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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Behind the mask of the 'War on Terror'

Joe Quinn

Have you ever believed something someone said and then found out it was a lie? You remember the initial feeling of shock and indignation, followed by anger at the audacity of the liar and then perhaps depression that human beings are prone to such weakness and insincerity. Then you might have struggled to understand why, and maybe you achieved that understanding, or not.

Being lied to is undoubtedly something that most people have experienced, and it's a valuable experience in that, ideally, it enables us to spot lies and liars before they cause us too much harm or heartache. The point being, everyone knows that people lie, that they justify some things they do with lies to themselves and others. The reason people lie is generally well understood also. We all live our lives according to a spoken or unspoken set of rules or values. When what a person wants conflicts with those rules, they resort to lying to cover up their momentary departure from living a moral life. Such lies can be conscious or unconscious.

What most people rarely, if ever, experience in the course of their lives, however, is a person who lies as a matter of course or who makes a lifestyle out of lying. We're talking here about someone for whom what they want is always at odds with conventional morality and they can therefore never be honest or express what they really think, feel and want out of fear of being utterly rejected (or worse) by their peers. Such a person would constitute a fundamentally deviant or abnormal human being. They might be fully aware that their desires sharply diverge from those of the average person and actively seek to cover them up with lies, or they may simply react 'instinctively' in each moment with a lie in a (largely unconscious) effort to preserve their ability to exploit others in service to their unwholesome desires.

The reason for this brief analysis of lying is that it relates directly to a shocking realization I recently had about the 'war on terror'.

Over the course of the past few years of watching events play out on the geopolitical stage, it has become increasingly difficult for me to digest them in any classically Cartesian way. In fact, my attempts to do so resulted in a severe case of logical dyspepsia. The problem, which is plain for anyone with the eyes to see, is that the 'war on terror' - described by its architects as a war to eliminate terrorism and promote 'freedom and democracy' - has resulted in a large net increase in terrorism and social and political instability and a concomitant decrease in actual freedom and democracy.  

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