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. As Tina Turner put it, “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 traumatized by what they have seen and done.
While their State inflicts mass murder on people ‘over there,’ Americans are encouraged to carry on ‘as normal.’ While dissociation offers temporary comfort, it allows 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 market mass murder. On Independence Day, President Bush falsely equated the U.S. war to dominate Iraq with America’s battle against British imperialism.
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 do not need to care more about the war; they need an anti-war movement that will challenge the Democrats and force an end to the war.