No, this is not a little disquisition on human physiology.
In his farewell speech in 1961, US President Eisenhower warned against the insidious influence of what he called the "military-industrial complex" (on the advice of his staff, he abandoned his original intention of calling it the "military-industrial-congressional complex"). Not only have his warnings obviously fallen on deaf years in the nearly fifty years that have passed, but the military-industrial complex has now grown in size and scope to include the congress (as Eisenhower already feared), think tanks, universities, media, and now, as the Washington Post has revealed, also the intelligence.
In the last ten years, according to this Washington Post report, the so-called "war on terror"has now spawned a self-reinforcing and self-justifying intelligence industry with no accountability, no reality checks, and no quality control - just like the so-called "defence" contractors and private military and intelligence firms that have fattened themselves, often on on no-bid contracts, from the boundless opportunities for killing and destruction. If ever you needed evidence to see how utterly futile, counterproductive and self-destructive the so-called War on Terror has turned out to be, this is it.
Now that no one seems to know what the heck is going on, no one is responsible for the big picture, or connecting the myriad dots into some sort of pattern, what is to prevent one of the private contractors from starting its own false flag operation, or from purveying intelligence deliberately designed to promote a self-aggrandizing agenda? It's not as if there are no connections between some of these contractors and the most extreme political forces in the US, including some who see themselves as bringing forward the second coming of the Messiah. Think Dick Cheney with KBR, Erik Prince with Blackwater/XE...doubtless there are others I am not aware of. Besides, it's very likely that the loose networking and the information overload will allow in just those firms and individuals who are likely to have such an extreme agenda.
So, after spending billions trying very hard to (over)protect themselves, the US government now probably feels more threatened than ever - according to the FICKLE logic described by Ray McGovern in his analysis of the intelligence snake-pit in which the US government finds itself.
Why do I worry about this? Because India boasts of a special alliance with the US, which ties its fortunes to the fate of the US. Now another partner in the eternal war on terror wants to muscle in and create another "special relationship" with India. Almost the entire British cabinet is soon coming to India, and will be feted and dined by the country's business celebrities. But what are they coming for? According to The Telegraph:
Cameron hopes to secure contracts worth £1 billion (Rs 7,200 crore) for the British defence industry. His team will seek to press British interests in India’s $11-billion (Rs 51,364 crore), 126-aircraft fighter procurement contest.
Six manufacturers are in the running for the lucrative deal, with EADS, the consortium that includes British aerospace company BAe Systems, offering the Eurofighter Typhoon jet. Britain also hopes to sell India 57 more hawk jet trainers, in a deal worth £500 million (Rs 3,600 crore), in addition to the 66 fighters BAe is already contracted to provide.
So much more urgent to keep the killing machine well-fed than fighting the genocidal levels of deprivation and poverty that "shining India" now manages to register! This is a small indication that India is likely to go down the same self-destructive path as its partners and allies like the US and the UK of devoting more and more resources desperately needed elsewhere in feeding the killing machine. Feeling safer already?
There will still be people who will deride my thinking as simple-minded, soft-headed, or bleeding-hearted. The next terrorist attack from across the border, they will claim, will not induce hysterical demands for opening new schools or for feeding the hungry, but for bombing the country that sent the terrorists back to the stone age. In the present climate of self-induced paranoia, they will probably sound convincing. But they will fail to convince anyone by their arguments - if they have any - that their allegedly more "realistic" solution of continuing to throw billions into the bottomless pit of the war in terror now will make us any more secure in the future, let alone bring about a world we would all want our children and grand-children to live in.
So...to return to the medical metaphor suggested in the title...have we already medicated ourselves beyond repair? Ultimately, there is no there is no better way to build long-term immunity against terrorism than to disinvest from the industries of destruction, and re-invest in rebuilding vibrant, creative and dignified societies in which everyone has a stake: through promoting learning and creativity, improving public health, protecting the environment, rebuilding the infrastructure, creating jobs for those who can work, and a support system that ensures that people who can't are still able to live in dignity and with respect as members of society. What's more, there is every indication that we are running out of time to adopt this solution. But governments will not do it by themselves: they are mostly the doctors who have been prescribing the wrong medicines because they stand to gain from our helplessness and dependency. It is for people to draw on their instincts for survival to either change their governments, or opt out of the systems that keep us scared, angry and hungering for peace and justice.