Why Are We Still at War?
Let's Get Cozy with Our Afghans
As a US official notes below, war, after all these millennia, is still for territory. However, groups can gain more from resources and other people by respecting property -- both private and public (the commonwealth) -- and trading surplus. When will we learn? We trim and blend two 2009 articles, one by Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”, a t r u t h o u t Perspective of Feb 3. The other is by Alanna Hartzok, Co-Director, Earth Rights Institute, on Fareed Zakaria's Recommendations for the War in Afghanistan, Feb 4.
by Norman Solomon and by Alanna Hartzok
Why are we Still at War
The United States began its war in Afghanistan 88 months ago. 2002 November, retired US Army general William Odom on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" said: "Terrorism is not an enemy. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks. We're not going to win the war on terrorism. It cannot be defeated.”
Norman Mailer in late 2002: "This war is so unbalanced, so much power on one side, so much true hatred on the other, so much technology for us, so much potential terrorism on the other, that the damages cannot be estimated. It is bad to enter a war that offers no clear avenue to conclusion.... There will always be someone left to act as a terrorist."
Joan Didion noted "the insistent use of Sept. 11 to justify the reconception of America's correct role in the world as one of initiating and waging virtually perpetual war." She put to shame the self-important journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Public Radio.
In early 2009, we're entering what could be called Endless War 2.0, continuing to send out the patrols and launch the missiles and drop the bombs, while the new president's escalation of warfare in Afghanistan makes the rounds of the media trade shows, preening the newest applications of technological might and domestic political acquiescence.
For anyone who believes that the war in Afghanistan makes sense, I recommend the January 30 discussion on "Bill Moyers Journal" with historian Marilyn Young and former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey. A chilling antidote to illusions that fuel the war can be found in the transcript.click here
Let’s Get Cozy with Our Afghans
In “A Turnaround Strategy” (Newsweek, Feb. 9) Fareed Zakaria admires the clarity of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ statement that “My own personal view is that our primary goal is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terrorists and extremists to attack the United States and its allies.” Elsewhere in his article Zakaria notes how Al Qaeda, being a “stateless organization,” easily flees back and forth from Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Since Al Qaeda has no military installations from which to launch projectiles capable of traveling around the globe and into the United States, and can organize terrorist acts via cells of small groups with cell phones anywhere in the world, the question remains, why Afghanistan? And why now?
"Full-spectrum dominance" is the key term in "Joint Vision 2020," the blueprint the Department of Defense is following to lead us into the future. Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of US forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US National Security Advisor, describes “superpower politics” and the “American global system” in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard -- American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Brzezinski tells us that the focal point of the chessboard is Eurasia – “the globe’s most important playing field” where the US must maintain control as “the central basis for global primacy.”
After laying out his three-step formula to “offset, co-opt, and/or control the geopolitical critical Eurasian states” Brzezinski says:
In a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together…. Competition based on territory still dominates world affairs.
In “A Turnaround Strategy” Zakaria describes Sunni/Shiite and Taliban/Al Qaeda challenges and urges us to applaud General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency approach to “reach out” to communities, local councils, and tribal leaders “to make local populations feel secure. Troops are meant to live among the people, use less force, gain trust, not overreact to every provocation and be seen as a positive force within the community.”
But from the vantage point of US foreign policy of full-spectrum dominance this friendly, feel good approach is just the carrot end of the stick plan to gain control of Eurasia. Zakaria wants us to “talk to the Taliban” because “…the basic idea is obvious -- to divide the enemy and thereby reduce the number of diehard opponents arrayed against you.” So why not just tell the truth. US foreign policy for Afghanistan is to create a political order of US compliant vassals and caciques as quickly and cleverly as possible.
To build a world that works for everyone, President Obama needs to start with a serious review of the Vision 2020 Full Spectrum Dominance approach to US foreign policy. But I guess Zakaria just wants us to show imperialism with a friendlier face for photo-ops. It’s winter, so let’s get cozy with our Afghans.
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