Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The US of A breaks the Soviet record

Glenn Greenwald:

Even for the humble among us who try to avoid jingoistic outbursts, some national achievements are so grand that they merit a moment of pride and celebration:

US presence in Afghanistan as long as Soviet slog

The Soviet Union couldn't win in Afghanistan, and now the United States is about to have something in common with that futile campaign: nine years, 50 days.

On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition will have been fighting in this South Asian country for as long as the Soviets did in their humbling attempt to build up a socialist state.
It seems clear that a similar -- or even grander -- prize awaits us as the one with which the Soviets were rewarded. I hope nobody thinks that just because we can't identify who the Taliban leaders are after almost a decade over there that this somehow calls into doubt our ability to magically re-make that nation. Even if it did, it's vital that we stop the threat of Terrorism, and nothing helps to do that like spending a full decade -- and counting -- invading, occupying, and bombing Muslim countries.


Greenwald's post goes on to observe that the war cheerleaders are in no mood to back down, and they have the loudest and most heeded voices in Washington. We're going to continue this folly, apparently, until all we have left to fight with is sticks and stones. And that's the biggest point here. Putting aside for the moment all the devastating criticisms one can easily make regarding our occupation of Afghanistan, its counterproductiveness in reducing radical Islamic terrorism, the foolishness of "nation building," the rampant corruption of the region's puppet government, the insolubility of Taliban and Al Qaeda entrenchment in neighboring Pakistan, and on and on, perhaps the worst thing about the war from an American point of view is the amount of money and national emphasis we're wasting there.

It would be no different if we built massive bonfires of dollars in Congress and burned them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, while our senators and representatives roasted weenies and marshmallows. That is, this is essentially what our national priority is if you're part of the political class.

Our economy isn't nearly as weak as the Soviets' was during their ill fated occupation of Afghanistan back in the 80s, but our reaching the nine year mark there is every bit as symbolic of a decaying empire as it was for the USSR: our priorities are so totally fucked up that, even while unemployment hovers chronically at the tumultuous ten percent mark, our leaders persist in fighting an unwinnable and meaningless war that will gain us nothing. Our political institutions are incapable of addressing real problems and issues; instead, we fight a war.

Remember in Animal House when the Delta guys find out that they've been on "double secret probation" for months now, and the shit's about to really hit the fan? They decide to go on a road trip. Fuck reality. Let's have some fun. Their problems were so big, it seemed reasonable to just not face them at all.

That's what we're doing now, but on a national level. Our leaders are out to lunch. A nation that cannot, will not, deal with its problems at home, one that would rather go on road trips instead of getting its house in order, is a nation in its last days. Like I said, it's not quite as bad as it was with the Russians, but it's the same dynamic.

If you read conservative analyst
Kevin Phillips, you can discover all the disgusting details for yourself of how the American Empire is in deep decay. It's actually much worse than you think.