Forever War


BLACK HOLE IN AFGHANISTAN:

Obama spoke in his clipped style again, as if we were all on a nuclear submarine in combat, and our duty was clear. He is excellent at lofty rhetoric masking as little change as possible from one more disaster he seems to view as an acceptable status quo. That cool comfort with the unacceptable is the apparent trademark of his presidency. Some presidents fix disasters, others live with them. Hey, got the big jet to fly around, and I golf with whoever. Cool, no?

Bush II was the “decider” of thoroughly lamentable decisions, Clinton got rich by selling the country to plutocracy, Carter started the war in Afghanistan… much more of this, and soon Bush I and Reagan will appear to be leftist geniuses of probity and vision.

So let’s recapitulate: Obama claims that, by the end of 2012, he will have withdrawn from Afghanistan the troops he put in what he called the “surge”, as a good Bush parrot. However, he forgot to mention that he would have kept in the troops of the augmentation he put in, or rather the doubling of troops he put in, before his “surge”. How do you spell Pinochio?

The war in Afghanistan has lasted nearly ten years, making it the longest in the history of the USA (although the French and British records about waging a long war are not threatened for these nations, by a factor of at least 15…) Under Obama, the number of Western dead and casualties has nearly doubled. Many allies are in Afghanistan by solidarity with the USA, but their patience is getting thin. Canadians, for example, got huge losses in Afghanistan (as high as the USA in relative numbers). If the allies leave (as Canada may in 2011), the situation for the USA will get much worse.

When Obama got to the presidency, there were 34,000 American troops in Afghanistan. Now there are 101,000.

Obama is going to withdraw a token number of troops from Afghanistan, out of the 101,000. He speaks of 10,000 by year end. An equivalent number could resign from the official military, and get in the private military through the back door.

There are 90,000 private USA contractors in Afghanistan, in direct, or indirect military roles.  Outstanding contracts to the private army are 12 billion U.S. dollars. If one adds non USA NATO and non NATO troops, one gets around 250,000 invaders in Afghanistan, supposedly helping.  But actually barking incomprehensible orders, and you better obey them, if you are a native, because they will kill you with their huge weapons if you don’t, and feel good about their “duty” and “service”.

The number of professional Western killersextraordinary men and women in uniform” (as Obama puts it) in Afghanistan went from 60,000 to around 250,000, under Obama’s exalted vision. Two years ago the official cost of the war in Afghanistan was 60 billion a year, now it is officially 120 billions, one billion every three days.  That does not count secret spending. And that is just for the USA. (All together just France, Britain, Italy and Germany have more than 20,000 troops in Afghanistan, hundreds have died.)

Sorry for crossing the words “professional killers“. What else are they doing there? According to official Pentagon statistics, HALF OF THE “EXTRAORDINARY MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM” HAVE KILLED AN AFGHAN. Extraordinary, indeed. With allies like that, who needs death? Kill them all, Allah will recognize his own.

One should not confuse defending freedom, and defending fiefdom.

Afghanistan is the fief of the military industrial complex, and the electronics, advanced tech complex. Having a huge army in Afghanistan also profits the oil and gas industry, as armed forces of the West allows it to control Central Asia. It also allows to remind the Muslim Fundamentalists, otherwise employed by the West in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, who is really the boss, namely those who apply force for the heck of it in Afghanistan, just because they can.

***

 AIDING AND ABETTING:

So what is the mission in Afghanistan? Assistance says Obama. Assistance of what? Assisting the Muslim fundamentalist regime in Kabul of the corrupt Karzai. Oh, yes, because the constitution of Afghanistan is all about the Qur’an. It is not a secular constitution, as, say, in Turkey (a constitutional, secular democratic republic). That turkey does not fly.

As David Brooks, a conservative editorialist at the NYT points out:”Discouraging reports about aid in Afghanistan should drive us to consider the deeper forces underlying societal instability. Hint: It’s not always about the material stuff.”

 Afghans hate the guts of the West. The fact that the constitution is Islamist makes it worse, encourages them to hate the secular, democratic West. Allah is neither secular, nor democratic.

Moreover the “aid” is not helping, because it short circuits the entire country, the people of Afghanistan, while making a show of helping them. Under the guise of efficiency, aid workers deal only with themselves. Thus, instead of helping Afghanistan, aid to Afghanistan is destroying Afghanistan.

A conference of experts at Wilton Park in Britain had to admit that there was a “surprisingly weak evidence base for the effectiveness of aid in promoting stabilization and security objectives” in Afghanistan.

Result: attacks of Afghan troops against Western coalition troops is at all time high. Yes Afghans in the Afghan military attack coalition troops supposed to help them, kill Western troops. As I already alluded to, the number of attacks and the dead they cause has never been higher.

***

DEPREDATION OF WEST IN AFGHANISTAN WORSE THAN COLONIALISM?

Yes, one had to understand that the mission in Afghanistan is worse than colonialism. The private contracting and the aid are a metastatic cancer. The way they are done by the Crusaders (to use local semantics, unfortunately all too appropriate).

Old fashion “colonialism”, when it was most “successful” (say in India, Ceylon, Afrique Occidentale Francaise… Or for that matter British colonial America!) rested on having the natives themselves manage their own country. The colonial occupier gave only the general direction to the natives, who were empowered to do the job. This is not what is done in Afghanistan, let’s say it, once again.

Senegal was “conquered” with ten French officers, and 5,000 Senegalese soldiers. India was administered with as little as 1,500, and never more than 3,000, British civil servants (heading an immense government of hundreds of thousands of Indian civil servants).

It may be time to realize that the West and its allies are actively doing way worse than old fashion colonialism would ever do in Afghanistan. So what are we after? War for the sake of war? Behaving like crazed maniacs so everybody will leave us alone, because obviously the world is our oyster? Killing time by killing people?

***

THE BLACK HOLE OF ETERNAL WAR:

Lunatics have proposed to limit the powers of Obama to wage war in Libya. But, mostly, the USA supports the logistics of the French and British in Libya (many French and British bombers are still not based forward, so they require huge air refueling; the French are planning to move their Rafale stealth bombers to Sicily, their Mirages are already in Crete; initially British Tornadoes, doing most of the British bombing, were based in Britain!) In Libya France and Britain fight a well defined dictator in their backyard, the situation is the same as when they got a United Nations mandate to intervene in Bosnia. (There too, the French had fired the first shots, although it pained the French military to attack their old allies the Serbs.)

Besides the oil and gas in Central Asia, and the implied threat on all regimes which would stop obeying the West, the USA is already engaged in an active war against Pakistan. Limiting Obama in Libya could lead to limit him in Pakistan.

Pakistan is another Islamist regime. With 200 thermonuclear warheads. Paid in part, those nukes, by terror specialist Bush! There Obama is not at fault, and he could argue that the Afghan war is now all about Pakistan. Although not at fault, it is not clear that his present strategy with Pakistan is the best (although it served Bin Laden), because it does not treat the fundamental problem.

The fundamental problem of Pakistan is its very reason for being in existence, is its Islamist constitution. Why do you need Al Qaeda, the base, when the basics of Islamism are already fundamentally the law? Say that a guy called Muhammad is a bunga bunga, and Pakistani judges in black robes will condemn you to death. When you add dozens of thermonuclear bombs to the mix, you get a country much more dangerous that Hitler’s Reich. Maybe we should talk about that aloud. Instead of sending robots to bomb them, as Obama, obeying the military industrial complexed, does unlawfully. 

So the Pakistani ISI surrendered Bin Laden to Obama. So what? A hamburger for the American eagle? Happy now? What about the nukes? This may all end with an eagle in every pot (Henri IV of France contented himself in 1600, with a hen in every pot).

The USA has fostered Islamism. Or rather rekindled it, starting with FDR, because it made it easier to extract oil and control, and cause trouble. Of course Islamism and modern weapons are a bad mix. So now the USA paradoxically supports Islamist regimes, while threatening or even fighting them.

Supporting what we combat is a recipe for eternal war. Of course that is the effect looked for by the afore mentioned suspects. The way those cynics see it, so much the better, because the forces of the West will stay at war, fully trained, with the best weapons, and a huge army in South Asia, on the doorstep of China, watching Russia from below.

Progressives should realize that Islam is a carefully entertained excuse in all this. Supporting the Islam which we combat under the label of “terrorism” is a recipe for eternal war. More exactly, supporting Islamist regimes is an evil contradiction for democratic secular states. That includes supporting Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, whatever the Muslim Brotherhood and its friends in the military are preparing in Egypt, etc.

Support cannot be withdrawn suddenly, of course, but a deliberate, official push should be made to de-Islamize ALL constitutions. And de-dictatorialize them. We are not in the 19C anymore. Their backyard is our backyard. Or rather, our potential battlefield next door. Think about it: our present world is basically the size of a naval battlefield of the early 20 C, considering the speed and capability of weapons today.

It would be wiser, and more peaceful, to battle ferociously with ideas, now, instead of waiting for bombs to explode, tomorrow.

Morocco, a country of 40 million,  is a striking example: the king, who has, in many ways more power than his dictatorial, blood covered dad, has introduced grandiloquently mostly cosmetic changes, leaving him still an absolute dictator, his son ready to lead in turn, when he reaches…18. France and the USA should not tolerate this, and order him to move apace towards a constitutional monarchy.

Now, of course, the plutocratic elements are interested to keep potential wars in reserve. So deeply rooted conflicts are carefully tendered and fostered. Just as with Hitler, democracies end up nourishing the enemy, proffering respects. The situation with China being is a case in point: what is the plan there? Make China, presently a dictatorship, so strong that it can go berserk about the South China Sea, Taiwan, or something else?

Time to go deep, and exit the Obama black hole of war more years. War guaranteed until 2014? When do we negotiate for real? Oh, I forgot, ending that war is not part of the true plan. With a bit of luck, the war will transmogrify some more…

***

Patrice Ayme

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3 Responses to “Forever War”

  1. Stephen Lang Says:

    I offer the following assessment of the recent past and a likely future, feel free to critique and let me know where it goes wrong.

    In the US France and Germany are thought of as “welfare states”, with all the typical contempt one might expect from those who use the term. You have referred to them as “post-Fascist”, a phrase that carries a world of potential meaning.

    At the Neuremburg trials, Herman Goerring testified that the office held by Hitler was modeled on the US presidency, with all ceremony and power centered in one person. We see where this led with Germany, and the parallels under Bush leading to the Iraq war were frightening. After the war the American general put in charge of overseeing German reconstruction tried to force the Germans to accept an American style constitution and government model. The Germans refused, wanting to establish a parliamentary system to avoid a repeat of what they had just been through. This almost led to an international incident before the American general was ordered by Washington to back down (see “The Secret War Against the Jews” by James Loftus). Most Americans would say that France was never carried to such fascist extremes, but in fact it was twice in the 19th century under two Napoleons, the second time with Paris under siege for 9 months (parallel with 1945 Berlin?). My knowledge of French history fails me here, but I believe successive constitutions further limited executive power to avoid another 1870. One can postulate that both countries learned from a fascist government/corporate symbiosis that power so heavily concentrated will always be abused and can lead to the country literally burning itself to the ground. Thus they matured into governments with a central goal of the public welfare, and no longer world domination, conquest, enrichment of the narrow few at the top (usually “war profiteers”, in our age called the military industrial complex) or whatever the narrow aims of the strong executive government and its corporate allies were.

    Much more of course could be said. But If we accept the above as a premise, where is the US on this continuum? Obviously it seems to be in the dying throes of a fascist government/corporate plutocracy. The signs are everywhere and easy to read. For the past ten years or so we have been involved in two undeclared wars pushed by a constitutionally powerful chief executive, which you among others have pointed have dubious goals or justifications, heartily enjoined by a supposedly liberal president.

    I see little or no hope for the present system, it cannot change itself even if the will were there. I am just trying to learn to live as a quasi rational thinking person inside what is increasingly a nuthouse. I have had to cut myself off from some former friends because I can no longer pretend to tolerate the “I saw this on Fox” mentality.

    Like Germany in 1945, we will have to have a complete dissolution of the present structure before anything sane or sustainable can be created. And the way we are headed financially the form of what comes next may not be decided by Americans.

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Stephen: I have to run right now, so I have no time to adress your thoughful comment as it deserves. However, a few reforms could be implemented in the USA by following what ALL other democracies have long implemented. For example, regarding political financing and corrupt practices. All peaceful change was blocked by Obama, who cheated the people who voted for him by running on change, and then implementing stasis. So we have to wait until the present corrupt pseudo leaders clear the deck to anjoy their $70,000 a week accomodations, as Obama is presently doing on a millionaires’ island.
      PA

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Stephen: I am myself absolutely anti-Napoleon(s). However, it’s a bit more complicated than that, and I have detailled the history in several essays prior. Inasmuch as it pains me to say so, the Napoleons had lots of excuses. Napoleon I was created by a British invasion.

      Both Napoleon did some good things. Weirdly Nap I created a sort of united Europe, freed the Jews, spread the republican virus, and freed Poland. Napoleon III created Italy by freeing it from Austria. Both led unacceptable coups, but they were actually less fascist, and racist, than the forces which defeated them. Napoleon I was pretty much defeated by typhus (!), and Nap III by the fascist, racist Prussia (who had just gobbled Austria).
      Much more details in many of my past essays.
      PA

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