Young Mr. Obama’s attendance of the recent NATO summit in Lisbon reaffirms that he has succeeded young Mr. Bush as the faithful doormat of the global Pentarchy. Counterinsurgency (COIN) crackpot David Kilcullen, senior shaman to both “King” David Petraeus and “Bananas” Stan McChrystal, admitted back in Sept. 2009 that a key reason for staying the course in the Bananastans is to preserve the NATO alliance. Kilcullen also confessed that the counter-terror mission wasn’t “at the top of my list” of reasons to stay.
The compliant press has been referring to the “NATO mission” in the Bananastans since Rolling Stone and other outlets spilled the beans about American G.I.s saying that ISAF, the acronym for International Security Assistance Force, actually stood for “I Suck At Fighting.” Pretty soon word will get around that NATO stands for “Need Afghanistan, Terminated Otherwise.”
For all his gas regarding COIN, Kilcullen seems to understand full well that the war-fighting doctrinal is doomed to fail in the Bananastans because successful COIN operations require a legitimate, competent host government that has control of loyal, competent security forces. Afghanistan will never have either of those commodities. Pakistan won’t either. Pakistan has more-or-less competent security forces, but they’re hardly loyal to their government. Their government is loyal to them—if it knows what’s good for it. But look on the bright side. Having a government that’s controlled by its military gives Pakistan a lot in common with us.
On a coincidental note, a military gaining control of its executive and legislative branches of government is precisely what caused the downfall of Rome. Don’t take my word for it: ask Renaissance era political genius Niccolo Machiavelli. In his The Art of War, Machiavelli notes that Rome jumped the shark when the Praetorian guard “became insolent and formidable, not only to the Senate but to the emperors themselves.” It’s clear as the warning on a pack of cigarettes that Obama doesn’t have the inseminators it would take to stand up to his Long War generals or their sponsors in Congress.
Kilcullen likely also realizes that COIN doctrine is little more than cover strategy for its authors’ real purpose, which is to extend the wartime economy we’ve been on since World War II indefinitely by making “persistent conflict” the permanent global reality. Part of the reason the Pentarchy never gives us a coherent list of war objectives is the danger that they might accidentally achieve one or more of them. Then they’d need to make more excuses to keep our troops, and our country, enmeshed in counterproductive wars. Oh, they could come up with the excuses, don’t get me wrong. It would just entail extra work, effort that could more efficiently be aimed making more tea baggers who will support the dismantling of the New Deal even though they’re the ones who will suffer from said dismantling. (Those zombies are direct descendants of the poor dumb white bastards who fought for the plantation owners’ right to own slave during the Civil War).
As to our little NATO buddies, well, they’re pretty much on the same Long War program except they’re not spending the kind of money on defense that we are. The Brits are lopping defense programs like tumors in a colon. But that’s okay. As long as we have war mongrels like John McCain and Jon Kyl and Joe Bob Lieberman in Congress, we’ll pick up whatever slack the Brits create. We’ll just keep borrowing money from the Chinese to spend on our military until they call in the loan. Then we’ll take the military we’ve been building with China bucks and declare war on the little bastards. Well, we won’t declare war. That would be in keeping with our Constitution. What the Pentarchs will probably do is pressure Obama or whichever political tart is in the oval office at the time into invoking the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Forces (AUMF). As you may recall, that was the near unanimous decree from Congress that the U.S. president could blow the smithereens out of whoever he wanted to blow to smithereens if he thought the prospective smitheree had any sort of potential connection to terrorism.
We charged the Panty Bomber and the Times Square Screw Up with attacking America with weapons of mass destruction even though neither of their bombs, even if they’d gone off, would have burned their sausages crisp enough to serve with scrambled eggs. So making a connection between the Chinese and terrorism should be easier than falling off of a backless barstool. I mean, we’re afraid of them, right? So if they terrify us, it logically follows that…
One of the ways we and our NATO side boys will keep the war going is by creating more of the enemy than we can ever possibly kill or capture. We manage that by killing a lot of the civilians we pretend to be trying to protect. Our latest strategy for protecting civilians will involve killing them with tanks.
We’ve send a contingent of M1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan for the Marines to build schools and roads and hand our soccer balls with. The tanks will have a dual use purpose of killing bad guys, whoever we happen to decide the bad guys happen to be on any given day. According to a November 19 Pentagon press release run as a news story in the New York Times, the M1s “will allow ground forces to target insurgents from a greater distance - and with more of a lethal punch - than is possible from any other U.S. military vehicle.”
That statement is untrue on two main counts, perhaps the most obvious being that lots of U.S. military vehicles can and have delivered more lethal punches from greater distances than any tank will ever be able to: A B-2 bomber or a carrier air wing or even a pismire CIA drone can outdistance a tank without having to gas up for the next mission. And don’t believe for a minute that a tank can out-kaboom a strategic bomber or a flat top’s worth of strike-fighters.
The subtler but more significant deceit in that propaganda statement is “will allow ground forces to target insurgents.” The tanks won’t allow anybody to target insurgents any better than anything else we’ve targeted insurgents with. That’s partly because our intelligence in that part of the world had, does, and always will suck. We get information by beating or bribing people into telling us what we want to hear. “No, effendi, I am telling you, it just looks like a Muslim wedding chapel. It is actually a terrorist training camp in disguise!”
An even bigger problem is that we can’t separate the “enemy” from the local civilians because the bad guys are locals too.
But the biggest lie of all is the notion that we can strike at anyone “surgically” with “precision” standoff weapons. For a standoff weapon to do the kind of job we need done, it would have to be able to sneak into town unnoticed, pick the lock of the front doors of the targets’ homes, sneak up behind said targets, pick their pockets and check their picture I.D.s, and then disable the targets with the “sleeper hold” made popular by Great Depression era professional wrestler Jim “The Golden Greek” Londos.
Short of developing something like that, all we’re doing by sending more weapons to the Bananastans is tightening the chokehold we’ve managed to lock ourselves into. But that bodes well for the future of NATO, which is banking on the Bananastans bunkum to justify its phony-baloney existence for at least as long as the Cold War did.