Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Over It Getting Over Over There

1 Nov 2011

by Jeff Huber

The about face happened even faster than I thought it would.  Only two Fridays ago young Mr. Obama announced that the last American soldier would leave Iraq by the end of this year.  

The last soldier, that is, except for the Marine contingent we’ll leave behind at the embassy/fortress we built in Baghdad.  But Marines aren’t in the Army, so they’re not technically soldiers are they?  That's why they call them "Marines," isn't it?  And the mutant CIA ninjas we’re leaving behind aren’t soldiers either, so they don’t count.  And the heavy brigade of Blackwater mobsters we’re leaving behind under the control of State Department clerks, they don’t count as soldiers, either. 

Some undetermined number of “advisers” we’ll leave behind even though the Status of Forces Agreement says we can't will be special force types, but lots of them will be Navy SEALs, who aren’t soldiers because they're sailors.  Some of the advisers we leave behind will be Army Green Berets, who are soldiers if you want to be a stickler about it.  But their operational chain of command goes through the Unified Combatant Command called U.S. Special Operations Command aka USSOCOM (pronounced “U.S. so calm”).  But SOCOM (for short) has its own budget just like one of the uniformed services (i.e., Army, Navy, Air Tunes) so it’s kind of a separate uniformed service itself. 

SOCOM, even operates under different laws and legislative oversight procedures than the rest of the armed services do, so it can do things that mere mortal soldiers and sailors and Marines can't do.  SOCOM is like the CIA in that regard, but the CIA, which isn't part of the Department of Defense at all, operates under a different set of laws and oversights than SOCOM, so that if some dirty deed needs doing that SOCOM doesn't have the legal dope deal to deal with, then the CIA can deal with it instead (and vice versa).  In case some totally rat's-fundament-filthy dirty deed needs doing that neither the CIA nor SOCOM can do then it gets done by mercenaries like the Blackwater gunsels we’re leaving behind at the embassy in Baghdad, whose activities overseas aren’t governed by any laws of God or man. 

"Fabios of Fortune" can wear
their hair much longer than their
military counterparts are allowed to.  
There’s bound to be talk sooner or later, if there isn’t already, about how this system of having three separate dirty deed doing directorates is inefficient and costly, and that we should just pour the SOCOM and CIA appropriations directly into our Blackwater thug budget.  That way, not only can our dirty deed doers commit atrocities with impunity; they can pitch national treasure into the wind to their black little hearts' delight.

The counterargument to completely outsourcing our dirty deeds, and it’s a good one, says that if we ax the CIA and SOCOM in favor of commercial thuggery, we’ll eliminate the commercial thugs industry's training program.  Pretty soon we won’t have anybody qualified to do dirty deeds for hire, sort of like how we’d soon run out of airline pilots if we shot down military aviation. 

But the counter-counter argument says that we can just pay Blackwater to recruit and train goons for us.  This counter-counter approach offers several strategic advantages over the present system.

For starters, we ditch the cumbersome requirement to track the money used for training because once we turn it over to Blackwater it falls into a black hole, the same way that we’re now saying the $6.6 billion we thought maybe we left on the seat of a Baghdad bus is “found” because we discovered it was “transferred” to the Central Bank of Iraq.  Where that $6.6 billion was transferred from there is irrelevant, by Jupiter; we’ve got a phony-baloney receipt for it and that’s all that counts. 

Next, we don’t have to apply the same entrance qualification standards to our Blackwater trainees that we require of our military enlistees.  That lets us recruit hoodlums straight from the hood, where they’ll come to us with prior experience of firearms and lethal violence and an innate disdain for law and order. 

Best of all, if we recruit criminal ruffians and train them to operate outside the limits of decent restraint from the get-go then we don’t have the problem of reprogramming military and CIA snake snackers, who have been conditioned to pay at least a modicum of attention to legal limits, as they transition to the private sector.

The Senate Armed Services Select Committee
But for the time being we’re stuck with fuddy-duddy CIA and SOCOM, some of whose activities do, in fact, have to endure legislative scrutiny.  That’s okay, though.  The congressional scrutinizers who scrutinize them get on select scrutiny committees the same way one gets adopted into the Soprano family.  You’re the new kid on the block and somebody does you a big favor and gets you on a select committee.  They feed you a few dirty secrets and let you approve of things that it isn’t legal for you to approve of, and the next thing you know you’re a bona fide law breaking lawmaker, a made member of the Pentarchy, and you’re knocking back ice-cold shots of Stoli with Revoltin' John Bolton ringside at the Bada-Bing.  

So anything the Pentarchy wants from you you’re pretty much going to approve, just like you won’t ever again put up a fuss about it when a president bypasses Congress completely and starts a war on the authority of his Ambassador to the UN, the way Bombardier Barry started the lollapalooza in Libya. 

And don’t worry that something might crop up in the Middle East that SOCO or CIA can’t carry out once the “soldiers” leave Iraq, because the soldiers aren’t going very far.  As prominent Pentagon propagandist Tom Shanker of the New York Times announced this past Saturday, the Obama administration plans to replace the soldiers in Iraq with soldiers in Kuwait.  This, Shanker tells us, is in case they need to “respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.”
This Shanker cat has got to be
jiving me, man.

Man-oh-Manischewitz.  What an irredeemable line of unlimited weight class bull roar.  Security in Iraq collapsed in 2003 when we invaded the place and it hasn't recovered to this day.  As for a military confrontation with Iran, Iran can’t project land or air power any further than any other country in that region, which is about three miles from its border.  The only potential military confrontation we might have with Iran is the one we instigate on the next set of fabricated and unsupported accusations that no one in the three pillars or fourth estate of our failed experiment in government will question because everyone in them is part of the war mob, a mob for which there is no witness protection program because the people who would protect you are the very people you’d be witnessing against.

Our country, fellow citizens, is captive in the clutch of warmongers and the fearful fools who follow them.  

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. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fat Ladies, Promises and Iraq

25 October 2011

By Jeff Huber

Please don’t be duped into thinking that young Mr. Obama’s “troops will be home for the holidays” announcement last Friday really means that the proverbial plump soprano has crooned the coda of our Wagnerian Iliad in Iraq: the troops’ journey home is likely to resemble the one in The Odyssey that dragged on for ten years or so after the Trojan War ended.  Also don’t fall into the perception traps that might lead you to think Obama is beginning to keep his last set of campaign promises just in time to cook up some new ones, or that he’s finally gotten control of his New Praetorian Generals or of the New Centurion Pentarchy. 

And whatever you do, don’t buy the lysergic assertion that Obama’s announcement heralds the beginning of the end of our Long War aka Era of Persistent Conflict aka the Global War on Terrorism (aka GWOT) aka the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism (aka GSAVE) War on Evil (aka WOE).  No, Americans will still be consuming pro-war bull feather merchandising when Gen Y is puling like a herd of kittens about Gen Z’s reluctance to buy into Social Security and Public Health Care.   

CIA Director Petraeus was just kidding
back when he said he'd get us
out of Iraq (hah!).
It’s worth noting that Mr. O didn’t specify which holidays of which year the troops would be home from Iraq by.  One doesn't like to think that our wartime leaders would play us with that level of weasel wordplay, but you never know.  Obama might be following the successful example of his fair-haired step-general Dave Petraeus who, back in summer of 2007, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that his objective as Supreme Sultan of the Surgin’ Safari in Sumaria was to create “conditions that would allow our soldiers to disengage."  King David didn't say if he was aiming to allow out soldiers to disengage in this American Century or the next one.  We know from Petraeus consecrator and camp concubine Thomas E. Ricks that the general’s real intention was “not to bring the war to a close” but to con the American people into sticking with it even longer. 

Here we are four years and lunch money after the surge with an Iraq that’s as up for grabs as it ever was, and John Boehner is expressing concerns that a full withdrawal from Iraq could “jeopardize” the “gains” we’ve achieved.  Holy mackerel, Sapphire.  Where do we find such tanning bed bimbos?  That’s like Jonah worrying if the whale can get by on an empty stomach.

Obama’s “withdrawal” from Iraq doesn't just leave the back door open; it leaves the front of the building blown off.  There’s still a “possibility” that we’ll leave an unspecified number of “trainers” behind to “advise” Iraqi troops.  Military advisers have a way of making like bunnies, folks.  We didn’t end the Vietnam War by putting advisers in country.  That’s how we started the Vietnam War.  There will also, of course be a Marine security contingent at our embassy in Baghdad.  That’s standard procedure in the capitol of every nation that still sucks up to us. 

What’s not standard procedure about our embassy in Baghdad—a compound the size of Vatican City that looks like the fortress in The Guns of Navarone—is that in addition to the Marines it will also be infested by what Mark Landler of the New York Times describes as “4,000 to 5,000 private State Department security contractors” (aka Blackwater hoodlums) “as well as a significant [my italics] CIA presence.”  You start adding on the soldiers of ill-gotten fortune that Exxon and Halliburton and KBR and the rest of the war buckaroos will bring with them and pretty soon you’re talking about a force the equivalent of a U.S. Army division (the embassy mercenary corps alone is brigade size). 

Lawyers, Guns and Hillary
The “advisers” will be special force phantoms who, along with the CIA spooks, operate outside of any chain of command you can define with a wire diagram.  The mercenaries, once they’re abroad, run amok unrestrained by any written or unwritten laws of God or man.  The only authority they’re concerned about is the one that signs their paychecks, who in this case is our warmongering Secretary of State.  Cruella Clinton can now commit our nation to war without the consent of Congress or the judiciary or even the commander in chief whenever she gets the notion, which puts her on equal footing with our UN Ambassador Susie Rice, who started our whackadoodle-do in Libya by carping the Security Council into passing a bombs-away resolution. 

No, the fat lady isn’t singing in Iraq.  She hasn’t even sprayed her throat yet.

Claims that Obama’s non-withdrawal announcement show he’s living up to campaign promises to shut the Iraq WOE down are as legitimate as blue money.  The deadline to haul heinie out of Iraq at the end of this year was in the status of forces agreement the Bush regime signed onto when the UN mandate ran out.  Obama is semi-bringing the troops home because his Pentarchs couldn’t bully the Iraqi government into granting indefinite legal immunity to whatever troops we decided to leave behind.  If an agreement to leave troops in place had been reached, Obama would have gone slut-puppy for it just like he’s done with everything else his velvet junta generals have ordered him to do.

We've got to drop all those leftover bombs on somebody!
In no way have the Pentagon brass hats given up on maintaining a permanent presence in Iraq.  Senior sanctioned leakers are feeding the Tom Ricks wannabe echo chamberlains tag lines about how we'll have to get by with a “smaller footprint” to administer “training” and “guidance,” and to provide Iraq with air defense from, uh, the Kurdish Air Force, I guess.  But, hey, you know, if we leave people behind to do that stuff we’ll need additional security personnel to protect them, and we’ll need additional support personnel to cook food and make beds and fix stopped up toilets for the additional security personnel, and then we’ll need extra additional security personnel to provide security for the additional security personnel’s additional support personnel, and then we’ll need extra additional support personnel to support the extra additional security personnel, and so on and so on and so on. 

But aside from that, everybody is coming home.  
With Moammar "The Ram" Gadhafi
gone, who's next? 

Any talk that Obama’s homecoming address is another sign that he’s reining in our warhorses is pure reconstituted horse lunch.  We no sooner get done having those images of Moammar Gadhafi looking like Mickey Roark at the end of The Wrestler jammed in our eyes like pencils than Pops McCain starts howling about how now we can start bombing the living Christ our Lord and Savior out of Syria!

Remember thinking the warmongery was kaput when McCain lost the election?


Hi ho!

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. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Persian Paranoia Ploy

18 Oct. 2011
by Jeff Huber

I thought about calling this essay “The Boys Who Cried Iran,’” but that title had a cross-purpose parallel problem. The lesson of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” parallel is that the townspeople eventually ignore the boy’s false alarms.  It seems, on the other hand, that we the people will never tire of hearing the “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” mantra. 

The Iranians vant to
drink your blood!
This time around, the Pentarchy’s bull feather merchants have manage to cull a confluence of Persian Peril Paranoia with our by now Pavlovian terror of terrorism.  An Iranian-American used-car salesman is accused of being the key figure in an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. and to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington.  Scary, huh kids?

The used-car salesman in question is 56 year-old Mansour J. Arbabsiar (aka “Scarface), whose apprehension by the FBI was in keeping with the legendary Homeland Security sting operations that netted the Dirty Bomber who turned out to be too retarded to make a dirty bomb, and the Panty Bomber whose panty bomb didn’t even put third-degree burns on his party favor, and the Times Square Screw Up who locked himself out of his bomb car and his getaway car andhis apartment. 

Scarface, if that really is his international underground terrorist cabal code name, is a 30 year resident of Texas, a state renowned for another Justice Department fiasco of fame that unfolded in the town of Waco, a travesty during which Janet Reno’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) hooligans immolated 76 lonesome losers whose heinous crime was allowing themselves to be brainwashed by cult leader David Koresh.  Scarface Arbabsiar inhabited Texas for three decades during which he racked up a string of failed businesses, a covey of angry creditors, and a furious former spouse who sought a protective order against him.  His friends describe him as “perennially disheveled” and “hopelessly disorganized.”  His socks never matched and he constantly lost his keys and cell phone.  A rival used-car salesman described Arbabisiar as “worthless.”

Mansour J. Arbabsiar was a mark so perfect for a pre-election propaganda con game that the fool infested FBI couldn’t have overlooked him if they were wearing two blindfolds instead of the single one that was their standard issue in the years that led up to the 9/11 attacks.    

Attorney General Holder and senior Justice Dept. Staff
At the uber-helm of this cockamamie caper was Attorney General Eric Holder, who is to Barack Obama’s Justice Department what Ford Sterling was to Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops: the chief buffoon.  It was no doubt coincidence, it just had to have been, that the Scarface assassination scare story hit the mainstream fire hose the day after Holder was subpoenaed to do some ‘splainin’ to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking campaign that should have been dubbed “Faster and Funnier.”  In the course of groping though an investigation trying to trace firearms from American gun dealers to Mexican drug gangs, Holder’s ATF-ups managed to lose track of 1,400 to 2,000 guns that migrated into the mitts of the Mexican drug gangsters they were trying to keep guns from migrating into the mitts of. 

I’d characterize Faster and Funnier as a Petraeus-class fumble, but that would be incredibly unfair to Holder and the ATF.  When then three-star general David Petraeus let U.S supplied guns tiptoe into the hands of Shiite militiamen, he didn’t just hand over a couple thousand of the things.  Petraeus gave away 190,000 of the things, more than enough to arm 10 United States Army infantry divisions.  Funny how the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee never subpoenaed King David to explain how that happened.  It must have been an oversight on their part (heh).  

It's the old "They can't
be that stupid so they
must be that stupid" ploy.
According to the Runyonesque scenario Holder and Company spin, the case just happened to fall together when some Defense Enforcement Agency Dunderhead had a chance meeting with Johnny Scars and a pair of Iran’s elite Quds Force baddies who just happened to be operating on American soil in plain sight of every federal, state and local law enforcement official and intelligence agent in the great state of Texas.  Our best intelligence (double heh) alleges that officials at the highest levels of Iran’s government pulled stunts that prompted Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East and author of several books on Iran, said there was “sloppiness about the case that defies belief.”  “Sloppy” is a kind euphemism.  According to Holder’s Heroes, top Iranian leaders left a paper and electronic trail leading back to themselves that Inspector Clousseau could have followed. 

But incredulity is by no means grounds among the Obama inner-war party for stiff-arming a chance to pacify the Pentarchy with the citizenry marching on Wall Street and an election on the horizon.  State Secretary Cruella Clinton said of the case “The idea that they [the Iranians, I guess she means] would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?”  Wake up and smell the napalm, Hillary.  Remember the whoppers Big Dick Cheney and his Delaware Destroyers fabricated about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and his ties al Qaeda and his connections to 9/11 that got us into the Iraq quagmire that you voted for?  Conjuring incredible tales so the American public will let you bomb or invade other countries is neocon de rigueur.  If you ain’t lyin’ they ain’t buyin’, that’s the warmongery’s motto when it comes to constructing a casus belli from hydrogen molecules.     

Holder's argument that top Iranian government officials were involved in a plot to hire Mexican Drug runners to assassinate a Saudi diplomat and bomb an Israeli embassy has more holes in it than Scientology dogma.  But that’s okay because young Mr. Obama said in a 13 October press conference that, “the facts are there for all to see,” though he failed to mention what any of those facts are or where any of us might go to see them.     

When Holder's Iranian/Mexican assassination/bomb plot accusations began generating guffaws globally, Obama’s spin physicians switched to another cherished wolf cry.  Favored Pentarchy echo chamberlain David E. Sanger of the New York Times relays to us that “President Obama is pressing United Nations nuclear inspectors to release classified intelligence information showing that Iran is designing and experimenting with nuclear weapons technology.”  If you crawl between the gutters in this puff piece you pick up that the “classified intelligence information” they’re talking about is the so-called “smoking laptop” documents that were proven to be forgeries five freaking years ago

But young Mr. Obama’s story is that Iran wants to kill Saudis and Israelis and they’ll do it with hired banditos or nukes or trick-or-treaters or whatever it takes, and he’s sticking to it, and he’ll get away with this used mare's oats mendacity because beating war drums appeases the neocons and today's liberals are too vaginal to stand up to him.    

Where do we find such candidates?
Why do we elect such men to the highest office in our land?  Oh, that’s right.  The choice was him and Bazooka Joe or Grampaw Pettibone and Patriotic Barbie.  The difference between the two tickets doesn’t seem so clear in the rearview mirror, does it?  This Obama person who promised to put the brakes on the neocon agenda is starting to make Barry Goldwater look like a peace pansy.    

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. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011


11 Oct. 2011

by Jeff Huber

Last week marked the tenth anniversary of our War on Evil (aka WOE) in the Bananastans, those Central Asian banana republics of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  If you’re confused as to which of the two Bananastans we’re at war with, don't worry.  You’re in good company, some of which resides in the National Security Council and much of which dwells in the Pentagon and even more of which infests Congress. 

Technically speaking, we aren’t at war with either country, even though we’ve been in the process of blowing both of them to piecemeal smithereens for over a decade now.  Then again, strictly speaking, constitutionally speaking, we aren’t at war with any country, since we haven’t formally declared war against anybody since back in the early forties.  That war, the last war Congress declared, World War II, was actually two wars, one against Imperial Japan and one against Nazi Germany.  We didn’t declare war against Nazi Germany, by they way, but we didn’t have to.  Nazi Germany declared war against us after we declared war against Imperial Japan.  But that was good enough to constitute a Constitutional war according to the Marquess of Queensbury or Charles Goren or whoever was authorized to make up the rules of warfare back before there was a UN to make things up.    

Japanese foreign affairs minister Moramu Shigemitzu
formally declares "Uncle-san!"
The wars against Germany and Japan were over by the late 1940s.  We know they ended because Germany and Japan signed formal surrender documents.  The German and Japanese people went along with those surrenders because they were signed by heads of state of the governments that existed in Germany and Japan at the time they surrendered.  Another nation formally surrendering to us is another thing that hasn’t happened since the 1940s, and is a very large part of the reason that we haven’t actually won a war since then.  We declared victory in Vietnam after we got our heinie handed to us there and went home, and the uneasy peace between the Koreas is the product of a cease-fire that has lasted more-or-less successfully for a half-century and tool-booth tokens. 

Even though we haven’t declared any wars since the 1940s, we are presently involved in roughly 120 of them, give or take, around the world.  The legitimizing pretext for some of those wars is the Authorization for Use of Military Force aka AUMF that our Congress persons passed almost unanimously a week after the 9/11/2001attacks without thinking about what they were doing.  The pre-ramble to the 9/18/2001 AUMF says that “the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States.”  The 9/18/2001 AUMF is often referred to as “the blank check” that allowed young Mr. Bush to do whatever hoodoo he had to in order to keep them evildoers from doing their evil whenever his neocon masters decided he needed to do it. 

The 9/18/2001 AUMF as well as the 10/16/2002 AUMF that gave Mr. Bush and his puppeteers permission to invade Iraq are provisions of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which says that a president can only employ troops in combat overseas beyond 60 days unless Congress “has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces.”  Bush administration Federalist Society lawyers, most notably John Yoo (aka Yoo Manchu), argued that Bush didn’t need a separate AUMF to invade Iraq because the original AUMF allowed it, plus a pile of other pony plop about how international law allows you to conduct preemptive self defense even if you don’t really need to, because, hey, how can you know for sure that you don't need to defend yourself from another country unless you invade the place and toss it to find out?  Huh?  You tell me. 

In retrospect, the Bush machine's threats to bypass the legislature appear to have been a stratagem to gulling our Keystone Kongress into demanding a chance to vote for the Iraq invasion, and then letting them vote for it so they couldn’t hold the executive branch responsible if it turned out that we invaded another country on fuzzy pretexts (which turned out to be the case).   

The 9/18/2001 AUMF and the self-defense mantra have been the bulwark of “legal” justification for the triple-digits worth of third world wars we’re now waging—with one major exception.  Even the best and brightest warmongers in young Mr. Obama’s administration couldn’t claim that Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was a terror threat.  He had, in fact, renounced jihadist terrorism in general and al Qaeda specifically.  And they couldn’t say we had to preemptively defend ourselves against Gaddafi because he had voluntarily ash canned whatever sort of Our Gang weapons of mass destruction program he might have had.  They couldn’t even say the Gadaffi’s regime was illegitimate because young Mr. Bush recognized it in return for Gadaffi ash canning his WMD and renouncing al Qaeda.   

So Susie Rice, the liberal warmonger who young Mr. Obama hand-picked to succeed neocon warmongers John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad as our Ambassador to the UN, crammed a resolution past the Security Council’s tonsils to establish a no-fly zone to protect the freedom loving peoples of Libya from their mean old dictator Gaddafi (who the UN had also recognized as a legitimate head of state).  That quickly turned into an extensive bombing campaign ala the Kosovo Konflict to run mean old Gadaffi out of office and replace him with a bunch of hoodlums who can't decide among themselves who is in charge of them. 

The Obama warmongers’ UN gambit accomplished something even Yoo Manchu didn’t manage to pull off: stiff-arm the War Powers Act and Congress completely from the business of starting wars.  They got away with what the Bush camp couldn't consummate because liberals get the vapors when a conservatives start pointless, ill-advised wars, but when a fellow liberal does such things, well, liberals, you know how they are, they have to hold a vagina dialogue before they actually do anything and, except for the very few of them who still have a spine like Denny Kucinich, they’ll go along with whatever young Mr. Obama wants because they don’t want to see him get his progressive pants pulled down by some tea-bagging bobble head come 11/6/2012.

That explains why liberals couldn't seem to give a bat’s eyelash less about the recent revelation by the British press (our press doesn’t reveal things any more) that Obama is initiating wars on individuals, including American citizens like US born citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, by authority of a secret panel within his National Security Council. 

"We don't
want to rush
into getting
 out of wars!"
And maybe it’s not all that shocking to discover that a secret panel is committing America to wars against individuals, since we’ve cut Congress out of the picture anyway and since we don’t actually fight wars against countries anymore. The original enemy in the Bananastans Woe was Osama bin Laden,  supposedly, and the WOE in Iraq was against Saddam Hussein.  That both of those enemies are now dead does not, of course, mean that the wars we've stopped fighting wars agains them, or that we're even in the process of ending them.  General John Allen, who just replaced King David Petraeus as the four-star bull feather merchant in charge of the Bananastans, says we’re going to be there for a “long time” beyond the notional 2014 troop withdrawal date.  

“The plan is to win,” General Allen says.  If that’s the case, inhabitants of the Next American Century will still be waging an undeclared war in the Bananastans against an enemy who will never surrender because the Next American Centurions, like us, won’t be able to figure out who exactly that enemy is. 

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.    

Monday, October 03, 2011

Extort the Troops!

4 Oct. 2011

by Jeff Huber

I was plenty riled when Walgreens tried to shame me into doing my patriotic duty by contributing a dollar to send a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to one of our troops overseas.  “Don’t you want to support the troops?” the McJobette at the cash register asked me. 

I’d been waiting in line for several minutes to pay for two dollars and something worth of something or other because all of the people in front me who didn’t believe in the 21st Century who had taken the time to write checks for a few dollars worth of something else, so I was maybe more annoyed than I might otherwise have been.  Whatever the case, I decided to use the time I would have taken to write a check for two dollars if I wrote checks and something to give Ms. McJob and the people in line behind me an impromptu lecture on wartime economics. 
Praise the Lord and pass the chocolate.

Since 9/11, I explained, every American who wasn’t either too poor or too rich to pay taxes had “supported” the troops to the tune of well over $5 trillion, and the actual figure was probably closer to $10 trillion.  If $5 or $10 trillion wasn’t enough to buy the troops all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Mars Bars and Gummy Bears and Jujubes they could possibly hold then me kicking in an extra couple of bucks at Walgreens wasn’t going to help to keep their candy cache combat capable.    

The McJobstress gave me a baleful look and said, “So you don’t want to support the troops?”  Some guy in line behind me wearing a biker T-shirt and a ponytail muttered “f*****g liberal” as he reached for his checkbook.  

This war's for you.
Cashing in on our War on Evil is hardly a new thing.  I was sitting in a local tap-and-trough the first time I saw the Anheuser Bush “Coming Home” commercial, the one where troops returning from the war walk through an airport terminal to a standing ovation from the civilians who are waiting around to board for their delayed flights.  I shook my head and asked the bartender to replace my Budweiser with a Coors.  She asked why, and I said that if the Budweiser people wanted to use the war to sell beer they’d have to sell it to somebody besides me.

That’s when Virginia Beach legend “Drunk Dave” pried his nose from the bar and said, “Aw, man, they’re not trying to sell beer, they’re just trying to show their patriotic spirit.”  This is the same Drunk Dave who once claimed that he got a balanced view on politics because he listened to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

To gain even further perspective on the events of the day, Drunk Dave often tunes in to G. Gordon Liddy’s program.  Dave is especially fond of the G. Man’s bumper music, most often war tinged, patriotic, twangy jingles by the likes of the abominable Toby Keith about how it’s the American way to put a boot in everybody’s bottom and sell a lot of records about it. 

One of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that the anti-war movement has less traction than a curling stone is that it’s not only the defense industry parasites who are knocking down big war bucks.  It’s everybody.  One can’t pass a single merchandising venue in my area without bumping against some sort of trooper-dooper sales gimmick.  Granted, I live in an area (Hampton Roads) that contains the densest military population in the country, but given the advertising I see on what little television I watch it appears that Madison Avenue has cast its “support the troops” net from coast to coast. 

It’s the American way, I suppose, to use whatever’s available to gull one’s fellow citizens into buying fecal matter they probably don’t need, and why should war be any different from, say, body odor or erectile dysfunction?  After all, exploiting human misery and suffering has always been a core tenet of capitalism, hasn’t it? (Especially when the political right gets its way and eliminates all government regulation, eh?)

One might even be willing to grant that making money on war is downright virtuous, up to a point.  Unfortunately, the hideous truth at the core of “support the troops” commercialism is that it supports the neocons' Orwellian doctrine of “Long War” (aka “Persistent Conflict”).  Had irony not gone the way of truth, justice and honor during young Mr. Bush’s administration, it would delight at Persistent Conflict’s key internal contradiction: in order to keep the Long War going as long as possible, it must be fought in such a manner as to generate an infinite supply of enemies. Thus does the Long War doctrine defeat any rational claims that they contribute to our national security, yet national security is the fallback rationale for persisting in the Long War. 

And Irony would turn positively giddy over the sign that as of this weekend hangs behind the cash register of my corner 7-Eleven:

U.S. Armed Forces
We Don’t Start Wars
We Finish Them
Support the Troops

Jesus on a jet ski, there’s not trace of truth in that entire slog of slogans.

We do start wars.  We supposedly invaded Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks even though none of its masterminds or hijackers were actually from Afghanistan.  We kicked the closest thing Afghanistan has ever known to a legitimate government out of power and replaced it with a gang of hoodlums and drug dealers who now constitute the second most corrupt government on the face of the earth.

We supposedly invaded Iraq because of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and his role in 9/11 via his ties to al Qaeda.  None of these justifications turned out to be true.  We replaced Hussein with a gang of hoodlums who now constitute the fourth most corrupt government on the face of the earth.  

We instigated the bombing of Libya to remove a head of state who we legitimized by recognizing his government and replace him with a gang of hoodlums who promise to surpass Somalia as the country with the most corrupt government on the face of the earth.

Billions of American tax dollars financed the efforts of U.S. “non-profit” groups that fomented the Arab Spring movement that has set the Middle East afire, a circumstance that will abet the Long War policy goal of creating an inexhaustible supply of maniacs fighting among themselves to become even worse tyrants than the ones they deposed.

We’re presently mired in 120 wars throughout the globe, all of which we started or are involved in by our own choosing.  And we’ll never "finish" any of them because their very nature inhibits them from ever ending.  The only way we'll ever walk away from them is to just get up and walk away.  

Can we blame the “U.S. Armed Forces” for having started these unending wars?  You bet your bippy, we can.  Oh, the “troops” aren’t to blame.  It was the Pentagon brass who helped Dirty Dick Cheney and Dandy Don Rumsfeld cook the intelligence and manufacture the propaganda that got us stuck by the zipper in Iraq.  And the felonious four-stars—David Petraeus, Richard Myers, Pete Pace, George Casey, Mike Mullen and Ray Odierno, just to name the top row on the wall of the pogues’ gallery—have been as thick with the military-industrial warmongery as ticks on a wild dog when it comes to peddling pro-war propaganda designed to obliterate withdrawal timelines.    

These Colors Can't Think
The troops, for the most part a captive audience of Armed Forces media and their true-believing superiors, have been brainwashed even worse than the rest of the nation.  A 2006 Zogby poll showed that almost 90 percent of American troops serving in Iraq thought the war there was retaliation for Saddam Hussein’s role in 9/11. 

Lying to the troops, and exhorting them to finish wars that cannot be won, and exploiting them for the benefit war profiteers cannot in any way be defined as “supporting” them.

But try telling that to the likes of Lady McJob or Drunk Dave or the yahooligan who posted the Bush Coming Home commercial on YouTube and called it “Probably the best commercial ever made.” 

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.