Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

One of the most memorable of the many chilling government slogans in George Orwell's 1984, is the title today. Perpetual war for perpetual peace. It describes perfectly the mindset of the Pentagon, the service leaders, and, i greatly fear, the Obama White House. Glenn Greenwald's brilliant column of yesterday in Salon, makes precisely this point. I don't know what's gotten into the skulls of the editors of the Washington Post, but they argue that the country should continue to fund the never-ending war in Afghanistan as vital to the national security, but that healthcare for all Americans is an expense that must be paid for on borrowed money, and thus should be postponed. Like Greenwald, who cannot understand or countenance this logic, I too wonder what in the name of all that is holy has gotten into the heads of these well-dressed, well-stuffed, well-insured purveyors of Beltway wisdom. Have all those three-martini lunches and heavy hors d'oeuvres at the soirĂ©es of the powerful completed addled their brains?

Staying in Afghanistan, and following Army and Marine Corps doctrine--as an aside, I was always struck by the idea that all the dense justification for what these guys do and how they do it and why they do it, goes under the title of "doctrine." Kinda like the teaching of the Church, eh?--anyway, their doctrine on counterinsurgency is what in practice is nation-building, "securing the population." And this the Pentagon argues is what has to be done in Afghanistan. What this means, of course, is that the US is then committed for who knows how many more years and billions of dollars and who knows how many deaths of American troops. This is necessary, on hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowed money, and healthcare for millions of US citizens without it is not necessary and too burdensome on the budget?

[Days later in a new city]: To wrap up the above: I cannot understand for the life of me why the American people put up with these huge lies we're told. Can anyone seriously believe that the tripe now be dished out by our best military mind in Afghanistan, the sainted McChrystal, i.e., that 40,000 more troops is what he needs to implement the correct strategy that will turn the war around in that God-forsaken corner of the world. You mean that's all? Oh . . . I see, there are no guarantees or promises or timetables. Just give me the troops and the billions and we'll see.

Right. This is an exciting prospect for me. How about you?
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