Monday, February 2, 2009

war before election, like foreplay before the act

Pre-election bombing of 'the enemy' is a tried, tested and successful strategy in politics. The latest episode is the Gaza killings. According to Gwynne Dyer: "The war is being fought now largely to shift the opinion polls in favour of the ruling parties before the election."

The same strategy was used by Boris Yeltsin when his popularity flagged: he bombed Chechnya, and started the first Chechen War. The second Chechen war was intended to catapult Vladimir Putin into the presidency – which it did.

The major reason for George 'warmonger' Bush to invaded Iraq was to galvanize 4 million Christian evangelical voters, who, his Svengali, Karl Rove, had figured out had stayed home in 2000. The evangelicals duly cheered – and he won handily in 2004.

Notice the enthusiasm with which young Sinhalese are queuing up to join the army against the Tamils. Rajapakse's popularity soars with every bullet fired.

For the enduring popularity of war, look no further than the Great Republic, the beacon on the hill, of which Scott nearing wrote in 1921 in his book "The American Empire": " The "Historical Register of the United States Army" (F. B. Heitman, Washington, Govt. Print., 1903, vol. 2, pp. 298-300) contains a list of 114 wars in which the United States has been engaged since 1775. The publication likewise presents a list of 8600 battles and engagements incident to these 114 wars. Two of these wars were with England, one with Mexico and one with Spain. These, together with the Civil War and the War with Germany, constitute the major struggles in which the United States has been engaged. In addition to these six great wars there were the numerous wars with the Indians, the last of which (with the Chippewa) occurred in 1898. Some of these Indian "wars" were mere policing expeditions. Others, like the wars with the Northwest Indians, with the Seminoles and with the Apaches, lasted for years and involved a considerable outlay of life and money."

Neither was Europe immune to elections and war. The historian, J.M.Roberts observed: "When it started, the Great War, which was to reveal itself as the most democratic in history in its nature, may well also have been the most popular ever."

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