Having nothing better to do on the afternoon of July the Fourth but kill time on a hot Mississippi day, and listen to the smallish firecrackers and rockets the kids are lighting in the neighborhood, I decided to see the headlines on what I figured would be a slow news day. I found this:
On Sunday, three U.S. Senators visiting Afghanistan criticized the pace of withdrawal and expressed concerns that it may leave NATO with too few troops to deal a decisive blow to the insurgency.
"I believe that the planned drawdown is an unnecessary risk," John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said. McCain arrived in Afghanistan with Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham. McCain lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential race.
John McCain is a 40-odd-year untreated case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of his experience in Vietnam. It is a mystery why people have not understood how whacked-out damaged that man is.
Luckily for McCain, if not for the American people, the subject of the true extent and degree of his unfitness to be president because of psychological trauma was avoided by McCain's completely unvetted hip-shot choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate.
That leaves him a Senator, of course, and one of the Republican hawks and opinion leaders in most matters, most specifically Afghanistan. Bad enough!
"Deal a decisive blow"? Anyone who thinks that such a coup de main can be dealt anywhere in the world is either floundering in unreality or has some private interest that is somehow being served.
Proof, you ask? How many Muslim countries has the war widened to?
Besides being case by case nationalist or tribal, part of the driving force behind the insurgency is pan-Muslimism and pan-Arabism.
Everyone has always known that. It's been that way since the Crusades, and the best way to stop that conflict is to militarily withdraw from those places where we seem to stir up the most trouble.
The more places we put our boot, the more little fire ants we will stir up. And we seem to be economically and militarily-- imperially, though that part is in its throes-- determined to put our boot where we can guarantee to find the most fire ants.
The fire ants can't kill you quickly. No one attack can do the job, and they know it, just as no one act of resistance by Americans can stop the wars, and those who are still determined to resist here know it. But what misguided pride is required to induce a nation, and its leaders to keep on insisting on being stung?
Now in general, a look at the "comments section" Yahoo posts after news stories is good only for a fit of merriment and headshaking. But one good ol' boy named Bill, same as your writer, included in comments on this distressing piece of news this fourteen-word gauge of whether the US shoulld be involved in military operations in Afghanistan:
"If we were to 'win', exactly what would we have to show for it?"
When America withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in 2014, or '16, or whenever, what will we have accomplished of lasting value to United States national security?
"Capt 'n! The dilithium crystals ar-re mel-tin', wae just kenna ga ahn like this!"
Warp Nine, Mr. Scott! Steady course Mr. Sulu!"
"Aye aye, captain!"
This country's economic engine can not last through another four or six years of steadily increasing deficit spending to pay for an expanding number of wars and other military involvements.
The idea that Gen. Petraeus is contemplating extended struggle, and shift of battlefield focus, indicate that he and people like Sen. McCain have completely compartmentalized and disconnected their misguided military strategy and the economic consequences to the nation that YEARS of investment of money, sweat and American blood DO mean. Not "may," DO.
What do we get out of it? Will Americans somehow be freer and more secure in being good little consumers of non-durable goods? How WILL America benefit from an indefinite military commitment to increasing deficit spending?
They-- and for General Petraeus, it in an egregious and unforgivable shortcoming in the current context, with him essentially getting kicked upstairs and into the boiler room-- are clueless about why no one has ever conquered the Pathans.
The Pathan tribesmen of north Afghanistan/northeast Pakistan, who comprise the majority of the Taliban's fighters-- are sworn at birth to pushtun wali, the warrior way of revenge from generation to generation against those who attack them. You can not strike "a decisive blow" against people who will fight to the very last tribesman.
And uncivilized brutes that they are by western standards, the Taliban has huge recruiting depth, and has shown increasing sophistication about getting out in front with their successes through the media.
There is a name for uncontrolled growth within a specimen of the human species, and that name is cancer. We, the people of the United States, and of the world, have a cancer, the nature of which is the nexus of the unregualed distortion of the wealth of everything through the myriad of "financial products" called derivatives, virtually unregulated global population doubling, and the cluelessness of men like John McCain and David Petraeus.