As the leading purveyor of violence and terror, the U.S. inevitably becomes its own opponent, writes William J. Astore.
By William J. Astore
The phrase “thinking about the unthinkable” has always been associated with the unthinkable cataclysm of a nuclear war, and rightly so. Lately, though, I’ve been pondering another kind of unthinkable scenario, nearly as nightmarish (at least for a democracy) as a thermonuclear Armageddon, but one that’s been rolling out in far slower motion: that America’s war on terror never ends because it’s far more convenient for America’s leaders to keep it going —until, that is, it tears apart anything we ever imagined as democracy.
I fear that it either can’t or won’t end because, as Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out in 1967 during the Vietnam War, the United States remains the world’s greatest purveyor of violence —and nothing in this century, the one he didn’t live to see, has faintly proved him wrong. Considered another way, Washington should be classified as the planet’s most committed arsonist, regularly setting or fanning the flames of fires globally from Libya to Iraq, Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria to — dare I say it — in some quite imaginable future Iran, even as our leaders invariably boast of having the world’s greatest firefighters (also known as the U.S. military).
Scenarios of perpetual war haunt my thoughts. For a healthy democracy, there should be few things more unthinkable than never-ending conflict, that steady drip-drip of death and destruction that drives militarism, reinforces authoritarianism, and facilitates disaster capitalism. In 1795, James Madison warned Americans that war of that sort would presage the slow death of freedom and representative government. His prediction seems all too relevant in a world in which, year after year, this country continues to engage in needless wars that have nothing to do with national defense.
You Wage War Long, You Wage It Wrong
To cite one example of needless war from the last century, consider America’s horrendous years of fighting in Vietnam and a critical lesson drawn firsthand from that conflict by reporter Jonathan Schell. “In Vietnam,” he noted, “I learned about the capacity of the human mind to build a model of experience that screens out even very dramatic and obvious realities.” As a young journalist covering the war, Schell saw that the U.S. was losing, even as its military was destroying startlingly large areas of South Vietnam in the name of saving it from communism. Yet America’s leaders, the “best and brightest” of the era, almost to a man refused to see that all of what passed for realism in their world, when it came to that war, was nothing short of a first-class lie.
Why? Because believing is seeing and they desperately wanted to believe that they were the good guys, as well as the most powerful guys on the planet. America was winning, it practically went without saying, because it had to be. They were infected by their own version of an all-American victory culture, blinded by a sense of this country’s obvious destiny: to be the most exceptional and exceptionally triumphant nation on this planet.
As it happened, it was far more difficult for grunts on the ground to deny the reality of what was happening —that they were fighting and dying in a senseless war. As a result, especially after the shock of the enemy’s Tet Offensive early in 1968, escalating protests within the military (and among veterans at home) together with massive antiwar demonstrations finally helped put the brakes on that war. Not before, however, more than 58,000 American troops died, along with millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians.
In the end, the war in Indochina was arguably too costly, messy, and futile to continue. But never underestimate the military-industrial complex, especially when it comes to editing or denying reality, while being eternally over-funded for that very reality. It’s a trait the complex has shared with politicians of both parties. Don’t forget, for instance, the way President Ronald Reagan reedited that disastrous conflict into a “noble cause” in the 1980s. And give him credit! That was no small thing to sell to an American public that had already lived through such a war. By the way, tell me something about that Reaganesque moment doesn’t sound vaguely familiar almost four decades later when our very own “wartime president” long ago declared victory in the “war” on Covid-19, even as the death toll from that virus approaches 150,000 in the homeland.
In the meantime, the military-industrial complex has mastered the long con of the no-win forever war in a genuinely impressive fashion. Consider the war in Afghanistan. In 2021 it will enter its third decade without an end in sight. Even when President Donald Trump makes noises about withdrawing troops from that country, Congress approves an amendment to another massive, record-setting military budget with broad bipartisan support that effectively obstructs any efforts to do so (while the Pentagon continues to bargain Trump down on the subject).
The Vietnam War, which was destroying the U.S. military, finally ended in an ignominious withdrawal. Almost two decades later, after the 2001 invasion, the war in Afghanistan can now be — the dream of the Vietnam era — fought in a “limited” fashion, at least from the point of view of Congress, the Pentagon, and most Americans (who ignore it), even if not the Afghans. The number of American troops being killed is, at this point, acceptably low, almost imperceptible in fact (even if not to Americans who have lost loved ones over there).
More and more, the U.S. military is relying on air power, unmanned drones, mercenaries, local militias, paramilitaries, and private contractors. Minimizing American casualties is an effective way of minimizing negative media coverage here; so, too, are efforts by the Trump administration to classify nearly everything related to that war while denying or downplaying“collateral damage” — that is, dead civilians — from it.
Their efforts boil down to a harsh truth: America just plain lies about its forever wars, so that it can keep on killing in lands far from home.
When we as Americans refuse to take in the destruction we cause, we come to passively accept the belief system of the ruling class that what’s still bizarrely called “defense” is a “must have” and that we collectively must spend significantly more than a trillion dollars a year on the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and a sprawling network of intelligence agencies, all justified as necessary defenders of America’s freedom. Rarely does the public put much thought into the dangers inherent in a sprawling “defense” network that increasingly invades and dominates our lives.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that low-cost wars, at least in terms of U.S. troops killed and wounded in action, can essentially be prolonged indefinitely, even when they never result in anything faintly like victory or fulfill any faintly useful American goal. The Afghan War remains the case in point. “Progress” is a concept that only ever fits the enemy — the Taliban continues to gain ground — yet, in these years, figures like retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus have continued to call for a “generational” commitment of troops and resources there, akin to U.S. support for South Korea.
Who says the Pentagon leadership learned nothing from Vietnam? They learned how to wage open-ended wars basically forever, which has proved useful indeed when it comes to justifying and sustaining epic military budgets and the political authority that goes with them. But here’s the thing: in a democracy, if you wage war long, you wage it wrong. Athens and the historian Thucydides learned this the hard way in the struggle against Sparta more than two millennia ago. Why do we insist on forgetting such an obvious lesson?
‘We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us’
World War II was arguably the last war Americans truly had to fight. My Uncle Freddie was in the Army and stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. The country then came together and won a global conflict (with lots of help) in 44 months, emerging as the planetary superpower to boot. Now, that superpower is very much on the wane, as Trump recognized in running successfully as a declinist candidate for president in 2016. (Make America Great Again!) And yet, though he ran against this country’s forever wars and is now president, we’re approaching the third decade of a war on terror that has yielded little, spread radical Islamist terror outfits across an expanse of the planet, and still seemingly has no end.
“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” Trump himself claimed only last year. Yet that’s exactly what this country has been doing, regardless of which party ruled the roost in Washington. And here’s where, to give him credit, Trump actually had a certain insight. America is no longer great precisely because of the endless wars we wage and all the largely hidden but associated costs that go with them, including the recently much publicized militarization of the police here at home. Yet, in promising to make America great again, President Trump has failed to end those wars, even as he’s fed the military-industrial complex with even greater piles of cash.
There’s a twisted logic to all this. As the leading purveyor of violence and terror, with its leaders committed to fighting Islamist terrorism across the planet until the phenomenon is vanquished, the U.S. inevitably becomes its own opponent, conducting a perpetual war on itself. Of course, in the process, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Somalis, and Yemenis, among other peoples on this embattled planet of ours, pay big time, but Americans pay, too. (Have you even noticed that high-speed railroad that’s unbuilt, that dam in increasing disrepair, those bridges that need fixing, while money continues to pour into the national security state?) As the cartoon possum Pogo once so classically said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Early in the Iraq War, General Petraeus asked a question that was relevant indeed: “Tell me how this [war] ends.” The answer, obvious to so many who had protested in the global streets over the invasion to come in 2003, was “not well.” Today, another answer should be obvious: never, if the Pentagon and America’s political and national security elite have anything to do with it. In thermodynamics class, I learned that a perpetual motion machine is impossible to create due to entropy. The Pentagon never took that in and has instead been hard at work proving that a perpetual military machine is possible… until, that is, the empire it feeds off of collapses and takes us with it.
America’s Military Complex as a Cytokine Storm
In the era of Covid-19, as cases and deaths from the pandemic continue to soar in America, it’s astonishing that military spending is also soaring to record levels despite a medical emergency and a major recession.
The reality is that, in the summer of 2020, America faces two deadly viruses. The first is Covid-19. With hard work and some luck, scientists may be able to mass-produce an effective vaccine for it, perhaps by as early as next spring. In the meantime, scientists do have a sense of how to control it, contain it, even neutralize it, as countries from South Korea and New Zealand to Denmark have shown, even if some Americans, encouraged by our president, insist on throwing all caution to the winds in the name of living free. The second virus, however, could prove even more difficult to control, contain, and neutralize: forever war, a pandemic that U.S. military forces, with their global strike missions, continue to spread across the globe.
Sadly, it’s a reasonable bet that in the long run, even with Trump as president, America has a better chance of defeating Covid-19 than the virus of forever war. At least, the first is generally seen as a serious threat (even if not by a president blind to anything but his chances for reelection); the second is, however, still largely seen as evidence of our strength and exceptionalism. Indeed, Americans tend to imagine “our” military not as a dangerous virus but as a set of benevolent antibodies, defending us from global evildoers.
When it comes to America’s many wars, perhaps there’s something to be learned from the way certain people’s immune systems respond to Covid-19. In some cases, the virus sparks an exaggerated immune response that drives the body into a severe inflammatory state known as a cytokine storm. That “storm” can lead to multiple organ failure followed by death, yet it occurs in the cause of defending the body from a viral attack.
In a similar fashion, America’s exaggerated response to 19 hijackers on 9/11 and then to perceived threats around the globe, especially the nebulous threat of terror, has led to an analogous (if little noticed) cytokine storm in the American system. Military (and militarized police) antibodies have been sapping our resources, inflaming our body politic, and slowly strangling the vital organs of democracy. Left unchecked, this “storm” of inflammatory militarism will be the death of democracy in America.
To put this country right, what’s needed is not only an effective vaccine for Covid-19 but a way to control the “antibodies” produced by America’s forever wars abroad and, as the years have gone by, at home — and the ways they’ve attacked and inflamed the collective U.S. political, social, and economic body. Only when we find ways to vaccinate ourselves against the destructive violence of those wars, whether on foreign streets or our own, can we begin to heal as a democratic society.
To survive, the human body needs a healthy immune system, so when it goes haywire, becomes wildly inflamed, and ends up attacking and degrading our vital organs, we’re in trouble deep. It’s a reasonable guess that, in analogous terms, American democracy is already on a ventilator and beginning to feel the effects of multiple organ failure.
Unlike a human patient, doctors can’t put our democracy into a medically induced coma. But collectively we should be working to suppress our overactive immune system before it kills us. In other words, it’s truly time to defund that military machine of ours, as well as the militarized version of the police, and rethink how actual threats can be neutralized without turning every response into an endless war.
So many years later, it’s time to think the unthinkable. For the U.S. government that means — gasp! — peace. Such a peace would start with imperial retrenchment (bring our troops home!), much reduced military (and police) budgets, and complete withdrawal from Afghanistan and any other place associated with that “generational” war on terror. The alternative is a cytokine storm that will, in the end, tear us apart from within.
A retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, William J. Astore is a TomDispatch regular. His personal blog is “Bracing Views.”
This article is from TomDispatch.com.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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If the international community concludes that it’s too great a danger to allow the US to continue to exist, then the US will be ended.
A really good article. But empire will not destroy democracy in America because democracy has never existed here. Granted the US has been more democratic than it is now. But if it was a democracy none of the terrible things the author details would have happened.
The ancient democracy spent too much on war and warships. In a contemporary democracy women will have the vote. Will they vote for war and gold-plated weapons or for better school lunches and smaller class size?
In a democratic republic the voters would be presented with a veto ballot along with the candidate ballot. Voters could veto 3 budget line items and 1category. Yes an entire category. One of the line items that would be vetoed every time it was in the budget is tax cuts for the rich. Imagine the ‘discussions’ on talk shows and online about which 3 line items were most deserving of a veto.
A veto ballot does not a democracy make, but it would be immensely satisfying to veto an over-budget fighter bomber or corporate welfare on the road to the ultimate goal.
P-l-u-t-o-c-r-a-c-y – Plutocracy. You live in a plutocracy.
Incredible that’s all I can say
Voting out Trump will only bring in Biden (or at least those who pull his strings) – and voting in Trump will be just the same. The Democratic and Republican parties are both part of the problem, as is Washington and all that feasts off its rotten carcass.
Part of the answer would be to break up the USA – vote for Californian or Texan or other states independence, start new truly democratic parties, it’s going to come anyway, when the dollar takes a nose-dive, the states grind to a halt from disintegrating infrastructure and lack of internal investment, and the multi-trillion dollar deficit bites.
Get onto it, guys!
It would not be the first time that I call the US “the biggest shit disturber there is”…Just wait until it starts hitting the fan.
Our system clearly provides protection of profiteering over the public interest in everything from medicine to war. Countries that understand that profit is not the only motivator in life are at the same time resisting our trillion dollar war machine and doing better than we are with COVID-19. America, f’n A!
Save our democracy, save our environment, save ourselves, defund the military and bring our boys home.
The militarization of our society, or schools and police forces threatens our democracy. The military is the biggest user of fossil fuels. Use the money to convert to less polluting energy.
Wars cause the formation of Nazi like personalities in our young. We don’t like Nazi symbols but wars cause Nazi like feelings in our hearts. Causing the death of another human being kills us inside. We fund our military. We cause the death of others. Militarism is immoral.
As long as the only action is stating the obvious we will see no change. This history we talk of here speaks for itself and always has, we had better start to listen very soon.
FDR provoked the Japanese into launching a preemptive strike against the invasion fleet he had moved from its home bases in California to Hawaii, two thousand miles closer to the Japanese home islands. This came eight months after FDR responded to Japan’s final peace overture by embargoing its vital oil supply, after already declaring a de facto war on Japan with ruinous trade sanctions and freezing all Japanese assets in the US.
In school, we were taught that our Admiral Perry blandly “opened” Japan to US trade in 1853. In fact he was authorized by President Pierce to threaten Japan with war, unless the government agreed to sign a trade treaty with US business interests on terms that were most unfavorable to Japan. Without adequate defense, Japan capitulated. After an abortive attempt in 1863 to free their country from foreign “investors,” a strong new Japanese government replaced the Shogunate in 1868 and embarked on a massive defense program, soon acquiring a fleet of modern ironclad warships.
By 1905 Japan was the unrivaled naval power in the eastern Pacific. She became a close ally of Great Britain, convoying troop transports from Australia in the Great War. In 1924, the United States government, seeking to turn the Pacific into “an American lake,” forced England to repudiate her ties to Japan. This insult weakened the liberal government and helped give rise to the militarist regime of World War II.
The myth of “the good war” ignores the reality that it was the rationale for creating the military-industrial complex and the propaganda machine that did in our republic, just as the Founders warned would be the result of overseas adventurism.
It is amazing how a new trend developed among the retired military people in high command. All of them, all of sudden become “Monday morning quarterbacks” Once retired they come and tell us what “should have been done”, “what was wrong”, “how everything can be corrected” They write books, they become TV consultants, while enjoying a nice retirement with nice pension and good benefits. So I ask retire Lt. Colonel Astore: What did he do when he was active? He was there, seeing what is going on and never said a word. Everything that he describe in this material, was taking place under his watch. What was his attitude at that time, and what he initiated to correct the situation.? America does not need “Monday morning quarterbacks” It needs people with personality and guts to make decisions when events develop.
These things didn’t happen on his “watch.” He was a lieutenant colonel, not Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He’s making acute observations based on his experiences not just as a soldier, but as an historian. Lighten up.
Good comment. I’ve often wonder that myself.
GG – what is useful to remember is that former members of an organization (‘apostates’ if you wish) bring with them the credibility of experience, which — especially in the case of military matters — can add significant authority to their viewpoint. You, I, or hundreds of other commenters, journalists, activists, etc, can write excellent, incisive articles/books, or even these comments, about US militarism and we will be studiously ignored by the MSM or — when they bother at-all — patronizingly denigrated as ‘leftists’, ‘flower-power hippies’, ‘pointy-headed intellectuals’, or other epithets (including the currently popular ‘Russian-stooges’) who are all out of touch with reality. But a former, successful military person (officer no-less) can’t be dismissed that way by the MSM nor the general public, so they carry much more credibility in the political arena. As such, they can command a much stronger media presence in the efforts against militarism in the US.
I’m not saying that this situation is ideal, but IF people in this country were already making thoughtful, humanistic political decisions based on carefully examined evidence, we wouldn’t be anywhere close to even having to talk about these subjects — they’d be relegated to the status of monarchy or slavery … anachronisms that no enlightened person seriously considers.
Soon after the American military left Vietnam, a new spin arose. The war was won, but Democrats cut aid to South Vietnam causing it to collapse. That is false, the US left because it failed to create a colony in southern Vietnam. Watch this short summary.
“The American Retreat from Vietnam” hXXps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvMqbBIo5co
Well, yes, and – people have been talking about how things are likely to end – for decades. I( was first old enough to begin understanding this discussion back around 1970, with the war in Vietnam. That was… how many7 US wars ago?
READ IT AND WEEP IF IT HELPS!
I see nothing new here. I’ve heard all my life excuses from citizens not the least interested in being involved enough to even be knowledgeable about politics and government. An obvious lack of intellect seems to have been the cause, that a lots of help from CIA. So the shepperds abandoned their flock for greener pastures filled with lobbyists.
The national security state and the MIC folks took over after WWII and never looked back.
The MSM has stepped up to provide only massaged data that is essentially worthless content and just enough misinformation and bias to get one side to argue with the other over meaning less content!
It does not take a genius to realize the cost of the MIC and the justification for war is based in lies to help congress sell wars to us is untenable. One breaks the bank and the other breaks the government.
Folks still argue over being liberals or conservative when all of American is right of center, decidedly on the right of center. For the sake of dog look around a little.
Too much money to be made to rock the boat, like money is going to solve America’s white people problems. (No, I’m a 70 yr old white man who happens to be color blind) This ship is already aground, it cannot be stopped in time to prevent it. Even if people wake the hell up and I’m thinking we simple don’t have the time.
The question is how long will it take elected officials to get off their collective asses and work together to start work fixing this mess.
Aaron, of course it is and something must be done about it. Right!
With all due respect Colonel, this has never been rocket science, not even close. This is about the government of the United States being hijacked in 1963. About the time a sitting president realized fighting continuous wars was a losing proposition. And now if you want the truth all we need is to get the courts and CIA of their asses and give us the truth about what happened. Something that has become far to dog damned difficult for absolutely no good reason. Everyone put up with this B.S. far too long and now the CIA is infested with nut cases, radicalized professionals, who knows maybe even counter intel double agents and it seems this has spilled over into the Department of Justice judging from our current AG. But why am I telling you this you are the historian, so why not speak out viscerally?
We have the republicans who have done nothing but obfuscate, if they don’t get everything their way, while the dimos set by and whine softly in weak protest, because they are all making way too much money to really bitch about anything.
The republicans and the democrats own this situation they allowed it to happen by knuckling under to the super wealthy elitist, the SWETS who give them bags of $$$$$$. They got paid to own it figure it out.
Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler had it right, war is a racket and we knew it before November 22, 1963 and so yes it’s way past time for peace.
I say this again, the congress knows this but, again, they are making too much money. I’d say it’s pretty much a piss poor showing by far too many elected officials. Including this fake president.
FOR THE SAKE OF DOG IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFICULT TO FIGURE?
“LIFE IS TOUGH IT’S EVEN TOUGHER IF YOU’RE STUPID” , Sgt. John M. Striker, John Wayne’s character in the Sands of Iwo Jima.
Churchill said it best, ‘ Americans always get it right, after they have tried everything else. ”
Maybe it’s about time for peace now that we a flat broke!
Thanks to CN
Perhaps you should refer to the US military as the “world’s greatest firemen” (not “firefighters”), ala Fahrenheit 451.
To understand what enables all the absurdity noted, try identifying what made short shrift of Tulsi Gabbard’s run for the democrat nomination. She clearly was raising the wrong questions about war, and some one like Biden and Hillary were providing the narratives that enable what is happening to continue.
Yep – all about $$$$$$$ and that includes the revolving door post retirement boosts (Pentagonals and Congressionals). Oodles of boodle flowing into individual Congressional personas’ coffers. Perhaps – who knows? – some are even shareholders in the Industrial side of the military complex…Killing people and ecosystems is good for Wall Street, clearly, so the more and the longer maintained the merrier.
SICK? Psychotic? Doesn’t begin to describe this perspective….
And, Gabbard turned out to be a fraud, didn’t she? She’s a full-throated backer of Cracker Joe now.. Gabbard wasn’t against the “war on terror either, and constantly patronized her military “service” as well as her fellow soldiers.
I’m still voting for Tulsi Gabbard. If she’d run on the Green ticket, she might be on the ballot. But the Duopoly wouldn’t allow her to continue.
This is what’s appalling: The House of Representatives voted for the 740.5 billion dollar war budget:
Democrats: 187 Yea, 43 Nay.
Republicans: 108 Yea, 81 Nay.
Independent 1 Nay. [NV: Democrats: 2, Republicans: 9].
Who is the controlling Party for war?
The Democrats claim to be the peace party and say the Republicans are the war party. This vote says not so fast. The Democrats have the majority and instead of stopping the war criminals’ funding in the House, passed it on up to the Senate where the Democrats could have stopped it 51-49 instead passed again 86 to 14. Ask your Democrat representatives and senators who voted “Yea,” why?
We who read Consortium News know the answer, but the elected people should be forced to answer on the record and in public when they are out campaigning. Force them to admit how that money could have been used for the good of their constituents instead of illegally for the destruction of innocents abroad.
Why do we live a different public from private life?
The public – American Dream; American Exceptionalism;
The private – CIA Director approved in spite of overseeing torture; secretive paranoid cold warriors approved to run CIA. Coups/Wars
– The secretive State Dept and Intelligence agencies adopt policies that serve short term financial interests of MICIMATT
NOT the long term public interest.
Trump was elected in part because people are sick of endless regime change wars and reckless financial deregulation and unfair trade.
He made promises (which he lied about) because in spite of his glaring flaws he’s a clever manipulator of peoples’ feelings and he knows what people worry about.
Perhaps because we are given no choice. It really matters not at all which colored hat the candidates wear, they are both (only 2 that appear on ballots after all) indistinguishable aside from a little diversity lipstick. We do not have a real choice among really existing politically different candidates (and more than two). And then there’s the Electoral College stumbling block (quite deliberately intended to prevent the masses from electing anyone who might really, truly upset the ruling elite corporate-captialist-imperialist status quo apple cart). Democracy? Please.
I swear, yellow hair
Is watching full of hate,
Bites his lips viciously!
Either thinks or speaks
In whisper or loudly:
“Can ever, I too, be?”
Well, Donald, hear out:
“Keep burning, in and out
Since you are man of gun
As well as National Guard
Sent to use their batons
And shoot as does blind,
Attacking like wolves, dogs
With sharp fangs and claws,
You never will become
John Lewis or his kind…”
You may be buried in
One of lands that belong
To the poor but carries
Your dirty name on it.
Wish was there to observe
Your ugly jaw fallen
And collapse of your heart.
As one of the many
That dislike your way in
Seeing men and women
Of “Not us,” and colour
Will enjoy seeing you
Be food of vampires,
Coyotes and vultures.
Beg people and readers
Not ever make mistake
This is not personal…
Trump hurt all mankind!
Don’t quit your day job…
The war on terror is an Israeli construct, it’s a perpetual war, an impossible kind of war for our military to win in any conventional sense, whereby we could then pack up and go home, which is exactly the way the Zionists want it to be played out. The goal has been to Balkanize all of the countries that Israel feels threatened by and break them apart into ethnic statelets, and thereby hugely weakening their overall power. Not unlike what happened to the former Yugoslavia. Remember that after the war in Afghanistan started, a person in the Pentagon told Wesley Clark that we were going to war in 7 Middle East countries, and he said he asked the person “Why?” and they didn’t give him an answer other than that was the plan. Sure, there are always the war profiteers and all that, but the particular mission that our military is serving in that overall region is a Zionist plan. The American people have bought this for the most part because the Zionist mainstream media has successfully conflated the goals of the state of Israel with our own goals, and that we must equate any and all things Israeli with “The West”, and so whatever antipathy is directed at them, we are to construe that they are attacking America also. And not only have many thousands of American troops been killed, tens of thousands injured, the p.t.s.d. and suicides will go on, as Petraeus seems to imply, for generations. This is a like a terrible, persistent sickness. Will there be a modern day Alexander to cut this Gordian Knot? The financial, emotional, spiritual, moral toll of this forever war is indeed killing our democracy.
Yes (although I wouldn’t downplay the $$$ aspect as much). And I would add, expand rather, that it’s not so much the neighboring lands and peoples that “Israel” – i.e. Zionists – feel threatened by, as those are the lands, or some of the lands, to which they feel *entitled.* And they want NO Palestinians (refugees from their rightful homeland stolen violently from them) on whatever borders they declare as theirs, eventually.
Invading all seven countries on that list could have prevented the proxywars between iran and saudi arabia in the region. It might have allowed to rebuild the region in a democratic fashion. In case the US had succeded establishing a new stable equilibrium.
The only better plan I could think of was to stay out of the region in the first place.
Let me phrase it otherways. If the US had invaded all the seven countries on the list there might have been a chance of succesfully bringing freedom and democracy (through violence), but by invading Irak only every hope of creating a free and open society was destined to be destroyed in a multi faction civil/proxy war.
Due to the circumstances the US created the war in Irak cannot be won. This should have been obvious to every professional befor the war begun.
Zionists play their part, but it’s silly to blame them for everything without acknowledging that American and British oil companies and a host of other actors have the same goals and are using techniques that arose long long before there was an Israel. Despite their unruliness and manipulations, one has to consider the Zionists as just one of our European (and to an extent) arab partners /assets in global domination.
Actually there was nothing to kill!