How the West uses mainstream liberalism to promote mass murder

An image from the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.
Support us and go ad-free

For the first time in history, Washington’s war machine is mostly run by women. And the liberal media seems delighted.

A “stride towards progress”?

Women now occupy the three top positions of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They also manage four of the country’s five largest arms contractors. And they oversee the country’s nuclear stockpile.

NowThis described the CIA’s new appointments as “another stride towards progress”. MSNBC ran with the headline The military-industrial complex is now run by women while asking “who runs the world?” with an apparent sense of pride. Politico, meanwhile, called women taking over of the “military-industrial complex” a “watershed” moment.

The news that women now control the machinery of war, terror and torture in the US is wholly uninspiring. But it does reveal how feminism is deemed tolerable when it complements violent and patriarchal values. It also shows how the West exploits mainstream liberalism to promote mass murder – and how it works.

Feminism – CIA style

In recent years, the CIA has projected a liberal feminist stance with increasing enthusiasm:

Since Gina Haspel’s selection as CIA director in 2018, much of the US establishment has emphasised her gender as both evidence of progress within the security services and a reason to support her. But the notion that the CIA (or Trump administration) is on the side of women is both farcical and a cynical attempt at historical whitewash. Because as history suggests, women’s struggles are only relevant to US intervention when they serve US interests. Saudi Arabia’s patriarchal monarchy can, therefore, enjoy Washington’s unwavering support while the “Taliban’s war against women” was among justifications for the invasion of Afghanistan.

Selective concern for women’s rights suggests no concern at all. But the efforts of the CIA – and wider US military apparatus – to package war with a smiley liberal face seem to have paid off. According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, Democrats support ongoing US military occupations overwhelmingly more than Republicans.

In other words, those more sympathetic to liberal discourses currently find US foreign intervention more acceptable. Those on the receiving end of such intervention, meanwhile, will undoubtedly not care less if their murder was ordered by a man or a woman.

In short, Western elites are successfully using the language of social justice as a PR strategy. So anti-war Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are essential to countering this false narrative.

Gender parity in human destruction

The liberal promotion of gender parity in human destruction ensures the latter will continue.

As independent feminist journalist Caitlin Johnstone insists:

Women controlling the military-industrial complex is not feminism, it’s toxic masculinity… True feminism means turning away from the toxic valuing system which elevates the most ambitious sociopaths and toward one which values empathy, collaboration, nurturing and peace instead.

She continues:

The problem has always been that we’re trying to value women with a value system created by very few powerful men. By leaving in place the value system created by patriarchy (i.e. capitalism), we are now valuing women but only for their ability to play men’s games.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, meanwhile, stresses that:

Militarism and aggression don’t become any more palatable because the institutions that perpetrate them let women and gays participate in those abuses.

Liberalism in the arms trade

Talking to Politico, Marillyn Hewson said her recent appointment to CEO of arms dealer Lockheed Martin is owing to “quieting that little voice in your head that doubts whether you can do that next job or take on that special assignment”. But what exactly are her company’s ‘special assignments’? Well, Lockheed Martin’s services are crucial to sustaining what the UN has described as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” in Yemen. In August 2018, the Saudi-led coalition used a 500-pound Lockheed Martin bomb to kill 40 Yemeni children. The Saudi monarchy, meanwhile, is notorious for its repression of women.

And Lockheed Martin’s complicity in Saudi repression only scratches the surface of the arms trade’s support for authoritarian states which oppress women.

Lifting the glass ceiling in the military-industrial complex only serves to hide the latter’s horrors. We must not let mainstream liberalism blind us to the horrors of war.

Featured image via Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly

Get involved

  • Support UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade.
  • Read more of The Canary‘s coverage of the horrors of the arms trade.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us