Matthew Petti is a 2022-2023 Fulbright researcher based in Amman, Jordan, and a nonresident fellow at the Kurdish Peace Institute. His reporting on international affairs has appeared in The Intercept, Middle East Eye, Responsible Statecraft, Reason Magazine, and Asia Times. The views expressed here do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.
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It’s easy enough to recognize the irony in Pahlavi lauding an occupying soldier with the slogan “freedom.” But there’s an even deeper historical irony: The slogan “Woman, Life, Liberty” was coined by supporters of a left-wing Kurdish party that got its start fighting alongside Palestinian guerrillas against the Israeli army.
The war machine has learned to be more sustainable over time, to eliminate all alternatives to itself, to transform the monsters it creates into a justification for its own existence, to hide the costs of violence from the public and even itself.