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It’s Time to be Impolite About Afghanistan

In Germany, Chancellor Merkel defends a murderous attack on civilians siphoning fuel from two stuck oil tankers, telling her countrymen that the war in Afghanistan is not really a war at all.  In Washington, Bush administration holdover Robert Gates (whose role in carrying on the mission of the Empire is clearer by the day) tells the press that Washington will not “abandon” Afghanistan or Pakistan.  In the White House, the current set of deciders discusses how many more troops to send into the mountains and plains of Afghanistan to fight an enemy in Chancellor Merkel’s non-war while they add private mercenaries working for the dollar in their other zone of occupation, Iraq.  The occupying soldiers have suffered more casualties in the Afghan non-war this past year than ever before.  Yet, the big fool says to push on.

The phrase from Tacitus comes to mind with only a slight modification.  “They make desolation,” he wrote. “and call it peace.”  In Afghanistan, they make desolation and call it freedom.  Enduring freedom.  This is the lesson the Afghans must learn.  When you are the occupied, the native, the wog, you are subject to the occupier’s definitions.  He will kill your wives and children and call it pacification.  He will choose your leaders, tell you to vote and call it democracy.  He will kick in the doors to your home, arrest you and your sons, and call you insurgents.  Of course, it is this very practice which turns many of your men into said insurgents.

If the leaders he chooses for you oppose the more murderous of the occupier’s actions, that leader will be subverted.  Some, like Mr. Diem in Vietnam and Patrick Lumumba in the Congo, will be murdered outright.  Others, like those that came before al-Maliki in Iraq, will merely disappear from the scene, often with a newly expanded bank account.  Mr. Karzai of Afghanistan may or may not make it through the show election he is currently fixing.  If he does, Washington will install a newly-created executive in Kabul whose role will be to undermine any attempts by Mr. Karzai to actually rule in the interests of his nation as he sees it instead of how Washington prefers.  If he doesn’t win, he will retire somewhere where deposed friends of Washington go.

The citizenry on the US homefront are quiet.  Allowing themselves to be fooled by the myth of a new day, the old order continues.  Now they wait for the new strategy to unfold.  A strategy that is no newer than the last war to be sure and probably as old as the first, but the citizens’ historical memory is intentionally short.  If the civilized nations of the world can finally pacify the restless occupied, then the world can truly move to the next new frontier.  A new frontier with energy capturing and transporting facilities located wherever the corporate executives of the frontier believe them to be useful and defensible by the cavalry.   If the citizenry at home continue to receive the fuel necessary for their lifestyle, those dead and maimed children have even less meaning in their lives.  It is, after all, the price they pay so we can (in the words of an earlier president), “recreate however we want.”

Recreating has become a challenge for may citizens who wonder where their money went while they cheer the wars that provide the answer.  One trillion plus for the wars and occupations and children live in shelters in the land of plenty.  Still, the believers in their vote for change refuse to see the change for what it is.  Nothing changed here, only the family in the Great White House.  While the right wing leads its unthinking nincompoops towards fascism, the rest of the mainstream political populace refuses to examine the cause of their problems–modern day capitalism–and continues to bet their lives on it despite the ever-diminishing returns.

We’ve been told there is no alternative for so long that those who suggest that there might be are excluded from the conversation.  Their opinion is not only unimportant, it is a non-opinion because it doesn’t fit into the box designed by capital.  So, like those who are dying in the non-wars of capital, those who oppose them are non-existent.  Is there a solution to this enforced irrelevance?  Yes, but it doesn’t lie in being polite.  Indeed, it doesn’t exist within the rules of the game.  Are those of us who oppose capital and its wars willing to take the risk required to turn the aforementioned box upside down and thereby empty the world of capital’s illusions?  Or will we settle for standing outside it and wishing it away?

 

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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.

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