Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Rant On Ending Afghan War And Cutting Military Budget, With My Apologies To Barry McGuire

Eugene Robinson
Paul Krugman
Peter Beinart
"Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. Obama is right to pull the troops out. No matter how difficult it will be." - Mikael Gorbachov

After the election, and after we try to humiliate Iran to soothe our tempers and inflate our egos, we may as well turn our attention back to Afghanistan. None of the candidates have brought up the fate of our military exploits during their campaigns, so it must no longer be an item on the political radar. Because it's really a hot potato that no-one wants to catch, the Republicans for getting us into the mess, and the Democrats for not winning the war. Our troops will come home in another shameful scenario, with the word "loser" painted on their coffins under the American flags. We also would like to thank the nations of NATO - for nothing. I'll bet you'll think twice next time we tell you stories about buried missiles in the desert and, wait for the phrase, weapons of mass destruction...

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

I remember news articles when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, playing up how Afghanistan had never been colonized and its jihadist warriors were some of the fiercest in the world. I even read a book about them and bin Laden, called Kara Kush, by Idries Shah... It's the nature of our world today that winning and losing a war is not as clear cut as it used to be. The US thinks that it went into Iraq and Afghanistan for nobel reasons, not on the whim of some deranged neo-cons and their gullible President. Other countries see us as the aggressors and trying to keep the world perpetually on the brink of war. It's certainly not what you want to tell the families of a slain soldier...

We will never win a military war in Afghanistan. The best way to change the country is through education and building up the local economies. Over 90% of the large economic aid projects are there to siphon off millions of dollars into the pockets of the projects organizers, our way of helping the European economy. We further enable them by not investigating or having oversight of these projects, which, if they are finished, will have to be administered by the properly trained people who will be European and not Afgani... No wonder why Karzai wants the foreigners out of his country...

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy]

As Pepe Escobar points out in the Asian Times, over the course of 10 years we have spent over $5 billion, and used the resources of 16 US intelligence agencies, along with those of every member of NATO, and still we haven't the faintest clue where Osama bin Laden is... All that's happened is that he has graduated from using cassette recordings to MP3's, as his latest threats to France has revealed. Common sense tells us that yes, there are people in Pakistan's intelligence service who know: "In real life, the fact is that a selected few inside the ISI know - as they have followed Osama's every move since the early 1980s in Peshawar. And they are not talking - never will. But for the CIA and the 16-agency alphabet-soup intel community not to know, this speaks volumes about an "intelligence" establishment where 1 million Americans hold top-secret clearances. Those 1 million are absolutely worthless when it comes to gathering on-the-ground intelligence south of the Hindu Kush." So, in reality, someone like myself could possible find out where bin Laden is hiding with one correct trip to Islamabad, if I had that one connection to the people who have been following him for the past 20 years...

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

What we have accomplished is the polarizing of so many people in Asia and the Middle East against the US and our ideas of "democracy." There is a whole generation who thinks that it's OK to become a suicide bomber and it's sexy to take up jihad against the US, and it's going to take at least 30 years to turn those perceptions around. Iraq is going to have to learn just how messy governing on their own is going to be, Afghanis will have to tell the Talibans how they don't like their interpretations of Sharia law, they are too strict. With the Talibans, it will be their children telling them how out-dated they are, and the US will have no part in that, unless we want to provide the computers and ipads to those Talikids... Within the US, we are going to eventually learn to accept people from all cultures who have moved here, not to get nervous when someone of Muslim dress gets on our plane, or if our children are invited over to their house...

One of the "truths" that conservatives base their beliefs on is that too much government is a bad thing. Well, after we pull our troops out of Afghanistan, we are going to have to come to grips with how much our armed forces branch of the government has grown, and how the military budget is swallowing up our tax dollars, from $350 billion ten years ago, to over $750 billion currently. But if we cut that budget by $500 billion, we also will have to lay off thousands who are currently on military payrolls. On the other hand, saving $500 billion in four years, not spending it and using it to balance our budget, we could cut our deficit by $2 trillion...

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

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