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Maintaining the empire

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First it was Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attacking the "professional left" (whatever that means) for wanting to "eliminate the Pentagon." Then the liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd kicked the left for "constantly sniping at Obama" and for considering "pragmatism a moral compromise."

Next, pragmatist Senator Harry Reid announced he opposed building an Islamic mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York, the sort of pragmatism power-Democrats understand, ie. pandering to the intolerant bigot vote in a tough election, in Reid's case against Republican nutcase Sharron Angle.

The fact the New York mosque is far from Nevada and is the project of a Sufi element of Islam that preaches peace and love didn't seem to bother Harry.

The left does not oppose pragmatism or compromise; the left can't stand the absence of backbone and a moral compass.

Consider the latest on Afghanistan. General David Petraeus is visiting all the major media outlets and employing his charm and facile language skills to insert a wedge into President Obama's stated intent to remove troops from Afghanistan beginning in July of next year.

"I didn't come out here to carry out a graceful exit or something like that. I came out here committed to achieving our objectives," Petraeus told David Gregory of "Meet The Press." And what are those objectives?

"It's about rooting out every last guy, so that there's not even somebody who can fire a single, solitary RPG round from some little galat out here." Then, "If you don't want to have to kill or capture every bad guy in the country, you have to reintegrate those who are willing to be reconciled and become part of the solution instead of a continued part of the problem."

So our mission is to reconcile "every bad guy in the country" to our mission and "root out" and kill those deemed irreconcilable. The general now has his "inputs" right; that is, he has tripled troop levels and tripled the civilian commitment and raised the financial input dedicated to training Afghans in the army. He told Gregory he sees Afghanistan as "the longest campaign" in the so-called "long war."

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General Petraeus and Commander-in-Chief Obama by unknown

This is not the posture of a man even considering the pullout of troops next year. This is a man just beginning something.

All indications are that the Commander-in-chief has handed Petraeus the keys to the war, relinquishing his Constitutional role as the civilian leader tasked to look out for the whole nation's best interests -- not just its militarists and imperialists.

"Imperial Grunts" maintaining the empire

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All of us "professional leftists" tend these days to avoid use of the term imperial or imperialism when discussing why we are mired down in a place like Afghanistan. No one listens to a leftist using such words. So I'm going to let the unabashed militarist war-lover Robert Kaplan do it for me, since he makes the case much better than I could.

Kaplan's book, Imperial Grunts: The American Military On The Ground, is the first in a series of books unabashedly on the topic of American imperialism. It is an impressive body of work, involving years of world travel to many very rough and dangerous places. This is how he describes his project:

"I was less concerned with war and conquest than with imperial maintenance on the ground," he writes. In his journalistic travels, he says, "I wanted to cut myself off from civilians as much as possible." He wanted to live with American imperial soldiers "on the ground," to get to know the 21st Century American military he describes as "a worldwide fraternity."

Here's some of his thoughts on the subject:

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I am a 65-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old kid. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and a video (more...)

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It only makes sense that a guy who gets paid for w... by Ed Martin on Thursday, Aug 19, 2010 at 1:18:24 PM
An insightful and outstanding column exploring our... by Henry Pelifian on Friday, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:40:58 PM