Nov 7, 2018
“Bush didn’t send enough Troops.”
“Trump needs authorization from Congress before launching a war.”
“Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories are not helpful.”
We hear these liberal objections to war and occupation all the time. On the surface, they sound opposed to injustice—and maybe sometimes are—but what if, more often than not, they nitpick process, protocol, and procedure without ever offering substantive, existential critiques of American war-making and military destruction. Their function, primarily, is to give the appearance of dissent where none really exists.
In spycraft, the term “limited hangout” is defined as a “public relations or propaganda technique that involves the release of previously hidden information in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details.” Just the same, this limited opposition to war, or pseudo-opposition, serves as a way of superficially opposing war or imperialism or military occupation without the mess of actually taking a stand against it.
From the invasion of Iraq to the Israeli occupation of Palestine to the boundary-less and boundless perma-war on terror, this pseudo-opposition has taken many forms over the years. In this episode, we discuss the sophisticated nature of this technique, how one can differentiate between good faith nuance and concern-trolling, and how discrediting pseudo-opposition can open space for real conversations about the true consequences of empire.
We are joined by Nora Barrows-Friedman, associate editor at The Electronic Intifada.