Collaborators

Wikileaks has released nearly 400,000 files about the Iraq War. They document tens of thousands of murdered civilians, torture, and other war crimes.

Have a look at this map. It says more than be easily described by words.

These are not revelations per se; we knew the war was brutal, illegal and immoral. But it’s a confirmation in numbers and facts that all the lies from the Pentagon (such as about how these files will endanger people on the ground – they contain no names, and the same lie was used against the Afghanistan files, only for the government to have to admit that not a single individual was affected by the release) cannot change. These are the facts.

At this point, no-one who claims to have any morality left in them can continue to support this butchery. The people who talk about “seeing both sides of the issue,” who tell us we should tolerate those who are in favour of this war – these people are collaborators. Every single government individual involved with this, Democrat or Republican, Tory or Labour, deserves to be brought before a war crimes tribunal like the one in Nuremberg. And every single person who continues to support this war should be scorned in the same way we would scorn the people who knew about concentration camps and did nothing.

This isn’t some abstract political game. These are people’s lives. It comes down to approximately 31 civilians killed every day. Civilians? That’s an abstraction. They are people. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, daughters, sons, best friends, old acquaintances, or annoying strangers… these are the same people you meet every day in your life. They are being killed, murdered by our governments, by our soldiers. How are we better than those Germans who sat idly by while their government killed millions of people?

Oh, it’s Godwin’s Law, some meme-worshipping moron will say. Well, fuck you, the comparison is absolutely legit, and now is the time to bring it. Because we are the subjects of countries with vast military apparatuses that are engaging in deliberate murder and destruction on an enormous scale. Do you know what would happen if we really followed the Nuremberg laws? Bush, Blair, Brown, Obama and all of their accomplices would be hanged. That’s not a joke. It’s not what would happen if there was some huge revolution. It would happen if we obeyed the laws the Allies set down after World War 2.

If you do not feel anger at the things you can read in those files, or at the thousands of little dots on that map, if you do not feel profound anger, you’re dead on the inside, another victim of the system that indoctrinates us to be obedient little idiots incapable of seeing the bigger picture, happy little egoists proudly marching into our own oblivion. Anger – not mindless rage, but clear, sharp anger – is the only valid response. Anger is the first step towards fighting for change. Fuck resignation and fuck “trying to understand them.” It’s easy to understand them: history has enough examples of bloody tyrants, of the horror of occupation and the crimes that humans commit when they have surrendered their minds to the military. This is not a matter for debate. There is no room for rationalization. The crimes are in the open. If you say you’re fine with these things, if you say you can accept them because that is how the world turns, or if you say that you think it’s terrible but it doesn’t really touch you, or whatever other petty excuse people come up with for denying the truth, you are an enemy of democracy and human rights. It’s not “just an opinion.” You are condoning mass murder.

We should stop making excuses. “Oh, Obama really means well, he just hasn’t managed to establish himself properly.” No. That is an obvious and pathetic lie. Obama, just like his predecessor, is a war criminal. He deserves to be put on trial and sentenced for the murder of thousands of people, for torture and destruction that an ordinary mind can barely imagine. The same goes for every government that participated in these events, from Germany to Britain to Italy to Spain.

Some will say that anger is a destructive, childish emotion. Fuck that, too. Have a look at the photos of dead children gunned down by soldiers with machine guns. If you don’t feel anger at what you see, you’re selling out your humanity. There is room for other emotions, but if you are incapable of feeling the desire to scream “This is wrong and it must stop!” then I have no respect for you, because you’re just going to sit there and let it happen, debating whether Obama should finally assert his true beliefs. And don’t even get me started on the Christians. Christ himself would be out there, putting himself between the bullets and victims, and he would expect no less of you.

Our governments are under the control of mass murderers and war criminals. Every day that we allow this to continue without protest, we become accomplices in their crimes. And no, this is not normal, this is not status quo. Governments have often committed terrible crimes, but this kind of thinking is exactly what the problem is: “ooh, it’s always been this way, it will never change, I’ll just do my own thing.” Well, bullshit. You’re just too much of a coward or a sellout to stand up for what is right, but you don’t want to admit it, and hide behind historical lies and obfuscation. Fuck that. Fuck all the people who think like that. Do you want to be remembered like the Germans of the 1940s, like the sheep who sat there while their leaders destroyed the world? Do you want to be another soulless, gutless boot-licker who just vegetates in front of the TV or at a ridiculous desk job while good, innocent people are being tortured to death? Do you want to look back at your life and think that all you ever were was another drone, another moron who did as he was told and followed the orders of the nitwitted bullies who pass for our governments? You could be like the French of the Vichy Regime, a murdering coward collaborating with some of the biggest assholes the world has ever seen, or you could be like the French in the streets now, drawing a line in the sand and saying no more.

And if you say that you might be defeated, that change is hard to cause, well, so fucking what? That’s exactly what the Germans told themselves when Hitler was in power. “Ohh, I really do disagree, but it might be dangerous to do something.” What do we think of the people who thought like that? We think they were fucking cowards and sellouts who made excuses, and thanks to spineless idiots like them, thousands of lives were lost in the most brutal and horrifying of ways. Concentration camps were only built because people allowed them to. Do you want to be like those fuckheads? Because if you don’t stand up, if you keep quiet, if you do as you’re told and only think about yourself, that’s exactly what you will be. Another cowardly I-really-was-against-it-at-heart collaborator. And maybe you’re even worse than the people who collaborated with the Nazis, because nowadays we have the internet, and we have the clearest example in human history of what it means to collaborate only a few decades behind us, and you should know better.

Fuck the ideological excuses and the whining about “balance” and differing worldviews. Look at the facts. Look at the deaths. Look at what is being done in our name, by the people we finance, by the murderers and criminals who are sitting right here in our countries. Did you think the scene of the crime was far away, and so you could do nothing about it? Well, you’re wrong. The real crime is being planned and ordered right here, right on our doorstep, and it’s our responsibility to stop it.

If we can cultivate in the world the idea that aggressive war-making is the way to the prisoner’s dock rather than the way to honors, we will have accomplished something toward making the peace more secure.
– Robert H. Jackson, Opening Address to the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials

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13 Comments

  1. These are some of the most beautiful words I’ve read in my life.

  2. I think it’s worth adding to this some examples that show that not only is collaboration with oppression not inevitable, it has been resisted successfully by people in far more difficult situations than anyone likely to be reading this finds themselves in. To go on with the case of Nazi Europe, you can just look at the actions of the Danish and Bulgarian governments in response to the persecution of the Jews. In order to carry out the deportation and extermination of foreign Jews, the Nazi government would have to do two things: first, make it possible to clearly identify the Jews within the larger population, and second, to have the Jewish population somewhere where it would be easily possible to round them up and put them on trains to the camps.
    When the German government tried to achieve the first in Denmark, they ordered the Danish government to force the Jewish population to wear the Star of David at all times in public. The response of the Danish government, hardly a band of daring revolutionaries by any stretch of the imagination, was to declare that the first person to wear the Star of David would be the king himself. As the SS prepared to use German soldiers to round up the Jews and bypass the Danish government, the Danish people organised to hide and evacuate the Jews across the Baltic to neutral Sweden, with the result that thousands of lives were saved.
    When later in the war much the same thing was attempted in occupied Bulgaria, the Bulgarian government did technically issue anti-Jewish legislation. They commanded all the Jews of the kingdom to be expelled from Sofia and dispersed throughout the country-side, from where it would have required an army to round them up for deportation.
    The moral of the story is that even under the threat of totalitarianism it is possible to resist, and it is possible to win (at least on some level). No one will assassinate you, or imprison you, or put you on any blacklist for attending or organising anti-war meetings, or for telling the people around you that the best way to support your troops is to stop making forcing them to carry out crimes.

  3. Ezra

     /  October 24, 2010

    I think the article would be improved by a definite call to action: currently, you ask the reader to be angry, but don’t say how to channel that anger.

  4. Well, this post is about the ethical/emotional response to the situation; how people react is up to them, because each person is in a different situation and has different options available to them. I didn’t want to dilute the main point by branching off into organizational stuff; but I do see your point, and think such information should be provided.

  5. Wow.

    Thank you.

    Too many people don’t (or maybe refuse to) see these deaths as what they are; the deaths of people. It’s painful to think that there are people who care this little about humanity (and especially that these are people in charge). It would be by far the most shocking thing ever if it hadn’t already happened so many times in the past.

    So thank you. It always gives me a little more hope when I see someone else recognise that all people are, in fact, people.

  6. Excellent, excellent write-up. And so very true.

  7. Stegg

     /  January 3, 2011

    I agree with the article, but its easier said than done. take for example britain, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in one of the largest protests in british history “http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/2765041.stm” and yet in the end, the government ignored the public. It is our responsibility to stop but how do we do this? its not like the british public kept quiet, its that we are ignored.

    Also as much as I completely agree what you are saying, its harsh to call people cowards for not going further to stop this. Even taking the nazi example into consideration, there were a lot of objectors but when your family is under threat of death, your perspective will change. If it was your wife staring down the barrel of a gun (sorry verena) would you really put her life at risk to make a change, knowing too, that there is a chance it could be in vain?

    p.s. loved the article on puzzles and axes 🙂

  8. But we’re not there yet. We’re not staring down the barrel of the gun, at least not all of us; and still the collaborators are there. Concentration camps were being built before the Nazis were all-powerful. What if there had been resistance then?

  9. well to go beyond peaceful protesting may instigate military action and then you would be, and as I know in britain…protesting the good old fashioned way does nothing.

    you are right though, nipping the problem in the bud would solve a lot of problems…

    If there was a huge revolution however, I do believe they heads of government would be made to pay, and rightly so. they made other people pay for war crimes, why shouldnt they.

    On a not so tangent…have you been playing fable 3 recently? sadly Im not descended from the blood of heroes :p

  10. No, I fear the original Fable was a bit of a disappointment, and the sequels haven’t really fixed any of the problems I had.

  11. just out of curiosity, what didnt you like about fable? I just become engrossed in it so easily. The voice acting in it is sublime (I love stephen fry and zoe wannamaker) as is the characters like reaver, and hammer from the second I also appreciate how colourful it is, too many games these days have “next gen graphics” which translates into grey fuzziness “gears of grand theft halo” syndrome. every step closer I take towards the revolution urges me ever onwards to play it and I clocked up a shameful amount of time in what felt like had only been 5 minutes

  12. I could write ten articles about what I didn’t like. The inconsistency of the setting, the simplistic morality, the superficiality of the gameplay, the faked depth… it was an incredibly shallow game that pretended to be all about freedom and depth. It’s kind of like our society, in a way: you have freedom, but it’s the freedom of choosing between Pepsi and Coke.

  13. Yeah I do see your point. I remember when molyeux first announced fable in an interview he said it would be along the lines of morrowind in terms of sandboxness, which it was not as it is surprisingly linear and the morality choices were very black or white (Funnily, the title of another of lionheads games, a trend they have is this morality thing) not really room for grey/normal people choices. it was either save everyone or kill everyone, no “Im not taking part in this bollocks” option. but looking past that, I do like how your choices, however dramatic, do seem to have an effect on the world at least, fom old town being run down or rich to the population dying off cause you didnt give a shit. I hated the first fable as it never met the hype and was dissappointing but I made my peace when the second one came out and just decided to look at it as a new game and not a sequel. I appreciated it more.