Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wars For All the Wrong Reasons

The war we fought among ourselves from 1861-1865 was a war we had to fight. No avoiding it, and the fact it was as long and destructive as it was was important because we had to exhaust ourselves and realize no institution or States Right notion was worth that cost. Had the Union won quickly, as it could have but for the incompetence of various generals, in 1862 or 1863, the South would not have been as exhausted or convinced of its defeat. That was a war which expunged the bad blood.

And it was a good we joined the  battle against Hitler in 1942. As racist and exploitative as England and France and even the United States were, they could  not hold a candle to what Germany had degenerated into. We were a force for good in the world, even if most of the men who fought in that war did not  know it when they joined. 

They found out later just what monster they had brought down.

But since the end of World War II, we have been in more or less continuous war--with a brief hiatus during the Clinton years.

But in most of the wars since WWII, we found  ourselves in quagmires, unable to even say what winning is. 

President Obama has vowed to end the war in Afghanistan and Mad Dog believes he wants to do this, if for no other reason than its effect on our economy. His administration has voiced, through Vice President Biden, our excuse for leaving--we are not running out on the Afghans; we are handing their country back to an Afghan government which is stepping up to take our place, to keep order and to lay justice on the Afghan people.

Of course, as Americans, we understand a  lie when we hear one. There is no Afghan government. There are only some police who rape young boys, hold unfortunate citizens for ransom, sell American weapons and gasoline on the black market, traffic in heroin.  It's a nasty bunch we are handing the country over to, but then again, we never had it in hand.  It's all "Dope on the Table."  We claim victory and clear out.

As far as Mad Dog is concerned, it cannot happen fast enough. After us, the place collapses, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. 

It's not even clear there is such a thing as an "Afghan people." As with so many failed states, Somolia, and other African "nations" there is no real nation, just a geographic area populated by warring tribes and religious fanatics. 

The lives we lost  were not in vain, if we believe all that was necessary to track down Osama Bin Laden, and without Afghanistan, without a launching pad into Pakistan, we  would likely never have got him. After the Twin Towers came down, a lot of young American men and women were willing to go to Afghanistan to help track him down and kill him. 

Now we've done it. And now we ought to get out of that part of the world  and we ought to  close Gitmo prison, a cesspool of torture which some Americans have justified because we are not torturing or unjustly imprisoning men on American soil. As if committing a crime off shore is no crime. It's the old, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. If we don't misbehave at home, well then there is no crime.

We ought to Bring 'Em Home, from Afghanistan, from Germany, from Japan, from all those bases overseas and build our economy right here. And we ought to set about the work of shutting down those huge weapons systems communities in hundreds of Congressional districts, where Americans have good, high paying jobs building weapons systems we do not need and cannot afford.  These defense workers have served us well, but as was true after World War II, it is time to study war no more and to close down the death factories. 

Mr. Obama may realize this. If he does not, we might be able to educate him.

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