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A bright shining lie -- in Afghanistan

Everything old is new again. See Arthur's commentary here.

NOTE My own view: I think it's better that the Wendell Potters, and the Craig Murrays, and the Matthew Hohs break, in some way, with the horrific system in which they've enmeshed themselves, even if they still accept some -- they cannot, by definition, accept them all -- of the premises of that system; as if Afghanistan can be made "better," for example. I realize that this conflicts with the value of 100% truthtelling at all times, but I also think that while we can demand that of ourselves, we can only request it of others. Unfortunately, in RL, values conflict, as both tragedy and comedy show us.

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i'm not going to here, except to say that it's a key flaw in too many people who make decisions right now: paternalism for their charges. "only these people" can manage the banksters, fight this war, understand how government works, etc. i'm constantly disgusted with the ease with which too many people just assume to know what's best for a bunch of other people, be they women, brown people, or foreigners sitting atop a lot of oil. the real crime is that the media lets this go unchallenged, time and time again.

as an historian, i find the american occupation of afghanistan fascinating. it's so obvious it's a joke: never match wits in a game of death with a sicilian, and never get into a land war in asia. i have a hard time fathoming how educated people (at our nation's "finest" schools no less!) sitting around talking about policy justified the war, could forget this. "well, this time things will be different!" there is literally no better spot on the map to say "sometimes, imperialism just fails to stick."

i read a funny line over at Balloon Juice recently. paraphrasing: if you're going to be an imperialist, just be one. all the best empires do. sack cities, slaughter leaders, replace them with your own, rape the women, impregnate them with your spawn, burn the temples, kill the religious leaders, replace them with those of your faith. install your own cronies in government, steal all the natural resources, and shoot anyone who complains, hanging their rotting corpses along the roadside for all to see. you're going to spend a lot of money either way, so you may as well get the results you want with methods that work. but be warned: war and occupation are Tricksy. sometimes, you can do all that and still fail, as an occupying empire.

like in afghanistan, where empire always fails to hold.

Submitted by lambert on

... at everything that moves.

In a lot of ways, Obama's preferred tactic seems to me even more morally degraded than slaughter on the battlefield. Read the Iliad -- it's all about how to be a butcher: Where to carve, where the blood spurts, the sound of the breath of the dying. But at least Homer's killers weren't slicing the throats of their victims remotely, and then driving home to the wife and kids in the burbs. Dante's Hell got colder on the way down for a reason. Fortunately, Predator technology will never be applied domestically (quaint term). Not even when it's miniaturized.