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War, Dissociation, and the Democrats

Sat, Jul 14, 2007

Articles, War, America In Crisis

War, Dissociation, and the Democrats

by Susan Rosenthal

Most Americans are horrified by the continuing U.S. war against Iraq and the threat of war against Iran. Despite this fact, the absence of a mass anti-war movement has been blamed on not enough people caring. The real problem is that the leaders of the largest anti-war organizations support the Democratic Party, which backs the war. This conflict has paralyzed the anti-war movement and blocked the mass mobilization of the anti-war majority.

When people are faced with horror and can find no organized way to respond, they dissociate. Dissociation is a psychological defense against suffering. Dissociation provides a mental escape when there is no physical escape. Like Tina Turner sang, “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”

Dissociation helps people to move through life without thinking. By numbing fear, anger and pain, dissociation creates a false sense of safety, reducing our motivation to remove the dangers that threaten us.

An unthinkable war

The barbarism of the Iraq war is creating mass dissociation in Iraq and America. Iraqis are going out of their minds with suffering. So are their tormentors, the American soldiers who are themselves tormented by what they have seen and done.

Ordinary Americans must also dissociate in order to live “normal” lives while a horrific war looms in the background. Dissociation provides temporary comfort, while allowing the war to continue.

The media encourage mass dissociation, presenting sanitized coverage of the war and sedating commentary that drips with lies. Invasion is defense; civilian deaths are collateral damage; a freedom fighter is a terrorist working for us; and a terrorist is a freedom fighter working for them.

Politicians use “doublespeak” to make the unacceptable acceptable. On Independence Day, President Bush equated the U.S. war to dominate Iraq with America’s fight against British domination. This is they way they market mass murder.

Polls show that Americans are very concerned about the war, and most want it to end. Yet, they see no way forward. The Democrats consistently betray the anti-war movement, and the liberal leaders of the social movements follow the Democrats.

Americans don’t need to care more about the war, they need an uncompromising anti-war movement that will stand up to the Democrats and force an end to the war.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Robert McKinney Says:

    July 18/07

    Dissociation is common in Japan as well.

    Japan lacks any empathy for the suffering it inflicted on neighboring Asian nations during WWII, including the countless thousands of “comfort women” (both young women and girls as young as ten) forced into sexual slavery, Instead the Japanese dwell only on their own victimhood.

    Yes, there was terrible suffering in Japan, especially in the final two years of the war, when the American Army and Air Force began its intensive bombing campaign against the home island cities, but in l943 the Japanese army was still ravaging and burning thousands of towns and villages across China and other regions. Their campaign was actually called “burn all, loot all, kill all”.

    Most in Japan have little or no recollection of such events today, though in China everyone recalls the horrors of the Japanese invasion. Pity that Japan is in such denial. It would like to depict the US as the aggressor in WWII, with “brave little Japan” defending against the American barbarian to protect all of Asia. What crap.

    Many want to believe that “Roosevelt started the war”. Such a distorted view of history is now the norm in Japan’s carefully controlled State educational system. All schools from Hokkaido to Kyushu use the same textbooks, including history texts and NO teacher can use any non-authorized books. Essentially, all the history teachers must obey Monbusho, or the Ministry of Education’s dictates. Failure to do so usually means dismissal and social ostracism. Frightful, very totalitarian.

    Recently a large group of Japanese politicians, “scholars”, and journalists pleaded in a letter for the U.S. Congress to stop its efforts to pass the sex slave resolution condemning Japan’s WWII exploitation and serial rape of thousands of women and girls, many of whom were murdered in the final days of the war to silence their testimony. I hope and pray that the resolution is passed. Korea especially would feel a sense of justice if the resolution proves successful.

    Even PM Shinzo Abe, leader of the LDP or Japan’s neo-fascist single party government, is guilty of dissociation. He stated two months ago that there “was no evidence of coercion” in regard to the “comfort women”, that they were all just common whores. This would be like saying that all of the inmates in Nazi concentration camps were just happy volunteers eager to serve the Third Reich.

    Last year a Japanese journalist wrote that the Bataan death march was just a picnic stroll and no one really suffered.

    The worst dissociation is the ongoing argument in Japan, including senior leaders, that the imperial army was “liberating Asia” from white man’s colonialism. No one in Asia believes this crap except the Japanese.

    During its invasion of Indonesia, where much oil could be found, Japan exploited over 10 million slave laborers many of whom died. In China possibly 15 million died. In Vietnam 2 million died. And so on. But Japan would deny all. Frightful denial.

    Now the granddaughter of the infamous war criminal Tojo Hideki is seeking political office and winning votes by telling her followers that her grandfather didn’t start the war he only lost the war. And many Japanese leaders now openly celebrate such war criminals when they visit the infamous Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where over 5,000 war criminals have been enshrined. This has outraged other Asian nations but Japan pretends not to hear their outrage.

    I pray that Americans do not begin to display the same level of dissociation. We already want to believe that Bush has “liberated” Iraq, which is a lie.

    Will American high school teachers tell their students in the near future that Bush’s “heroic” invasion of Iraq brought freedom to the people of that war torn nation?
    Will students never learn about the American atrocities in Iraq, like Abu Ghraib or the use of depleted uranium?

    Will no one remember Colin Powell’s terrible lies at the United Nations? I fear we are already being told to forget. Every American soldier returning from Iraq is a “HERO”. What rubbish. Such thinking only encourages further atrocities and prolongs the occupation of Iraq. The Pentagon is a master at doublespeak and evasion. Collateral damage? Murder.

    I wonder when the U.S. will not only admit it made a “mistake” by invading Iraq, but admit that Bush is indeed a WAR CRIMINAL and needs to be tried and punished, including possible hanging. We will never see such a day of justice.

    Americans never commit atrocities, or at least never any senior officers or politicians. Henry Kissinger was recently given an honorary doctorate at Waseda University in Tokyo, one of Japan’s elite schools. They dissociate Kissinger’s past role in genocide and mass murder (Cambodia, East Timor, and Chile for a start). But then again, he was given the Nobel Peace Prize in l972 or was it ’73?

    Thanks,
    Robert McKinney

  2. Susan Rosenthal Says:

    July 18/07

    Robert: Every nation must promote dissociation in order to maintain support for war. The U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still minimized and justified, as is the use of depleted uranium in the Middle East.

    It’s important to distinguish between States and people. People don’t launch wars, although they fight, suffer and die in them. States launch wars to win more territory, resources and influence for their corporate classes.

    Nationalism doesn’t serve the ordinary person; it only serves the corporate class, which is in a cut-throat competition that leads, inevitably, to war.

    They tell us that we are all in it together, but they lie. They profit and we, on both sides, suffer.

    Ending war requires that we end the nationalism that dissociates us from our brothers and sisters in other lands.

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