Monday, July 17, 2006

Dubya Dubya III

Much has already been said about Newt Gingrich's now-infamous assertion that we should consider this World War III. But have we really seen the opening of the most talked-about sequel in decades?

The answer to that question can come only after considering other questions: What can be counted when considering a world war? Is it when several countries are engaged in simultaneous battles? Is it when the United States and associated countries decide to take their show on the road? Is it whenever the Middle East explodes yet again? If any of these questions are the standard, then we are indeed in a World War. Every second of every day.

Fortunately, we've managed to keep things in perspective. There's a reason why only two wars in the entire history of the world hold the moniker of World War, and that's because it's a term not to be taken lightly. But if certain Republicans have their way, then such a loaded term will be wielded with all the abandon of the PATRIOT Act. Indeed, some hawks are actually considering this World War IV or even V, having retroactively considered the Cold War as such. I suppose you could technically consider any war fought between differently hemisphered nations a world war; but what would that do besides cheapen the historical severity of past wars? For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that there were two bonafide World Wars, being that Cold War veterans are hard to come by.

With that in mind, I don't think we're in WWIII just yet. The previously designated World Wars involved clashes between large coalitions, such as the Allied Powers of both wars against the Central Powers and the Axis Powers of WWI and WWII, respectively. The magnitude of these wars can be seen by their participants: Britain, France, Russia and the United States versus Germany, Italy and Japan, in an age when literally any of them could have taken over the world? Now that's a global battle! The mess going on now can basically be described as the Coalition of the Willing (Britain, the GOP and Eritrea) against Mideast countries that may or may not harbor underground terrorist networks. And while that's nothing to sneeze at, neither does that put it in the same ranks as the Pacific and European Theaters.

As far as sequels go, this version of WWIII is more like Superman IV than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Which is ironic, because the former is about ending nuclear war and the latter is about Nazis in the 1930s. I guess war always makes for a better show.

Much of today's WWIII talk has been sparked by Israel's bombing of Lebanon. Supposedly, this is the latest chapter in an increasingly global (and increasingly dubious) war on terrorism. But that fact is exactly why this is not a true world war: terrorism is an idea, and tying every conflict to a broad idea makes a shaky case for unified battle. Pick any battle in WWII, and you can tie it into any other with specific strategies and ramifications. The only way you can do that with today's conflicts is to use the broad stroke of "terrorism." So far, that has been a very successful strategy in getting people behind questionable actions. This new nomenclatural upgrade is simply the next step to sell imperialism to an increasingly jaded American public.

Calling this WWIII will not serve to get people behind this action, as Newt claims. We are long past the age where Americans would stand united behind Rosie the Riveter and would ration steel, rubber and crops. Instead, we're living in a generation where the only metal earmarked for war is the amount needed on an SUV to house a magnetic ribbon. In today's society, an official WWIII would serve the same purpose as 9/11 did: give the far right an excuse to reinforce its prejudices and stifle dissent in the name of fear.

Neoconservatives want this to be World War III--not because it would shock people into reality, but precisely because it would shock them out of reality. Just as they did with 9/11, the Republicans want a strong catch-all moniker to equate everything they do with America itself. After all, which packs more of a punch:

"You're either with us or against us in the war on terror" or,
"You're either with us or against us in WORLD WAR III"?

Words just might be the most dangerous weapons of all.

5 comments:

Hillary For President said...

Ian,

I agree total. I meen what they thing they can do, drop a nuke on Constantinopal and stat WWIII. Its like, thats carzyu. FRIST, they change to Istanbull ALONG time ago. AND TWO the MISLAMS would easily defeet us in war. THey are a GRATE civilisation, not like America -- with all kind of Neocons.

With hillary for president, we will learn to get a long with the MISLAMS by negotiate and make friends.

To learn more about peace pipes from the great Native Americans' is what we need too do. IF we did not steel all off their land maybe they would teech us. To bad for NeoCONS who stold the land.

Give it all back and beg them forgive us is what we should do. Then maybe they will teach us share a peace pipe. Only way out as I see.

Ian McGibboney said...

HFP, you've got issues. And I don't endorse your atrocious grammar or your obnoxious caricature of liberalism.

Points for persistence, though. Must be hard to keep that up for so long.

Hillary For President said...

Ian,

as a librail brother, i wish you wood be more excepting. I wrok very hard too refine my spell/grammar error.

please let us focus on are messgaes, not on small, inconsekwenshell spelling/grammar mistakes.

thank you what you say about my percistents

Robert Taylor said...

good call on dismissing WWIII, but why are you reluctant to address the Israeli/Lebanese war in full?

Eric said...

It is important to remember that Mr. Gingrich desperately wants to be remembered for something other that his fall from grace. Failed by plausible presidential candidate is a good option for him. But he is a clever man and part of analysis makes a lot of sense. World War III is indeed a loaded term, but we must remember that the style of warfare changes all the time, from the war of attrition in WW I to Blitzkrieg in WW II. Now with states not being the only players in war, warfare has changed again. And the entire world is getting involved, slowly but surely. But a war on absolute dictatorships i would have to disagree with. Would advocate war with China? No instaed you work to improve China to point where the people demand the rights that match and protect their prosperity.For more please visit http://ericstake.com