‘Strange Days, Indeed, Mama’

September 4, 2009

As I was thinking fairly-clear this morning — thinking is sometimes for me a really, really mega-complicated ordeal and not so unclouded — and although mostly about all kinds of related/unrelated shit, the focus finally came to war, which is part and partial to this whole blog, and on today’s complete-whole world the life-and-death real reality for billions of people.
Just click to antiwar.com and see a partial list of links to conflicts, consequences of conflicts and conflicts most-likely to come all over the globe — and I say ‘partial list’ because reporting war is like trying to gather bubbles off boiling water.
War is agitated by beating or heating.

(Illustration found here).

And I use antiwar.com as example because it’s a very good, informative site, linking to all kinds of news media, and its editorial bent is toward it’s name: Antiwar.

These thoughts on war eventually led to the current seemingly non-existent US antiwar movement, which in this age of perpetual US warfare should be enormous, at Vietnam era levels or beyond.
Not too long ago…

On Feb. 15, 2003, hundreds of thousands of protesters from London to Rome and New York took to the streets to protest the impending war.
With estimates of hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in New York City alone, it was the largest antiwar demonstration in a generation.

Indeed, over that particular weekend it’s been estimated that between six and 10 million people participated in rallies in some 60 countries to protest the obviously-coming Iraqi war, and the event in Rome “involved around 3 million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history.”

Quick flash-forward to near-seven years later, the response of US peoples against the current “deteriorating” conflict in Afghanistan is dropping like a cluster bomb: “The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey says that 57 percent of respondents oppose the war, while 42 percent support it. The “against” number is up from 54 percent in early August, the only other time it has been above 52 percent.
Also according to the poll, 62 percent of Americans believe the US is losing the war, though 59 percent believe it can still win.”

Of course, the reality is there’s no winning in Afghanistan — just ask the ancient Greeks, the Brits and the Soviets.
And this is a conflict President Obama has pledged to not lose.

And in a kind of twist-a-flex look at the Afghan situation, Mark Ames, in a post at AlterNet, viewed the current numbers of US people in Afghanistan, both in uniform and in civilian dress (I posted yesterday on DOD contractors) vs what the Soviets had in country at the height of its involvement there in the mid-1980s — and the result disheartening.
Right now there’s about 52,000 GIs and 68,000 contractors in Afghanistan.
Ames takes note:

That makes 120,000 American military personnel fighting in Afghanistan, a figure higher than the Soviet peak troop figure of 115,000 during their catastrophic 9-year war.

At the height of the Soviet occupation,Western intelligence experts estimated that the Soviets had 115,000 troops in Afghanistan — but like America, the more troops and the longer the Soviets stayed, the more doomed their military mission became.

And how obvious the catastrophe in the face of the preoccupied US peoples:

The Afghanistan War has somehow escaped most of America’s attention.
People just assumed that since Obama is a decent guy with a sharper mind than Bush’s, he must know what he’s doing in Afghanistan, and his intentions can’t be bad — so why bother paying attention, when we have all these other problems here at home?
Besides, war isn’t a fun topic anymore.
Thanks to Bush and Cheney, any talk of war is a total bummer, whether you’re from the right or the left.
And Americans don’t like bummers — instead, America is always “moving on” from its bummers.
Nothing bums Americans out more than losing wars, which helps explain why Afghanistan is the most we’ve-moved-on subject of our time.
The problem is that you can’t move on from something while it’s still a problem — but try telling that to a nation of delusionals.

The problem in the Afghan scenario is the old no-end-in-sight situation.
And just this morning come reports of another US/NATO air strike in northern Afghanistan, which has killed at least 80 people, including civilians.
Supposedly, the strike was on fuel trucks stolen by the Taliban, but early reports are unclear.
Spencer Ackerman has more on the incident here.
A big trouble is the war-like nature of the US the past near-60 years.
In 1950, the US installed the ultra-secret NSC-68, which was an attempt to handle the growing Soviet threat, but all it did was make this country a national war state.
In 1950, the fiscal situation was $13 billion for military spending — equal to one-third of the national budget and 5 percent of the gross national product (GNP). The 1951 budget, the first after NSC #68 went into effect, earmarked $60 billion for defense — about two-thirds of the national budget and more than 18 percent of a rising GNP.
And with all that military money flowing out towards everybody, perpetual war was the end product.
As the US public turns its thumbs down on Obama’s Afghan war strategy, and believe him a traitor to the cause, the big thing is he is just keeping the war machine running wide-open.
Chris Floyd has a great post on the 60 years of US military muscle flexing.

[NSC-68] constituted the re-founding of the country as a “National Security State,” controlled by the military-industrial complex and driven by a nightmare vision of exaggerated threats, craven fear, secrecy and deception, bellicosity and brinkmanship.
This vision has waxed and waned in intensity at various times over the years, but it has never been displaced as the central dynamic of American power.
The demonic, all-powerful enemy has now morphed from the Soviet Union to Islamic extremism, but the paranoid rhetoric and “Pentagon uber alles” philosophy of the Cold War has been seamlessly transferred whole cloth to the supposedly transformed “post-9/11 age.”

Read Floyd’s entire piece at his highly-informative site, Empire Burlesque.

Meanwhile, back at the anti-war movement.
Although the move is kind of tepid, as most do not want to go against the man they helped put in office, plans are for some events for this fall, but it may not go anywhere.
According to the New York Times:

Anticipating a Pentagon request for more troops there, antiwar leaders have engaged in a flurry of meetings to discuss a month of demonstrations, lobbying, teach-ins and memorials in October to publicize the casualty count, raise concerns about the cost of the war and pressure Congress to demand an exit strategy.

“People do not want to take on the administration,” said Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org. “Generating the kind of money that would be required to challenge the president’s policies just isn’t going to happen.”
Tom Andrews, national director for an antiwar coalition, Win Without War, said most liberals “want this guy to succeed.” But he said the antiwar movement would try to convince liberals that a prolonged war would undermine Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda. Afghanistan, he said, “could be a devastating albatross around the president’s neck.”

“We’re coming out of a low period,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the antiwar group Code Pink. “But as progressives feel more comfortable protesting against the Obama administration and challenging Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress, then we’ll be back on track.”

And the bottom line:

“In the next year, it will more and more become Obama’s war,” said Perry O’Brien, president of the New York chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “He’ll be held responsible for the bloodshed.”

One of the main reason the US got the shit out of Vietnam was the ant-war movement, including Walter Cronkite, and mass demonstrations…
Is that what is in store?
Sadly, I don’t think so.

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