Poverty, drugs, Afghanistan, Iraq, terror - or how to arrange a "war against everything in the world"
The war on drugs. War on poverty. The war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq. The biggest mistake of American politics, foreign and domestic, is that they [the Americans] regard everything as a war. When it covers the military mood, it chooses for you weapon and tactics. It limits the debate on how you start it. It answers questions before they are asked.
When you define something with the word “war,” it dictates the use of troops (or militarized police forces, prisons, and other forms of coercion) as the main policy tools. Violence becomes a solution, and the goal is complete victory. Anyone who suggests otherwise is labeled a dreamer, a peacemaker, or even a traitor.
War, in short, is a great simplifier, and can even work when you are fighting a military threat to existence (as in World War II). But it does not work when you define each problem as threatening to existence, and then you fight with a complex of problems of society (crime, poverty, drugs) or ideas and religious beliefs (radical Islam).
Omnipresent american military spirit
Consider the Afghan war - the wrong 1980 war, when Washington poured finance and arming the fundamentalist Mujahideen in order to drag the Soviet Union into something like the Vietnamese swamp, but a closer in time phase, after 9 / 11. Remember that these were 19 hijacking attacks (15 of them were Saudi) representing a modern type of organization with no slightest resemblance to a nation, state, or government. Of course, it was the fundamentalist Taliban, which then controlled most of Afghanistan. It originated on the remains of a previous war and provided support and shelter, although reluctant, to Osama bin Laden.
Seeing the collapsing towers in New York in the American collective consciousness, the very idea that the United States could respond with international “police” actions aimed at removing criminals from world streets was simply driven out of discussion. What instead has arisen in the minds of senior officials in the Bush administration is revenge through a full-scale, global, and generational “war on terror”. This thoroughly militarized goal is not just to end al-Qaeda, but all the terrorist groups on Earth, while the United States has been engaged in a full-scale experiment in the forcible construction of a state in Afghanistan. More than 13 dark years have passed, and the Afghan war-experiment continues with terrible costs and the most disappointing results.
As soon as the mindset type of global war gained support, the Bush administration launched an invasion of Iraq. The most technologically advanced troops on Earth, which the president called "the greatest liberation forces of mankind who ever knew the world," were to bring "democracy" and PaxAmericana to the Middle East. Of course, Washington had a conflict with Iraq since Operation Storm in the Wilderness in 1990-1991, but what began as an analogue of the military coup (aka operation "decapitation") by an external force, an attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein and destroy his armed forces and the party soon turned into a long occupation and another political and social experiment of forcibly building the state. As in the case of Afghanistan, the Iraq experiment with the war still continues with horrendous costs and even more disastrous results.
Radical Islam in these wars led by America gained momentum. Yes, radical Islamists cite the intrusive and virtually constant presence of American troops and bases in the Middle East and Central Asia to justify their belief that the American troops are leading a crusade against them - and, therefore, are leading it against Islam itself. (Yes, even President Bush made a disclaimer when he called this war a "crusade"). In such terms, such a war is by definition ineffective, since every “success” only strengthens the plot of the enemies of Washington. There is no way to win such a war, except for one thing - to stop it. But such a course of events was never considered as options, from which, according to Washington officials, the choice of strategy is made. To do this, in the context of military thinking, would mean admitting defeat (although true defeat, which has become the most pressing problem, was first defined as war).
Our leaders insist on such a cruel thoughtlessness, at least in part, because they are most of all afraid to admit defeat. In the end, nothing can be more humiliating in American politics or culture than the label of a loser in the war, the label of "running away".
In 1960, despite his own serious concerns in the ongoing Vietnam conflict, President Lyndon B. Johnson set the gold standard in determining that he would not be the first American president to be defeated in a war, especially in such a “damn little worthless country” like Vietnam. He insisted on it - and the conflict still turned him into a loser and brought down his presidency.
Even when he led the war, as historian George Herring noted, the LBD did not want to be remembered as the "president of the war." After two generations, another Texan, George Bush, with genuine enthusiasm, picked up the nickname "President of the war." He also vowed to win his war when things got worse. Since the rise of the insurgency in Iraq in the summer of 2003, Bush has not been shy. “Beat them,” he said, suggesting at the moment that he looks like Clint Eastwood as Harry Dirty. Now Washington is sending troops to Iraq for the third time to deal with even more recalcitrant rebels, the "Islamic State" - a radical version of Islam, a movement that was originally nourished and grown in Camp Bucca, an American military prison in Iraq.
And to bring clarity, we note that President Obama also took the superiority of wars in American politics in his speech to Oslo’s 2009 year in Oslo when he received the Nobel Prize. Then he proposed an active defensive role of America and called it "the only military superpower in the world."
“Whatever mistakes we make, the fact remains: the United States helped to ensure global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the power of our weapons. The service and the self-sacrifice of men and women in the form of maintaining peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea made it possible to establish democracy in places such as the Balkans. We do not bear this burden because we are looking for opportunities to impose our will. We do this because of enlightened egoism - because we crave a better future for our children and grandchildren, and because we believe that their lives will be better if the children and grandchildren of other nations can live in freedom and prosperity. ”
That moment defined the Obama presidency as being highly relevant to the already omnipresent American military spirit. It was the very denial of "hopes" and "changes" and the beginning of Obama's evolution through the CIA unmanned assassination program to the role of the main killer.
Jihad is our everything
Recent American leaders have something in common with Islamic extremists: they all define everything in a row, implying or openly, jihad, a crusade, holy war. But the brutal methods used in the pursuit of various types of jihad, Islamic or secular, serve only to continue - and often gain - the struggle.
Think of the countless American so-called "wars" and think about whether there was at least some measurable progress. Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty” in 1964. After 51, the year remains a staggering number of desperately poor people, and this century the gap between the poorest and richest widened to a deep abyss. (Since the days of President Reagan, in fact, we can already speak of a war with the poor, and not with poverty). Drugs? Forty-four years after President Nixon declared the war on drugs, millions of people were sent to prison, billions of dollars were spent, and drugs were abundant on the streets of American cities. Terror? Thirteen years, and the count continues, after the start of this “war”, terrorist groups, small in size and influence in 2001, have grown everywhere and now there is something like a “caliphate” - like Osama bin Laden dreamed - in the Middle East: ISIS seized power on parts of Iraq and Syria, raises the head of al-Qaeda in Yemen, Libya is destabilized and plunges even more into extremism, innocent people continue to die from the attacks of American drones. Afghanistan? The opium trade has considerably revived and its volumes are increasing, the Taliban has revived, and the region is destabilized. Iraq? Ethnic and religious rivalry and hatred are in full swing, more and more American weapons are fueling the killings, the country is no longer functioning. The only thing that can be said for certain about most of these American “wars” is about their cruel continuation, even when only shreds remained from the initial missions.
The very methods that the US uses and the mentality of the leaders approve of ensuring their perpetuation. Why? Because drug addiction and abuse cannot be defeated by waging war. Similarly with poverty. And with terror. And radical Islam cannot be defeated by the armed construction of the state. Yes, radical Islam thrives in the very conditions of war that Washington helped to create. By fighting in the now well-known manner, you simply kindle the flame and guarantee its spread.
Thinking is what matters. In Iraq and Afghanistan, which for most Americans exist only inside the matrix of "war", the United States invades or attacks, gets stuck, pours in resources indefinitely and "creates a desert and calls it" the world "(if you remember the Roman historian Tacitus). After that, our leaders are surprised to hell when the problem only grows.
Sadly, everything in America continues with the same monotony: more wars, the situation worsens because of an impatient wait for results, which is repeated in each new round of elections. This is the formula by which a country is doomed to lose forever.
Two curious features of the new American wars
Historically, when a state declares war, it does so in order to mobilize the national will, as the US clearly did in World War II. However, our wars of recent decades have been accompanied by a desire not to mobilize people, but to demobilize - even though “experts” are authorized to fight, and taxpayers' finances flow into the state of national security and the military-industrial complex for the sake of continuing conflicts.
The recent wars, even with drugs, even in the Greater Middle East, have never been presented as a challenge to which we, the people, can address and resolve by joint efforts, but as something only for those who allegedly have the competence and mandate — as well as weapons. - and can figure it out or fight. George Bush summed up this thinking in the classic style after 9 / 11, when he advised Americans to go shopping and visit Disneyland, and leave the battle to the professionals. If you have a weapon and some kind of symbol of power, you can speak from a position of strength, and you will be listened to, otherwise you do not have the right to vote.
In addition, what makes new American wars unique at the moment is that they never have a clear end point. What is the "victory" over drugs or terror? Once started, these wars are by definition difficult to stop.
Cynics can claim that there is nothing new here. Didn't America always fight? Have we always been cruel? There is some truth in this. But at least the Americans of the generation of my grandfather and great-grandfather did not commit themselves to war.
What America needs now is an 12-speed program designed to stop striving to further fuel our national commitment to war. The starting point for Washington - and Americans in general - would be a clear need to recognize this as a first step and admit that we have a problem that we ourselves cannot solve.
“Hi, I'm Uncle Sam, and I’m addicted to wars. Yes, I tend to wage war. I know that it is destructive for myself and those around me. But I can't stop - I need help. ”
True change often begins with recognition. With humility. With the recognition that not everything is under our control, no matter how violently someone is frantic; in fact, such mad rage only intensifies the problem. America needs to make such a confession. Only then can we begin to pull ourselves out of the wars.