Saturday, June 05, 2004

"'Abu Ghraib Means Terrorism'"

The American captors at Abu Ghraib prison who imposed abasement rituals on their captives found their permission to do so in a climate of impunity. That climate was created by a triumphalist administration committed to a strategy of pursuing hegemony through pre-emptive war.

The ability of the security leadership to pursue an adventuristic foreign policy depended upon acquiescence in and support of it by a sufficient proportion of the American public. That acquiescence and support were generated by the mobilization of fear, which precluded the possibility of thinking through pre-emptive war calmly and, instead, created panic.

That the American public is not generally triumphalist and disposed to impunity is abundantly evidenced by its dominant response to the trophy photographs of the abasement rituals -- shock and repugnance. The root of the adventure in Iraq and the events of Abu Ghraib was the public's lapse of reason.

It is a commonplace of political science that security is the overriding political and public interest -- it is the prime function of government, to which all others are more or less gratuitous additions. Fear is at the core of politics and the state -- the most potent human emotion.
The Power and Interest News Report (PINR)">more