FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Haven’t We Had Enough?

by

I was finally sitting in my sister’s house outside Baltimore after a two hour flight turned into twelve because of weather. Drinking beer with one of my brothers the talk turned from sports and kids to Iraq. He had originally supported Bush’s war but was glad when most troops left. Already aware of my intense hatred of the war and the protests I had helped organize and attend against it, he didn’t have to guess what my thoughts were regarding the current situation and the impending US response. He surprised me, however, with the angry diatribe he unloaded while he opened a couple more brews. Not only was he pissed off at Obama for even considering bombing, he was even angrier at Bush, Rumsfeld and the rest of that crew for starting the damn thing in the first place. Like most of his fellow Americans, though, all this anger does is make him feel disenfranchised and without any agency.

The next night I was at a Willie Nelson concert in Columbia. Standing in line to buy beer and friggin’ Iraq came up again. The general consensus was the same as at my sister’s house. Willie was preceded by Allison Kraus and Union Station, who played a mean set of bluegrass that had the place jumping, more or less. Willie was with one of the tightest bands I have ever seen him with and his set included a few of his classics, some Hank Williams tunes, a Tom T. Hall tune, closing with “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light.” His perennial grin remained the entire show and waves of quality marijuana smoke wafted across the lawn where I was. No one really wanted to talk about Iraq, politicians, or any other such idiocy after that.

There are a few members of the next generation in my family who have recently joined the military. These young men know my feelings about the institution and its mission to defend the Empire, but their experience of life, the United States, and how to grow up has led them to politely ignore my opinions. Besides just the sheer pointlessness of Washington’s current military adventures and machinations, I don’t want to see these guys in combat. As anyone who has been there or knows someone who has, the experience rarely does much permanent good. Killing people is not something most folks want to do. The current suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan vets makes that clear. No amount of VA funding will change that. Neither will politically motivated congressional hearings regarding VA mismanagement. On that topic: What the hell did people expect? The VA has been cutting costs for decades since the 1970s while the Bush and Obama administrations have kept at least one war going for thirteen years. Sooner or later, a few thousand veterans were going to get screwed. The blame goes all around.

I don’t pretend to know what the hell is going on in Iraq, nor where ISIS came from. However, withdrawing those troops in 2010 is not the reason Iraq’s northern cities are being overrun by ISIS and angry armed Iraqi citizens. Those in the power elites trying to make that case refuse to accept that the US military does not bring peace or make things better. In fact, history tells us that the US military usually does the exact opposite. Killing only begets more killing and empowers those who kill the most efficiently and ruthlessly. Any war crimes committed by ISIS and its allies (no matter how gruesome) still pale beside the twenty-four year long war crime perpetrated by the United States against the Iraqi people. Throw in a couple hundred legislators, a few dozen war profiteers and a group of policymakers intent on making those war profiteers and the energy industry happy and we get endless war. There was always a US contingency to divide Iraq into regions based on religious beliefs and/or tribal allegiances, even if that was not the traditional manner in which Iraq was aligned. In fact, in 2007 Joe Biden pushed a plan through the Senate that that call(ed) for the division of Iraq into semi-autonomous regions that would be decided by the US client government inside Baghdad’s Green Zone. At the time, I wrote, “What’s most disturbing about this resolution is its hubris…. In a manner similar to the way Bill Clinton and company divided Yugoslavia at Dayton back in the 1990s, the Biden resolution is another effort at making a part of the world unwilling to bend to US control more controllable.” (Joe Biden’s Plan to Chop Up Iraq. Counterpunch, September 27, 2007).

While it is apparent that the Biden plan pretty much went nowhere, the current situation could end up doing something similar, only with a less certain outcome. Perhaps that is why Washington wants to be part of the bloodshed once again; it hopes to have a friendlier outcome than the last round of war provided. If it can kill enough ISIS militants, perhaps it believes it can fool the Iraqi insurgents into falling for its client regime in Baghdad one more time. No matter what, the apparent brutality of ISIS would easily be outdone with a couple days of bombing raids from some US base or carrier. It would also prove that the Pentagon and its civilian leaders have not learned a thing.

On the other hand, I hope the American people have.

Ron Jacobs is the author of the just released novel All the Sinners, Saints. He is also the author of  The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator’s Tale. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden.  His third novel All the Sinners Saints is a companion to the previous two and is due out in April 2013.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press.  He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail