Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.
In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.
At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.
Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.
John Stuart Mill
Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.
The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
All generalizations are false, including this one.
A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
The Public is merely a multiplied "me."
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
Otto Von Bismarck
When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.
I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.
Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.
Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.
A witty saying proves nothing.
If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.
When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.
I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.
Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.
All I know is I'm not a Marxist.
The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
The Privatization of Force
Old soldiers don't fade away, they are hired by PMC's (Private Miltary Companies) to fight in places like Iraq. They are used by nations like the US to do things that nations don't want to be accountable for and their operations are hidden from public scrutiny by a veil of both corporate and state secrecy.
Mercenaries have been used through the ages as a natural part of warfare and is probably as old as prostitution. Machiavelli warned about their use and said that a leader who achieves security of his state using them, would never be able to really be secure that those same men would not turn on him or be hired by his enemies. Yet prior to the Enlightenment when citizens became nationalistic and the central resevoire for soldiers, mercenaries were the main way that battles were fought. This was because of the enormous costs of maintaining a standing for-hire army. The US for instance never had a standing army until after WWII.
The modern US volunteer army has been been stripped to the bone in terms of being a lean, mean fighting machine. While that's good for moderate and short term engagements, it cannot hope to prevail over the long haul or when having to police a huge area such as they are expected to do now in Iraq. The result is that the US government has made it legal for PMCs, whose workers or "contracters",must do a lot of the work on their own without oversight from the US military. Because there are no real international or even national regulations governing the responsibilities or activities of these companies there have been situations not unlike Abu Ghraib that go unaccounted for. In fact some of the interrogators and translators, including one that is accused of raping a boy detainee, have never been charged because mercenaries in Iraq have complete immunity from Iraqi law under an edict issued by the US Coalition Provisional Authority.What using these companies in Iraq has amounted to is a form of war profiteering on a huge scale completely out of sight and accountibility of the American public. There are estimates that these 'security contractors", who patrol out of uniform in unmarked vehicles and armed with machines guns, account for as much as 20% of the US miltary presence in Iraq.
An article on the activities of PMCs in Iraq in the Washington Post commented:
“Far more than in any other conflict in United States history, the Pentagon is relying on private security companies to perform crucial jobs once entrusted to the military. In addition to guarding innumerable reconstruction projects, private companies are being asked to provide security for the chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer III, and other senior officials; to escort supply convoys through hostile territory; and to defend key locations, including 15 regional authority headquarters and even the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, the centre of American power in Iraq.”
The money to be made by these is enormous. It has been estimated that 25% of the $18.6 billion allocated by the Bush administration for Iraq’s “reconstruction,” is to pay for these private companies. Aside from that, the Bush administration does not count these hired troops in their causualty counts. Remember the four soldiers burned and mutilated and publicly hung from the bridge in Fallujah? Those were men hired by a secretive company called Blackwater that has about 450 personnel in Iraq doing various "security jobs" for US government. Americans reacted to the killings with outrage believing that these were American soldiers in our military, when in fact they were hired mercenaries who could have come from any nation and might have been perpetrating any sorts of horrors on the locals and for which they were killed. We simply don't know. Most of these companies are extreme tight-lipped about their personnel and most often do not even publicly report it when they are killed.
The problem is the lack of accountability and secrecy under which these firm operate. Mercenaries can provide an occupying nation with a supply of hired killers carrying out the dirtiest aspects of the occupation, from torture to assassination. To my mind, this is a serious situation that has been intensifying for some time now and needs intense public scrutiny.
"Netpolitik is a new style of diplomacy that seeks to exploit the powerful capabilities of the Internet to shape politics, culture, values, and personal identity. But unlike Realpolitik — which seeks to advance a nation’s political interests through amoral coercion — Netpolitik traffics in “softer” issues such as moral legitimacy, culturalidentity, societal values, and public perception." - The Rise of Netpolitik
PUN-DIT (n) : A learned man; a teacher; a source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit.