Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is the U.S. doing the right thing fighting in Afghanistan? 69% Say NO

Qais Usyan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
It's not too surprising that the recent cascade of bad news from the graveyard of empires has resulted in even mainstream media reporting that the people are fed up with war in Afghanistan. Of course Afghan people have been fed up for a long time. But who in the Obama administration listens to them?
Source: RAWA
The 99% in the U.S. are another matter. They are the ones being taxed to buy the drones and pay the salaries of the soldiers pressed into service for their third or fourth tours. Now a whopping 69% of the 99% responded NO when asked "Is the U.S. doing the right thing fighting in Afghanistan?" by a CBS News/New York Times poll. Add in the 8% who responded that they weren't sure and you've got a mere 23% still in favor of continuing the longest war this country has ever paid for. Taxation without representation?

Rep. Barbara Lee and colleagues, including both Maine's reps Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, have sponsored a resolution calling to limit funding to the rapid, safe and responsible return of all U.S. troops and "Defense" Department contractors. What, just as constructing an even bigger, maximum security prison at Bagram Air Base was getting underway? I applaud the effort that HR 780 represents, but I'm betting those who profit from building the infrastructure of occupation have a lot more influence in Congress than 69% of my fellow citizens. (Let's call Congress anyway: 202-224-3121.)

The alleged lone gunman of Kandahar got a lot of press -- once they had whisked his wife and kids on base, shut down public access to her blog about life as a military spouse, and tried to erase Robert Bales from the Internet. That may have soured some hearts and minds here at home, along with the creeping suspicion that he wasn't acting alone, and that the government is lying to us about it.

It's also hard not to notice the increasingly frequent attacks on NATO soldiers by men wearing the uniforms of our supposed partner the Afghan army. Or maybe "Green on Blue" violence is just being reported more in the mainstream press these days?

The narrative of the lone gunman who has had enough and snaps and goes on a killing rampage was eloquently questioned by Chris Hedges in a recent AlterNet piece "Murder Is Not An Anomoly in War". It is an essay update to the thesis of his book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, as applied to both soldiers and the journalists who cover their stories. When does killing stop being seen as an anomoly, and start being seen as business as usual?

General John Allen, commander of both U.S. and NATO forces as quoted by CBS reporting on the results of their poll:
"I worry that the complications from these recent events can distract us from the larger strategic imperative of this campaign," Allen said.
Or maybe that should read the larger $trategic imperative.

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

There is a scene in "Saving Private Ryan", which Spielberg's history advises us to read as his finding the best he could say about the US war in Europe without, pun intended, white-washing US public virtue, where advanding US troops, escaping finally from the beaches' shooting galleries, shoot down German soldiers trying to surrender.
That war was generally, despite the "kraut" this and "kraut" that, a war of facts and their implications: a war against racism and genocide as proclaimed and executed by the enemy. The Pacific war was the opposite. A "Jap" was someone whose cities of paper and wood we bombed with floods of incendiary bombs in the belief that this was all these people understood.
Mylai massacres afterward, massacres in our suppression of the Philippine insurgency before, bring us to the Global War On Terror, the war against "Hajjis". A "Hajji" is not a Muslim who's gone to Mecca in the Haj, a "Hajji" is, as my African-American sergeant said to a Mainer captain, akin to a "nigger". The captain replied, "Oh, I don't call them that to their faces."
When you're at war with what you call a race, there is no law of warfare and no restrictions on the use of force. Israel has been at war with the "race" of those who occupy its claimed territory since long before it was "created" or found its "independence" in 1948. That is the war in which SSG Bales found his moment of historical significance. It'd be nice to hear what he thinks about the whole thing. I wonder if ex-Lt. Calley is still alive.