June 30, the day all of our troops are supposed to be out of Iraq cities, is right around one of those corners Dick Cheney used to say we’d just turned. I can’t wait to hear the excuse the Obama administration springs on us about why we still have soldiers in places they swore they’d get them out of. We’re also about to shove another 21,000 G.I.s into Afghanistan, a maneuver that the Army appears to have been planning on since before the 2008 election, and there’s still danger that the American warmongery will elbow our president and legislature into displaying fool traits vis-à-vis Iran.
Philip Geraldi put up a stunning article at Antiwar.com on Tuesday about the decades of abject failure our clandestine operations have produced. “Covert action,” he adroitly notes, “rarely turns out to be positive in the long term because the covert action in itself inhibits healthy political tendencies in the targeted country.” Covert actions, he adds, “support elites and the military” and in result “they are essentially anti-democratic and regressive in nature.” He also aptly observes that no country we have our finger stuck in today is “more stable or better governed because of the American intervention in its affairs.”
One can reasonably argue—as Theodore Roosevelt did—that America has a responsibility to be the major player in world affairs. I have no argument with that argument, but I wholly disagree with the warmongery’s argument that staying engaged with the rest of the world means we have to keep blowing the bejesus out of it a scrap at a time. What makes us so happy about beating everyone else up these days? When I was a kid, everybody viewed bullies as overgrown jerks. We became a colossus with our 20th century wars. I still assert that if we’d stayed out of the First World War, there might not have been a second one, or a cold one either. We can’t row upstream and relocate those boulders, but we can glance over our shoulders as we look upstream and think about what kind of world we want to be part of creating.
Russia and China won’t ever be military competitors, and we’ll never have another Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan to fight. Iran couldn’t bench press our jock strap. By some credible estimates, more than half of our Federal budget goes into funding defense related items, yet you seldom hear anybody with a mainstream pulpit blame the present state of our economy on our over-adventuresome military policies. You’ll hear instead about how the economy was going along swimmingly until all those blacks and Hispanics defaulted on $700 billion worth of mortgage loans the banks had to give them because of some law the liberals passed during the Carter years.
George Washington cautioned us to avoid entangling alliances. Dwight Eisenhower warned us to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” George W. Bush said, "I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That's the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best."
How is that we continue to heed the words of the third conservative in that lineup and ignore the first two?
As recently as May, the Obama administration was considering reaching out to coax “moderate” elements of the Taliban into laying down their arms. The Afghan government at the time was negotiating with the Taliban, whose initial demands included a total withdrawal of U.S. troops. In early June, Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee he wasn’t interested in talking to the Taliban. McChrystal’s new command is still on track to grow by 21,000 troops. Funny how that worked out, eh?
McChrystal now says he intends to shift the Afghanistan strategy away from remote regions of the country to concentrate on protecting population centers. Funny how we tried that before and it didn’t work out, so now we’re doing it again. UPI calls McChrystal “a Special Forces expert schooled in the counterinsurgency doctrines employed in Iraq.” That’s the kind of remark UPI probably derived from the press kit McChrystal’s public affairs people handed out.
The Pentagon has successfully pushed the media into parroting the “successful” Iraq strategy of Gen. David Petraeus line, which even Petraeus acolyte Tom Ricks admits “succeeded” because Petraeus gave everybody guns and bribed them not to shoot at anybody. Ricks also confesses that, “U.S. soldiers will probably be engaged in combat there [Iraq] until at least 2015.” Ricks says that conclusion reflects “The quiet consensus” of many soldiers who have served in Iraq. But it’s actually the “consensus” of Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno and the rest of the long war cabal, who have used Ricks and the rest of the media as a stenography pad to shill their agenda for eternal low level conflict.
And it appears that they now own the pulpit lock stock and bullhorn.