The Good War Goes Hot

Defense Secretary Gates said last night that the United States was considering sending yet more troops to Afghanistan later this year. Around 68,000 US troops are there now, over twenty-thousand of those are part of the Obama surge. A further forty-thousand troops contribute to the imperialist occupation in a NATO capacity. Casualties are skyrocketing as the Marines are deployed to back up the Brits in Helmand and the insurgency spreads north and east. July is just half through and already casualties have already surpassed any previous month’s totals since the occupation began in 2001.

And yet it is nearly absent from the news. Very few reporters from the networks are even in the region and coverage is minimal. Michael Jackson has dominated the news for the past weeks and the mass media, with all of their resources, play only one note at a time. Anyway, Obama gets a pass on this as, with the exception of the anti-imperialist left, what remains of the anti-war movement built up around the Iraq war can’t seem to find its way to challenge Obama on Afghanistan. With the war so far from the public consciousness, even as the bodies pile up, developing an anti-war movement would be difficult even without the equivocations of the “progressives”.

A brutal war at America’s behest across the border in Pakistan has killed thousands and displaced millions. The cross-border drone war has also escalated with the Obama administration. Piloted from air conditioned rooms in New Mexico with all of the bravery of being out of range one wonders what kind of medal a “pilot” would get for dropping death on Waziristan. A joy-stick and a lightening bolt?

Joe Biden and Howard Dean talk women’s rights as reason for the war. Joe has always fancied himself a real protector of women. It is, after all, the way a real man acts. If I were the Saudi royal family, which rules over a a system of gender apartheid, I’d be scared at this turn of events. Will they soon be in the cross-hairs of those feminist armies of liberation now hunkered down on those vast bases in Iraq? I wait with bated breath.

Obama’s yardstick for “victory” in Afghanistan is as amorphous, if more modest, as Bush’s was for Iraq. He offers no time line and no exit. The war escalates and continues indefinitely. Billions are spent on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars serve as the excuse to further expand the standing army as the military-industrial complex remains the last solvent industry in the land.

Confirmation, if any was needed, that the “change candidate” was elected to the Presidency of The Empire. Imperialism is the job description. And Obama seems to relish his job as a grin hasn’t left his face since he took the oath. We’ve all seen that grin since Obama’s visage is everywhere as he saturates the media with his presence. He even muscled into the broadcast booth of the All-Star game forcing me to temporarily switch to the Create! channel and macrame. Afghanistan has, however, wiped off the smug smiles of a number of others who have attempted to occupy the place.

The wars begun under the Bush administration are set to continue. The Democrats idea of change has been to give more of it and recently passed an enormous funding bill. The war in Iraq is not over even if the foreign press bureaus are closing up shop. Pakistan and Afghanistan have seen a marked escalation. The consequences of the escalations are uncertain. One thing, however, is certain and that is the Democrats and Obama have now taken full responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. And we cannot let them escape that responsibility.

MATT SIEGFRIED can be reached at: