The president negotiates our withdrawal from
We'll be leaving behind an unstable country with one of the world's highest infant mortality rates and hundreds of armed insurgent groups. We haven't rescued or rebuilt the country or accomplished any objective that begins to justify the human and financial cost of this adventure. We just lost.
But we're the most powerful nation on the planet. How is that possible? And, as writer
He goes on, in an essay that ran this week on Common Dreams: "Did we in some bizarre fashion fight ourselves and lose? After all, last year, more American servicemen died from suicide than on the battlefield in
Did we fight ourselves and lose? This is a question for the millennium -- a question in which the human future hangs in the balance. A rich, arrogant and unbelievably powerful nation, riding a tide of opportune vengeance, pursuing its global interests, invades a poor, backward country, then a year and a half later invades another. It pours multi-trillions of dollars into the adventure and unleashes the most sophisticated high-tech weaponry the world has ever seen. On the home front, the war is backed by at least 80 percent of the population. It's a good war, a righteous war, proclaimed by the prodigious public relations arm of the military-industrial consensus as a "war on terror" . . . a war on evil itself.
And we lost. Or sort of lost -- at least in the sense that we didn't win. As
His essay was titled, "Is War Becoming Obsolete?" That is, is war becoming an ineffective means of achieving, not merely the aims of its own propaganda (the defeat of evil), but its actual, limited goals of regional dominance, the looting of natural resources, the containment of geopolitical rivals? And if so, does it matter?
Beyond such questions, I sense that a larger question lurks: Might it be that war isn't something we wage, so much as a force that wages us? And if that's the case, it doesn't particularly matter whether we win or lose because it's not in our control anyway, at least not in the way we think it is. War has been obsolete for at least the last century, in that the damage it inflicted shattered winner and loser alike, almost to the point of mutual suicide -- not counting
This may be a good time to begin assessing the nature of our loss in the war on terror, beyond the non-achievement of geopolitical ends and non-fulfillment of whatever our mission actually was. Certainly this loss includes expenditures in the trillions of dollars, contributing enormously to the national bankruptcy.
And it also includes the thousands of American combat deaths and the hundreds of thousands of soldiers wounded, both physically and psychologically, during their extended deployments, or suffering from an array of mystery nerve, respiratory and multiple other illnesses-- now called chronic multisymptom illness and declared, in a recent report by the federal
In the process of inflicting all this harm on ourselves, of course, we inflicted infinitely more harm on the nations we invaded, killing hundreds of thousands, displacing millions, and polluting
Is war becoming obsolete? When war's toxic aftermath is endured only by the defeated "enemy," the winners can still cheer. But today there's no cheering on any side of the erstwhile war on terror. The pertinent question is: How do we stop our mad preparation for future wars?
And there's only one answer: Stop inventing enemies, whom we proceed to dehumanize. Once we begin the dehumanization
process, we lose -- not just figuratively, but literally, and in almost incalculable ways.
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