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Issue #1691      July 1, 2015

Culture & Life

Cracks in the image and the business of war

The Dalai Lama, a spent force within Tibet, still parades around the Western world on behalf of US imperialism posing as the champion of love and tolerance (not to mention peace), much as the US itself poses as the champion of democracy and justice (not to mention peace). His regime was based on slavery and the complete domination of the state by the church, but; when the Chinese Revolution finally reached Tibet, this bastion of Feudalism went into the rubbish bin of history where it belonged. The Dalai Lama fled abroad, to embrace a new career as a propaganda tool on behalf of imperialism’s continuing Cold War against the People’s Republic of China and socialism generally.

Followers of the Shugden form of Buddhism claim the Dalai Lama’s “aggressive persecution campaign” against them has resulted in suffering and human rights abuses.

As long as he remains useful to the West, he is assured of constant media coverage and continued financial support. Typically, his recent visit to Australia was given widespread media coverage. By contrast, there was a near total blackout on reporting the protests against his visit organised by the Dorje Shugden Buddhist sect. Followers of the Shugden form of Buddhism claim the Dalai Lama’s “aggressive persecution campaign” against them has resulted in suffering and human rights abuses. A protest rally against the Dalai Lama’s religious discrimination would surely be newsworthy. But apparently not.

Spokesperson for the International Shugden Community (ISC), Nicholas Pitts, said “The Dalai Lama preaches about respecting all religions but shamelessly encourages his followers to shun people of our faith. Religious freedom should apply to all traditions whether he likes them or not.”

Mr Pitts said that signs refusing entry and services to people of Shugden faith have gone up in shop windows, restaurants and medical facilities in Tibetan exile communities. Apparently those exile communities are run much as the Dalai Lama was wont to run Tibet.

The protesters called on the Dalai Lama: To allow anyone who wishes to practise Dorje Shugden the freedom to do so; To stop completely the discrimination against Shugden practitioners; To allow all Shugden monks and nuns who have been expelled to return to their monasteries and nunneries, and to receive the same spiritual and material rights as non-Shugden practitioners; and To write to all Tibetan communities throughout the world telling them that they should apply practically the above three points.

Unfortunately for them, reporting the Dalai Lama for practising religious discrimination does not fit in with imperialism’s carefully constructed image of him as the embodiment of love and goodwill and tolerance.

Faithful to his masters, the Dalai Lama never speaks out to condemn the US – or any other imperialist country – for waging war and devastating peaceful communities.

War is the most profitable business that capitalism can envisage. For the rest of us it means destruction, suffering and loss. But for capitalism that destruction means an unparalleled marketing opportunity, to replace what has been destroyed. The bigger and more prolonged the war, the more that has to be replaced. The more that has to be replaced, the more profit to be made.

George W Bush enunciated the doctrine of “continuous war”, the capitalists’ dream state. He didn’t devise the concept; he was simply the mouthpiece for capitalism’s most greedy and aggressive elements. But while capitalists are responsible for war, they do not do the actual fighting. No, for that they rely on the stock of “cannon fodder” that is the bulk of the population: ordinary workers, especially those for whom capitalism has no jobs. Not that they can ask them to fight for capitalists’ profits, of course. So they don’t. They use a vast array of persuasion and disinformation techniques to fool young Americans into willingly fighting for them – for “freedom”, against “terrorism”, even “for peace”.

However, while the capitalists might be pleased with the benefits to them of continuous war, the social cost for the American people is extreme. The US has become one of the most militarised (and militarist) countries in the world. It has over a million and a quarter troops on active duty at any one time, but almost half of them are drawn from just five of the USA’s 50 states. According to The Los Angeles Times, the US military “is gradually becoming a separate warrior class ... that is becoming increasingly distinct from the public it is charged with protecting.”

Worse still is the effect on those troops of the bestial brutality that they experience and inflict in the course of their military service. They are fed hype about “defending freedom”, but they are sent to wage total war against civilian populations that are demonised, indiscriminately identified as “the enemy” to be exterminated. Just like the young German soldiers in Hitler’s army, US soldiers are sent on “missions” to kill women and children, to burn people alive, to massacre families, to destroy communities and reduce populations to lives of horror and suffering.

Not surprisingly, as Paul Buchheit – editor and main author of American Wars: Illusions and Realities – reports, “Over a third of American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder, more often than not the youngest soldiers, little more than children. Veterans are much more likely than other citizens to be unemployed, or, much worse, to commit suicide. And tens of thousands of homeless veterans are walking the streets.”

Buchheit concludes, “War does not bring freedom. It is an invitation to young men and women to begin a journey into their own personal worlds of terror.”

But, as we said earlier, it produces enormous profits for those capitalists who have a share in it. For the rest, however, it means a colossal waste of resources, the distortion – even the ruin – of national economies, and condemns the mass of the people to impoverishment and suffering.

No wonder the capitalists that profit from war have to lie about it.

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