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HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
Head Games

The First Un-War

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Picture the circumstances. You’re evaporating politically, less and less remains of you every week. The nation itself is quivering with anxiety, freaking out over each new virus or decapitation posted on Instagram. The economy, six years after the crash, continues to be catatonic: half the GDP generated by liquidation sales, the other half driven by enterprises that require HazMat suits. There’s scant hope of finding an exit from that gnawing vortex, not with the gang running the Hill these days.

Some of your closest allies have jumped ship, and shanked you in the back on the way out the door with bitchy tell-all memoirs that excoriate you for not heeding their advice. The rest of the inner circle seems to have lost faith: faith in the office, faith that anything will get better, faith in you.

Yes, put yourself in Obama’s chair, right there in the cockpit of the Oval Office, under these tremulous circumstances. What would you do when you’re flatlining and there’s no quick fix, no patch, no system upgrade that will reboot the program? What is to be done? You unlock that secret drawer and pull out the old playbook, the binding worn by numerous desperate hands before your own, you pencil in some innovations, a few of your signature moves and then let rip by declaring a new war.

Well, not exactly “declaring” war. That would be problematic. Hmm. There is that sweeping Authorization for Use of Military Force cooked up by Bush’s crack team of lawyers back in 2001, the one that sanctioned unilateral war across the Middle East from Afghanistan to Somalia to Iraq. Of course, you once denounced that very document as “constitutional over-reach” but who will hold those naïve opinions against you now?

In any event, this won’t be a war like Bush’s. In fact, it won’t be a “war” at all. It will be history’s first un-war, a military action of higher moral purpose, designed not for acquisition of land or resources or as a punitive measure or as a
KillingTrayvons1settling of old scores. These carefully calibrated missile and drone strikes will be entirely benign, computer-targeted only at the forces of darkness, to keep them from defiling the bodies of the innocent. These bombs are meant to protect not destroy, each one carrying a Humanitarian Exemption for any troublesome collateral damage.

But what’s the pretext? How can military intervention be sold to a war-weary nation that knows next to nothing about ISIS? When 9 out of 10 members of your own cabinet couldn’t name the leader of the new Caliphate. Fear is good. Yes, fear is the ticket. Turn the creeping national anxiety to your own advantage. Use the very...

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