The West Has Normalised Racist Wars - But You Can't Solve Complex Problems with 1,000lb Bombs
‘Radicalisation’ is our new dirty word in the US and UK, yet radical change is needed. Here’s an idea: stop trying to fix the world with high explosives
The West Has Normalised Racist Wars - But You Can't Solve Complex Problems with 1,000lb Bombs
By Frankie Boyle / theguardian.com
Jul 1, 2015

I suppose that whether this article prompted by the Charleston shootings feels topical enough will depend on whether America has another mass shooting before it goes to print. If you’re in the US, there’s a fair chance it will seem dated because you are actually being gunned down as you read it, so I’ll try to get straight to the point. It’s surely worth wondering whether it’s time to retire the flag that has for so long been a rallying point for racists and murderers, the stars and stripes. There’s a genuine question to be asked here: what responsibility does the US state bear for the Charleston shootings when racist murder seems to be part of its policing strategy and most of its foreign policy?

Occasionally I wonder whether at some point in the past 100 years the US gave the rest of the world a safe word and we’ve simply forgotten it. Or maybe we’re just saying it wrong (Aluminium? I’m sure you said it was aluminium ...) Hillary Clinton has been speaking out against the “racist terrorism” of Dylann Roofdespite being the architect of the US military intervention in Libya. The US’s record of invasions, assassinations and government overthrows is racist, I think. Imagining that you can kill people and seize control of their resources without believing them to be inferior requires a certain amount of intellectual flexibility. The same sort of intellectual flexibility that allows people to express grief for the migrants who drown in the Mediterranean and hatred for the ones who survive.

Part of the American mindset comes from the fact that the US was formed through the racist murder of indigenous people. The reason that whole country is such a horror story is that the entire thing is built on an Old Indian Graveyard. I worry that perhaps white America wants to believe that its racial fault lines only run as deep as the Confederate flag. Hence the current uproar at names of southern civil-war generals being on street signs while the faces of slave owners are still on the currency.

Of course not everybody gets behind the US’s view of itself, which is why it is the world’s largest producer of propaganda. Last year’s biggest movie, American Sniper, was billed as the story of the US army’s deadliest soldier, which must have felt pretty galling for the guy who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. It was basically Star Wars from the point of view of one of the stormtroopers, and the director (Clint Eastwood – I’m not even joking) encouraged us to get behind the idea that you should take moral decisions when women and children are in your crosshairs, rather than long, long before. You got the feeling that the clunky scene explaining that sniper Chris Kyle’s unit painted skulls on their gear as a tribute to the Punisher was necessary in case viewers made the more logical supposition that it was a tribute to the Waffen-SS.

There are many indicators of advanced civilisations, but unthinking hero worship of the military isn’t one of them. The US, like the UK, has been forced to move away from a conscription army and now has a mercenary army. It’s the reason you don’t get war poets any more.

Indeed, before Britain feels too superior, we should perhaps remember that Roof’s main problem here would have been feeling torn between quite a few of the main parties at the last election. We live in a country where posting “Let’s riot or something bruv!” on Facebook will get you a couple of years in prison, while writing a column saying we should bomb Syria is practically an entrance exam for public intellectuals. Of course, it’s never phrased as a plea to kill shepherds in pursuit of our geopolitical interests. By the time it hits the broadsheets, it’s a plea to arm moderate rebels (they’ve got a moderate vision of the country’s future and they’re going to kill until they get it!). It’s a humanitarian intervention. We’re not fighting wars for control of resources. We’re not the aggressor in countries such as Iraq, we’re actually defending Iraq. From the Iraqis. The most obvious anti-war argument that none of this has ever worked just doesn’t seem to come up.

Of course our governments are just trying to protect us from terror. In the same way that someone banging a hornets’ nest with a stick is trying to protect us from hornets. Maybe I’ll even give them the benefit of the doubt and concede that they are just naive do-gooders trying to bring the world peace and stability through the medium of high explosives. What gets me is that the new dirty word in the west is “radicalisation”, as if radical change wasn’t obviously needed; as if the status quo has any decency, or is even survivable. It’s not actually difficult to see solutions to the US’s problems: children can do it, until we educate them out of it. Internationally, I propose the radical step of not trying to solve complex political problems with 1,000lb bombs; domestically, I propose they start addressing inequality by paying reparations for slavery. I’m well aware that in a society where war and discrimination are now almost entirely normalised, both options sound like madness.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 20,256 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 2,990 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,008 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,124 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 532 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 495 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 451 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 382 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 368 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 315 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 272 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 247 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Introversion Is Not a Personality Fail
Cat Elz · 228 views today · A few years ago, I got into an argument with my now mother-in-law over my supposedly “backwards” ways. My transgression? I did not attend a party of my now husband’s (then...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 226 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 224 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 215 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Here's How We're Going to End Factory Farming
2 min · 198 views today · Factory farming is a huge problem. But the solution is simple, if you'll join us. Watch this short 2 minute video to see how... Help make a kinder world possible...
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 197 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 174 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 169 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The West Has Normalised Racist Wars - But You Can't Solve Complex Problems with 1,000lb Bombs