If the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have demonstrated anything, it's that all the hi-tech weaponry in the world doesn't accomplish much in terms of advancing geopolitical aims. Our troops, and their weapons, have been in Afghanistan for over six years, and yet the Taliban remains a powerful force and peace is as elusive as ever. Likewise, the Americans have been in Iraq for five years and counting, bogged down in a never-ending shell game of shifting alliances, and the neocon dream of transforming Iraq into a westernized democracy reads like a sick joke.
In both places, counterinsurgents have shown that with a determined population, no country can be occupied successfully. The idealized warfare of the 20th century, with gigantic well-armed militaries facing each other on the open field of battle, was always more fantasy than reality, but Iraq and Afghanistan have killed the model forever. We'll have to find other ways to avoid and resolve conflicts.
But if hi-tech weaponry doesn't accomplish anything militarily, it accomplishes much politically. It kills a lot of people, for one. But it also feeds a militarized command economy that diverts resources away from the needs of people and into the pockets of war profiteers. The choice is simple: we either continue feeding the never-satisfied militarized beast, or we take adequate care of the people around us, providing education, health care and the infrastructure for a thriving economy. We can't do both.
And yet, it's again time for Halifax's annual masturbatory celebration of hi-tech weaponry. Through Friday, the Canadian Defence Security and Aerospace Exhibition continues at the Cunard Centre; war profiteers---including reps from Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin---will rub elbows with each other, government employees and the (invited only) fawning media. This will be followed Saturday and Sunday by the Nova Scotia International Air Show, which is likewise heavy on weaponry wanking, including displays by an array of military planes and, on the ground, a stylized "Camp Canada," complete with "observation posts, medical triage centres, minefields, an obstacle course and much more," according to the air show website.
Truth is, this is propaganda, designed to work the public up into war frenzy so they'll accept that their tax dollars will go to weaponry instead of human needs.
Stand up to the war machine and its propaganda by joining the Halifax Peace Coalition Thursday, at 4pm, for a vigil outside the Cunard Centre.