One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?

So we’re still asked to believe the only reason we are in Afghanistan is because of terrorism, specifically because of 9/11 and the threat that it could happen again, only worse, if we don’t eradicate the menace.    President Obama’s justification to American citizens for an escalation of troops in Afghanistan, delivered from West Point, was based solely on the threat of terrorism.  His speech had nothing to do with Russia or China, with permanent military bases and huge embassies, with pipelines for oil and natural gas, or with opium and the money it brings and havoc it reeks.  According to Obama, we are in Afghanistan to eradicate our number one enemy Al Qaida, while keeping the Taliban from gaining power.  This effort, years, perhaps decades in the making and billions, perhaps trillions of dollars in costs, will keep Americans safe and free to stand in umemployment lines without fear of a nuclear bomb going off in a suitcase next to them.    

According to President Obama, as with President Bush before him, the number one reason we are in Afghanistan is because “our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

President Obama is convinced our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  That’s the reason for the escalation.  Our security is at stake.  And to be sure we realize that, the nuclear bombs of Pakistan have been brought into the equation.  Everyone knows that Pakistan is falling into hell in a handbasket and it wouldn’t take much for one of those bombs to fall into the hands of, you guessed it, Al Qaida.  

Ah, Jesus.  I had to live through the Cold War era as a kid in the fifties and early sixties.  I remember clearly the threats of the mushroom cloud going off while we hid under our school desks.  The evil communists were out to kill us so we needed more submarines and aircraft carriers.  We were given lessons from our government on what to do in case of attack.

The game plan hasn’t changed, only the players.

But is that all, Mr. President?  Is that the only reason we are fighting a war, or as some would say, maintaining an occupation in Afghanistan?

Approximately two thirds into President Obama’s speech, he made what I thought was the most accurate statement of the evening.

“And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I do not have the luxury of committing to just one. Indeed, I am mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who – in discussing our national security -said, “Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.”

At first, it sounded like President Obama was indeed focusing on just one challenge, to keep America safe from future attacks on American soil by Al Qaida as supported by the Taliban. But then he made that statement and it all made sense.  We have many national programs and he must maintain balance among them.  

So what are those national programs Mr. President?  Do they have anything to do with pipelines?  Do they have anything to do with maintaining a significant military presence in Eurasia in order to contain the rise of China and Russia?  Do they have anything to do with the control of the Afghanistan opium crops to supply off the books money to the CIA and create stoned populations in Eastern Europe?  Do they have anything to do with creating a destabalized Pakistan so U.S. interests can intervene and attempt control over India/Pakistan/China relations?  Do they have anything to do with Iran?  Nothing of this sort was mentioned, only terrorism.    

Imperialism is as old as human civilization.  “Yet, an interesting aspect of imperialism is that empires, both ancient and modern, have also tended to regard themselves as spreading order, morality, the true religion and civilization, and have even claimed to occupy the high moral ground.” (New World Encyclopedia).

That sounds quite similar to the United States and it’s supposed spreading of democracy and freedom.  But in the end it’s all about power.  Someone has to be on the top of the hill and in the stage of human civilization we current reside, the U.S. is, albeit tenuously, still at the top.

President Obama was as disingenous as President Bush in his West Point speech.  His rationale to the country for an escalation in war was poor at best.  There is no transparency when it comes to war.  The reasons are well hidden and cloaked in the daggers of fear.  An imperialist nation can’t very well say any different.  The reasons for it’s actions can’t be recognized for what they are, they must be explained in a manner the public will accept.  The public can’t acknowledge the Big Lie.

President Obama said, “Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.”

Is that it Mr. President?  Is that the only reason we’re in Afghanistan?  


Skip to comment form

    • Underdog on December 5, 2009 at 07:02
    • Miep on December 5, 2009 at 07:31

    At one point they address dirty bombs. The argument made was that you’d have to stand around where the suitcase nuke went off for a goodly period of time to absorb enough radiation to kill you. Like, months? (I really need to watch that again).

    People have no sense of scope. How much radiation would you get from running away from a suitcase nuke? How much from flying all the time? How much from lots of X-rays? How much from growing up in Nevada? (or in areas that are geologically high-radiation)

    How many people could even begin to answer these questions?

    But no, we must be afraid, and we must die, and we must kill, to prevent suitcase bombs? Eight years now, we must kill and die to prevent suitcase bombs.

    Or…what, anthrax? Someone might be killed by anthrax!

    Bring on the 30,000 troop surge, Mr. President. Because if you don’t…somebody might die.

    • Miep on December 5, 2009 at 07:37

    terrific essay!

  1. Historically, the Democratic Party has been the party of war in the United States, having actively maneuvered to involve the U.S. in the First World War, Second World War, Korea, and Vietnam in spite of considerable popular support for isolationism or nonintervention, particularly among Republicans.


  2. Great essay, Underdog.

    Imperialism started thousands of years ago when mankind began growing crops and settling in villages. They eventually depleted the soil of nutrients and needed new land for crops. The obvious solution was to kill of the hunter-gatherers and steal their hunting grounds to grow food to feed their growing populations. Bottom line: resources.

    What NO politician wants to talk about: Overpopulation. The underlying problem causing most of the grief in the world today.

    The planet is already overpopulated and we are running out of resources, IMHO. The resource wars have started and the Middle East is all about oil and because of that there will always be an excuse to have troops fighting somewhere in the region, at least until the oil runs out.

    After that it will be water wars (coming soon to a theater near you!), which itself could spell the end, then food wars and then who knows, wars for the air we breath? We are depleting the planet and shitting in our beds.

    What curdles my blood is the thought that there are think tanks somewhere tasked with the “Final Solution” for global overpopulation.

    I remember the “Duck and Cover” films from when I was kid in the fifties, they’ve been conditioning our generation for decades.

  3. secret reinforced basement in the Pentagon that keeps track of all the threats, potential threats and possible, poential threats etc. And I bet they’re all represented by different colors, blinking and changing, on a large electronic screen with “threat measurements” being tabulated without intereruption.

    And I’m not being humorous at all! By measuring, quantifying and representing the world, this display becomes, by it very existence, REALITY. This has been going on since the invention of Ancient Egyptian Cuneiform, where the high priests and scribes alter reality in order to unite all people under one belief system. And eventually, the belief system engulfs all thinking and takes on its own life and momentum.

    Mankind is stuck in a post Pleistocene cuncundrum, where organization (needed for survival) appears to require considerable unity of action and BELIEF. And so, “modern politics” is born in Athens to give this process some hint of rationality by our true founding fathers. We’ve fucked up bad the last 2500 years, and all we have to do is look at the “sine qua non of insanity”, the 20th Century (which we’re obviously still in and will never leave) to see  the “Cuneiform on the Wall” so to speak.

    Maybe we’ve run the table on this interglacial fable. With 6 billion people, weapons of biblical proportion and psychotic greed (the only element shared by all nations in common), perhaps our current modes of intercourse are so deeply flawed that to extricate them, well, may require a serious tonsilectomy. But seriously, the solution clearly is to be found in the caves and tunnels of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the true threat to the modern world resides, in the embodiment of the United States of America and free market capitalism, the current soup de jour of philospher kings.

  4. So a few people highly placed in them can lead lives of unbelievable luxury?

    I haven’t peeked at your essay yet, sure hope I guessed right!

  5. I can’t believe that aside from the mentally challenged anyone who has been present and conscious through the Bush regime is frightened of AlQaeda. Me I just think that most people are nationalistic homicidal maniacs who need a good story to kill and pillage the other who is enemy and then feel good about it as it’s patriotic and were fighting for the American way of freedom and democracy. At this point even that’s delusional as the fuckers who own the place are destroying any vestige of freedom or democracy here as fast as they can. So who’s going to keep us safe from the real terrorists and their henchmen our government? Easier to blame either the pig ignorant extremists home grown who might get power back or the scary boogieman hiding in Pakistan or somewhere else plotting to kill yer family. Amazing that this is working again, and that it calls itself reality based and ‘good’.              

Comments have been disabled.