Posted by: distributorcap | December 2, 2009

Wag the Llama

I did not listen to President Obama’s speech last night. Frankly, there is nothing he can say, show, prove or do that will convince me there is any justification for this travesty of Afghanistan. I know everyone has written about this and given their 2 cents on this latest and greatest version of “the surge.”

But I will anyway

First – no one, not Obama, not any of the asshole Republicans, not any of the retarded bloviators and pundits, not even a single sane person has defined what “winning” in Afghanistan (or any country in the Middle East) really is. Oh yes they will say “defeating Al-Qaeda, or neutralizing them, or making Americans safe, or of course – “fighting them there so we don’t fight them here.” All we hear is some ambiguous goal of “winning.”

The PR spins from both sides of the aisle about how right this is — are enough to make every dreidel go round and round for the next three Hannukahs.

We are not fighting an army – we are fighting an idea and philosophy. Ideas don’t wear uniforms and march goose step down the Unter den Linden. Ideas don’t follow the rules of war and map out specific strategies that can be stolen and analyzed. Ideas don’t die when soldiers are killed in battle. We are fighting an idea.

My father used to say (about bugs in NYC apartments) – when you kill a roach, 10,000 come to the funeral. Well if there is any strategy terrorists (and guerillas) follow it is – each death of one of their own makes recruitment that much easier. Our presence in a landlocked nation with some of the most rugged terrain – and virtually NO infrastructure is the greatest gift to insurgent recruitment every seen. We are the gift that keeps on giving to Al Qaeda.

We just do not understand how much the cultures and people of many Middle Eastern lands hate us – and every day we stay as invaders on their territory – we make it that much easier for them to recruit.

Why do these people hate us so? — The easy answer is our support of Israel. But it is much deeper than that. One reason could be that the people of the Middle East (including oil-poor Afghanistan) believe the US “thinks it owns the oil.” Another is our continued blatant hate for Arabs and Muslims (which was entrenched well before 9/11). And finally our support of leaders that fit our agenda for the moment – some of who have been the most brutal and hated in the Middle East (does anyone recall the Shah of Iran). Remember we friended Saddam before we ‘unfriended’ him. I would bet Don Rumsfeld does not enjoy seeing that picture of him living all over the internets.

Even if we “win” (whatever that is) – is there one sane person (Michelle Malkin is not sane) who believes we will be “safe.” Is winning over there really going to stop someone from walking into a bus and blowing himself up? Will bombing Afghanistan into oblivion prevent some other terrorist from ramming a plane into another building? Are we that delusional to think a continued fight to the finish will really stop terrorism? The Israelis have spent the better part of 60 years rooting out terror from their borders – and if they are considered successful – I can only imagine what failure would look like.

Defeating Al Qaeda does not equate to rooting out terrorism – but 8 years since 9/11 and many in this country actually believe that if we capture (and execute) Osama bin Laden or any of his thirty-four #2 lieutenants, terrorism will stop. This is true 1984 – endless war. Fighting will not kill the ideals behind the terrorists. But it will keep the bottom lines of many companies very happy.

Second – do not forget – General McChrystal and all the other military leaders of this country are workers – and what is their job, WAR! These guys have been trained and raised to wage war – that is their profession. Some people deliver mail, these guys deliver IEDs. There was a reason that the Department of Defense was known as the Department of War until 1947. Even if the best option by far was to leave (as it was in Iraq in 2003) – there is no way any general is ever going to “withdraw” or “cut and run.” It is not in their genes, it is not in their blood.

Third – face it, Americans love war — as long as they themselves are not fighting (watch how fast they turn against this war if a draft is re-instituted). Most Americans still believe war is one long John Wayne movie with a lot of guys singing patriotic songs, schtupping local women, drinking in the canteen and coming home to hero’s welcome. War victories make you feel good. War victories make you feel superior. And this country just loves to feel superior. We have NO choice but to win in Iraq and Afghanistan – the shame of loss is just too much for American’s handle. Look at how many college football teams deal with losses on the field! And the government – they feed right into the John Wayne-image of the war. It is all so glamorous.

Finally – don’t we realize that we really can’t afford this anymore. Forget being the world’s policemen, I am talking the war in itself. We are trillions in debt, we can’t pay our mortgages, 10% or more are unemployed (weren’t we told that a war was good for a depression? what happened to that? – oh it was good for the folks at Halliburton and on Wall St., not so much for the average American), we are trying to repair a completely broken nation.

But somehow we have enough money to fight, kill and win (whatever that is). One of the reasons the whole monetary system collapsed in 1971 (with the end of Bretton Woods) was the expense of Vietnam – we were paying for it by borrowing and printing Ben Franklins – thus making our dollar relatively worthless in relation the gold backing it. Am I the only person who sees there is a strong similarity to this right now? Why is the cost of the war NEVER discussed? Does Obama think he can pay for it like Bush did – outside the budget on the Visa Card?

Wars have costs – human, emotional, social, and yes financial. So we are fighting for something (whatever that is), that is costing some amount (whatever that is) – to make us feel secure and feel superior.

The logic behind any of this is completely bassackwards. The Republicans only want war because they love war, are still trying to protect Bush and Cheney, think the war will improve the profits at Boeing, Lockheed or whatever company and can use it as the patriotic rallying point. The Democrats only want war so they can look tough and not be trashed by the Republicans. Obama wants war because he doesn’t want to be the President that “lost” something (like Truman and China). The people who say they want war only want it because it is like going to the newest John Wayne movie (who died in 1979). And the people who don’t want war (like me) – well we are just stupid, ignorant, traitors and weak.

And ditherers.

Obama has crossed the Rubicom – we had 500,000 troops in Vietnam in 1968-69 and look what happened there. Nixon was elected to have “peace with honor” – and look what happened there.

And finally, even if we “win” – we will still have a nation with a broken economy, a broken health care system, unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, debt piled to the moon, cancer, religious zealots, bad schools, global warming, an overdependence on foreign oil yadda yadda yadda.

Nope, winning will not solve ONE of those problems – as a matter of fact we won’t even be safer – just victorious.



  1. bravo dc. mind if i use it at awop?

  2. Hi Cap;Covered it from every angle possible the way I see it, and your conclusion is the same as mine.I don't think one damn lesson was learned from Viet Nam.

  3. D'Cap,Sorry, can't buy all of this one and would someone turn down the volume on the Vietnam connection, it makes no intellectual sense. Different place, different problems, different war.It sucks.That said, you are right about a lot of this from your point of view, but the "meniu of choices are slim."

  4. I think it would be a brilliant move to reinstate the draft. That would certainly get us the hell out of these places in a hurry!

  5. news writer – of courseich – not one lesson from anything.reamus – i actually kept the vietnam references to a minimum – more about the cost and the fact we had hundreds of thousands of troops and couldnt win. but thanks – you are right, are choice are slim, i just Obama made the wrong oneskyler – reinstate the draft and watch the peace marches stretch from boston to denver

  6. D'Cap,Your opinion is valued, I assure you. Thanks for the thought you put into it.

  7. Very well said. But one mistake–real unemployment, U6, which includes, among others, the discouraged, is 17.5%. 45 million without health care (not health insurance…health care, unless the local ER is considered enough), one in four kids on food stamps. I could go on, but it's too damn depressing. And so the rich get richer and the middle class (including uppers), working class and poor are fucked. "They" won't be happy until we are truly all slaves.

  8. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The insane Pentagon, which is in the war business, is certainly willing to consider using nukes so it makes them paranoid should the Islamic extremists get a hold of them –like right there in Pakistan. A lot of this is all about Pakistan. They've got Obama scared of those nukes in Pakistan I suppose.

  9. I agree with everything you say. I just wish I had an answer for all the women who were denied an education under the Taliban, given a chance now but will be forced again back into a state of property instead of humanity once/if the west pulls out.Maybe there is no good answer to them. I dunno, but it is something I deeply struggle with.

  10. The freaking war hawks will not be satisfied till they get the mushroom cloud. You make excellent points here. I have exceeded saturation level.

  11. I couldn't watch the speech either.The American corporatocracy demands endless war for profit. Obama has shown he lacks the spine to stand up to insurance companies, let alone the Military Industrial Complex.He understands his very life depends on his collaboration with the corporatists and militarists of the empire. I think he knows there's a Dealey Plaza waiting for him if he steps out of line. Obama is nothing more than a good company manager. A great president would end the madness…even at the cost of his political future or his life.

  12. Hi Cap;It never ceases to amaze me for all those who claim to follow Christian or Muslim theologies, that I do not know of their God justifying murder in the basic laws which they claim come from from God.That being the case, I do not understand why masses of people on both sides of the fence do not object with their bodies and wallets against atrocities to fellow human beings.Our silence and passivity are as bad as committing. No different than the fellow sitting in the get away car while his conspirator pulls the trigger and kills someone in a bank to retrieve the loot. This applies to those supporting the Taliban as well for it takes two to tango.

  13. toujoursdan — Don't fool yourself. Afghan women have never been anything other than property (some few of them getting a marginal education notwithstanding), and it'll take four or five generations of genuine commitment to social progress to change that. (Case in point, look at the time lag between the first stirrings of organised western feminism in the 1700s and, say, something like the "Persons Case," — Edwards v. Canada, in which Canadian women did not even get official legal personhood until 1930.) Do I have to remind anyone here of the residual attitude in Western societies that women are still property? (That can be summed up in its most elegantly brutal form as "you poke it, you own it.") And there are still a ton of western men, conservative and otherwise, who don't quite get the idea that women are really human, exactly, which is why all those old-man legislators are having difficulty with the idea that "women's health care" is health care, and not, say, some kind of special treatment or something. We're not done yet.My answer for Afghan women would be in two parts — war is never good for women, which is why we need less of it there, and "It is not for us to complete the work, but neither are we free to abandon it."

  14. Yes winning will not solve ONE of those problems – as a matter of fact we won't even be safer.But we'll have WON, think of the prestige! You'd get more tail than Tiger!

  15. Excellent – You cited 1984 and Endless War, here is another George Orwellism for you: Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

  16. I did watch Obama but everything you wrote here I already felt. It's a good post and a sad day for those of us who believed he would do the right thing when elected. I hate to admit we are "screwed again" but it sure looks like it.

  17. Didn't even think about watching, DC.Great roundup of arguments. One thing missing is that so many have shipped their winnings overseas or moved in toto like Halliburton.Rock on.Soh it was for the folks at Halliburton and Wall St., not so much for the average AmericanP.S. I also think Dave Dubya is on the money here. That's who I voted for. If only.A great president would end the madness…even at the cost of his political future or his life.And Ichabod too, although I have never been silent (and passive? NOT!).Our silence and passivity are as bad as committing.

  18. DCap -Nicely and passionately said.From a project management background, I can assure you that without a clear and measurable goal, there is no way to win — and I've been saying this for 8 years now. To put it simply, How Do You Know When You Are Done?Anyway, grrrrrrrrrrrrr!, we are on the 8th Ronnie Reagan Administration. I'm about as done as can be. And yes, they've stuck a fork in me.Regards,Tengrain

  19. I listened to Obama's speech and it was a watershed event for me.His decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan made it His War.The man of peace I voted for and donated money to is no longer that man, he's a War President, and the opposite of who I wanted to lead this country.I cannot name one good thing this man has done in his first year in office.Everything from the Bush era remains the status quo: for gays, for jobs, for the economy, for health care reform, for war– nothing has changed.Obama and Jimmy Carter may be statesmen with keen intellects and heart warming characters, but their biggest talent was in getting elected.I think Obama might just be a one trick pony.

  20. Even with "winning" (like you said "whatever the hell that is") we shall still terrorists and terrorism….and there is absolutely no way of getting around that fact.

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