The State itself can be boiled down to its essence, it’s one final purpose: to continually drive-home the idea of it’s legitimacy in the function of consolidating power (money, resources, capital) for the few over the many.  Case in point: a few days ago I posted a link to a New York Times op-ed “Aid at the Point of a Gun” (which I’ve noticed that the link has since become in-effective, now requiring a password).  But the gist of the piece was that, given the military dictatorship in Burma/Myanmar’s obstructionism against foreign aid into the country following the devastating tsunami there, where it is estimated that at least 100,000 people have died and many more hundreds of thousands are further at risk of dying in the storms wake from starvation and disease, it may be necessary to use military force to provide aid against the wishes of the Burmese State.  This same sentiment was recently written in Time magazine.

Now, it’s not that I am in any way against doing what it necessary and prudent in offering any and all help to the suffering people of Burma or elsewhere for that matter.  However, my “bullshit alarm” goes off pretty loudly whenever I hear a proposal for military intervention, and especially when it’s under the guise of the oh-so benevolent and pious U.S. government’s “humanitarian” “concern”.

For instance, if the starvation of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people were such a concern to the powers of Washington, where is their response to the 35.5 million Americans who live in what is called “food insecurity” (11% of all “households”) or the other 4.6 million who live in what is called “very low food security”, to say nothing of addressing the systematic, societal failures that allow such an instance to arise in the first place (1).  The asinine idea of military force (an invasion of another region of the world) reads as little more than another outlet, a giveback (in fact, in the end a regressive taxation which overly burdens the poor, working, and middle classes the the enrichment of the upper, elite, and ruling classes) to military contractors, big agribusiness, and the oil conglomerate/cartels (the drive for global control of oil supplies is, after-all, far more about military might than consumer markets- military strength at this point in time is inextricably intertwined with oil and fuel resources).  Sending the military into Burma to provide humanitarian aid also has the convenient effect of demonstrating to the regional powers (China, Iran- who both are against such a proposal) that the U.S. is still capable of operating in new theaters of “war” at it’s pleasure, despite everything else.

As well, if disaster relief is of such concern and import to the Bush Administration, perhaps they could have done something- anything– before, during, and after (even to this day) Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  The Israelis, Canadians, Germans offered aid: if was refused.  You know who offered aid: Fidel Castro’s Cuba (um, that was refused too).  Tellingly, while most aid was refused from these Western “friends”, it was happily received from China and others.  Yet the failure of agency after agency, policy, and system (i.e., the failure of the State) to rightly provide for the people who were first living in extreme danger, then devastated, and finally ignored, obstructed, and thrown into forced migration for the “development” and privatization (benefit) of the already wealthy and powerful proves that any offer of humanitarianism is a callous and cynical rouse.

Now, I am not by any definition one who is particularly interested in ideas of nationalism, national pride, or some sense of “patriotism” that rests on meaningless rhetoric and sloganeering.  Nonetheless, I am loath to know that it is my money that is going to accomplish- or not accomplish- all of this monstrosity.  So while the State (wrongly) justifies itself, its necessity and import through the promise of safety, protection, and even prosperity, the facts suggest something entirely different: the State itself is a lie, and even a detriment, as people who could otherwise thrive and grow are left to starve and suffer all around us.

 

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