as we have seen, political persecution has flourished in a wide range of countries signed up to the ‘war on terror’. Witch-hunts may also be useful in attempts to accommodate revealed abuses by ‘one’s own side’. In responding to Abu Ghraib (just as in the original ‘war on terror’), it has proved convenient to invoke the idea that bad things are the responsibility of a few ‘evil individuals’,

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E N D L E S S WA R ? a few ‘bad apples’. For example, Bush was anxious to deny that this torture reflected anything like official policy or that it was mirrored by abuses in Cuba and Afghanistan.103 In the UK the Sun newspaper was happy to label Lynndie England with the banner headline ‘Witch!’.104 In reality, the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not just individual acts of sadism by a few ‘evil’ individuals; they were also the products of fear, racism and signals from the top. Bush decided on 7 February 2002 that the protection of the Geneva Convention would be withheld both from al-Qaida and the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a particular problem given the subsequent efforts to bring Guantanamo techniques to Abu Ghraib.105 Justice Department and Defense Department lawyers argued that Americans could torture prisoners and avoid criminal charges.106 Rumsfeld in December 2003 approved interrogation techniques including the use of hoods, the removal of clothing and the ‘use of detainees’ individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress’.107 (He rescinded this, reportedly after vigorous opposition from Navy lawyers.) Tellingly, the idea that evil can be physically eliminated has characterised the response to Abu Ghraib as well as the ‘war on terror’: Bush’s principal response to Abu Ghraib was to suggest tearing the prison down (though he neglected to provide for it in his budget).108 While the emphasis on ‘a few evil individuals’ characterises the response both to abuses by the enemy and to abuses by one’s own side, there has been a marked difference in terms of the degree to which the violence is seen as decentralised. Specifically, alongside the exaggeration of the decentralisation of violence in one’s own operations (‘there were no orders to abuse’), there has existed a pretty systematic underestimation of the degree to which the enemy’s violence is decentralised. The dangers here are two-fold: first, that this way of thinking and talking perpetuates abuses by one’s own side; and, second, that it reinforces counterproductive strategies based on eliminating a few key ‘evil’ individuals or regimes.

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6 The Retreat from Evidence-Based Thinking
In August 2004, the London-based Economist magazine noted, ‘Mr Bush has got the big foreign-policy decisions right … on the evidence that presented itself at the time, he rightly decided to invade Iraq’.1 But evidence did not simply ‘present itself’: it was sought out, interpreted, highlighted, distorted and sometimes ignored.2 It is worth examining in more detail the extraordinary approach of the Bush administration to ‘evidence’, notably in relation to Iraq. A conventional approach to crime involves searching for evidence about who was responsible, establishing proof of responsibility and then punishing those found guilty. But this procedure was set aside in relation to the heinous crimes of 9/11. First, the choice of Iraq as a target to a large extent preceded 9/11: in effect, the guilt preceded the crime. Second, there was (as noted) no evidence linking Iraq with 9/11. Third, there was in the George W. Bush administration a surprisingly explicit rejection of the need for evidence or proof.3 While deception of the public is certainly an important part of the story, what is less well documented is the extent to which key policymakers adopted (and sometimes openly expressed) the idea that you do not need evidence on which to base something as serious (and incendiary) as a war. Donald Rumsfeld came close to acknowledging this with his statement that, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of weapons of mass destruction’.4 In general, evidence became something you marshalled (and distorted) to support a position you had already adopted, and remarkably little shame seemed to attach to this procedure. At least in terms of the expressed justifications for war like WMD and links to al-Qaida, the wagers of the ‘war on terror’ have been proceeding on a no-need-to-know basis. The Bush administration’s approach to security was presaged in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War in the form of a draft document, written by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby and leaked in spring 1992. Wolfowitz and Libby were analysts at the Pentagon at the time, with Dick Cheney as their boss. The paper called for US pre-eminence over Eurasia (Europe and Asia) by preventing the rise of any potentially hostile power, and it advocated a policy of pre-emption against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.5 In 1997, a [ 115 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? group of conservative thinkers headed by William Kristol set up the Project for the New American Century, with a ‘statement of principles’ that called for new defence spending and stressed that America must meet any challenges to its pre-eminence. Among the signatories were Bush’s brother Jeb, Dick Cheney and Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby.6 We now know that there was a longstanding – and more specific – neo-con plan to topple Saddam7 (though Bush’s team had not bothered to inform the electorate in the run-up to the 2000 elections). In January 1998, the Project for a New American Century group organised a ‘letter to President Clinton on Iraq’, urging the president to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Additional signatories included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, who became deputy to Colin Powell at the State Department, and Richard Perle, later chair of the Defense Policy Board.8 With the election of George W. Bush, Cheney became Vice-President, Wolfowitz was appointed as Deputy Defense Secretary and Libby as Cheney’s chief of staff and national security adviser.9 George W. Bush’s election – and even more so 9/11 itself – proved a significant opportunity for a group of men who had been powerful under Reagan but then largely marginalised under Bush senior and Clinton.10 Rumsfeld had been special envoy to Iraq under Reagan and Defense Secretary under Ford in 1975–77, when he had played on fears of burgeoning Soviet power to increase the power of the military at the expense of the CIA. He returned to the Pentagon in January 2001 as Defense Secretary. One might expect that foreign policy officials would accumulate evidence on possible threats, and then choose an appropriate response. But Iraq was a case where several senior US officials seem first to have decided on the threat and then to have gathered evidence to fit their theory. Significantly, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a priority for Bush and his inner circle from the beginning of his administration.11 He also noted that discussions focused on how to get rid of Saddam and not why, or even why now.12 In the case of Iraq, there was nothing new in the allegations that it had weapons of mass destruction: Iraq’s weapons programme had been contained for a decade (after the West had played a key role in building up this weapons industry).13 Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote that according to a Pentagon adviser who worked with the Pentagon’s ‘Office of Special Plans’: Special Plans was created [in the wake of 9/11] in order to find evidence of what [Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz [ 116 ]

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and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true – that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States.14 (Alarmingly, the Office of Special Plans was later to become involved in co-ordinating information on the threat from Iran.15) In the UK, the Office of Special Plans may have found a counterpart in ‘Operation Rockingham’, established by the Defence Intelligence Staff within the Ministry of Defence in 1991 and apparently involved later in ‘cherry picking’ intelligence that would prove an active Iraqi WMD programme.16 In March 2001, Richard Perle, then chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, told a Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, adding: How far he’s gone on the nuclear-weapons side I don’t think we really know. My guess is it’s further than we think. It’s always further than we think, because we limit ourselves, as we think about this, to what we’re able to prove and demonstrate.17 This statement is not entirely without logic: in a fast-moving world it is quite possible that some states have weapons that others don’t know about. But this approach is nonetheless deeply dangerous. It threatens to usher in a world where ‘pre-emptive’ war can be launched on a hunch. Asked about the evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida (and particularly about the alleged meeting in Prague between suspected 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and Iraqi officials), Wolfowitz replied, ‘I think the premise of a policy has to be, we can’t afford to wait for proof beyond a reasonable doubt.’18 Such statements exhibit an explicit rejection of the world of evidence in favour of conjecture, a frank willingness to embrace a truth that cannot be demonstrated. He also stressed that he could not go into details because the information was ‘classified’.19 Bob Woodward reported that Wolfowitz, ‘subscribed to Rumsfeld’s notion that lack of evidence did not mean something did not exist’.20 This logic was applied both to the existence of Iraqi WMD and the alleged links between Iraq and al-Qaida. Assessing the threat from Iraq and the rights and wrongs of attacking Iraq, Richard Perle noted, ‘We cannot know for sure. But on which side would it be better to err?’21 In other words, if we do not know whether [ 117 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? there is a threat, it is better to attack anyway, just in case, or ‘when in doubt, hit out’. Yet as the sixteenth-century French essayist Michel de Montaigne said of the Inquisition, ‘it is rating one’s conjectures at a very high price to roast a man alive on the strength of them’.22 In relation to the Iraq crisis, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill later observed that the newly emphasised policy of pre-emption created a huge weight of responsibility to be right, but that politics in the United States was no longer about being right; it was about winning.23 Perhaps the best way to de-legitimise something is to equate it with something truly horrible, like, say, nuclear war. This is exactly what Bush did with the notion of proof, declaring in October 2002, ‘we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud’.24 In any case, proof took second place to what was ‘doable’. Bob Woodward reported that Wolfowitz’s position in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was that: Attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain. He worried about 100,000 American troops bogged down in mountain fighting in Afghanistan six months from then. In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable. He estimated there was a 10–50 per cent chance Saddam was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks.25 How these figures were arrived at is anybody’s guess, since there is no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11. Such decision-by-guesswork would be unacceptable as a basis for punishing an individual, let alone launching a full-scale war. If we are bandying figures about, why not go for a 10–90 per cent chance, or even 0–100 per cent? The latter would pleasingly cover all eventualities. If the idea of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt is a central pillar of the law, the setting aside of notions of proof is in line with the United States’s willingness to set aside international law, whether launching a war opposed by the majority of the UN Security Council or ignoring the Geneva Conventions on holding so-called ‘enemy combatant’ prisoners without trial or access to lawyers (at the US camps in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and inside Iraq). The rounding up of Muslim terrorist suspects has often been arbitrary: in many ways, this practice of acting and then hoping the evidence comes to light embodies the same operating principle as the attack on Iraq.26 [ 118 ]

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The drastic step of setting aside the notion of proof appears to have been given a veneer of intellectual credibility by officials and analysts who drew on the work of Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, including Paul Wolfowitz and William Kristol.27 Strauss’s former doctoral student Abram Shulsky became Director of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and together with Gary Schmitt (a member of the Project for the New American Century) he published an article in 1999 called, ‘Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous)’. Seymour Hersh observes: Echoing one of Strauss’s major themes, Shulsky and Schmitt criticize America’s intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to social-science notions of proof [my emphasis], and its inability to cope with deliberate concealment.28 Hersh quotes a former CIA expert who spent the past decade immersed in Iraqi-exile affairs and who said of the Pentagon’s Special Plans people, ‘They see themselves as outsiders. There’s a high degree of paranoia. They’ve convinced themselves that they’re on the side of the angels, and everybody else in the government is a fool.’29 Leo Strauss argued that good politicians should reassert the absolute moral values that would unite society. He was worried by relativism: the idea that nothing could be said to be absolutely or objectively true. Religion had a vital political function in ensuring social order – what Plato called a ‘noble lie’. Indeed, although Strauss is widely held to have been an atheist, religion was seen as useful because it ‘breeds deference to the ruling class’.30 This ambivalence mirrored Strauss’s discussion of Niccolò Machiavelli’s view that a ruling prince should not be religious but ought to appear so, since a religious populace was necessary for social order.31 Also important for Strauss and those he influenced seems to have been the idea of concealing things from people incapable of understanding them.32 It was not hard to imagine how this way of thinking could feed into the elevation of ‘faith’ and the distortion of evidence. Nor it is difficult to see a synergy between this way of thinking and the Republican ‘backlash’ – as analysed by Thomas Frank – which diverted economic and social discontent into anger over diverse ‘moral issues’. Signals from the top encouraged the production of inaccurate and biased information. As Paul O’Neill, who was asked to resign from his post of Treasury Secretary in December 2002, put it: [ 119 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? If you operate in a certain way – by saying this is how I want to justify what I’ve already decided to do, and I don’t care how you pull it off – you guarantee that you’ll get faulty, one-sided information. … You don’t have to issue an edict, or twist arms, or be overt.33 The use of a general signal from the top on the kind of evidence that was required had some similarities with signals sent out in relation to torture and coalition soldiers’ abuses: Mark Danner quotes a lawyer for one of those accused of abuses in Iraq, Staff Sergeant Ivan Fredericks: The story is not necessarily that there was a direct order. Everybody is far too subtle and smart for that. … Realistically, there is a description of an activity, a suggestion that it may be helpful and encouragement that this is exactly what we needed.34 Direct pressure to distort evidence on WMD was also used. UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix accused the Bush administration of leaning on his inspectors to produce more damning language in their reports.35 MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove told a Downing Street meeting in July 2002 that in the United States ‘the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’.36 Robert Dreyfuss reported in December 2002: The Pentagon is bringing relentless pressure to bear on the agency [the CIA] to produce intelligence reports more supportive of the war with Iraq, according to former CIA officials. … Morale inside the US national-security apparatus is said to be low, with career staffers feeling intimidated and pressured to justify the push for war.37 The CIA’s past failings did not help in resisting this pressure. The CIA had lost credibility for failing to anticipate or prevent 9/11. For example, those al-Qaida operatives it was tracking were never put on the immigration service watch list.38 This was only the latest in a series of errors by the CIA – not only its failure to foresee the Soviet collapse but its failure to provide warning of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, on US military barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, on US embassies in East Africa in 1998, and on the USS Cole in 2000. Then there was the CIA’s failure even to notice India’s underground nuclear testing in 1998.39 Where information is weak and predictions inadequate, exaggerating threats was likely to be bureaucratically safer than [ 120 ]

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underplaying them. According to Mel Goodman of the Center for International Policy, ‘Since 1998, CIA analysis of Third World missile programs has taken on a worst-case flavor, exaggerating the national security threat to the United States and politicising the intelligence data in the process’.40 Somewhat similarly, John Kampfner suggests that both US and UK intelligence, having failed to make sufficiently specific warnings about 9/11, did not want to be caught out on Saddam.41 Intelligence agencies’ ability to report the truth also seems to have been undermined by competition between them. To put it crudely, if you did not provide the required answer, somebody else would. The Bush administration seems to have preferred the analysis of Iraq supplied by the Iraqi National Congress (or INC, an opposition group) to that coming from the CIA. Yet the INC’s intelligence-gathering abilities were minimal. Indeed, former CIA official and counter-terrorism expert Vincent Cannistraro said the INC made no distinction between intelligence and propaganda, using alleged informants and defectors to say what INC head Ahmad Chalabi wanted said.42 Proving a pre-existing theory was helped by the highly selective picking of facts. General Hussein Kamel, who was in charge of Iraq’s weapons programmes, defected to Jordan in August 1995, together with his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel. These defections and the provision of evidence by these two men were cited by Bush as the moment when Saddam’s regime: was forced to admit that it had produced more than thirty thousand liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. … This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is capable of killing millions.43 This was certainly frightening information. But the full record of Hussein Kamel’s interview with UN inspectors shows that he also said that Iraq’s stockpile of chemical and biological warheads, manufactured before the 1992 Gulf War, had been destroyed, and that in many cases this was in response to ongoing inspections.44 On 7 September 2002, Bush cited an International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] report from ‘when the inspectors first went into Iraq’ which he said had noted that Iraq was six months from developing nuclear weapons. Bush added, ‘I don’t know what more evidence we need’. Yet the IAEA itself made it clear that it had made no such statement.45 In Bush’s 12 September 2002 address to the UN, the US President cited Iraqi purchase of aluminium tubes which he said were ‘used [ 121 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons’. But the IAEA was soon reporting that the size of the tubes meant they were ill-suited for uraniumenrichment and that they were identical to those previously used by Iraq to make conventional artillery rockets. Despite the IAEA’s rebuttal in January 2003, Powell repeated the aluminium tubes charge in his speech to the UN on 5 February.46 The CIA had warned in 2001 that documents purporting to show Iraq had attempted to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger were fakes. Yet these documents were cited by Bush in his spring 2003 State of the Union address.47 On 7 October 2002, Bush made a speech warning that Iraq had a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft which could be fitted with chemical or biological weapons and used ‘for missions targeting the United States’. But in reality the aircraft did not have the range to reach the United States.48 And so it goes on. Britain’s September 2002 dossier on Iraq’s WMD was heavily massaged. Early drafts were called ‘Iraq’s Programme for WMD’, but the published dossier was called ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Tony Blair’s foreword said Saddam’s military planning allowed for some of his WMD ‘to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them’. Yet the initial draft made clear that Saddam could not launch a nuclear attack on the UK; this was deleted. Chemical and biological weapons, reported by intelligence, were only battlefield ones. The dossier gave the impression that these were long-range and press reports on these lines were never corrected.49 Bush twice cited the 45minute claim in the British dossier,50 but CIA boss George Tenet privately referred to the ‘they-can-attack-in-45-minutes shit’.51 A British government dossier released at the end of January 2003, cited by Powell in his 5 February 2003 address to the UN Security Council as a ‘fine paper’, was actually plagiarised – most of it from a paper by a postgraduate student, which itself drew largely on information that was more than ten years old.52 According to a July 2003 report from the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee, ‘it appears likely that there was only limited access to reliable human intelligence in Iraq and that as a consequence the United Kingdom may have been heavily reliant on US technical intelligence, on defectors and on exiles with an agenda of their own’.53 When it comes to following one’s hunches (rather than an evidencebased procedure), the doctrine of ‘preventive self-defence’ has offered a great deal of scope. The doctrine’s great advantage is that the chosen enemy does not actually have to have done anything. Donald Rumsfeld in particular argued that the demise of traditional enemies and the [ 122 ]

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heightened terrorist threat demand a new kind of security policy based, in his semi-mystical formulation, on the need to ‘deter and defeat adversaries that have not yet emerged to challenge us’.54 Similarly, President Bush told West Point military cadets in mid-2002, ‘We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge’.55 The present and future, as Brian Massumi has suggested, were dangerously elided.56 Bush was asked on ABC Television about ‘the hard fact that there were weapons of mass destruction, as opposed to the possibility that [Saddam] might move to acquire those weapons’. Bush replied, ‘What’s the difference?’57 Further obscurity was thrown on the WMD issue by Rumsfeld’s memorable statement that: There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. … Each year, we discover a few more of these unknown unknowns.58 Rumsfeld saw the ‘unknown unknowns’ as the real killers.59 We were now being plunged deep into the murky world of Steven Spielberg’s film Minority Report with its ‘pre-crime’ police division seeking to eliminate criminals before they can commit their crimes. Significantly, there have been moves to extend the doctrine of pre-emption into the domestic sphere, as when the then British Home Secretary suggested in early 2004 that those who might become suicide bombers should be incarcerated before they can do anything bad, and that they could be tried on a lower standard of proof in secret courts.60 The new doctrine of preemption insists that we would be much better off if we could intervene to stop aggression before it happens rather than the present, ‘too-lateby-half’ tactic of trying to punish perpetrators once a crime has taken place (also known as the law). Of course, the new fashion does raise small problems in terms of how we know what crimes or acts of aggression are about to happen, who is about to do them, who will make the decision to intervene and ‘prevent’, and how to deal with the anger of those who experience or witness a wrongful accusation. There are some indications that, for the Bush administration, the aim was less to study reality (and then base behaviour on it) that to create reality. In the summer of 2002, journalist and author Ron Suskind met with one of Bush’s senior advisers, who was unhappy with an article Suskind had written about the administration’s media relations. The adviser commented that: [ 123 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’61 Linked to the denigration of evidence and the celebration of self-made ‘reality’ has been a tendency for leaders to sanctify their own ‘instincts’, what one writer called ‘Almighty Gut’.62 The redundancy of Cold War doctrines and the confusion and fear around 9/11 seem to have helped to elevate ‘instinct’ as the new benchmark for policy. George Bush spoke repeatedly of his instincts. ‘I’m not a textbook player. I’m a gut player.’63 Bob Woodward commented, ‘It’s pretty clear that Bush’s role as politician, president and commander in chief is driven by a secular faith in his instincts – his natural and spontaneous judgments. His instincts are almost his second religion.’64 Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen recalls that Bush told him, ‘God told me to strike at alQaeda and I struck them: then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did; and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act.’65 If this were a serial killer speaking (or perhaps bin Laden himself), the dangers of acting on ‘God’s voice’ would be particularly hard to miss. As philosopher Peter Singer points out: If everything depends on faith, then why should terrorists not have faith that their particular version of Islam is right? Why should they not ‘learn’ from an eminent religious teacher that God wants them to destroy the greatest power standing against an Islamic way of life? For his part, Tony Blair declared simply, ‘Leadership comes by instinct’.66 After his month with Blair, journalist Peter Stothard said of the Prime Minister, ‘He has great faith in his powers of personal intuition’.67 Blair also seems to have persuaded others by banishing self-doubt. In midMarch 2003, he threw everything into convincing the House of [ 124 ]

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Commons (and especially his own party) that war was justified. Stothard commented: After all the editing upstairs, he says little more than that the future cannot be known before it happens – with which all can surely agree. But the piling of argument on argument is brutal. Logic, however, will only take him so far. Those whom he wins over, he wins by showing so powerfully his confidence that he is right. To many of his critics such certainty is the way of madness.68 Clare Short stressed that Blair’s highly personalised style of decisionmaking undermined the formulation of a considered policy on Iraq.69 The Cabinet committee known as Defence and Overseas Policy was supposed to supervise foreign policy strategy, but it never met on the Iraq crisis. Moreover, the Iraq debacle had symbolised, for Short, a wider collapse of collective decision-making.70 The late Robin Cook confirmed this picture: There is never a paper offering different options for the cabinet to choose between. The result is that the British cabinet is no longer a forum in which decisions are taken, but in which decisions are endorsed. … The real problem was that Blair made it only too clear that his mind was made up [on the need for war with Iraq] – and his cabinet had no collective experience of trying to make the prime minister change his mind.71 Significantly, Blair was the first British prime minister who did not owe his status as party leader to his parliamentary colleagues. Elected by a vote among party members, he could afford to make enemies among his own MPs.72 Stothard noted, further: Some have decided that he is already mad, made so by too long in power, too many admirers, too many enemies and too little listening carefully to either friends or foes. The isolation of Downing Street, even friends say, has changed the warm, open, accommodating young MP and lawyer they used to know. The man who could always talk around an issue is now taking one view and holding it like a creed. Others stress the actor in Tony Blair, the promising courtroom barrister, the somewhat less promising imitator of rock stars. They say that he is feigning his peculiar mad certainty, that he needs something to hide his obedience to American orders.73 [ 125 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Significantly, Blair’s faith in himself as a persuader was not matched by his ability to persuade foreign leaders. He underestimated the convictions of the Russians, the French and the Germans and he also turned out to have little influence over Bush.74 Religion played a part in all this veneration of instinct. Though a natural political ally for Democrat President Clinton, Labour leader Tony Blair seemed at first to have very little in common with the Republican George W. Bush,75 and Blair seems to have been particularly anxious to find some common ground.76 When Bush was quizzed on what he had in common with Blair, the US President replied, ‘We both use Colgate toothpaste and we both like physical exercise’77 – perhaps not the most promising basis for an alliance to build a new world order. One significant thing the two men have had in common, however, is a strong belief in Christianity.78 Bush attributes his recovery from ‘the devil drink’ to his religious faith, and at a private meeting with Amish farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2004, Bush was reported to have said, ‘I trust God speaks through me.’79 For his part, Blair has a very evident missionary zeal.80 Banishing doubt through faith seems to fit with certain selected – many would say distorted – elements of Christian teaching: the demand for proof will only take you so far; there is always a need for faith, a belief in things unseen. Indeed, doubt may be seen as calling for a renewal of faith. Yet as a basis for policy, this is woefully inept. In the end, leaders citing God’s authority or approval are logically committed to the dubious claim that their God is superior or their access to His will is purer. Bush said he experienced almost no doubt that he was doing the right thing. He said he didn’t read the editorial pages.81 Blair, too, was reported to read little.82 Bob Woodward recalls that towards the end of October 2001, when US bombing of Afghanistan did not seem to be dislodging the Taliban: Rice believed the president would tolerate debate, would listen, but anyone who wanted debate had to have a good argument, and preferably a solution or at least a proposed fix. It was clear that no one at the table had a better idea.83 Bush has shown an increasing intolerance for anyone in his administration or in Congress who has expressed doubt or asked him to explain his positions. Even asking for facts to support the administration case could lead to accusations of disloyalty. Open debate has been seen as encouraging doubt, which undercuts faith.84

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Concluding remarks
The delusional arrogance of the Bush administration is revealed not just by the rejection and distortion of evidence but by the (surprisingly explicit) rejection of the need for evidence. Given Bush’s apparent intellectual limitations, this kind of approach may have been comforting. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that the Bush administration was dominated by ideologies based around pre-emption and the inherent value of tax cuts,85 adding: ‘Ideology is a lot easier, because you don’t have to know anything or search for anything. You know the answer to everything. It’s not penetrable by facts. It’s absolutism.’86 Certainly, George W. Bush’s immunity to evidence has been very persistent. In his first pre-election debate with Kerry in October 2004, Bush said, ‘Saddam had no intention of disarming.’ Yet it was public knowledge by this point that no weapons of mass destruction had been, or were likely to be, found. Clearly, at some level Bush had not – even then – faced the reality that Saddam had no WMD. At times, Bush has seemed genuinely confused. He gives the impression of being a very muddled thinker, and of seeking to replace this muddle with false certainties. Yet because these false certainties do not in the end make sense or match empirical realities, the muddle is compounded (and so too, presumably, the search for certainty). In the same debate with Kerry, the president remarked, ‘Of course we’re after Saddam Hussein, I mean bin Laden.’ When Bush was asked whether the Iraq experience made it more likely or less likely that he would take the United States into another pre-emptive military action, he replied, ‘I would hope I never had to. … But the enemy attacked us and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people.’ Bush was then challenged by Kerry, who pointed out that it was not Saddam that attacked America but Osama bin Laden, to which Bush replied, ‘Of course I know that Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that!’ False certainties must be constantly propped up with action, a theme revisited in Chapter 7. Bush and Blair were informed – by those in a position to know – that attacking Iraq was likely to increase terrorism by stoking up anger. Despite all this evidence and advice, Bush and Blair went ahead with the attack on Iraq; hence, in part, the conclusion that they have embraced a kind of irrationalism. The message Tony Blair was getting from senior Whitehall officials charged with combating Islamic extremists was that the threat posed by Islamic extremists was much greater than that posed by Saddam, and that this threat would intensify when the United States and the UK attacked Iraq.87 The UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee, [ 127 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? which had produced the September 2002 dossier hyping the threat of WMD, assessed in February 2002 that the threat from al-Qaida and associated groups would be heightened by military action against Iraq.88 In the United States, Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Bush senior during the 1991 Gulf War, said on TV in August 2002 that an attack on Iraq could turn the Middle East into a ‘cauldron and thus destroy the war on terrorism’.89 Particularly prominent in warning of a backlash against the ‘war on terror’ was Colin Powell. Bob Woodward reports that at a meeting with Bush and Rice at Bush’s residence: Powell told Bush that as he was getting his head around the Iraq question, he needed to think about the broader issues, all the consequences of war. … Powell said the president had to consider what a military operation against Iraq would do in the Arab world. Cauldron was the right word. He dealt with the leaders and foreign ministers in these countries as secretary of state. The entire region could be destabilized – friendly regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan could be put in jeopardy or overthrown. Anger and frustration at America abounded. War could change everything in the Middle East.90 Successive terrorist attacks were not taken as evidence that the United States was on the wrong path. In fact, Wolfowitz showed he was quite capable of using them to draw the opposite conclusion: to show the everelusive connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. Woodward reports that Wolfowitz ‘thought it more than a coincidence that al Qaeda, which had been relatively inactive since 9/11, had resumed activity [including the Bali bombing] after the president had gone to the U.N. and threatened unilateral action against Iraq’.91 Assessing whether the ‘war on terror’ is ‘working’ has also seen the sidelining of evidence-based thinking. For example, uncomfortable think-tank data on the efficacy of the ‘war on terror’ has been suppressed by the US government.92 The lesson seems to be that once faith takes hold, evidence will prove whatever you want it to. Yet religious faith does not have to lead in this delusional direction. Christian author and activist Jim Wallis used to be invited to the White House in the early days of the Bush administration. He told Ron Suskind: If you’re penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. … Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper [ 128 ]

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reflection and not – not ever – to the thing we as humans so very much want. Asked what that was, he replied, ‘Easy certainty’.93 One final aspect of the disconnect between problem and chosen solution is worth mentioning. To some extent, the impression of madness and arbitrary behaviour may have been cultivated on purpose. Prominent New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said a key problem was that terrorists and those harbouring them thought Americans were soft, adding that Bush’s team was right ‘to be as crazy as some of our enemies’.94 Arbitrary behaviour can also intimidate third parties, and Saddam Hussein himself understood that the very arbitrariness of official violence could usefully reinforce feelings of terror among those he wished to intimidate.95 While there were many reasons for attacking Iraq, British playwright David Hare touched on an important truth when he commented: The intention to destroy the credibility of the United Nations and its right to try and defuse situations of danger to life, is not a byproduct of recent American policy. It is its very purpose. Bush chose Iraq not because it would make sense but because it wouldn’t. … The thinness of the justification for this war is, in fact, its very point. As is the arbitrariness of the target.96 On 19 December 2001, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a neo-con close to Richard Perle and the Iraqi National Congress,97 wrote in the Wall Street Journal: If we really intend to extinguish the hope that has fueled the rise of al Qaeda and the violent anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East, we have no choice but to reinstill in our foes and friends the fear and respect that attaches to any great power. … Only a war against Saddam Hussein will decisively restore the awe that protects American interests abroad and citizens at home. We’ve been running from this fight for ten years.98 As Stanley Cohen observes in relation to states that terrorise their own people, ‘The culture of state terror is neither secret nor openly acknowledged. … Fear inside depends on knowledge and uncertainty: who will be picked up next?’99 Where the targeting of individuals is also arbitrary (as with the shooting of the young Brazilian man, Jean Charles de [ 129 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Menezes, at Stockwell tube station after the attempted 21 July 2005 London bombings), this again will tend to maximise the fear. This may not be intentional, but it does keep everyone on edge. Charles de Montesquieu in his De l’esprit des lois (published in 1748) pointed out that witchcraft accusations rest on reputation rather than actions, ‘Consequently, a citizen is always in danger, since the best conduct in the world, the purest morals, and the fulfilling of all social duties are no guarantee that an individual will not be suspected of committing these crimes’.100 Declaring one’s indifference to evidence, then, is rather more than foolishness; it is an assertion of total power and, at some level, an attempt to intimidate. The following chapter looks at how the use of arbitrary power may create a degree of plausibility around nonsensical beliefs.

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7 Action as Propaganda
In the ‘war on terror’, extreme and unlawful violence has been used to make violence seem legitimate and necessary, a disturbing example of what Hannah Arendt called ‘action-as-propaganda’. Explaining this term, Arendt referred to ‘the advantages of a propaganda that constantly ”adds the power of organization” to the feeble and unreliable voice of argument, and thereby realizes, so to speak, on the spur of the moment, whatever it says’.1 For Arendt, factual propaganda actually worked better even than Joseph Goebbels’ rhetoric. Although Arendt focused on the way action-as-propaganda could persuade others, the concept can also help to explain how abuses sometimes legitimise themselves in the eyes of key perpetrators. We have noted already the allure of certainty in uncertain times, the desire for simple solutions and tangible targets. Action-as-propaganda can reinforce an oddly reassuring feeling of certainty, helping to bend reality into line with a distorted and propagandistic image of the world. It also distorts our perceptions of this reality so that the gap between public perception and official propaganda is further diminished. Arendt’s concept helps us to understand how the wagers of the ‘war on terror’ have in effect taken something irrational (a magical solution to the problem of terror) and through their actions made it appear to many people (and, crucially, large sections of the American electorate) to be both rational and plausible. In their daily lives people are buffeted around by chance, and the massive economic and social disruption in the United States has fuelled a sense of insecurity and uncertainty which 9/11 compounded. Arendt understood how our desire for certainty and predictability could feed into abusive ideologies. ‘What the masses refuse to recognize’, she wrote, ‘is the fortuitousness that pervades reality.’2 Consistency, however constructed, was deeply alluring: Before the alternative of facing the anarchic growth and total arbitrariness of decay or bowing down before the most rigid, fantastically fictitious consistency of an ideology, the masses probably will always choose the latter and be ready to pay for it with individual sacrifices – and this not because they are strong or wicked, but because in the general disaster this escape gains them a minimum of self-respect.3 [ 131 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Arendt saw how this respect could come from denigrating – or even attacking – others, and how this aggression could, in addition, generate (spurious) legitimacy for itself. Part of the source of this ‘legitimacy’ was what has been called ‘just world thinking’, where people in effect assume that punishment implies a crime, and where this assumption serves to protect them from the fear of a totally arbitrary world.4 Significantly, ‘just world thinking’ may be more tempting as the world – and accusations – become more arbitrary: thus, the more irrational the actions of the Bush administration, for example, the greater may be the felt need to reassure oneself that ‘there must be a reason’ for the selection of victims (and therefore that ‘we’ are safe). Arendt suggested that another means by which violence could generate its own legitimacy was by allowing leaders to make their own predictions come true: first, when people came to resemble a distorted and propagandistic image of them (as sub-human or disease-ridden, for example); second, when alleged historical laws about the triumph of a particular group or idea were ‘revealed’ as accurate; and third, when humanitarian ideals were similarly ‘revealed’ as an unrealistic irrelevance. Again, these ideas will prove relevant in relation to the ‘war on terror’.

‘Just world thinking’: might is right
Part of the ‘proof’ that legitimises a witch-hunt is typically generated by the witch-hunt itself. Confession-under-duress helps to make the persecution more plausible, as we have seen. But punishment can itself be used to imply guilt. As Arendt observed in the context of the Nazi holocaust, ‘Common sense reacted to the horrors of Buchenwald and Auschwitz with the plausible argument, “What crime must these people have committed that such things were done to them!”’5 Taking one’s moral cues from a regime of punishment may seem a very subservient attitude, but it is also part of how any human being grows up and learns about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ – by noticing what is being punished and what is not. How, in the spring of 2003, did Americans and the British know that Iraq was the enemy? Why, because they were now at war with it! In a sense, the guilt of Iraq was ‘proven’ by the fact that it was earmarked for punishment. More generally, the very extremity of a ‘counter-terror’ response (ignoring the UN, invading Iraq, abusing human rights at Guantanamo and other US military bases, and so on) may be taken, at some level, as evidence of the extremity of the targets’ guilt.

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Sociologist Stanley Cohen noted in 2001 that according to ‘just world thinking’, victims ‘deserve to suffer because of what they did, must have done, support doing, (or will do one day if we don’t act now)’6 – a formulation that uncannily anticipates the justifications made for attacking Iraq in 2003. The common inclination to infer guilt from punishment seems to have helped the Bush administration to set aside not only international law but a central tenet of law in general, that guilt should be established before punishment is meted out. High levels of deference to government judgments have been important here, particularly in the United States: a sense that ‘our administration must know what it is doing’.7 Americans were repeatedly told about links between Iraq and 9/11. None of the evidence was good, but the sales-pitch worked anyway. In an October 2002 opinion poll, 66 per cent of Americans said that they believed Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and 79 per cent believed that Iraq already possessed, or was close to possessing, nuclear weapons.8 A poll in February 2003 suggested that 72 per cent of Americans believed it was likely that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks.9 The dubious virtues of action-as-propaganda seem to have been well understood by the Bush administration, with key officials holding that a demonstration of power could be potent propaganda in itself and that ‘might’ would soon, in effect, be seen to be ‘right’. Thus, Bush’s close adviser Karl Rove said of the war on terrorism, ‘Everything will be measured by results. The victor is always right. History ascribes to the victor qualities that may not actually have been there. And similarly to the defeated.’10 (Hitler expressed a similar sentiment, ‘I shall give a propagandist reason for starting the war, no matter whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked afterwards whether he told the truth or not. When starting and waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory.’11) In relation to the attack on Iraq in 2003, one senior White House adviser commented, ‘The way to win international acceptance is to win. That’s diplomacy: winning.’12 Bush himself said: I believe in results. … I know the world is watching carefully, would be impressed and will be impressed with results achieved. … [W]e’re never going to get people all in agreement about force and the use of force … but action – confident action that will yield positive results provides kind of a slipstream into which reluctant nations and leaders can get behind.13 [ 133 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Remember also the Bush adviser’s chilling suggestion to journalist Ron Suskind that, ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too.’ This is a path to madness, but a perversely persuasive one. In the run-up to war, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi was worried about Italian public opinion. But Bush told him in January 2003, ‘You watch, public opinion will change. We lead our publics.’14 Among international actors, the willingness to follow Bush’s lead was not confined to Blair, Berlusconi and Aznar. For example, British journalist Paul Johnson wrote in the Spectator that the world ‘needs hero states, to look up to, to appeal to, to encourage and to follow’.15 Hesitant officials and publics were confronted by the message that war with Iraq was ‘inevitable’. MSNBC cancelled a liberal program featuring Phil Donahue just before the war with Iraq, replacing it with a show called ‘Countdown: Iraq’.16 Phillip Knightley, an expert on war and the distortion of information, observed that, ‘Politicians, while calling for diplomacy, warn of military retaliation. The [Western] media reports this as “We’re on the brink of war”, or “War is inevitable.”’17 Colin Powell’s reservations seem to have been eroded by the momentum of events. In February 2001, Powell had declared of sanctions against Iraq, ‘frankly they have worked. He [Saddam] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction’;18 but by mid-2002, Condoleezza Rice was telling him that opposing a decision to attack Iraq would be a waste of breath,19 and the rush to war eventually saw Powell marshalling dubious evidence before the UN about the supposed threat posed by these weapons. The logic behind the general sense of ‘inevitability’ appears to have been this: the war is happening; are you going to be part of it or are you going to stand on the sidelines of history? This is by no means the first time that this technique has been brought to bear. For example, in the (very different) context of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, official Rwandan propaganda proclaimed, ‘The graves are already half full. Who will help us to fill them?’20, and the invitation to complete what had been started was embellished with the strong hint that those who declined might not simply be bystanders but also, potentially, victims. Bush made his own variation of this threat with his famous insistence that ‘You are either with us or against us in the fight against terror.’ While the then UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson had avoided committing British troops to Vietnam, Tony Blair seemed ready to fall without resistance into the ‘slipstream’ that Bush referred to. In line with [ 134 ]

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Colin Powell’s analysis at the time, Blair told the House of Commons in November 2000, ‘We believe that the sanctions regime has effectively contained Saddam Hussein’.21 But Blair, too, seems to have been persuaded, in part, by the ‘inevitability’ of the war. A key moment came in Blair’s meeting with Bush in Texas in April 2002, which helped convince the British Prime Minister that Bush was set on war with Iraq.22 Blair came back committed to supporting military action for regime change in Iraq (reportedly on the understanding that efforts would be made, first, to eliminate WMD through weapons inspections and, second, to form a coalition to shape public opinion).23 Blair’s preparations on returning to the UK included telling Chancellor Gordon Brown to redesign budget calculations to pay for a war.24 However, ‘inevitability’ had a Janus-face for Blair: John Kampfner comments in his book, Blair’s Wars, ‘Blair set about his immediate task of preparing the public for military action, while maintaining the front that it was “not inevitable”.’25 At an early stage in the preparations for war, a public proclamation that war was unavoidable would no doubt have smacked too much of subservience to Washington. But significantly, once US troops were headed for Iraq, Blair was ready to change tack and to use the idea of inevitability and the momentum of events as a tool to persuade his own public and party. Blair’s March 2003 speech to the House of Commons included the passage, ‘This is a tough choice. But it is also a stark one: to stand British troops down and turn back; or to hold firm to the course we have set.’26 Tony Blair worried about the damage that would be done in the world by a unilateral American victory; on this logic, Britain would have to go to war to avoid America going to war alone.27 Meanwhile, Blair subscribed to some of the confidence of Bush and Karl Rove that victory would generate its own support: Robin Cook recalled of Blair, ‘In the many conversations we had in the run-up to the war, he always assumed that the [Iraq] war would end in victory, and that military triumph would silence the critics.’28 In the domestic sphere, ‘winning’ had already proved a useful tool of persuasion and intimidation. Dissent within the Labour Party had been stifled: first in the interests of winning power from the Tories and then in the context of the legitimacy that winning bestowed. Kampfner observed that Blair ‘had dominated his party for a decade, his authority allowing him to push through foreign and domestic policies even when they were at odds with his MPs and activists – even members of his own Cabinet’.29 As British writer Beatrix Campbell put it, ‘The party gave itself up to alchemists who proclaimed that they, alone, possessed winning powers’.30 Of course, the free market ideology that Bush – and [ 135 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? to a large extent Blair – have espoused itself constitutes a kind of veneration of ‘winners’: only the fittest are meant to survive, and success implicitly proves your vigour and virtue. For George Soros, the ‘social Darwinism’ of market fundamentalism was a natural ally for religious fundamentalism and both had been dangerously boosted in confidence by the collapse of the Soviet system and the advance of globalisation. International law itself was increasingly sometimes expected to fall into line with the ‘confident action’ that Bush felt would bring compliance. David Frum and Richard Perle observed, ‘if the UN cannot or will not revise its rules in ways that establish beyond question the legality of the measures the United States must take to protect the American people, then we should unashamedly and explicitly reject the jurisdiction of these rules’.31 This is a very odd conception of international law, to put it mildly. Just after the start of the attack on Iraq, Perle eagerly anticipated, ‘As we sift the debris of the war to liberate Iraq, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions.’32 While Bush administration officials labelled the UN as weak and potentially ‘irrelevant’, US policy had itself been critical in weakening the UN – not just over Iraq but also earlier. During the Cold War, the United States had persistently used its veto to stymie the UN Security Council.33 The US government had also repeatedly reneged on funding commitments, and infamously denied and ignored the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Undermining the UN through confident action may have borne some fruit: public confidence in the UN fell sharply in the wake of the attack on Iraq: not only in the United States but also in the UK, France and Germany;34 we do not know how lasting this effect will be, but in many ways the effect of near-unilateral action (and possibly part of the intention) is that belief in ‘human rights’ and ‘international law’ comes to look like the height of naivety. Again, it was Arendt who had earlier seen this most clearly, arguing that factual propaganda worked partly because: the incredible plight of an ever-growing group of innocent people was like a practical demonstration of the totalitarian movements’ cynical claims that no such thing as inalienable human rights existed and that the affirmations of democracies to the contrary were mere prejudice, hypocrisy, and cowardice in the face of the cruel majesty of a new world. The very phrase ‘human rights’ became for all concerned – victims, persecutors, [ 136 ]

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and onlookers alike – the evidence of hopeless idealism or fumbling feeble-minded hypocrisy.35 Once the occupation of Iraq was underway, the hope that ‘might would be seen to be right’ was also expressed in relation to the insurgency. One US officer involved in attacks on Fallujah stressed the role of aggression followed by ‘psy-ops’, ‘always coming back to the theme of the inevitability of the superior tribe’.36 Journalist Robert Kaplan commented from Iraq, ‘People in all cultures gravitate toward power. … The chieftain mentality is particularly prevalent in Iraq.’37

Making your predictions and assertions come true
Hannah Arendt saw the desire for predictability and consistency as creating opportunities for totalitarian regimes to underline and bolster their own power by making their own predictions come true. This would seem to be an alluring option for some democratic countries too; and with civil liberties increasingly infringed and a mass media largely compliant, the distinction between totalitarian and democratic is not always as clear as one might hope: Norman Mailer has said of the United States, ‘I think we have a pre-totalitarian situation here now.’38

Conformity to laws
Hannah Arendt observed that the broad mass of people ‘are predisposed to all ideologies because they explain facts as mere examples of laws and eliminate coincidences by inventing an all-embracing omnipotence which is supposed to be at the root of every accident’.39 Further, in conditions of uncertainty people are likely to be attracted to an ideology that claims to be actively shaping history in line with some long-term historical laws, thereby re-establishing some sense of control. In the case of the Nazis, the long-term historical law was a kind of racial Darwinism; for Soviet governments, it was the inevitable and scientifically predicted triumph of the proletarian class.40 Arendt pointed out that the Nazis spoke of soon-to-be-extinct races and the Soviet regime of dying classes, and that the murderous actions of these totalitarian regimes helped underline their power and omniscience by making these predictions come true.41 Bush has not matched these earlier abominations; however, he is certainly keen to emphasise that he and the United States form part of a grand design that conforms with God’s wishes and laws. In his January 2005 inauguration speech, Bush

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E N D L E S S WA R ? referred to freedom as a ‘force of history’, adding, ‘We can go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. … History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.’42 Or again, liberty is ‘the plan of heaven for humanity and the best hope for progress here on Earth’.43 This is rather more than saying, ‘God is on our side’; it is an insistence that the direction of history is on our side and that we, through the ‘confident action’ Bush had earlier advocated, can prove this to be the case. Though purporting to be veneration of God, this stance is ultimately a veneration of the self: a self whose confidence and violence will ultimately gain the victory that secures approval from other nations and simultaneously reaffirms God’s approval for the longer-term transformative project. This capacity of ‘revealing God’s approval’ suggests that ‘successful’ violence can serve a function rather like wealth for Max Weber’s Protestants. A comparable sense of confidence has sometimes been expressed by Islamic fundamentalists, for whom the triumph of Islam is held to be ‘inevitable’, as was the triumph of socialism.44 To the extent that various fundamentalist belief systems see God as actively intervening in the world, there will always be a temptation to see whatever action is taken as having received his blessing or as being his work.45 It is not simply a question of who had God on his side but of who can demonstrate this through victory. Thus, violent counter-terror has been seen by its authors not only as blessed by God but also as countering the terrorists’ belief that they have God and history with them. In September 2003, Bush noted that prior to 9/11 the terrorists had become ‘convinced that the free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing history was on their side.’ He added that the war on terror had reversed this pattern.46 Mixed in with the idea of a grand design is the idea – most commonly expressed by America’s evangelical right – that war might bring closer a predicted Apocalypse and the Second Coming of the Messiah.47 Even Blair has flirted with this imagery, ‘September 11 was for me a revelation. What had seemed inchoate came together. … Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon.’48 A more secular version of the ‘coming apocalypse’ thesis was expressed in Samuel Huntington’s prediction of an inevitable ‘clash of civilisations’ (on this thesis, see Chapter 10). Bush and Blair have been careful to state that the ‘war on terror’ is specifically not a clash of cultures or a clash of religions. Yet through their aggressive actions they have helped give plausibility to Huntington’s prediction. [ 138 ]

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Once war had been declared, criticism of the Bush and Blair administrations became much more difficult (see also Chapter 3). The imperative of ‘supporting our troops’ became dominant. Criticism of the military was particularly taboo, and the deaths of US soldiers in some ways reinforced the difficulty of opposing the war. As Michael Mann put it, ‘Any criticism of the [Iraq] war was widely regarded, not just as unpatriotic, but also as disrespect for our dead.’49 After the killing of 21year-old Jonathan Kephart in Iraq, local Baptist pastor David Food said, ‘If I hear anything negative [about the Iraq war], I take it personally. I feel that they are saying it about John. It invalidates the sacrifice he made.’50 In June 2005, with violence escalating in Iraq and the total of US troops killed rising relentlessly, Michael Ignatieff observed in the New York Times magazine, ‘Thomas Jefferson’s dream [of freedom for all nations] must work. Its ultimate task in American life is to redeem loss, to rescue sacrifice from oblivion and futility and to give it shining purpose.’51 In other words, the sacrifice of US troops – which Ignatieff had supported – must be made to be meaningful. There are uncomfortable echoes here of the way an earlier violence helped to feed propaganda for more violence. Noting the common argument that US soldiers in Vietnam were betrayed by a liberal elite, Thomas Frank observed in 2004: This may be conservatism’s most striking cultural victory of all: the fifties-style patriotism that was once thought to have victimized the Vietnam generation is today thought to be a cause that is sanctified by their death and suffering. What their blood calls out for is not skepticism but even blinder patriotism.52 By such mechanisms does endless war renew itself. Significantly, John Kerry chose not to make the Abu Ghraib scandal a part of his campaign for the Presidency in 2004.53 Criticisms of the Iraq war could be presented as ‘demoralising’ the troops. Even Kerry’s tentative criticisms of the Iraq war prompted Bush to comment (in the first pre-election debate), ‘What kind of message does it say to our troops in harm’s way: wrong war, wrong place, wrong time? That’s not a message a commander-in-chief gives.’ Colin Powell went so far as to import some of this logic into the pre-war period. On learning in mid-January 2003 from Bush that the president was committed to war, Powell said walking away would have been disloyal to the president, the military and mostly to the several thousand who would be going to war.54 Again, we see the bizarre logic engendered by [ 139 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? ‘inevitability’: out of loyalty to our troops, we must back the policy that puts them in harm’s way for no good reason. This kind of upside-down reasoning must have helped to confirm Bush’s belief that opposition would wilt in the face of ‘confident action’. If war could stifle dissent, holy war might do so in spades. Political commentator George Monbiot pointed out that the US government’s religiously tinged sense of ‘mission’ meant that disagreement was not simply dissent; it was heresy. Of course, war may also reinforce religious feelings. When battle is underway, it is clearly reassuring (and gives courage) to believe that God is on your side. This in turn can bolster the legitimacy of war.

Making people resemble your propaganda
Here is another example of action-as-propaganda from Hannah Arendt: The official SS newspaper, the Schwarze Korps, stated explicitly in 1938 that if the world was not yet convinced that the Jews were the scum of the earth, it soon would be when unidentifiable beggars, without nationality, without money, and without passports crossed their frontiers. ... A circular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all German authorities abroad shortly after the November pogroms of 1938, stated, ‘The emigration movement of only about 100,000 Jews has already sufficed to awaken the interest of many countries in the Jewish danger. … Germany is very interested in maintaining the dispersal of Jewry. … [T]he influx of Jews in all parts of the world invokes the opposition of the native population and thereby forms the best propaganda for the German Jewish policy.’55 How this worked out in practice is another issue, but the SS intention here was clear. More than this, the persecution of the Jews – confining them to disease-ridden ghettoes, numbering them, herding them behind walls and fences in concentration camps, starving them and slaughtering them en masse – was a process that tended to take away most of the manifestations of a normal human life and in the process helped to create a dehumanised image that matched the Nazis’ dehumanising language. It is, of course, easy to see differences between the events Arendt is discussing and the current debacle. Even so, the ‘war on terror’ is a [ 140 ]

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classic example of turning ‘the other’ into a preconceived and negative image that has been entertained (and propagated) by the perpetrators of violence. This applies to both sides of the conflict, since both sides seem to share an interest in ‘proving’ their enemy to be just as brutal as they had always insisted. In civil wars and global wars, violence tends to create the enemies it claims to weaken or eliminate (Chapter 2), and so generates its own (spurious) legitimacy. Frantz Fanon (and after him, bin Laden) understood how terrorists themselves could take advantage of the phenomenon of ‘action-as-propaganda’: notably by using violence to bring out the underlying and previously part-hidden brutality of their opponent/oppressor. The Arabic word for ‘martyr’ translates also as ‘witness’ – in other words, someone who by their actions or speech makes a hidden truth clear to an audience.56 Mark Juergensmeyer has said of international terrorism: What the perpetrators of such acts of terror expect – and indeed welcome – is a response as vicious as the acts themselves. By goading secular authorities into responding to terror with terror, they hope to accomplish two things. First, they want tangible evidence for their claim that the secular enemy is a monster. Second, they hope to bring to the surface the great war: a war that they have told their potential supporters was hidden, but real.57 One logic of terrorism is this: if America is not quite the evil imperialist of our propaganda and our imagination, let us help to make it so. It works on the other side too: in circumstances where the terrorist has been portrayed as all around us and bent on our destruction, counterproductive actions that lead to a proliferation of angry enemies, while leading us all towards lives of fear, at least bring the perverse cognitive satisfaction (particularly for the leaders who chose this path) of knowing, ‘Yes we are right, the enemy is indeed as powerful, pervasive and dangerous as we portrayed it; we must redouble our efforts.’ It is hard to imagine that Bush and Blair consciously wish to make thing worse; even so, they inhabit a world in which mad solutions generate (spurious) legitimacy for themselves. Indeed, it seems ‘both sides’ in the ‘war on terror’ are busy nurturing their favourite nightmares. At the level of civil wars, we have seen how accusations that rebels were ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ can, over time, acquire an increasing degree of truth, as in Chechnya and the Philippines. Anti-American feeling in much of the world is often taken as a ‘given’; but this sentiment, as noted, is not a natural or even a long-standing one.58 [ 141 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Billed erroneously as a key source of terrorism prior to the war, Iraq has become so – a development that lends spurious credibility to the initial accusation. The propaganda was made to become true, at the cost of much distortion and many lives. As John Kerry said when debating with Bush, ‘The President just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the President invaded it.’59 Even attacks on occupying forces have been quickly labelled as ‘terrorist’, and a common charge by the US command in Iraq has been that Iraqi fighters have been using terrorist tactics.60 However, attacks on occupying soldiers are not terrorism: even the US State Department’s definition of terrorism centres on the use of violence against civilians.61 How do you justify the devastation of an entire city – like Fallujah in November 2004? First, you announce that it harbours ‘terrorists’; then when most people flee in fear, you declare the city a free-fire zone on the grounds that the only people left behind must be the terrorists.62 As well as creating enemies by deepening anger, violence can cause displacement, thereby ‘contaminating’ new ‘targets’ with enemy groups. A paranoid state of mind interprets even the displacement resulting from its own violence as a conspiracy by evil governments intent on ‘harbouring’ terrorists. For example, one of the main alleged links between Saddam and bin Laden, the Jordanian Abu Masab alZargawi (whom Bush called the ‘best evidence’ for a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida)63 appears to have sheltered in Baghdad after fleeing the US-led attack on Afghanistan.64 Thus, one attack helped justify the next. After Baghdad fell, al-Zargawi was then said to be sheltering in Fallujah, something that was used to justify the devastation of that city in November 2004. Earlier, in May 2003, US officials had turned up the heat on Iran, saying it was harbouring al-Qaida leaders and Saddam loyalists. Syria too was accused of harbouring Iraqi Ba’athists. But it was quite natural that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would displace into surrounding countries many of those who were being explicitly targeted. Sir Andrew Green, UK Ambassador to Syria in 1991–94, commented, ‘The Syrian authorities cannot prevent Iraqis getting across a 400-mile desert border.’65 Syria has indeed become a source of jihadis for the Iraqi insurgency,66 but again this ‘rogue’ status is a predictable consequence of the attack on Iraq, rather than confirmation that Syria is inherently anti-American or is part of an expanded ‘axis of evil’. In 2005, US military officials were predicting that the ‘vast ungoverned spaces’ of the Horn of Africa would play host to al-Qaida fighters retreating from Iraq67 – a trend (or perception) that could bring more trouble for that region. Quite apart from the effects of [ 142 ]

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displacement, insurgency in one occupied country creates opportunities for accusing neighbours of complicity, and the desire to dissociate insurgency from ‘ordinary Iraqis’ itself creates an incentive to highlight foreign interference. Accusations that Syria has been facilitating the flow of fighters into Iraq have certainly been persistent.68 Another way in which violence can make people resemble your propaganda is by creating a climate in which dehumanising images of the enemy are seen as legitimate or even necessary. On the cusp of the 2003 attack on Iraq, MSNBC (Microsoft-NBC) added Michael Savage to its line-up. In their informative overview of media distortions, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber comment that Savage: routinely refers to non-white countries as ‘turd world nations’ and charges that the US ‘is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives.’ In one broadcast, Savage justified ethnic slurs as a national security tool, ‘We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy’.69 Thus, it is war itself that may help to create the sense of an implacable and inhuman enemy. Meanwhile, abuses by coalition forces within Iraq have dehumanised the enemy not only by fuelling anger and violence but also by stripping people of their dignity. A report by the US Major General George Fay noted that general practices such as the extensive use of nudity ‘likely contributed to an escalating “de-humanization” of the detainees and set the stage for additional and more severe abuses to occur’.70 Violence is often a process, in which initial abuses create spurious legitimacy for worse atrocities.71 Part of the function of extreme violence, moreover, is to convince the victims themselves that they are not worthy of rights: for if they did have rights, why then are they being so systematically attacked or dehumanised? General Janis Karpinski, suspended as head of a unit running prisons because of the Abu Ghraib scandal, said she was told by Major General Geoffrey Miller, former commander of Guantanamo Bay camp, ‘This place [Abu Ghraib] must be Gitmo-ised. … [T]hey are like dogs. If you allow them to believe they are more than dogs, then you will have lost control.’72

Concluding remarks
Relying on ‘victory’ to generate legitimacy is of course a double-edged sword. There may be limits to the plausibility of something that is [ 143 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? manifestly not working, and criticism of US government choices tended to surface and then intensify as the Iraq occupation ran into increasing difficulties. Hannah Arendt herself noted that Nazism as an ideology collapsed very suddenly when defeat meant it could no longer back its propaganda with imposing and successful actions. Moreover, those who claim that God is on their side may be particularly vulnerable to a loss of popularity and prestige when defeat or stalemate implies that God is more ambivalent.73 As war in Iraq drags on, popular American enthusiasm is turning to disillusion. Taking the extremity and direction of response as evidence of both the severity and source of the problem is a mechanism that may not work for ever. All this can be compensated for in two ways, however. First, the appearance of victory may be sustainable for a significant period even when the reality is pretty desperate. Presentation counts (something discussed in more detail in Chapter 10). Short-term and conspicuous victories may be more important to the interveners than actually making a positive impact on the problem. The benefits of action-as-propaganda derive not so much from winning as from appearing to win. For example, elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, for a time at least, perhaps pulled some credible veneer of success from the general debacle – helping temporarily to disguise the deeper counterproductive effects of the attacks and the long-term security and governance problems in these countries. 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!

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8 Warding off the Shame of Powerlessness
The tendency to blame bad things on a small and implicitly finite group of evil people has been fed not only by a desire for safety and certainty but also by a desire to ward off feelings of shame. The desire to defuse the threat of shame seems to have helped to shape terrorism as well as counter-terrorism (as when Iraqi resistance was seen as washing away the shame of Fallujah or when bin Laden depicted terrorist violence as washing away the shame of Western domination). Psychiatrist James Gilligan has suggested that people will go to extreme and violent lengths to ward off feelings of shame and humiliation.1 The experience of working with and listening to some of America’s most violent criminals convinced Gilligan that these individuals’ past experiences had given them a heightened sensitivity to feelings of shame and humiliation, and that when someone else was unlucky enough to arouse or reawaken these feelings, that person ran the risk of being killed. Through killing (not uncommonly including attacks on eyes-that-see and tongues-that-talk), the murderer could temporarily eliminate the threat of shame. Significantly, the target for violence was usually not the source of the initial humiliation. This suggested a radical disconnect between ‘solution’ and ‘problem’ – a key element of magical thinking more generally. Gilligan has argued that the desire to eliminate a source of shame and thereby keep a sense of personal worth has often been a more powerful motivation even than self-preservation, leading violent criminals into self-destructive behaviour as well as the abuse of others. The atrocities of 9/11 and their aftermath seem to have brought three important threats of shame for the United States, with key actors going to extreme – and often violent – lengths to ward off this threat. The first threat of shame (discussed in this chapter) arose from the sheer powerlessness of the 9/11 tragedy (and then, by extension, of US personnel deployed in response). The 9/11 attacks can be seen as a response to humiliation, a response which was itself humiliating. The US-led response has involved passing on feelings of powerlessness and shame to others through a spectacular assertion of US military power. As with Gilligan’s murderers, the source of the initial humiliation was not readily to hand (not least [ 145 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? because the terrorists had committed suicide), and this set the scene for a disconnect between ‘solution’ and ‘problem’ that was every bit as stark as with the displaced violence highlighted by Gilligan. The cycle, as noted, is potentially endless, since those onto whom powerlessness and shame are ‘offloaded’ will be (and are being) tempted to remedy their own powerlessness and shame through their own feeling of power-through-violence, as they embrace terror attacks and simple resistance to occupation. ‘Killing and torture’, as Eric Hobsbawm wrote in his study of bandits and rebels, ‘is the most primitive and personal assertion of ultimate power, and the weaker the rebel feels himself to be at bottom, the greater, we may suppose, the temptation to assert it’.2 The attacks brought a second, more insidious threat of shame: the threat arising from the suspicion, however dimly or reluctantly sensed, that 9/11 occurred because of something that those targeted (meaning, principally, Americans) had done or failed to do. Identifying the source of the violence as some finite external ‘evil’ seems to have offered a more palatable alternative. This process is discussed in Chapter 9. A third threat of shame (also considered in Chapter 9) has arisen from the violent reaction to 9/11, a reaction that prompted widespread condemnation of the United States (and to a large extent the United Kingdom) in countries around the world as well as considerable antipathy to soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. Key actors in the counter-terror reacted to this additional threat of shame by widening their circle of enemies and simultaneously narrowing their circle of trusted confidantes. The potentially wounding criticism of ‘friends’ could be neatly – but dangerously – warded off by excluding them or, at the extreme, redefining them as ‘enemies’. This process helps to explain the vehemence of aggression against domestic and foreign critics of the ‘war on terror’ and also against many civilians in those countries attacked.

Violence as power
When news of abuses like Abu Ghraib leaked out, the revealed humiliations were generally dismissed by US officials as exceptional and unrepresentative. There was also a more general debate about torture, with some arguing that a degree of torture might be justified if it meant access to information that could prevent a terror attack or otherwise help the ‘war on terror’. But what if abuses are not just an aberration or a ruthless attempt to ‘win’ but actually a central goal? What if humiliation is not the exception or even the means, but the point?

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While violence is usually presented as serving some purpose beyond itself (for example, making the world safer or more just), we know from many studies of war around the world that violence frequently brings its own rewards: notably the immediate satisfaction of imposing one’s will and of reversing previous feelings of powerlessness and humiliation. In this sense, the point of violence may be the violence itself. While the rhetoric of mass violence tends to revolve around ‘justice’, ‘prevention’ and defeating your enemy, the purpose of the violence may be much more immediate. This means that it may become surprisingly unimportant either to pick the right target or to defeat the proclaimed enemy. Contemporary West African wars have shown the immediate functions of violence. For example, analysts of the civil war in Liberia have stressed the thrill of exercising power through the barrel of a gun.3 In neighbouring Sierra Leone, anyone interpreting violence as a means to a long-term end ran up against the paradox that both rebels and soldiers were predictably alienating civilians through their attacks on civilians (see Chapter 3). However, if we see violence as an immediate assertion of power and an immediate response to powerlessness, much of this violence makes more sense. In line with Hobsbawm’s insights on the ‘levelling’ functions of ‘social banditry’ more generally,4 violence in Sierra Leone was often a way of achieving a crude and immediate levelling down of society through destruction. In a sense, both status and visibility were often inverted through violence: those who were poor and poorly regarded could become ‘big men’; and those who were ignored and forgotten could become front-page news. Important underlying factors were the lack of status, jobs, voice and even marriage prospects for many youths prior to outright war.5 Meanwhile, government soldiers – endangered by a clever and elusive rebel group and simultaneously neglected by their superiors – tended to vent their anger and frustration on those who could not defend themselves: civilians.6 Although unpopular chiefs were sometimes attacked by rebels, there was – as with Gilligan’s murderers – a marked readiness among abusive soldiers and rebels alike to inflict violence and shame on those who were not the source of the underlying grievances and humiliations. In her analysis of wars in early twentieth-century China, historian Diana Lary had earlier found strangely similar dynamics. She argued that the widespread brutality towards civilians sprang not from some innate ‘evil’ in the soldiers but from their sense of powerlessness: the beatings they received, the neglect of their welfare, the exposure to disease in terrible conditions and the powerlessness they had earlier felt [ 147 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? as civilians.7 Taking it out on those less powerful than themselves seems to have been a response to this cumulative sense of powerlessness.8 When it comes to America and American soldiers in recent years, there has been a sense of powerlessness at both the macro and micro levels. Caught by surprise on 11 September 2001, the world’s richest and most heavily armed government was conspicuously unable to protect thousands of its own citizens; the hijacked planes brought down a towering twin-symbol of US wealth before knocking a massive hole in the very institution, the Pentagon, that was charged with the country’s defence.9 Osama bin Laden was able to gloat in a video released by al-Jazeera, ‘Here is America struck by God Almighty in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed.’10 Powerlessness can be experienced at a variety of levels, and even at the local level it could feed into violence. Again, the elusiveness of an enemy prepared to carry out suicide attacks was a factor. Poor resourcing was also significant. We know that at Abu Ghraib, for example, the Bush administration’s desire to limit troop commitments had contributed to severe under-resourcing, with a shortage of interpreters and interrogators and a prisoner-to-guard ratio as high as 75:1. The prison also came under daily mortar attack. The resulting sense of siege seems to have fed into the abuses there, including outright torture.11 As with wartime violence more generally, torture is not adequately explained as a means to some longer-term end. Certainly, part of the expressed purpose of torture has been to get information. But we have seen how many of those imprisoned and tortured by US soldiers have had no connection to the Iraqi resistance. In any case, torture naturally incites hostility and violence. From his extensive interviews with jihadis in the Middle East, Fawaz Gerges notes that ‘Arab/Muslim prisons, particularly their torture chambers, have served as incubators for generations of jihadis.’12 Any ‘advantage’ in terms of information-gathering would seem to be more than outweighed, first, by the creation of more enemies and, second, by a predictable diminution in access to information from ordinary Iraqis and others in the Muslim or Arab world.13 Information obtained through torture is anyway notoriously unreliable. Psychiatry professor Robert Lifton, who studied torture victims coming out of Communist China in the 1950s, noted that torture made people say what their interrogators wanted to hear: the victims would regularly come up with wild confessions.14 This remains true today. As Human Rights Watch observes, ‘The US Army’s interrogation manual makes clear that abuse undermines the quest for reliable information. The US military command in Iraq says that Iraqi detainees are providing more [ 148 ]

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useful intelligence when they are not subjected to coercion.’15 Top US commanders told the New York Times on 27 May 2004 that they learned ‘little about the insurgency’ from the Abu Ghraib interrogations.16 We are led back, once again to the witch-hunt. Ann Barstow, commenting on sixteenth-century witch-hunts in Europe, notes, ‘It appears that jailers, [witch] pickers, executioners and judges, all could take their sadistic pleasure with female prisoners [accused of witchcraft]. Men involved wanted more from witch-hunting than the conviction of witches: namely, unchallengeable sexual power over women.’17 Barstow adds, ‘the basic fact of having total juridical power over women may have fanned the propensity for violence’. Today, the temptations of exerting extreme power in the form of torture would appear to be particularly great in the context of: first, the extreme powerlessness of 9/11; second, the fear and sense of powerlessness among occupying soldiers living among an increasingly hostile population (notably in Iraq); and third, the opportunities for control and impunity offered by implementing the ‘war on terror’. Experience in countless wars as well as in the field of criminal violence tells us that there is nothing more dangerous than an individual (or group) with a sense of victimhood and a simultaneous sense of impunity.18 This describes the position not only of many military personnel on the ground but also of the United States as a whole (its impunity deriving in large part from the absence of any other superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union). Prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and other American facilities, including in Afghanistan, seem to have been designed to inflict maximum powerlessness and shame on the victims, with photographs serving as what Mark Danner calls a kind of ‘shame multiplier’.19 In these prison abuses, it appears that local sensibilities have been consciously taken into account, and turned against the victims. A training manual for the Marine Corps includes advice that takes Iraq’s culture into account: Do not shame or humiliate a man in public. Shaming a man will cause him and his family to be anti-Coalition. … Shame is given by placing hoods over a detainee’s head. Avoid this practice. Placing a detainee on the ground or putting a foot on him implies you are God. This is one of the worst things we can do.20 Yet the lure of ‘shaming’ others was clearly very great. An immediate sense of powerlessness stemming from 9/11 seems to have been all the greater for the fact that America has been accustomed to exercising great power and authority: like a child grown used to having everything its [ 149 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? own way, America was in the habit of imposing its will, not of having others impose their will on it. The shock of 9/11, moreover, seems to have come on top of a wider unease: a collective anxiety at the slipping away of America’s economic supremacy. In this dual context, fantasies of renewed omnipotence have been deeply alluring: they seem to have helped to reassert some sense of control. The desire to reassert control was evident even in small details, as when Bush insisted that the United States would respond to 9/11 ‘at a time of our own choosing’. Closely linked to reversing the shame of powerlessness is the desire for revenge, a revenge whose chosen victims have been determined to a significant extent by high-level definitions of the enemy. Again, this has very little to do with winning the ‘war on terror’ and tends actively to impede the business of winning. On 4 February 2002, about 25 men from three US Special Forces units and three CIA paramilitary teams gathered near the Pakistan border of Afghanistan. A pile of rocks had been arranged as a tombstone over a buried picture of the destroyed World Trade Center. One man read a prayer and then declared, ‘We consecrate this spot as an everlasting memorial to the brave Americans who died on September 11, so that all who would seek to do her harm will know that America will not stand by and watch terror prevail.’21 So far, so Bush-like. But soldiers can sometimes go further than a president in spelling out an underlying desire for violence. The prayer continued, ‘We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation’. Similar sentiments could be found among some US soldiers serving in Iraq. Corporal Michael Richardson, 22, commented: There’s a picture of the World Trade Center hanging up by my bed and I keep one in my Kevlar [flak jacket]. Every time I feel sorry for these people, I look at that. I think, ‘they hit us at home and, now, it’s our turn.’ I don’t want to say payback but, you know, it’s pretty much payback.22 One British former officer interacting with US troops in Iraq said the feeling was that ‘the gloves are off’, adding, ‘Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11.’23

Dependence and omnipotence
No-one is weaker than a baby, and in May 2003, Canadian singersongwriter Neil Young observed, ‘The US is like a baby with a bomb’.24 [ 150 ]

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The comparison no doubt will have annoyed a lot of people: just as did the US officials’ and observers’ attempts to infantilise France for its lack of belligerence over Iraq (Chapter 9) or North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il (Chapter 2). However, the musician’s words may be something more than a provocative phrase. British psychoanalyst Joan Riviere, in a book co-authored with child psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, notes, ‘a baby does not recognise anyone’s existence but his own … and he expects all his wants to be fulfilled’.25 When he realises that he is dependent on others, he is likely to become very aggressive. Riviere goes on, ‘The baby cannot distinguish between “me” and “not-me”; his own sensations are his world, the world to him; so when he is cold, hungry or lonely there is no milk, no well-being or pleasure in the world.’26 This realisation of powerless may itself be a primary source of shame.27 Barbara Ehrenreich has written that before 9/11, ‘We Americans had been lazy, willfully ignorant, and self-involved to the point of solipsism. If there was an outside world, we didn’t want to know about it, unless the death of a beautiful princess was involved.’28 In many ways, 9/11 reinforced a certain deep-seated self-absorption. How many times has the world been told that 11 September 2001 was ‘the day that changed the world’, that ‘our sense of security vanished on that day’, that ‘nothing would ever be the same again’? These statements have a degree of truth to them, and through their cataclysmic nature, they have helped feed a reaction (and a doctrine of pre-emption) that has itself radically changed the world. But there is self-absorption and blindness here too. If you try to make a case for 6 April 1994 as ‘the day that changed the world’, you will get mostly blank looks on the streets of New York (or London, for that matter). You will be lucky indeed to run into someone sufficiently educated and aware that they can dimly recall, ‘Oh yes, wasn’t that the start of the Rwandan genocide that killed some 800,000 people?’ Of course, the United States is not a child but an innovative and technologically advanced nation with a rich and diverse culture; but in a country that runs up a record trade and budget deficit while launching expensive wars and implementing a US$350 billion tax cut, is there not something of this creature expecting ‘all his wants to be fulfilled’? Is there not also something infantile or at least irresponsible in the magical thinking that sees high-tech wars as almost cost-free for the victims and the perpetrators, the belief that one can usefully respond to terror by increasing spending, the view that evil can be somehow cut free from the rest of us, and, finally, the belief that if you close your eyes and wish for something hard enough (some weapons of mass [ 151 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? destruction in time for Christmas or Easter), they will magically materialise?29 In many ways, US policy seems to be based on maintaining a fool’s paradise in the here and now, while problems are exported either to other geographical zones (delivering violence, sucking in capital for deficitfinancing) or to other time zones (a future blighted by climate-change and pollution, a future when current deficits and the Iraq war will be paid for through cuts in Medicare, access to prescription drugs, social security and so on).30 Economist David Gold noted in 2004, ‘the overall Bush defense programme will require extensive further increases in federal spending, if current plans are carried out. With tax cuts and spending growth in other areas, this is a classic recipe for a budgetary train wreck.’31 If there is wishful thinking here, it cannot all be pinned at the door of the politicians. In the International Herald Tribune, Bob Herbert raised the interesting and disturbing possibility that in contemporary US elections ‘candidates can’t tell voters the truth and still win’, adding that ‘We Americans … want our leaders to manipulate reality to our liking.’32 Novelist Justin Cartwright describes a trip to Buffalo, in upstate New York: I stopped at a diner for breakfast, where everyone was eating generous combinations of kiddies’ food: pancakes with syrup, eggs over easy or sunny side up, juice, milk, milkshakes. As the waitresses made encouraging noises it suddenly occurred to me that they were treating us exactly as if we were huge babies. And every time I watched television, the presenters – coiffed, buffed and shining – were speaking as if to infants, cheerfully, full of encouragement, sometimes switching to a grave demeanour for the important stuff like the non-appearance of weapons of mass destruction.33 Cartwright argues that religious fundamentalism ‘provides a simple, infantile, answer to the world’s problems’: The problem is a society that has no confidence in attributing value: hence the resort to self-indulgence and infantile behaviour; hence the infantile political solutions and the infantile commercial promises. It’s a kind of make-believe because we don’t know what our values are. The yearning for the restoration of lost values is certainly part of the [ 152 ]

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rhetoric of the American right. In general, adults may be encouraged to be childish by a sense that childhood – and innocence – have somehow been snatched away. Thomas Frank’s book brings out the way nostalgia for the ‘lost paradise’ of youth has sometimes fed into the conservative ‘backlash’ in the United States, with authors like G. Gordon Liddy mourning the loss of freedoms associated with an American youth: the way an over-regulated society has taken away simple pleasures like burning leaves, cutting down trees, or (the lost innocence of it all!) shooting birds with a gun. Imposing one’s will – even one’s violence – on nature has featured strongly in American history and folklore, and one significant strand of thought sees liberals in Washington as snatching away this lost paradise of America’s youth (and one’s own). Yet part of growing up is realising that the world cannot always be bent to your will. Bush – who was protected from many realities by money and later, perhaps, by drink – seems particularly lacking in this mature perspective. In particular, he seems implacably hostile to the idea that there are powerful forces beyond America who should be taken into account in the design of policy. Debating with Bush before the 2004 election, John Kerry said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say ‘America has declared war on Islam.’ We need to be smarter about how we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. This gets to the heart of the matter and eloquently highlights the counterproductive nature of Bush’s approach. But the president’s reply was as unapologetic as it was revealing, ‘My opponent just said something amazing’, he began: He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden doesn’t determine how we defend ourselves. Osama bin Laden doesn’t get to decide. The American people decide. I decided. The right action was in Iraq. We have noted Hannah Arendt’s argument that the point of policymaking was not necessarily to be right, but to be certain. Here, Bush makes a related statement: the point is not to be right, but to be autonomous. It is, in effect, another implicit invocation of the freedom of infancy: for freedom is effectively defined as the freedom to make [ 153 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? decisions independently of the constraints that an awkward world might impose. This makes a certain amount of psychological sense in a complex and sometimes dangerous world; it is also crazy. Imagine that Bush is crossing a road. Will he walk out in front of a speeding car proclaiming, ‘The driver doesn’t get to decide when I walk. The American people decided. I decided’? Are there not certain external realities which policy, by mere force of will and wishful thinking, cannot overcome? A kind of cultural arrogance has fed into the Bush administration’s self-centred world view, as it has into the approaches of previous administrations. Shortly before Edward Said died in September 2003, he wrote: What American leaders and their intellectual lackeys seem incapable of understanding is that history cannot be swept clean like a blackboard, so that ‘we’ might inscribe our own future there and impose our own forms of life for these lesser people to follow. It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.34 Said added that the idea that ‘human beings must create their own history [has] been replaced by abstract ideas that celebrate American or western exceptionalism, denigrate the relevance of context, and regard other cultures with contempt’. Further, ‘Without a well-organised sense that the people over there were not like “us” and didn’t appreciate “our” values – the very core of traditional orientalist dogma – there would have been no war.’35 In this reinvigorated orientalism, there is no room, as Said put it, for ‘hospitality’, for minds that actively make a place for a foreign ‘other’ and attempt to understand it on its own terms. What these habits and shortcomings add up to is a kind of political autism: a deep-rooted failure to appreciate that there exist real, living, deciding human beings beyond the self-referential world of Western leaders.36 Only a few individuals seem to have been willing to entertain thoughts outside this egocentric box. One was Secretary of State Colin Powell, who may as a black man have been more conscious than most of the downside of imperialism. Bob Woodward notes that at a meeting of senior US officials on 29 October 2001, Powell ‘worried that the United States was playing superpower bully, trying to move the [ 154 ]

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[Afghan] opposition forces, the Northern Alliance and the various warlords around on the chessboard as if they did not have a stake in this war’. Powell also asked, ‘Do they have any ideas about what they want to do, as opposed to what we think they ought to do?’37 Yet even Powell seems to have been prone to US-centric distortions, as when he helped to pave the way for war with Iraq by telling the UN Security Council (on live TV), ‘Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and al-Qaida together.’38 In other words, ‘They both hate us, so they must be in league.’ Crucially, insofar as the world divides into ‘me’ and ‘not me’, relationships within the ‘not me’ category are likely to be poorly understood.39 Bush echoed Powell’s ‘analysis’ in a speech at Fort Bragg military base, North Carolina, in June 2005 when he suggested that the Iraqi insurgents shared a common ‘totalitarian ideology’ with al-Qaida and that if they were not defeated there, they would use the country as a base to launch terror attacks on the United States itself.40 If we go back to the link that Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere draw between aggression and dependence, it is interesting to think about oil – and debt. As Emmanuel Todd argues, America has been picking on weak targets even as its real economic power has been diminishing and even as its economic dependence (notably via the trade deficit) has increased.41 The United States relies on attracting savings from around the world and the attractions of holding dollar investments; however, the dollar has been weakening, and the dollar’s status as a reserve currency has become uncertain, with Iraq itself converting oil pricing to Euros in November 2000.42 With America’s dependence on oil has come an understandable fear of this dependence – part of the context for the worries about over-dependence on the Saudis and the interest in securing alternative bases and full control of Iraqi supplies.43 The United States’s massive fiscal deficit means, in effect, that the United States has also become dependent on continued inflows of capital (notably from East Asia) to sustain its over-consumption. Again, we see the strange dependency of the world’s sole superpower. Hannah Arendt suggested that violence increases as those with power feel it slipping from their hands (a point that perhaps receives further support from Fawaz Gerges’ argument that jihadis’ focus on the ‘far enemy’ sprang from the weakness and divisions in jihadis traditionally focusing on the ‘near enemy’).44 At a memorial service at the Pentagon exactly one month after 9/11, Rumsfeld likened the terrorists to the vanquished totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century that sought to rule and oppress, and commented: [ 155 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? The will to power, the urge to dominion over others … makes the terrorist a believer not in the theology of God, but the theology of self and in the whispered words of temptation, ‘Ye shall be as Gods’. In targeting this place, then, and those who worked here, the attackers, the evildoers correctly sensed that the opposite of all they were, and stood for, resided here.45 But Rumsfeld surely protests too much. Key US officials seem themselves to have been tempted by these whispered words; and their own ‘will to power’, their own ‘theology of self’, has flourished in the context of economic dependency and the powerlessness of 9/11 itself. It is true that terrorists have in some ways elevated themselves to a God-like status: they claim to speak with God’s authority, and they ‘play God’ with innocent lives. Yet what US politicians persistently fail to realise is that they too are seen as playing God, as falsely claiming God’s authority, as playing God with innocent lives, as ignoring law rather than abiding by it. The noisy and violent project of ‘exporting liberty’ also gives the impression of a country seeking, in John Feffer’s phrase, ‘to remake the world in its own image’: an enterprise that the Bible originally attributed to God.46 One taxi-driver in South Africa’s Johannesburg expressed a common view when he told me, ‘Bush has got so much power that he thinks he is God.’ The confidence of the neo-conservatives in their ability to transform the world seems to owe something to the belief that they had defeated the Soviet Union (a feat, incidentally that many al-Qaida terrorists attributed to themselves and that helped give them a kind of overconfidence).47 When the US administration initially named the attack on Afghanistan as ‘Operation Infinite Justice’, the choice of name suggested that the United States had set itself up with a god-like status, and indeed the label was withdrawn when it was pointed out that in Islam it is only Allah that can dispense ‘infinite justice’. One is reminded of a Percy Shelley poem called ‘The Mask of Anarchy’, which was written in the aftermath of the 1819 Peterloo massacre in Manchester, England: Last came Anarchy; he rode On a white horse, splashed with blood; He was pale even to the lips, Like Death in the Apocalypse. And he wore a kingly crown; And in his grasp a sceptre shone; On his brow this mark I saw – ‘I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!’48 [ 156 ]

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At one level, those who promote perpetual war are natural allies: extremism seems bizarrely in love with its opposite number.49 At another level, these enemies seem destined to misunderstand each other, perhaps in part because they resemble each other in important ways and cannot bear to recognise the fact. The insistence that someone is the opposite of you may grow more forceful as you come to resemble them more; indeed, work on nationalism has suggested the importance of the ‘narcissism of minor differences’: the smaller the real difference between people (as in former Yugoslavia), the larger it may come to loom in their imagination.50 The common roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam certainly do not seem to have been a particular source of harmony, and the more extreme manifestations of fundamentalism associated with these religions seem particularly anxious to dismiss any commonalities. All the more reason, then, to follow Karen Armstrong’s advice when she suggests, ‘We must educate ourselves to see the distress, helplessness, fear and, latterly, rage that underlie the various religious fundamentalisms.’51

Piggybacking US power
The British, of course, have a more long-standing sense of confusion and loss of power than the Americans. At the moment of one of Britain’s greatest triumphs (the end of the Second World War), the British – encouraged by their American friends – lost an entire empire. Like membership of the UN Security Council and of the socalled ‘nuclear club’, piggybacking US power seems to provide some compensation, some escape from the shame of such a dramatic fall in influence and leadership. And since the United States somehow still appears as a kind of protégé – after all, Americans speak ‘English’, not the other way round – the reality of subservience can often be suppressed and ‘Great Power’ status can be magically maintained.52 (Interestingly, a sense of violent frustration at the ‘end of empire’ has also sometimes been attributed to Islamist extremists harking back to the glory of the Ottoman Caliphate.53) Blair’s delusions of grandeur have often been clear enough, as when he declared in 1997: Century upon century it has been the destiny of Britain to lead other nations. That should not be a destiny that is part of our history. It should be part of our future. We are a leader of nations or nothing.54

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E N D L E S S WA R ? Subordination to the United States is not new: it is an extension and variation of patterns during the Cold War. However, the subservience has now gone to new lengths. Perhaps Blair’s elevation to American hero after 9/11 proved too seductive.55 In a June 2003 speech to Royal United Services Institute, UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon declared that ‘it is highly unlikely that the United Kingdom would be engaged in large-scale combat operations without the United States’, and that therefore the UK’s armed forces should now be ‘structured and equipped’ to meet the demands of wars fought by the United States.56 To Blair’s critics, the abject subordination could hardly be clearer and it casts Britain in the role of junior partner in a kind of Axis of Weevil: a tiny but enthusiastic parasite on US wealth and power. Britain has also been ridiculed as a colony of its former colony, and Blair himself has been widely lampooned as ‘Bush’s poodle’, ‘Bush baby’ or ‘My little Tony’.57 Reading 30 Days (Peter Stothard’s book about Blair), after reading Woodward’s Bush at War is a peculiarly dispiriting experience. Many of the conversations recorded in Bush at War are horrifying; but at least you do get a sense of excitement, a sense that here – though it is being used very badly – is some kind of power. Stothard’s book, subtitled ‘A Month at the Heart of Blair’s War’, describes a mini-world dominated by issues of presentation with Blair and Campbell trying to convince the public and the Labour Party (and perhaps themselves) of the justice of what is not really ‘Blair’s War’ at all, but Bush’s.58 While some British people find this one-sided ‘special relationship’ elevating or amusing, others see it as dangerous and humiliating. Blair is not insensitive to humiliation in general: in October 2003, he said that he couldn’t have left an ‘emboldened’ Saddam in place ‘with the world’s democracies humiliated’59; but Blair does seem wilfully blind to his humiliation by Bush. Bush’s unilateralism (on issues like steel tariffs and British prisoners at Guantanamo, as well as the Iraq war itself) has repeatedly undermined Blair’s attempts to show that the special relationship was paying dividends. When Ariel Sharon was allowed to stall on the peace ‘road map’ and adhere to his plan for maintaining selected Jewish settlements in the West Bank, that was a blow to any coherent Palestinian state and a blow to Blair too. Meanwhile, right-wing newspapers and politicians in Britain expressed much more concern about a few hundred men deployed under EU command in Macedonia, for example, than about the major erosion of sovereignty in relation to the United States. George Monbiot asked pertinently, ‘Why has the old reactionary motto “my country, [ 158 ]

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right or wrong” been so smoothly replaced with another one, “their country, right or wrong?”’ He suggested, ‘our fake patriots know where real power lies. Having located it, they wish to appease it. For the very reason that the United States is a greater threat to our sovereignty than the European Union, they will not stand up to it’60 – a variation, in other words, of ‘might is right’.

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9 Shame, Purity and Violence
If the powerlessness of 9/11 fed into shame and a violent response, a second threat of shame arose from the suspicion that 9/11 was linked to Americans’ actions or inaction. Many said America had shown too much weakness (see the section, ‘America “goes soft”’ below), and a few suggested it had exhibited too much interference and belligerence (see the section, ‘Resisting those who “blame America” for 9/11’ later in this chapter). A third threat of shame – arising from the violent response to 9/11 – is addressed in the section ‘Counter-terror and the proliferation of enemies’.

America ‘goes soft’: weakness, emasculation and impurity
Many catastrophes – across a wide range of cultures and time-periods – have brought forth a call for explanations and for associated ‘purifications’. Drawing on his fieldwork in northern Uganda, anthropologist Tim Allen noted that elders frequently sought to explain misfortune (for example, illness in a former soldier) with reference to past antisocial behaviour – in other words, with reference to a morality they sought to promote.1 In African civil wars, abstinence from sex and alcohol has frequently been hailed as giving immunity to violence.2 Among the ancient Mayan civilisation of Central America, drought prompted rituals involving the mutilation of sexual organs and these seem to have been attempts to appease the gods and thereby end the drought. In the modern era, the Nazis threw invective at a materialist Germany that had allegedly grown weak, feminine, soft and ‘bourgeois’,3 and writer Klaus Theweleit stressed that most of the first Nazi storm troopers were German soldiers who were hostile to the forces and people – broadly, ‘revolution’, ‘Jews’, ‘corruption’, even ‘women’ – that were seen as undermining the strength, masculinity, pride and purity of Germany and as paving the way for the humiliation of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Omer Bartov’s book Mirrors of Destruction – in an argument related to Arendt’s and Theweleit‘s – drew attention to the tendency in Germany to blame military catastrophe in the First World War on those who had allegedly undermined the war effort and betrayed German soldiers. In effect, the need to explain and glorify suffering led to the mutation of enemies from soldiers ‘over there’ to civilians ‘over here’, from the British and French to the Jews.4 James [ 160 ]

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Gilligan and Thomas Scheff both stress links between German ‘shame’ at the Treaty of Versailles and the search for scapegoats culminating in the mass killing of Jews. Even in France, itself deeply traumatised by the First World War, significant groups found it tempting to welcome Nazism as a solution to internal weaknesses and impurities. Bartov observes that many in occupied France saw the Nazi occupation as confirmation of France’s moral decline and its drift to secularism and, at the same time, as an opportunity to reverse these trends with an alliance between the Church and head of the Vichy regime, Marshall Henri Pétain.5 After the Second World War, military reversals continued to feed into various kinds of ‘purging’. In the mid-1970s, heavy bombing by the United States encouraged a perverse and violent search for ‘purity’ in Cambodia, a purging of ‘colonialism’ and ‘imperialism’ via the Khmer Rouge’s forced uprooting of urban populations and its killing of Vietnamese, ‘Vietnamese sympathisers’ and alleged spies and ‘collaborators’.6 After the Rwandan army had suffered the ‘humiliation’ of a peace agreement at Arusha in 1993, a search for sources of weakness and ‘impurity’ seems to have fed powerfully into the 1994 Rwandan genocide.7 A powerful strand of thought in the United States has suggested that 9/11 occurred, in part, because America had become weak and hedonistic. This has fed into two disturbing and ultimately counterproductive reactions. The first has been aggression towards various external enemies. The second has been a redoubling of the pursuit of ‘purity’ and ‘moral regeneration’ at home: as if to reinvigorate a society grown soft and susceptible to attack. The Republican Party and the religious right have tended to adopt a schizophrenic view of the state, that it should interfere in personal morality and steer clear of the market (with defence spending being a notable exception). This approach has apparently been reinforced by 9/11: the felt need to reinvigorate ‘American values’ in the wake of 9/11 has encouraged more interference in personal morality and still greater economic liberalism via tax cuts in particular. However, public spending has tended, paradoxically, to rise – especially defence spending. Part of the humiliation of 9/11 was a feeling that the United States had not been strong enough, or macho enough, to deter it. The view that a weak response to 9/11 would invite a worse attack was even expressed by some ostensible liberal commentators. While warning against failing to distinguish terrorists from non-terrorists, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just after 9/11, ‘To not retaliate ferociously for this attack on our people is only to invite a worse [ 161 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? attack tomorrow and an endless war with terrorists.’8 For many officials and analysts, the US self-image as a superpower demanded ‘tough action’. As Vice-President Cheney said when the Afghan attack ran into significant resistance, ‘We should encourage the Northern Alliance to take Kabul. We as a superpower should not be stalemated.’9 Significantly, Bush and many members of his national security team saw the Clinton administration’s response to bin Laden and international terrorism as so weak that it was virtually an invitation to hit the United States again. Criticism of Clinton was particularly strong when it came to his launching of 66 cruise missiles into al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in response to the bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998.10 Bush commented after 9/11: The antiseptic notion of launching a cruise missile into some guy’s, you know, tent, really is a joke. I mean, people viewed that as the impotent America … a flaccid, you know, kind of technologically competent but not very tough country that was willing to launch a cruise missile out of a submarine and that’d be it. I do believe there is the image of America out there that we are so materialistic, that we’re almost hedonistic, that we don’t have values, and that when struck, we wouldn’t fight back. It was clear that bin Laden felt emboldened and didn’t feel threatened by the United States.11 This was to be an enduring theme. In June 2005, Bush told US soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, ‘The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat.’12 This kind of analysis fed into a much broader strain of thought that has for many years portrayed liberal America as indecisive and soft. Pointing to Paul Wolfowitz’s long-standing hostility to Saddam Hussein, Professor Stephen Holmes observed that, ‘Wolfowitz’s anger is fundamentally an anger against the weakness of American liberalism … a source of weakness, and a source of rot and a source of relativism that has been corroding American society for decades.’13 If America had indeed become ‘flaccid’, ‘hedonistic’ and had lost its ‘values’, them some kind of moral revival was apparently required to ward off future threats. This may be an important part of the explanation for the increased emphasis on ‘moral issues’ – notably opposing abortion and gay marriage – in the 2004 elections, which saw Bush re-elected with an increased majority and many voters galvanised and organised into [ 162 ]

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supporting Bush by the religious right.14 Fears that America had grown weak and materialistic also seem to have fed into a foreign policy backlash in which doubts about one’s own values and vigour were violently cast aside. Norman Mailer observed of America in 2004, ‘We have become a guilty nation. Somewhere in the moil of the national conscience is the knowledge that we are caught in the little contradiction of loving Jesus on Sunday, while lusting the rest of the week for mega-money. How can we not be in need of someone to tell us that we are good and pure and he will seek to make us secure?’ On this logic, we might expect that the economic interests in war (oil, guns) would only reinforce the vehemence of the self-styled moral agenda. Moreover, as Mailer notes, the reformed alcoholic Bush may himself have been in special need of such moral reclothing: ‘George W.’s piety has become a pomade to cover all the tamped-down dry-drunk craziness that still stirs in his livid inner air.’15 Compare these dynamics (whether societal or individual) with an account from Swiss intellectual Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim, on the process by which some young Muslims have been recruited into terror organisations: Young people are told: everything you do is wrong – you don’t pray, you drink, you aren’t modest, you don’t behave. They are told that the only way to be a good Muslim is to live in an Islamic society. Since they can’t do that, this magnifies their sense of inadequacy and creates an identity crisis. Such young people are easy prey for someone who comes along and says, ‘there is a way to purify yourself’. Some of these figures even keep the young people drinking to increase their sense of guilt and make them easier to manipulate.16 On similar lines, veteran journalist Robert Fisk notes that some Muslims have enjoyed freedoms and pleasures in the West but feel somehow ‘corrupted’ for doing so. For a dangerous few, terror attacks might be a way not only of tackling this guilt but of hitting back at the society that had ‘corrupted’ them.17 Part of the lure of violence, as many Nazis seemed to understand very well, can lie in the offer of escape from the materialism and everyday corruptions of peacetime. Bush has occasionally come close to portraying 9/11 as an opportunity for moral or even personal renewal. In February 2002, he declared: None of us would ever wish on anyone what happened on that day [9/11]. Yet, as with each life, sorrows we would not choose [ 163 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? can bring wisdom and strength gained in no other way. This insight is central to many faiths and certainly to the faith that finds hope and comfort in a cross.18 The idea that worldly suffering is some kind of message or Godly inducement to morality has a long history: in the nineteenth century, many British opinion-formers interpreted the Great Famine in Ireland as a sign that God disapproved of Britain’s Corn Laws (seen as impeding food imports);19 more recently, the view that HIV/AIDS punishes behaviour that God disapproves of has contributed to ambivalence and delays in tackling the AIDS epidemic.20 The idea of suffering as a corrective for moral lapses is written deep into a powerful strand of American religious thought. Noting that the template for a ‘Chosen People’ is taken from the Old Testament, Clifford Longley observed: The Chosen People syndrome, as we have defined it, suggests that nations whose history is subject to that pattern will experience a cycle. Faithfulness will be followed by laxity, by idolatry and by infidelity (in the religious sense at least); this will lead to suffering and misfortune as Providence intervenes to apply the corrective chastisement. (That is not to make God responsible for causing the misfortune; all he does is to lift his protection.) Prophets will arise to explain what has gone wrong and urge the Chosen People to return to their earlier obedience; as they do so, they are restored (redeemed) back to the earlier state of grace.21 Despite this context, Bush’s linking of 9/11 with the perception of America as weak and without values is odd in a number of ways. First, like a lot of statements about terrorists’ motivations, it presumes to get inside the head of a very elusive and diverse group. (After each terrorist attack, we hear that such-and-such a path of action – the one not favoured by the speaker or writer – would be ‘giving the terrorists what they want’.)22 There is a second element of strangeness in Bush’s statement: it is almost as if the terrorists have become a kind of ‘mouthpiece’ for the fears and prejudices of both Bush himself and the religious right more generally. In effect, the terrorists are bizarrely credited with accurately diagnosing American society’s faults, and the diagnosis is oddly in line with the moral issues ‘backlash’ politics dissected by Thomas Frank. To [ 164 ]

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some extent at least, this ghoulish harmony seems to reflect a certain ‘moral overlap’ between competing fundamentalisms, especially in the expressed hostility towards worldly pleasure-seeking: as psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg has noted, fundamentalist ideologies tend to have not only a sharp divide between the faithful and the infidel but also a sexually restrictive morality for the chosen; hostility towards secularisation is also a shared trait.23 American evangelist Jerry Falwell took Bush’s ventriloquistic manoeuvre even further when he portrayed 9/11 as God’s retribution for abortion, homosexuality and secularisation24 (an interpretation echoed by some religious leaders in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina was portrayed as retribution for abortion and for a New Orleans gay festival disrupted by the storm).25 In effect, Falwell was portraying God and the terrorists as speaking with a single voice (a claim made more obviously by the terrorists themselves – for example, when bin Laden said 9/11 was ‘America struck by God’).26 It is interesting to compare the welcome extended by some leading French Catholics to German occupation as a route to reversing an alleged Jewish/Freemason-inspired separation of Church and State in France. W. D. Hall commented that it almost seemed as if God had sided with Nazism in order to purify France.27 Interestingly, Richard Hofstadter’s classic 1965 study of paranoia in American politics had noted that ‘a fundamental paradox of the paranoid style is the imitation of the enemy’ – whether Ku Klux Klan donning priestly robes and adopting elaborate rituals and hierarchies or the John Birch Society emulating its Communist enemies with ‘front’ groups and a ruthless prosecution of ideological war.28 A third anomaly with Bush’s attempt to reverse the attackers’ image of America is that it sits very oddly with his emphasis on the need for autonomy – his insistence (noted in Chapter 8) that ‘Osama bin Laden doesn’t determine how we defend ourselves.’ For implicit in Bush’s remedial action is that bin Laden does get to determine a significant part of the response: in fact, the terrorist’s presumed world view gets to exert a powerful influence not only on (an increasingly aggressive) American foreign policy but on the government’s (morally reforming) domestic agenda too. The Reverend Falwell’s view is clearly linked to the common Christian view that God is all-powerful and all-knowing: events cannot happen without his knowing or doing, his rewarding or punishing. Within this framework, a catastrophe like 9/11 carries a very potent threat of shame since people are naturally led to ask: punishment for what? Adding to the threat of shame is a Protestant tradition that has tended to see prosperity [ 165 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? as a sign of virtue.29 Many Americans have taken the power and conspicuous wealth of ‘God’s own country’ as a sign of God’s approval and special favour. Shortly after Bush took office, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer rejected calls for drivers to reduce fuel consumption, saying, ‘The President believes it’s an American way of life. … The American way of life is a blessed one.’30 As Clifford Longley put it in his study Chosen People, ‘a nation enjoying success can easily convince itself it is basking in the benevolence of Providence’.31 By the same logic, an assault on power and conspicuous wealth may bring the threatening thought that God is no longer smiling on a virtuous and chosen people. Thus, wealth and power must be maintained not only for their own sake but as a sign of God’s continuing approval. In Bush’s interpretation of terrorists’ views of America, the use of the words ‘impotent’ and ‘flaccid’ should alert us to a worry that the United States has not been sufficiently masculine or virile. Bush seemed to invoke the language of mid-life crisis when he ‘worried that the United States had lost its edge’.32 Perhaps significantly, Bush has favoured macho language (often with a Spanish flavour) when praising his friends. He told Blair aide Alastair Campbell, ‘Your man has got cojones’.33 Bush sometimes called Ariel Sharon ‘toro’ or ‘the bull’.34 Bush and his entourage may have felt a particular need to talk tough and to banish internal weakness: those who managed to avoid military service in Vietnam included not only George Bush himself but John Aschroft, Richard Perle and Dick Cheney – influential figures described by playwright David Hare as ‘Men willing to send others to do what they would not do themselves’.35 The unease of these ‘chicken hawks’ was evidenced in the Republican attacks on the record of someone who had conspicuously not opted out of the Vietnam war, John Kerry.36 Comparing Bush and Kerry, Norman Mailer observed pithily, ‘Bush is the better actor. He has been impersonating men more manly than himself for many years.’37 If all this machismo could be deployed in the name of the oppressed women of Afghanistan (a refreshing, if sudden, priority for the Republicans), then so much the better. It is not difficult to see an underlying assertion of ‘masculine’ virtues in many other responses to 9/11. For example, David Halberstam, a prominent critic of the Vietnam war, now praised the ‘muscularity and flex of American society’, adding that ‘our strengths, when summoned and focused, when the body politic is aroused and connects to the political process, are never to be underestimated.’38 Conversely, those opposing the Iraq war were often derided as unmanly. On the eve of the war, Timothy Garton Ash commented: [ 166 ]

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The current stereotype of Europeans is easily summarised. Europeans are wimps. They are weak, petulant, hypocritical, disunited, duplicitous, sometimes anti-Semitic and often antiAmerican appeasers. … They spend their euros on wine, holidays, and bloated welfare states instead of on defense. … If anti-American Europeans see ‘the Americans’ as bullying cowboys, anti-European Americans see ‘the Europeans’ as limp-wristed pansies. The American is a virile, heterosexual male; the European is female, impotent, or castrated. … The word ‘eunuchs’ is, I discovered, used in the form ‘EU-nuchs.’39 While this dichotomy can be overstated, it certainly mirrors Robert Kagan’s catch-phrase, ‘Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus’.40 Within this framework, the US State Department, seen by many on the American right as unduly cautious in relation to counter-terror wars, was ‘an outpost of Venus’,41 while Tony Blair was cited in Washington as a shining exception to the rule of Europeans as wimps.42 Deriding Democrats as unmanly was a well-established reflex. In his book Unlimited Access, Gary Aldrich (an FBI agent assigned to Clinton’s White House) famously referred to the ‘Clintonoids’ as ‘girlie men’, and this was a phrase he later wheeled out for liberals who couldn’t understand why 9/11 had happened when they had been so ‘nice’ to the terrorists.43 On the Clinton team, he observed: There was a unisex quality to the Clinton staff that set it far apart from the Bush [senior] administration. It was the shape of their bodies. In the Clinton administration, the broadshouldered, pants-wearing women and the pear-shaped, bowling-pin men blurred distinctions between the sexes. I was used to athletic types, physically fit persons who took pride in body image and good health.44 In this view, even traditional gender distinctions were being undermined by liberalism (a problem brought into particular focus by gay marriage). Clinton, of course, had run into a political storm when he tried to lift a long-standing ban on gays in the US military. Whatever the truth about Clinton (and he seems to have done his best to assert a certain kind of under-the-table masculinity), Bush appears to have fallen squarely into the pride-in-your-body camp. On a personal level, Bob Woodward’s book Bush at War brings out the president’s concern [ 167 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? with his own physical prowess, ‘I’m doing 205 pounds [benchpresses],’ Bush enthuses boyishly at one point, ‘isn’t that the best for any president?’45 And who can forget Bush moving seamlessly from clubbing bad guys to clubbing golf balls in Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, ‘I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Now watch this drive!’ Meanwhile in London, Bush’s colleagues and caddies were also desperately keeping fit. Blair was devoted to stretching exercises and fruit lunches.46 Key Blair aide Alastair Campbell was training for the London marathon.47 While the Bush team was using sports analogies to describe war,48 the Blair team was busy deploying war analogies to describe sport.49 Matching this machismo was an impulse to emasculate the enemy. Some of the language surrounding 9/11 seemed designed to remove any claim to conventional masculinity from the attackers, as when they were labelled as ‘cowards’ or when the National Enquirer reported that ‘World Trade Center terrorist Mohamed Atta and several of his bloody henchmen led secret gay lives for years.’50 Unsurprisingly, the culture among US soldiers in Iraq was macho in the extreme.51 In both Iraq and Afghanistan, female American soldiers were used to humiliate male prisoners (and at Abu Ghraib were photographed doing so); Allen Feldman suggests plausibly that this was designed to extract male identity and sexual power from the Iraqi ‘terrorist’ and transfer them to male US soldiers.52 This not only exploited Muslim cultural norms; it may also have said something about the insecurities of the Western troops, insecurities that mirrored bullying and insults during military training. As Eric Hoffer once observed, ‘You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you’. In October 2005, the Australian investigative programme ‘Dateline’ reported that US soldiers in Afghanistan had faced the bodies of two Taliban fighters towards Mecca and burned their bodies, before broadcasting over loudspeakers in the local dialect: Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be.53 Bush’s fears about the United States being seen as impotent and flaccid can also be seen in the context of a much broader set of fears in the United States, centring on emasculation.54 These fears have been most strongly expressed by the far-right. In The Turner Diaries, a book that [ 168 ]

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seems to have established a blueprint for the 1995 Oklahoma bombing,55 liberal government is portrayed as expecting an obedience that is ‘feminine’ and ‘infantile’.56 Turner Diaries author William Pierce embraced a racist version of Christian fundamentalism, something that also influenced Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh and Christian militias in the United States. Mark Juergensmeyer, in his comparative study of terror and religious fundamentalism, notes that US Christian militias have been beset by: fears not only of sexual impotence but of government’s role in the process of emasculation. Men who harbor such fears protect themselves, therefore, not only by setting up veiled defenses against the threats of powerful women and unmanly men, but also by attempting to reassert control in a world that they feel has gone morally and politically askew.57 Juergensmeyer sees these fears as fuelling extremism among groups as diverse as Christian militias in the United States and Hindu nationalists in India. For a significant lobby in the United States, possession of guns is an important democratic freedom, and on the far-right taking away people’s guns is regarded as a threat to their masculinity and even as a prelude to the subjugation of the American people by a tyrannical or meddlesome state.58 For this kind of constituency, the allure of a government that is fiercely ‘masculine’ in the foreign domain, that resists the ‘feminisation’ inherent in liberalism, seems to be very strong. In terms of personnel, the foreign policy arena remains very much a man’s world. In the well-organised, right-wing US think-tanks that have helped to formulate and legitimise the radical new US foreign policy, nearly all the participants have been men.59 This has also been true of influential UK think-tanks like the International Institute for Strategic Studies, where I used to work. For women trying to operate within (and perhaps ameliorate) a male-dominated and sometimes macho official climate where ‘weakness’ is regarded as suspect, it has been particularly difficult to articulate a clear alternative or nonmilitaristic vision. Condoleezza Rice, the most powerful woman in the Bush administration, was praised by UN weapons inspector Blix for her straightforward approach to WMD, but she still backed the Iraq war. The details of her professional and personal life – a 136,000 ton oil tanker named in her honour, a tennis challenge to Britain’s Tim Henman – did not suggest someone actively trying to distance herself from a macho culture. [ 169 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? In Peter Stothard’s account of Blair and his entourage, one gets a queasy sense of a group of boys talking happily about football and military tactics, with UK Development Minister Clare Short as motherfigure occasionally tut-tutting in the background. Clare Short is described by Stothard as having ‘an unofficial position as “the conscience of the party”’.60 If true, this would seem to leave the others (nearly all men) bizarrely off the hook. Even Short seemed to reject the ‘soft’ world of sympathy when she dismissed as ‘emotional’ the calls from aid agencies for a pause in the bombing of Afghanistan to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.61 Equating peace with softness was also common in the British media in the wake of 9/11. Following the 9/11 attacks, Polly Toynbee, a distinguished and perceptive British columnist who might have been expected to avoid such sexually loaded and goading language, drew a distinction between ‘limp liberals’ who will not defend their most profound values and ‘hard liberals’ who ‘hold basic human rights to be non-negotiable and worth fighting for’.62 As James Gilligan notes, violence becomes more likely when nonviolence is constructed as unmanly and therefore shameful.63

Resisting those who ‘blame America’ for 9/11
At the other end of the political spectrum from the Reverend Falwell’s interpretation of 9/11 as moral corrective were those who stressed that the United States had made enemies with an aggressive foreign policy. Terrorism purports to be retribution, and the question could not entirely be expunged from consciousness: retribution for what? We know from studies of disasters like wars and famines, moreover, that victims often blame themselves. In many ways, this is a variation of the ‘just world thinking’ discussed in Chapter 7: punishment is held to imply a crime.64 An obvious alternative to self-criticism and the shame of responsibility is to point the finger at others – in other words, to choose blame over shame, perhaps in a violent manner. From 1996 onwards Osama bin Laden fairly consistently gave three reasons for attacking the United States: US military occupation of Saudi Arabia; US support for Israel/‘Zionists’/‘Jews’; and the 1991 invasion of Iraq and subsequent bombing and starving of its people. He subsequently added the 2001 attack on Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.65 This analysis demands to be taken seriously, yet it clearly carries some kind of threat of shame for the West. It was more palatable simply to blame the catastrophe entirely on some external ‘evil’ – just as Blair linked the 2005 London bombings with ‘an evil ideology’ – and to label

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as internal enemies or terrorist sympathisers anyone who questioned this simplistic explanation. 9/11 did give rise to a certain amount of soul-searching on foreign policy, as some Americans were prompted to wonder what it was that they as a nation might have done to precipitate or provoke such a vicious attack. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, novelist Barbara Kingsolver went so far as to highlight similarities between ‘them’ and ‘us’: Ten years ago, early on a January morning, bombs rained down from the sky and caused great buildings in the city of Baghdad to fall down – hotels, hospitals, palaces, buildings with mothers and soldiers inside – and here in the place I want to love best, I had to watch people cheering about it. In Baghdad, survivors shook their fists at the sky and said the word ‘evil’.66 Yet Kingsolver’s message was one that even liberal intellectuals found very difficult to hear,67 and any criticisms of US foreign policy tended to go down badly. Michael Moore recalls how, in the aftermath of 9/11, the original publisher of his bestseller Stupid White Men tried to bury the book (which was critical of US foreign policy). The National Educational Association, American’s largest teachers’ union, created a ‘Remember September 11’ website that was widely condemned for its allegedly ‘blame-America’ approach; George Will wrote in the Washington Post that the website showed ‘a politically correct obsession with “diversity” and America’s sins’, and was ‘as frightening, in its way, as any foreign threat’.68 David Horowitz, a Marxist in the 1960s, suggested that ‘selfdescribed progressives’ had made alliances ‘with Arab fascists and Islamic fanatics in their war against America and the West’ – apparently ‘an updated version of the Nazi-Soviet entente’.69 He suggested, further, that 9/11 and the war against Iraq had provided an opportunity to a radical movement ‘whose permanent agenda was war against America and its perceived global “domination”’,70 and that attacks on the administration were giving encouragement to terrorist forces.71 In his pamphlet The Art of Political War, distributed to Republican Congressman during the 2000 elections, Horowitz argued that ‘Politics is war conducted by other means’.72 Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber point out that this makes war the norm; and if war is the norm, there may be no need to concern oneself about whether to start one.73 In general, the 9/11 attacks made self-awareness less rather than more likely and meant that many Americans came to perceive themselves overwhelmingly as victims. Any incipient feelings of shame for [ 171 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? American foreign policy – or any attempt to articulate these feelings – were usually quickly suppressed in favour of focusing on an ‘evil other’. Significantly, psychiatrist James Gilligan links violence not only to the threat of shame but also to an inability to express shame or selfdoubt (something that may be more marked in men, who have been overwhelmingly the more violent gender); with some significant exceptions, an inability or unwillingness to express shame or self-doubt seems to have been a marked feature of public discourse in the United States. Falwell’s interpretation of 9/11 as God’s displeasure with America got him into trouble and he had to retract; emphasising an external ‘evil’ proved much more palatable. From a Christian viewpoint, it may have served a function in relieving God of responsibility, and, by extension, in relieving Americans of the shame of having incited his wrath. ‘Evil’ invokes the Devil, and as philosopher Leslek Kolakowski, author of Conversations with the Devil, noted, ‘The Devil serves to identify what evil is, and became an entity who was responsible for evil that let God and ourselves off the hook. That has been the function of the Devil in history.’74 Avoiding any genuine introspection was helped by the frequent assertion that the attackers were jealous or fearful of ‘our’ way of life, as when Bush told Congress on 20 September 2001, ‘They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.’ In other words, the violence was linked not to American vice but to American virtue. Once again, there was a stark contrast between the inability to find the enemy and the willingness to claim detailed knowledge of the enemy’s aims, hatreds and motives. If Solzhenitsyn was right that ‘the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being’, then trying to isolate the evil group and eliminate them makes no logical sense but a great deal of psychological sense: it helps in warding off the threat of shame.75 Most threatening of all, it appears, has been any echo of Kingsolver’s message that the terrorists might have something in common with ‘us’, a notion emphatically rejected in Rumsfeld’s comment on 9/11, ‘In targeting this place, then, and those who worked here, the attackers, the evildoers correctly sensed that the opposite of all they were, and stood for, resided here.’ Yet this sense of the terrorist as the opposite of us tends to destroy the possibility of understanding what motivates the terrorists, precisely because it excludes ‘us’ from the picture. First, it excludes our past historical actions, including the [ 172 ]

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effects of military interventions over a long period and of Western support for abusive regimes of various kinds; as a result, we are often poorly placed to understand the process of becoming a terrorist. Second, the emphasis on the terrorist as entirely opposite tends to crowd out awareness of our own violent reactions to victimhood, which could potentially tell us a great deal about why other human beings (in this case terrorists) resort to violence. Note that the terrorist – like the counter-terrorist – does not usually respond simply or solely to his or her own victimhood but to the victimisation of those whose suffering he or she has come to find (and has often been encouraged to find) humiliating and intolerable. They say that history is written by the victors; however, it seems to be much better remembered by the vanquished. The United States and its chief ally the United Kingdom have a long tradition of not recognising the damage done by their foreign policies. No easy line connects the 9/11 atrocities with past abuses by the United States. But anti-American sentiment has undoubtedly been fuelled by a pattern of damagingly unconditional support for Israel. Then there was Western support for a range of autocratic regimes, notably in the Arab world. These included Egypt, Iran under the Shah, and Saudi Arabia, where the US bases that were maintained after the 1991 Iraq war were particularly incendiary. Western support for undemocratic regimes has often turned the mosque into the only place where people can express anger and dissent, a classic example being Iran where a CIA-backed coup in 1953 toppled a democratically elected government which had just nationalised the oil industry; the coup ushered in two decades of dictatorship under the Shah and thus helped pave the way for Khomeini’s Islamist revolution.76 Naturally, US condemnations of human-rights abuses do not have the same virtuous ring when they are heard in countries where the United States has supported violence and dictatorship. As Noam Chomsky points out, US acts of terror have not counted as terror but as ‘counter-terror’ or even ‘just war’.77 The history of US killing of civilians includes dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the only use so far of nuclear weapons in a war. It also includes the Vietnam war, when perhaps 5.1 million Vietnamese were killed, as well as the bombing of large swathes of Cambodia (largely obliterated in the American memory by the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, which had themselves resulted partly from the collective madness induced by the American bombing). After Vietnam, an overriding concern to avoid American casualties seems to have fed into a new emphasis on US-sponsored terrorist activity (killing of civilians to [ 173 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? spread terror) within southern Africa and then Central America.78 Killing of civilians has also taken the form of fuelling warfare and genocide in Central America: sometimes revealingly referred to as ‘lowintensity conflict’. Most US citizens have little awareness of their government’s support for Turkey’s oppression of its Kurdish population, Indonesia’s Suharto, Mobutu in the Congo, Siad Barre in Somalia, Samuel Doe in Liberia, and so it goes on. The United States has been supplying almost half the world’s arms exports.79 It also has a huge supply of weapons of mass destruction. Consider also the Afghan story – another major ‘blind spot’. Despite a number of exposés, it seems relatively few people in the West understand how the United States fuelled terrorism through the manner of its intervention in (and withdrawal from) Afghanistan in the 1980s. Yet the help to mujahadeen fighting the Soviet Union constituted an active nurturing of groups that later proved a significant source of terrorism, particularly given the anger at Western withdrawal from Afghanistan when its people were crying out for reconstruction. The CIA infiltrated the mujahadeen’s training centres and associated refugee camps inside Pakistan, and supplied a huge quantity of light weapons, much of it diverted to the Pakistani market. Trucks taking weapons to Afghanistan brought heroin on the way back, and the burgeoning opium-based drugs trade came to be used by the mujahadeen as a ‘revolutionary tax’ that helped to sustain the struggle against the Soviet Union as well as later jihadi activities.80 Like the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States’s old Afghanistan strategy was presented as strangely ‘costless’: Gilles Kepel suggested that the Afghan jihad against the Soviets was particularly attractive for the US government because, ‘the jihadists would do battle against the Soviet Union, sparing American GIs, while the oil monarchies of the Gulf would foot the bill, sparing American taxpayers’.81 The Afghan war was also seen as an outlet for the energies of radical Sunni Muslim activists who threatened the conservative Gulf monarchies supported by the United States. In 1989, the Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan. Communism was collapsing and Khomeini died in 1989; in these circumstances, enemies were rapidly redefined. Not just the Afghan jihad but Afghanistan itself was pretty much abandoned as the country descended into post-Cold-War style warlordism.82 The neglect of Afghan refugees fed into the success of the Taliban, particularly with many of the poorest refugee families sending children to religious schools.83 Cut free from their former backers and then angered by the use of Saudi Arabia as a base for US forces ejecting Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, the international [ 174 ]

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brigade of jihad veterans previously based in Afghanistan and border areas of Pakistan was now, in Kepel’s words, ‘available to serve radical Islamist causes anywhere in the world’. Kepel noted: The jihad intensified in 1992 in Bosnia, Algeria, and Egypt, as soon as veterans of the Afghan war began arriving home from Peshawar [Pakistan, near the Afghan border]. In Egypt as in Algeria, the combatants were native born; they had made the pilgrimage to the Afghan camps in the mid-1980s, discreetly encouraged to do so by their governments, which were only too happy to rid themselves of potential malcontents and troublemakers. In Bosnia, the jihadists were all foreigners, Arabs for the most part, many of them Saudis. In Tajikistan – and in Chechnya after 1995 – other Arab volunteers played an important role in the attempt to turn a local conflict into a full-blown jihad. The dispersal all over the world, after 1992, of the [jihadists] formerly concentrated in Kabul and Peshawar, more than anything else, explains the sudden, lightning expansion of radical Islamism in Muslim countries and the West.84 Another American blind-spot, of course, has been Iraq itself. With the ascendance of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979, Saddam was seen as a bulwark against militant Shi’ite extremism and the possible fall of pro-US regimes in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.85 In 1982, Iraq was actually removed from Washington’s official list of states that supported terrorism.86 The United States backed Iraq in its war with Iran, and both the Reagan and Bush senior administrations authorised the sale to Iraq of numerous items with both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses like anthrax and bubonic plague.87 The US government also showed little concern about the use of chemical weapons at this time. Even the press seemed docile, as when the Washington Post said in 1984 that it was ‘not surprising’ that Iraq would use gas given the ferocity of the Iranian enemy, adding that it was ‘a bit odd when you consider all the ways that people have devised to do violence to each other, to worry overly about any particular method’.88 The intensity of Saddam’s abuses is not in doubt, not least in the use of gas against the Kurds at Halabja in 1988, when at least 5,000 people were killed. However, such abuses are hardly a credible explanation for the 2003 attack on Iraq. Again, some sense of history is helpful. In the early 1970s, with Iraq getting too close to the Soviet Union and threatening the US-backed Shah of Iran, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon [ 175 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? promised help to an ongoing Kurdish revolt against Saddam. However, when Saddam ceded some land to Iran, Kissinger and Nixon withdrew advisers from the north and watched as he sealed the borders and massacred the Kurds.89 Western companies and businesses helped Saddam to assemble a formidable arsenal, including chemical weapons.90 US support for Saddam also fed into Western quietude over subsequent attacks on the Kurds, notably in 1988. The 1987–89 attacks on the Kurds – of which Halabja was just one part – killed some 50,000 rural Kurds, even by the most conservative estimates.91 Then, in 1991, the Kurds in northern Iraq and Shi’ite groups in the south were incited to rise up in revolt following the Gulf War. The West did not intervene to prevent Saddam’s military retaliation against them. (There was, however, a significant effort to provide a safe haven for the Kurds once they had been attacked and fled to Iran and Turkey, the latter a key Western ally.)92 Having virtually disappeared from US news stories from 1989, Halabja was increasingly mentioned from September 2002 when the George W. Bush administration began its public push for war with Iraq.93 Britain has its own blind-spots – not least in backing the illusion that it is still a Great Power and refusing to see that it has been relegated to a status somewhere between side-kick and sitting duck. Years of denial over the British Empire (and its demise) are hardly a promising foundation. As Seumas Milne commented in the Guardian, selective memory of old colonialism seems to be part of justifying the new imperialism.94 German novelist Günther Grass observed, ‘I sometimes wonder how young people grow up in Britain and know little about the long history of crimes during the colonial period. In England it’s a completely taboo subject.’95 Empire is acknowledged to be a neglected subject in British schools.96 How many British adults know anything about the famine under British rule that killed some 3 million people in 1943? (It took place in Bengal.) My awareness of the blind-spots in my own country, the UK, was improved by a conversation with a Nigerian friend, Adekeye Adebajo, who said Britons’ record of genocide in relation to Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians was shameful. But these atrocities, I protested, were the work of Australians and Americans. My friend had to point out that most of the perpetrators had come from Britain. Another set of blinkers: how many understand the sense of disillusionment that arose when Britain’s encouragement of Arab nationalism (as a spur to revolt against the Turks in the First World War) ran up against the promise of a Jewish state and the desire to extend British and French imperial control once the war ended? Even [ 176 ]

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the better moments in British history can feed contemporary blindspots: notably, the ‘good war’ against Nazism has been used to justify all manner of subsequent wars in the name of democracy against ‘new Hitlers’.97 Iraq itself is a British construction, cobbled together after the First World War from three provinces of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. The British wanted to avoid the creation of representative government in Iraq, since the majority Shia population was seen as fanatical while the Baghdad Sunnis – whose political predominance survived to the Saddam era – were regarded as more docile and pro-British.98 This classic colonial ‘divide and rule’ was never mentioned, of course, when the ‘Sunni triangle’ came to be seen as the main source of opposition to the US/UK occupation from 2003. The authoritarianism which the United Kingdom and the United States used to justify the 2003 attack on Iraq has had as much to do with the artificiality of this colonial construct as with the personality of Saddam on which the West has focused so exclusively. How many people, moreover, know anything of Britain’s bombing of northern and southern Iraq through the 1920s, under its League of Nations mandate, bombing that seems to have killed nearly 9,000 Iraqis in the summer of 1920 alone? The British Army used poison gas in that year and national hero Winston Churchill, who was serving as Secretary of State at the War Office, noted, ‘I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes … [to] spread a lively terror.’99

Counter-terror and the proliferation of enemies
When the transatlantic alliance’s violent and illegal response to 9/11 led to widespread condemnation, this tended to heighten the threat of shame. One technique for warding this off was to treat every abuse as an exception, as when Bush said photographs of Abu Ghraib ‘do not represent America’. Comedian Rob Corddry satirised this approach when he said, ‘It’s our principles that matter, our inspiring, abstract notions. Remember: Just because torturing prisoners is something we did, doesn’t mean it’s something we would do.’100 Also important in warding off shame arising from the counter-terror (as well as in maintaining public support) was a compliant media. Truth is notoriously the first casualty of war.101 Vietnam had shown the importance of media control, and the lesson had been vigorously applied in the 1991 Gulf War. As the 1993 attack on Iraq loomed, American journalists gave little attention to worries in the US intelligence community about how Bush was using the data on Iraq. After a

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E N D L E S S WA R ? detailed investigation, Michael Massing said of journalists in Washington, ‘In a city where access is all, few wanted to risk losing it.’102 Then, during the invasion, the practice of ‘embedding’ journalists with Coalition military units, as Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber noted, ‘encouraged reporters to identify with the soldiers they were covering … the journalists embedded with troops witnessed weapons being fired but rarely saw what happened at the receiving end’.103 Photographs of flag-draped coffins returning to the United States were banned. Self-censorship was widespread in the press – for example, in relation to pictures of dead soldiers or dead children.104 A third technique that helped in warding off shame was the strategy of bullying approval through political and economic pressures, notably on the various members of the Security Council during attempts by US and UK officials to get agreement to an attack on Iraq.105 However, these three techniques only worked to a degree. Also vital in warding off shame arising from the response to 9/11 has been a continuous redefinition of ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’. Bush and Blair have played the leading role in the tendency to deal with criticism by narrowing their circle of confidantes and widening their circle of enemies. Allies perceived as insufficiently warlike became a focus for intense wrath. The category of enemies came to include increasing numbers of internal critics and, in practice if not in theory, many civilians in targeted countries (notably Iraq). In so far as Bush and Blair have entertained a genuine belief that they are bringing freedom to the oppressed, this element of sincerity seems to have added to their fury at those who have opposed this deluded project.106 We have repeatedly seen the intimidation of anyone who threatens to introduce shame into the near-shameless world that leaders have constructed around themselves. Warding off shame has also been a factor for coalition soldiers on the ground, some of whom have reacted with growing anger to the perceived ‘ingratitude’ of ordinary civilians for their ‘liberation’.

Shrinking the circle of confidantes
US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has observed that Bush, particularly after 9/11, was caught in an echo chamber of his own making, a diminishing circle of advisers who shielded him from reality;107 significantly, reliance on this small circle of domestic confidantes largely survived into the second George W. Bush administration, carrying their gift of shamelessness.108 Another part of Bush’s shame-free zone came

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courtesy of Blair. Bullies rarely stand alone; they need people to approve their behaviour and give them the ‘respect’ they crave. In Vietnam, US soldier Michael Bernhardt found that when he tried to intervene to stop incidents in which US soldiers were abusing civilians, the soldiers backed off relatively quickly: They were typical bullies, who are actually cowards, terrible cowards. Just being there after a while was enough. It wasn’t that they were afraid of me – I don’t think I look that dangerous, now or then. It was almost like Mom looking over your shoulder, I guess.109 Blair’s support seems precisely to have removed the possibility of a Mother Country looking disapprovingly over the president’s shoulder. Here was a voice consistently reassuring Bush junior that violence and bullying were both necessary and desirable.110 Moreover, as columnist Timothy Garton Ash observed, ‘American opinion polls showed that Bush needed a prominent ally to be sure of popular support for the war on Iraq. He needed Britain.’111 Meanwhile, Blair himself was constructing his own zone of shamelessness, sealing himself off from the anti-war views of his own party and the majority of the British people.112 Critical here was his reliance on relationships with a small pro-war group. John Kampfner noted in his book Blair’s Wars that the British Prime Minister came to rely on a narrow domestic inner circle ‘for each and every decision. … His entourage meant everything to him.’ Key figures in the inner circle were Sir David Manning, Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell, Alastair Campbell, Director of Communications, and Sally Morgan, Political Director.113 Foreign Office officials tended to be marginalised, and Kampfner observed that, ‘The concentration of power in the hands of unelected officials, some with considerable experience of international affairs, others with very little, infuriated many British diplomats.’114 Internationally, Blair was clearly sustained by his bond with Bush (as well as vice versa). Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar became one of the most frequent telephone callers to Blair, and as Blair turned more towards his pro-war coterie, this in itself alienated other friends and supporters. Kampfner noted: Tony Blair says the name “José Maria” with almost the same affection as he says “Sally” [Morgan] or “Alastair” [Campbell]. Some of his friends find this attraction to a man of the European right as hard to endure as his closeness to George Bush. [ 179 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? The disapproval may itself have become a badge of conviction and honour. Peter Stothard observed of Bush and Blair, ‘The two men have grown used to swapping stories of how weak their domestic support is’. Having ridden to power with an instinct for popularity, Blair now found energy and solace in a shrinking circle of approval. He was not the first to do so, nor the first to go deeper into fantasy and unrealistic thinking as a result. In a more general discussion, psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg has written: The excessively narcissistic leader needs to be loved and admired, tends to surround himself with ‘yes men’ and thus produces a split in the intermediate leadership: an ‘in group’ that in its submissiveness and adulation protects him from the critique and resentment of the rejected ‘out group’ and maintains his narcissistic equilibrium at the price of depriving him of realistic criticism and feedback.115 This mechanism helps to explain how Bush and Blair were able to maintain some elements of genuine belief in the desirability of actions whose predictably counterproductive effects were widely noted by experts and intelligence officials. The political and economic pay-offs from ‘perpetual war’ probably also played a part in shoring up their self-delusion.

Internal enemies
We have seen how James Gilligan and Rene Girard (in their different ways) have shown that violence is frequently visited on those who are available and readily to hand, and not necessarily on those responsible for some initial provocation. We have also seen how, both historically and in the present, the pursuit of purity seems to offer some kind of solution or compensation for defeat and humiliation, and some kind of magical immunity to external enemies. This involves at least a partial relocation of the threat from the external to the internal. We know that the identification of ‘evil’ over there typically dovetails at some point into the identification of a corresponding evil, a ‘fifth column’, over here. In the United States itself, a classic example was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communism in the 1950s.116 Earlier, there had been round-ups and deportations of eastern European immigrants in the United States at the time of the 1917 Russian Revolution. The search for moral regeneration in the wake of catastrophe has often spilled over [ 180 ]

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into racial or religious intolerance, and into a racial or religious definition of ‘purity’.117 In the aftermath of 9/11, particularly after Bush’s blunder in talking of a ‘crusade’, he and Blair trod carefully when it came to religion, stressing the peaceful nature of the majority of Muslims. Yet in the aftermath of 9/11, significant discrimination and numerous violent incidents were directed against Muslims and people of Arab origin in the United States.118 In the UK, senior figures from the UK Muslim community said Muslims were seen as ‘an enemy within’ after 9/11.119 In the Sunday Telegraph in 2004, an article by what turned out to be British Council official Harry Cummins stated, ‘All Muslims, like all dogs, share certain characteristics.’ Another Cummins article stated, ‘It is the black heart of Islam, not its black face, to which millions object.’120 The Europe correspondent on London’s The Times newspaper, Anthony Browne, wrote that ‘Islam really does want to conquer the world,’ adding threateningly: In the last century some Christians justified the persecution and mass murder of Jews by claiming that Jews wanted to take over the world. But these fascist fantasies were based on deliberate lies, such as the notorious fake book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Now, many in the Muslim world are open about their desire for Islam to conquer the West.121 All this vitriol was before the suicide attacks of July 2005 by UK-based Muslims.122 The London bombings of 7 July 2005 were quickly followed by attacks on mosques in the UK. The tendency to broaden the definition of the enemy is particularly troubling in view of what we know about the ‘career trajectory’ of several well-known terrorists and their feeling of having been rejected by Western societies in which they live. To the extent that this rejection is reinforced by ‘anti-terrorism’ measures, by anti-immigration rhetoric like that of the UK’s Conservative Party or the American journalists’ jibes about ‘Londonistan’ after the July 2005 London bombings, by suspicion of Muslims or Arabs in general, and more generally by a new search for racial or religious ‘purity’, we can (again) expect the creation of more terrorists. It was not just Muslims who could be considered as internal enemies. The ranks of the demonised sometimes expanded rapidly as the irrationality of the original persecution led to a determination to defend it as rational and reasonable. Those questioning the definition of the ‘enemy’ might soon acquire that label. Fear of being deemed an [ 181 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? internal enemy can help in maintaining political order and minimising dissent – especially given the arbitrariness of the choice of enemies. William Bennett, Reagan’s former education secretary, who wrote a 2002 book called Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism, stated in the New York Times in March 2002: The threats we face today are both external and internal: external in that there are groups and states that want to attack the United States; internal in that there are those who are attempting to use this opportunity to promulgate their agenda of ‘blame America first’. Both threats stem from either a hatred for the American ideals of freedom and equality or a misunderstanding of those ideas and their practice.123 Many Democrats, especially in the Senate, came to fear Bush and Rove, who in 2002 approved advertisements showing Democratic Senators’ faces alongside bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.124 Opposition to the Patriot Act, which expanded powers to tap phone calls and detain or deport immigrants on the order of the attorney general, meant you risked being depicted as unpatriotic. Journalists questioning the rush to war with Iraq could also quickly become part of the ‘enemy’. As Massing observed, ‘Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the Weekly Standard, among others, all stood ready to pounce on journalists who strayed, branding them liberals or traitors – labels that could permanently damage a career.’125 William Kristol wrote in the autumn of 2002 of ‘an axis of appeasement – stretching from Riyadh to Brussels to Foggy Bottom [the neighbourhood of the State Department in Washington]’.126 Meanwhile, Lynne Cheney, wife of Dick, played a lead role in the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which singled out professors who were deemed insufficiently patriotic.127 In academia, there were moves to link federal funding with avoidance of excessive criticism of US foreign policy.128 Some of the intimidatory tactics were to come back to haunt the Bush administration. Notably, in 2005 the politically damaging ‘Plamegate’ investigation centred on who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to reporters: apparently in order to smear her husband Joseph Wilson, a critic of the build-up to war.129 In the UK after the London bombings of July 2005, politicians once again felt free to make all kinds of statements about what the terrorists ‘want’. A frequent theme was that they want to ‘divide us’: a key implication being that criticism of government policy would hand the terrorists a victory. In August 2005, Tony Blair announced his intention to [ 182 ]

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criminalise ‘the condoning, glorifying or justification’ of terrorism anywhere in the world – a dangerously broad formulation that threatens freedom of speech and would not perhaps be good news for Tony’s wife Cherie, who once said at the launch of an appeal by a Palestinian medical charity, ‘As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress.’130 In a particularly daft move, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said he was preparing a list of earlier terrorist acts the celebration of which would be a criminal act, with Ireland hastily mentioned as exempt. Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, noted that there was a horrible logic to the Salem witch-hunts in North America. The Bible had noted the existence of witches. So if you said there were no witches, you were denying the teachings of the bible, proof in itself that you were a witch and should be killed. Today too, it seems, if you reject the concept of ‘evil’ as an explanation (in particular for 9/11), that may be taken as proof you are in the Devil’s company. This mechanism tends to ‘lock’ public discussion into a permanent lack of understanding. As Joan Didion put it, ‘Inquiry into the nature of the enemy we faced … was to be interpreted as sympathy for that enemy.’131 Even neutrality was increasingly construed as dangerous. Commenting on Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s, Antonius Robben argued that both the military and the guerrillas had a kind of fear of the neutral.132 Those who refused to take sides were often attacked, verbally or physically. Robben explained: The indifferent, the timid and the frightened did not constitute a military or political threat but a conceptual and moral threat, a threat to the oppositional meaning of enmity and the partisan morality it entailed. They showed that the violence was not inevitable but a product of human choice and making. If the ‘inevitability’ of violence was key to legimitising and securing support for it (Chapter 7), it follows that anyone challenging this inevitability would be seen as a threat. In the UK, the dispute between the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) and the UK government showed precisely how neutrality could become a threat. Widening the circle of enemies to include the BBC itself helped ward off shame and offered a useful distraction from the UK government’s dishonesty. It was also simple bullying: Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s Director of News, said, ‘It is our firm view that No 10 tried to intimidate the BBC with its reporting of events leading up the war and [ 183 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? during the course of the war itself’.133 BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan was pilloried for suggesting (accurately) that the government knew that weapons of mass destruction could not be launched within 45 minutes, while the attack on Gilligan focused on relatively small details like his calling UK civil servant and weapons expert David Kelly a member of the intelligence service and Gilligan’s decision not to script his live broadcast.134 One letter to the Guardian newspaper summed up the government’s double-standard well, ‘[Director of communications] Alastair Campbell expects the BBC to have a higher level of evidence before running a story than he expects the government to have before running a war.’135 A government less sensitive to criticism might actually have been happy with the BBC: according to a Cardiff University study, the BBC was using a relatively high proportion of coalition government or military sources, compared with other TV channels, and was placing less emphasis on Iraqi casualties.136 The vilification of Andrew Gilligan and the shaming and naming of David Kelly showed that the appetite for witch-hunts – for an easy target that would deflect criticism and avoid self-reflection – was almost infinitely extendable. Even the Hutton enquiry (into Kelly’s death) was in many ways a distraction from the central issue of the dishonest rush to war with Iraq. In the United States, scapegoating of the CIA helped take some of the heat off Bush.137

Lapsed allies
Any international actor questioning the dominant analysis or the favoured ‘solution’ was quickly labelled as a betrayer. US anger at Russia, Germany and (especially) France was intense. The attitude of France, Germany and Russia was characterised by Condoleezza Rice as ‘non-nein-nyet’ (subtext: these people do not even speak English). Many in Washington saw German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as having won his re-election in September 2002 by cynically exploiting anti-Americanism.138 As for the hostility to France, renaming French fries as ‘freedom fries’ was just one manifestation. The New York Post ran a front-page picture of a cemetery for US soldiers who died in France in the Second World War, accompanied by the line, ‘Sacrifice: They died for France but France has forgotten.’139 In an article making the astonishing plea that France be removed from the UN Security Council, self-styled liberal Thomas Friedman wrote, ‘if America didn’t exist and Europe had to rely on France, most Europeans today would be speaking either German or Russian’.140

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In an Orwellian manoeuvre, countries urging military restraint were blamed for causing the war. On the eve of the Iraq war, Blair said, ‘The bottom line has to be that a strong, united message to Baghdad from the rest of the world means peace. A weak message means war.’141 This line was echoed by Thomas Friedman, with the added bonus of infantilising France, ‘The only possible way to coerce Saddam into compliance – without a war – is for the whole world to line up shoulder-to-shoulder against his misbehaviour, without any gaps, but France, as they say in kindergarten, does not play well with the others.’142 Anti-French feeling proved persistent: as late as September 2004, rogue Democratic senator Zell Miller made a speech at the Republican convention in which he claimed that Kerry would take his orders from Paris.143

Civilians in targeted countries
In other contexts, military factions have frequently seen civilians as disloyal and ungrateful – and also as a threat to the fighters’ own security. Naturally, the escalating abuse of civilians tends to produce further disillusionment among the civilians, and the cycle may be renewed and deepened. Anger and fear have frequently fed off each other. For example, in the civil war in Sierra Leone, the violence of rebels and government soldiers was explicable in part through their economic agendas, but my own investigations (and the very extremity of the violence) also pointed to the importance of more emotional factors, in particular, a shared hostility towards civilians among the fighters, hostility that grew much more intense when civilians began to show their ‘ingratitude’ by ‘pointing the finger’ at rebel or soldier abuse and greed. Thus, fighters’ sense of themselves as moral actors actually fed into their anger and abuse, and civilian condemnation of fighters tended to exacerbate the violence. This process relates closely to a phenomenon observed by psychiatrist James Gilligan: that individuals’ sense of themselves as moral actors can feed into aggression as they violently ward off shame. One Sierra Leonean human-rights worker commented, ‘When we realised it was a war against civilians, the rebels became our enemies. And because the civilians now condemned them, they actually turned [all the more] on the civilians.’ Significantly, the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone frequently committed atrocities while forcing their victims’ relatives to applaud the abuse – as if the rebels were forcing recognition of their new role as ‘big men’ and removing any sense of shame from their immediate environment. The bitter civil war in Guatemala also showed how shame arising from violence could feed into further violence, and how condemnation

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E N D L E S S WA R ? could widen the circle of enemies. For example, Judith Zur’s work on war widows in Guatemala demonstrated that the leaders of the abusive civil patrol militias have tended to harbour a strong fear of women’s words (and the words of war widows in particular). These militia leaders have feared ridicule, laughter, physical retribution and legal retribution. All this has fed into continuing violence, particularly against women. Attempts to redistribute shame from victim to perpetrator – for example, in ceremonies designed to re-humanise the victims of violence – have sometimes pushed the perpetrators into vicious retaliation, or mental breakdown.144 In the case of Iraq in particular, the circle of enemies tended also to widen to include many Iraqi civilians, and again avoidance of shame was an important mechanism. The habit of separating the evil people from ‘the rest of us’ seems to have helped create a state of perpetual shock when those being saved from evil failed to show the anticipated gratitude towards the self-declared ‘good guys’. This mirrored patterns in the Vietnam war.145 In Washington and London, politicians, soldiers and foreign affairs experts had been predicting for months that the capture or killing of Saddam would calm the conflict. Analysts thought the killing of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay, would weaken the insurgency, but it grew stronger.146 Also (wrongly) predicted to mark the retreat of insurgency was the creation of the interim Iyad Allawi regime in June 2004, and then national elections in January 2005.147 In Iraq, many US soldiers, targeted in guerrilla attacks, seemed unable to understand why so many Iraqis were so angry.148 Was this not a fight against evil, after all? Fearful and angry, US soldiers have sometimes drawn little distinction between enemy combatants and civilians.149 Sunday Times reporter Mark Franchetti quoted US Corporal Ryan Dupre, ‘The Iraqis are a sick people and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin’ Iraqi. No, I won’t get hold of one. I’ll just kill him.’150 A senior Defense Department civilian commented in mid-2000, ‘Too many of our soldiers out there are beginning to hate the Iraqis.’151 Soldiers’ disillusionment was mirrored among some soldiers’ families. In Hinesville, Georgia, where the Third Infantry Division has its home-base, there has been anger that soldiers’ sacrifices have not been more vociferously recognised by the intended beneficiaries.152 One woman had a husband driving a truck for this division, which had so far lost 35 soldiers. She commented, ‘I thought they [the Iraqis] would be more enthusiastic, I mean, who wouldn’t want to live like Americans, to live in democracy, to send your children to school? I’m surprised how naïve the Iraqis are.’153 [ 186 ]

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For the US military, the shame arising from opposition to occupation could be warded off by blaming ‘terrorists’, Saddam loyalists or external infiltrators.154 Another label for those opposing the occupation was ‘anti-Iraqi forces’ (a phrase echoed by CNN).155 But widespread and persistent resistance repeatedly undermined the attempt to dissociate opposition from civilians. Extreme sensitivity to criticism by Iraqis was illustrated when Paul Bremer, then head of the US-led authority in Iraq, issued a decree in June 2003 outlawing any ‘gatherings, pronouncements or publications’ that called for opposition to the US occupation.156 Within Iraq, media control could be particularly blatant and violent, as when US troops raided the news HQ of SCIRI (Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq). For the US soldiers themselves, anger at locals’ ingratitude seems to have combined dangerously with a sense – again, familiar from Vietnam and many other conflicts including Sierra Leone – that soldiers’ military and political superiors had let them down.157 Once you start to kill civilians, moreover, a new and damaging dynamic commonly kicks in. Omer Bartov, in his book Hitler’s Army, pointed to the demand for racist propaganda at the Russian front – notably to remove the shame for atrocities already committed. Jonathan Glover quotes a Russian soldier who had attacked civilians with grenades in Afghanistan, ‘You have to find some kind of justification to stop yourself going mad.’158

Conclusion
Shame may work in mysterious ways. As American writer Naomi Wolf put it: We were willing to be held in contempt by those effeminate Frogs – by ‘old Europe’ – when we were intoxicated with ourselves; our isolationism made that easy. But now [after Hurricane Katrina in particular] we are actually ashamed of ourselves at home, we can’t bear international contempt in the same way. Now it hurts.159 Before that self-reflection, shame could be dealt with be redefining the enemy. It is sometimes said that Bush retaliated for 9/11 by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq. This is true, but does not get us very far. We need to understand the overwhelming threat of shame that was created by 9/11 and then exacerbated by the violent reaction to 9/11. This helps us to understand the proliferation of enemies – and notably the abuses [ 187 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? against civilians – in the counter-terror; it helps to explain the progressive narrowing of confidantes; and most importantly, it helps to explain the strongly arbitrary element in the choice of targets in the ‘counterterror’. Given the importance of reversing powerlessness and shame (as opposed to ‘winning’), the priority has been to attack demonised targets that cannot hit back and to suppress any opposition to this deluded project. This brings us to a further reason why we need to understand the centrality of shame: if reversing powerlessness and shame has been a key motivation for the United States and its allies, it is also going to be a key motivation for those incensed by these attacks. Nor are they likely to be any more discriminating in their choice of targets, since they too are indifferent to (and often actively in favour of) incensing their opponents. Much of the discussion of the war on terror can be divided into those who see the United States, the United Kingdom and their respective militaries as having good intentions (marred by some errors and occasional abuses) and those who perceive bad intentions (leading to wholesale abuses). However, if James Gilligan is right that extreme violence is linked to a desire to maintain ‘respect’, then a heightened sense of one’s own moral mission may lead to intensified violence when this source of self-respect is threatened. Blair’s New Labour has proven a natural ally for the Bush project of bullying approval while warding off shame with renewed aggression. First, New Labour has always been wary of being considered ‘weak on defence’, particularly since former Labour leaders Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot were vilified for more radical stands (for example, on nuclear weapons). Second, from the outset of Bush’s presidency, Blair – who had after all built his reputation on selling Labour as safe and fiscally conservative – was determined to prove he could get along with a Republican president just as he had with the Democrat Clinton.160 Third, New Labour’s ‘win/win’ ideology suggested that you could (magically) help the poorer people without increasing taxes on the richer people, and this belief system (assisted by economic growth, it should be said) has sat very comfortably with the ‘win/win’ ideology of a ‘no-new-taxes, minimal casualties war’ that ostensibly allows you to promote human rights and justice at negligible cost to yourself or others. Fourth, New Labour has consistently stressed a need for punishment and deterrence in relation to domestic law and order. It proclaimed the need to be ‘tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime’, and this translated fairly readily into ‘tough on terrorism, and tough on the causes of terrorism’ (though the latter, especially the [ 188 ]

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Israel/Palestine issue was generally sidelined by Bush). Fifth, New Labour has a distinct bullying tendency: it was designed to win and its leadership came to power with a view that the war against the Tories justified the strict internal discipline and bullying of errant MPs. It is not hard to see how the Iraqi debacle might have been encouraged by a long-standing New Labour view that winning was all-important, that intimidation was a legitimate means to an end, and that victory would itself justify all the compromises made along the way. Sensitivity to criticism has always been a prominent feature of the Blair governments, and Blair and Campbell were used to playing ‘good cop, bad cop’. Sixth (and related to the concern with winning), the importance attached to media manipulation and spin – so important in drumming up some degree of support for the Iraq war – has been evident in New Labour from the outset. In many ways, this was a reaction to the prominent role of the press in undermining Labour leader Neil Kinnock in the 1992 elections. The orchestration of support for war was only the most extreme and immoral example. Finally, across a range of policy areas, Blair has focused on results and delivery, rather than process. But as Michael Quinlan notes, process is thoroughness, consultation, coownership, legitimacy – and it often has a big influence on outcomes.161 Even as British support helped minimise American shame, the shame of the British was minimised by a traditional sense of superiority to ‘Uncle Sam’. For many Britons, the alliance with the United States offered not just the warm glow of American approval but also the chance to minimise shame by contrasting British with American behaviour. As columnist Jackie Ashley observed, the British media repeatedly portrayed British troops in Iraq as much smarter than the Americans, forever going on walkabouts among the Iraqi people – in contrast to the trigger-happy US cowboys cowering inside their armoured vehicles. As one British officer put it, ‘Unlike the Americans, we took our helmets and sunglasses off and looked at the Iraqis eye to eye.’162 In the British stance, we can see two classic strains of shame-avoidance. First, we were only obeying orders (from our leaders, the Americans). Second, we did not entirely approve of these instructions and did our best to reduce the damage. As sociologist Stanley Cohen stresses, contradictory justifications for violence can often exist side by side.163

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10 Culture and Magic
Counterproductive counter-terror cannot be explained simply by focusing on key individuals like Bush and Blair. This simplistic approach risks a new kind of scapegoating, and it may yet be that US conservatism will turn on Bush (battered by Hurricane Katrina and an array of other scandals) in a bid to keep right-wing politics on the road.1 It is stressed here that the US-led response to 9/11 – and especially the ‘magical thinking’ it involved – did not come out of nowhere. It sprang from forces and traditions that would help to shape a Democrat administration, and not just a Republican one.2 This chapter sketches some of the historical, cultural and intellectual context in which the madness of a ‘war on terror’ became (for some) a plausible and even respectable idea. A country does not necessarily react to attack by targeting a foreign enemy or by accepting its own government’s attribution of responsibility. Consider Spain. The March 2004 Madrid bombings took place on the eve of Spain’s general election, and the Spanish government’s hasty suggestion that ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty), the Basque terrorist group, was behind the attacks went down very badly with most of the Spanish electorate, who turned on their own government, with many Spaniards accusing Prime Minister Aznar of having brought the terror to Madrid by supporting the Iraq war.

US history and sense of mission
The idea of America’s special calling to remake the world has proved persistent ever since the country’s inception and Tom Paine’s eloquent 1776 rant against tyranny, Common Sense, in which he declared, ‘We have it in our power to begin the world over again’.3 The origins of the presentday United States of America were intertwined with the idea of ‘manifest destiny’: the belief that the United States had a divinely-inspired mission to expand served as an ideological justification for annexation of Texas, California and Oregon as well as the accelerated destruction of Native American peoples. Going into the Great War in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson famously proclaimed: I believe that God planted in us the vision of liberty. … I cannot be deprived of the hope that we are chosen, and prominently [ 190 ]

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chosen, to show the nations of the world how they shall walk in the paths of liberty.4 While the American isolationist tradition is not to be underestimated, the idea that the United States has a calling to re-fashion the world still has great force and energy, helping to underpin the neo-conservative project of spreading democracy around the world (and around the Middle East in particular). Victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War seems to have fed the expectation that America could spread its version of democracy and capitalism around the globe.5 In 2004, one neo-conservative theorist, Michael Ledeen, expressed the way an old anti-tyranny reflex was being harnessed to a new security agenda, ‘Down with tyranny. … We think that America is better off in a world primarily populated with free countries. … We think that if the whole world were like that, then we would be much more secure.’6 Across the Atlantic, Tony Blair also seems to have picked up on some of the Tom Paine spirit – for example, when he declared in the wake of 9/11, ‘Let us re-order this world around us.’7 American idealism and optimism have often existed alongside a degree of paranoia and racism, something that seems to have fed into the current proliferation of enemies and the indiscriminate nature of retaliation. (Proceeding from 9/11 to Iraq surely reflects, at some level, the idea that ‘they are all Arabs’.8) Introducing his own play, The Crucible, the late Arthur Miller suggested that the paranoia of witch-hunts in Salem in seventeenth-century North America was difficult to separate from a feeling among settlers, themselves fleeing religious persecution, that they were living on the edge of chaos and that they were surrounded by threatening forces in the form of the Godless Indians in the encircling forests. When the ‘chosen people’ expanded westwards, they did so under the cover and comfort of an ideology that viewed those outside this community as less than fully human.9 Richard Hofstadter has noted an enduring paranoid style in American politics, the habit of seeing a conspiratorial network (Catholics or Freemasons in an earlier era) which promotes evil.10 This was the context for the view that the Soviet Union was an ‘Evil Empire’ as well as for Joe McCarthy’s ‘witch-hunt’ against the Communist ‘fifth column’ within the United States. Rooting out evil continues to be a major preoccupation among many Americans, especially among the religious. A Time magazine poll that found 53 per cent of Americans ‘expect the imminent return of Jesus Christ, accompanied by the fulfilment of biblical prophecies concerning the cataclysmic destruction of all that is wicked’.11 [ 191 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Alongside the isolationism that has traditionally tempered the US sense of mission has been a tradition of anti-imperialism that goes back to the war for independence from Britain and that later informed US encouragement for European powers to shed their empires. A related tradition – still alive and well among many that Bush does not speak for – emphasises that hostility to tyranny should also embrace hostility towards American tyranny. Unfortunately, the new American imperialism seems to have combined with the old ‘anti-imperial’ tradition to encourage a neglect of the importance of winning ‘hearts and minds’. The United States has not acquired any detailed knowledge of the ‘hearts and minds’ problem from any direct experience of running an empire. Moreover, British knowledge about the best way to deal with resistance and terror (for example, in relation to Northern Ireland) is seen by some American colleagues as tainted by colonialism, according to a senior British official in Iraq; in this sense, it is ‘dirty knowledge’. Also informing the ‘war on terror’ has been an anti-intellectual tradition in the United States, something that has fed the retreat from evidence-based thinking. George W. Bush himself has a strong antiintellectual streak,12 and this has sometimes been a political asset. In late 2002, Mark McKinnon, a long-time media adviser to Bush, railed against writer Ron Suskind and his fellow intellectuals on the east and west coasts of America, arguing that portraying Bush as a fool was itself quite foolish. Referring to the ‘big wide middle of America, busy working people who don’t read the New York Times’, McKinnon said: They like the way he [Bush] walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us. Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!13 In his study of Kansas, Thomas Frank observes, ‘Anti-intellectualism is one of the grand unifying themes of the [conservative] backlash, the mutant strain of class war that underpins so many of Kansas’s otherwise random-seeming grievances.’.4 An early 2004 TV commercial by the conservative Club for Growth advised Democrat candidate Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont to ‘take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs’.15 Kerry himself was [ 192 ]

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portrayed as a rich, aloof and insincere east coast intellectual.16 Hostility to city-dwellers can be part of this. Opposition to intellectuals within the Republican Party in particular included opposition to those who designed the New Deal in the 1930s. In the 1950s Joe McCarthy targeted intellectuals who were allegedly ‘selling out’ the United States. The most conspicuous ‘betrayal’ by intellectuals is said to have been over Vietnam. Frank comments: What you hear … today is that the soldiers were victimized by betrayal, first by liberals in government and then by the antiwar movement. … The mistake wasn’t taking the wrong side in the wrong war; it was letting those intellectuals – now transformed from cold corporate titans into a treasonable liberal elite – keep us from prevailing, from unleashing sufficient lethality on the Vietnamese countryside. Conservatives like Barry Goldwater made this argument at the time, of course, but it took decades for the idea to win the sort of mainstream audience it has today.17 A kind of cult of individualism makes Bush’s unilateralism seem more normal and more acceptable. Bush has many times been condemned as a ‘cowboy’ but seems to revel in the image. A common storyline in Westerns is for a lone cowboy to take the law into his own hands when the law-abiding sheriff is too weak to sort out the bad guys.18 We see more modern versions of this theme in films such as the Dirty Harry series starring Clint Eastwood as well as Sylvester Stallone movies such as Cobra and the Rambo trilogy.19 It is not hard to see how seamlessly the UN can step into the archetype of a pseudo-protector too constrained by laws and red-tape to be of any real use. Nor is it difficult to see how Bush and his sidekick may fit into the lexicon of buddy movies: any takers for Bush Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or the Lone Ranger and Tonytoo? In contemporary movies and TV series, the torturer as hero has become disturbingly common, with 24 helping to blaze the trail.20 As many observers have pointed out, it is increasingly hard to draw the line between Hollywood entertainment and US politics. No surprise, then, that in the wake of film-star-turned-president Ronald Reagan came the heavy footfall of ‘The Governator’: film-star-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (‘he’s back, and this time it’s political’) promising to ‘terminate’ everything from the state deficit to the energy crisis. Norman Mailer wrote that Bush may ‘sense better than anyone how a war with Iraq will satisfy our addiction to living with adventure on TV’.21 [ 193 ]

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Magic, consumerism and advertising
The magical thinking in the ‘war on terror’ is easier to understand if we remember the magical thinking that underpins consumerism and advertising. Some 22 minutes out of every hour on US TV are given over to advertising.22 People are used to being sold things on the promise of nirvana if they only succumb. The process can be extended – remarkably smoothly, in many ways – to selling (and buying) a war. Bush administration officials have sometimes been very frank about the need to sell the ‘war on terror’. Andy Card, Bush’s chief of staff, said Congress had not been asked in August 2002 to authorise military force in Iraq because, ‘From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.’23 When Colin Powell appointed a Madison Avenue advertising star, Charlotte Beers, as Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, he explained on 6 September 2001, ‘I wanted one of the world’s greatest advertising experts, because what are we doing? We’re selling. We’re selling a product … democracy … the free enterprise system, the American value system.’24 This was less direct than Andy Card, but one could easily add ‘war’ to this list of goodies since war – particularly after the cataclysm of five days later – was a favoured way of achieving these benefits.25 Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber commented, ‘Rather than changing the way we actually relate to the people of the Middle East, [US officials] still dream of fixing their image through some new marketing campaign cooked up in Hollywood or Madison Avenue.’26 But what techniques do you use when selling a war? The usual rules of advertising seem to have served just fine. The first rule is this: say it often enough and people will believe it. Adolf Hitler had already taken this insight into the political sphere, ‘The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. … [Propaganda] must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.’27 Hitler, in fact, made the connection with commercial advertising explicit, ‘All advertising, whether in the field of business or politics, achieves success through the continuity and sustained uniformity of its application.’28 While the Nazis’ pathological contempt for ordinary people’s intelligence is clearly odious and riven with prejudice, the points about repetition and forgetting are insightful, and Hannah Arendt herself stressed the importance of repeating lies.29 After 9/11, US government officials repeatedly stressed the links between Iraq and 9/11, and we have seen how this manoeuvre was largely believed by some two-thirds of Americans. Bush repeatedly linked bin Laden and Saddam [ 194 ]

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Hussein in the same breath, though he was pretty tricky in the exact wording, suggesting he knew it was an artful lie.30 A second rule of advertising is: find some memorable catch-phrases. After Bush introduced the phrase ‘axis of evil’ in a January 2002 speech, Bob Woodward reports, ‘[Paul] Wolfowitz saw once again how important it was to grab the headlines, and he was reminded that academics didn’t get it; oversimplification was required in a sound-bite culture.’31 When Rumsfeld mentioned the concept of ‘shock and awe’, Bush said it was a catchy notion. (He also wondered if it might be a ‘gimmick’, but it was adopted nonetheless.)32 A third rule of advertising is pretty obvious: promise big benefits from your product. Advertising has always been about wish-fulfilment: a pervasive and powerful kind of magical thinking. Typically, the product is portrayed as possessing magical qualities that will bring you love, sex, respect, security or some combination of these. Raymond Williams argued that the problem with consumer society is not that we are too materialistic, but that we are not materialistic enough; if we were sensibly materialistic, if we confined our interest to the usefulness of objects, we would find most advertising to be of insane irrelevance.33 Promising big benefits means selling not just the product but the deficit it purports to fill. To sell the toilet-cleaner, in other words, you have to sell the germs. When it comes to selling the ‘war on terror’, you have to sell the threat. Of course, elements of the threat cannot be doubted: 9/11 was a horrifying fact. But the threat from Iraq in particular was greatly exaggerated. Increasingly, the wish fulfilled in ads is the wish to get rid of people. The product is chosen in preference to the person, while the ad portrays the superiority and desirability of things over people.34 (We have not yet had an ad inviting us to choose liberation at the expense of the liberated – or at least the invitation has not been explicit.) This advertising trend is in line with countless reality TV programmes centring on rejection: for example, the Big Brother format of ‘who stays, who goes? – you decide’. The fantasy – in the ads, in the reality shows, and to some extent in the ‘war on terror’ – is one of power and control. You decide. You can choose – of course, on the basis of a closely edited version of ‘reality’ – to get rid of the bad or annoying people. Let’s vote Saddam out of the house! A fourth rule in advertising is also very basic: you stress that the product will not cost much. Bush underlined this promise in the case of the ‘war on terror’ by pushing through tax-cuts in the run-up to war. Indeed, the belief that major foreign and domestic problems can be [ 195 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? magically solved without raising significant new taxes is something that seems to have united the Republican Bush and Labour’s Blair. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz said oil money and allies would minimise the financial burden on Americans.35 Wolfowitz told Congress, ‘There is a lot of money to pay for this [the Iraq war]. It doesn’t have to be US taxpayer money. We are talking about a country that can finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.’36 On top of this, the cost of the continuing occupation of Iraq was disguised by US officials claiming it could not be built into the budget for Congressional approval – because it was ‘not knowable’.37 (Add that, then, to Rumsfeld’s list of ‘known unknowns’, or perhaps ‘unknown unknowns’.) UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix estimated the cost of going to war at $80 billion a year (and of the previous containment at only $80 million a year).38 By mid-2005, the Iraq war had actually cost about $300 billion (over and above the annual $400 billion Pentagon budget), plus tens of billions of dollars for the botched reconstruction.39 Promising low costs also included promising low troop commitments and low casualties (notably, on ‘our side’), the latter reflecting the emphasis on technological ‘advances’ like Cruise missiles. Rumsfeld in particular promoted the idea of quick and relatively costless military solutions. Once again, this deceptive brand of magic hardly bears scrutiny. The size of the invasion force for Iraq was around three times what Rumsfeld had wanted six months prior to the invasion.40 As for casualties, we know they have been high on both sides. Death and war are blood brothers who do not wish to be separated: what was supposed to be ‘a new kind of war’ turned out to be a pretty old kind in many ways, with tanks very prominent.41 Meanwhile, the idea that casualties ‘over there’ will not be matched by casualties ‘over here’ has been challenged – and made to look like another variation of magical thinking – by terrorists in Madrid, London and elsewhere. All these marketing techniques are fine and well, but the essential dishonesty of advertising presents a potential problem, whether in the sphere of consumerism or war. How can consumerism, for example, sustain itself in the face of a reasonably consistent and persistent failure to bring happiness by means of a new skirt, car, deodorant, floorcleaner or whatever? Crucially, in the capitalist system, the dissatisfaction arising from the false promises of advertising is not so much a problem as a solution: it creates continued demand. This is the perverse genius of capitalism, and it was implicitly celebrated in an unusually frank in-store 2004 campaign by London department store Selfridges, which reminded its customers, ‘You want it, you buy it, you forget it.’ [ 196 ]

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If skilfully manipulated, frustrated desires can be encouraged to homein on some new product, some new promise that is also unlikely to be fulfilled, and evidently sometimes very little shame need attach to the whole procedure. It is the same with the never-ending wars to ‘make us safe’ (of which those in the ‘war on terror’ are only the latest in a long line). In 1996, the Taliban was welcomed by Western diplomats as a relatively palatable and pliable alternative to the warlords terrorising Afghanistan. But this was soon forgotten as al-Qaida moved centre-stage and the Taliban was increasingly seen as a key backer. The toppling of the Taliban was not an initial aim of the US-led war; the stated purpose was to bring justice to those responsible for 9/11 and eliminate their bases. But again this was quickly pushed aside.42 The 2001 attacks on Afghanistan did not bring peace, either there or in the wider world. Again, this was not necessarily a problem so long as the TV crews disappeared and some new crisis could be brought to Western TV screens. If the Afghan war did not get rid of the terrorists, neither did the Iraq war. Newsflash: there are still bad guys out there! But once again, this failing is not necessarily a problem for selling endless war. In fact, the bizarre ‘beauty’ of the ‘war on terror’ is not only that it fails to remove the security deficit; it actively creates demand! First, it produces new terrorists. Second, it fosters a general sense of dread even in the West – in other words, more terror that needs to be tackled. (As esoteric writer Richard Doyle has pointed out, waging ‘war on terror’ is waging war on an affect, ‘If you wage war on an affect, it will become infinite’.43) Potentially, Westerners’ frustrated desire for security can always be harnessed to some new promise, some new war, some new threat: a Syria, Iran or North Korea. For those in search of safety and certainty, war has both the advantages and limitations of a drug or a piece of ‘retail therapy’: each new war we imbibe or buy into can bring some temporary relief in the context of a general free-floating powerlessness; but this inevitably wears off and before long you may need another hit to make you feel better. All it requires, to keep the dysfunctional system going, is that we quickly and obligingly forget how badly the last ‘solution’ worked, that we erase how soon the good trip turned to bad, that we subscribe to the new definition of evil as readily as the media-drenched ‘proles’ of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, that we choke off our disillusion through some new fever; in short, that we take the Selfridges slogan and let it seduce us into supporting whatever war is currently on offer, ‘You want it, you buy it, you forget it.’44 Rumsfeld himself happily observed of journalists, ‘they’ve got the attention-span of gnats’,45 and TV seems to be the perfect medium here. [ 197 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? A survey in the United States by a team at the University of Massachusetts during the 1991 Iraq war found, ‘The more TV people watched, the less they knew. … Despite months of coverage, most people do not know basic facts about the political situation in the Middle East, or about the recent history of US policy towards Iraq.’46 In the run-up to the 2003 attack on Iraq, Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets – which included Fox News Network in the United States and some 140 tabloid newspapers around the world – all adopted editorial positions in favour of the war. Fox called the war ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, which effectively pre-judged what the war was about; MSNBC soon followed suit.47 Revealingly, the more that people watched Fox, the more likely they were to believe Iraq had WMD and was linked to al-Qaida.48 On top of this, at least in the case of Afghanistan, the amount of coverage fell drastically once the immediate onslaught had passed. On NBC, CBS and ABC, Afghanistan got 306 minutes of coverage during the war in November 2001; in the month of March 2003, the total was just one minute.49 The fact that conflict was continuing despite American ‘victory’ was largely lost, helping to pave the way for the next war in Iraq (which refused to disappear so quickly from our screens). Noting the popularity of films dealing with forgetting, Natasha Walter observed in 2004 that many politicians seem to walk, unencumbered by the past, in the eternal sunshine of spotless minds.50 We tend to assume that reducing the forces of the enemy is a policy success, but this is not necessarily so. During the attack on Afghanistan in 2001, US officials ‘admitted privately that they would soon be running out of things to bomb – and running short of the videos that help keep public support for the war afloat’.51 (As with music sales, a short video can do wonders.) Bob Woodward noted, ‘[Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz said that the Taliban were getting reinforcements but [General Tommy] Franks [head of US Central Command] thought that had a good news side – it would create more targets’.52 Again, we see the warped logic that also characterises consumerism. If the solution does not solve the problem, that can be positive since it creates demand for the product. And all this time, the warmongers are not simply selling the war but also the instruments of war. For each new instalment of perpetual warfare – not least in the ‘war on terror’ – brings a chance to advertise your hightech killing wares. In this sense, war is advertising.53 As with other aspects of the ‘war on terror’, the synergy between violence and advertising finds a mirror on ‘the other side’. Insurgents in Iraq have been routinely videoing their attacks – partly because it serves as propaganda on satellite TV [ 198 ]

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channels and partly because insurgent cells operate on a freelance basis, hiring themselves out to key al-Qaida figures with video as evidence of their abilities.54 Martyrdom in suicide attacks has itself been described as ‘a horrendous form of advertising’, deriving its meaning from being witnessed by the media.55 Another ‘beauty’ of consumerism is that you throw so many products at people at the same time that they do not know which ones to blame for their continued sense of dissatisfaction. That helps a great deal in the necessary business of forgetting. Some US officials had a related understanding of the ‘war on terror’. At a meeting of the National Security Council on 25 September 2001, Donald Rumsfeld said, ‘Look, as part of the war on terrorism, should we be getting something going in another area, other than Afghanistan, so that success or failure and progress isn’t measured just by Afghanistan?’56 On this logic, the launching of one ‘product’ was necessitated by the problems anticipated for a related brand. The instinct for solving every problem through the lens of consumerism goes beyond this penchant for magical thinking and the accommodation of failure. Significantly, the fever of consumerism intensified in the aftermath of 9/11. Whilst the US intervention in the Second World War had led to a concerted recycling effort and to rationing of petrol/gasoline and food, 9/11 led only to calls to US consumers to maintain their spending as a patriotic duty: there was to be a veritable feast at the wake.57 On 17 October 2001, Bush declared, ‘They want us to stop flying and they want us to stop buying, but this great nation will not be intimidated by the evildoers.’58 Bush’s expressed concern that the United States was seen as ‘too materialistic’ was clearly not to be allowed to spoil the spending spree. Consumption, in some sense, was what America stood for; and large numbers of Americans were apparently eager, moreover, to consume this vision of America.59 The terrorists envied (and sought to destroy) America’s way of life, we were told; only maintaining a hectic level of consumption would prevent their ‘victory’. More generally, warfare and consumerism were linked at an ideological level: the war for democracy and freedom was also a war for free markets and consumerism, and some warned of the disappointment and false promises that consumerism might bring.60 Capitalism and the ‘war on terror’ not only help to sustain one another but they also have this in common: they worship success but are nourished by failure. As dutiful children of capitalism, we must pat ourselves on the back for our high standards of living, and yet we can never admit [ 199 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? that we have enough. We celebrate our economic victory (as individuals, as ‘the West’, as ‘developed’ nations), and America’s particularly high levels of consumption are sometimes taken as attaching a special, otherworldly seal of approval to ‘God’s own country’. But at the same time we are constantly reminded, every hour of every day, of what we do not have and of all the material and physical desires (often re-defined as ‘needs’) that remain unfulfilled. The ‘war on terror’ works in something of the same way. We celebrate each (fleeting) military victory, which some see, again, as attaching God’s approval to this endeavour. But we are constantly reminded – by the government, by the police, by journalists – of what we do not have, and all the ways in which our need for security and certainty remain chronically unfulfilled. We are forever winning the ‘war on terror’, in other words, but we can never be allowed to feel it has been won. One day Bush is standing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln after the fall of Saddam and declaring under a banner proclaiming ‘Mission Accomplished’, ‘We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide.’61 Twelve days later, there are bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in a special on the ‘war on terror’, Time magazine has to break the news to its readers, ‘No, it’s not over.’62 Each terror attack serves to remind us that we remain chronically in need of those whom we know (but somehow keep forgetting) are making the problem worse. In this macabre dance of officialdom and the media, victory and failure are simultaneously glorified, and each failure – in a pattern that has long characterised humanitarian relief, for example – is redefined as both ‘need’ and ‘opportunity’. Is the doctrine of deterrence increasingly redundant in the face of suicide attacks? Then we must renew our commitment to it by deterring states from supporting terrorists that they do not, in any case, support! Has the technology of the West been turned against itself on 9/11 by attackers armed with no more than knives, boxcutters and a willingness to die? Then we must have more technology: more high-tech weapons, more smart weapons and drones! Are jihadi groups angry at our meddling in the Middle East? Then we must meddle some more! Is there, finally, a problem of over-consumption and overdependence on Middle Eastern oil? Then let us drive, fly and spend our way out of trouble! Blair’s entourage has come up its own variations on these ‘hair of the dog’ remedies. The influential Foreign Office adviser to Blair, Robert Cooper, suggested that a key contemporary problem was that European empires had left a legacy of failing states that were sources of drugs, international crime and terrorism. His solution: we need more empires to sort it out! Cooper has a sound bite to hand; but his call for [ 200 ]

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‘voluntary imperialism’ looks like a nonsensical label that wraps the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq in the cotton wool of Blairite pseudoconsensus and obfuscation.63 While these various ‘remedies’ pander to our addictions (including our sense of self-importance), bringing off the trick of perpetual war does have its difficulties. For all the best endeavours of a sound-bite culture, lies may not be forgotten overnight, and the false promise of a quick and easy solution to the desire for security has often gone down badly in military circles.64 Many US soldiers and relatives had the impression that taking Baghdad would be the soldiers’ ticket home, for example. As Julian Borger wrote in July 2003 about the home-base of the US Third Infantry Division in the state of Georgia, ‘Hinesville feels the pain of a war that is refusing to end as neatly as was advertised’ [my emphasis].65 The Swedish diplomat and arms inspector Hans Blix summed up the Iraq debacle well. Noting that US and UK governments presumably proclaimed their certainty that weapons existed in order to get endorsement by their legislatures and by the UN Security Council, he added that governments ‘are not just vendors of merchandise but leaders from whom some sincerity should be asked when they exercise their responsibility for war and peace in the world’.66 But the shrewd vendor knows something that many of us do not: his products will not bring us the promised benefits; yet if our frustrated desires can be managed successfully, we may want these products all the more for that.

Intellectuals The plea for lack of understanding
The ‘war on terror’ has an intellectual arm, and many of the most significant contributors are ‘liberals’. Part of the problem is that those who have attempted to understand causes have been portrayed as themselves a cause of 9/11. A prime example is the work of Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor with a reputation for liberal stances on civil liberties. For Dershowitz, attempting to understand and eliminate the root causes of terrorism was ‘exactly the wrong approach’,67 and indeed helped to explain why 9/11 happened in the first place. He argued that terrorists were trying through terror to get attention to these ‘root causes’. Thus, attempting to address them rewarded terrorism. ‘The real root cause of terrorism is that it is successful – terrorists have consistently benefited from their terrorist acts.’68 Dershowitz cited the case of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the acquisition of a Palestinian homeland.

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E N D L E S S WA R ? Dershowitz argued, further, that, ‘The international community – primarily the European governments and the United Nations, but also, at times, our own [US] government – made it all but inevitable that we would experience a horrendous day like September 11, 2001.’ They did this, he argued, by giving in to terrorist demands and recognising terrorist leaders and causes. For Dershowitz, the sensible response to terrorism is to send out this message, ‘we will hunt you down and destroy your capacity to engage in terrorism’.69 The point that addressing terrorists’ demands tends to reward their terrorism is one that cannot be lightly dismissed. What is troubling is the wilful blindness to root causes, combined with the old fantasy that terrorists are finite and can be physically hunted down and destroyed. It was Ami Ayalon – head of Shabak, Israel’s General Security Service, between 1996 and 2000 – who observed that ‘those who want victory’ against terror without addressing underlying grievances ‘want an unending war’.70

Chaos and double standards
A notable modern variation of ‘living on the edge of chaos’ paranoia that seems to have informed the Salem witch-hunts was expounded in an article by Robert Kaplan called ‘The Coming Anarchy’, which circulated widely around US embassies after its publication in February 1994, just before the Rwandan genocide began in April of that year. The article illustrates an already existing sense of threat and paranoia at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Kaplan portrayed the global ‘threats’ of overpopulation, drugs, disease and refugees as a kind of witch’s brew threatening to spill over into a more orderly and rational Western world. The analysis is often credited with helping to reinforce US isolationism in the mid-1990s. Kaplan’s emphasis on conflict as a kind of mindless evil fed easily into a sense of powerlessness in the face of suffering overseas, with whole areas of the world in danger of being dismissed as beyond help. 9/11 compounded these existing fears of chaos and mindless violence. The perceived anarchy beyond the West was now held by Kaplan to justify ignoring international laws and procedures: foreign affairs entails a separate, sadder morality than the kind we apply in domestic policy and in our daily lives. That is because domestically we operate under the rule of law, while the wider world is an anarchic realm where we are forced to take the law into our own hands.

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This analysis was echoed by Tony Blair’s adviser Robert Cooper. In 2005, Cooper was nominated by Prospect magazine as one of the top 100 ‘public intellectuals’ in the world, and his views throw disturbing light on what came to pass for respectable analysis. Cooper stated in April 2002: The postmodern world has to start to get used to double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But, when dealing with old-fashioned states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, preemptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary. … Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.71 In many ways, this is a restatement not only of attitudes during the Cold War (peace and democracy at home; burning villages and backing coups abroad) but also of the double standards institutionalised in slave-owning democracies run by the Greeks and the Romans (and, to a large extent, the United States pre-1865). Influential columnist and author Robert Kagan said Cooper’s notion of an international double standard for power would appear to lie at the heart of Blair’s global strategy. This may sound like criticism, but Kagan intended not to bury the British Prime Minister but to praise him, ‘give Blair credit for trying. He is the only world leader today who really is trying to find the synthesis of the American and European worldviews.’72 Kagan himself argued that the United States ‘must live by a double standard’,73 and he subtly delegitimised European concerns with international law by suggesting that these: reflected Europe’s military weakness – a situation reversed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the United States had complained that European powers were ignoring international law and international opinion.74 Yet all this lauding of double standards represents a practical as well as a moral error: as Evelin Lindner’s research suggests, deprivation does not necessarily call forth violence; but when expressed ideals of equality and dignity are violated by double-standards, violence becomes likely. In his book Breaking the Nations, first published in 2003, Robert Cooper (then serving as Director General of External and PoliticoMilitary Affairs for the Council of the European Union) noted: [ 203 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? It would be irresponsible to do nothing while even one further country acquires nuclear capability. Nor is it good enough to wait until that country acquires the bomb. By then the costs of military action may be too high. Hence the doctrine of preventative action in the US National Security Strategy.75 Then there was a sensible note of caution, ‘If everyone adopted a preventative doctrine the world could degenerate into chaos … as countries tried to second-guess their neighbours and get their retaliation in first’.76 But then came an outrageous resolution of the problem of generalised chaos: A system in which preventative action is required will be stable only under the condition that it is dominated by a single power or a concert of powers. The doctrine of prevention therefore needs to be complemented by a doctrine of enduring strategic superiority – and this is, in fact, the main theme of the US National Security Strategy.77 In other words, because we must have the principle of pre-emption, we need a doctrine ‘of enduring strategic superiority’. And what is the way to maintain this superiority? Why, pre-emption of course! Such are the circularities that kow-towing creates. The vision of a world split between order and chaos has also been expressed by US liberals. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said of the Cold War superpowers: They represented different orders, but they both represented order. That is now gone. Today’s world is also divided, but it is increasingly divided between the ‘World of Order’ – anchored by America, the EU, Russia, India, China and Japan, and joined by scores of smaller nations – and the ‘World of Disorder’. The World of Disorder is dominated by rogue regimes like Iraq’s and North Korea’s and the various global terrorist networks that feed off the troubled string of states stretching from the Middle East to Indonesia.78 Casualties in this ‘world of disorder’ do not seem to have the same status as those in the United States. An article in a book called Worlds in Collision (published in September 2002) was entitled ‘Who may we bomb?’79 It sounds like an anti-war article, but the author actually [ 204 ]

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seems to be taking the question quite straight. (Strictly speaking, it should be ‘whom may we bomb?’, but that seems a small point in the circumstances.) Acknowledging that the case for bombing Iraq may be weak, Barry Buzan argued that in a case like Afghanistan, the militarisation of society makes it very hard to draw a line between civilians and soldiers, and further, that ‘Some Afghans clearly deserve the government they got [the Taliban].’ Buzan went on to draw a parallel with civilians in Japan and Germany who were attacked in the Second World War and who also apparently ‘deserve[d] the government they got’, because of governments coming to power through ‘popular revolution’ or having ‘mass support’. Again, let us try to generalise this argument. Suppose we do not like the Bush administration (and many do not). Does that mean American civilians are legitimate targets (for example, for terrorist attacks) because they ‘deserve the government they got?’ Clearly, it does not. Remember that it was Mohamed Siddiq Khan, one of the July 2005 London bombers, who made the argument – in a video recorded before the atrocities – that civilians in the West were ‘directly responsible’ for the deaths of Muslims when they supported democratic governments that perpetrated atrocities.80 Leading liberal Michael Ignatieff has been chipping in with unhelpful suggestions of his own. He declared, ‘Sticking too firmly to the rule of law simply allows terrorists too much leeway to exploit our freedoms. … To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war.’81 Electing himself as spokesman for a new consensus, he adds, ‘everyone can see that instead of waiting for terrorists to hit us, it makes sense to get our retaliation in first’.82 By contrast, in the last line of a New York Times article, he proclaims, ‘We have to show ourselves and the populations whose loyalties we seek that the rule of law is not a mask or an illusion. It is our true nature.’83 But how exactly are we going to do this if we recoil from ‘sticking too firmly to the rule of law’? The kindest thing to say about this contribution is that Ignatieff is very confused.

The ‘clash of civilisations’
Part of the intellectual context for 9/11 and its backlash has been set by Samuel Huntington’s influential thesis of a Clash of Civilisations.84 Huntington was responding to the breakdown of the East–West division and of the realist paradigm and also to the perceived unhelpfulness of the chaos model; in contrast to these models, he found the essence of

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E N D L E S S WA R ? contemporary and future conflict in competing ‘civilizations’, and saw the West as in danger of losing its place as a dominant civilization in the face of a number of new threats, including China, Latin America and, notably, Islam. Immigration was seen as (literally) bringing these threats home – especially immigration from Latin America to the United States and from Islamic countries to Europe. Meanwhile, humanitarian interventions were seen as following ‘civilizational’ lines. Huntington’s argument has important empirical flaws. First, civilizations are not as distinct as Huntington makes out.85 Second, one gets little sense from Huntington of how ethnicity is a result of conflict as much as a cause of it.86 Third, there are plenty of ‘counter-examples’ to Huntington’s thesis on the cultural fault-lines of interventions. US-led interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo were designed, at least in part, to help Muslims. So too, arguably, was the intervention in Somalia. Conversely, when Muslims have been killed in large numbers, the culprit has frequently been governments in the Arab world, as Paul Berman points out;87 of course, Saddam Hussein himself is responsible for killing very large numbers of Muslims; the Sudan government’s genocide against predominantly Muslim peoples in the west of the country is another example. Even more significant, perhaps, than these empirical flaws is the dangerous nature of Huntington’s argument. First, the emphasis on the ongoing and impending conflict between the West and Islam can be seen as highly convenient for a US military establishment in search of a new enemy in the post-Cold War era, not least to justify continued military spending. (Some of the sources cited by Huntington on the strength of the Islamic threat are precisely US military personnel, so there is a weird circularity about the argument.) Second, the book climaxes with an emphatic and intolerant rejection of multiculturalism in the United States as the only way to keep ‘Western civilisation’ strong; Huntington’s horror of cultural contamination is a distasteful echo of the horror expressed by extremists in the Islamic world;88 the advocacy of cultural ‘purity’ as a route to strength and safety has distinct fascistic overtones and clearly resonates with the views of those (from whichever strain of fundamentalist thought) who seek a ‘moral revival’ to ward off vulnerability to external and internal enemies. A third danger with Huntington’s thesis – perhaps the most important – is that his diagnosis/prediction of an inevitable clash between civilizations has the potential to be damagingly self-fulfilling. Certainly, bin Laden has favoured this idea of a ‘clash of civilisations’. Huntington’s orientalism has proven alarmingly seductive; his ‘West’ is an occident waiting to happen, and Bush and Blair are helping to fulfil the prophesy.89 [ 206 ]

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Endorsing torture
Since the US-led coalition has been moving back in many ways to the methods and the mind-set of witch-finders and inquisitors of old, it is not surprising that it is beginning to welcome back the inquisitors’ favourite means of securing information and compliance: torture. In one of the more frightening tomes on terrorism and counter-terrorism, law professor Alan Dershowitz observes wistfully that ‘we could easily wipe out international terrorism if we were not constrained by legal, moral, and humanitarian considerations.’90 It is hard to think of a more deluded statement. Pulling himself back from this vision of nirvana, Dershowitz proposes ‘a series of steps that can effectively reduce the frequency and severity of international terrorist attacks by striking an appropriate balance between security and liberty.’91 It is here that torture raises its ugly head. Dershowitz suggests that torture could be a justifiable response to terrorism, giving the example of a ticking bomb where forcibly extracting information could save the lives of large numbers of civilians.92 He also argues that with the United States already subcontracting torture to third-party states, it is better if any torture gets an official warrant from the president of the Supreme Court; yet as Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Ken Roth points out: the fact that sometimes laws are violated does not mean you want to start legitimising the violation by getting some judge to authorise it. If you start opening the door, making a little exception here, a little exception there, you’ve basically sent the signal that the ends justify the means, and that’s exactly what Osama bin Laden thinks.93 Significantly, Dershowitz scarcely considers the terrorism that torture may precipitate.94 Sayyid Qutb, whose radical doctrines have fed into terrorism, was himself radicalised by being tortured in an Egyptian prison. So too was bin Laden’s longstanding professional partner Ayman al-Zawahiri.95 Moazzam Begg, a British Muslim imprisoned at Bagram in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay, said, ‘One of the quotes I heard people tell the guards a lot is that they weren’t terrorists before they came in, but they certainly will be when they leave.’96 Nor, as we have seen, is torture a reliable route to good information. Michael Ignatieff’s suggestion that ‘coercive interrogation’ may be necessary has been noted. As part of his argument that ‘Either we fight evil with evil or we succumb’,97 he adds that we should be prepared to [ 207 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? consider the necessity of ‘relentless – though nonphysical – interrogation’ that violates human dignity when this is a ‘a lesser evil’ than ‘allowing thousands of people to die’ – a tragedy which the information gained could supposedly prevent.98 Ignatieff goes on to say of such an interrogation that ‘its necessity would not prevent it from remaining wrong’.99 Ignatieff is clearly concerned to emphasise that he doesn’t like interrogation that infringes dignity and hence he wants to hold onto the label of ‘evil’ for such acts. However, for a leading and intelligent liberal, he ends up in a remarkably extreme and dangerous territory: namely that we should do evil things. Ignatieff says he is against physical torture; but even as he seems to close this door, he opens a window. First, ‘relentless interrogation’ seems to come pretty close, particularly when it is ‘a violation of their dignity’ and ‘would push suspects to the limits of their psychological endurance’.100 Second, if survival necessitates ‘fighting evil with evil’, there is no logical reason to stop short of physical torture. Ignatieff might feel that this is going too far, but others can easily pick up his slogan (perhaps reassuring themselves that this has come from a leading liberal with a recent Chair in Human Rights Practice at Harvard), and create their own definitions of just how much ‘evil’ is necessary to ‘fight evil’. Of course, the process of defining – and redefining – how much evil is ‘necessary’ is part of the shameful story of Abu Ghraib. As Ignatieff himself observes (and his confusion runs pretty deep on these issues), ‘If you want to create terrorists, torture is a pretty sure way to do so.’101 The French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault noted the importance of changing fashions for punishment and the proper sphere for interventions, and in particular a shift from the fashion for addressing the criminal’s body (for example, through torture and execution) to working on his mind (for example, through a period of incarceration).102 Ignatieff’s and Dershowitz’s attitudes to torture (and, significantly, torture even before a crime has taken place) suggest a new ‘respectability’ for physical, bodily solutions to the problem of international violence. Their views here are broadly in line with the general assumption that evil has a finite, physical embodiment that can be physically eliminated – perhaps a natural (if immoral and counterproductive) response to the elusiveness of the modern terrorist. In many ways, this new emphasis on the body contrasts with the old model of deterrence, where the emphasis was on influencing the mind of your opponent. It also contrasts with approaches that seek to understand how terrorists came to be what they are. We would be wise to remember, in the midst of this new zeal for the [ 208 ]

C U LT U R E

AND

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tools of inquisition and authoritarian government, Foucault’s analysis of why torture and execution originally fell out of fashion. Foucault noted that the publicly tortured or executed criminal was being too often transformed, in the eyes of the watching public, into some kind of hero, while the government took on the aspect of a villain.103

Promising ‘humanitarian intervention’
The concept of humanitarian intervention has helped win important support for the ‘war on terror’ from some on the left and from liberals, including Michael Ignatieff and Paul Berman.104 Stephen Holmes points out that in the 1990s – for example, over Bosnia and Kosovo – liberals often lambasted the UN and were quick to point out the limitations of acting through multi-lateralist organisations. UN failings in Rwanda in many ways reinforced this unease and added to the sense that bolder action should have been taken earlier, even if this meant acting unilaterally and on the basis of information predicting a genocide.105 These are uncomfortable points. Certainly, when I was working on northern Iraq for Save the Children Fund in 1993, UN-bashing was a fairly popular activity. Holmes sees the left’s championing of ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the 1990s as paving the way for the Iraq war; and certainly conservatives have often taken up the issue opportunistically. For his part, Blair seems to have seen himself as on a humanitarian roll. John Kampfner details the five wars in which he has been involved. First there was the bombing of Iraq under Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Then there was Kosovo – an earlier example of intervention to preempt which also provoked. When Clinton was hesitating over ground troops for Kosovo in 1999, Blair complained that ‘Americans are too ready to see no need to get involved in the affairs of the rest of the world’. His plea for humanitarian intervention was seen as seminal by some right-wing US interventionists.106 Then there was Sierra Leone (where some local people had made Blair feel he was single-handedly responsible for their freedom).107 And then there was Afghanistan. Kampfner observes that, ‘with each war, Blair’s confidence grew.’108 Finally (or perhaps not finally), there was the Iraq attack of 2003.

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11 Conclusion
The ‘war on terror’, then, is based on the false premise of a finite number of evil individuals and their ‘state backers’ and the false assumption that the source of the problem can be physically eliminated. This damaging approach effectively reduces complex historical processes to something akin to a crude video game in which an identifiable enemy can simply be shot away. We need alternative and nonviolent models if we are to come up with less crude and less counterproductive solutions. Even video games are not necessarily this simple: in a game called ‘September 12’, players can blast away at targets in an Arab village but women weep over their dead children as more terrorists grab guns to defend their homes.1 In sport, a good rule of thumb for tacticians is this: what would my opponent least like for me to do? This approach has evidently not been followed in the ‘war on terror’. We have seen how the ‘war on terror’, like many civil wars, can be better understood as a system than a contest. Sustained by counterproductive tactics that predictably create more terrorists, the system simultaneously yields a range of political, economic and psychological benefits for a variety of actors, notably those within a diverse coalition participating in the ‘counterterror’. As in a civil war, benefits have percolated through the system: the political and economic benefits of the ‘war on terror’ have accrued not only at the ‘top’ (notably, in Washington) but among a wide range of regimes and interest groups that have collaborated (or have appeared to collaborate) in the attempt to eliminate the designated ‘evil’. Terrorists have also pursued tactics that predictably alienate people and reinforce opposition. This war may be endless, but it is not aimless. Just because a particular tactic is predictably counterproductive does not, of course, imply that all these counterproductive effects were foreseen and wilfully embraced. Nevertheless, their persistence implies an accommodation to failure which is so prolonged and so systematic that it cannot be realistically labelled as ‘failure’ any more. Part of the psychological function of this ‘war on terror’ is the sense of certainty and the (fleeting) sense of security it brings. It represents a kind of serial witch-hunt in which the rule of law and the practice of evidence-based thinking have been largely set aside. The process is surprisingly shameless and key US officials have sometimes boasted [ 210 ]

CONCLUSION about their willingness to set law and evidence aside. As in civil conflicts, war provides impunity for setting the law aside.2 Power, in the end, will do what it likes, and it may be quite brazen in how it chooses its enemies and justifies its actions. In one of Jean de La Fontaine’s fables, a wolf approaches a lamb who is drinking from a river. ‘You are interfering with my drinking,’ the wolf says. The lamb meekly goes to drink downstream, but the wolf is still not happy, ‘Last year you were telling lies about me.’ The lamb points out that last year it had not even been born. ‘Well,’ says the wolf, ‘It was you or your brother.’ When the lamb points out that it has no brothers, the wolf replies, ‘It must be one of you people because you never spare me – you, your shepherds and your dogs,’ and kills the lamb. The lesson: ‘La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure’.3 This message that ‘might is right’ has been integral to the deployment of ‘action-as-propaganda’ by US officials in particular, something that has helped to secure compliance for the ‘war on terror’, notably from large sections of the American electorate. Part of this was using punishment to imply a crime and using violence to make one’s own predictions come true (for example, through creating terrorists and through portraying embodiments of international law like the UN as ‘irrelevant’). However, the violent reaction to 9/11 – in many ways a response to shame and humiliation – itself creates an additional threat of shame: the killing of civilians and the deaths of Coalition soldiers always threaten to bring shame crashing into the largely self-congratulatory world of those who lead the ‘war on terror’. Indeed, their self-righteousness, being illfounded and fragile, actually redoubles the threat of shame. This shame (whether the shame of weakness or the shame of too-much-force) has in turn been warded off by the pursuit of moral ‘purity’ at home and abroad, by the emphasis on evil as something external and eradicable, by intimidating those who criticise, and by widening the circle of enemies. Again, there are important parallels with the evolution of civil wars – especially the way condemnation of fighters by civilians can feed into a mutation of enemies and the targeting of civilians. What kind of evidence would it take to convince Bush and Blair that they are wrong? Since their position is not evidence-based, it is particularly difficult to challenge with evidence. And since it plays fast and loose with the category of ‘enemy’, any such challenge will feel inherently risky. Yet such challenges can be made; and they need to be supplemented with an analysis of the functions that such beliefs have served and an analysis of how these beliefs emerged and are sustained. The mad and comforting delusions of the ‘war on terror’ have been [ 211 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? nurtured and sustained by a particular history, a particular culture and a particular intellectual climate. The old idea of ‘manifest destiny’, the habitual hunt for the sources of ‘evil’, the view that the United States is somehow an instrument of God: all these have fed into the ‘war on terror’. Double-standards (legal procedures for us, torture and the lawof-the-jungle for them; pre-emption by us, but not by them) have been enthusiastically embraced, even by those with some previous record of liberalism. The ‘war on terror’ has been sold to relevant electorates – especially in the United States – with many of the same techniques used to sell consumer products. As with advertising and consumerism more generally, the failure to solve the problem of terror brings hidden benefits in shoring up demand for future counter-terror. The system has seemed almost immune to criticism: advances are held to show that ‘we’ are winning, while setbacks show only that ‘we’ need to redouble our efforts. Sustaining this cosy, closed system of thought and action demands nothing more or less than that we in the West forget, that we erase our latent awareness of just how destructive, useless and counterproductive our actions have been. But we do not have to forget. It might be hoped that with the passing of time, with the proliferation of enemies and the accumulation of evidence of rising anger in the Muslim and Arab worlds, even devotees of the crudest Bush/Rumsfeld mysticism will not be able to avoid some hazy realisation that their high-tech sorcery is not providing an answer. We have seen how the old witch-hunts of Europe and North America represented closed systems of thought where even a denial of guilt or a denial of the existence of witches was taken as evidence of witchery. But these persecutions were eventually discredited, coming to appear barbaric and even ridiculous. Part of this process, as Keith Thomas showed, was the advance of science: notably, the advance of alternative, medical explanations for illness. This underlines the importance of resisting the assault on science and ‘evidence-based thinking’ that has come from large sections of the American right-wing: the attack on evolution theory, on stem-cell research and, most especially, on those who seek to question the logical and empirical basis between problems and solutions in the drive against terrorism.4 In this sense, the denigration of science needs to be rescued from the veneration of weapons and technology; in fact, technology without science is the worst of all worlds. The long struggle to quell belief in witches and to advance more evidence-based explanations and solutions for suffering should not be so quickly and lightly set aside. In his classic analysis of witch-hunts, Max Gluckman noted: [ 212 ]

CONCLUSION It is a witch-hunt so long as persons are blamed for misfortunes that they are not responsible for. The hunt may, as in Africa, temporarily resolve conflicts … [but] beliefs in magic and witchcraft help to distract attention from the real causes of natural misfortune. They also help to prevent men from seeing the real nature of conflict between social allegiances. We can only hope that it may yet be possible to run a society without any kind of distracting obscurity.5 These sentiments could hardly be more pertinent; and just as humour was part of what made the old witch-hunts appear increasingly ludicrous (for example in the writings of Voltaire),6 so too the work of Michael Moore and other satirists has already played a valuable role. This study has underlined that pre-emption cannot reasonably be advocated as a principle: in other words as a mode of conduct which one would be happy for everyone to adopt. The United States has been named among those with a ‘right to intervene’, but any suggestion that others might have a right to intervene in the United States or to intervene in other countries in a similarly unilateral or ‘pre-emptive’ manner has been rejected as anathema. This has even included a rejection of the idea that US citizens might be held to account in an international criminal court. Yet as David Held has noted, ‘Kant was right’; the violent abrogation of law and justice in one place ricochets across the world’.7 Robert Cooper’s argument that the chaos of universal preemption can only be prevented by ensuring US hegemony is perverse, craven and unsustainable. The doctrine of unilateral pre-emption and the abuses at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere reflect the doctrine – influential in parts of Latin America, for example – that only those who stay within the law are guaranteed human rights, while the right to decide who is worthy of rights and who is not remains with an entity (the army in Guatemala, for example) that is partially outside the writ of the law.8 Unless there are agreed procedures for interference in national sovereignty, a similarly arbitrary quality extends to pre-emption and even to ‘humanitarian intervention’. To those expressing scepticism about Bush’s warlike response to 9/11, the US president sometimes responded, in effect, ‘What would you do?’9 One answer will be familiar to doctors: first, do no harm. The global body politic has at least some capacity to heal itself, and ordinary people have a natural revulsion against atrocities, particularly if they are not subsequently incensed by some violent retaliation. Jason [ 213 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Burke has noted, ‘The main reason for the failure of the Islamic revolution in Algeria and Egypt was that most people wanted to have nothing to do with men who mutilated and maimed innocent people.’10 As Gandhi understood, a non-violent reaction to violence and injustice gives people the chance to perceive and understand the original violence, while a violent reaction tends to blind people to the original provocation. Expanding the war on terror to embrace and legitimise all manner of national conflicts is a major mistake. As Michael Mann notes, ‘The United States should leave alone conflicts involving national liberation fighters’, including in Chechnya, Kashmir, the Philippines and Indonesia. The way US actions revived jihadis in Algeria and Egypt, who had been fading from around the mid-1990s, should be an object lesson.11 In short, the United States should avoid actions that continue to infuse an anti-American sentiment into diverse local grievances. In terms of practical and useful actions that can be taken, there is plenty to do. The currently favoured magical solutions to the problem of terror are not only proving counterproductive; they are also – in line with Max Gluckman’s comments on the ‘distractions’ of believing in witchcraft – distracting attention from many of the most pressing problems. A realistic alternative approach would be based essentially on treating terrorists as criminals and upholding the law, both nationally and internationally. At present, the label of a ‘war on terror’ feeds into the terrorists’ propaganda, self-image and self-delusions; for example, it makes it hard to counter the claims of London bomber Mohamed Siddiq Khan that his actions in July 2005 were part of a ‘war’ in which civilian voters were a legitimate target. Of course, the label of a ‘war on terror’ also legitimises violence by the United States and its allies. Calling it a war legitimises what is often a very onesided violence – like calling bullfighting a sport. Part of treating terrorism as a crime lies in integrating the struggle against terrorism with the fight against organised crime. Criminal networks (sometimes linked to terror networks) have learned to think trans-nationally; yet governments responding to crime and terrorism are often still thinking within the framework of the nation state.12 Controlling flows of funding can make a contribution.13 One pressing practical need is for better inspection of shipping: in 2004, one report said that only 2 per cent of ships arriving in the United States were being physically inspected.14 Terrorist organisations like al-Qaida can be countered with the use of informers. Finding those who will inform on suspected terrorists is always going to be much harder in conditions where the counter-terror [ 214 ]

CONCLUSION is arbitrary and abusive. Moreover, simple practical measures have often been neglected. Intelligence expert James Bamford says the CIA never tried to infiltrate al-Qaida, and meanwhile rivalry with the FBI in the hunt for bin Laden led to withholding information that the CIA had garnered overseas.15 Julian Borger reported in September 2004 that in excess of 120,000 hours of conversations involving terror suspects since 9/11 had not been translated because the FBI lacked sufficient linguists.16 On the ground in Iraq, US commanders at Fallujah said they lacked sufficient translators, and thus the ability to communicate effectively with the local community.17 When it comes to alternative, non-violent approaches to terrorism, Bush’s record is not a good one. He wrecked a European Union initiative to contain money-laundering in tax havens favoured by terrorists. In July 2001, Bush rejected (to British Foreign Office fury) the global monitoring of chemical and biological weapons by independent inspectors. The United States has opposed global weapons monitoring and an international criminal court (also extremely relevant for dealing with terrorism). Britain now seems too ‘polite’ even to mention these initiatives to the United States.18 The idea that development and security should be integrated has been gaining ground. In some ways, this is no bad thing. Aid that builds up state services can be vital in minimising the opportunities for terror groups; conversely, programmes of structural adjustment have often contributed to a collapse of education, health and nutrition: in Sierra Leone, this fed directly into the emergence of terror groups; in Pakistan, it has helped Islamic schools to set up in a vacuum that some have used to preach an extreme message;19 in Palestine, gaps in security and service provision have been filled by paramilitary organisation (and 2006 election winner) Hamas.20 Conflict-resolution should be part of the drive against terrorism, and this should include assisting failed or fragile states. Yet the US government gives just over US$16 billion in foreign aid – less than one-ninth of the money spent on the Iraq war and occupation up to January 2005.21 The Iraq war has been taking away from the British government’s anti-poverty programme in eastern Europe, Central Asia and Latin America,22 not to mention natural disaster preparedness worldwide (including in the United States itself).23 Peacekeeping is often vital in conflict resolution; yet in 1994, the most expensive year in the history of peacekeeping, the United States spent $290 on defence for every dollar spent on UN peacekeeping.24 Aid money can also be used to improve human rights performance in countries where terrorists have emerged – the $2 billion a year that [ 215 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? Egypt has been getting from the United States offers potential for this kind of pressure. The United States should stop propping up undemocratic regimes more generally in the Middle East (notably, in Saudi Arabia). Helping to ease this path would be reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil via a programme to promote energy efficiency and developing renewable resources. If focusing on development issues can contribute to security, there are also major dangers in linking security and development.25 One is that those countries considered marginal to the ‘war on terror’ may be systematically neglected. A second is a reinvention of Cold War-style discrimination against enemies and over-forgiveness of the sins of your friends. A third is that NGOs, many of them heavily dependent on government funding, may subordinate their agendas to a Western security agenda;26 tarring NGOs with the brush of US military policy has threatened (and cost) the lives of aid workers in Iraq and Afghanistan and has helped to limit the humanitarian presence there. A ‘nuclear 9/11’ is a terrifying possibility; but attacking Iraq does not make it any less likely. A key priority should be securing Russia’s nuclear legacy – something estimated to cost US$30 billion. There is also a pressing need to get India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel to join the non-proliferation treaty. Israel’s WMD (including nuclear weapons and a chemical weapons programme) should be addressed as a matter of urgency. There is a need to link intelligence and export control networks with border, port and airport security to prevent moving of nuclear materials and technology.27 One way in which nuclear weapons could fall into extremists’ hands is through a change of regime in Pakistan: actions that fuel extremism in Pakistan hardly help. Ensuring moderation in Pakistan is also important in other ways. It was a Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was found to be at the centre of an international black market in nuclear materials, selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Pakistan also holds one of the keys to stability in Afghanistan: Pakistan’s madrassa religious schools for the poor – funded in large part by Saudi and American money – educated many of the Afghan refugees who went on to form the Taliban; today, the remnants of the Taliban continue to draw support and find shelter from fellow Pashtun inside Pakistan. In all the thinking about arms control ‘over there’, arms control at home should not be forgotten. Without further nuclear disarmament in the West, many states will rebel against non-proliferation norms, seeing a double standard.28 Gun control is also important, both in terms of international trade and domestic sales. (An upbeat al-Qaida pamphlet [ 216 ]

CONCLUSION found in Afghanistan noted that firearms training is available to the general public in the United States. ‘Useful courses to learn are sniping, general shooting, and other rifle courses. Handgun courses are useful but only after you have mastered rifles.’29) Looking seriously at the position of ethnic minorities in the West will also be crucial. This includes an improved understanding of poverty, exclusion and discrimination. Widespread rioting in France has underlined the urgency of this. After the July 2005 London bombings, senior UK officials tended to pin responsibility for preventing a repetition on ‘the Muslim community’. Clearly, ordinary Muslims have a role to play in preventing terrorism (as do those from other sections of the community). But this has to be handled with sensitivity, or an existing sense of exclusion and discrimination will be exacerbated. As Tania Loa, an audience member at a 2005 public meeting in London, commented, ‘Whenever there is a problem with black, Asian or Muslim youth, suddenly they become a problem of that community. When they are winning medals, they become British. How is it that our Britishness is so much more fragile than that of the white people?’30 When using any instrument, we need to keep in mind that these may take on a very different aspect among those ‘on the receiving end’. Taking seriously the autonomy of other societies and the feelings of other individuals demands an end to the current fashion for political autism. Even when in ‘enlightened’ mode, Western policy-makers tend to see themselves as manipulating sticks and carrots with a view to producing a better world: if only ‘we’ can find the right combination of bribes, sanctions and bombs, then ‘we’ will make a better world. Implicitly at least, this represents a kind of ‘playing God’ and can easily feed into resentment and even terror. Sticks and carrots are for donkeys, after all, and people on the receiving end are often aware of the indignity. People generally wish to make their own history; they do not wish to be shaken up, in Edward Said’s phrase, ‘like peanuts in a jar’. Manipulating punishments and incentives is closely linked to behaviourist psychology: the idea that one can manipulate people (or rats) by changing the system of incentives under which they operate.31 The perception that you are ‘playing God’ and denigrating other peoples is a particular problem when you yourself are not seen as a credible example of human-rights observance. That means looking at double standards – in pre-emption and torture, and in relation to Israel, UN Security Council resolutions and UN Security Council membership. It means that the United States and the United Kingdom in particular have to prove they are genuinely on the side of democracy and [ 217 ]

E N D L E S S WA R ? justice. The twentieth-century record of sustained democracy from US military conquest or occupation is not good, and the successes in Japan and Germany are not readily replicable.32 There are always internal pressures for democracy, which can be built upon through funding, encouragement and incorporation into regional structures where democracies predominate.33 As Ronan Bennett has observed: If the collapse of authoritarian, anti-democratic governments in South Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe in the late 80s and early 90s taught us anything, it is that such regimes cannot endure. Their lifespan is limited because it is simply impossible for even the most brutal dictator to bring all political life to a halt.34 If Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis is potentially selffulfilling and if action-as-propaganda threatens to shape the world in a way that makes fascistic propaganda more and more ‘plausible’ and ‘respectable’, these processes can also be resisted. As Jonathan Steele reported from Jordan in April 2003: Arabs who fear a rise in Islamic fundamentalism take comfort from the peace marches in Europe and America, the anti-war stand of Schroder and Chirac, and the position of the Vatican. The protests showed this was not a clash of civilisations but an unpopular war run by a small coalition of the willing.35 The need for critical introspection is universal and not confined to ‘the West’. The impulse to ward off shame is a major barrier to selfunderstanding and a major spur to violence by many parties. This includes a few Muslims who may, as Tariq Ramadan argued, turn to violence to ward off the shame of having been ‘corrupted’ or contaminated by Western ways. There are many problems in the world – including the Muslim world – that cannot be attributed to ‘American imperialism’. Bhikhu Parekh, Chair of the Commission on the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain, has argued that Muslims must ‘stop blaming the West for all their ills’.36 Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor of the Financial Times, has argued that Arab and Muslim countries have ‘slipped into an easy anti-Americanism that shows little understanding of what the US is really like as a society’.37 Edward Said refers to a sense of ‘failure and frustration’ and ‘an Islamism built out of rote learning and the obliteration of what are perceived to be other, competitive forms of secular [ 218 ]

CONCLUSION knowledge’. 38 He noted, further, that picking on the United States has often served a function by distracting attention from faults in one’s own society.39 The temptation to pin all blame on some external ‘evil’ is unhelpful, from whichever quarter this impulse emanates. In an interesting contribution that has made her predictably unpopular with many fellow Muslims, the writer and broadcaster Irshad Manji highlights a number of disturbing episodes and phenomena that she says many Muslims are anxious to forget or dismiss: the Turkish massacre of Armenian Christians at the end of the First World War; the lack of hospitality and settlement schemes for Palestinian refugees in many Arab countries; the strong streaks of anti-Semitism, misogyny and homophobia in some quarters of the Muslim world; and, finally, the role of Islam in 9/11 itself. Also calling for stringent self-examination has been the use of Islam to justify massive abuses in Sudan, a tragedy that I have investigated at first hand.40 Manji asks provocatively, ‘What makes us righteous and everybody else racist?’, before adding, ‘You’ll want to assure me that what I’m describing isn’t “true” Islam. I hope you’re right … [but] everything is wonderful as an ideal.’41 Of course, such self-examination is not helped by the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. As was shown by many Americans’ reactions to 9/11 itself, the experience of being physically attacked is hardly an aid to critical introspection. The ultimate challenge is to retain our capacity to think for ourselves, and to resist the injunctions of those deluded and frequently self-interested leaders who offer to do our thinking for us and who accept civilian (and military) casualties as inevitable or even desirable. We need an open discussion – notably on the causes of terrorism, which often remains a taboo area. This is particularly so in the United States, but even in the UK many MPs are frustrated at the constrained nature of discussions. Without a genuine debate, it is hard to articulate a coherent alternative to the present path. The last word is best left to the late Edward Said, who wrote that, ‘Critical thought does not submit to commands to join in the ranks marching against one or another approved enemy.’42

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Notes
Chapter 1: Introduction
1. 2. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, ‘One huge US jail’, Guardian Weekend, 19 March 2005. Mark Duffield, ‘“Getting savages to fight barbarians”, development, security and the colonial present’, Conflict, Development and Security, 2005, 5(2): 141–60; Clive Hall, personal communication. Conetta, Strange victory, pp. 30, 33. The term ‘civil war’ is adopted here, but of course many contemporary civil conflicts – such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan – have very significant international involvement. Times Online, 3 June 2002, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3315250,00.html. George W. Bush, State of the Union address, 3 February 2005, www.white house.gov. Philip Webster, ‘Blair hints at military action after Iran’s “disgraceful” taunt’, Times, 28 October 2005. See, e.g. Foucault, Power/Knowledge. Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction, p. 96. Miller, Tell Me Lies, pp. 5–6. I am particularly grateful here for feedback from Chris Dolan, Chris Cramer, Teddy Brett and Laurie Nathan. See also, Clay and Schaffer, Room for Manoeuvre. For example, Jane Mayer, ‘Outsourcing torture’, New Yorker, 14 February 2005, www.globalpolicy.org. Keen, The Benefits of Famine. We can also see this pattern in civil wars after the Cold War (see, e.g. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone). See, e.g. Keen, The Benefits of Famine; Keen, The Kurds in Iraq; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone.

3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Chapter 2: Fuel on the fire: predictably counterproductive tactics in the ‘war on terror’
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Oliver Burkeman, ‘US says it will hunt down terrorists’, Guardian, 14 May 2003. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 67. ibid, p. 45. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 2. Bush famously said of bin Laden, ‘We’ll smoke him out of his cave’ (see e.g. www.dailyherald.com). An unexceptional example of dehumanising language from the press referred to Islamist terrorism and portrayed the

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NOTES
Middle East as ‘the breeding ground for this particular brand of savagery’ (Max Boot, ‘America’s next move in the Middle East’, Sunday Times, 18 May 2003). Woodward, ibid, p. 224. ibid, p. 316. www.state.gov/r/ (accessed in 2004). Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago. See, e.g. Faisal Bodi, ‘Fear and loathing’, Guardian, 21 January 2003; Fuad Nahdi, ‘From peace marches to jihad’, Guardian, 1 April 2003. Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 56. Debate in Miami, Florida. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Terror crackdown has not reduced al-Qaida threat, warns think tank’, Guardian, 14 May 2003, citing International Institute of Strategic Studies report, ‘Strategic Survey’ by Jonathan Stevenson, www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,3605,955333,00.html. ibid. Peter Bergen, ‘The long hunt for Osama’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, ‘A Failed ”Transition”: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War’, September 2004, www.global policy.org. See e.g. Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars. The price of a hand grenade at Al Kut in southern Iraq: US$1.50 (Scott Johnson, ‘Inside an enemy cell’, Newsweek, 18 August 2003, p. 17). Global Witness, ‘For a few dollars more: how al Qaeda moved into the diamond trade’, London, April 2003, available at www.globalwitness.org. Burke, Al-Qaeda; Jason Burke, ‘Who did it – and what was their motive?’, Observer, 10 July 2005; Peter Taylor, ‘The new al-Qaida’, BBC2 TV, first broadcast 25 July 2005. James Fallows, ‘Bush’s lost year’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. See e.g. Kean and Hamilton, The 9/11 Report. One part of this attempt was when Washington said a Jordanian ‘bin Laden associate’, Abu Musab alZargawi, had sheltered in Baghdad after fleeing the US-led coalition attack on Afghanistan, but this man was a member of a group, al-Tauheed, set up in competition with bin Laden. Washington stressed contacts between Saddam’s regime and bin Laden inside Afghanistan, but while bin Laden did send representatives to talk with an Iraqi emissary who was sent to Afghanistan in 1998, these Iraqi overtures were rejected by bin Laden. The Bush administration also stressed that the Iraqi militant group Ansar-alIslam had links with al-Qaida. This was true, but the group were based in northern Iraq, an area not controlled by Baghdad (Jason Burke, ‘Ghost of al-Qaeda left out of story’, Observer, 27 July 2003). The weaponry of this group was also greatly exaggerated. US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003 that Ansar al-Islam had a ‘terrorist chemicals and poisons factory’ (Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 98), but Luke Harding of the Observer visited the site three days later and found no sign of chemical weapons anywhere, just a dilapidated collection of buildings (Luke Harding, ‘Revealed: truth behind

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16.

17.

18. 19.

20. 21.

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“poison factory” claim’, Observer, 9 February 2003). Finally, much was made by the Bush administration of an alleged meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraqi officials in April 2001 in Prague. But an FBI investigation concluded that Atta was in Virginia at the time when the meeting was supposed to have taken place. Czech President Vaclav Havel confirmed that there was no evidence of the meeting (Rampton and Stauber, ibid, pp. 92–3). Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘A blindness that puts us all in danger’, Guardian, 23 January 2003. White House press release, 17 September 2002, www.whitehouse.gov/ news/releases/2003/09/20030917-7.html. Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 269. A large part of the dossier was lifted without attribution or consent from an article by Ibrahim el-Marashi, an American research student. David Clark, ‘Why wait for Hutton?’, Guardian, 9 January 2004. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Axis of failure’, Guardian, 3 November 2004. ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 5. ‘Iraq war may help al-Qaida, MPs report’, Press Association, in: Guardian Unlimited, 31 July 2003, http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/ 0,12956,1009806,00.html. Paul Wilkinson, Royal Institute of International Affairs paper, reported in: Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Use and abuse of intelligence’, Guardian, 19 July 2005. Paul Rogers, ‘A jewel for al-Qaida’s crown’, 11 August 2005, opendemoc racy.net. See also Gerges, The Far Enemy. Paul Rogers, ibid. Ewen MacAskill, ‘The suicide bomber is the smartest of smart bombs’, Guardian, 14 July 2005. Hugh Roberts, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding light of 9-11’, working paper no. 34, 2003, Crisis States Programme, www.crisisstates.com. On 12 May 2003, bombings in Riyadh killed at least 34 people, and US officials said they bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida. On 15 May, time-bombs went off at 21 petrol stations in Karachi, Pakistan. On 16 May, suicide bombings in Casablanca killed at least 41. Two suicide bombings in Chechnya left more than 70 dead (probably not the work of al-Qaida). In July 2002, two women blew themselves up – killing at least 14 others – at a Moscow rock festival. Bombings in Israel have been numerous, and have drawn in perpetrators from countries as far away as Britain. On 5 August 2003, just before the first verdict in the trials for the bombing of Bali in October 2002, the bombing of a US-managed hotel in Jakarta killed at least 16. The explosion of two passenger planes on the same day in August 2004, believed to be the work of two Chechen suicide bombers, left 90 dead. The following month, more than 300 died, mostly children, at Russia’s Beslan School Number 1. There were bombings in Istanbul and Riyadh in November 2003. Whether terrorist attacks are actually rising since the 1990s is a moot point (see, e.g. Justin Lewis, ‘At the service of politicians’, Guardian, 4 August 2004). There have also been bombings in Pakistan, Tunisia, Yemen, Kenya and India.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30.

31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

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36. Hugo Young, ‘Once lost, these freedoms will be impossible to restore’, Guardian, 11 December 2001. 37. Richard Norton-Taylor and Duncan Campbell, ‘How real is the terrorism threat today?’ Guardian, 29 January 2005. 38. Jamie Wilson, ‘Ten al-Qaida plots foiled since 9/11’, Guardian, 7 October 2005. 39. Noam Chomsky, ‘One man’s just war is global terror’, Sunday Independent [South Africa], 13 July 2003. 40. http://www.iraqbodycount.net/database. 41. Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi and Gilbert Burnham, ‘Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey’, The Lancet, 29 October 2004, www.thelancet.com. The organization ‘Iraq Body Count’ put the figure of those killed, including through poor health and sanitation provision, at a minimum of 26,457 by October 2005, www.iraqbodycount.net/. 42. ‘Baghdad burning’, 7 April 2004, http://riverbend.blogspot.com/. 43. ‘Sabrina Tavernise’, New York Times, 14 July 2005, www.nytimes.com. 44. CNN, ‘Forces: US and coalition casualties’, http://edition.cnn.com/ SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/. 45. Cf Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. 46. Ian Traynor and Dan De Luce, ‘UN watchdog presses Iran on nuclear inspections’, Guardian, 16 June 2003. 47. Seumas Milne, ‘Iraqis have paid the blood price for a fraudulent war’, Guardian, 10 April 2003. 48. Isabel Hilton, ‘Why Korea has returned to the cold’, Guardian, 11 February 2003. 49. Noam Chomsky, ‘The resort to force’ (excerpted from Hegemony or Survival, Metropolitan Books, 2004), http://www.chomsky.info/books/hegemony03.htm. 50. US unilateralism in relation to Iraq compounded earlier go-it-alone policies, such as Bush’s withdrawal in 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (amid fears it would impede US anti-missile defence programmes), his pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in the same year, his refusal to strengthen the convention on biological weapons, and his backing off from the International Criminal Court. 51. Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 274. 52. ibid. 53. ‘The document and what it means’, Guardian, 28 April 2005. 54. Chaloka Beyani, ‘International law and the “war on terror”’, in: Joanna Macrae and Adele Harmer, ‘Humanitarian action and the “global war on terror”’, HPG Report 14, Overseas Development Institute, London. 55. Geoffrey Bindman, ‘Tony Blair and the Iraq war: in the eye of the law’, 13 April 2005, opendemocracy.net. 56. Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy, p. 59. 57. Peter W. Galbraith, ‘Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic’, New York Review of Books, 11 August 2005; ICG, ‘Unmaking Iraq: a constitutional process gone awry’, Amman/Brussels, 26 September 2005.

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58. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 33. 59. Some said the camps were mostly empty (e.g. Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 79, 174), though this is disputed (Burke, Al-Qaeda, p. 73). 60. See, e.g. Clarke, Against All Enemies. 61. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 103. 62. Conetta, Strange Victory, p. 5. 63. ibid, pp. 5, 12, 32. 64. George Monbiot, ‘Dreamers and idiots’, Guardian, 11 November 2003. 65. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 151. 66. Conetta, ibid. 67. Milan Rai (ed.), War Plan Iraq (London: Verso, 2002), pp. 37–8. 68. Conetta, ibid, p. 12 69. John Feffer, Power Trip, p. 17. 70. Rohan Gunaratna, ‘The method, the means and the will: the hallmarks of al-Qaida’, Guardian, 29 November 2002. 71. Some analysts have argued, for example, that Egyptian extremists set up in Afghanistan precisely because they were finding Egypt an inhospitable environment in which to operate (Martin Woollacott, ‘Al-Qaida is spending its men and blowing its networks’, Guardian, 23 May 2003). 72. Michael Elliott, ‘Why the war on terror will never end’, Time, 26 May 2003; Taylor, ‘The new al-Qaida’, BBC2 TV, first broadcast 25 July 2005. 73. Andrew Buncombe and Andrew Gumbel, ‘Terror cells ‘no longer need approval’ for fresh attacks’, Independent, 31 October 2001. 74. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Terror crackdown has not reduced al-Qaida threat, warns think tank’, 14 May 2003, Guardian, citing International Institute of Strategic Studies report, ‘Strategic Survey’ by Jonathan Stevenson. 75. Some of the local Indonesian Islamic extremists involved had originally trained in Afghanistan. 76. Michael Elliot, ‘Why the war on terror will never end’, Time, 26 May 2003, p. 34. 77. Kean and Hamilton, The 9/11 Report, p. 245. 78. Audrey Kurth Cronin (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Division), Congressional Research Service, Report for Congress, 23 May 2003. 79. William Dalrymple, ‘Murder in Karachi’, New York Review of Books, 4 December 2003, pp. 53–6. 80. Burke, al-Qaeda, p. 13. 81. ibid, p. 5. 82. Feffer, Power Trip, p. 17, cites Colum Lynch, ‘Al Qaeda is reviving, UN report says’, Washington Post, 18 December 2002. 83. See, e.g. Daniel Cooney, ‘Fighting in Afghanistan kills 21’, AP, 12 October 2005. 84. Passage quoted in G. John Ikenberry, ‘American’s imperial ambition’, Foreign Affairs, September–October, 2002, 81(5): 52. 85. US Department of State, 2002. 86. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 30. 87. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘As the US lowers the nuclear threshold, debate is stifled’, Guardian, 5 October 2005.

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88. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 60. 89. BBC News, ‘Iraq rebellion “could last years”’, 27 June 2005, http://news. bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4625215.stm. 90. Infinite justice, of course, is no justice at all. 91. Frum and Perle, An End to Evil, p. 98. 92. ibid, p. 98. 93. ibid, pp. 137–8. 94. ibid, pp. 95–6. 95. ibid, pp. 103–4. 96. ibid, p. 102. 97. ibid, p. 104. 98. Martin Jacques, ‘Cold war, take two’, Guardian, 18 June 2005. 998. 13 March 2003, Stothard, 30 Days, p. 42. 100. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 181. 101. See notably Singer, ibid. As Mary Kaldor notes, for Bushites, ‘sovereignty is conditional for other states, but unconditional for the United States because the United States represents “good”’ (Kaldor, ‘American Power’, p. 12). 102. See notably Singer, ibid, p. 187. 103. Nick Paton Walsh, ‘Putin puts £6m price on rebels’ heads’, Guardian, 9 September 2004. 104. Singer, ibid, p. 159. 105. ibid, p. 145. 106. Chomsky, War Plan Iraq, p. 24. 107. Singer, ibid, p. 145. 108. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Terror crackdown has not reduced al-Qaida threat, warns think tank’, Guardian, 14 May 2003. 109. Johanna McGeary, ‘When no one is truly safe’, Time, 1 December 2003, p. 55. 110. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 188. One report to Congress said estimates for those trained in Afghanistan and Sudan ranged from 20,000 to 60,000 (Cronin, Report for Congress, ibid). 111. Joe Cochrane, ‘Illusion of security’, Newsweek, 18 August 2003, p. 21. 112. Michael Elliot, ‘Why the war on terror will never end’, Time, 26 May 2003, p. 34. 113. Cf Keen, The Benefits of Famine. 114. Simon Hoggard, ‘Clowning around with “socialism” in the States’, Guardian, 20 April 2002. 115. US Department of State, 2002, ‘The National Security Strategy of the United States of America’, http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/ secstrat.htm. Cf also Bush’s statement that ‘our responsibility to history’ is to rid the world of evil. 116. Andrew Sparrow and Toby Harndon, ‘History will forgive the war on Iraq, Blair tells us’, Daily Telegraph, 1 October 2005, www.telegraph.co.uk. 117. Clare Short, ‘How Tony used me to offer Gordon a deal’, Independent, 22 October 2004. 118. Thomas Friedman, ‘Smoking or non-smoking’, 14 September 2001, Longitudes and Attitudes, p. 37.

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119. CNN.com, ‘You are either with us or against us’, 6 November 2001, http:// archives.cnn.com/2001/US/11/06/gen.attack.on.terror/. 120. Conetta, Strange Victory, p. 33. 121. Jonathan Steele, ‘Do Americans care for any casualties but their own?’, Guardian, 20 May 2002. 122. Conetta, ibid, p. 38. 123. Marc Herold, n.d., ‘A dossier on civilian victims of United States aerial bombing of Afghanistan’, www.cursor.org/sotries/civilian_deaths.htm. 124. Conetta, ibid, p. 6. 125. There were some 90 sorties a day during the second week of the campaign (Conetta, ibid). 126. Romesh Ratnesar, ‘The new rules of engagement’, Time, 5 November 2001. 127. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 132. 128. Turton, David and Peter Marsden, ‘Taking refugees for a ride? The politics of refugee return to Afghanistan’, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (Kabul, December 2002), pp. 1–2. 129. David Jones, ‘Return of the Taliban’, Daily Mail, 8 February 2003. 130. Jon Henley, ‘Did we make it better?’, Guardian, 29 May 2003. 131 Ratnesar, ibid. 132. Marc Herold, ibid. Herold is an economics professor at the University of New Hampshire. 133. Bob Graham, ‘I just pulled the trigger’, Evening Standard, 19 June 2003, accessed at http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/5402104? source=Evening%20Standard. 134. Michael Moore, Will they ever trust us again?, p. 47; see also, Evan Wright, Generation Kill. 135. Scott Johnson, ‘Inside an enemy cell’, Newsweek, 18 August 2003, p. 17. 136. Sami Ramadani, ‘Faluluja’s defiance of a new empire’, Guardian, 10 November 2004. 137. Human Rights Watch, ‘Violent response: the US army in al-Falluja’, June 2003. 138. Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail, ‘This is our Guernica’, Guardian, 27 April 2005. 139. Mark Danner, ‘The logic of torture’, New York Review of Books, 24 June 2004. 140. Victoria Brittain, ‘Why are we welcoming this torturer?’, Guardian, 24 February 2005. 141. Mark Danner, ‘Torture and truth’, New York Review of Books, 10 June 2004, pp. 46–50, quoting, ‘Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the Treatment by the Coalition Forces of Prisoners of War and Other Protected Persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq During Arrest, Internment and Interrogation’, February 2004; see also, Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2004. 142. Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2004. 143. ‘Violations were tantamount to torture’, edited extracts of ICRC report into treatment of Iraqi prisoners by coalition forces, Guardian, 8 May 2004. 144. Mark Danner, ibid.

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145. Rod Nordland, ‘Rough justice’, Newsweek, 18 August 2003, pp. 18–20. 146. Rory McCarthy, ‘Fundamental errors of inflexible army’, Guardian, 13 April 2004. 147. ‘Baghdad Burningburning’, 7 May 2004, http://riverbend.blogspot.com/. 148. Rory McCarthy, ‘We will fight until the end’, Guardian, 8 April 2004. 149. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, ‘We don’t need al-Qaida’, Guardian, 27 October 2005. 150. Scilla Elworthy, ‘Tackling terror by winning hearts and minds’, 20 July 2005, www.opendemocracy.net. 151. Mark Danner, ‘Torture and truth’, ibid. 152. British Agencies Afghanistan Group, Afghanistan: Monthly Review, June 2001. 153. Reuters, ‘UN says sanctions have killed some 500,000 Iraqi Children’, 21 July 2000, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072100-03.htm. 154. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 130. Woodward seems to find this question morally unremarkable, commenting: ‘Anyone with a basic understanding of military strategy might have smiled at the question. The noisy, slowmoving transport planes used for food drops are sitting ducks until air defense installations are wiped out’ (Woodward, ibid, p. 130). 155. ‘US food drops “useless” for hungry hordes’, Daily Record and Sunday Mail, 16 October 2001, accessed at nucnews.net/nucnews/2001nn/0110nn/ 011016nn.htm. 156. Nor is it clear that food was the form of aid most wanted by Afghans (Johnson). 157. Woodward, ibid, p. 273. 158. ibid, p. 294, citing Wolfowitz. 159. ibid, p. 279; my emphasis. In the event, the decision about whether to bomb during Ramadan was overtaken by events: namely, the occupation of Kabul by the Northern Alliance and a few Pashtun leaders (ibid, p. 313). 160. John Stremlau, The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War; Human Rights Watch, Evil Days; Keen, The Benefits of Famine. 161. Woodward, ibid, p. 204. US planes carrying food were taking off from Germany at the time. 162. Isabel Hilton, ‘Hearts and minds at any cost’, Guardian, 13 July 2004; Ewen MacAskill, ‘Pentagon forced to withdraw leaflet linking aid to information on Taliban’, Guardian, 6 May 2004. 163. Short, An Honourable Deception? 164. Jacqui Tong, Médecins sans frontières (MSF), ‘Disobedient humanitarianism: violence, politics and aid’, talk given at LSE, London, 17 November 2003. 165. British Agencies Afghanistan Group, Afghanistan: Monthly Review, June 2004, p. 2. 166. Ewen MacAskill, ‘Aid agency quits Afghanistan over security fears’, Guardian, 29 July 2004. 167. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 278. 168. Martin Woollacott, ‘Humanitarians must avoid becoming tools of power’, Guardian 2 April 2004. 169. Stothard, 30 Days, p. 139.

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170. Nicolas de Torrente, ‘Humanitarian action under attack: reflections on Iraq war’, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 17, spring 2004. 171. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 164. 172. Conetta, Strange Victory, pp. 28, 69. 173. Mann, ibid, p. 186. 174. ibid, p. 189. 175. ibid, p. 116. 176. Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004. 177. Conetta, Strange Victory. 178. Fergal Keane, ‘Does the West understand how this hated war is altering the Arab world?’, Independent, 29 March 2003. 179. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 246. 180. This was a finding from a study of the biographies of 400 terrorists by forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer Marc Sagemen (‘Understanding terror networks’, 1 November 2004, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, www.fpri.org). 181. See, e.g. ‘My brother Zac’, Abd Samad Moussaoui, Guardian Weekend, 19 April 2003, (http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605, 938576, 00.html); Hugh Roberts, 2003, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding light of 9-11’, working paper no. 34, Crisis States Programme, DESTIN, LSE, London, www.crisisstates.com. 182. Michael Massing, ‘The unseen war’, New York Review of Books, 29 May 2003, nybooks.com. 183. Burke, al-Qaeda, p. 69. 184. Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, p. xix. 185. Hugh Roberts, ibid. 186. Lewis, ibid, p. xv. 187. Lisa Beyer, ‘Why the hate?’, Time, 1 October 2001, p. 60. 188. Jessica Stern, ‘Holy avengers’, FT Magazine, 12 June 2004, p. 16. 189. Fuad Nahdi, ‘What happened? What changed? What now?’, transcript of an openDemocracy/Q-News meeting at Chatham House, 4 August 2005, www.opendemocracy.net. 190. Hani Shukrallah, ‘We are all Iraqis now’, Guardian, 27 March 2003. 191. Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004. 192. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Religious revival offers solace amid sanctions and resistance to invaders’, Guardian, 22 February 2003. 193. Hani Shukrallah, ibid. 194. Jonathan Steele, ‘It feels like 1967 all over again.’, Guardian, 9 April 2003. 195. Powell, ibid, p. 55. 196. ibid, p. 55. In Iran, coalition belligerence has in many ways strengthened the hard-line fundamentalists. Even threats of a further war on terror can be very destructive. For example, the Pentagon’s announcement in 2003 that it would try to ‘destabilise’ Iran’s Islamic republic helped some of the country’s clerics to portray their liberal opponents as traitors (Dan De Luce, ‘Pentagon adds to despair of Iran’s reformers’, Guardian, 27 May 2003). 197. This is discussed in Barbara Ehrenreich’s Blood Rites, p. 138. 198. See, e.g. Milan Rai (ed.), War Plan Iraq (London: Verso, 2002).

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199. The US bombing of Libya in response to the Berlin disco bombing of 1986 was followed by Libya’s 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103, killing 270. 200. See also Keen, ‘Since I am a dog’; Michael Jackson, In Sierra Leone. 201. RUF (Revolutionary United Front), Footpaths to Democracy, 1995, p. 12. 202. Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service, 18 June 1997; my emphasis. 203. Mark Lawson, ‘Terrorist nostalgia’, Guardian, 17 April 2004. 204. Conetta, Strange Victory, p. 33. 205. John Gittings, ‘North Korea will talk if it is not labelled evil’, Guardian, 4 April 2002. 206. John Feffer, ‘The response’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, p. 179. 207. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 74. 208. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 332; my emphasis. 209. Meir statement to the Sunday Times, 15 June 1969, http://en.wikipedia.org. 210. Robert Baer, ‘The cult of the suicide bomber’, Channel 4, broadcast 4 August 2005. 211. Jessica Stern, ‘Pakistan’s Jihadjihad culture’, Foreign Affairs, November/ December 2000, http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~.jstern. CSIA.KSG/pakistan. htm. 212. Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, p. 187. 213. ibid, p. 195. 214. ibid. 215. Arendt, On Violence, p. 65. 216. www.life-peace.org/newroutes. 217. In Guatemala, some Mayan victims of brutal counter-insurgency told human rights workers involved in organising prosecutions for genocide that the process was important to them partly because it conferred international and state recognition that they were indeed human and worthy of having their human rights upheld (Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’). 218. ‘Jonathan Dimbleby’, ITV1, broadcast 15 June 2003. 219. Neil MacFarquhar, ‘Many Arabs say Bush misreads their history and goals’, New York Times, 31 January 2002. 220. For example, Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes. 221. Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 56. 222. For example, Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Don’t demonise Bin Laden, cautions MoD official,’ Guardian, 8 November 2001. 223. Eric Hobsbawm, Bandits, p. 58. 224. Brian Whitaker, ‘Easy targets are magnet for Islamic militants’, Guardian, 20 August 2003. 225. Abd Samad Moussaoui, ‘My brother Zac’, Guardian Weekend, 19 April 2003 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,938576,00.html). 226. ibid. 227. ibid. 228. ibid. 229. John Burns, ‘The power, the glory and the grievances’, Guardian, 18 September 2001. 230. Ambivalence towards ‘the mother country’ could take a similar form in Sierra Leone (Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone).

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231. Jonathan Raban, ‘My Holy War’, The New Yorker, 4. February 2002. 232. Rohan Gunaratna, ‘Womaniser, joker, scuba diver: the other face of alQaida’s no 3’, Guardian, 3 March 2003. Hamdi Osman, suspected of a role in the attempted London bombings of 21 July 2005, had lived in Italy and acquired a reputation as a ‘Romeo’ and a dancer who loved American popular culture (John Hooper, ‘Suspect was a Roman Romeo in love with US’, Guardian, 2 August 2005). 233. Peter Bergen, ‘In the beginning’, Guardian, 20 August 2004. 234. Interviewed on ‘Inside the mind of the suicide bomber’, director Tom Roberts, Channel 4, broadcast November 2003. 235. Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, p. 64. 236. ibid, p. 65. 237. ibid, p. 66. 238. Maruf Khwaja, ‘Muslims in Britain: generations, experiences, futures’, 2 August 2005, openDemocracy, http://opendemocracy.net/conflict-terrorism/identity_2721.jsp. 239. See the quote from Tariq Ramadan in Chapter 9 (note 16). 240. ICG, ‘Islamist terrorism in the Sahel: fact or fiction?’, 31 March 2005. 241. For example, Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the Soul of Islam’, Time, p. 54. 242. Hugh Roberts, 2003, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding light of 9/11’, working paper 34, Crisis States Programme, DESTIN, LSE, London, www.crissistates.com. 243. Scott MacLeod, ‘The Enemy WithinThe enemy within’, Time, 26 May 2003, p. 37. 244. Said Aburish, The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud, 2nd edn (London: Bloomsbury, 2005). 245. Martin Woollacott, ‘Saudi’s regime can’t please both the US and its people’, Guardian, 16 May 2003. 246. Hugh Roberts, personal communication; see also Hugh Roberts, ibid. Torture had been used in the course of police investigations under Morocco’s new anti-terrorism law (David Pallister, ‘Two Britons face terror charges in Morocco’, Guardian, 2 August 2003, citing Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues). 247. Jason Burke, ‘Stronger and more deadly, the terror of the Taliban is back’, Observer, 16 November 2003. 248. Gerges, The Far Enemy. 249. ibid, p. 271. 250. Putzel, in Buckley and Fawn. 251. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 184. 252. ibid. 253. Putzel, ibid. 254. Mann, ibid, p. 184. 255. Putzel, ibid. 256. ibid. 257. Naomi Klein, ‘A deadly franchise’, Guardian, 28 August 2003. 258. Nick Paton Walsh, ‘US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists’, Guardian, 26 May 2003; see also, John MacLeod and Galima Bukharbaeva,

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‘Neighbourhood watch’, Guardian, 7 April 2004. 259. Craig Murray [British ambassador to Uzbekistan, 2002–03], ‘What drives support for this torturer?’, Guardian, 16 May 2005. 260. Rory McCarthy, ‘Destiny and devotion’, Guardian Weekend, 17 May 2003. 261. Rory McCarthy, ‘Pressure piles up on reluctant Pakistan’, Guardian, 10 March 2003; see also, Conetta, Strange Victory. 262. Isabel Hilton, ‘Pakistan is losing the fight against fundamentalism’, Guardian, 29 May 2003. 263. Bill Powell, ‘Struggle for the soul of Islam’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 63. 264. Neither was Abu Musab al-Zargawi killed or captured in the November 2004 attack on Fallujah that was justified by his presence (Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail, ‘This is our Guernica’, Guardian, 27 April 2005). 265. Bush’s planners have been pressuring Congress to lift a decade-long ban on research into so-called ‘mini-nukes’. A leaked Pentagon strategy document details plans for nuclear weapons to be used against buried targets, including biological or chemical weapons facilities (GlobalSecurity.org). This implies a nuclear ‘first strike’, and doesn’t help Bush in persuading NPT waiverers to renounce all nuclear ambitions (e.g. ‘Ban the minibomb’, Economist, 17 May 2003, pp. 10–11). On UK willingness to countenance ‘first use’ in relation to Iraq, see Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Weapons no one needs’, Guardian, 9 April 2004. 266. See, e.g. Scott McConnell, ‘Ground zero’, 12 March 2002, anti-war.com. 267. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 199. 268. David Gold, ‘Some economic considerations in the U.S. war on terrorism’, The Quarterly Journal, 3(1), March 2004. 269. Singer, ibid. 270. Ian Traynor, ‘The west’s truce with Iraq buys time for both sides, but spectre of proliferation remains’, Guardian, 23 November 2004. 271. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘A blindness that puts us all in danger’, Guardian, 23 January 2003. (The report draws on a report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies which suggests that state support is less of a worry than terrorists getting weapons from the open market.) 272. Vidal, Perpetual War, p. 80, citing Robert Serrano, One of Ours: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. 273. See testimonies in Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?

Chapter 3: War systems: local and global
1. 2. 3. 4. Whilst Paul Collier has tended to stress the economic agendas of rebels, the cover of warfare can also be important for governments and their supporters. Foucault, Power/Knowledge, pp. 135–6. For example, Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. Compare Tim Allen, who sees war as conferring status, and sometimes legitimacy, on violence (Tim Allen, ‘Perceiving contemporary wars’, in: The Media of Conflict: War reporting and representations of ethnic violence, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1999.)

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5. 6. 7. 8. Burke, Al-Qaeda; Jason Burke, ‘Who did it – and what was their motive?’, Observer, 10 July 2005. See e.g. Castells, End of Millennium. Global Witness, ‘For a few dollars more: how al Qaeda moved into the diamond trade’, London, April 2003, available at www.globalwitness.org. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone; Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject; Bruce Berman ‘Ethnicity, patronage and the African state’, pp. 305–41. See notably Mann, Incoherent Empire; Roberts, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding light of 9-11’. See also Mann, ibid. Burke, ibid, p. 25. Jason Burke, ‘Who did it – and what was their motive?’, Observer, 10 July 2005. Sierra Leone shows the dangers of focusing on leaders rather than followers. An attempt was made to ‘neutralise’ the late rebel leader Foday Sankoh with concessions in a 1999 peace agreement at Lome, Togo. For a long time, very little was done to address the anger or grievances of his followers with an effective programme of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR). The peace broke the following year. Richards, Fighting for the Rainforest; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. Rashad Yaqoob, audience member, ‘What happened? What changed? What now?’, transcript of an openDemocracy/Q-News meeting at Chatham House, 4 August 2005, www.opendemocracy.net. Cf Hobsbawm, Bandits. Johanna McGeary ‘When no-one is truly safe’, Time, 1 December 2003, p 5. See, e.g. Kim Sengupta, ‘The police’s nightmare: home-grown terrorists’, Independent, 13 July 2005. Burke, al-Qaeda, p. 21. ibid. For example, Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965). David Stoll, ‘Evangelicals, guerrillas and the army: the Ixil Triangle under Rios Montt’, in Carmack, Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis, p. 104. Paul Richards, ‘Rebellion in Liberia and Sierra Leone: a crisis of youth?’. Paul Richards, 1996, ‘Violence as cultural creativity? Social exclusion and environmental damage in Sierra Leone’, mimeo. See e.g. Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars. Stern, Terror in the Name of God, pp. 213–17, cited in David Gold (2004), p. 9. Cf Clay and Schaffer, Room for Manoeuvre (1984). Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 263. See e.g. Ferdinando Imposimato, ‘Preface to ”The Dirty War” by Habia Souaidia’, Algeria-Watch, 15 January 2001, http://www.algeria-watch. org/farticle/sale_guerre/imposimatoengl.htm. Keen, The Benefits of Famine; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. Keen, The Benefits of Famine.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31.

[ 232 ]

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32. Cf Scott Straus, ‘Darfur and the genocide debate’, Foreign Affairs, 81(4): 123–33, January/February, 2005. 33. Stoll, ‘Evangelicals, guerrillas and the army’. 34. Francisco Gutierrez Sanin, personal communication. 35. Isabel Hilton, ‘Terror as usual’, Guardian, 23 September 2003. 36. Luis Eduardo Fajardo, ‘From the Alliance for Progress to the Plan Colombia’, working paper no. 28, Crisis States Research Centre, LSE, London, www.crisisstates.com. 37. Francisco Gutiérrez Sanín, 2003, ‘Criminal rebels? a discussion of war and criminality from the Colombian experience’, working paper no. 27, Crisis States Research Centre, LSE, London, www.crisisstates.com. 38. Anatol Lieven, Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power, p. 361. 39. David Hearst, ‘Vladimir’s big adventure’, Guardian, 9 November 2001, cites Gall and de Waal, Chechnya: A Small Victorious War. 40. Lieven, Chechnya, p. 356. 41. A total of 129 hostages and 41 Chechen fighters were killed, mostly by the gas used to knock out the hostage-takers. 42. Chris McGreal, ‘Our strategy helps the terrorists – army chief warns Sharon’, Guardian, 31 October 2003. 43. Karen Armstrong, ‘Our role in the terror’, Guardian, 18 September 2003. 44. Kevin Toolis, ‘You can’t make a deal with the dead’, Guardian, 10 September 2003. 45. Henry Siegman, ‘Sharon and the future of Palestine’, New York Review of Books, 2 December 2004. 46. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. At the town of Ryazan, south of Moscow, where strangers were spotted in September 1999 moving heavy sacks of explosives into the basement, a number of factors pointed suspiciously at the FSB Russian secret police. Several apartment explosions earlier that month were blamed on Chechen terrorists and used as a reason for relaunching the war in Chechnya. The strangers were planting a bomb of the same type as those used to create earlier explosions in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk, which had been blamed on Chechen terrorists. 47. Interview with Samraoui, author of ‘Chroniques des Annees de Sang’. in: Campbell, ‘The French connection’, New Zealand Listener, 14–20 February 2004, http://www.algeria-watch.org/fr/article/mil/francalgerie/french_ connection.htm. 48. Gordon Campbell, ‘The French connection’, ibid. 49. Ronan Bennett, contribution to ‘What would you do?’, Guardian, 28 February 2003. 50. See, e.g. Jane Mayer, ‘Outsourcing torture’, New Yorker, 14 February 2005. 51. Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone; on Uganda, see Chris Dolan, Understanding War and its Continuations: The Case of Northern Uganda, PhD thesis, London School of Economics, 2005. 52. Naomi Klein, ‘Stark message of the mutiny’, Guardian, 15 August 2003. 53. James Astill, ‘Rwandans wage a war of plunder’, Observer, 4 August 2002, www.guardian.co.uk/congo. 54. James Astill, ‘Conflict in Congo has killed 4.7m, charity says’, Guardian, 8 April 2003.

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55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. James Fallows, ‘Bush’s lost year’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 275. Julian Borger, ‘Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden’s hands’, Guardian Unlimited, 19 June 2004. Clarke, ibid, p. 276; Fallows, ibid, citing Clarke and Michael Scheuer. Fallows, ibid. Declan Walsh, ‘Most wanted’, Guardian, 5 August 2001. Rory McCarthy, ‘Inside story of the hunt for Bin Laden’, Guardian, 23 August 2003. Declan Walsh, ‘Most wanted’, Guardian, 5 August 2001. David Clark, ‘The war on terror misfired. Blame it all on the neocons’, Guardian, 7 April 2004. James Astill, ‘Rwandans wage a war of plunder’, Observer, 4 August 2002, www.guardian.co.uk/congo; on Sierra Leone, see Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone; on Cambodia, see Berdal, Mats and David Keen, ‘Violence and economic agendas in civil wars: considerations for policymakers’, Millennium, 26(3), 1997. Naomi Klein, ‘Stark message of the mutiny’, Guardian, 15 August 2003. Gall and de Waal, Chechnya: A small victorious war. Mann, Incoherent Empire, pp. 174–5. Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud: The secret relationship between the world’s two most powerful dynasties. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 105. Unger, ibid. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 282. ibid, p. 281. Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 104; Brian Whitaker, ‘Saudi Arabia to question 12,000 citizens’, Guardian, 15 August 2003. Donald Rumsfeld sat on the board of Zurich-based engineering giant ABB when it sold two light water nuclear reactors to ‘axis of evil’ member North Korea in 2000 (Randeep Ramesh, ‘The two faces of Rumsfeld’, Guardian, 9 May 2003). See Hugh Roberts, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding light of 9-11’, working paper no. 34, Crisis States Programme, 2003, www.crisis states.com. Keen, The Benefits of Famine; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. See e.g. Tim Judah, ‘Uganda: The secret war’, New York Review of Books, 23 September 2004. Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, S/2001/357, April 2001. ibid. ibid; see also International Crisis Group, ‘Storm clouds over sun city’. Report by James Astill, ‘Rwandans wage a war of plunder’, Observer, 4 August 2002, www.guardian.co.uk/congo. Rwanda did withdraw the

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76.

77.

78. 79. 80.

81. 82. 83.

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majority of its troops from the Congo in October 2002, but seconded at least 5,000 soldiers to its rebel proxy (the Rally for Congolese Democracy) and maintained a significant degree of control. While Rwanda claimed some 50,000 Hutu militiamen remained in Congo in April 2003, independent estimates put their number at about 15,000. At least 80 per cent of these were children and very unlikely to have been in any way responsible for genocide. In April 2003, the scattered garrisons of Rwanda and Uganda (formerly allies, but now sworn enemies) were estimated to be occupying about a third of the Congo. Astill noted, ‘Since its partial withdrawal, Rwanda has conceded the job of disarming the Hutus to the UN, though it still has a hand in the process. UN officers complain that whenever they make contact with one of the Hutu militias, the RCD [Rally for Congolese Democracy] attacks and scatters it.’ (James Astill, ‘Counting the dead’, Guardian, 10 April 2003). ICG, ‘The Congo’s transition is failing’, 30 March 2005. Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’. Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, p. 158. William Hartung, ‘Military–industrial complex revisited’, Foreign Policy in Focus, http://www.fpif.org/papers/micr/index_body.html. Tim Weiner, ‘Lockheed and the future of warfare’, New York Times, 28 November 2004. Carl Conetta, ‘The Pentagon’s new budget, new strategy, and new war’, Project on Defense Alternatives, briefing report no. 12, Cambridge, Mass., 25 June 2002. Kaldor, p. 11. Hartung, ‘Military–industrial complex revisited’. Julian Borger and David Teather, ‘So much for the peace dividend: Pentagon is winning the battle for a 400 billion dollar budget’, Guardian, 22 May 2003. See, e.g. Simon Tisdall, ‘War remains the option of first resort – not last’, Guardian, 27 February 2003. Frances Fitzgerald, ‘How hawks captured the White House’, Guardian, 24 September 2004. Michael Klare, ‘Resources’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, pp. 50, 58–9. Thomas Friedman, ‘A memo from Osama’, 26 June 2001, in: Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes, pp. 27–8. William Hartung, ‘Military’, in: Feffer, ibid. Vikram Dodd, ‘US contracts come under scrutiny’, Guardian, 23 May 2003; cronyism in CPA (NYRB Galbraith article). CBS News, cbsnews.com, ‘Cheney’s Halliburton ties remain’, 26 September 2003; Robin Cook, ‘The financial scandals of occupation are worse than the errors of judgement’, Independent, 7 November 2003. David Leigh et al, ‘Cheney oil firm faces UK inquiry’, Guardian, 30 October 2004. Naomi Klein, ‘The rise of disaster capitalism’, The Nation, 2 May 2005. Klare, ‘Resources’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, p. 50. Cheney report, in: Klare, ‘Resources’, ibid, p. 52.

84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89.

90. 91. 92.

93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99.

100. 101. 102. 103.

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104. ibid, p. 53. 105. Terry Macalister, Ewen MacAskill, Rory McCarthy and Nick Paton-Walsh, ‘A matter of life, death – and oil’, Guardian, 23 January 2003. 106. Michael Klare (ibid, p. 57) sees the war in Afghanistan as an extension of the shadow war in Saudi Arabia between the US-backed royal family and Saudi extremists led by Osama bin Laden. 107. Lutz Kleveman, ‘The new great game’, Guardian, 20 October 2003. 108. John Pilger, ‘What good friends left behind’, Guardian Weekend, 20 September 2003. 109. US Department of Energy, ‘Afghanistan fact sheet’, June 2004, http:// www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/afghan.html. 110. Craig Murray, ‘What drives support for this torturer’, Guardian, 16 May 2005. 111. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 49; see also Suskind, The Price of Loyalty. 112. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 30. 113. Terry Macalister, Ewen MacAskill, Rory McCarthy and Nick Paton-Walsh, ‘A matter of life, death – and oil’, ibid. 114. Christopher Hitchens, ‘Machiavelli in Mesopotamia’, Slate, 11 November 2002, http:/www.frongpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=4514. 115. Seumas Milne, ‘The right to resist’, Guardian, 19 June 2003. Whatever oil dreams US planners were entertaining, they have not been realized in the short term. Sabotage and theft mean Iraq’s oil production after the occupation was only a fraction of that under Saddam. As a result, Saudi Arabia’s influence has been strengthened, and oil prices remain high (‘Bush’s oil move backfires’, editorial, Guardian, 5 August 2003). 116. Robin Cook, ‘The financial scandals of occupation are worse than the errors of judgement’, Independent, 7 November 2003. 117. Rampton and Stauber, Banana Republicans (London: Robinson, 2004). 118. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 168. 119. ibid, p. 174. 120. ibid, p. 74. 121. ibid, p. 49. 122. economist.com, sent to author, 12 April 2002. 123. Martin Delgado, ‘The Americans didn’t let us sleep, blinded us with constant lights and made us kneel until we fell unconscious’, Mail on Sunday, 5 October 2003. Even as early as 1996, a leader in India’s Sikh separatist movement told researcher Mark Juergensmeyer that ‘terrorist’ had replaced the word ‘witch’ as an excuse to persecute those whom one dislikes (Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, p. 9). 124. Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars; Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’. 125. African Rights, Rwanda: Death, despair and defiance, London, 1994. 126. Naomi Klein, ‘A deadly franchise’, Guardian, 28 August 2003. 127. Shelton H. Davis, ‘Introduction: sowing the seeds of violence’. 128. In practice, ‘delinquents’ were targeted in both periods. 129. ‘When the court system analyzed arrest warrants for juveniles, it found such reasons as having tattoos or scandalous behaviour in public’ (US State Department, 2003b, 11/35).

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130. See notably Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with America? 131. Somewhat similarly, Nancy Scheper-Hughes (in Death without Weeping) has suggested in relation to north-east Brazil that police actions are often arbitrary and that they intimidate entire social groups. 132. See e.g. Robert Thomas, Serbia under Milosevic. 133. Interview, Belgrade, 1999. 134. Bridget Kendall, ‘Analysis: Putin’s drastic measures’, BBC News Online, 13 September 2004, news.bbc.co.uk. 135. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 143–4. 136. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Domestic gibberish’, Guardian, 10 February 2005. 137. Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 206–7. 138. ibid, p. 207. 139. Naomi Klein, ‘The true purpose of torture’, Guardian, 14 May 2005. 140. Kenneth Roth, ‘The law of war in the war on terror’, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2004, http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040101facomment 83101/kenneth-roth/the-law-of-war-in-the-war-on-terror.html. 141. Al Gore, ‘Democracy itself is in grave danger’, Common Dreams News Center, http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0624-15.htm. 142. Rebecca Allison, ‘Police can use terror powers on protestors’, Guardian, 1 November 2003. 143. Helena Kennedy, ‘Take no comfort in this warm blanket of security’, Guardian, 15 March 2004. 144. Ben Russell and Andrew Grice, ‘Don’t mention the war’, Independent, 29 September 2005. 145. Naomi Klein, ‘A deadly franchise’, Guardian, 28 August 2003. 146. Burke, Al-Qaeda, p. 17. 147. Frances Fitzgerald, ‘How hawks captured the White House’, Guardian, 24 September 2004. 148. Human Rights Watch, ‘China: religious repression of Uighur Muslims’, 12 April 2005, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/04/11/china10447.htm. 149. Aidan White, ‘Journalism and the war on terrorism: final report on the aftermath of September 11 and the implications for journalism and civil liberties’, International Federation of Journalists, Brussels, 3 September 2002. 150. Simon Tisdall, ‘Riding the crest of a terror wave’, Guardian, 7 December 2004. 151. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 18. 152. Naomi Klein, ‘A deadly franchise’, Guardian, 28 August 2003. 153. Luis Eduardo Fajardo, ‘From the Alliance for Progress to the Plan Colombia’, working paper no. 28, Crisis States Research Centre, LSE, London, www.crisisstates.com. 154. Human Rights Watch, World Report 2005. 155. One factor may be that the USA wants to redesign the 1972 anti-ballistic treaty because it wants a ballistic missile defence system, and this means it needs Russia on side (Menzies Campbell, ‘A wider arms deal’, Guardian, 15 November 2001). 156. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 174. 157. BBC News Online, ‘US to blacklist Chechen groups’ http://news. bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2786725.stm.

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158. Nick Paton Walsh, ‘US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists’, Guardian, 26 May 2003. 159. Nick Paton Walsh and Ewen MacAskill, ‘Straw clashes with Uzbek leaders after 500 killed’, Guardian, 16 May 2005. 160. Nick Paton Walsh, ‘US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists’, ibid. 161. Nick Paton Walsh, ‘Brutality and poverty fuel wave of unrest’, Guardian, 16 May 2005. 162. Ewen MacAskill, ‘Scepticism greets Straw’s reproof’, Guardian, 16 May 2005. 163. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 117. 164. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Guantanamo is gulag of our time, says Amnesty’, Guardian, 26 May 2005. 165. See, notably, Mark Duffield’s Global Governance and the New Wars. 166. Human Rights Watch, ‘Coercive interrogation’, January 2005, http:// hrw.org/wr2k5/darfurandabughraib/3.htm. 167. Noting that prisons tended to produce and educate more criminals, Foucault described the prison system as ‘the detestable solution which one seems unable to do without’ (Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison, p. 232). 168. Keen, The Benefits of Famine. 169. Rami Khouri, ‘Democracy from America? An Arab’s advice’, 31 March 2005, opendemocracy.net. 170. Statement at National Security Council meeting on 10 October 2001 (Woodward, Bush at War, p. 224). 171. Woodward, ibid, p. 229. 172. See e.g. Luke Harding, ‘US helicopters in secret mission to spray Afghanistan’s blossoming opium fields’, Guardian, 9 June 2003; also Colin Brown and Andrew Clennell, ‘Opium trade booms in basket-case Afghanistan’, Independent, 28 July 2004. 173. Declan Walsh, ‘Warlords, poppies and slow progress’, Guardian, 7 December 2004. 174. For example, Mariam Rawi, ‘Rule of the rapists’, Guardian, 12 February 2004. 175. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 130. 176. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 137. 177. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘The stand’, Guardian, 5 May 2005. 178. Tim Judah, ‘Uganda: the secret war’, New York Review of Books, 23 September 2004. 179. Faludi, Stiffed, pp. 331–2. 180. Duncan Campbell, ‘Introducing Del-Qaida’, Guardian, 17 July 2004. 181. Simon Jenkins, ‘Once they kept us from fear. Now our leaders want to frighten us senseless’, Times, 24 November 2004.

Chapter 4: Elusive enemies and the need for certainty
1. 2. 3. One banner at a Bush election rally 2004 proclaimed simply, ‘You make me feel safe’ (Madeleine Bunting, ‘Age of anxiety’, Guardian, 25 October 2004). Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 306. Full text at: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,91 6790,00.

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html. George Soros has compared the false confidences of the ‘war on terror’ with a speculative bubble: in both, a big gap has opened between perceptions and reality (Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy, p. 184). This may not have been a direct cause-and-effect, but it’s still an ominous portent today, particularly in view of Bush’s statement on 11 September 2001 that ‘The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today’ (quoted in Woodward, Bush at War, p. 37). Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, ‘Defender in chief’, Time, 5 November 2001. Even in relation to ordinary criminals it is not clear that punishment prevents future crime. Psychiatrist and prison activist James Gilligan sees bad conditions in prisons as compounding the shame and humiliation that propelled violence in the first place (James Gilligan, Violence: Reflections on our deadliest epidemic). This might be done strategically; see e.g. Peter Taylor on the Taqfiri, who believe in blending in to a host society the better to carry out attacks (Peter Taylor, ‘The new al-Qaida’, BBC 2 TV, first broadcast 25 July 2005). http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss5.html. Bishop W. Nah Dixon, Great Lessons of the Liberian Civil War. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 17. ibid, p.168; my emphasis. Girard, Violence and the Sacred, p. 2. The terrorist too may pick enemies in an arbitrary way. In Bali, the bombed Sari bar was used much more by Australians than Americans. Iraqis were for a long time bombed and halfstarved at a distance and some have also now found an identifiable and accessible enemy: the occupying soldier. Woodward, ibid, p. 43. Of course, the terrorists also face the problem that their principal enemies – presumably Bush and Blair prominent among them – are well protected, and the terrorists have generally preferred to attack more accessible targets. Jonathan Steele, ‘Fighting the wrong war’, Guardian, 11 December 2001. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 31. Bob Graham, ‘I just pulled the trigger’, Evening Standard, 19 June 2003, accessed at http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/5402104? source=Evening%20Standard. Michael Hoffman, ‘The civilians we killed’, Guardian, 2 December 2004. The enemy was also largely incomprehensible. US forces came to Iraq equipped with every kind of imaginable machine for killing, healing, spying and communicating with each other, but very, very few personnel with the inclination or the capacity to communicate with Iraqis. (This same combination had helped undermine the US intervention in Somalia.) US forces relied heavily on a machine called a ‘Phrasealator’, an eggbox-sized translation machine that could cope with ‘get out of your car slowly’ but not with any deeper understanding of Iraqis’ needs and priorities (James Meek, ‘Speaking a different language – but we’ve got the Phrasealator’, Guardian, 31 March 2003). Bob Graham, ibid. Mark Danner, ‘Torture and truth’.

4.

5. 6.

7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14.

15. 16. 17.

18. 19.

20. 21.

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22. 23. 24. 25. 26. Faludi, Stiffed, p. 330. ibid. ibid; my emphasis. Cf Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction; Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism. The need to ‘separate’ may be all the greater since some terrorists have gone out of their way to blend in. One such group, allied to al-Qaida, is called Taqfir wal Hijra (Anathema and Exile). Its members apparently make a point of concealing their strict fundamentalism behind a Western façade (James Graff, ‘Hate club: the European connection’, Time, 5 November 2001). After the 7 July 2005 London bombings, commentators registered shock that one of the bombers came from a family with a fish and chip shop, another was a member of local cricket and football teams and a third worked with special needs children. Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works, p. 29. He adds, ‘In theory, the punishment could also be directed against his family, but such a strategy would raise daunting questions of morality and fairness’ (ibid, p. 29). Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 114–5. Matthew Engel, ‘Pentagon hawk at war with his own side’, Guardian, 13 March 2003. Kenneth Adelman, ‘A doctrine is born’, Fox News, www.foxnews.com/ story/0,2933,54469,00.html. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 265. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 333. Sceptics like Powell seem to have been deflected from criticism by the invitation to find allies for the proposed action. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill described how Bush and his inner circle quickly focused on the ‘how’ of Iraqi regime change rather than the ‘why’ (Suskind, The Price of Loyalty). Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism. ibid, p. 315. ibid, p. 356. In the Nazis’ avowed rejection of hypocrisy and corruption in favour of purity and violence, there were also echoes of the views of Islamist extremists now (cf e.g. Berman, Terror and Liberalism). Arendt, ibid, p. 315. ibid, p. 381. Juergensmeyer, ‘Religious terror and global war’. For many privileged people in Germany and elsewhere in continental Europe and the UK, the Russian Revolution showed the dangers of class warfare and the need to deflect class politics into some kind of ethnic or national politics (Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction). The lure of a college place has been used in recruiting for service in Iraq. Recruiters have contacted youths as young as 16, who then signed up at 17. Some also join to get home loans, and some report being told (misleadingly) that they can leave at any time (Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, pp. 17, 39). Green cards may be another attraction (Dan Glaister, ‘Crosses in the sand for war’s lost’, Guardian, 31 May 2004). Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 23. Julian Borger, ‘Long queue at drive-in soup kitchen’, Guardian, 3

27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39.

40.

41. 42.

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November 2003. Kellner, From 9/11 to Terror War, p. 189. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 235. Richard Sennett, ‘The age of anxiety’, Guardian, 23 October 2004. Moore, Dude, Where’s My Country?, pp. 137–55. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 12. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), written and directed by Michael Moore. Moore, ibid, p. 137. As Simon Schama has noted, the internet is not only a source of pluralism but also a useful ally for those wishing to argue that evolution is just a theory or that Iraq really did bring down the Twin Towers (‘Onward Christian soldiers’, Guardian, 5 November 2004). Schama, ibid. Vidal, Perpetual War, p. 61. Vidal also suggests a link between farmland dispossession and Christian fundamentalism (ibid, p. 60). More generally, de-industrialisation has plunged large numbers of working-class and middle-class Americans into a poorly paid service sector at the same time as large numbers of immigrants have also been entering this sector (Todd, After the Empire, p. xi). Gary Indiana, ‘Kindergarten governor’, London Review of Books, 6 November 2003. Thomas Frank, What’s the matter with America? Those who have imbibed a business ideology and training in poor countries may also have their anger stoked by teachings that require them to interpret poor circumstances as personal failure (Jeremy Seabrook, ‘The making of a fanatic’, Guardian, 20 December 2001). See, e.g. Schama, ibid. Faludi, Stiffed, p. 32. ibid. Scilla Elworthy, ‘Tackling terror by winning hearts and minds’, 20 July 2005, opendemocracy.net.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

51. 52. 53.

54. 55. 56.

57. 58. 59. 60.

Chapter 5: The new witch-hunt: finding and removing the source of evil
Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, pp. 10–11. ibid, p. 17. ibid, p. 639. ibid, p. 641. See notably Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. 6. See e.g. Caro Baroja, The World of the Witches. 7. Allen ‘The violence of healing’; see also Behrend, ‘War in northern Uganda’. 8. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. 9. Chabal and Daloz, Africa Works, p. 81. 10. Many people know some variation of the old joke about the man who throws bits of blue paper out of a train window in the UK. When his fellow 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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passenger asks why, he replies, ‘To keep away the elephants’. And when his companion points out that there are no elephants here, he is triumphant, ‘Exactly!’ Joe Klein, ‘How Bush misleads himself’, Time, 28 July 2003, p. 25. Gary Younge, ‘Never mind the truth’, Guardian, 31 May 2004. Polly Toynbee, ‘Did Blair lie to us?’, Guardian, 30 May 2003. Anne Barstow. Witchcraze, p. 153. See, notably, Kean and Hamilton, The 9/11 report. See e.g. Arthur Miller, The Crucible. Collier takes this framework to an extreme when he suggests that listening to grievances is useless since rebels will always stress their grievances rather than their greed (e.g. ‘Doing Well out of War’). See also Richani, Systems of Violence, on Colombia. I am grateful to my friend Adekeye Adebajo, who has a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, for bringing this to my attention. ‘War studies’, sometimes half in love with war, has been closely linked to international relations and has often been stuck in the study of World Wars and Cold Wars, again, a state-based framework. Mark Duffield, ‘“Getting savages to fight barbarians”: development, security and the colonial present’, Conflict, Development and Security, 2005 5(2): 141–60. Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, p. 658; see also Caro Baroja, The World of Witches. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 353. Once you start torturing someone, the pressure is on to find them guilty or get a confession. Otherwise, you are left torturing an innocent person. Naomi Klein, “The US has used torture for decades. All that’s new is the openness about it”, Guardian, 10 December 2005. Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 202. ibid, p. 201. Chemical weapons had been used against Iraqi Kurds in 1988. Blix, ibid, p. 244. Clarke, Against All Enemies, pp. 267–8. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 157. ibid, p. 292. ibid, p. 222; see also p. 234. This would certainly be unusual behaviour, to put it mildly, prior to a major conflict. ‘10 questions for Silvio Berlusconi’, Time, 28 July 2003, p. 8. Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, p. 658. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘The BBC row has been got up to obscure the ugly truth’, Guardian, 28 June 2003. ibid. There are elements of this even in UK law (‘loitering with intent’), but it is unusual. Keen, The Kurds in Iraq; see also, Makiya, Republic of Fear. On Rwanda, see especially, Mamdani, When victims become killers.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20.

21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41.

[ 242 ]

NOTES
42. This is discussed by Arthur Miller in the introduction to his play The Crucible. 43. Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, p. 696. 44. Saddam Hussein’s aggression, notably against Kuwait, had led to sanctions in the first place; and Saddam for a long time rejected any oil-for-food deal. 45. Blair cited the numbers of Iraqis killed by sanctions in the context of a March 2003 discussion on humanitarian justifications for the war (Stothard, 30 Days, p. 139). 46. Kathryn Hughes, ‘In league with the devil’, Guardian, 13 November 2004, citing Lyndal Roper’s ‘Witch craze: terror and fantasy in baroque Germany’. 47. For example, Bush: ‘The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear’, Republican National Convention, New York, 2 September 2004. 48. Lewis Lapham, Theater of War: In which the republic becomes an empire (New York: New Press, 2003). 49. Roy, The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, p. 105. 50. Allen, ‘The violence of healing’. 51. Girard, Violence and the Sacred, p. 18. 52. ibid, p. 16. 53. Robins and Post, Political Paranoia. 54. Jonathan Steele, ‘War crimes charge for Liberian leader’, Guardian, 5 June 2003. 55. ICG, ‘After Arafat?’, New Briefing, 23 December 2004, Amman/Brussels. 56. Micklethwait and Wooldridge, The Right Nation, p. 223. 57. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 195. 58. Brian Urquhart, ‘A cautionary tale’, New York Review of Books, 10 June 2004, pp. 8–10. 59. Conetta, Strange Victory. 60. ibid, p. 24. 61. ibid, p.9. 62. James Fallows, ‘Bush’s lost year’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. As Robin Cook noted, US troops lack training in peacekeeping and tend to bring with them a culture of using overwhelming military force (Robin Cook, ‘Deeper into the Iraqi quagmire’, Guardian, 22 October 2004). 63. James Astill, ‘Plea for security rethink as French aid worker is buried’, Guardian, 21 November 2003. 64. Conetta, ibid, p. 32. 65. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 279. 66. Rory McCarthy, ‘US soldiers attack mountain hideout in biggest battle for a year’, Guardian, 29 January 2003. 67. British agencies Afghanistan Group, Afghanistan: Monthly review, April 2003, London, p. 4. 68. Isabel Hilton, ‘Now we pay the warlords to tyrannise the Afghan people’, Guardian, 31 July 2003. 69. ibid. 70. British agencies Afghanistan Group, Afghanistan: Monthly review, ibid, p. 3.

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71. Amnesty, ‘Afghanistan: Report 2003’. 72. Eric Schmitt, ‘Training an Afghan army, slowly’, International Herald Tribune, 25 September 2005. 73. Amnesty, ‘Afghanistan: Report 2003’, covering 2002; Jim Lobe, ‘Army peacekeeping institute sent packing’, tompaine.com, 17 June 2002. 74. Isabel Hilton, ‘Now we pay the warlords to tyrannise the Afghan people’, ibid. 75. Nicolas de Torrente, ‘Humanitarian action under attack: reflections on Iraq war’, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 17, spring 2004: 18. 76. Giles Foden, ‘The good, the bad and the hypocritical’, Guardian Weekend, 14 June 2003. 77. Jonathan Steele, ‘Why didn’t Blair prepare for post-Saddam Iraq?’, Guardian, 29 August 2003. 78. Mark Danner, ‘Delusions in Baghdad’, New York Review of Books, 18 December 2003, p. 97. Perhaps feeding into the failure to understand ‘bottom up’ processes among their enemies was what Goff calls a ‘ruling class myopia’ in the Bush administration: ‘They are constitutionally incapable of understanding history as a process that involves the masses’, Goff suggests (Full Spectrum Disorder, p. 112). 79. For example, Jon Lee Anderson, ‘Out on the street’, New Yorker, 15 November 2004. 80. Rory McCarthy, ‘UN chief warns of anti-American backlash in Iraq’, Guardian, 27 May 2003. 81. See, e.g. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Katrina comes home to roost’, Guardian, 2 September 2005. 82. ICG, ‘Iraq’s Shiites under occupation’, 9 September 2003, p. 3. 83. Naomi Klein, ‘An Iraqi intifada’, Guardian, 12 April 2004. 84. Ed Vulliamy and Kamal Ahmed, ‘When the shooting stops’, Observer, 6 April 2003. 85. David Teather, ‘Pentagon was warned of Iraq chaos after war’, Guardian, 20 October 2003. UN official Lopes de Silva also questioned the de-Ba’athification programme of the US-led authority in Iraq (Rory McCarthy, ‘UN chief warns of anti-American backlash in Iraq’, Guardian, 27 May 2003). 86. There were physical warnings too: when newly unemployed soldiers didn’t get the promised one-off payment of $50, hundreds poured towards the gates of the US-led authority; two Iraqis were killed when US soldiers opened fire (Rory McCarthy, ‘Just another day in Baghdad’, Guardian, 19 June 2003). 87. Jon Lee Anderson, ‘Out on the street’, New Yorker, 15 November 2004, pp. 73–4. 88. In: Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, p. 34, 27 August 2004. 89. Zaki Chehab, ‘Inside the resistance’, Guardian, 13 October 2003. 90. See, e.g. Short, An Honourable Deception? 91. Barry, ‘How things have changed’, in: Feffer (ed.) Power Trip, p. 29. 92. Ed Vulliamy and Kamal Ahmed, ‘When the shooting stops’, Observer, 6 April 2003. 93. Rory McCarthy, ‘UN chief warns of anti-American backlash in Iraq’, Guardian, 27 May 2003.

[ 244 ]

NOTES
94. Julian Borger, ‘Pentagon was warned over policing Iraq’, Guardian, 28 May 2003. 95. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Iraq gets fraction of US aid billions’, Guardian, 5 July 2004. 96. Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, ‘SIGIR reports to Congress’, 30 January 2005, globalsecurity.org. 97. In: Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, p. 35. 98. ibid, p. 35. 99. Peter Galbraith, ‘Iraq: the bungled transition’, New York Review of Books, 23 September 2004, p. 71. 100. Paul Krugman, ‘The price of ideology and cronyism’, Guardian, 6 September 2005. 101. Some other estimates put it higher. 102. Peter Galbraith, ‘Iraq: the bungled transition’, ibid. 103. On Afghanistan, see Duncan Campbell and Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Inside America’s secret Afghan gulag’, Guardian, 23 June 2004. The photographs of Abu Ghraib abuses themselves suggest some degree of official approval: a feeling that there was little to hide. 104. See, e.g. Robert Barr, ‘World view: calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation amid outrage over photos’, Association Press, http://www.southcoast today. com/daily/05-04/05-08-04/a02wn042.htm. 105. Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2004. 106. Anthony Lewis, ‘The election and America’s future’, New York Review of Books, 4 November 2004. 107. Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, ibid, p. 48; cf George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which interrogators exploit Winston Smith’s fear of rats. 108. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Bush takes refuge in history’, Guardian, 3 June 2004.

Chapter 6: The retreat from evidence-based thinking
1. 2. ‘Je ne regrette rien’, leader, Economist, 28 August 2004, p. 9. Even the focus on Iraq was itself a construction in the run-up to war. Brian Eno noted the media focus on Iraq and WMD and commented, ‘It isn’t just propaganda any more, it’s prop-agenda. It’s not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about’ (Eno, ‘Lessons on how to lie about Iraq’, tompaine.com, 15 August 2003). This was in some ways mirrored in some right-wing approaches to evolution. Some observers felt the new drive to highlight evolution (e.g. in schools) might be part of a stealth assault on the entire body of scientific thought (e.g. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Religious right fights science for the heart of America’, Guardian, 7 February 2005). G. John Ikenberry, ‘American’s imperial ambition’, Foreign Affairs, 81(5), September–October 2002, p. 51. Barry and Lobe, ‘The people’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, p. 39. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 188.

3.

4. 5. 6.

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7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty; Clarke, Against All Enemies. Singer, ibid, p. 189. Barry and Lobe, ibid, pp. 39–40. ibid, pp. 42–3. Suskind, ibid, p. 75. ibid, p. 76. The nearest thing to a ‘why’, he suggested, may have been a desire to send a message to other countries that were considering developing weapons of mass destruction (ibid, p. 86). Seymour Hersh, ‘Selective intelligence’, New Yorker, 12 May 2003, available at www.newyorker.com. Julian Borger and Ian Traynor, ‘Now US ponders attack on Iran’, Guardian, 18 January 2005. Neil Mackay, ‘Revealed: the secret cabal which spun for Blair’, Sunday Herald, 8 June 2003. Hersh, ibid. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 94, citing Wolfowitz interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, transcript, US Department of Defense, 23 February 2002, http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2002/ t02272002_t0223sf.html. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 93. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 290; see also Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 232. Andrew Murray describes this as ‘a logic familiar to any parent who has tried to maintain a toddler’s belief in Father Christmas’ (Andrew Murray, ‘Do mention the war’, Guardian, 27 September 2003). Richard Perle, ‘Why the West must strike first against Saddam Hussein’, Daily Telegraph, 9 August 2002, in: Dunn, ‘Myths, motivations and “misunderestimations”’, p. 295. Quoted in Stanford, The Devil, p. 162. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 314. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 202. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 83. Gary Younge, ‘Wish you weren’t here’, Guardian Weekly, 17–23 July 2003. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 222; Hitchens, Regime Change, p. 17. Seymour Hersh, ‘Selective intelligence’, New Yorker, 12 May 2003, http:// www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact. Hersh, ibid. Leo Strauss, in: Singer, ibid, p. 221. Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Chicaco: University of Chicago Press, 1958), pp. 227–31. ‘The power of nightmares’, BBC2 TV, broadcast October 2004. Ron Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’, New York Times Magazine, 17 October 2004, accessed via LexisNexis. Mark Danner, ‘The logic of torture’, New York Review of Books, 24 June 2004, p. 72. Helena Smith, ‘Blix: I was smeared by the Pentagon’, Guardian, 11 June 2003. Michael Smith, ‘Blair planned Iraq war from start’, Sunday Times, 1 May

14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19. 20.

21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

[ 246 ]

NOTES
2005, citing civil service paper prepared for 23 July 2002 Downing Street meeting. Robert Dreyfuss, ‘The Pentagon muzzles the CIA’, American Prospect, 13(22), 16 December 2002, http://www.prospect.org/print/V13/22/dreyfuss-r.html. The failure to impede the planning and execution of 9/11 is documented in Kean and Hamilton, The 9/11 Report. Goodman, ‘Intelligence’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, pp. 97–100. Goodman, ibid, p. 99. Blix notes the lack of US intelligence agents inside Iraq after the end of the Cold War (Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 261). Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 210. Robert Dreyfuss, ‘The Pentagon muzzles the CIA’, American Prospect, 13(22), 16 December 2002, http://www.prospect.org/print-friendly/ print/V13/22/dreyfuss-r.html. Seymour Hersh, ‘Selective intelligence’, New Yorker, 12 May 2003, http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact. Hersh, ibid. Top-ranking Iraqi official and exile Hussein Kamel told US and UK intelligence officers and UN inspectors in 1995 that after the 1991 Gulf War Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them (John Barry, ‘The defector’s secrets’, Newsweek, 3 March 2003). Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 86–7. ibid, p. 87. ibid, p. 88. ibid, p. 87. Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘10 ways to sex up a dossier’, Guardian, 27 September 2003. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, pp. 164–5. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 190. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 97. The dossier came complete with the original typographical errors in the plagiarized paper, and had several different spellings of Ba’ath, depending on which unacknowledged source was being copied at the time. (‘Leaked report rejects Iraqi Al-Qaeda link’, BBC, 6 February 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2727471.stm; see also Raymond Whitaker, ‘MI6 and the CIA: the enemy within’, New Zealand Herald, 9 February 2003, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay/cfm?storyID=3100174.) ‘The decision to go to war in Iraq’, Foreign Affairs Committee Report, extracts in: Guardian, 8 July 2003. Donald Rumsfeld, ‘Transforming the military’, Foreign Affairs, 81(20), 2002, pp. 20–32. Kenneth Adelman, ‘A doctrine is born’, Fox News, www. foxnews.com/story/0,2933,54469,00.html. The US National Security Strategy articulated in September 2002 noted, ‘America will act against emerging threats before they are fully formed’ (US Department of State, ‘The national security strategy of the United States of America’, September 2002, http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/secstrat.htm).

37.

38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52.

53. 54. 55.

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56. Brian Massumi, ‘Perception attack: pre-emptive power and the image’, Security Bytes conference, Lancaster University, 17–19 July 2004. 57. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 266. 58. G. John Ikenberry, ‘American’s imperial ambition’, Foreign Affairs, 81(5), September–October 2002, p. 50. 59. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 320. 60. Helena Kennedy, ‘Take no comfort in this warm blanket of security’, Guardian, 15 March 2004. 61. Ron Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’, New York Times, 17 October 2004. 62. Hendrik Hertzberg, ‘Comment’, New Yorker, 15 November 2004. 63. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 342; see also, Suskind, pp. 165–6; Naughtie, The Accidental American. 64. Woodward, ibid, p. 342. The helmet of a crew member of a US tank parked outside the Palestine Hotel, Baghdad, bore the message, ‘I do what the voices in my head tell me to’ (photograph by Simon Norfolk, Guardian Weekend, 24 May 2003). 65. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Bush and Blair: the betrayal’, Guardian, 14 November 2003. 66. Tony Blair, ‘Now we must usher in a new political era of fairness’, from speech to Labour Party Conference, Guardian, 1 October 2003. 67. Stothard, 30 Days, p. 207. 68. ibid, p. 92. 69. Clare Short, ‘How Tony Blair misled Britain in the run-up to war in Iraq’, Independent, 23 October 2004. 70. Short, An Honourable Deception? 71. Robin Cook, ‘Tony knows best’, Newsweek, 26 July 2004, p. 22. 72. David Clark, ‘The sofa of total power’, Guardian, 13 December 2004. 73. Stothard, ibid, p. 93. 74. See, e.g. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, pp. 248, 385. 75. Stothard, ibid, p. 40. 76. Kampfner, ibid, p. 169, comments that, ‘war with Iraq was a price well worth paying for demonstrating his credentials to the White House’. 77. Frank Bruni, Ambling into History: The unlikely odyssey of George W. Bush (New York: Perennial, 2002), p. 6. 78. Stothard, ibid, p. 40. 79. Ron Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’, New York Times, 17 October 2004, accessed via LexisNexis. 80. Blair told journalist Peter Stothard that he was ‘ready to meet my maker’ and answer for ‘those who have died or have been horribly maimed as a result of my decisions’ (2 April 2003, Stothard, ibid, p. 189). Clearly moved, Stothard commented, ‘if I meet that man from this morning again, and if I am asked whether the Prime Minister, as well as feeling the political risk of war, feels powerfully and personally its worst individual results, I will say that he does’ (ibid, p. 190). 81. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 256, p. 259; see also Clarke, p. 243. 82. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 246. 83. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 261. 84. Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’.

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NOTES
85. 86. 86. 87. 88. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 280. ibid, p. 292. ibid. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war’, Guardian, 24 February 2003. James Fenton, ‘Blair in trouble’, New York Review of Books, 23 October 2004, p. 47, citing Report of the Intelligence and Security Committee set by Blair to look at the security agencies. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 331. ibid, p. 332. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 290. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Happy talk’, Guardian, 14 January 2005. Ron Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’, New York Times, 17 October 2004. Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes, p. 123. Israel’s General Moshe Dayan once said, ‘Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother’ (David Hirst, ‘The war game’, Observer, 21 September 2003). In Mozambique, those orchestrating the violence of Renamo rebels seemed to understand that violence, to be maximally disorienting, must be beyond comprehension (Ken Wilson, ‘Cults of violence and counter-violence in Mozambique’). See, e.g. Makiya, Republic of Fear. David Hare, ‘Don’t look for a reason’, Guardian, 12 April 2003. Robert Dreyfuss, ‘The Pentagon muzzles the CIA’, American Prospect, 13(22), 16 December 2002, http://www.prospect.org/print/V13/22/dreyfuss-r.html. For text, see, Reuel Marc Gerecht, ‘Crushing al Qaeda is only a start’, 1 February 2002, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, www.aei.org/publications/pubID.13538,filter./pub_detail.asp. Cohen, States of Denial, p. 19. Quoted in Caro Baroja, The World of the Witches, p. 212.

89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94.

95. 96. 97.

98.

99. 100.

Chapter 7: Action as propaganda
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 363. ibid, p. 352. ibid. Cohen, States of Denial, p. 16, citing Mervin Lerner, The Belief in a Just World (Plenum Press, 1980). Arendt, ibid, p. 446. Omer Bartov writes of the search, in Germany after the First World War, for ‘an enemy … whose very persecution would serve to manifest the power and legitimacy of the victimizer’ (Mirrors of Destruction, p. 99). Cohen, ibid, p. 96. Speech therapist Agnie Yates (planning to vote for Kerry) still said that presidents don’t lightly send young soldiers to war, and that Bush must have acted in good faith (Joseph Lelyveld, ‘The view from the heartland’, New York Review of Books, 4 November 2004).

6. 7.

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8. 9. 10. 11. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 78–9, citing poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Seymour Hersh, ‘Selective intelligence’, New Yorker, 12 May 2003. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 338 Adolf Hitler, speech to Wehrmacht commanders-in-chief, 22 August 1939, http://www.union.edu/PUBLIC/HSTDEPT/walker/OldNSChronology/3686Walker02.html. I am grateful to Edward Balke for bringing this statement to my attention. Dunn, ‘Myths, motivations and “misunderestimations”’, p. 294, cites Johanna McGreary, ‘6 reasons why so many allies want Bush to slow down’, Time, 3 February 2003. Woodward, ibid, p. 341. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 296. George Monbiot, ‘Our fake patriots’, Guardian, 8 July 2003. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 169. Phillip Knightley, ‘The disinformation campaign’, Guardian, 4 October 2001. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 162. Nicolas Lemann, ‘How it came to war’, New Yorker, 31 March 2003, citing Richard Haass, then director of the policy-planning staff at the State Department. Mary Wiltenburg, ‘After the genocide, redemption’, Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0407/p01s03-woaf.html. Isabel Hilton, ‘Need to build a case for war? Step forward Mr Chalabi’, Guardian, 6 March 2004. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 168. Michael Smith, ‘Blair planned Iraq war from start’, Sunday Times, 1 May 2005, citing civil service paper prepared for 23 July 2002 Downing Street meeting. ‘So clear was he in his mind on his return from Crawford [Texas] that he asked Gordon Brown to redraw his financial calculations for the budget he was due to give later in April. Secretly, officials from the Treasury and Downing Street got down to work immediately on ‘the numbers’ – the amount of extra money that would be required to pay for the war preparations.’ (Kampfner, ibid, p. 169). Kampfner, ibid, p. 168. Stothard also mentions Blair and his aides believed George Bush would go to war with Iraq whatever anyone else said or did (a view they shared, incidentally, with most of the war’s critics). ‘Full text: Tony Blair’s speech’, Guardian Unlimited, 18 March 2003, http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,916790,00.html. See, Stothard, 30 Days, p. 85. Robin Cook, ‘Not even in his worst nightmares’, Guardian, 25 March 2005. After the July 2005 bombings, Blair argued that changing policy would give the terrorists a victory. Kampfner, ibid, p. 387. Beatrix Campbell, ‘An infantile disorder’, Guardian, 26 July 2004. Frum and Perle, An End to Evil, pp. 271–2.

12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23.

24.

25.

26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31.

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NOTES
32. Richard Perle, The Spectator, 22 March 2003, www.benadorassociates. com/article/287. 33. For example, Mark Curtis, The Great Deception. 34. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Bush’s America loses hearts and minds’, Guardian, 4 June 2003, citing Pew Global Attitudes Project. 35. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 269. Adolf Hitler himself noted in Mein Kampf (chapter 6), ‘When the nations on this planet fight for existence … then all consideration of humanitarianism and aesthetics crumble into nothingness. … [T]hey become totally irrelevant to the forms of the struggle as soon as a situation arises where they might paralyze a struggling nation’s power of self-preservation’ (accessed at http://www.hitler.org/ writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch06.html). 36. Robert Kaplan, ‘Five days in Fallujah’, Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2004, p. 118. 37. ibid. 38. Mailer, Why Are We at War?, p. 105. 39. Arendt, ibid, p. 352. 40. When we are sufficiently anxious (the mortgage, the health and safety of ourselves and families), we find it difficult to think clearly, and we find it difficult to think for ourselves. For a while at least, TV can drown out anxiety, piping in other people’s definitions of what we are lacking, what we should be worried about, and whom we should hate. One of the best ways of drowning out worries may be to drink in some more (cf Arendt, ibid.) 41. Arendt, ibid, p. 333. 42. ‘President sworn-in to second term’, The White House, http:// www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/01/20050120-1.html. Interestingly, Bush also distanced himself from some of his own rhetoric. The ‘eventual triumph of freedom’ was ‘not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills.’ Then he ends with, ‘May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America’. 43. Remarks by President Bush at the United States Chamber of Commerce, 6 November 2003, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/ print/20031106-2.html. 44. Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books, 11 August 2005, citing Jonathan Randal, Osama: The making of a terrorist (Knopf). 45. Tom Paine argued that revolutionary action against the British Crown could overcome anxieties about God having ordained existing authorities: if the King were overthrown, then clearly that would have been God’s will (Tom Paine, Common Sense, first published 1776). 46. James Langton, ‘Iraq is at the centre of terror war, says Bush’, Evening Standard, 8 September 2003. 47. Commenting on the best-selling evangelical novel, Glorious Appearing (in which Jesus returns to earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet), Nicolas Kristof notes that this is surely unhelpful in relation to abuse of Muslims in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, ‘It’s harder to feel empathy for

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such people if we regard them as infidels and expect Jesus to dissolve their tongues and eyes any day now’ (Nicholas Kristof, ‘Jesus and jihad’, New York Times, 17 July 2004, www.nytimes.com). Many Christian evangelists believe that the Second Coming will take place in Israel, and that the presence of Jews there is a precondition for the fulfilment of biblical prophesy (e.g. Micklewait and Wooldridge, The Right Nation; Karen Armstrong, ‘Root out this sinister cultural flaw’, Guardian, 6 April 2005). ‘Blair calls for new law to tackle rogue states’, Times Online, 5 March 2004, www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-1027157,00.html. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 139. Gary Younge, ‘God has a plan. Bush will hold back the evil’, Guardian, 9 October 2004. Michael Ignatieff, ‘Who are Americans to think that freedom is theirs to spread?’, New York Times Magazine, 26 June 2005, accessed at http:// www.ksg.harvard.edu/ksgnews/Features/opeds/062605_ignatieff.htm. Frank, What’s the Matter with America?, p. 229. Jonathan Freedland, ‘Faith against reason’, Guardian, 20 October 2004. Woodward, Plan of Attack, pp. 270–1. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 269. Jason Burke, ‘Theatre of terror’, Guardian, 21 November 2004. Chechen leader Shamil Basayev commented in early 2005 that his fighters would carry out more attacks like that on the school at Beslan, Russia, ‘if only to show the world again and again the true face of the Russian regime’, perhaps in part through their brutal reaction (Channel 4 News Special Report, Jonathan Miller, ‘Another Beslan?’, 3 February 2005, www.channel4.com). Mark Juergensmeyer, ‘Religious terror and global war’, Global and International Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2002. Roberts, ‘North African Islamism in the blinding Light of 9-11’; Mann, Incoherent Empire. First pre-election debate, 2004. Many of the suicide bombers in Iraq have come from Saudi Arabia (Robert Scheer, ‘US is its own worst enemy in Iraq’, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2005, accessed at www.globalpolicy.org). Michael Massing, ‘The unseen war’, New York Review of Books, 29 May 2003, nybooks.com. Iraqi insurgent attacks on civilians clearly cannot be justified, but the practice of creating a perceived ‘other’ acquired another predictable dimension when Iraqi insurgents confronting superior military capability were condemned as deceitful and cowardly. Indian novelist and activist Arundhati Roy observed wryly that ‘Deceit is an old tradition with us natives’. (Arundhati Roy, ‘A strange kind of freedom’, Guardian, 2 April 2003, p. 2.) See, Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail, ‘This is our Guernica’, Guardian, 27 April 2005. ‘Blind to the truth’, leader, Guardian, 18 June 2004. Jason Burke, ‘Ghost of al-Qaeda left out of story’, Observer, 27 July 2003. Andrew Green, ‘Why Syria is American’s new target’, Guardian, 17 April 2003. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, ‘From here to eternity’, Guardian, 8 June 2005.

48. 49. 50. 51.

52. 53. 54. 55. 56.

57.

58. 59.

60. 61.

62. 63. 64. 65. 66.

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NOTES
67. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Al-Qaida will retreat to Africa, says general’, Guardian, 25 August 2005. 68. Julian Borger, ‘Bush threatens Syria over Iraq policy’, Guardian, 14 September 2005. 69. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 169–70, citing ‘GE, Microsoft Bring Bigotry to Life’, FAIR Action Alert, 12 February 2002, http://www.fair.org/activism/msnbc-savage.html; cf also, Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army. 70. Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2004, p. 49, citing ‘AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade’. 71. See Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century (London: Jonathan Cape, 1999). 72. Tania Branigan, ‘Sister fears Guantanamo detainee may “confess”’, Guardian, 17 June 2004. 73. In Sierra Leone, for example, electoral victory may suggest a chief has access to hidden powers, and defeat that they have deserted him (William P. Murphy, ‘The sublime dance of Mende politics: an African aesthetic of charismatic power’, American Ethnologist, November 1998, 25(4): 563–82).

Chapter 8: Warding off the shame of powerlessness
1. Gilligan, Violence: Reflections on Our Deadliest Epidemic. We often imagine that inducing shame will improve behaviour, but this is not necessarily so. Braithwaite and Braithwaite suggested that shame could improve behaviour if it was clear that certain actions were being condemned rather than the person performing the actions. Eliza Ahmed, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite, Valerie Braithwaite, Shame Management through Reintegration (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Hobsbawm, Bandits, p. 65. Compare Arendt, On Violence; and Michael Jackson, In Sierra Leone, pp. 37–8. Even at the level of bullying among children, one can see how humiliation feeds into aggression. Camilla Batmanghelidjh, founder of a charity for deprived children (Kids Company) in Southwark, London, has observed, ‘If a child has done something wrong, try not to make them feel all is lost. Credit them with the positive, ‘You are a friendly person, so I don’t understand why you had to pinch her’. Then you can negotiate. Or again, ‘Never tell a child off in front of other people – it makes them feel powerless and ashamed. They feel forced to regain power and will doubly humiliate you in return’ (‘This much I know’, Observer Magazine, 10 August 2003). For example, Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy. Hobsbawm, Bandits. See e.g. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone; Richards, Fighting for the Rainforest. See also Jackson, Inside Sierra Leone. Diana Lary, ‘Warlord Soldiers’: Chinese common soldiers 1911–1937 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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8. Lary also tells us that wars in early twentieth-century China were frequently dismissed by Chinese people at the time as the result of soldiers’ ‘tiny, evil minds’: a reminder, incidentally, that there is nothing new in the resort to ‘evil’ as an explanation for atrocity. Rumsfeld himself felt the building shudder (Woodward, Bush at War, p. 24). Woodward, ibid, p. 211. Mark Danner, ‘Abu Ghraib: the hidden story’, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2004; on under-resourcing, see also Jones and Fay. Gerges, The Far Enemy, p. 9. For example, Ahmed Rashid ‘The rise of Bin Laden’, New York Review of Books, 27 May 2004, reviewing Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars. Amanda Ripley, ‘The rules of interrogation’, Time, 17 May 2004. Human Rights Watch, ‘Coercive interrogation’, January 2005, http://hrw.org/wr2k5/darfurandabughraib/3.htm. Mark Danner, ‘The logic of torture’, New York Review of Books, 24 June 2004, http://www.markdanner.com/nyreview/062404_Road_to_Torture.htm. Barstow, Witchcraze, p. 132. Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone. Mark Danner, ‘The logic of torture’. ibid. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 352. Bob Graham, ‘I just pulled the trigger’, Evening Standard, 19 June 2003, accessed at http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/5402104? source=Evening%20Standard. David Leigh, ‘UK forces taught torture methods’, Guardian, 8 May 2004. Profile by Adam Sweeting, ‘“Will I be deported?”’, Guardian, 22 May 2003. Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere, Love, Hate and Reparation (New York: W. W. Norton, 1964), p. 8. Joan Riviere, ‘Hate, greed and aggression’, in: Klein and Riviere, ibid, p. 9. Stephen Mulhall, ‘Decay prone’, London Review of Books, 22 July 2004, citing Martha Nussbaum, ‘Hiding from humanity: disgust, shame and the law’. Ehrenreich, ‘Preface’. Magical thinking is often most pronounced in children, whose fantasies of changing the world through willpower and wishful thinking probably reflect a certain powerlessness (see, e.g. Kernberg, ‘Sanctioned social violence’, p. 689). See e.g. Elizabeth Drew, ‘Hung up in Washington’, New York Review of Books, 12 February 2004. Gold, ‘Some economic considerations in the U.S. war on terrorism’, p. 4. Bob Herbert, ‘Shirking America’s problems’, International Herald Tribune, 3 August 2004. Justin Cartwright, ‘Rise of the new infantilism’, Guardian, 5 July 2003. Edward Said, ‘A window on the world’, Guardian [G2], 2 August 2003, http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1010417,00.html. ibid. There has been a failure to understand that Iraq is a country with national pride and national sympathies, just like their own. One blogger (an Iraqi

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

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woman in her mid-twenties): ‘Why do Americans think that people in Baghdad or the south or north aren’t going to care what happens in Falloojeh [Fallujah] or Ramadi or Nassiriyah or Najaf? Would Americans in New York disregard bombing and killing in California?’ (‘Baghdad burning’, 7 April 2004, http://riverbend.blogspot.com/). Woodward, Bush at War, p. 275. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 311. Renowned child psychologists Jean Piaget and Barbara Inhelder refer to a notion of causality called ‘magical-phenomenalist’; this is adhered to by infants who attribute events to their own thoughts and actions, rather than to relationships between external objects or people. Assimilation of new data on relationships in the external world depends on the existing mental structures, which in turn are modified and enriched when the subject’s behaviour accommodates the demands of reality. Transcript at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/ 20050628-7.html. Emmanuel Todd, After the Empire: The breakdown of the American order; see also, James Putzel, ‘The “new” US imperialism and possibilities for co-existence’, Crisis States Research Center, paper for annual workshop, 30 August–1 September 2005; David Harvey, in conversation with Harry Kreisler, 2004, UC Berkeley, http://globetrotter/berkeley.edu/people4/ Harvey/harvey-con0.html. Putzel, ibid. ibid. Putzel, ibid; cf Arendt, The Human Condition, on violence springing from weakness rather than strength; Gerges, The Far Enemy. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 229. Feffer, ‘Introduction’, p. 15. ‘The power of nightmares’, BBC2 TV, broadcast October 2004. Emphasis in original. Jessica Stern has written, ‘Many irregulars who fought in Afghanistan are now fighting in Kashmir and are likely to continue looking for new ‘jihads’ to fight – even against Pakistan itself. She quotes a man called Khalil, a ‘mujahid’ for 19 years who can no longer imagine another life, “A person addicted to heroin can get off it if he really tries, but a mujahid cannot leave the jihad. I am spiritually addicted to jihad” (‘Pakistan’s jihad culture’, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2000). I am grateful to Dominique Jacquin-Berdal for conversations in this area; the idea was also taken up by Michael Ignatieff in his ‘Blood and belonging’. Karen Armstrong, ‘Our role in the terror’, Guardian, 18 September 2003. Some of the influence of the United States is subtle: a case of ‘soft power’ (Nye). Britain’s youth idols are still mostly singing in American accents. Or consider 9/11 itself. According to the normal British shorthand for dates, the Twin Towers attacks took place on 11/9/2001, or 11/9 for short. However, nobody finds it at all odd that everyone adopts the American order (as I have here) of 9/11. As Humera Khan, a community worker in the UK, commented, ‘we are

37. 38. 39.

40. 41.

42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

50. 51. 52.

53.

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dealing with people that are at the end of their empires. The Muslims have not got to terms with the fact that they are no longer the ruling power.’ (‘What happened? What changed? What now?’, transcript of an openDemocracy/Q-News meeting at Chatham House, 4 August 2005, www.opendemocracy.net); see also, Bernard Lewis, ‘The roots of Muslim rage’, Policy, 17(4), summer 2001–02. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 3. Christopher Meyer, ‘Tony Blair and the wooing of America’, Guardian, 7 November 2005. George Monbiot, ‘Our fake patriots’, Guardian, 8 July 2003. Even Alastair Campbell joked that Blair should begin a British TV address, ‘My fellow Americans’, but Blair was not laughing (Stothard, 30 Days, p. 106). One small example of the concern with presentation, after Clare Short denounced his Iraq policy as ‘reckless, reckless, reckless’, Blair was about to go on television and asked his advisers, ‘Am I frustrated by Clare Short’s action, or distracted?’ (Stothard, 30 Days, p. 10). Tony Blair, ‘Now we must usher in a new political era of fairness’, from speech to Labour Party Conference, Guardian, 1 October 2003. George Monbiot, ‘Our fake patriots’, Guardian, 8 July 2003.

54. 55. 56. 57. 58.

59. 60.

Chapter 9: Shame, purity and violence
1. 2. Tim Allen, ‘Understanding health’. Religious leaders associated with the civil defence in Sierra Leone promised some kind of immunity to violence as long as recruits refrained from sexual intercourse and a range of abuses against civilians (Patrick Muana, ‘The Kamajoi militia’, pp. 77–100; Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone). On Mozambique: Ken Wilson, ‘Cults of violence and counterviolence in Mozambique’. On Uganda: Tim Allen, ‘From the Holy Spirit Movement to the International Criminal Court’. 3. Getting women out of the workplace was part of this project. 4. Of course, blaming the Jews for calamity goes back for centuries, and included accusations that Jews had ‘poisoned the wells’ during the Black Death. 5. Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction, pp. 60–1. 6. See, e.g. Philip Short, Pol Pot; Ben Kiernan, ‘The Pol Pot regime’. 7. See, e.g. Mamdani, When victims become killers. 8. Thomas Friedman, ‘Smoking or non-smoking’, 14 September 2001, in: Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes, p.37. Two weeks later, Friedman added, ‘The more frightened our enemies are today, the fewer we will have to fight tomorrow. … [R]ight now is the season of hunting down people who want to destroy our country. … Every state has to know that after September 11, harboring anti-US terrorists will be lethal.’ (‘Talk later’, 28 September 2001, in: Friedman, ibid, pp. 44–5.) 9. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 215. 10. ibid, p. 38. 11. ibid, p. 38-39; cf also Theweleit, Male Fantasies.

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12. Transcript at, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/ 20050628-7.html. 13. ‘The power of nightmares’, BBC2 TV, broadcast October 2004. An example of the fear of the ‘anti-war’ protestors is David Horowitz’s, Unholy Alliance. 14. See, e.g. Oliver Burkeman, ‘Religious right relishes chance to push agenda’, Guardian, 5 November 2004. 15. Norman Mailer, ‘The election and America’s future’, New York Review of Books, 4 November 2004, p. 13. 16. Interview with Tariq Ramadan, in: Paul Vallely, ‘We Muslims need to get out of our intellectual and social ghettos’, Independent, 25 July 2005. 17. Robert Fisk, ‘Something happened between “I love you” and the click of the phone: Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq turn it incendiary’, counterpunch.org, 23–24 July 2005. 18. CNSNews.com, Information Services, ‘President Bush’s remarks to national prayer breakfast’, 7 February 2002, http://www.cnsnews.com/ Culture/archive/200202/CUL20020207b.html. 19. Hilton, The Age of Atonement. 20. On HIV/AIDS, see, de Waal, ‘A disaster with no name’, pp. 238–67. 21. Clifford Longley, Chosen People, p. 279. 22. My own argument might be seen as falling into this category, but I hope I have given evidence to support it! 23. Otto F. Kernberg, ‘Sanctioned social violence’, pp. 683–98. Perhaps the strange convergence of religious interpretations of 9/11 added vehemence to the labelling of ‘Islamic terror’ as total madness and irrevocably ‘other’. 24. ‘I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularise America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen”.’ (‘Falwell apologizes to gays, feminists, lesbians’, http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/14/ Falwell.apology/). 25. Alan Cooperman, ‘Some say natural catastrophe was “divine judgement”’, Washington Post, 3 September 2005. New Orleans’ reputation as an oasis of ‘sin’ in the Bible belt seems to have fed into this. 26. See e.g. Douglas Kellner, From 9/11 to Terror War. 27. Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction, p. 61. 28. Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, pp. 32–3. 29. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 2nd edn (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1976). 30. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 135. 31. Clifford Longley, Chosen People, p. 276. 32. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 145. 33. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 178. 34. ibid, p. 241. 35. David Hare, ‘Don’t look for a reason’, Guardian, 12 April 2003. 36. At the 2004 Republican convention, Purple Heart band-aids were distributed to ridicule Kerry’s Vietnam wounds (Joe Klein: ‘Tearing Kerry down’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 29).

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37. Norman Mailer, ‘The election and America’s future’, p. 13. 38. David Halberstam, ‘War in a time of peace’, quoted in: Stephen Holmes, ‘Looking away’, London Review of Books, 14 November 2002, http:// www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n22/print/holm01_.html. 39. Timothy Garton Ash, ‘Anti-Europeanism in America’, Hoover Digest, www.hoover.Stanford.edu/publications/digest/032/ash2.html, earlier version in: New York Review of Books, 13 February 2003. 40. Robert Kagan, ‘Power and weakness’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2002, http:/www.ceip.org/files/print/2002-06-02-policy review.htm. 41. Timothy Garton Ash, ibid. 42. ibid. 43. Gary Aldrich, ‘Death by liberal’, WorldNetDaily.com, 2001, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/526269/posts. 44. Quoted in Frank, What’s the Matter with America? p. 278. 45. Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 47, 208. 46. Stothard, 30 Days, p. 40. 47. ibid, p. 25. 48. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 245; Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 249. 49. Stothard, ibid, pp. 146–7. 50. MSNBC News, ‘The Mohamed Atta files’, 31 October 2005. 51. See, e.g., Evan Wright, Generation Kill. 52. Allen Feldman, ‘Abu Ghraib: ceremonies of nostalgia’, 18 October 2004, opendemocracy.net; see also, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, ‘One huge US jail’, Guardian Weekend, 19 March 2005. 53. James Sturcke and agencies, ‘US soldiers “desecrated Taliban bodies”’, Guardian, 20 October 2005. 54. Cf also Faludi, Stiffed. 55. Timothy McVeigh, executed for his role in the Oklahoma bombing, would carry copies of The Turner Diaries with him, often selling them at bargain prices. Though The Turner Diaries author William Pierce denies it, McVeigh’s phone records suggest he spoke several times with the author shortly before the Oklahoma attack (Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, pp. 31, 248–9). The Turner Diaries describes an attack on a Federal building, using a truck and a similar quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil to that used in the Oklahoma bombing (ibid, p. 32). 56. The Turner Diaries, p. 42, in: Juergensmeyer, ibid, p. 205. 57. Juergensmeyer, ibid, p. 205. British colonial rhetoric frequently referred to Indians in effeminate terms and India’s nationalist movement reacted against perceived emasculation (ibid). For example, when the Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) conducted nuclear tests in 1998, the Hindu chauvinist and leader of the Shiv Sena party, Balasaheb K. Thackeray, said the 1998 nuclear tests proved that Indians were ‘not eunuchs’ (ibid). Cf Goopta. 58. ibid, p. 34. 59. Barry and Lobe, ‘The people’, in: Fetter, Power Trip, p. 41. On the influence of these think-tanks, see particularly, Micklethwait and Wooldridge, The Right Nation.

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60. Stothard, 30 Days, p. 2. 61. Rory McCarthy, Patrick Wintour and Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Bomb critics are emotional says Short as war intensifies’, Guardian, 19 October 2001. 62. Polly Toynbee, ‘Limp liberals fail to protect their most profound values’, Guardian, 10 October 2001. 63. Gilligan, Violence. 64. See, e.g. Zur, Violent Memories; Summerfield, ‘The social experience of war’. This is something regularly encountered by counsellors dealing with grief and trauma. In Guatemala, victims of the US-backed genocidal counterinsurgency in the early 1980s often asked what they had done, either as individuals or as villagers, to bring such violence down upon them. As one human-rights researcher told me, ‘People didn’t understand. They said, “We must have committed a very bad sin, but what sin could that be?”’ A sense of guilt among the victims of violence was actively promoted by the Guatemalan government; it used a system of sticks and carrots to get indigenous people to participate in violence against each other; and it put tight controls on flows of information so that isolated villages would ask why it was that they had been singled out for retribution (Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’). 65. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 168. 66. Barbara Kingsolver, Los Angeles Times, 23 September 2001, cited in: David Held, ‘Violence, law and justice in a global age’, 1, www.polity.co.uk/ global/sept11.htm. 67. David Held, ibid, says he was initially angered by the statement but then found it helpful in connecting to his own cosmopolitan leanings. 68. www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A55511-2002Aug23; Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 151. 69. Horowitz, Unholy Alliance, p. 123. 70. ibid, p. 165. 71. ibid, p. 229. 72. Rampton and Stauber, Banana Republicans, p. 3. 73. ibid, p. 15. 74. Stanford, The Devil: A biography, p. 91. 75. Miller’s play The Crucible brings out the role in persecution of projection: your own violent thoughts can be projected onto others. 76. Karen Armstrong, ‘Our role in the terror’, Guardian, 18 September 2003; Dan De Luce, ‘The spectre of Operation Ajax’, Guardian, 20 August 2003. 77. Noam Chomsky, ‘One man’s just war is global terror’, Sunday Independent [South Africa], 13 July 2003. 78. See, e.g. Mahmoud Mamdani on his own study ‘Good Muslim, bad Muslim’, www.ssrc/org/sept11/essays/mamdani.htm. 79. Federation of American Scientists, ‘Fast facts: US arms exports’, Washington, 2005, http://www.fas.org/asmp/fash_facts.htm. 80. Kepel, Jihad. 81. Kepel, ibid, p. 315. By 1982, the Afghan jihad was getting US$600 million in US aid per year (Kepel, ibid, p. 143). 82. Kepel, Jihad.

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83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. Felicity Lawrence, ‘Aid against terror’, Guardian, 28 September 2001. Kepel, ibid, p. 298; Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 19. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 19. Norm Dixon, ‘How the US armed Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons’, Green Left Weekly, 28 August 2002, www.greenleft.org. Michael Dobbs, ‘US had key role in Iraq buildup’, Washington Post, 30 December 2002, cited in Rampton and Stauber, ibid, pp. 19–20. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 21. Nick Cohen, ‘A time for friends’, Observer, 6 April 2003. Kenneth Timmerman, The Death Lobby. Human Rights Watch, ‘Genocide in Iraq: the Anfal Campaign against the Kurds’, 1993, http://hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFALINT.htm. For example, Keen, The Kurds in Iraq. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, pp. 76–7. Seumas Milne, ‘Barbarity is the inevitable consequence of foreign rule’, Guardian, 27 January 2005. Quoted in Jonathan Steele’s ‘Shaper of a nation’s conscience’, Guardian, 8 March 2003. Nicholas Pye, ‘Schools ignore it – but is it time for the empire to strike back’, Guardian, 5 July 2003. Richard Drayton, ‘An ethical blank cheque’, Guardian, 10 May 2005. Jonathan Raban, ‘The greatest Gulf’, Guardian, 19 April 2003. Jonathan Glancey, ‘Our last occupation’, Guardian, 19 April 2003. Quoted in: Mark Danner, ‘The logic of torture’ New York Review of Books, 24 June 2004. Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The war correspondent as hero, propagandist and myth maker (London: Pan, 1989). Massing, ‘Now they tell us’, New York Review of Books, 26 February 2004, p. 45. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 185. ibid, p. 192. The military contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq came overwhelmingly from the United States and the United Kingdom (with a bit from Australia, Poland, Denmark and South Korea). By the time the war began, the United States had 30 nations willing to be publicly named as supporting the war, and claimed to have 15 more that secretly supported it. These 15 represented a bizarre form of ‘support’ and were quickly dubbed the ‘coalition of the unwilling to be named’. It was hardly the most ringing endorsement. Within the UN Security Council, a variety of sticks and carrots were used in attempts by US and UK officials to get agreement to an attack on Iraq; a new resolution would require agreement from 9 of the 15 members. Permanent members Russia and France were wooed with the promise of oil contracts and financial compensation. Russia was appeased with blacklisting Chechen rebel groups. Other Security Council members received various inducements and threats. However, the USA never managed to secure the votes necessary even on the Security Council to authorize war with Iraq (see, e.g. Rampton and Stauber, ibid). One intriguing and disorienting implication of James Gilligan’s argument

106.

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– not fully spelled out by him – is that our most immoral actions may stem precisely from our moral impulses, since without these we would have no sense of shame in the first place. In this context, Bush’s and Blair’s apparently deep sense of their own morality might be expected to bring a heightened threat of shame, and an unusually aggressive response to criticism, of the kind we have seen. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 293. Bush promoted Rice to Secretary of State instead of Powell. Rumsfeld kept his job. Wolfowitz became President of the World Bank. Alberto Gonzales, who commissioned the memos justifying torture, became Attorney General (Seymour Hersh, ‘The unknown unknowns of the Abu Ghraib scandal’, Guardian, 21 May 2005). Faludi, Stiffed, p. 334. In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt shows how opposition to the Nazi project of expulsion and extermination – though relatively rare – could be remarkably effective, as in the case of Danish officials working under Nazi occupation. The Nazis (including Eichmann himself) were always emboldened by lack of opposition to their world view, but they were not all-powerful. Timothy Garton Ash, ‘No more Jeeves’, Guardian, 30 September 2004; see also, Short, An Honourable Deception?, p. 159; Christopher Meyer, ‘How Britain failed to check Bush in the run up to war’, Guardian, 7 November 2005. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 118. See also, Short, ibid. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 195. Kernberg, ‘Sanctioned social violence’, p. 693. Another (and few have taken this process to a more bloody extreme) was the persecution of internal enemies by the Khmer Rouge in their policy of perpetual revolution. Minimal and shrinking black support for the Republican Party. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Research Institute, 2003, ‘Report on hate crimes and discrimination against Arab Americans, September 11 2001 to October 11 2002’, Washington D.C. Nigel Morris, ‘Muslims made to feel like an enemy within by Islamophobic attitudes, report concludes’, Independent, 3 June 2004. Hugh Muir, ‘British Council official sacked over anti-Islam articles’, Guardian, 2 September 2004. Anthony Browne, ‘The triumph of the East’, Guardian, 27 January 2005, frontpagemag.com. Three out of four were born in Britain. William Bennett, Open letter, New York Times, 10 March 2002, quoted in: Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, p. 150. Elizabeth Drew, ‘Hung up in Washington’, New York Review of Books, 12 February 2004. Michael Massing, ‘Now they tell us’, New York Review of Books, 26 February 2004, p. 45. By contrast, a kind of pack mentality encouraged more

107. 108.

109. 110.

111.

112. 113. 114. 115. 116.

117. 118.

119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125.

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feisty criticisms of Bush once the main Iraq offensive was over (Massing, ibid). William Kristol, ‘The axis of appeasement’, Weekly Standard, 26 August–2 September 2002. Barry and Lobe, in Feffer, Power Trip, p. 46. See, e.g. Michelle Goldberg, ‘Osama university?’, 6 November 2003, www.salon.com. See, e.g. Paul Harris, ‘Besieged Bush faces attacks from friends as well as foes’, Observer, 30 October 2005. Andrew Sparrow, ‘New law to stop flow of volunteers to terror camps’, News Telegraph, 16 July 2005, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main. jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/16/ncleric16.xml. Simon Jenkins, ‘This is an act of censorship worthy of Joseph Goebbels’, Guardian, 23 September 2005. Joan Didion, 2003, ‘Fixed ideas: America since 9.11, New York’, New York Review Book, p. 14. Antonius Robben ‘The fear of indifference’. Extracts from letter to Alastair Campbell, Guardian, 28 June 2003. Ewen MacAskill, ‘”It was a slip of the tongue”’, Guardian, 18 September 2003. Ramani Chelliah, letter to the Guardian, 28 June 2003. Matt Wells, ‘Study deals a blow to claims of anti-war bias in BBC news’, Guardian, 4 July 2003). See, e.g. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Bush’s other war’, Guardian, 1 November 2003. Timothy Garton Ash, ‘Anti-Europeanism in America’, Hoover Digest, www.hoover.Stanford.edu/publications/digest/032/ash2.html, earlier version in New York Review of Books, 13 February 2003. Steve Dunleavy, ‘How dare the French forget’, New York Post, 10 February 2003. Thomas Friedman, ‘Take France off the Security Council’, New York Times, in: Guardian, 11 February 2003. Stothard, 30 Days, p. 37. Thomas Friedman, ‘Take France off the Security Council’. Joe Klein: ‘Tearing Kerry down’, Time, 13 September 2004, p. 29. Author’s own research, www.crisistates.com. See, e.g. Faludi, Stiffed. Ewen MacAskill, ‘What happens now inside Iraq?’, Guardian, 15 December 2003. Paul Rogers, ‘Iraq’s end to optimism’, 28 April 2005, opendemocracy.net. Rory McCarthy, ‘Just another day in Baghdad’, Guardian, 19 June 2003. See, e.g. Wright, Generation Kill. Mark Franchetti, ‘Slaughter at the bridge of death: US Marines fire on civilians’, CounterPunch, 31 March 2003, www.counterpunch.org/franchetti 03312003. Scott Johnson, ‘Inside an enemy cell’, Newsweek, 18 August 2003, p. 17. Julian Borger, contribution to ‘Iraqis wait for US troops to leave … as wives clamour for their return’, Guardian, 5 July 2003.

126. 127. 128. 129.

130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138.

139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144. 145. 146. 147. 148. 149. 150.

151. 152.

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153. ibid. 154. See e.g. Naomi Klein, ‘Die, then vote. This is Falluja’, Guardian, 13 November 2004. 155. See e.g. CNN, ‘U.S. forces raid al-Sadr home in Najaf’, 12 August 2004, http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/08/12/iraq.main/. 156. Seumas Milne, ‘The right to resist’, Guardian, 19 June 2003. 157. Anger towards senior officers was also obvious, Bob Graham reported from Iraq. Specialist Anthony Castillo: ‘We’re more angry at the generals who are making these decisions and who never hit the ground, and who don’t get shot at or have to look at the bloody bodies and the burnt-out bodies’ (Bob Graham, ‘I just pulled the trigger’); see also, Michael Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, as well as Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, 2004, ‘A failed transition’, www.globalpolicy.org. 158. These tensions are mentioned in Wright, Generation Kill, p. 249. 159. Naomi Wolf, ‘We Americans are like recovering addicts after a four-year bender’, Guardian, 7 November 2005. 160. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars. 161. Michael Quinlan, ‘Blair had taken us towards an elective dictatorship’, Guardian, 22 October 2004. 162. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Low key tactics under review’, Guardian, 25 June 2003. 163. Cohen, States of Denial, e.g., p. 103.

Chapter 10: Culture and magic
1. 2. 3. 4. See e.g. Sidney Blumenthal, ‘The Bush nemesis’, Guardian, 20 October 2005. Micklethwait and Wooldridge, The Right Nation. Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776), http:///gppsk.ab.ca~rgilson/ courses/ss23/t_paine_commonsense.html. Owen Harries, ‘Understanding America’, CIS Lectures, Center for Independent Studies, 222.cis.org.au/Events/CISlectures/2002/Harries 030402. htm. Godfrey Hodgson, ‘Bush vs Kerry: what sort of people do we want to be?’, 27 October 2004, opendemocracy.net. ‘The power of nightmares’, BBC2 TV, broadcast 27 October 2004. (Of course, if the world were like that, we might be more secure; but how do you get to there from here?) The bit of Tom Paine he didn’t quote: ‘Even the distances at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven.’ (Thomas Paine, ibid.) American singer-songwriter Steve Earle has made this point eloquently (‘Pop and politics: Steve Earl’, BBC2 TV, broadcast 11 April 2005). See, e.g. Zinn, A People’s History of the United States; Stannard, American Holocaust. It seems possible that this has fed into sympathy for Israel, another frontier society where some have seen themselves as bringing fertility to the desert and expanding at the expense of an inferior people.

5. 6.

7.

8. 9.

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10. Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. 11. Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 208. 12. Contemporaries at Yale report Bush as like the John Belushi character in the 1978 film Animal House, a drink-fuelled fun-seeker. Bush ‘was aggressively anti-intellectual and hostile to east-coast preppy types like his father’ (Oliver James, ‘So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?’, Guardian [G2], 2 September 2003, p. 6). 13. Ron Suskind, ‘Without a doubt’, New York Times, 17 October 2004. 14. Frank, What’s the Matter with America?, p. 191. 15. ibid, p. 17. 16. Thomas Frank, ‘What’s the matter with liberals?’ New York Review of Books, 12 May 2005. 17. Frank, What’s the Matter with America?, p. 229. 18. As the character played by Johnny Depp says at the end of the film Pirates of the Caribbean, ‘sometimes it takes a pirate to catch a pirate’. 19. There are other films which present a different picture – for example, Insomnia with Al Pacino (a re-make of a Norwegian film) where a murderer plays on the tortured, sleepless conscience of a cop who fabricated evidence against someone he ‘knew’ (but could not prove) was a child murderer. In the final scene, the cop warns a young female detective of the price she will pay if she too presumes to know better than the law. 20. See also Denzel Washington in Man on Fire (Alex Cox, ‘Column’, Guardian, 6 August 2004). Torture-with-a-point also features in the popular US TV show Lost. 21. Mailer, Why Are We at War?, p. 54. 22. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 104. 23. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 172. 24. Noy Thrupkaew, ‘Culture’, in: Feffer, Power Trip, p. 109. 25. Adekeye Adebajo, ‘Time to stand up to the Wild West’ Sowetan, 14 October 2002; Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception. 26. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 25. 27. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (chapter 6), accessed at: http://www.hitler.org/ writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch06.html. 28. ibid. 29. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 362. 30. Al Gore, ‘Democracy itself is in grave danger’, Common Dreams News Center, http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0624-15.htm. 31. Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 94. 32. ibid, p. 102. 33. Mark Duffield refers to the ‘magical nature’ of the belief that relatively small amounts of aid (at a time when development aid to war-torn societies has all but disappeared) can have a major influence over peace and good governance (Duffield, Global Governance and the New Wars, p. 98). 34. For example, Lenor, Volkswagen, Twix. The more unreliable people become in a fickle and materialist world, the more plausible this sales-pitch becomes.

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35. James Fallows, ‘Bush’s lost year’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. 36. Robert Scheer, ‘Fiddling while crucial programs starve’, Los Angeles Times, www.latimes.com. 37. Washington Post, editorial, 4 August 2003, in: Guardian, ‘The editor’, 5 August 2003. Iraq was part of forgetting Afghanistan, where ‘The goal has never been to get bin Laden’ (General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, April 2002). Donald Rumsfeld commented helpfully, ‘[bin Laden] is alive or dead. He’s in Afghanistan or somewhere else’, (Brendan O’Neill, ‘War against what?’, tompaine.com, 10 July 2002). 38. Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 274. 39. Scheer, ibid. 40. Matthew Engel, ‘Pentagon hawk at war with his own side’, Guardian, 13 March 2003. Internal Pentagon plans assumed an occupation force of only around 30,000 troops (Clarke, Against all Enemies, p. 270). 41. On this, see, Dan Plesch, ‘Shock, awe – and tanks’, Guardian, 18 April 2003. 42. Jonathan Steele, ‘Fighting the wrong war’, Guardian, 11 December 2001. A similar point is made by Conetta, Strange Victory. 43. Richard Doyle, ‘Minding the globe or making a mesh of it’, 17–19 July 2004, Security Bytes conference, Lancaster University. 44. American writer Naomi Wolf commented after Hurricane Katrina, ‘Like recovering addicts who have taken a step into a 12-step programme, we are ready at last to hear how we have harmed others – and to try to make amends’ (Naomi Wolf, ‘We Americans are like recovering addicts after a four-year bender’, Guardian, 7 November 2005). 45. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 139. 46. Rampton and Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception, pp. 175–6. 47. ibid, p. 180. 48. Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, p. 374. 49. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 175. 50. Natasha Walter, ‘In pursuit of spotless minds’, Guardian, 26 April 2004. 51. Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, ‘Defender in chief’, Time, 5 November 2001. 52. Woodward, Bush at War, p. 295. 53. Baudrillard, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. 54. Paul Rogers, ‘A jewel for al-Qaida’s crown’, 11 August 2005, opendemocracy.net. 55. Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books, 11 August 2005. 56. Woodward, ibid, p. 137. 57. Rampton and Stauber, ibid, p. 142. 58. Ron Fournier, ‘Bush heads for Asian summit, says world behind U.S.’, Tulsa World, 18 October 2001. 59. Shortly after Bush took office, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer rejected calls for drivers to reduce fuel consumption, saying, ‘The President believes it’s an American way of life. … The American way of life is a blessed one’ (Singer, The President of Good and Evil, p. 135). 60. See e.g. Hanif Kureishi, ‘The arduous conversation will continue’, Guardian, 19 July 2005. 61. CNN, ‘Bush makes historic speech aboard warship’, 1 May 2003.

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www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/01/bush.transcript/; Goff, Full Spectrum Disorder, p. 104. Time, index, 26 May 2003, p. 3. See Robert Cooper, ‘The new liberal imperialism’, Observer Worldview Extra, 7 April 2002, http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/ story/0,11581, 680095,00.html; also, ‘Why we still need empires’, The Observer, 7 April 2002 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/ 0,11581,680117,00.html. Cooper is surely right that there are benefits from accommodating the desire of Balkan states and Turkey to be part of the European Union, but the connection with Iraq and Afghanistan is obscure. See e.g. Moore, Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Julian Borger, contribution to ‘Iraqis wait for US troops to leave … as wives clamour for their return’, Guardian, July 5 2003. Blix, Disarming Iraq, p. 271. Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works, p. 24. ibid, p.2. ibid, p. 25. Noam Chomsky, ‘Reasons to fear U.S.’, Toronto Star, 7 September 2003, http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20030907.htm. Robert Cooper, ‘Why we still need empires’, Observer, 7 April 2002 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,680117,00.html. Robert Kagan, ‘The healer’, Guardian, 3 March 2003. Robert Kagan, ‘Power and weakness’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2002, http:/www.ceip.org/files/print/2002-06-02policyreview.htm, p. 16. ibid. Cooper, The Breaking of Nations, p. 64. ibid, p. 64. ibid, p. 65. Thomas Friedman, ‘Take France off the security council’, New York Times, in: Guardian, 11 February 2003. Compare also the idea of the ‘domain of Islam’ and the ‘domain of war’, invoked to justify slavery in Sudan, for example (Keen, The Benefits of Famine). A variation of Friedman’s distinction is the Manichean distinction between ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. In probably the most sophisticated newspaper in the United States, Friedman wrote, ‘If we are going to be stomping around the world wiping out terrorist cells from Kabul to Manila, we’d better make sure that we are the best country, and the best global citizens, we can be. … That means not just putting a fist in the face of the world’s bad guys, but also offering a hand up for the good guys’ (‘Ask not what’, New York Times, 9 December 2001, in: Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes, p. 87). Barry Buzan, ‘Who may we bomb?’, in Ken Booth and Tim Dunne (eds), Worlds in Collision (Palgrave, New York and London, 2002). Vikram Dodd and Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Video of 7/7 ringleader says policy was to blame’, Guardian, 2 September 2005. Michael Ignatieff, ‘Could we lose the war on terror? Lesser evils’, New York Times Magazine, 2 May 2004.

62. 63.

64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73.

74. 75. 76. 77. 78.

79. 80. 81.

[ 266 ]

NOTES
82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. ibid. ibid. Huntington, Clash of Civilizations. Edward Said, ‘The clash of ignorance’, Media Monitors’ Network, 2001, http://www.mediamonitors.net/edward40.html. Compare the view of British anthropologist David Turton outlined in Chapter 2, ‘Ethnicity … may be a result of conflict as much as a cause of it’. Berman, Terror and Liberalism. It is worth noting that terrorist attacks have often centred on soft-targets in places where the Islamic world meets the Western world: as in the Bali bombings in 2002. As noted, the Nazis successfully redefined assimilation as pollution, and the implication drawn was that the pollutant or infection should be eliminated. Huntington later stated, in Who Are We? America’s great debate (2nd edn, London, Simon and Schuster, 2005), that America had a ‘mainstream’ and ‘core’ Anglo-Protestant culture and a number of ‘subcultures’ which also shared in this mainstream culture. Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works, p. 3. ibid. ibid, pp. 131–63. CNN, ‘Dershowitz: torture could be justified’, 4 March 2003, http:// edition.cnn.com/2003/LAW/03/03/cnna.Dershowitz/. Significantly, Dershowitz explicitly sees terrorism as a top-down phenomenon where leaders are more important than any followers radicalised by counter-terror (Dershowitz, ibid, p. 33). Jason Burke, ‘Al-Qaida is now an idea, not an organisation’, Guardian, 4 August 2005. Pratap Chatterjee and Deepa Fernandes, ‘Returning to life’, Alternet, 18 July 2005, www.globalpolicy.org. Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil, p. 19. ibid, p. 8. ibid. ibid. Michael Ignatieff, ‘Could we lose the war on terror? Lesser evils’, New York Times Magazine, 2 May 2004. Foucault, Discipline and Punish. ibid. Michael Ignatieff, ‘Could we lose the war on terror? Lesser evils’, New York Times Magazine, 2 May 2004. Ignatieff supported the 2003 Iraq war. Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism. Stephen Holmes, ‘Looking away’, London Review of Books, 14 November 2002, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n22/print/holm01_.html. Ben Rawlence, ‘Tony Blair is the original neocon’, Guardian, 23 October 2004. Blair’s belief that ‘in the end, values and interests merge’ would be strongly supported by the neo-cons. The UK government’s mantra has been that security is best promoted by ‘the spread of our values’. Kampfner, Blair’s Wars, p. 77.

89.

90. 91. 92. 93. 94.

95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104.

105. 106.

107.

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108. ibid, p. 386.

Chapter 11: Conclusion
1. 2. 3. 4. Henry Jenkins, ‘A war of words over Iraq video games’, Guardian, 15 November 2003. Cf Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars. Fables de la Fontaine, Jean de la Varende and Felix Lorioux (eds) (Nantes: Beuchet and Vanden Brugge, 1949), translated for the author by Paddy Keen. See e.g. Chris Mooney, ‘Inferior design’, American Prospect Online, 8 October 2005, http://www.prospect.org/web/printfriendly-view.ww ?id=10084. Gluckman, Custom and Conflict in Africa (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1956). See e.g. Caro Baroja, The World of the Witches. David Held, ‘Violence, law and justice in a global age’, n.d., www.polity.co.uk/global/sept11.htm. See e.g. Jennifer Schirmer, 1999, ‘The Guatemalan politico-military project: legacies for a violence peace?’ Latin American Perspectives, March, 26(2): 92–107; Keen, ‘Demobilising Guatemala’. For example, Woodward, Bush at War. Jason Burke, ‘The Arab backlash the militants didn’t expect’, Observer, 20 June 2004. Mann, Incoherent Empire, p. 189. Svante Cornell, ‘Crime without borders’, Axess Magazine, 2004, http://www.axess.se/english/archive/2004/nr6/currentissue. Michael Elliot, ‘Why the war on terror will never end’, Time, 26 May 2003, p. 34. But see, e.g Global Witness, ‘For a few dollars more’. James Fallows, ‘Bush’s lost year’, Atlantic Monthly, October 2004. Michael Duffy, ‘One expert’s verdict: the CIA caved under pressure’, Time, 14 June 2004. Julian Borger, ‘FBI fails to cope with huge backlog of terror tapes’, Guardian, 29 September 2004. Human Rights Watch, ‘Violent response: the US army in al-Falluja’, June 2003. Nick Cohen, ‘Come on, you liberals’, Observer, 4 November 2001. Jeremy Seabrook, ‘The making of a fanatic’, Guardian, 20 December 2001; Maruf Khwaja, ‘Terrorism, Islam, reform: thinking the unthinkable’, 28 July 2005, opendemocracy.net. See e.g. Gold, ‘Some economic considerations in the U.S. war on terrorism’. George Monbiot, ‘The victims of the tsunami pay the price of war on Iraq’, Guardian, 4 January 2005. Grace Livingstone and Owen Boycott, ‘Aid cash diverted to Iraq’, Guardian, 23 October 2003. Talk by Ben Wisner, ‘Terrorism and development’ workshop, Development Studies Institute, LSE, London, 17 October 2005. Michael Pugh and Neil Cooper, War Economies in a Regional Context: Challenges of Transformation (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner), p. 111.

5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

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25. See notably Jo Beall, ‘Cities, terrorism and development’, Journal of International Development, 2006, 8(1). 26. On these dangers, see notably Isabel Hilton, ‘Hearts and minds at any cost’, Guardian, 13 July 2004. 27. Madeleine Albright and Robin Cook, ‘We must cut our nuclear arsenals’, Guardian, 9 June 2004. 28. ibid. 29. Moore, Dude, Where’s My Country?, p. 24. 30. ‘What happened? What changed? What now?’, transcript of an openDemocracy/Q-News meeting at Chatham House, 4 August 2005, www.opendemocracy.net. 31. A pioneer in behaviourism was Burrhus Skinner, who showed how you could change the behaviour of rats through changing the rewards and punishments you applied to them. Of course, incentives and punishments can make a difference to human behaviour. But one problem with applying behaviourism to human beings is that humans are often aware of attempts to manipulate them, and this awareness itself is likely to affect their response. For example, many people in Serbia resented the attempt to manipulate their behaviour through sanctions. As one young Serbian woman working for an NGO told me, ‘Many people were against Milosevic, but then reacted to sanctions by saying, “Don’t tell me what I should be thinking and doing!”’ She said of NATO’s 1999 bombing, ‘Bombing was good for Milosevic, and to be anti-Milosevic was to be pro-NATO’. 32. Peter Burnell, ‘Democracy promotion: the elusive quest for grand strategies’, Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (2004), 204(3): 100–16. 33. See, e.g. Thandika Mkandawire, ‘Thinking about developmental states in Africa’, Cambridge Journal of Economics (2001), 25. 34. Ronan Bennett, contribution to ‘What would you do?’, Guardian, 28 February 2003. 35. Jonathan Steele, ‘It feels like 1967 all over again’, Guardian, 9 April 2003. 36. David Held, ‘Violence, law and justice in a global age’, 1, www.polity.co.uk/global/sept11.htm. 37. Edward Said, ‘A window on the world’, Guardian [G2], 2 August 2003. 38. ibid. 39. ibid. 40. Keen, The Benefits of Famine. 41. Manji, The Trouble with Islam Today, pp. 13–14. 42. Said, ibid.

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[ 278 ]

Index
Note: arabic compounds with aland bin are alphabeticized under the following component. Notes are indexed in the form, e.g., 222n2-21 (page 222, note 21 for chapter 2). 9/11, 69, 138, 145–6, 148, 201, 219, 256–7n8-52 attitudes to responses to, 11, 146 cost of mounting attacks, 18 failure to explain, 98 failure to prevent, 120 hijackers, 40–2, 43, 117 responses to, 16, 34–5, 46, 64, 86, 90, 118, 145–6, 163–4, 168, 199, 211 suggested involvement of Iraq, 133, 194 US disproportionate emphasis on, 151 US shame over, 160–1, 165–6 45-minute claim, 12, 122, 184 A Abdullah, King of Jordan, 86 Abouhalima, Mahmoud, 43 Abu Ghraib, 6, 27–8, 113–14, 139, 143, 146, 148, 149, 168, 177, 208, 213, 252n7-47 media coverage, 32, 34, 36, 245n5-103 Abu Sayyaf, 46–7 Aburish, Said, 45 ‘action as propaganda’, 131–44 Adams, Brad, 77 Adebajo, Adekeye, 176, 242n5–19 al-Adl, Seif, 46 advertising, 194–201, 212 see also propaganda Afghanistan, 16–18, 25–7, 29–30, 45–6, 53, 62–3, 70, 86–7, 174, 205 army, 26 attack by US and allies (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001), 16–17, 36, 86, 118, 156, 162, 170, 197, 198, 199 connection with 9/11, 16 continuing US operations in, 19 deaths of civilians, 25–6 humanitarian problems, 29, 108, 170 media coverage, 198 neglect of reconstruction, 107–8 oil pipeline, 70 and Pakistan, 48, 62 reconstruction funds, 26 refugees from, 25 resistance/terrorism in, 18–19, 224n2-71 (see also al-Qaida) Taliban rule in, 42 (see also Taliban) Transitional Administration, 108 war/resistance against Soviet Union, 12, 32, 44, 174, 187 Africa al-Qaida in, 10, 17 attitudes of Muslims in, 44 agriculture destruction of crops, 59–60 in Kansas, 93–4 aid see humanitarian aid Aideed, Mohamed, 106 AIDS, 164 Ailes, Roger, 76 Aldrich, Gary, 167 Algeria, 45, 60, 175, 214 attitudes to USA in, 13, 55 terrorists in, 44, 45 war of independence, 36, 58 Ali, Hazrat, 109 Allawi, Prime Minister Iyad, 113, 186 Allen, Tim, 105, 160, 231n3-4 American Enterprise Institute, 21 anger, 55–6 outside target countries, 31–48

[ 279 ]

INDEX
within countries targeted by US/coalition action, 25–31 Arab world sense of humiliation and pride, 31–48 sense of nationalism, 33–4 see also Islam, Muslims, Arab countries by name Arafat, Yasser, 106 Arar, Maher, 76 Arendt, Hannah, 4, 36–7, 38, 56–7, 89, 91, 100, 131–2, 136–7, 140, 144, 153, 155, 194, 261n9-110 Argentina, 183 Armitage, Richard, 116 arms see weapons Armstrong, Karen, 157 Arquilla, Jon, 110 Arroyo, President Gloria, 78 Aschcroft, John, 166 Ashley, Jackie, 189 Atta, Mohamed, 117, 168, 222n2–21 ‘axis of evil’, 36, 90, 106, 195 see also evil, terror Ayalon, Ami, 202 Aznar, Prime Minister José Maria, 77, 134, 179, 190 B Bagram airbase prison, 27, 118, 207 Balthazor, Andrew, 111, 112 Bamford, James, 215 Barstow, Anne, 98 Bartov, Omer, 160–1, 187, 249n7-5 Basayev, Shamil, 63, 252n7-56 Batasuna, 77 Batmanghelidjh, Camilla, 253n8-2 Battle of Algiers, The, 58 BBC, 183–4 Bechtel, 69 Beers, Charlotte, 194 Begg, Moazzam, 207 Bennett, Ronan, 61, 218 Bennett, William, 182 Berlusconi, Prime Minister Silvio, 102, 134 Berman, Paul, 206, 209 Bernhardt, Michael, 83, 179 Beyani, Chaloka, 15 Big Brother, 195 Blair, Prime Minister Tony, 2, 11, 21, 77, 82, 84, 103, 122, 123, 138, 167, 178, 182–3, 185, 189, 191, 251n724, 251n7-25, 251n7-28, 268–9n10-106 administration of, 59 claimed humanitarianism, 209 claimed instincts, 124 comments on Iraq, 134–5 comments on need for more military action, 22 comments on North Korea, 21 comments on terrorist attacks in UK, 13 delusions of grandeur, 157 and entourage, 170, 179, 200–1 meetings with Bush, 135, 251n7–24 relationship with Bush, 158, 179, 180 personality, 97–8, 125, 168 preoccupation with personal legacy, 24 preoccupation with presentation, 256n8-59 and religion, 126, 248n6-80 and wars, 209 Blix, Hans, 11, 15, 100–1, 120, 169, 196, 201 blogs/bloggers, Iraqi, 14, 28, 255n8–36 Blumenthal, Sidney, 75–6 Blunkett, David, 13, 77 bombings, terrorist, 8, 13, 56, 106, 222n2-35, 229n2-199, 233n3-46, 240n4-26 see also terror, suicide killers, individual countries by name bombings, US military, 25 ‘no decent targets in Afghanistan’, 87 see also ‘war on terror’, Iraq Booth, Cherie, 183 Borger, Julian, 201, 215

[ 280 ]

INDEX
Bosnia, 64, 175, 206, 209 Bouteflika, President Abdenaziz, 45 Brazil, 237n3-131 Bremer, Paul, 110, 187 Brookings Institution, 10 Brown, Gordon, 135, 251n7-24 Browne, Anthony, 181 Burke, Jason, 19, 45–6, 55–6, 213–14 Burns, John, 42 Bush, President George W. administration links with oil industry, 69–70 attitude to history, 24, 137–8, 225n2-115 claimed instincts, 124 comments on al-Qaida, 10, 13, 155, 172, 194–5, 220n2-5 comments on humanitarian aid, 29–30 comments on Iran, 2 comments on Iraq, 121–2, 127, 155, 178, 194–5 comments on politicians, 166 comments on pre-emptive attacks, 20, 123 comments on war on terror, 2, 8, 48, 84, 90, 118, 133, 134, 200, 239n4-4, 243n4-47 criticism of Clinton administration, 162 entourage, 178–9 as governor of Texas, 85 personality, 97, 126–7, 153, 163, 167–8, 264n10-12 political tactics, 75–6, 223n2–50 re-election, 162–3, 251n7–42 references to evil, 8 and religion, 163–4 response to 9/11, 11 State of the Union speech, January 2002, 8 State of the Union speech, spring 2003, 122 tax cuts, 92 wrecking non-violent efforts, 215 Bush, President George Sr. (and administration of), 15, 64, 167, 175 Bush, Jeb, 116 Buzan, Barry, 204–5 C Calley, William, 88 Cambodia, 63, 68, 106, 161, 173, 261n9-116 Campbell, Alastair, 166, 168, 179, 184, 189, 256n8-57 Campbell, Beatrix, 135 Campbell, Gordon, 60–1 Cannistraro, Vincent, 121 Card, Andy, 194 Carlyle Group, 64 Cartwright, Justin, 152 Caruso, J.T., 18 Castillo, Anthony, 263n9-157 casualties deaths see deaths wounding of troops, 14, 25 Center for International Policy, 121 Chabal, Patrick, 96–7 Chalabi, Ahmad, 121 chaos/order world split, 202–5 Chechnya, 17, 53, 60, 63, 64, 78, 175, 214, 233n3-46, 252n7-56 functions of war in, 75 terrorist attacks in, 13, 222n2-35 Cheney, Vice-President Dick, 64, 68, 69–70, 77, 86, 101, 115, 116, 162, 166 comments on war on terror, 8 Cheney, Lynne, 182 Chevron (Oil), 64, 70 China, 70, 254n8-8 internal repression, 77 military capabilities, 15 US attitudes to, 21 Chomsky, Noam, 5, 13, 65, 68, 173 Churchill, Winston, 177 CIA, 120–2, 174, 215 funding of radical groups, 19, 174 renditions 27 rivalry with FBI, 215 as scapegoat for Bush, 184

[ 281 ]

INDEX
civil war, 51–83, 220n1-4 analysed as a system 3 economic functions of, 66–7, 231n3-1 political functions, 72–5 and terror networks, 54–7 see also war, individual countries by name civilians counted as rebels to boost ‘kills’, 83 deaths of see deaths in targeted countries, 185–7 mixed with military as tactic, 26, 204–5 radicalised by attacks, 58–9, 60, 61 targeted in civil wars, 86, 147, 174 targeted by terrorists, 252n7-61, 267n10-88 Clark, David, 63 Clarke, Charles, 183 Clarke, Richard, 32, 68, 70–1, 90 Clay, Edward, 7 Clinton, President Bill, 70, 162, 167, 188, 209 CNN, 32, 71, 187 Cohen, Stanley, 129, 133, 189 Cold War, 1, 65, 67, 85, 103, 203, 204 end of, 99, 191 Collier, Paul, 98, 242n5-17 Colombia, 53, 68, 72–3, 78 insurgency and counterinsurgency, 59–60 colonialism, 32, 36, 258n9-57 Iraq war as ‘recolonisation’, 33 lack of US experience, 192 nature of rule, 54–5 perceived humiliation of, 32–3 ‘purging’ of, 161 selective memory of, 176 see also former colonies by name communication problems, 184 of troops, 239n4-19 Communism/Communists, 79, 103–4, 174 seen as enemy, 73 in the USA, 191 Conetta, Carl, 1, 16–17 consumerism and advertising, 194–201 intensified after 9/11, 199 similarities to war on terror, 7, 194–201 Cook, Robin, 125, 135, 243n5-62 Cooper, Robert, 200–1, 203–4, 213, 266n10-63 Corddry, Rob, 177 counter-insurgency, 57–67 see also Afghanistan, civil war, Iraq war, terrorism counter-terror, see ‘war on terror’ crime and complicity, 81 as source of terrorist funding, 18, 214 toughness on vs toughness on terrorism, 188, 214 Cuba, 22, 90 culture and clash of civilisations, 99, 138, 205–6 hostility to Western, 42–3 impact of on worldview, 5–6 and magic, 190–209 mainstream and subcultures, 267n10-89 Muslim attraction to decadence of Western, 41, 43–4, 163, 230n2-232 Cummins, Harry, 181 D Daloz, Jean-Pascal, 96–7 Dalrymple, William, 18–19 Danner, Mark, 27, 120 Dayan, Moshe, 249n6-94 Dean, Howard, 192 Dearlove, Sir Richard, 120 deaths of aid workers, 30 in bombings see bombings of civilians, 58–60, 88, 173–4 of civilians in Afghanistan, 25, 36

[ 282 ]

INDEX
of civilians in Iraq, 13, 26–7, 29, 223n2-41 of troops in Afghanistan, 25 of coalition troops in Iraq, 14, 139 of resistance fighters in Iraq, 10 democracy avoided by war, 72 and consumerism, 199 impossible to spread by force, 15–16, 217–18 issues in Iraq, 111 seen as promotion of security, 11 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 62, 63, 66, 79, 234–6n3-83 Dershowitz, Alan, 89, 201–2, 207–8, 240n4-27, 267n10-94 deterrence, principle of, 85, 89 see also United States, claimed right to unilateral/pre-emptive military action diamond trading (and al-Qaida), 10, 54 Didion, Joan, 183 discrimination against Muslims, 40–2, 181, 217 Dixon, Bishop W. Nah, 86 Dobbins, James, 108 Dodge, Toby, 12 ‘dodgy dossier’, the, 11–12, 122, 222n2–25, 247n6-52 Doe, President Samuel, 57, 174 Doyle, Richard, 197 Dreyfuss, Robert, 120 drugs in Afghanistan, 82 links with insurgents/terrorists, 61, 78, 174 Duffield, Mark, 99, 144, 265–6n10–33 Dupre, Ryan, 186 E Earle, Steve, 264n10-8 Eastwood, Clint, 193 Economist, the, 115 EGP (Guatemala), 57 Egypt, 55, 173, 175, 214, 216 executions in, 19 terrorists in, 44–5, 224n2-71 torture in, 6, 27 war against Israel, 33 Ehrenreich, Barbara, 151 El Salvador, 68 ELN (Colombia), 72, 78 Elworthy, Scilla, 28, 96 ‘enemy’, the, 84–95, 99, 104–5, 178 arbitrary choice of, 27, 239n4-13 choice of accessible, 86, 95, 239n4-14 civilians seen as, 185–7 (see also civilians) dehumanization of, 89, 140, 143 difficulty of identifying, 87, 88 dissenters seen as, 4, 178 ‘easy targets’, 105 as evil see enemy, dehumanization of; evil; witch-hunt factors shaping definition, 3, 63–4 internal, 40, 160, 180, 181–2 Muslims defined as, 180 near and far off jihadis, 46, 55 prisoners as, 4 as the punished, 132 trading with, 63 see also ‘axis of evil’ England, Lynndie, 114 Eno, Brian, 245n6-2 Enron, 92 Ethiopia, 30 ethnic minorities, 217 in Iraq, 16, 175–6 see also Muslims Evans-Pritchard, Edward, 97 evidence, attitudes to, 115–30 evil, concept of, 6, 25, 52–3, 80, 103, 170, 172, 183, 266n10-78 evil intentions, 103 (see also witch-hunts) as integral to humans, 172 and torture, 208 as warding off guilt, 146 see also ‘axis of evil’

[ 283 ]

INDEX
F al-Fagih, Saad, 39 Fahim, Mohammed, 109 Fallows, James, 11 Faludi, Susan, 88, 94 Falwell, Jerry, 165, 172, 257n9-24 Fanon, Frantz, 36–7, 57, 141 FARC (Colombia), 59, 72, 78 Fay, George, 143 Feffer, John, 156 Feldman, Allen, 168 Finsbury Park mosque, 32 FIS (Algeria), 60 Fisk, Robert, 163 Fleischer, Ari, 166, 266–7n10-59 Foden, Giles, 109–10 Food, David, 139 forged documents on Iraq and uranium from Niger, 11, 122 Foucault, Michel, 3, 5, 6, 51–2, 65, 97, 100, 208–9, 237n3-167 Fox Media, 71, 76, 198 France, 101, 151, 161, 184–5 and Algerians, 45 Moroccan immigrants in, 40–2 religious attitudes, 165 riots, 217 Franchetti, Mark, 186 Frank, Thomas, 93–4, 139, 153, 164, 192, 193 Franks, Tommy, 62, 198 Fredericks, Ivan, 120 free market ideology, 135–6 Friedman, Thomas, 24, 129, 161–2, 184, 185, 204, 256n9-8, 266n10-78 Frum, David, 21, 136 G Galbraith, Peter, 113 Gandhi, Mahatma, 214 Garton Ash, Timothy, 166–7, 179 gays, US attitudes to, 167–8 Geneva Convention, 114 genocide, 53, 176, 206 in Central America, 174 prosecutions over, 229n2-217 in Rwanda, see Rwanda Georgia, 17 Gerecht, Reuel Marc, 129 Gerges, Fawaz, 46, 148, 155 Germany, 22, 90, 91, 100, 184, 218 Nazi, 22, 89, 91, 103, 140, 160–1, 240n4-35, 261n9-110, 267n10-88 GIA (Algeria), 60–1 Gilligan, Andrew, 184 Gilligan, James, 37, 86, 145, 160–1, 170, 172, 187, 188, 239n4-6, 261n9-106 Girard, Rene, 86, 105, globalisation, 54, 55 Glover, Jonathan, 187 Gluckman, Max, 212–13, 214 Goff, Stan, 244n5-78 Golan Heights, 33 Gold, David, 152 Goldwater, Barry, 193 Gonzales, Alberto, 261n9-108 Goodman, Mel, 121 Gore, Senator Al, 75, 77 Graham, Andrew, 10 Graham, Bob, 263n9-157 Grass, Gunther, 176 Green, Sir Andrew, 142 Greenstock, Jeremy, 15 GSPC, 45 Guantanamo Bay, 27, 38, 72, 114, 118, 143, 158, 207, 213 Guardian, the, 47, 176, 184 Guatemala, 57, 59, 61, 67, 68, 73–4, 185–6, 213, 229n2-217, 259n9-64 guilt, sense of, 259n9-64 and inequality, 104–5 and Muslim ‘corruption’ by West, 163 el-Guindi, Sheikh Khaled, 34 Gulf War (1991), 13, 15, 41, 44–5, 105, 170, 173, 177 Gunaratna, Rohan, 18 H Haass, Richard, 19–20, 108 Halberstam, David, 166 Hall, W. D., 165 Halliburton, 64, 69, 112

[ 284 ]

INDEX
Hamas, 37, 60, 215 Harding, Luke, 221n2-21 Hare, David, 129, 166 Hassan, Margaret, 31 Haven, President Vaclav, 222n2-21 Hayden, Michael, 101 Hearst, David, 60 Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin, 108 Held, David, 213, 259n9-67 Herbert, Bob, 152 Hersh, Seymour, 116–17, 119 Hilton, Isabel, 14–15, 48, 59, 109 history national attitudes to, 137 personal legacies and, 24 seen as forgiving/unforgiving, 24 US attitudes to, 24, 124, 154 Hitchens, Christopher, 71 Hitler, Adolf, 133, 194, 251n7-35 see also Germany, Nazi Hizbollah, 39 Hobsbawm, Eric, 39, 146 Hoffer, Eric, 168 Hoffman, Michael, 87 Hofstadter, Richard, 165, 191 Holmes, Stephen, 162, 209 honour, Arab concept of, 28–9 see also humiliation and shame Hoon, Geoff, 158 Horowitz, David, 171 hostages murdered in Iraq, 28 used by US forces (to bring in suspects), 28 human rights, 55–6, 217 and hypocrisy, 38 of Muslims, 9 Human Rights Watch, 27, 76, 77, 79, 148, 207 humanitarian aid, 265–6n10-33 in Afghanistan, 26, 29 agencies leaving Baghdad, 14 causes of failure, 7 and human rights, 215–16 in Rwanda, 62 in Sierra Leone, 7 in Sudan, 7 linked with bombings and military activity, 29–30 workers killed, 30 humiliation and shame, feelings of, 1, 4, 28–9, 31–48, 86, 211, 217, 239n4-6, 253n8-1, 253n7-2, 261n9-106 avoidance tactics, 189 of British relationship with USA, 158 created by 9/11, 160, 187–8 deliberate creation of, 28 difficulty of expressing in USA, 172 warding off, 145–59 Huntingdon, Samuel, 99, 138, 205–6, 218, 267n10-89 Hurd, Douglas, 103 Hussein, Saddam, 23, 33, 64, 100–2, 110, 118, 129, 175–6, 186, 200, 243n5-44 ‘hero’ status, 39 human rights record, 103, 175, 206 believed but not known link with al-Qaida, 11, 117, 134 plans to remove from power, 116 sons of, 23, 186 Hutton enquiry, 184 Huze, Sean, 26 I Ignatieff, Michael, 139, 205, 207–8 India, 31, 77, 120, 176, 216, 222n235, 258n9-57 Indonesia, 32, 174 arrests of suspected terrorists in, 23 attitudes to USA, 32 separatist movements in, 47, 214 terrorist attacks in, 13, 18, 23, 222n2–35, 239n4-13, 267n10-88 infantile America, 152 US ‘opponents’, 36, 151, 185

[ 285 ]

INDEX
informers, use of, 214–15 Inhelder, Barbara, 255n8-39 insecurity, sense of, 131 economic, 91–5 political, 84–90 and war, 197 insurgency see civil war intelligence abuse by interrogators, 27 bias in, 119–20 not based on fact, 115–30 and propaganda, 121 use of information obtained through torture, 1, 47, 114 Interahamwe, 63, 66 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 121–2 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 27 International Crisis Group, 106–7, 110 International Institute for Strategic Studies, 10, 169 International Rescue Committee, 62 Iran, 2, 90, 142, 175–6 al-Qaida in, 17 attitude to Israel, 2 and oil, 70, 173 predicted nuclear capability, 14 US desire for regime change, 21, 228n2-196 US support for Shah, 173, 175 Iraq, 53, 68, 239n4-13 arrests in, 27–8 attempts at regime change, 135 bloggers from, 14, 28, 255n8–36 as British construct, 177 British bombing in 1920s, 177 democracy in, 16 destruction of weapons after Gulf War, 247n6-44 effect of sanctions, 29, 104, 170, 243n5-45 ethnic tensions, 16, 175–6 Gulf War see Gulf War identification as US enemy, 87, 90 international militants in, 39 Kurds, 175–6 murder of captives, 28 no weapons of mass destruction found, 11 as oil supplier, 70–1, 112, 87, 236n3-115 Operation Desert Fox, 209 prisoners in, 27–8 (see also Abu Ghraib) US ignorance about, 198 US policy pre-2003 war, 70–1, 175–6 war with Iran, 175 weapons of mass destruction (presumed), 117, 121–2, 134, 135 Iraq war (2003) and resistance (2003–), 110–11, 118, 196 and anti-Americanism, 13 claimed justifications, 11, 12, 133–7 Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), 112–13 communication problems, 112, 239n4-19 cost of, 196, 215 deaths of civilians, 13–14, 26–7, 29, 87, 223n2–41 deaths of coalition troops, 14 deaths of foreign contractors, 27 deaths of police officers, 14 deaths of resistance fighters, 10 difficulty of criticising, 139–40 dismantling of Ba’athist state, 110 Fallujah, 27, 137, 142 ‘inevitability’ of, 134–5 predicted length of insurgency in, 20 reconstruction contracts, 69, 112 reconstruction issues, 109–12, 196 resistance, 10, 34, 142, 186–7 timing, 101 US allies, 79, 261–2n9-105 Iraqi National Congress (INC), 121

[ 286 ]

INDEX
ISI, 19 Islam ambitions of global conquest, 181 in the clash of civilisations, 205–6 demands of, and surrender to decadence, 41, 43–4, 163, 230n2-232 fundamental, 10, 45, 47, 138 fundamentalism growing since 9/11, 12 Islamic schools, 215, 216 radical groups, 16–19 (see also alQaida and other groups by name) as tempering radical tendencies, 33 triumph seen as inevitable, 138 US disrespect towards, 168 variants of, 45 Islamic movement of Uzbekistan, 79 Israel, 77, 216, 217, 249n6-94, 264n10-9 1967 war, 33 abuses of Palestine/Palestinians, 33–4, 37, 43, 60 Iran’s desire to ‘wipe off the map’, 2 most wanted terrorists, 9 occupied territories, 22, 158 presumed site of Second Coming, 252n7-47 terrorist attacks in, 222n2-35 US support for, 170, 173 weapons of mass destruction, 216 Ivanov, Sergei, 15 J Jamal Islamiyah, 18, 23 Japan, 173, 218 Jarrah, Zaid, 43 al-Jazeera, 32, 148 Jenkins, Simon, 83 Jews, 256n9-4 perception of US support for, 170 Shylock, 35 targeted by Nazis, 89, 91, 103, 140, 160–1 jihad, 24, 257n8-49 decline and revival in 1990s, 31, 174–5, 214 in Iraq, 39 near and far enemies, 46 see also terror Johnson, Paul, 134 Jordan, 175 media coverage in, 34 torture in, 6, 27 war against Israel, 33 Juergensmeyer, Mark, 37–8, 43, 91, 141, 169, 236n3-123 just world thinking, 132–3, 170 K Kagan, Robert, 167, 203 Kaldor, Mary, 225n2-101 Kamel, Hussein, 121, 246n6-44 Kamel, Saddam, 121 Kampfner, John, 121, 135, 179, 209 Kaplan, Robert, 137, 202 Karpinski, Janis, 143 Karzai, President Hamid, 70, 109 Kashmir, 31, 37, 214 Keane, Feargal, 32 Kelly, David, 184 Kennan, George, 104 Kenya, 18, 222n2-35 US embassy bombing, 10 Kepel, Gilles, 174–5 Kephart, Jonathan, 139 Kernberg, Otto, 165, 180 Kerry, Senator John, 10, 14, 84, 89, 127, 139, 142, 153, 166, 192–3, 258n9-36 Khalaf, Roula, 218 Khan, Abdul Qadeer, 78, 216 Khan, Humera, 256n8-53 Khan, Irene, 80 Khan, Mohamed Siddiq, 205, 214 Khattab, Amir, 63

[ 287 ]

INDEX
Khomeini, Ayatollah, 174–5 Khwaja, Maruf, 43 Kim Jong Il, President, 36 Kingsolver, Barbara, 171 Kinnock, Neil, 188, 189 Kissinger, Henry, 175–6 Klare, Michael, 69 Klein, Joe, 97 Klein, Melanie, 155 Klein, Naomi, 72–3, 76 Knightley, Phillip, 134 Kolakowski, Leslek, 172 Korea (North), 14, 21, 31, 36, 68, 90, 216 Korea (South), 21 Kosovo, 206, 209 Kristof, Nicolas, 252–3n7-47 Kristol, William, 116, 119, 182 Krugman, Paul, 113 Kuwait, 33, 175 L La Fontaine, Jean de, 211 bin Laden, Osama, 16–19, 38–9, 44–5, 46, 56–7, 127, 153, 162, 165, 206, 207, 221n2-21 description, 8–9 evading capture, 16, 62–3, 82 reasons for attacking USA, 170 relatives of, 64 attitude to Saddam Hussein, 11 Taliban offers to surrender, 17, 62, 86 tapes of, 33, 36, 148 Lancet, the, 13 Lary, Diana, 147 law anti-terrorist in Morocco, 230n2–246 anti-terrorist in UK, 13, 77, 183 anti-terrorist in USA, 182 as cornerstone of fight against terror, 214 ignored in war on terror, 74, 210–11 international, disregard of, 1, 118, 202–3, 205 international, expected to support Iraq war, 136 to justify punishment, 132–3 pre-emption and, 22, 205 US resistance to international, 213, 223n2-50 Lebanon, 60 Ledeen, Michael, 191 Lessing, Doris, 97 Lewis, Bernard, 33 Libby, Lewis, 115, 116 Liberia, 57, 86, 106, 147, 174 Libya, 21, 68, 90, 216, 229n2-199 Liddy, G,. Gordon, 153 Lifton, Robert, 148 Lindner, Evelin, 38, 203 Loa, Tania, 217 Longley, Clifford, 164, 166 looting in Iraq, 12, 111 Lopes de Silva, Ramiro, 111, 244n585 M Machiavelli, Niccolò, 119 magical thinking, 4, 145, 254n8–29, 265–6n10-33 and culture, 190–209 magical-phenomenalism, 257n839 and witch-hunts, 96–114 Mailer, Norman, 137, 163, 166, 193 Malaysia, 32 Mamdani, Mahmoud, 54–5 Manji, Irshad, 219 Mann, Michael, 77, 78, 139, 214 Manning, Sir David, 179 Maresca, John, 70 Massing, Michael, 178, 182 Massumi, Brian, 123 Mazen, Prime Minister Abu, 124 McCarthy, Senator Joe, 191, 193 McKinnon, Mark, 192 McVeigh, Timothy, 49, 169, 258n955 Meadows, John, 87 Médecins sans Frontières, 30 media

[ 288 ]

INDEX
BBC/UK government dispute, 183–4 control in Iraq, 187 coverage promoting terrorism, 56 distorted coverage, 143 distorted coverage as smokescreen for power, 5 embedded journalists, 178 lack of information conveyed and retained, 197–8 manipulation by New Labour, 189 movies, 58, 193, 263n10-19 political impact, 75–6 as pro-war, 71, 177–8, 245n6-2 propaganda in see propaganda reality TV, 195 source of security, 251n7-40 use by terrorists and insurgents, 198–9 see also al-Jazeera, CNN, Fox Media, MSNBC Meija, Camilo, 82–3 Meir, Prime Minister Golda, 37 de Menezes, Jean Charles, 129–30 Micklethwait, John, 107 migrants, 206, 241n4-53 first and second-generation in the West, attitudes, 39–40 terrorists as, see terrorists, international movement of to the USA, 42–3, 94 as US army recruits, 240n4-40 Miller, Arthur, 183, 191, 259n9-75 Miller, David, 5 Miller, Geoffrey, 143 Miller, Senator Zell, 185 Milne, Seumas, 176 Milosevic, President Slobodan, 74–5 Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh, 43 Monbiot, George, 140, 158–9 Montaigne, Michel de, 118 Montesquieu, Charles de, 130 Moore, Michael, 93, 168, 171, 213 Morgan, Sally, 179 Moro Islamic Liberation Front, 46 Morocco, 45 terrorist attacks in, 13, 222n2-35 torture in, 6, 230n2-246 Moussaoui, Zacarius, 40–2 Mozambique, 249n6-94 MSNBC, 71, 134, 143, 198 Murdoch, Rupert, 71, 198 Murray, Craig, 47 Musharraf, President Pervez, 17, 48, 63, 77–8 Muslims, 256n8-53 aided by USA, 206 anti-Americanism, 218 attitude to nations, 33 British, 9, 181 discrimination against, 40, 217 failures of, 219 feeling of anger and humiliation, 1, 31–48, 145–59, 218 generation gap, 43–4 human rights of, 9 in the Philippines, 46–7 rejection of terrorism by majority, 9 as suicide killers see suicide killers viewing themselves as target of war on terror, 9 see also Islam N Nahdi, Fuad, 33 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 33 neoconservative approach, 2, 107, 115–16 Nicaragua, 22, 68 Nigeria, 30 Nixon, President Richard M., 175–6 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 30, 216 see also individual NGOs by name North Korea see Korea (North) Northern Ireland, 61 Northrop Grumman, 68 Norton-Taylor, Richard, 103

[ 289 ]

INDEX
nuclear weapons see weapons Nunn, Senator Sam, 231n2-271 bin Nurhaysim, Amrozi, 85 O O’Neill, Paul, 116, 118, 119–20, 127, 178, 240n4-32 oil as factor in war on terror, 69–71, 87, 236n3-115 and US power, 155, 216 see also Iran, Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia Olsen, Greg, 88 Omar, Mullah, 17 Orwell, George, 51, 103, 197 Osman, Hamadi, 230n2-232 P Paine, Tom, 190, 251n7-45, 263n10-7 Pakistan, 47–8, 62, 174, 215, 216, 257n8-49 attitudes to terror, 37, 44, 77–8 attitudes to USA in, 13 negotiations over bin Laden, 17 terrorist attacks in, 13, 222n2-35 Palestine, 106–7, 188, 215 anger at events in, 33–4, 43 attitudes to terror, 37 attitudes to USA in, 13 Liberation Organization, 201–2 ‘road map’, 158 sense of Palestinian people, 37 terrorists in, 43 Panama, 68, 112 Parekh, Bhikhu, 218 Peacekeeping Institute (PKI), 112 Perle, Richard, 21, 116, 117, 136, 166 Peru, 10, 61 Philippines, 32, 43, 44, 63, 68, 78, 214 extremists/terrorists in, 46–7 US troops in, 47 Piaget, Jean, 255n8-39 Pierce, William, 168–9, 258n9-55 Pilger, John, 5, 65 Plame, Valerie, 182 Post, Jerrold, 106 poverty and deprivation, 38 and fanaticism, 241n4-56 in the USA, 68, 92–3, 241n4-53 Powell, Colin, 30, 90, 101, 122, 128, 134, 139–40, 154–5, 194, 221n221, 240n4-32 Powell, Jonathan, 179 power and aggression, 137, 147 British loss, 157, 176 discourse as smokescreen for, 5 shaping knowledge, 52 pre-emptive military action, doctrine of, 19–22 see also Russia, United States prisoners, 237n3-167 abuse of, 27–8, 61, 88 and human rights, 38 in Iraq, 27–8 (see also Abu Ghraib) ‘not of war’, 81, 114 shaming of, 149, 168 in Soviet Gulag, 51–2 suspected terrorists as, 23 (see also Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay) of the United States, 27–8, 118, 149 (see also Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay) see also torture prisons, run privately, 65 propaganda action as, 131–44 and advertising, 194–201 elite’s belief in, 5 by insurgents, 198–9 US government, 5 ‘psy-ops’, 137 see also propaganda public relations, 71 punishment and behaviourism, 269n11-31 fashions for, 208 ‘by God’, 165–6, 172 questionable deterrent, 239n4-6

[ 290 ]

INDEX
seen as deterrent, 85 used to imply guilt, 132 see also prisoners, torture Putin, President Vladimir, 75 Putzel, James, 46 Q al-Qaida, 9–10, 16–19, 23–4, 55, 56 activities see bombings, terror in Afghanistan, 16–18 decentralisation under attack, 17–18 estimated membership, 10, 23 identity and place in wider terrorist network, 18 impact of Iraq war, 12 informers used against, 214–15 leaders of, 43 (see also leaders by name) nature of members, 31 no link with Saddam Hussein, 11, 134, 198, 221–2n2-21 operational requirements, 17 recruitment of locally oriented terrorists, 44 sources of funding, 10, 18, 54, 214 synthesis of elements, 44–5 training camps, 18–19, 23, 162, 224n2-59 Quinlan, Michael, 189 Qutb, Sayyid, 10, 32, 207 R Raban, Jonathan, 43 Ramadan, Tariq, 163, 218 Ramadan, impact of, 29–30, 227n2228 Rampton, Sheldon, 5, 143, 171, 178, 194 Reagan, President Ronald (and administration of), 68, 85, 99, 175, 193 refugees from Afghanistan, 25, 142 from Iran, 142 religion against easy certainty, 128–9 and Tony Blair, 126 and G. W. Bush, 124, 126 as diversion from radicalism, 74 evangelical prophecies, 138, 252n7-47 fundamentalist traits, 165, 169 and God’s displeasure with America, 172 and history, 138 and immunity from harm, 256n9-2 justifying action on both sides, 155–6 and the right in the USA, 94, 156, 163, 241n4-52, 245n6-3, 257n9-24 and science in the USA, 255n6-3 and Second Coming, 138, 252n747 and social order, 119 and the USA as ‘chosen people’, 164, 166, 190–1, 200, 212, 251n7-42 see also Islam Rendon Group, 71 resources, natural and civil war, 66 revenge and banditry, 39 and shame as motives, 28–9, 31–48 US soldiers’ desire for, 150 Revolutionary United Front (RUF), 35–6, 54, 56, 59, 66–7, 80, 185 Rice, Condoleezza, 64, 70, 107, 126, 134, 169, 184, 261n9-108 Richards, Paul, 57 Richardson, Michael, 150 Riviere, Joan, 151, 155 Robben, Antonius, 183 Roberts, Hugh, 13, 44–5, 55 Robins, Robert, 106 Roche, James, 68 Roth, Kenneth, 76, 207 Rove, Karl, 76, 92, 94, 134, 182 Roy, Arundhati, 105, 252n7-61 Rumsfeld, Donald, 20, 30, 69, 71,

[ 291 ]

INDEX
77, 90, 99, 109, 112, 115, 116–17, 122–3, 155–6, 172, 195–7, 199, 234n3-76, 261n9-108 approves torture techniques, 114 ‘unknown unknowns’ statement, 123, 196 Russia, 100, 184, 237n3-155, 240n439, 260–1n9-105 military spending in, 15, 71–2 nuclear material in, 49, 216 and oil, 70 and the pre-emptive doctrine, 22 tactics in Chechnya, 60, 63, 65, 72, 75, 78 terrorist attacks in, 13, 22, 60, 75, 222n2-35, 233n3-46, 252n7-56 see also Soviet Union Rwanda, 22, 53, 61–2, 63, 72, 79, 134, 136, 151, 161, 202, 209, 234–5n3-83 S Sadat, President Anwar, 43 al-Sadr, Moqtada, 111, 113 Safieh, Afief, 38 Said, Edward, 154, 218–19 Samad, Abd, 40–2 Sambrook, Richard, 183–4 Saudi Arabia, 252n7–59 attitudes to terrorism, 38, 44 attitudes to USA in, 13 economic crisis, 45 funding of radical/terrorist groups, 19 links with 9/11, 16, 45, 71 as oil supplier, 70–1, 87, 236n3115 terrorist attacks in, 8, 13, 33, 64, 222n2–35 torture in, 6 trade with USA, 63–4 as US ally, 71, 216 US military presence, 45, 170, 173, 174 US threats of action in, 21 Savage, Michael, 143 scapegoating, see witch-hunts Schaffer, Bernard, 7 Schama, Simon, 93, 241n4-50 Scheff, Thomas, 160–1 Scheuer, Michael, 62 Schmitt, Gary, 119 Schroeder, Chancellor Gerhard, 184 Schroen, Gary, 62 Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 193 Scowcroft, Brent, 128 security and certainty, 84, 89 looseness of notion, 83 perceived need for, 237n4-1 need for international systems, 216 see also insecurity, sense of Serbia, 53, 68, 74–5, 269n11-31 Shakespeare, William, 34 shame see humiliation and shame Sharon, Prime Minister Ariel, 9, 77, 158, 166 Shelley, Percy, 156 Shining Path, 10, 61 ‘shock and awe’, 195 Short, Clare, 24, 30, 125, 170, 256n858 Shukrallah, Hani, 33, 34 Shulsky, 119 Sierra Leone, 54, 55–7, 185, 209, 215, 229n2–230, 232n3-13, 253n773, 256n9-2 civil war, 35–6, 51, 54–5, 58–61, 66–7, 72, 80, 86, 96, 147 humanitarian aid in, 7 Sinai, 33 Singer, Peter, 8, 22, 49, 124 Skinner, Burrhus, 269n11-31 Solzhenitsyn, Alexander, 9, 104, 172 Somalia, 106, 174, 206, 239n4-19 Soros, George, 16, 136, 239n4-3 Souaidia, Habib, 58 Soviet Union, 49, 51–2 persecution tactics, 9 see also individual Soviet states by name Spain, 77 terrorist attacks in, 13, 56, 190

[ 292 ]

INDEX
Stallone, Sylvester, 193 Stauber, John, 5, 143, 171, 178, 194 Steele, Jonathan, 34, 218 Stern, Jessica, 33, 257n8-49 Stevenson, Jonathan, 18 Stoll, David, 59 Stothard, Peter, 31, 124–5, 158, 170, 180, 248n6-80 Strauss, Leo, 119 Straw, Jack, 77 Sudan, 79–80, 206, 219 humanitarian aid in, 7, 30 People’s Liberation Army, 58 views of famine, 6 war in, 58–9, 66 Sugar, Ronald, 68 suicide killers, 1, 37, 85, 252n7–59, 261n9-122 arguments for incarcerating suspected/intended, 123 in Iraq, 14 see also terrorists Sun, the, 12 Suskind, Ron, 123, 128, 134, 192 Syria, 21, 142–3 torture in, 27 war against Israel, 33 T Tajikistan, 175 Taliban, 16–17, 42, 45–6, 62, 82, 108, 174, 197, 216 see also Afghanistan Tanzania, 10 Taylor, President Charles, 57, 106 Tenet, George, 82, 122 terror acts by USA seen otherwise, 173 attacks, 196 (see also 9/11, bombings) attacks claimed thwarted, 13 claimed terror states, 21, 86, 99 criminalisation of glorification, 183 promoted by counter-insurgency tactics, 57 promoted by Iraq war, 127–8 rationale and reasons, 2, 32, 36, 38–9, 170 (see also terrorists, recruitment and emergence of) as state tactic, 129 and surrender to terrorist demands, 201–2, 250n7-28 see also 9/11, bombings, individual countries by name terror networks, 54–5, 221n2-21, 239n4-26 decentralisation of, 2, 54–5 financing of, 64 state sponsorship claimed, 20 see also al-Qaida and other networks by name terrorists 22 most wanted, 8 allowed to escape, 61 blending in, 240n4-26 suspected arrested by USA, 23, 118 elusiveness, 85 envy as presumed motive, 104 international movements of, 17, 39, 142–3, 174–5, 257n8-49 Israel’s most wanted, 9 key threats from, 13 with local causes, 31, 44 numbers of, 23 as opposite of ‘us’, 172–3 perceived motivations/wants, 164, 172, 228n2-180 recruitment and emergence of, 24, 39–42, 163, 181 (see also terror, rationale and reasons) seen as discrete and eliminable group, 8, 23–4, 202, 208 seen as fluid group, 9 see also suicide killers Thackeray, Balasaheb K., 258n9-57 Theeb, Abu, 28 Theweleit, Klaus, 160 think-tanks, 169 Thomas, Keith, 96, 100, 102, 104, 212 Time magazine, 12, 44, 56, 85, 191, 200

[ 293 ]

INDEX
Todd, Emmanuel, 155 torture, 1, 100, 146, 148, 230n2-246 in Afghanistan, 109 creating heroes, 209 endorsed, 207–9 in Guatemala, 74 in Iraq, 113–14, 148, 177 (see also Abu Ghraib) in third-party countries, 6, 27, 65, 76, 207 information obtained through, use in Britain/USA, 1, 47, 114 methods claimed to stop short of, 27–8, 208 in Northern Ireland, 61 and pressure to gain confession, 242n5-24 torturer as hero, 193, 264n10-20 in Uzbekistan, 47 Toynbee, Polly, 97–8, 170 Truman, President Harry S., 67 Tunisia, 45, 222n2-35 Turkey, 174, 176, 219 terrorist attacks in, 13 Turkmenistan, 70 Turton, David, 10 U Uganda, 61, 66, 79, 160 United Kingdom, 100, 188–9, 259n9-105 anti-poverty programme, 215 Attorney General, 15 BBC/government dispute, 183–4 Defence and Overseas Policy Committee, 125 ‘dodgy dossier’, 11–12, 122, 128, 222n2-25, 247n6-52 Foreign Affairs Committee, 11–12, 122 foreign policy stance, 157–9, 176–7 government arguments for preemptive legal action, 123 intelligence sources, 103, 122 Joint Intelligence Committee, 127–8 Labour Party, 135, 188–9 (see also Blair) ‘Operation Rockingham’, 117 relationship with USA, 157–9, 189 terrorist attacks in, 13, 56, 130, 181, 240n4-26, 261n9-122 United Nations Atomic Energy Agency, 12 criticisms of, 209 peacekeeping role, 215, 234–6n383 Resolution 1441, 15 role in collective security, 15 Security Council, 15, 101, 136, 178, 184, 201, 217, 259n9-105 system of weapons inspection, 11, 15, 100–1 US attitude to, 136, 193 United States agriculture, 93–4 arrests of known or suspected terrorists, 23 American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 182 anti-intellectualism, 192, 212 army recruitment, 240n4-40 attitudes to continuing Iraq occupation, 144 budget, 152, 155 Christian militias, 169 CIA, see CIA claim to have ‘defeated’ the Soviet Union, 156, 191 claimed right to unilateral/ pre-emptive military action, 12, 14–15, 19–21, 48–9, 118, 204, 213, 231n2-265, 247n6-55 consumerism see consumerism Democratic Party, 182 (see also individual politicians by name) dependence on oil, 155 domestic historical experience of dissent, 180 embassy bombings, 10, 162 FBI, 18, 215

[ 294 ]

INDEX
general immunity to war, 84 gun ownership/use, 169, 217 history of military intervention, 68 hurricane Katrina disaster 2005, 110, 113, 165, 190, 265n10-44 immigrants to, 42–3, 94 inequality and poverty, 68, 92–3, 241n4-53 influence of, 256–7n8-52 isolationism, 85, 202, 223n2-50 legal system, 236n3-129 military, benefits from war on terror, 65–6 military, characteristics of, 243n5-62, 244n5-80, 248n6-64 military spending, 67, 174 (see also weapons) missile shield, 69 moral issues in politics, 162–3 National Educational Association, 171 National Energy Policy Development Group, 69 National Security Strategy, 85–6, 247n6-55 nature of hostility to, 13, 42–3, 44–5, 55, 102, 170–7 Office of Special Plans, 116–17, 119 paranoia in politics, 165, 191, 202 Patriot Act, 182 perceived defence needs, 21, 237n3-155 policy on Chechnya, 78 policies of deterrence, 85 Project on Defense Alternatives, 16, 108 Project for the New American Century, 116, 119 psychological attitudes in, 149–53, 166–9, 171–2, 187, 190–209 religion in see religion Republican Party, 93, 113, 161, 192–3, 258n9-36 (see also individual politicians by name) secularism in, 165, 257n9-24 self-centred worldview, 154, 255n8-36 ‘softness’ of, 160–70 terrorist attacks claimed thwarted, 13 terrorist attacks in, 49, 120, 169, 258n9-55 (see also 9/11) trade with Saudi Arabia, 63–4 troops in the Philippines, 47 torture used by, see torture trust in the government, 133, 250–1n7-7 view of Europeans, 167 University of Massachusetts, 198 Uribe, President Alvaro, 73 Uzbekistan, 44, 47, 70, 78–9 Islamic groups in, 79 V Vandenburg, Senator Arthur, 67 Venezuela, 70 Vidal, Gore, 49 Vietnam (war), 68, 83, 85, 88, 134, 161, 173, 179, 186, 191 Vines, Alex, 106 violence conditions of growth of, 10 deaths from see deaths and dehumanization of victims, 35, 38, 140, 143 and double standards, 203, 214 manifestation of greed, 98 perceived differently in friendly and enemy countries, 6 as power, 146–50 practical and psychological purposes, 57–8 randomised as tactic, 74, 129–30 seen as mindless, 202 unlawful used to justify ‘lawful’, 131 W Wallis, Jim, 128–9 Wal-mart, 94 Walter, Natasha, 198

[ 295 ]

INDEX
war civil, see civil war contemporary tactics, 58 covert aims, 51 declarations forestalling criticism, 139 First World, 22 Iraq see Iraq war notion of, 51–4 outdated nature of threat, 1 political functions, 72–5, 231n3-4 Second World, 205 Vietnam see Vietnam war war studies, 242n5-20 ‘war on terror’ aggression against critics, 146 anger in Muslim world, 31–48 counterproductive tactics, 58–64, 214 and domestic repression, 44 economic benefits, 6, 65–72, 210 financial war, 64 hidden functions of, 3 made up of civil wars, 53 political benefits, 6, 75–80, 210 seen as war on Islam, 9 selling of, 194–201 simultaneously ‘winning’ and ‘losing’, 144, 200, 212 weapons and advertising, 198 cheapness in global market, 54 chemical, 175–6, 177 countries with major capacity, 14 gun control, 216–17 high-tech, 69 inspection see United Nations in Israel, 216 looted from Iraq, 12 manufacturers, 68 nuclear, 14, 48, 69, 216 nuclear, claimed right of US to use, 20, 48–9, 103, 231n2-265 nuclear disarmament, 216 of mass destruction not found in Iraq, 11, 100–2, 134 of mass destruction owned by USA, 174 trade in, 63–4, 174, 175–6, 234n376 Will, George, 171 Williams, Raymond, 195 Wilson, Prime Minister Harold, 134 Wilson, Joseph, 182 Wilson, President Woodrow, 190–1 witch-hunts, 4, 22, 96–114, 130, 149, 183, 184, 191, 212–13, 236n3-123 witchcraft, allegations of, 96–7, 102, 104 Wolf, John, 100 Wolf, Naomi, 187, 265n10-44 Wolfgang, Walter, 77 Wolfowitz, Paul, 20, 68, 71, 107, 115–19, 128, 162, 195, 196, 198, 261n9-108 women accused of envying each other, 104 in Guatemala, 186 and macho attitudes, 169–70 as witches see witch-hunts Woodward, Bob, 8, 70, 76, 101, 107, 117, 118, 124, 126, 128, 154–5, 158, 167–8, 195, 198, 227n2-154 Wooldridge, Adrian, 107 Y Ya-alon, Moshe, 60 Yemen, 17, 55, 222n2-35 Young, Neil, 150 Yugoslavia, former, 77, 157 Z Zaman, Haji Muhammad, 36 Zangwill, Israel, 37 al-Zargawi, Abu Masab, 142, 221n2-21, 231n2-264 al-Zawahiri, Ayman, 44, 46, 207 Zimbabwe, 66 Zur, Judith, 186

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