Never Ending Warfare

by Dan Ehrlich

Senate Report and Why America Needs Conflict

Possibly the biggest question Americans have to ponder, aside from what are we going to do when the oil runs out, is: Has the Orwellian nightmare in “1984”, the war that never ends, become a reality for us?

According to a recent US Senate report, there was a time when our forces could have smashed the Al Qaeda leadership and captured Osama Bin Laden. But, we let him escape by order of GW Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

The reason was simple: Bin Laden was more valuable to the war effort and less trouble by being on the loose. This devious logic is even stretching it for such an underhanded regime in the White House. We had to have an identifiable enemy to keep chasing. The war effort would them switch to Iraq and Dick Cheney’s patriotic pals at Halliburton would become that much richer before moving their headquarters to Dubai.

A look at major American military campaigns during the past 100 years, only WW2 was a conflict of national security and well being. The Spanish-American War was purely political and economic, WW1 was largely due to Germany killing Americans on the high seas by unrestricted submarine warfare and Korea was a political operation to save Asia from Communism. Regrettably so was Vietnam. The Cold War: We now know that the Soviet threat was grossly overstated as a popular boogieman to keep Americans occupied and happy to be “free.” Iraq 1 and 2 was for oil and more oil...there was a rumor about weapons of mass destruction..but Haliburton couldn't find any.

Now we're spending US lives and billions in Afghanistan on another questionable conflict in a non country of hill tribes of various loyalties and bleiefs in a quest to stamp out terrorism, maintain the US backed government in power and secure women's rights. Alternatvely, we could be securing our own borders and developing better defenses for new threats just over the horizon. We have yet to learn we can't change other nations to be a good fit for us. Vietnam should have taught us that.

Our real reason for being in Vietnam, for example, was to preserve American hegemony in Southeast Asia. But, we were fed the view we were fighting to keep South Vietnam free. We lost nearly 60,000 American troops and killed more than 2 million Vietnamese in the end for nothing. Economically, we lost the region first to the Japanese and later the so-called Tiger Nations, all of whom are our trading pals. In fact we're now even holding joint naval exercizes with Vietnam, which has become major trading partner with us.

And the biggest communist nation of all nations, China, has America by the economic short hairs. So, we’re friends with them, too. But, while China no longer poses a threat of godless communism to us, we have to be on guard because those menacing Cubans are waiting to pounce only a few miles from our shores. Wait! We now can see the horizon where a new Chinese anti ship missile reportedly could sink the entire US fleet. Sounds like another version of the Cold War in the green room.

More and more it seems America needs an enemy to fight just as liberals need an underdog to champion. We need to have an adversary to keep our population occupied and tough. Or to paraphrase Orwell, to keep the fabric of society intact. Without one we would swap fear and patriotism for glaring dislike for the way our democracy is dissolving. Our domestic issues would again rate top priority. People might even be forced away from banal and idiotic reality TV to reality politics.

So, enter the perfect war, the War on Terrorism. What makes this so perfect is that it’s straight out of the book…a war that will always be underway because there will always be terrorists somewhere and governments devious enough to keep people on tender hooks fearing the next attack. I mean even GW could understand this. He made good use of the idea, creating a Homeland Security Agency with impressive and costly HS fortresses dotting the nation.

The trick for the population is to accept the fact there may always be terrorists, yet not let it disrupt society. Because when that happens, the bombers or shooters feel they have won and politicians will have a green light to curtail individual liberty on the basis of national security.

But, what about all those HS fortresses? Why are there so many of them and what will they be used for…to imprison and question terrorists? Or will they wind up housing people deemed dangerous…the dissenters and trouble makers the government may not like?

The real casualty in all this carnage and money wasted is democracy. Because when all parties largely act in accord with one another, the people’s will is often ignored or information given the electorate may be false in order to create the necessary popular backing for a certain action…and the war continues.

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