‘Wartime’ Paradox

December 23, 2014

tower_of_babelGround fog this way-early Tuesday here on California’s north coast — flashback yesterday afternoon and right now with the appearance of the thick mist low-to-the-road.
Usually a summer, spring thing.
The NWS is calling it ‘patchy fog’ this morning, a seeming truism, on smoke breaks on the back patio, a star or two can be occasionally seen — oddly correct.

Not odd — an item I’d spied last week on the widening expanse of war, and make no IED about it, we’re currently experiencing a horrifically-weird, resurgence of way-old, barbaric war, of every type, description and size. And the US more than aids the bloodshed.
From Bloomberg:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and counterterrorism operations have cost the U.S. a combined $1.6 trillion since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a new Congressional Research Service analysis.

And ‘potential total cost‘ — $4.4 trillion.

(Illustration: M.C.Escher’s ‘Tower of Babel,‘ found here).

A shitload of money — not accounting for the hundreds of thousands of people killed — the Iraqi invasion alone, enormous. Amy Hagopian, public health expert at the University of Washington in Seattle (via National Geographic): ‘“We think it is roughly around half a million people dead. And that is likely a low estimate,” says Hagopian. “People need to know the cost in human lives of the decision to go to war.”
She was lead researcher on a PLOS Medicine journal survey, where an international research team polled heads of households and siblings across Iraq.

In a piece on US war costs the last 13 years, Mother Jones concluded his morning:

In the spending bill that Congress approved earlier this month, lawmakers doled out $73.7 billion for war-related activities in 2015—$2.3 billion more than President Barack Obama had requested.
As Mother Jones‘ Dave Gilson reported last year, US military spending is on pace to taper far less dramatically in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than it did after the end of the Vietnam War or the Cold War.
Other reports have estimated the cost of US wars since 9/11 to be far higher than $1.6 trillion.
A report by Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University, estimated the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as well as post-2001 assistance to Pakistan—to be roughly $4.4 trillion.
The CRS estimate is lower because it does not include additional costs including the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt.

And the warmongering assholes — the last graph in a Stars and Stripes story last week on military suicides: ‘On Monday, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocked a military suicide prevention bill named after former Marine Clay Hunt, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who killed himself in 2011.’

The horror of all this treasure and blood: All was/is wasted. The US tortured people, but got nothing for it. The US invaded Iraq, make a horrible mess, and retreated — the ISIS just copied the legacy we left, then just racketed up the inhumanity a few rungs and now occupies a sizable chunk of two Mid-East countries.
Maybe we can call the increase in terror, a ‘feedback loop‘ off the war on terror?

And even has extended into the streets of America: ‘Even more chilling, the police union purportedly declared in a widely shared statement that the NYPD has “become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

Odd, too, and a bit of ironic-Americana, was this piece at Tomdispatch last week on a way-not-noticed US war event — the 25th anniversary of the invasion of Panama, the little, quick surgical strike to nab Manuel Noriega. And launched America’s warpath to right now.
Interesting, and caustic, a Bush-family fuck-up, and a good view of modern history.
And the start to war news:

In contrast, the war in Panama was covered with a you-are-there immediacy, a remarkable burst of shock-and-awe journalism (before the phrase “shock and awe” was even invented) meant to capture and keep the public’s attention.
Operation Just Cause was “one of the shortest armed conflicts in American military history,” writes Brigadier General John Brown, a historian at the United States Army Center of Military History.
It was also “extraordinarily complex, involving the deployment of thousands of personnel and equipment from distant military installations and striking almost two-dozen objectives within a 24-hour period of time… Just Cause represented a bold new era in American military force projection: speed, mass, and precision, coupled with immediate public visibility.”
Well, a certain kind of visibility at least. The devastation of El Chorrillo was, of course, ignored by the U.S. media.

In this sense, the invasion of Panama was the forgotten warm-up for the first Gulf War, which took place a little over a year later.
That assault was specifically designed for all the world to see.
“Smart bombs” lit up the sky over Baghdad as the TV cameras rolled.
Featured were new night-vision equipment, real-time satellite communications, and cable TV (as well as former U.S. commanders ready to narrate the war in the style of football announcers, right down to instant replays).
All of this allowed for public consumption of a techno-display of apparent omnipotence that, at least for a short time, helped consolidate mass approval and was meant as both a lesson and a warning for the rest of the world.
“By God,” Bush said in triumph, “we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”

George Jr’s daddy was/is an idiot — the son way-over-compensated for the daddy, however.

(h/t The Big Picture).

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