The way to win is to attack the opposition’s civilian population


August 6, 1945, the United States used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki. ( 9th August 1945)

68 years on from Hiroshima, The Nuclear Madness Remains


The 69th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reminds me of Chomsky’s observation that the way to win a war is to attack the other side’s civilian population … it worked in Japan, and (particularly at the moment) it is obviously the strategy.

More than ever before, we are being brought face to face with the horrors of the bloodshed.  The genocidal intent of the Israelis in Gaza, the barbarism of ISIS in Iraq, the murderous gas pipeline power struggle in Syria, the little reported ethnic and cultural ‘cleansing’ of the Donbass region of Ukraine and many unreported massacres in the Congo, Sudan and more.

Chomsky illustrates the effectiveness (and hypocrisy) of the strategy in recent piece about downing of the passenger plane in the Ukraine:

Every literate person, and certainly every editor and commentator instantly recalled another case when a plane was shot down with comparable loss of life: Iran Air 655 with 290 killed, including 66 children, shot down in Iranian airspace in a clearly identified commercial air route. The crime was not carried out “with U.S. support,” nor has its agent ever been uncertain. It was the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes, operating in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf….It was a major factor in Iran’s recognition that it could not fight on any longer, according to historian Dilip Hiro.

Naturally, if it is ‘their’ forces, it is described as a massacre and an outrage, but if the killing is from ‘our side’, it is simply collateral damage, unreported or reported as if legitimate.

This is not new, as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed details in his lecture ‘The Hidden Holocaust’, reposted below.  Historically, this was the pattern of colonisation.  Millions of indigenous peoples were systematically exterminated and their cultures erased.  The remaining population was cowed and of necessity compliant.

But the killing continues.  It may be overt as in Gaza, Donetsk or Iraq… or it may be hidden in the statistics about ever increasing global poverty or the million children who die every year from Malaria or from the unrecorded effects of sanctions or from polluted environments or the people dispossessed of their land by corporations or poverty wages or by removing social security or from climate change.  None of these need be happening.

Nowadays, colonisation is less about occupying a land mass and more about controlling the economy. For example, in order to eradicate the socialism of Allende and impose strict free market-oriented neoliberal economic reforms, the US-backed Pinochet’s armies killed or ‘disappeared’ at least 3,000.  These were representatives from the cultural world, intellectuals, university staff and students, forcing 200,000 Chileans into exile – up to 80,000 people were interned and as many as 30,000 were tortured during the time Pinochet was in government.  The proposed trade deals, TTIP, TPP and TISA are the latest way to achieve the same, by setting corporate rule above national governments, to the detriment of ordinary people and threat to the most vulnerable.

But in addition to all of this, the other side’s ‘massacres’ are exploited to persuade populations that their side are the ‘good guys’  and if required, they should go and fight…  Pearl Harbour and 9/11 spring to mind.  Jim Grundy writes of the start of WW1:

A hundred years ago today the most advanced military machine in the world, the Germany Army, invaded its neighbours.  Within 48 hours, the first massacres of civilians took place, not by accident but as a matter of deliberate policy. Thousands were to be murdered in the coming weeks.  British public opinion, that had not been sympathetic to Serbia after the Sarajevo assassinations, was appalled by the stories of mass murder committed against a defenceless population.  The British State might have gone to war to protect the European balance of power, its own imperial interests but the reason for war was clear to most British people – the avoidance of the fate meted out by an aggressive military power to women and children here at home.


Massacres and atrocities are brilliant tools for galvanising ordinary people into the required behaviour…  Capitulation to stop the killing, compliance on the part of the oppressed and public support for conscription, surveillance and draconian security clamp-downs.  The global power elites need to convince us because they cannot further their own interests, without our being frightened or fooled into backing them.  Don’t believe the hypocritical and sanctimonious talk about the outrage of killing civilians.  It is palpably untrue.

As Chomsky says – Israel could “defend” itself by withdrawing from territories it illegally occupies.

When the powers-that-be talk about security, it is not for you and me .. the security they mean is security for the rich and powerful to stay rich and powerful.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed : The_Hidden_Holocaust


Political analyst on security, conflict and global crisis. Director of Institute for Policy Research & Development, London. Author of “The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry” (Duckworth, 2006) and “The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism” (Arris, Olive Branch, 2005).

The Drums of War


The drums of war: an ordinary person’s view

From Prue Plumridge

Yesterday was  a tense one not only for our MPs but also for a nation aghast at the prospect of yet another disastrous  intervention.  The people, it would seem, have spoken and we have for the moment pulled back from the brink.  Ed Miliband along with rebel Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have stalled the process until such time as clear evidence is received that Assad and not the rebels are culpable.   This is indeed good news.  However, although  I have no claim to be an expert in these matters of international politics,  it is clear from all that I have read that we would be making a serious mistake in getting embroiled at any time in the future.

Justification for bombing Syria has been along the lines of it being an act of humanity to prevent further suffering.  Assad and his government have crossed that so called ‘red line’. I have seen many calls over the last few days for intervention based purely on an emotional response to the pain and suffering of others and, of course, quite rightly most people are shocked at such disrespect for life.  However I would argue that we should recognise  our emotional response,  then take a step back and give some thought to what the likely consequences would be before we embark as  Robert Fisk says on ‘ the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world’.

I suggest that attacking Syria may well prove even more dangerous and light an already  smouldering tinder box.  Such action would, in my opinion,  further destabilise  the Middle East and  cause the deaths of many more thousands of people both within Syria’s borders and quite possibly outside too.  Just imagine how, as Robert Fisk comments  ‘we will be attacking Shia Muslims and their allies to the handclapping of Sunni Muslims’ and whilst we anguish about Syria we neglect to speak about how Palestine is slowly but surely being swallowed up by Israel and its illegal settlements and the rights of a people are being quashed.  Egypt is in destabilising turmoil and Jordan is being overwhelmed by thousands of displaced  Palestinians.  Do we really want at this juncture to add more logs to the fire?

Are we prepared for a repeat of the disastrous interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq which have not become the nice little law abiding, malleable democracies our governments sought (if that, indeed,  was what they really wanted)?  Our disgraceful involvement  on the basis of a lie has simply made the problems worse and led to many thousands of unnecessary deaths both of citizens and soldiers.  This year in  July  over 1000 deaths (the highest in years) were reported in Iraq which is slowly fragmenting along religious/political lines.  In Afghanistan the US props up Karzai’s  Mafia corrupt government  which has stolen much of the US tax payer funded money which has been poured in.  A country where occupation forces have bombed and killed thousands of innocent civilians,  where 8.4 million Afghans suffer from chronic food insecurity and starvation and where tens of thousands of civilians ‘ have died from displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war’ 1whilst western contractors working there dine on ‘steak and lobster once a week’.2  And I haven’t even mentioned here  our meddling fingers in Libya and the consequences of that intervention.

Whilst the US talk about crossing red lines and Cameron about  putting a halt to the suffering they forget to mention that  they have their own agendas in wanting to depose Assad who has stopped toeing the Western line. We should also remind ourselves that nothing is what it seems.  The rebels are no longer just the Free Syria Army.  The country has been infiltrated by various external groups which include Al Quaida.  Do we really want to support inadvertently the very terrorists whom we have been fighting against since the destruction of the Two Towers in New York?

Being cynical, clearly the issue for the US, French and British has little to do with preventing more suffering as they seem to be suggesting  but is likely to be much more political.  Robert Fisk in a recent article in the Independent suggests that attacking Syria has nothing to do with Syria  and is more to do with harming Iran  because Iran is Israel’s enemy and so by default America’s enemy.   Or there again we might attribute this sudden interest in the fate of 1300+ or so unfortunate people – given that 100,000 people have already died and there had been 14 alleged chemical attacks previously which they chose not to act on – more to the fact that 80 miles off the shores of Haifa in Israel lies a rather large gas field containing 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.   Russia’s dominance of the gas market means that they set the price at which gas is purchased by the rest of the world.  Think how a pipeline through Syria would make life really easy for the transfer of gas to the West. Now that Assad is no longer playing ball with the West … well you can see where I am going.

And what of the West who is claiming its usual moral high ground?  Such hypocrisy.    Did we stand up and say no when the US used white phosphorus and  left  depleted uranium in Fallujah?  Did other  western governments threaten to intervene in this atrocity? No.   Fallujah, where children have been born with horrendous deformities as a result, is a stain on the West and defiles its integrity. In 1988 when Iraq who was then America’s ally used gas against the Kurds we did not  assault  Baghdad.  Whilst we have closed our eyes and walked away their suffering continues. They have become the forgotten ones, the collateral damage.  Max Hastings wrote this morning in the Daily Mail Online ‘it is naïve to suppose that sarin gas is any worse for its victims than napalm, cluster bombs, Agent Orange defoliant or white phosphorous, widely used by the Western powers in their wars since 1945. Though President Assad has killed large numbers of non-combatants, so have American drone strikes in Pakistan and the Middle East – and so have Syria’s insurgents fighting against the regime.’  We cannot decry the actions of others and look the other way at our own.

Governments who tout weaponery around the world on behalf of the arms industry deal in death.   Its sale has nothing to do with protecting nations or keeping the peace but is more to do with swelling the coffers of the big corporate arms dealers that produce them and bolstering their nations’ economies  most shamefully on the back of the brutality of war and violence.  On the one hand we accuse foreign governments of human rights abuses and in the next breath we sell them arms that potentially can be used against their people.  During the Iraqi and Afghan wars the US outsourced functions that should have been reserved for the military to private contractors who have done exceedingly well out of it.  Indeed, one might say that it is in their interests for war to continue in some shape or form simply to keep the money rolling in.  As Chris Hedges wrote in Death of the Liberal Class ‘peace and profit are ultimately contradictory’ . 

What if, in this week that commemorates the anniversary of the speech of Martin Luther King Jr, we have a dream.  Let’s imagine for a moment that we have turned our back on war. Let’s imagine that we take the money that is spent on arms to destroy innocent people and the infrastructure that supports them and  we invest it instead on programmes for the benefit of the citizens of the world and our planet to secure a future for our children and our children’s children.  Let’s turn that dream into reality and turn our back on the interminable cycle of war which is sucking at our  very lifeblood and enriching a minority  who don’t give a damn about anything but their profits. Let’s reject neoliberal ideologies which further impoverish people around the world and destroy the planet which sustains us.  It’s not a pipedream it is achievable with the will of the people.

Chris Hedges wrote in ‘Death of the Liberal Class’:

Look beyond the nationalist cant used to justify war.  Look beyond the seduction of the weapons and the pornography of violence….. Focus on the evil of war. [War] is tragic, wasteful and immoral. [It] begins by calling for the annihilation of the OTHER, but ends ultimately in self-annihilation.  It corrupts souls and mutilates bodies.  It destroys homes and villages and murders children on their way to school.  It grinds into the dirt all that is tender and beautiful and sacred’.

Our voice has been heard let’s not stop there.


1 & 2 Death of the Liberal Class: Chris Hedges Syria and Gas: it’s not the one you think

An Appeal – Stopping the Prawer Plan

An Appeal to stop the Prawer Plan

From Richard Bowyer

Dear Left Thinkers,

If you have been reading my posts on this page you’ll know that the Israeli government’s disgraceful treatment of its non-Jewish compatriots is something I have been deeply concerned about for a long time. On 25th June I posted about the Knesset’s decision to displace the Bedouin population of the Negev from their homes – the so-called Prawer Plan. If you haven’t read it please do; it’s another outrageous and appalling example of the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Jews in the Occupied Territories, having learned nothing from the pogroms and the Holocaust in their own history.

This photo is of Sheikh Abu Aziz, whose village, Al Araqib, has been bulldozed repeatedly by the Israeli government. Here’s what he has said about it:


“I have lived in my village, Al Araqib, my whole life. The Israeli government says my village is “unrecognised” – and so has bulldozed everything more than 50 times.

What does “unrecognised” mean? Of course they see the buildings, the olive trees, and the men, women, and children living here. You do not send bulldozers, helicopters, and soldiers to destroy something that you cannot see.

It does not mean they do not recognise the suffering it causes us. You cannot see people screaming and crying each time you remove them from their homes, and think it has no impact.

What it means is they do not recognise our legitimate rights as human beings to live in peace and dignity where we have always lived. It means they do not recognise that we are fully human.

Their insistence on destroying Al Araqib means they do recognise one thing: that much more than Al Araqib is at stake. Why go to all the trouble over one village, otherwise?

What the Israeli Government understands is that its power – I do not say legitimacy, I say power – comes from the refusal to recognise any opinion, any view of history, other than its own. If they demolish Al Araqib again and again, they will do the same to dozens of other Bedouin villages in the Negev as part of the Prawer Plan. They will not stop at the Negev. They refuse to let us live in our own land.”

It’s still unclear when the Knesset will have a second reading of the Prawer Plan. But there’s no doubt that international pressure is having an impact. 15,000 people have already e-mailed the Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, urging him to do everything he can to make sure the Israeli government understands that it would be a grave mistake to pass this displacement blueprint into law. If you are as appalled as I am by what the Israeli government is doing, please take a moment to send your own e-mail to him. Ambassador Michael Oren – – here is a suggestion for the wording:

“Dear Ambassador Oren,

The passing of the first reading of the Prawer Plan threatens disaster for the Bedouin people, and is a sad day for all who believe in justice, equality, and human rights. I urge you to use your influence to warn Knesset members against implementing the Plan while there is still time to avoid this human rights catastrophe.”

Thank you very much,


Update: There’s an Avaaz petition running too, if people would like to sign it:

See also Previous Post from Richard Bowyer “Open your Eyes, see the Prawer Plan”