Tag Archives: afghanistan

A Case for Bashing the Democrats

Here is one issue I can actually agree with Newt’s recent comments concerning President Obama apologizing for burning the Quran. I do not think we should apologize, I think we should get the hell out! Why are Democrats and Republicans for the most part not saying what Ron Paul has said – what the hell are we doing there? In this case, the Democrats are justifying a war that the Republicans started AND continuing the error they made. This is the kind of thing that gives Democrats a bad name.

JFK (a Democrat) continued the ridiculous war that Eisenhower (a Republican) started in Vietnam. As a result many folks now think that JFK started the war. Historically speaking, JFK took ownership by continuing the domino theory, Republican rhetoric of the day for a tragic war that killed 50,000 Americans and maimed many more. This certainly reinforces the communist idea that liberals only serve the interest of the bourgeoisie by diluting and dulling the narrative that conservatives weave. At least it could be said that the effect is the same – the war is adopted, taken over, justified and thus, becomes a Democratic war.

A war is no small issue – the Republicans and Democrats owe us, the American people, an apology for starting and continuing an enormous mistake and human tragedy. We cannot afford the lives or economic cost of this insanity – STOP THE WARS NOW!!! I speak of wars because we still have active troops and ‘contractors’ in Iraq with casualties. Both Iraq and Afghanistan HATE OUR GUTS. We are occupying their country. Just think if Iraq or Afghanistan invaded our country to stop the anti-Islamic hatred in this country. Would we see them as liberators or occupiers? We are doing exactly that to them – HELLO, they hate us and do not want us over there. We have way overstayed our welcome and have only aggravated the problems inherent to their countries. We cannot make them ‘little Americans’. They have a history that has nothing to do with our history. We are imperialists and colonialists. We are wrong and everyone that is continuing our error is part of the problem. If Ron Paul could handle foreign policy and President Obama domestic policy, I would vote for them.

I do like the way President Obama handled the Libyan (and covert Egyptian aid) issue. We gave assistance to NATO and the Arabs, got in and out with the good guys in Libya (and Egypt) winning. I like his restraint with the ‘Arab Spring’. I think we need to support NATO and the rest of the world when and how they resolve to intercede but unilateral or effectively unilateral actions on our part always backfires on us – we make more terrorists by far than we kill – this is not success or winning folks. I have more comments in this essay that I wrote a while back.

Oh, one more rant, I hate and have resented all along that I have to pay taxes for someone else’s political insanity. Republicans talk about paying for ‘Obama-care’ – at least ‘Obama-care’ does not senselessly, in mass, massacre innocent elderly, women, children, kill our kids, and drive our economy into debt like these two crazy wars (the cost of these wars is much higher even in purely economic terms than ‘Obama-care’ – actually, according to the CBO ‘Obama-care’ saves us 100 million dollars over 10 years). These wars will not help anyone, only prolong misery – at least ‘Obama-care’ has the hope of perhaps, actually doing some good.

Why We Still Sacrifice Our Young

Barbaric ancient cultures ritually sacrificed their young to appease the gods. In the remoteness of those behaviors we cloak our own ritual instincts to sacrifice our youth. First, let me say that my own personal perspective on this has been shaped by first-hand experience of the Vietnam War that effectively destroyed both of my older brother’s lives. I am fascinated with how we sabotage ourselves in our truths and guarantee that our nemesis will once again rule the day. How do we sacrifice our young?

Watching Vice-president Biden yesterday talk about love of country in the heroic sacrifice of our warriors enraged me. The mistakes of President Obama’s predecessors have been blessed and sanctified in his administration’s current support of the Afghanistan war. These mistakes are no longer thought in terms of Bush administration tragedies but the old mantle of “defending freedom” has once again been cast over the irrevocable tragedy of state sanctioned killing of our youth. In Vietnam, the thought of a tragic mistake was the elephant in the room that our rhetoric always had to maneuver itself against. Just as the Catholic Church has never officially acknowledged that the earth is round but killed it with centuries of rhetorical hubris, the tragic sacrifice of our young in Iraq and now Afghanistan, started by Bush’s admitted mistake in Iraq, has been rhetorically redeemed into a “defense of freedom”, a “heroic sacrifice for the survival of our country”. The very same politicians that propagate these tragedies are the ones that gush their priestly, sanctimonious justifications for why these sacrifices had to be.

The truth, the elephant would speak if we let it, is that we blundered into nation building and forcing our values on cultures that at best have ambivalent judgments about our occupation and at worst fuel the fires of the holy war against the great satin (us). Our politicians tell us all the theological edicts that sanction our violence by a loving god and a country that stands for unquestionable truth. We lure our young into the military with commercials that play on their heroic fantasies and need for a job. They naively enter a machine that dashes their youthful ideals and deposits them in an alien culture with weapons and a mantra of kill or be killed. Families are torn apart and destroyed for generations. “Collateral damage” is the name for the rhetorical elephant that kills hundreds of thousands of women, children and “non combatants”. Many veterans that return find they must justify themselves and get locked into war hawkish justifications for future conflicts. They find conservative, Republican ideology as their life-long companion. The church ensures its future and brainwashing propagates into its young. The business of war is sealed in a tomb of sanctimonious rhetoric.

We could never admit that we have wasted our children’s youth and futures on a lie. That would rob our false god of its fire and fury. We would have to live in the shadows of Mordor, the dole drums of the under-world, the loss of meaning, the emptiness of nihilism. Nihilism is the result of the bankruptcy of our truths, our metaphysics, and our reasons for being. The chasm of our underside is opened by the radical belief in our holiness. The negative fascination of our truths stares into the void and the void stares back into our truths. We must continually feed the dragon or it will eat us. The gods must be appeased and our youth are our sacrificial lambs.

I have written elsewhere (http://mixermuse.com/blog/2010/01/08/war-on-terrorism/) on this blog how I think criminal situations could be dealt with that are propagated and fueled where no law exists, both best case and worst case, without playing these psychological-sociological games on ourselves so I will not re-state how we could deal with Iraq and Afghanistan in a saner, rational and targeted approach. In this essay, I simply want to expose how we symbolically and symbiotically feed on ourselves by a lack of philosophical, critical reflection. Folks, if our gods could save us from ourselves they would have centuries ago. The truth is, as Nietzsche prophesized, is that our good and evil is hopelessly enmeshed in a historically destructive dance that can only be compared to an act of god, an non-human tornado, a thirst that can never be quenched but will drink itself into oblivion on the sands of the desert. Will the United States be remembered thousands of years from now as a step away from humankind’s barbaric past or just another historical example of an Egypt or Rome that lost itself in its own dizzy heights and crashed into yet another heap of historical ash? All the while there are those of us that live in the shadows of death of our loved ones while the politicians blather on about our virtues and continue to tragically and mistakenly feed the beast.

The Absolute Necessity of Rhetoric

In President Obama’s recent trip to Afghanistan he told the troops that he would not send troops anywhere that was not “absolutely necessary” (http://frontpagemag.com/2009/10/27/mission-abandoned-%e2%80%93-by-alan-w-dowd/).  When President Bush started the war in Afghanistan he justified it as a crusade, vengeance for 911, a Texas style hanging for Al-Qaida and killing the ones responsible for 911.  I never heard him state that he was going to bring the terrorists responsible for 911 to justice.  He may have made that statement but most of the statements were along the line previously described.  Using these rhetorical ploys Bush was able to get the support he needed to start the war in Afghanistan.  Hatred is always a strong emotion while justice is emotionally a bit puny.  Bush started the war against Afghanistan based on rhetoric about getting Al-Qaida.  To date Al-Qaida is still around and our rhetoric about our enemy Al-Qaida is also used freely about the Taliban.  While no one would suggest that the Taliban is a great group of guys, they were not the stated reason why we went to war in Afghanistan.  Fanning the flames of 911, Bush was able to start a war.  His rhetoric became President Obama’s “absolute necessity”. 

I have previously stated that as leader of the United States, President Bush should have stated that we would bring Al-Qaida to justice.  Preferably, this would be done through the United Nations, the World Court and pressure from the World Monetary Fund (in Afghanistan and Pakistan).  President Bush’s rhetoric should have made justice the guiding principle.  We would have kept the sympathies of the world and made justice the value that everyone, no matter what their political persuasion, sympathetic to the universality of justice.  Vengeance and hatred on the other hand are regionally specific.  Those that hate and want vengeance are driven by their own internal necessity not by any universal appeal, by an ideal that everyone could think is worthwhile.  As I have also mentioned in another paper, barring the earnest attempt to get justice in a region of the world where justice is highly lacking, the alternative would be US Special Forces, the CIA, mercenaries, and covert bribes and pressure.  Don’t think it can’t be done; we had a whole cold war based in Afghanistan against the Russians using these techniques many years ago.  However, the political rhetoric should always be concentrated on universal values not regional and circumstantial emotions.

When our hatred drives our rhetoric the rhetoric can take on a life of its own in popular culture.  The switch from admirable, universal ideals to self-aggrandizing, raw and base instincts that become yet another mindless iteration of the past; it becomes its own necessity.  The necessity driven by hatred always ends badly.  The necessity driven by high ideals, historically always ends well.  Examples of the latter include the founding fathers, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, etc.  Unfortunately, the earlier is typically the blunder of humankind.

Since rhetoric based in base instinct got us into Afghanistan, I think President Obama had no other choice but to use rhetoric to get us out of Afghanistan.  It has been done before (Vietnam comes to mind) – we declare victory for x, y, z reasons and get the hell out.  We pursue the cause of bringing Al-Qaida to justice using the previously discussed strategies.  As it is, now we are looking at an endless war that has the tendency to expand as these situations typically do.

Another example of rhetoric gone badly is the recent militant rhetoric used by the Republican Party against the Democrats.  The Republican leaders play on the strong emotions of hatred and violence with inflammatory rhetoric and “wash their hands” of it when their words start taking a life of its own in popular behavior.  If you want to understand how Hitler was able to do what he did you can see the beginnings of it in these kinds of rhetorical ploys. 

While personally, I have never opposed capital punishment in cases where there is “no shadow of doubt” about the defendant’s guilt, I have opposed it based on the rhetorical dynamic described above.  When the necessity of rhetoric is allowed to run rampant Texas style executions become more and more “normal” and statistics about wrongful deaths and ethnic inequalities of the death penalty become more and more prevalent.

President Obama should have held to his higher ideals and not adopted the rhetorical necessity handed to him by the Bush administration. 

On a more philosophical level, the dynamic of rhetorical necessity tells us something about human’s unique way of being-in-the-world.  Our narratives of history become our cannon.  The ill-conceived actions that typically follow continue to create generations of veterans and Republican voters that sanctify our motivations and our histories.  The perceived alternative would be to exist in meaninglessness.  God, the self-evident and the a priori surround us as witnesses to our ultimate worthiness and meaning.  In the margins of our hubris plays the alter-ego, the lie of truth and the future seeds of our own undoing.

All War is Evil

In this case, evil is not meant in the sense of religious evil or theistic evil but in a humanitarian sense.   Religion and God(s) have always found a way to justify war.  War is evil because it is not a zero sum game.  Only those that have emotional distance from war can treat it like a zero sum game.  Distance allows folks to fashion a marketing campaign to justify war.  Death affords no distance.  The life of the innocent child killed in war is never brought back to life.  The family lives in the hollow catacombs of their child’s death until they die.  The tragedy can’t be made right; it is absolutely irrecoverable and irrevocable.  Women, children, the old, friendly fire, collateral damage is not a number that is offset by the `would have’ number, the number that `would have’ died without the war.  There is no erasure of tragedy for those that have lost loved ones.  There is only the empty void where a life used to be.  There is no just war; only a necessary war.  The marketing of a just war is a huge rationalization for evil.  Only those devoid of the emotional impact of war can deem it glorious.  The tragic loss of a loved one to war is organic.  No amount of words can overcome the inert downward pull of that pit.  Only ignorance and emotive indifference can once again renew the call to fight the glorious battle.  Was Iraq and Afghanistan necessary?  Was our country going to be over-thrown by these thugs?  No.  Did we suffer tragic loss in 911?  Yes.  Will our killing rampages in the world change our tragic loss?  No.  We tell ourselves by cleverly crafted tomes that we will prevent more loss of life by our action and thus, justify our wars.  By killing others we create a `greater good’.  What is that `greater good’ in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan?  We have created many more enemies all over the world and given Al Qaeda a recruitment bonanza.  Even our old friends have more ambivalent or even negative relations with us now.  We killed more of our young people now than were killed in 911.  We killed hundreds of thousands of non-enemy combatants (babies and kids to start with).  All the discussion of a `just war’ does not offset or equalize the tragic loss of one child.  It only provides an easy escape for those that would perpetuate this tragic loss.  If you perpetuate war you are as guilty as if you pulled the trigger on the baby.  You can tell yourself otherwise but your justice rings hollow.  In the ears of tragedy, your defiance to allow the full weight of your rationalization to indict your personal responsibility is absolutely detestable.  Your good has become evil, a humanitarian evil.  You have become part of the problem not the solution and the more you deny and justify, the more you create the problem once again.  War is a black tar baby that every generation has resolved to leave behind only to re-entangle us again.  We create a new generation of patriots and a new generation of patriot haters.  Go ahead, hold your ears and scream of my evil intentions but evil begets evil and graves only cry for more graves.  Until you live with the gravity of your ideas on a daily basis you have yet to live in the reality of tragedy.  Don’t tell those of us who live that on a daily basis that justice has anything to do with erasing our loss.  Don’t tell us your virtuous intentions give us emotional buoyancy or offset our organic reality.  You only soil yourself in our view.  Go ahead gather your warmonger friends and have your death parties all over the world but no one can silence the hellish voice that you perpetually resurrect in your violent zeal.  Peace does not come from war, only death and tragedy.  Perhaps evil is necessary in extreme times but no one should take any pride or glory in evil unless one is evil.