Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Forever Wars

The Taliban again control a large part of Afghanistan 16 years after the US government's invasion and the Trump Administration will soon begin sending more troops there, according to the Wall Street Journal which published this map as part of an article updating the war.

The web site National Priorities has a running tally that puts that particular war's cost to you and me at $771 billion and counting, but free lance journalist Ken Klipperstein says it's $1 trillion. The Taliban have become very rich in the poppy/opium trade and now in an expanding array of enterprises. Mining is their number two income source, the Journal says.

The US has ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. For awhile it looked like Donald Trump might wind down some of this insane imperialism but he's turned over conduct of the wars to the generals including the mad dog he named defense secretary, the US Marine general who's actually called Mad Dog Mathis.

Tom Bacevich has a good article at Tom Dispatch that lists 24 questions the media should be asking but isn't and number one is why doesn't our military, on which we spend multiples of billions more than any other country, ever win anything any more?

Bacevich asks some really excellent questions. Number seven:

7. The war formerly known as the “Global War on Terrorism”: What precisely is Washington’s present strategy for defeating violent jihadism?  What sequence of planned actions or steps is expected to yield success? If no such strategy exists, why is that the case?  How is it that the absence of strategy -- not to mention an agreed upon definition of “success” -- doesn’t even qualify for discussion here?


  1. Our military adventures in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and North Africa are decidedly counterproductive from a war-winning perspective. For each "terrorist" (or innocent bystander) we or our allies blow to pieces with a drone, cruise missile, or MOAB we create at least ten new recruits for the Taliban, Da'esh, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, or some other radical group.

    So why would we pursue such a seemingly self-defeating "one step forward and ten steps back" strategy? The simplest answer, it seems to me, is that it helps keep the money tap wide open for the Military-Industrial Complex. Also, maintaining a perpetual "War on Terror" helps the American government expand its domestic surveillance programs and further impairs the American people's ability to focus on our real biggest economic/political problem -- the on-going looting of the Social Security Trust Fund and the shredding of America's social safety net and public institutions in order to further enrich and empower the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

  2. “US-Backed Drug War Makes Mexico Second Deadliest Country in 2016 : death toll equals the combined total of Iraq and Afghanistan.” http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Backed-Drug-War-Makes-Mexico-Second-Deadliest-Country-in-2016-20170509-0019.html
    “Mexico has become the world’s second deadly conflict zone, only next to Syria, a new report released Tuesday revealed.” http://www.dw.com/en/iiss-armed-conflict-survey-spotlights-central-america/a-38767521

  3. Me thinks the last time we won a political/guerilla war was with George Washington in charge... Of course the " Merchants of Death" continue to do well...:(