Humanitarians Archives

January 19, 2010

Don't do us any favors, please

The gruesome dance of our humanitarian pwogs prattling on about Haiti in extremis cries out for the big "NO MAS".

For days now I've been muttering under my breath: Listen, you foursquare swell-hearted googoos, take it from the class Grinch, "relief aid" is nothing more than... well... gateway imperialism. And listen to me now, believe me later, charity leads by steps uncounted right on to harder stuff like... well, like blasting Iraq back a couple-three generations.

But suddenly this morning, while reading Paul Krugman, I realized just how much renunciation is really needed here -- just how deep it must go -- and why the whole damn googoo gig's gotta head for the chopping block along with crackpot realism and other noblemen of the ancien regime.

Face it, rangers, liberal interventionism begins right here at home. Take universal health care as a dembot pwog-base priority item -- higher than a fast job recovery.

Uplift and a helpin' hand offered by the Fortunate Ones has just gotta go, gotta go.

Maybe I'm kinda slow at this, but now I see the light. Here's my advice, Mr and Ms Bobpo: Anytime you or anyone else you know has an altruistic urge, shout: "Stifle that, citizen... no more of that boohoo googoo 'may I help you child ' crap." Just say no.

Next time your conscience pokes its smug little head into your thoughts, scream "Scram, weenie!" Give in to your dark side; be selfish, you overcredentialed ghoul.

We're all better off in the long run if you just stay a yuppie. That's right, go on, live it up. Better that than gabble on about the poor poor whodos out there groping through the mean streets of America. When the old ayenbite of inwit hits, say to yourself, "What's in this for me, anyhow? I mean, somethin' really tangible?"

Either you start taking things strictly by the my-me-I handle, or the next thing you know, you'll be backing a bombing run over Venezuela.

As super Al often points out to me when I ask him for a light or a bite of his chocolate danish --

"No, Owen, no. Not that I don't want to. But the harm, my dear derelict friend, is right there up front, in the simple wholesome desire to help others."

We help others best if we stick to helping ourselves -- and others in our same boat -- first last and always. Enlightened self-interest means economic class interest. It makes horse sense to figure that out and abide by it. But beyond that, we got no higher calling, in a society so full of moving social fault lines it shakes itself apart more often than not.

No more pleas for universal this and universal that -- not education, health care, welfare, or same-sex dating.

Altruism is a corporate pimp. The habitual other-improver instinct is a source of continued corporate power, the boy Robin to the for-profit executive-suite Batman.

And the outcome of this diabolical synergy between boardroom Benthamism and merit-class salvationism is, err, today's America, the free-soil land where millions of our fellow joblings find their body parts baking away into lumpen crisps inside papa Sam's no-job no-credit pizza oven, occasionally basted with a squirt of soothing altruistic butter by some meddling conscience-struck meritoid.

March 25, 2010

That Ole Folksy Touch

That ole folksy touch, it sure do impress the natives. It gives 'em a sense of being one of the boys. And it helps make up for some of the little jokes.

CIA officers in Afghanistan were so eager to meet the spy they believed would help them crack al-Qaida's leadership they planned a birthday celebration for his visit in December, current and former U.S. officials said.

A birthday cake was waiting.

But before they could even begin to question their golden source, he detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and seven CIA employees in one of the deadliest attacks in the agency's history.


A birthday cake! Awww, shucks. Was it in a special shape? Maybe a key, to symbolize the opening of hearts and minds?! That could be a mistake, even with the best intentions. I remember baking a key-shaped cake that wound up looking like a penis. From a certain angle, now that I recall, it also looked like Leon Panetta.


A couple of additional curiosities from the article.

Presenting birthday cakes to recruited agents is, according to the cited sources, part of management's human resources policy. It's supposed to add that all important personal touch. There's nothing unusual about it.

The policy makers expect to be warmly regarded, if not actually loved, by people recruited from their pool of victims. They're giving them opportunities. And cakes! Birthday cakes! To question their management of this program is to impute grievous character flaws to the people carrying it out. The policy itself, needless to say, just is. It flew in the window while no one was looking.

The drone attacks, coups, assassinations and so forth don't count as the deadliest attacks in the agency's history.

September 7, 2010

Hogging the limelight

The insufferable David Petraeus stepped up to demand his share of the Quran-burning spectacle.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen Petraeus said in a statement to US media. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems.

"Not just here, but everywhere in the world, we are engaged with the Islamic community," added Gen Petraeus, who heads a 150,000-strong Nato force against a Taliban-led insurgency. "We engage them here, we engage them there, we engage them with a thrum-thrum tiddle and a military air," concluded Gen. Petraeus as he produced a fife to signal the end the of interview*.

Bless his heart, he's not quite on the ball. The biggest danger to the troops is the overall effort, closely followed by the general himself, his fellow generals, the Obama regime and Congress. The concept can be difficult to understand for people accustomed to communicating entirely in euphemism. But it's not one of those tricky post modern things. There are no grand numinous forces working unseen. The "overall effort" didn't appear out of the blue and demand compliance. It's traceable.

*An editorial gesture, forced on me by grand numinous forces.

February 28, 2011

Oh fuck. Here come the humanitarians.

Another exercise in compare-and-contrast: Egypt and Libya.

When the Egyptian public rose up and kicked Mubarak out, the EU and the US were remarkably quiet and diplomatic. But Libya is another story. Ghadafi -- or Qaddafi or whatever his name is -- is getting the full Milosevic treatment: sanctimonious condemnations from every other bloody-handed government criminal in the world, including Hillary The Ripper(*) and the gangsterish skinhead Brit foreign secretary William Hague; threats of being haled off to an international kangaroo court in Geneva or the Netherlands or some other Ruritanian theme park in the more orderly and well-swept arrondissements of the global empire; and of course calls for humanitarian intervention by those Pecksniffian creeps at Human Rights Watch.

My heroine Yoshie Furuhashi had a nice piece on a related topic at MRzine recently:

As the fate of Libya was being discussed by the powers represented in the NATO and the UN Security Council yesterday, among those most fervently calling for no-fly zones were Libya's own UN ambassadors turned defectors, Abdurrahman Mohammed Shalgham and Ibrahim Dabbashi, making the same demand as the National Conference of Libyan Opposition (NCLO), an umbrella group of major Libyan exile organizations including the Libyan Constitutional Union (led by the so-called "Crown Prince" of Libya) and the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL, a tool of the CIA and Saudi Arabia during the Cold War).

Thus it fell to a few good Latin American socialists to do what they could to argue the case of Libya and defend its right to self-determination -- that is, the right of the Libyan people, those who are for, against, or indifferent to the soon-to-be former Libyan regime, to sort out their own affairs, free from NATO or any other foreign troops ... And they tried, knowing that their efforts would be met with not only attacks from the Right but also total incomprehension on the part of not a few leftists.

It's an interesting development. Qaddafi and the Empire buried the hatchet some years ago, and Q. seemed to be quite willing to carry out the neoliberal program in Libya. But perhaps the managers of empire never really thought he was quite reliable. Or perhaps they simply have their eyes on the oil: big, big country, very thinly populated, and oodles and oodles of lovely oil. Do they dream, perhaps, of a Maghrebian Saudi Arabia, ruled by a stooge more reliable than Qaddafi?

I hear Hosni Mubarak is in the job market.


(*) What fun it is to see Hillary so tenderly concerned about the Arab masses -- anywhere but Gaza and the West Bank.

April 1, 2011

What makes these people tick?

There was an item in the NY Times a couple of days ago, about Samantha Power, shown above. I found it quite disturbing, somewhat to my surprise.

Surprise, because one thinks one knows these people. One imagines that they're just Pecksniffs -- cynical opportunists affecting a moral cover, and laughing at anybody who takes it seriously. But the reality is quite different -- and much, much worse.

It looks like Power really believes what she's saying. There really is something going on in her head which appears to her, subjectively, as a passionate humane concern for the victims of "genocide" -- a very broad term, in Powers' lexicon. But this tender passion coexists with, and feeds, a thirst for violence -- or at least a capacity for fantasizing about violence -- that might evoke the admiration of a Genghis Khan.

Let's think a bit about Samantha's ideal humanitarian world. In that world, there would have been even more wars in the twentieth century than there actually were.

Surely, you exclaim, most sane people would agree that there were enough -- and then some? Not for Samantha. Samantha appears to think that something should have been "done" about Armenia in 1915, about Cambodia, about Rwanda; something should have been done about Iraq, earlier than it was, and more, apparently, should have been done, and sooner, even in poor hapless Yugoslavia, that locus classicus for the benign effects of "Western" involvement. Oh and of course something should certainly be done about Darfur.

In short, Samantha fantasizes a world in which "the West" -- or maybe just the US -- is constantly occupied in sending the gendarmerie here and there, to do good for a change, rather than evil as has nearly always heretofore been the case.

We might spend a moment here on the childlike naivete of imaging that a leopard can not only change his spots, but actually turn into an ibex -- an ibex who retains the sharp teeth and claws of the leopard, but who has converted to a vegan diet, and embraced a mission to defend other peaceful quadrupeds everywhere from its former fellow-leopards.

For Samantha, US or "Western" might, now partly at her disposal qua courtier of the God-Emperor, is a neutral instrumentality, like, say, a tire iron, which Samantha and her fellow-courtiers have found lying around and fallen to arguing over. Look! A tire iron! What shall we do with it? It might be used for good -- to change a tire, say -- or for evil, to bash in somebody's head. To be sure, it might be dangerous in the wrong hands; but it's not a thing with a life and purposes of its own -- not an organism, with desires and needs, with teeth and claws designed to rend flesh rather than grind grain. Turn it this way, turn it that; use it for good, use it for evil; but in any case it doesn't have a mind of its own.

Silly, huh? And yet this flattened-out view of the world is nearly universal, among citizens of the empire who have run the elite university gauntlet and achieved positions of responsibility and emolument.

The world is all before us, they think, open to our activity -- and they think this because they are seeing the world from the imperial point of view. And there is no problem that can't be solved with intelligence and sedulous study -- and they think this because they did so very well on their SATs.

Oh, there are the well-understood laws of nature, conceived as something entirely external to ourselves -- laws which we understand so well that we have bent nature to our will, and even our whim. There are good people and bad people, smart people and stupid people. The bad and stupid may oppose us, who are the good and the smart; for the stupid we have schools, and for the bad -- we have the Marines.

But there are no alien powers, or more to the point, there is no alienation of our own powers, taken away from us and formed into something that confronts us as a foreign, autonomous, and inimical force. It certainly would never occur to Samantha that her zeal might just be fueling a monster from the imperial id, as in Forbidden Planet:

I have to return for a moment to the strange duality that I think we see in Samantha's nature -- the tears for the Armenians, alongside the insatiable desire to scramble the jets. Oh, there's no logical contradiction; but there has got to be something peculiar going on emotionally.

Samantha must have some idea what wars are really like -- or if she hasn't, she's systematically passed up the many opportunities she's had, in the course of her studies, to take it in. And no wonder. Such an awareness, once entertained, would create a severe conflict with her save-the-children side. So she constructs an impoverished and sanitized conscious view of what "military action" entails; it allows her to revel in the idea, without acknowledging the underlying sadism which alone can explain these extravagant fantasies of incessant bloodshed.

Her love of genocide victims -- very, very broadly defined; the more the better, since more victims justifies more war -- is really quite genuine. It's not assumed as a con-man's mask. Its taproot goes very deep, right into the heart of her nature, into whatever repressed boiling fury made her want to kill kill kill; gave her that gaunt haunted facies; makes her eyes dart sideways and up when she's talking to you. She's not trying to fool us; rather, her sadism is hiding itself from her, and manifesting itself to her as love and concern for the victim -- which, of course, implies annihilation or the penal colony for the perp. The annihilation is the ultimate object of desire, but the secondary cathexis of the victim is, as far as it goes, quite real.

And this, of course, is the disturbing part. A Pecksniff doesn't force us to recall Freud's harsh but accurate observation that we are not masters in our own psychic house. Samantha, on the other hand, is frightening not just because of the horrors she would like to commit. To invert one of Dr Johnson's observations, she diminishes our conception of the powers of humankind.

April 30, 2011

The Crusades continue

Breaking news:

Son of Qaddafi Killed in NATO Airstrike

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi survived a NATO airstrike on Saturday night that killed his youngest son Saif al-Arab and three of his grandchildren, a Libyan government spokesman said.

Mussa Ibrahim said Saif al-Arab was a civilian and a student who had studied in Germany. He was 29 years old.

Libyan officials took journalists to the house, which had been hit by at least three missiles. The roof had completely caved in in some areas, leaving strings of reinforcing steel hanging down among chunks of concrete.

A table football machine stood outside in the garden of the house, which was in a wealthy residential area of Tripoli.

So nice to see the progress that Democracy is making.

The bit about the table football machine in a "wealthy area of Tripoli" is consummate. You mean -- a place like Scarsdale? Oh well, nuke 'em then, the pukes.

August 4, 2012

Cruise Missile Marxists

The cruise missile humanitarians, in all their flavors, make extensive use of the same basic syllogism.

Human organization can be a force for good.
Imperialism is a form of human organization.
Therefore it can be a force for good.

I've left out several hundred thousand words in an effort to conserve pixels.

The cruise missile thesis draws on an interpretation of capitalism as an inadvertently and ineluctably progressive means of social organization. From there, the thesis descends into comparative body counts and Gini coefficient wrestling matches. I think it's a bad idea to treat it too seriously. IOZ posed the appropriate line of inquiry:

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Maybe the cruisies have the same problem pwogs and wingnuts do. They can't really see distant people as human beings. So it's okay to eat them, metaphorically speaking.

I don't believe that cruise missile humanitarianism, or opposition to it, amounts to a hill of beans (the side dish, if you will). The cruisies are classic useful idiots and provide a rhetorical stick with which to beat skeptics. Most provide it for the attention it generates. Some get paid or get career benefits, such as points scored in their miserable little faction and fraction struggles. That, alas, is all too human.

August 8, 2012

Weaselry Today

"There is a distinction between an admission of events taking place and an admission of guilt."

Quite. Damn those events anyway! Have they no concern? No consideration? This is unfortunately the sort of thing that could happen to anyone. There you are in receipt of a lucrative federal contract. The human resources department has carefully vetted the personnel for participation in circumstances where events may take place. Everyone has done what was needed to ensure a desirable outcome. Of course mistakes may still be made, no one has claimed otherwise, but the responsibility for that clearly lies with the despicable events.

Needless to say, it's never nice to place any blame on the secondary victims, the ones riddled with bullets. It's arguable that their guilt and odious conduct has been handled by the bullets. The Department of Justice, to its credit, isn't going to prosecute them and isn't going to engage in further tawdry finger-pointing at the primary victim, Academi LLC—formerly Xe, formerly Blackwater—which will be able to continue its duties as a U.S. Department of State contractor.

About Humanitarians

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Humanitarians category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Hugo, God bless him is the previous category.

Hunger Chancellors is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31