We can win in Afghanistan! Let no one convince you otherwise. We have the men; we have the money; we have the bullets and the bombs and the body bags. Our top military men and policy analysts talk of "The Long War', which centrists and middlebrow thinkers and pack-joiners and general-purpose followers of several stripes like to call "The Global War On Terror" and liberals of one kind and another denounce as "a quagmire." I see no reason to consider this a difficult or dangerous or protracted problem. We do it right and we can schedule the victory parade for the first nice Saturday in May.
And how do I define victory, my liberal co-worker sneers? Simply and directly I reply: we own the place. Nobody left whole and conscious has the ability to hinder, harass, trouble or discomfit any white executive or entrepreneur who chooses to show himself in the open air, unfurl a Stars ‘n' Bars bigger than they fly above the car dealerships in his suburb, piss on the pavement at high noon on their holiest heathen holiday, and proclaim the United States of America a great gift from God Almighty to the brown and backward beings who clutter up this globe.
Now, as we have conducted the campaign for most of the Junior Bush cartoon presidency, and for so far all of the Change We Can Believe In Obama administration, it does indeed look like we're in it to maximize expense and waste and alienation and to minimize any possible, theoretical resolution. Our president consults and he dithers. Rumors leak out, are reported, considered, forgotten: he will commit the full measure of manpower his current favorite general requests; he will send fewer; he will offer more. Mr. Obama assures us of only this: it is a difficult decision, a solemn burden, he hates war as much as the rest of us, and the one decision he has ruled out is getting out. So, in the fullness of time we may expect the injection of some more meat (i.e., young men and women) into the Bush-Obama-Congressional War On Something-Or-Other. Inspiring, ain't it?
Where is General Curtis LeMay when we need him? Oh, yes, dead. And a good thing, too. Crazy bastard. But consider these simple, honest, understandable quotations about a war some of us remember from a few years back: "My solution to the problem would be to tell the North Vietnamese Communists frankly that they've got to drawn in their horns and stop their aggression or we're going to bomb them into the stone age." Not clear enough? Try this: "If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." Precisely.
And so it is that if we wish to produce an Afghanistan in which no one has any interest in driving us off their land, we need to render every fighter, every current and potential opponent and his wives, his children, his parents and cousins, his heirs and assigns forever, dead, comatose or in the employ of the CIA at a nice desk job Stateside. Because you leave any of ‘em breathing, with their innards inside and their crania uncracked, and they'll dislike and resent and eventually come to hate us (hard to imagine, I know, my friends, but it is so), and we'll be managing a surly population of desperate and bereaved survivors until the goats come home.
The drone program won't do it. It's very effective at blowing up wedding parties and playgrounds, and I'm sure it's fun for the kids jiggling the joysticks and pushing the bombs-away buttons, but the natives mind it enough to redouble their homemade bomb production whenever one of our Hellfire missiles incinerates their innocents (which is often). And it can't kill enough fast enough to do the job.
More troops will mean more firefights and more dead heroes. We call them heroes after we waste them, after we've extinguished them, picked up or scraped up what we can retrieve, stabilized the pulp and shards against immediate putrefaction, and boxed them bound for Dover where, upon viewing their procession across the tarmac one night, President Obama pronounced that particular habeas corpus "a sobering reminder." Indeed. And will it be thirty thousand more, Mr. President, or forty, or fifty-five?
There's no denying this has been good for the military-industrial complex (see Eisenhower, Dwight, 1961). It has not been good for Afghanistan, the United States, or world peace (see Nobel Committee, 2009). It has destabilized Pakistan, a nation always looking for an excuse to get crazy and nookyoolur. It didn't do the Bush presidency any good over the long haul, however greatly the adventure was greeted by a derelict Congress and an agitated public when inaugurated. So should we get out? The President says no.
No, we've gone too far for too long to say what we all can see-it's pointless. Why, were we to leave now, we would dishonor the lives of those brave boys and girls who gave their all, made the ultimate sacrifice, shed their blood for freedom (sorry, Freedom!), for The American Way, for drug dealer Hamid Karzai and his CIA-employed brother.
So, if staying just gets us more corpses, more sobering reminders, more loss of blood and bullion, but we can't leave because we need to keep killing and dying or the dying we've done will be pointless, what's a great nation to do? Bomb them, don't you see? Burn them! Crater the whole stinkin' sand and sediment pile and extract any minerals we can see and lay such pipelines as the gas men and the bankers desire and come home with honor.
This program would of course raise some moral and ethical issues, but as we have not troubled ourselves as a nation for many years in considering the implications of our actions, and because our fresh young community organizer has adopted most of the unethical and immoral policies of his spoiled rich kid predecessor and enlarged, accelerated and intensified several of them, we may agree to choose to not convene any commissions or explore our consciences for a taste of the bitter fruits of that tree of knowledge.
Of course, after you finish your third or fourth tour "in theater", you may be a bit disturbed at what you have seen and what you have done, and you might want to check things out with the base psychiatrist, but be prepared to wait your turn, soldier, because you don't think you're the only G.I. who trembles and sweats and pukes when he thinks about this business do you? Christ, even the damned shrinks are losing it now! At least that seems the likely cause of the recent Fort Hood massacre to most of us, but ever-vigilant, deeply paranoid, and crazy to a degree the good voters of Connecticut should have considered more carefully, Senator (putative Democrat) Joe Lieberman is pretty sure the guy's a terrorist (they're everywhere, you know), and he's launching an investigation to prove it as soon as he's done fulminating against the very idea of a fair and decent health care system.
Was the doctor who went amock a terrorist as Joe the Joke says? Another crazed Muslim bent on destroying the good, the decent, the Godly? Evidence suggests he was looking down the barrel of his own impending deployment to the battlefields that have regularly provided his battered patients with their horrifying tales of gore and grim ruin and as the blood deepened on his office floor and soaked into his socks he just freaked out, snapped, went postal, and took up his gun (plenty o' them lying around the base after all) and squeezed off a few to make the devils stop whispering their terrible truths inside his head. Oh, yes, and it seems he was maybe kind of a crappy doctor, but there's a lot of that going around too, and as common or more so among Christians as Mohammedans.
But President Obama flew to Texas and spoke of God and afterlife and service and sacrifice and said we are all more safe and free somehow because these brave dead stood ready to discharge their lives untimely in a mountain pass or on a drafty plain or standing in a line under the Texas sun with a handful of forms, waiting for Eternity to require their souls. Everybody says our president is wonderfully smart. Can he see, does he sense, will he discover the connections, the links, the trail, the clear and obvious route by which his decision to send young men and women into a pointless and counterproductive war will return to us more broken minds, more ruined souls, more reasons for suicide and homicide and mass murder? "No loving god" condones such senseless slaughter he said at that funeral. Does he ask his god before he picks the number of thousands he will condemn in a few days or weeks, after he has internalized and absorbed the fantasies of General McChrystal?
Better just to eliminate the entire nation (not really much of a nation, at that) of Afghanistan, I say. And too bad for the innocent, but War is Hell, somebody told me back in college or I heard in a movie once. And a photo-opportunity in Texas is far more elevating of our American spirits than pictures of yet another splattered peasant family or legless child or some Muslim mother's son who regretably had to die over there so that we wouldn't have to fight him over here.
So let's go for the goal in one great and satisfying fireworks display that will make old Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over in Iran (another of several irksome nations in the neighborhood) pee himself and swear off nukes for good when he sees the orange fire lighting up the horizon for three or four nights running.
I hate to see our wonderful smart new president, so unlike our terrible worn-out stupid old president, most agree, worrying about how many more men and how many more years to commit to a program he used to know and say was a bad idea (back before he changed, I guess). Blow everything to Hell, proclaim the problem solved, the territory free of Taliban tendencies, and let's get back to the business of easing the burdens of Wall Street.
Or, dare any of the legions who protested loudly, publicly and often when Bush was C.I.C. many dead and untold billions of dollars ago, say we will not win anything worth having no matter the numbers, no matter the plans? Because, the twelve hundred words preceding taken for what they are worth, I tell you I am convinced that an idiot is an idiot and a warmonger a warmonger whether he is white or black, Republican or Democrat, embarrassing or inspiring in his demeanor and utterance.
My own dear, sweet, wonderful boy will become five next month. Which party will give us the president who will want him to die for Exxon or General Dynamics or the fevered fantasies of the likes of Joseph Lieberman, Richard Cheney, Stanley McChrystal, Curtis LeMay or the increasingly corrupted, complicit and bloody-handed hope of a public too-readily suckered, Barack Obama?
It is long past time to cut out the crap, quit lying to ourselves, stop believing we are better or safer or stronger by burning our money, squandering what shreds remain of our reputation and killing anybody's kids, ours or theirs. Don't salute the damned boxes, Mr. President, crack the lids and look at what you've done.
Mr. Cooper is convinced his country has lost its bearings and his countrymen don't care. This is not a happy picture, but he paints it as he sees it. He will perhaps respond to some messages, but it will be a waste of time to argue with him.