Showing posts with label Non-Linear Warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Non-Linear Warfare. Show all posts

Thursday, 6 June 2019

ENEMY IMAGE







It is from Schmitt that Samuel Huntington got his idea that an enemy image is absolutely necessary for the cohesion of any society. In reality, however, it is primarily an oligarchical society which requires an enemy image, because that society is based on an irrational principle of domination which cannot stand the scrutiny it would receive in peacetime. 
George Orwell understood this aspect well when he suggested in 1984 that the endless war among Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia was really a war waged by each of these states against its own population, for the purpose of perpetuating a hierarchical society. 
The key concept dates back at least to Ibn Khaldun, the 13th century father of sociology, who noted that the Arabs only stopped fighting each other when it was necessary to unite against an outside enemy.

from
CARL SCHMITT: POISON GAS ON GERMAN CITIES 

Leo Strauss was the product of three main intellectual and political influences. 

First among these was the proto-Nazi Friedrich Nietzsche, who was designated by Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg as one of the four precursors of Hitlerism (the others were the operatic composer Richard Wagner, the anti-Semitic LaGarde, and the racist Houston Stewart Chamberlain). 

A second was the card-carrying Nazi Martin Heidegger, who praised Hitler in his inaugural speech as rector of the University of Freiburg. 

Finally, there is the card-carrying Nazi Carl Schmitt, the main legal theorist of the Third Reich. 

Schmitt’s ideas have directly contributed to the shattering of the US political consensus under the Bush regime. For Schmitt, politics comes down to the distinction between friend and foe. Starting from this extremely meager reduction of human motivation, he goes on to equate politics with warfare: if there is no warfare or conflict, then politics is dead, and life is no longer worth living. Schmitt therefore wants politics to be the monopoly of a strong state, and he does not like the idea that the state or the government could be influenced by the citizens. Schmitt’s thought is thus revealed as authoritarian, dictatorial, fascistic. It is from Schmitt that Samuel Huntington got his idea that an enemy image is absolutely necessary for the cohesion of any society. In reality, however, it is primarily an oligarchical society which requires an enemy image, because that society is based on an irrational principle of domination which cannot stand the scrutiny it would receive in peacetime. George Orwell understood this aspect well when he suggested in 1984 that the endless war among Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia was really a war waged by each of these states against its own population, for the purpose of perpetuating a hierarchical society. The key concept dates back at least to Ibn Khaldun, the 13th century father of sociology, who noted that the Arabs only stopped fighting each other when it was necessary to unite against an outside enemy. 

The card-carrying Nazi Schmitt was also a bitter opponent, not just of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations, but of international law and international treaties in general. Like his neocon descendants of today, he was an ardent unilateralist. Here are some of Schmitt’s typical comments about international law: “We are talking again about basic rights, about the basic rights of peoples and of states, and especially about the basic rights of those states who have, mindful of their own race, gotten themselves into the proper domestic order. Such a state is the national socialist state, which has led the German people back to an awareness of itself and its race. We proceed from the most self-evident of all basic rights, the right to one’s own existence. This is an inalienable, eternal basic right, in which the right to self-determination, self-defense, and to the means of self-defense is included. . . . From our solid standpoint we can see through that world of legalistic argumentation and that huge apparatus of treaties and pacts, and assign this tower of Babel to its rightful place in the history of international law.” 

Schmitt was the author of Article 48 of the 1919 Constitution of the Weimar Republic, which was the clause that allowed the Reich President to declare an emergency or state of siege and thereafter rule by decree. Schmitt’s activity during the 1920s was largely devoted to agitating in favor of the dissolution or marginalization of the Reichstag (parliament) and the institution of a dictatorship of the President of the Reich. One of Schmitt’s favorite sayings was that sovereignty meant the ability to declare a state of emergency. If you can find what organ of government has the ability to call out the state of siege, suspend the legislature, and impose martial law, Schmitt reasoned, you have found the place where sovereignty is actually located. 

For Schmitt, the concept of emergency rule is a totally lawless realm; under it, the ruling authority can do literally anything it wants, without regard to law, separation of powers, constitutional freedoms, equity, or anything else. In one of his essays Schmitt approvingly quotes a speech by the Reich Justice Minister Schiffer to the Reichstag on March 3, 1920, in which Schiffer points out that under Article 48, the Reich President can attack “German cities with poison gas, if that is, in the concrete case, the necessary measure for the re-establishment of law and order.” (Schmitt, Die Diktatur, 201) Schmitt was adamant that the emergency provisions of the Weimar constitution were theoretically and practically unlimited, and could be used to justify the greatest imaginable atrocities. We see here a tradition of thought, alive in the Schmittian-Straussian neocons of today, which would have no trouble in accommodating a crime on the scope of 9/ 11. 

In July, 1932 the Nazis and their allies carried out a cold coup against the minority Social Democratic caretaker government in Prussia, the largest political subdivision of Germany. The pro-Nazi government in Prussia then became the springboard for Hitler’s seizure of power via a legal coup in January 1933. Carl Schmitt was the lawyer for the coup forces in the German supreme court in Leipzig. (The parallels of this action to the Schwarzenegger/ Warren Buffet oligarchical coup in California in 2003 are more than suggestive, since California is the largest US political subdivision in the same way that Prussia was in Germany.) Schmitt also provided legal services for Hitler’s seizure of power in January, 1933. 

Carl Schmitt wrote articles for the gutter-level anti-Semitic tabloid Der Stürmer, edited by Julius Streicher. In 1934, when Hitler massacred the brown-shirted SA leader Ernst Röhm and his faction for supporting a second revolution against the financiers, industrialists, and the army, Schmitt quickly emerged as one of Hitler’s most shameless apologists. In his scurrilous pamphlet, “Der Führer Schützt das Recht” (“ The Führer defends the law”), Schmitt endorsed the Byzantine theory according to which law is a successful act of strength by the stronger party against the weaker. Schmitt wrote that the primary task of the Führer was “to distinguish friend from enemy . . . The Führer takes the warnings of German history seriously. That gives him the right and the power to found a new state and a new order. . . . The Führer protects the law from the worst abuse, when he–in the moment of danger–through the power of his leadership as supreme judge, directly creates law. His role as supreme judge flows from his role as supreme leader. Anyone who wants to separate one of these from the other is trying to unhinge the state with the help of the justice system. . . . the Führer himself determines the content and scope of a crime.” (Schmitt 200) 

This opens the door to every arbitrary outrage under color of law. While these ideas, so dear to today’s ruling neocons, have been applied to Abu Ghraib, it is also clear that they are equally applicable to 9/ 11.