Bush, The Second Iraq War, and the Attention Economy
Wars have always been a part of human experience, we are repeatedly told. Actually, what we call war, namely a military struggle for the control of land territory, is an outgrowth of the rise of agriculture and early industry. Land is valuable for growing crops or extracting resources. For those in most advanced societies who have abandoned a primary dependence on these kinds of activities, those reasons for war no longer make sense. Today, wars in general, and the second Iraq war in particular have primary value as a means for their instigators of focussing and attracting attention.
For Bush et al, the attention of those in the countries around Iraq mattered somewhat, but that of those at home in the US mattered far more. Some of us looked on in excitement -as if watching a sporting event – or in relief in the attack on a tyrant supposedly dangerous to the US. Others, including me, watched in deepening depression that the war had begun contrary to established international law and principle and despite every effort to oppose it. We were sick not only with the needless killing and destruction, but for fear of the power that George W. Bush would gain from it, a fear in itself quite useful to Bush. Our greatest fear perhaps is that this war will be followed by many sequels for the same ends.