Your Lying Eyes

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12 June 2008

Time to Get Out

Of Afghanistan, that is. I know, I know - that's the "good" war - the war we're supposed to be fighting, the war Obama promises to concentrate on once we pull out of Iraq.

But we are seriously overstaying our welcome. We didn't go there to kill Pakistani soldiers (however corrupt they may be) and certainly not to kill Afghani civilians. We went there to punish the Taliban for giving sanctuary to Al Qaeda - we did that. We drove them from power, and killed lots and lots of them. But this wasn't enough - we needed to re-make Afghanistan - to transform it into a fully-flowered democracy and respectable citizen in the world community. Revenge for the killing of 3,000 of our citizens wasn't enough. In the weeks leading to the invasion, we were shown videos of women being executed in soccer stadiums built with U.N. money, and reporters dressed in burkhas with secret cameras so we could see the horrors of a medieval, Islamist state. This way we wouldn't just be satisfied with dropping a few bombs, but would get behind a drawn-out effort to re-make the evil land.

The Afghan campaign actually went very well, and was very competently managed (leading us into a false sense of our powers of nation-building, unfortunately). But beyond overthrowing one government and installing a friendly one in its place, how can we imagine we could effect such change in another, very foreign land? Our purpose there is ended.

And I fear that driving this determination to continue the bloodshed there is the belief that it's the only way we can be safe. But we'll never be safe as long as we allow potential terrorists into our country to work, study, and live among us.

From Dennis Dale: The key to gaining the world's trust and respect still lies in being seen as strong, fair and worthy of emulation, and not dictating to them how they should order their societies--but above all, in not destroying their cities and killing their children.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Harlem said...

Zeke:
I agree that it is time to slowly & systematically back out. We do have to do it right so that all that has been accomplished is not undone.
It is interesting that commercial interests (Bush's friends) haven't filtered into Afganistan as they have in Iraq. We don't see or hear about the great infrastructure building (cell phone networks, Internet connections, satellite TV) that is going on in Iraq, at the expense of our economy. Why do you think that is?
Here is a bigger question, and maybe a new topic: If our soldiers come back from war, what will happen to our economy? Usually, wars are positive for the domestic economy. That is clearly not the case with these war(s). What is the "end game" from an economic perspective? Short of taking a serious "Isolationist" position and getting back to internalizing our means of production, which will be heartily fought by big, internal business, how does this get better?
Thank you, in advance, for your political and moral guidance.
Lump

June 13, 2008 10:51 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I don't believe wars are ever good for the economy - unless you win big. Other people's wars can be good for the economy, such as WWII was good for the U.S. economy before Pearl Harbor, but life was hard here during the 40's, with all the rationing. After the war, with Europe and the far east in an absolute shambles, and people everywhere else living either in the stone age or under dysfunctional socialist regimes, the U.S. had a huge windfall as the only fully functioning industrial power. Iraq and Afghanistan are basically money pits - we're just throwing money away. We can't even reap a windfall from oil revenues.

I don't know much about the U.S. commercial interests operating in Iraq - I'd think you'd have to be one brave entrepreneur to attempt to conquer that market. Afghanistan is just as dangerous but terrain-wise even more unfriendly.

So I don't think a single benefit accrues to the U.S. for every extra day and dollar (and life) we spend there. The best end game would be just to get the hell out. That scenario appears unlikely, though.

June 14, 2008 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zeil,

Haliburton and Bechtel (Cheney's buddies) have benefitted big time. Blackwater and other publically traded neo-mercenary companines, like "Executive Outcomes"----have also benefitted big time.

They dont give a shit that you and I haven't benefitted and oil prices are up, not at all. We aren't their big campaign contributers.


Zeil,
Examine this scenario and why those moneyed-interests dont really give a damn about Iraq.
We have screwed up a nations infrastructure either directly or indirectly (inducing terrorism that would not have otherwise occured under Saddam). We make loans to the broke country for our engineering firms and construction firms to go in and rebuild the dams, bridges, electric stations, phone stations, hospitals, and schools that might have gotten blown up. Bechtel and Haliburton get paid by the loans made by the IMF, World Bank, or whomever and come in to do their thing. Executive Outcomes and Blackwater also have to come in and protect Haliburton and Bechtel's contractors from being shot up/blown up by terrorists, so the loans from the IMF/World Bank also have to be big enough to get them paid.
The rebuilt Iraq, that has alot of oil, is left holding alot of debt with interest accruing on the debt to us.................so at some point they give us a discounted rate on the oil. Our banks got paid, Our contractors and engineering firms got paid. Our mercenary firms got paid. The Defense Budget had to grow. Our armaments manufacturers had plenty of new work orders to fill, so they got paid-----directly stimulating US steel and powder and sulfur and cordite manufactureres. Extraneous entities like companies that make soldiers uniforms, underwear, canned goods, construction TOOLS, concrete, asphalt, tires, Humvees, spare parts, foodstuffs......................all get paid, eventually, in the hopes that we will get enough of a good deal on oil to make up for it.

Many of these entities no doubt contribute to Bush/McCain. Bush/Cheney/McCain and their buddies no doubt are financially invested in Bechtel and Haliburton and no telling how many other personally (Dont forget Neil Bush is out there doing his things with family money as well as Daddy Bush).

The country may not have made any shekels during this war, but a few of its members sure as hell did. Whats not to like?

June 15, 2008 1:40 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

Well yes, war is very profitable for the "military-industrial" complex, which includes not just those running the businesses but shareholders and employees and local businesses around factories. These groups are major enablers - they pay off retired military officers to promote wars on TV and mobilize public opinion (which is real cheap), as well as other standard lobbying efforts. So the pressure from these groups is intense and no doubt will constrain President Obama's attempts to pull out of Iraq.

On the other hand the opportunities for Americans to make lots of money at the expense of the country as a whole are myriad. As bad as Iraq has been, far greater harm will come to this nation as a result of the population shift towards the third-world, and this is heavily promoted by business. There would be no Republican pro-immigration camp - the dominant force right now - without them.

Getting back to Harlem's point - which after "Anonymous's" comment I understand better: What is the "end game" from an economic perspective? Short of taking a serious "Isolationist" position and getting back to internalizing our means of production, which will be heartily fought by big, internal business, how does this get better?

Yes that's what we need to do, and the people need to stand firm. But, alas, we are so easily distracted and made to feel guilty.

June 15, 2008 8:17 AM  

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