Friday, November 06, 2009

Velvet Junta Revisited

Daniel Ellsburg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers that revealed Lyndon Johnson went along with a war he knew was unwinnable, says we’re repeating Vietnam in Afghanistan. In an interview with The Real News, Ellsberg remarks “No victory lies ahead in Afghanistan” and “they’re not going to get effective performance out of Afghan troops.” Ellsberg also notes the existence of the open conflict between the Pentagon and the White House.

Journalist Seymour Hersh, who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, says the military is "in a war against the White House—and they feel they have Obama boxed in." In an Oct. 13 speech at Duke University, Hersh said, "They think he's weak and the wrong color. Yes, there's racism in the Pentagon. We may not like to think that, but it's true and we all know it."

Obama not only suffers from being the wrong color, he belongs to the wrong political party. Rank and file military officers don’t like Democrats. God help black Democrats.

By saying the war in Afghanistan will fail without 40,000 or more additional American troops, Hersh said, Gen. Stanley McCrhystal and his Pentagon allies have put Obama in a no-win situation. "If he gives them the extra troops they're asking for, he loses politically. And if he doesn't give them the troops, he also loses politically."

The Pentagon has been boxing in President Obama since he was Candidate Obama. When he made his pledge to get U.S. troops out of Iraq in 16 months, the military’s top brass screeched like wet wicked witches (what a world!). Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. Mike Mullen all came out against the idea. Months after Obama’s inauguration, Gen. Ray Odierno expressed his desire to keep 30,000 or more troops in Iraq through 2014 or 2015, well beyond the December 2011 deadline for U.S. forces to be out of Iraq as dictated by the Status of Forces Agreement.

McChrystal’s media blitz against the President was unprecedented insubordination. Not even Douglas MacArthur would have pulled a stunt of that magnitude. Sanctioned leaks galore: Stan will resign if he doesn’t get his way. Bob Woodward gets a copy of Stan’s assessment on Afghanistan that says the mission will fail if he doesn’t get a boat load more troops assigned there. Named and unnamed senior officers tell the press how frustrated they are with Obama. There’s a Newsweek spread on Stan. There’s a 60 Minutes infomercial on Stan. Dexter Filkins does 13 pages of verbal sex on Stan in the New York Times Magazine. Petraeus and Mullen endorse everything Stan does and says.

Congressional warmongers jump on the bandwagon. John McCain, John Boehner (the fake-tanned fool who doesn’t know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence), Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, lipstick neocon Joe Lieberman, they all harp about how Obama needs to give McChrystal what he wants right now or else those poor troops already there will be in more danger, even though whatever extra troops Obama might send won’t get to Afghanistan until January 2010. And we’ve been clocking around in Afghanistan for eight years—where’s the urgency?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai makes former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich look saintly. Karzai just stole two elections, and the western world is tripping over its collective manhood to congratulate him on becoming the “legitimate” leader of Afghanistan. For this tinhorn, McChrystal wants Obama to give him tens of thousands more troops to toss into the gristmill.

More U.S. troops in Afghanistan will mean more deaths—of both U.S. troops and Afghans—and more new terrorists who, like little Conan, watched the occupiers lop their mommy’s head off. (They’ll be back.)

The slobs in Iraq can’t muster a quorum to vote on election laws. Raging Ox Ray Odierno says the insurgency in Iraq may go on for another 15 years. Groovy. I’m so glad our surge was such a success.

The Pentagon can’t win the kinds of wars it picks to fight, but it sure knows how to rewrite history. The Department of Defense is really just an Orwellian propaganda ministry. If you don’t buy our wars we’ll kill this trooper’s dog.

McChrystal proposes to grow Afghan security forces to an end-strength of 400,000. He might as well give guns and money to the Taliban.

The Taliban have penetrated the Afghan National Police at every level. Many police officers are in the pay of the insurgents, and they’re more loyal to tribes than they are to the central Afghan government, which is understandable given the nature of the Karzai regime, one of the most corrupt governments in human history. The Afghan National Army can’t be any different.

The Pentagon wants its 50-year Long War. They’re pulling the same sorts of dirty deeds on Obama that they pulled on JFK and LBJ to escalate Vietnam.

The day is coming, and it’s coming soon, when Obama will have to stand up to his generals or allow them to run the country. It may well be, as Hersh suggests, that he’s screwed politically either way.

The most corrupt actor in our counterinsurgency equation is the counterinsurgency doctrine itself. The Petraeus Method, tried and proven untrue, is to hand out guns to all the bad guys, then bribe all the bad guys not to use the guns on us. The method is unraveling in Iraq, just as it will unravel in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A Lewis Carroll-class logician might say that if we don’t hand out guns, we don’t have to bribe people not to shoot us with them, and if we’re not in their country, they couldn’t shoot us anyway. Such a logician might say that our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is wholly illogical, and not the sort of thing an enlightened superpower ought to be up to.

Such a logician might conclude that we really, really want to bribe bad guys, we don’t have to put our kids in harm’s way. Such a logician might also conclude that if we don’t put our kids in harm’s way, we don’t need to bribe anybody not to shoot at them.

Such a logician would be right. Such a logician might also suggest to Obama that if he’s screwed no matter what he does, he may as well do the right thing and pull the plug on the illogical wars we’re fighting in Asia.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. Anonymous12:34 PM

    The professional officer corps has lost its direction, a purge on the order of Stalin's 1939 purge is in order.

    I recall being a field grader at the time the not so quiet distaste and rebellion against Clinton in 1992, I have not been in the clique this time around but from observations the only difference is this one is better planned and insidious.

    The US republic is being disserved by the "professional" officer corps, which places its interests ahead of the individual members' oath to the US constitution.

    Time for a purge.


  2. I agree, Loggie.


  3. You know, I've been watching Obama in his recent appearances, not the scripted ones but the news conferences. I think that the realization of the strength of his opposition is just dawning on him. I think a lot of his illusions are down for the count, too.

    He should just do the things he promised - axe the wars, institute single payer health care, try the war crims in the previous administration, all that good stuff. Once he started, it would be impossible to turn it back, like opening the floodgates.

    And he could leave the one and only term of his presidency laughing with relief and retire to Hawaii.

    I've always had a soft spot for Diogenes, living in a tub and wandering around at midday with a lamp looking for an honest man (or a human being, depending on which verison of the story you read.) Heck - if you make it past young adulthood and aren't grumpy and just a tad cynical, you haven't been paying attention.

    Get mad, then get even.

  4. I continue to agree with the suggestion of Mr. Huber. Fire every officer from the rank of bird colonel and higher. Kick the whole lot of them out to the curb with the rest of this weeks trash.
    Enough of these damn endless wars of choice.

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