A Discourse on The Semiotics of War in the 21st Century:
Or “Get Up, Get Up and Get Down… 9/11 is a Joke in Your Town”
Brian James Spies
Today Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, spoke before the United Nations General Assembly. The contents of his speech are of no matter, we have heard it before, “America Bad, Israel Evil, Holocaust Didn’t Happen, Etc Etc Etc…” The ramblings of a crazy man, be he a head of state or not, are of no consequence to me. What is beginning to be of concern, or more specifically annoyance, is America and it’s media and populace’s seeming indignation. The news tonite trotted out the typical mock rage… “How could he say such things, and so close to the site and anniversary of 9/11.” Really, we’re still shocked and outraged at the words of a psychopathic dictator. Now, I’m not suggesting America’s nerves should be deadened by this point; I’m a reasonable man whose grown accustomed to this nation’s diva like behaviour. No, what I’m frustrated by is this great nation’s inability to understand the basic concept of cause and effect. Not two weeks ago citizens in our country both threatened to and actually went through with the burning of Islam’s holiest book. How did you think an already paranoid and unbalanced man who treats that book as sacred would react the first time someone put a pedestal, a microphone and a camera in front of him. Do we not understand that by storming out of his speech we’re enabling this small, sick, little man? I thought Barack Obama was supposed to bring a new age of reason and discourse to this country. Surprise, America didn’t want one. Unfortunately, The President for some reason feels compelled to play along, when asked for comment President Obama issued the same nonsense agitprop that he was supposed to bring an end to. Don’t get me wrong I love Obama and I love America but I’ve grown tired of both the President and the country’s juvenile behaviour. We act, with regards to 9/11, like it is the worst travesty ever committed against a nation. Fuck, we’ve done worse in the past 60 years. Where were the tears and theatrics for Baghdad when we spent a week bombing it into the stone-age during Operation: Shock & Awe. Where was the call to arms when we have repeatedly used drones to attack civilian targets in Afghanistan. Just earlier this week it was reported that American service members have been killing Afghani civilians for sport! Where is the rage, America? Furthermore, on the subject of the military, can we please stop referring to American service members committing atrocities as bad apples. These aren’t rotten apples, they’re a poisonous fruit. I don’t blame them necessarily, this is war; it’s not pretty. Human beings aren’t supposed to kill other human beings and then pretend that nothing happened. War demands that its participants behave in a manor that in any other situation modern psychiatry would consider pathological. War pretends that we are werewolves, that we can behave like animals and then magically transform back into civilized creatures and productive members of society. Sorry, but the universe doesn’t work that way. Moreover, let us not forget; these so called “brave patriots” volunteered to go kill other human beings. They woke up one day and decided that killing people was a good idea. For me, the absence of the draft totally obliterates any pass I might be willing to give these men and women. They are not defending Freedom or securing our Liberty. They are, by choice, volunteering for any myriad of reasons to go half way across the world and kill people. This is not heroic, it is bestial and inhuman; Mao was wrong, Freedom doesn’t come from the barrel of a gun. It comes from the hearts and minds of ordinary men and women who find within themselves the desire and innate right of freedom. A government can infringe upon what I speak, what I read and the actions I take but what our founding father’s meant when they said that no government shall infringe upon man’s inalienable right to Liberty is that even with those rights taken I am free because I choose, in my heart, to be free. No government shall ever infringe upon this belief, this deeply held conviction that I am free. This was the belief that nourished Mandela in prison, assthat an assassin’s bullet could not strip from Dr King and that has given hope to every oppressed person the world over. No, freedom isn’t free but it’s cost is not a human life but instead a bullet through the silence of oppression in favour of the cry of dissent. Liberty is already the property of all peoples, as long as they are willing to voice it. It is this that America must remember; liberty doesn’t come from a gun. Liberty comes like a beacon through the act of dissent. Until we remember this we aren’t actually free. We’re just occupants of Plato’s cave marveling at shadow puppets while the real world passes us by.