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Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #1 
Helena Cobban, on her web site Just World News, published an article recently related to an upcoming panel discussion in Washington, D.C. dealing with the implications of America's military "withdrawal" from Iraq. Given what just recently happened (by failing to happen) in Iraq when America's military forces supposedly "withdrew" from Iraqi cities while not actually going anywhere (certainly not "home" to America), I thought I would contribute ...

This public relations farce of an American "withdrawal" from Iraq's cities (primarily by redrawing the borders of the cities) reminds me of nothing so much as that scene in Alice and Wonderland where the Queen of Hearts orders the execution of her unexpected guests and then demands to know: "Are their heads off?" To which one of her equivocating military henchmen replies (of his escaped prisoners): "Their heads are gone, if it please Her Majesty!"

Not to put too fine a point on the obvious obfuscation, President Obama has promised the American people, not to mention the Iraqis and the world at large, that American troops would leave Iraq's cities by an agreed-upon date this summer; and when inquiring of our General Motors Generals, Petraeus and Odierno, if American troops have "left," he appears perfectly willing to accept as answer: "The cities have moved 'right,' sir!"

Now I think I see the way that "all" American forces will withdraw from Iraq by yet another date certain two years hence: "Iraq" will simply move to the right on some American-drawn map until it merges with Kuwait and Iran. This will leave American troops, mercenaries, and corporate camp followers in exactly the positions they occupy today, only in some nebulously named territory not named "Iraq."

President (and Army General) Dwight Eisenhower spoke truly when he said that he pitied any future President who did not understand the American military the way he did. Certainly, President Obama -- America's newly-minted Commander-in-Brief -- clearly doesn't understand the U.S. Military one bit, or else he would have long since cashiered Generals Petraeus and Odierno for flagrantly and publicly deriding, while actively working to undermine, his announced policy of withdrawing all American military forces from Iraq within a perfectly reasonable -- indeed far too leisurely -- time frame. Coupled with the disastrously dumb idea of escalating an equally stupid quagmire conundrum in Afghanistan, it appears that President Obama has settled, by default, on the same failed "guns AND butter" policies of his failed predecessors Johnson, Nixon, and Bush, Jr.

At any rate, I'd like to know what this up-coming panel discussion has to say about neutralizing the ticket-punching American military careerists who put personal promotion and Orwellian Newspeak ahead of sane national foreign policy any day.

I feel embarrassed as an American to see my fellow countrymen so willing to put up with this inane bullshit and outright lying by our "new" government and its timelessly old Praetorian Guard. As the Third Reich imperial slogan put it: "Wherever the [American] soldier plants his boot, there he must remain." Or, as we said back during America's War on Southeast Asia: "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here."

OK. Enough venting for one morning. Now, back to working on some new gargoyles.


Reply with quote  #2 

It seems that the US will continue playing their games a while longer. I say a while longer because it can't continue financially forever. The US is the broken empire. They have to borrow from a world that will eventually get tired of supporting a deadbeat. I mean how, without paying taxes, does the US think it can continue to exercise its imperial dictate and keep the rabble from rioting for bread? Not forever. Yes right now it is financially viable to borrow and spend, the deficit is humongous, but some day the creditors, namely the savings countries China and Japan will have to concentrate on rearranging their own  economies to become consumers themselves. It is sad indeed that consumption is the psychic success that countries feel they must engage but in a world where you are what you have it is inevitable.

We will probably not live to see the US withdraw from the Mideast and the 134 other countries where they are militarily present. As you noted there is just too much easy money to be made by the MI complex for them to give it up. But some day their credit card will be canceled by the creditors and the whole mess will come crumbling down. Inevitably another empire will arise in its place but that future will not be mine.

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #3 
Tom Engelhardt pretty much sums up what has motivated my thinking and writing over most of the past four decades: namely, that things continue to go monstrously wrong for America precisely because Americans steadfastly refuse to acknowledge what we did in Southeast Asia (not to mention Latin America) and what we still do today in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've written literally thousands of lines of poetry on the subject of The Triumph of Strife, but Mr. Engelhardt more concisely wraps it all up here:   

Perhaps the greatest fantasy of the present moment is that there is a choice here. We can look forward or backward, turn the page on history or not. Don't believe it. History matters.

Whatever the Obama administration may want to do, or think should be done, if we don't face the record we created, if we only look forward, if we only round up the usual suspects, if we try to turn that page in history and put a paperweight atop it, we will be haunted by the Bush years until hell freezes over. This was, of course, the lesson -- the only one no one ever bothers to call a lesson -- of the Vietnam years. Because we were so unwilling to confront what we actually did in Vietnam -- and Laos and Cambodia -- because we turned the page on it so quickly and never dared take a real look back, we never, in the phrase of George H.W. Bush, "kicked the Vietnam syndrome." It still haunts us.

However busy we may be, whatever tasks await us here in this country -- and they remain monstrously large -- we do need to make an honest, clear-headed assessment of what we did (and, in some cases, continue to do), of the horrors we committed in the name of... well, of us and our "safety." We need to face who we've been and just how badly we've acted, if we care to become something better.

Reply with quote  #4 
US, discover shame?  Engage in Self-reflection?  Surely no mortification could approach the pain of shedding the armor of sneering superiority over the rest of the world and kicking our hypocrisy habit.  Even if survival commands it.

Engelhart's piece packs the punch of brevity, but it needn't consign your epics to unimportance, rather they should be used as catechisms for a nationwide rollout of truth & reconciliation commissions to accomplish the above. 

One can always hope. 
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