Perpetual War in Afghanistan

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

The war in Afghanistan is about perpetual war, not Afghanistan.

It’s about preventing democracy in the United States, not bringing it to Southwest Asia.

And it is the tombstone of the Obama Presidency.

To justify the fight, they’ve rounded up the usual suspects: Terror. Oil. Minerals. Poppies. Democracy.

But George Orwell’s 1984—now updated with important new books— illuminates the bigger picture: “continuous warfare” is the key to social control.

It keeps the public frightened and dependent.

And it keeps “the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed.”

Better to destroy them in a ritual slaughter like Afghanistan, and wherever is next.

For a truly prosperous society, educated and secure, cannot be ruled by the few. Poverty, ignorance and fear are the three pillars of authoritarian control. Without war, they all disappear.

Thus Afghanistan. Before it: the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, central America. After: whoever else is handy.

Recent books by Howard Zinn and David Swanson have updated Orwell’s analysis.

Zinn’s THE BOMB, testifies to the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the utter senselessness of these “announced nuclear tests.” Once an Allied bombardier, Zinn revisited a French town he helped destroy. He found the act, of which he was once proud, had no military meaning whatsoever.

Though he passed away earlier this year, Howard’s PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES continues to shape our understanding of this nation’s true core. In narrating the hidden, bloody past of our compromised democracy, he warns at end that even for the US, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

Swanson’s new WAR IS A LIE adds to the litany. A tireless campaigner for peace and justice, Swanson was instrumental in tearing away the ridiculous Bush lie that the war in Iraq was about Weapons of Mass Destruction. WAR IS A LIE adds carefully documented, passionately argued reasons why the era of endless slaughter in SouthWest Asia is simply a tool of social control for the military-industrial elite.

Over the years, Norman Solomon’s superb books and film WAR MADE EASY have also provided a firm, steady opposition to this fatal addiction.

Nowhere has our military madness become more transparent than in the Obama Administration. The “shellacking” the Democrats took this fall stems directly from Obama’s painfully visible failure to bring hope or change to a nation at war since 1941.

For a few infuriating weeks, Obama danced around the decision to escalate in Afghanistan. Rarely has a single human being had a greater chance to change history.

Obama could have stood up to the generals. He could have de-escalated. He could have begun the process of drawing down the military budget, the only way to save our economy.

More than 50% of taxpayer money goes to weaponry. We have troops in more than 100 countries. We spend more on our military than all the rest of the world combined. Throughout history—Athens, Rome, Persia—empires have spent themselves to military oblivion. We have now been in Afghanistan longer than the USSR.

With a simple speech, Obama could have begun the Great Reversal. It was a crystal clear moment. The public support was there. It was what he was elected to do.

But like Lyndon Johnson’s catastrophic March 1965 decision to escalate the war in Vietnam, Obama went exactly the wrong way. He became the first man in history to accept the Nobel Peace Prize with a pro-war speech. With Bush’s Secretary of War by his side, he ceded to the military our nation’s most critical decision. He doomed our domestic economy and global ecology by burying us still deeper in the lethal quagmire of perpetual war.

All else is sad detail. When Obama caved on Afghanistan, so did his presidency.

As Orwell, Zinn, Swanson and Solomon make clear, perpetual war is the carefully engineered route to poverty, ignorance and dictatorship.
Afghanistan is merely the latest installment in this seamless, unseemly tragedy. Its ever-changing justifications are meaningless smokescreens, forever poised to cloud the inevitable transition to the next conflict. The names, places and rhetoric may change, but the impact will not.

Until we find a way to break through to a genuine state of peace—and we must, and soon—we have no future.

HARVEY WASSERMAN, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw@aol.com

 

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington