Shakespeare, Language, War and Madness

shakespeare's Mad we can call it; for, to define true madness, what is it but to be nothing else but mad!, the scream painted by Munch“Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is’t but to be nothing else but mad”
(Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2)

That language continuously evolves needs no demonstration. It is commonly overlooked, however, how certain words or expressions – mostly injected into the lexicon by the regime media – suddenly rise to prominence just as suddenly as they fall from use.

During the infancy of the 21st century we had the “war on terror”, which was but an offshoot of the “war on drugs.” The success of either war is dubious, unless it is measured by their quality of endlessness. If so victory can be declared. In fact the administration openly measures their anticipated duration in decades.

After the war on terror, we had, of course, the non-existent Iraq weapons of mass destruction. They proved profitable for those who invented them, and lethal for the million plus who died to verify the equal destructiveness of conventional weapons. Or rather, in vintage Orwellian double-think, weapons of mass destructions simultaneously existed and didn’t. And for the odd guy unsatisfied with this explanation, another popular expression is suggested, (though now moderately obsolete), “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) and Credit Default Swaps (CDS) had short-lived fame, partly because few, if any, knew what they meant. Indirectly, however, they acquired a quasi-metaphysical significance. That is, they made inevitable the printing, (or the electronic creation), of trillions of dollars deliverable to banks and bankers. Who, nevertheless, proved skilled at giving to the airy trillions a local habitation and a name. The habitation being their pocket, and the name being the salvation (of the financial system).

The childhood of the century equally witnessed the advent of “orange revolutions”, where the orangeness has nothing to do with citrus or color, and all to do with who organizes, manages and funds them. Organization(s) that shall remain nameless not to offend the perspicacity of the readers. Besides the neologism, it should be noted that “orange revolutions” equally apply to countries where the government has been democratically elected – but it is a government disliked by the Administration. Given the current ideological wind, orange revolutions are actually revolutions of the rich against the poor. And partially borrowing from another 21st century prominent expression (“preventive wars”), we can define orange revolutions as preventive counter-revolutions.

On the same subject, it is clear that the only possible revolutions are orange. The “Occupy” movement proves it, however noble and at times even heroic. It resulted in a few hundred protesters hand-cuffed, ending in jail, or beaten-up, ending in hospitals. Today, domestic protesters constitute the part in the comedy, scripted to give a tinge of democracy to acts of uselessness.

Public opinion is what the regime media says it is. The few individuals who heroically oppose the regime end-up as we know they did. Bradley Manning spent one year in solitary confinement, two in jail and has 32 more to go in a penitentiary. His fault was showing the horrors and the slaughter perpetrated on the Iraqi people. Julian Assange has been prisoner for over two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. His fault was making public what we always suspected but was always denied – that the actual enemy of the people is their government. Edward Snowden is in Russia, guilty of having proven the pervasive presence of the thought-police.

There have been others. I will just mention Aaron Schwartz, hounded by a zealous prosecutor and driven to kill himself. His fault? Having uploaded on line scientific articles (of no strategic or defense relevance) written by researchers whose work had been financed by the government.

And Gary Webb, also driven to suicide, after showing that the CIA worked with the drug cartels in Nicaragua to unseat the democratically elected government. An operation resulting in tens of thousand of victims. He was ridiculed, vilified, ostracised and effectively banned from journalism. While recent de-classified information proved Gary Webb’s findings to be real and true.

I will also make reference to the following previous blog, showing what happens when a community-minded citizen attemps to protect his country,

http://yourdailyshakespeare.com/shakespeare-the-environment-utah-a-hero-and-the-justice-system/equalities

To return to popular words. On top of the list today is “boots on the ground” – a semi-euphemism for escalating yet another undeclared war on Iraq. As if the new enemy were not an actual creation of the foreign policy of the Administration.

It is in this context that the United States Army has published very recently an ominous document called “Army Operating Concept” (AOC), providing a “vision of future armed conflict.” It describes the underlying strategy of preventive war – meaning the use of war as a means of destroying potential rivals before they become such. In other words destroy anyone who is not an enemy now but may be thought of becoming an opponent later – preventive war against an as yet non-existing enemy.

It would be tedious to describe the document in detail. Maybe it is a “trial balloon” (another neologism, but popular only among pundits) to alert the regime media about what will come next.

The document was released at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference, a domestic Congress of War, held to coincide with a huge trade show of arms manufacturers – where they show their latest weapons and get lucrative Pentagon contracts.

The “Army Operating Concept” calls for a massively larger army (“boots on the ground”). It says, “The environment the Army will operate in is unknown. The enemy is unknown, the location is unknown, and the coalitions involved are unknown.” Therefore, the army must be ready to pre-fight, pre-conquer and pre-destroy everyone and everywhere – a strategy for war against all states and peoples.

Unstated is the underlying imperative that the US control the entire planet, its markets and resources.

For the military-industrial establishment every country beyond the US borders is a potential enemy. This requires “overmatch,” that is “the application of capabilities or use of tactics in a way that renders an adversary unable to respond effectively.”

China’s efforts at arming itself, “highlights the need for Army forces positioned forward or regionally engaged,” and for “Army forces to project power from land into the air, maritime, space and cyberspace domains.”

Russia is “determined to expand its territory and assert its power on the Eurasian landmass,”. Only a powerful deployment of US ground forces can deter Russian “adventurism” and “project national power and exert influence in political conflicts.”

The naive reader may ask, “But did you not, until recently, fought Russia only because it was communist? Now it is anything but communist. What happened to the peace dividend?” Of course the answer is, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (see above). Besides, the military establishment, by tradition, is never leery of overburdening the credulity of the audience.

But the document also refers to “responding and mitigating crises in the homeland,” The Army’s mission within the US includes “defense support of civil authorities.” Which is Orwellianese for repressing and suppressing any domestic effort at countering the military madness.

Indeed, the dominant classes have learned one lesson, as the 21st century has grown in age – considering that some time always elapses between the birth and maturity of folly and of wickedness. The dominant classes need an enemy to effectively resist to the consequences of the social regression they impose.

Therefore, examined objectively, the “Army Operating Concept” looks like a call for perpetual war, displaying hopeless degeneracy and an obstinate penchant for blindness to the consequences. Alternatively, it is a blueprint for World War III.

All in all, “Mad we can call it; for, to define true madness, what is it but to be nothing else but mad!”

In the play. Polonius believes he has identified the cause of Hamlet’s erratic behavior, namely that Hamlet is in love with Ophelia. Proud of his (actually wrong) diagnosis, Polonius delivers a lengthy and pompous introduction to the attending king and queen.

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  • voltaire1964

    from Linked In. Sundararaman Rangarajan says,
    We can see everything in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 [Act 5,…

    Sundararaman Rangarajan, —

  • voltaire1964

    from Linked In. Federico Martin says,

    Blowin’ in the Wind By Bob Dylan How many roads must a man walk…

    J. Federico Martin, Writer

  • voltaire1964

    From Linked in. Alita Kelley says,

    Alita Kelley

    Emerita Professor of Modern Langs at Penn State University

    The answer I like is J Federico Martin’s “Blowin’ in the wind” except that one is supposed to suggest a line from Shakespeare, not Bob Dylan (no matter how pertinent!). I feel that the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…. ” speech from Macbeth takes care of just about everything negative in life that one can think of….

  • voltaire1964

    From Linked in. Fwederico Martin says,
    J. Federico Martin

    Writer

    The article posted by Jimmie Moglia quotes Shakespeare through Hamlet,

    “Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,

    What is’t but to be nothing else but mad”

    (Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2)

    The quote is prelude to the topic of the article which is the endless
    madness of language and war, that we find n the modern world.

    Bob Dylan’s lyrics (“How many roads must a man walk down?”) echo that
    madness that is repeated over and over throughout history down to our
    times.

    One might say that the only thing that history teaches us is that we repeat ourselves.

  • voltaire1964

    From Linked in. Iacopo Mugnaioni says,

    Iacopo Mugnaioni

    at MEDIACROSS Srl

    Very interesting post and definitely “war is madness”. But I wonder if
    there is something “deeper”, terribly human in war. I was extremely
    impressed by the James Hillman essay “A terrible love for war”, a
    different and somewhat unusual point of view on this topic.

  • voltaire1964

    From Linked in. J. Federico Martin says,

    J. Federico Martin
    Writer

    Following is a quote on war, by a former U.S. President:

    “War is always the same. It is young men dying in the fullness of their
    promise. It is trying to kill a man that you do not even know well
    enough to hate. Therefore, to know war is to know there is still madness
    in the world.”

    ~U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson

  • voltaire1964

    From Linked in. Iacopo Mugnaioni says,

    Iacopo Mugnaioni

    at MEDIACROSS Srl

    It’s 100% true and agreeable. But despite that, “war” has always been
    part (a despicable part, surely) of the human history – since the
    beginning. Why? Are we all mad? But if the all of us are mad, then
    madness becomes the standard not the exception. That means that madness
    would be no longer “madness” but normality. I’m neither supporting war
    nor provoking. Just wondering how come that we hate war but nonetheless
    we (or our governments) keep investing billions in weapons. I really
    wonder if deep inside our nature is hidden some “terrible love for
    war”.. A dark, destructive attraction for killing and destruction.