Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Why We Fight


Robert Gates explains why we must stay in Afghanistan:

There have been plenty of reasons given for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan: denying Al Qaeda and their allies a sanctuary, saving the locals from some rather ruthless theocrats, preventing another 9/11. To that Defense Secretary [Gates] added a different rationale Monday night. He wants to keep Osama's legions from scoring a propaganda win.
I'm sure it would be a propaganda win for Al-Qaeda if we left. On the other hand, it's also a win if we stay. Whatever else AQ may be, they're not idiots, and they're more than happy to stand by and watch us bleed to death from self-inflicted wounds. Hell, they've even said as much.

But like most American officials, Gates seems to have a secret decoder ring that tells him what AQ's utterances really mean. They couldn't want us to occupy Afghanistan, obviously, so we'd better spend whatever it takes to stay there indefinitely...even if our alleged inability to afford a humane healthcare system kills more Americans annually than Osama bin Laden manages in his wettest dreams. The alternative would be to hand a "victory" to Al-Qaeda, and only a really terrible person would consider doing that.

Having AQ around certainly makes governance easier. All you need to do is explain what they want, and not only are you justified in doing the opposite (which coincidentally happens to be what you already intended), but you can also preemptively paint your opponents as people who want to feed the Mujahideen turtle soup with a gold spoon. Nice work if you can get it.

In other news, it looks as though some National Guard members managed to find a portion of Iraq's WMD:
Thirty members of the West Virginia National Guard filed a lawsuit Monday in Marshall County Circuit Court, alleging that they were negligently exposed to a highly toxic chemical as they guarded a rebuilding project in Iraq in 2003.

The lawsuit contends that members of the Moundsville-based 1092nd Engineer Battalion of the West Virginia National Guard were deployed to the Qarmat Ali water plant near Basra from April to June 2003. The soldiers guarded the facility while KBR Inc. contractors repaired the plant.

"While performing their duties at the Qarmat Ali site, the plaintiffs were exposed to sodium dichromate, a toxic chemical used at the site as an anti-corrosive and containing nearly pure hexavalent chromium, one of the most potent carcinogens and mutagenic substances known to man," the lawsuit states.
I have it on good authority that Al-Qaeda would love to see KBR Inc. humiliated, so this case really needs to be thrown out ASAP.

8 comments:

grouchomarxist said...

Shorter Gates:

"We've got them just where they want us!"

liliannattel said...

I don't understand why a country would be willing to bankrupt itself on a war while its own citizens die from lack of medical care. I know there are reasons. And our Bush-lite PM here in Canada is doing his best to emulate the disaster south of the boarder. But I just don't get it.

Makarios said...

Substitute "Vietnam" for "Afghanistan" and "Vietcong" for "Al Qaeda" and we're right back in the 1960's.

Oh, and your Dickens allusion is duly noted.

Phila said...

I don't understand why a country would be willing to bankrupt itself on a war while its own citizens die from lack of medical care. I know there are reasons.

It's pretty clear why it's popular with politicians. Why it's accepted by citizens is a more vexing question...but I tend to think it has to do with misogyny (caring about people is feminine / gay) and racism (my hard-earned money will go to help lazy blacks and thieving Mexicans).

Having lived in Canada, I've seen these attitudes there, too. But it's not as common and not nearly as rabid, IMO.

Phila said...

Oh, and your Dickens allusion is duly noted.

Oh, goroo!

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Gates the other day said there were fewer than 100 aQ loyalists in Afghanistan. aQ apparently has moved on, according to DoD intelligence. Mebbe to Sudan, or Somalia? Anyway, sending another 40k troops to defend the population from fewer than 100 aQ fighters is to admit that these mujahadeen ARE 'supermen.' 400 to one? There usta be jokes about the italian army on that scale...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

but I tend to think it has to do with misogyny (caring about people is feminine / gay) and racism (my hard-earned money will go to help lazy blacks and thieving Mexicans).

It's absolutely TEXTBOOK classical "racism." Not the individual acts of bias, bigotry, intolerance; that's not "racism." That's pretty normal stuff amongst us humans.

"Racism" is different. It's the system understandings, agreements, and arrangements that naturalizes and endorses those acts, to such an extent that people actually needful of services which the improvement of conditions for all would entail would rather suffer than see the detested 'other' improve...

I usta have to do something like that lecture/discussion every semester, in every class i taught, because the matter is so poorly understood. I put some synopsis in the course readings/outline, and included it on the test...

Phila said...

Gates the other day said there were fewer than 100 aQ loyalists in Afghanistan.

Yeah, I saw that. Another eight years, and we should have those dead-enders completely mopped up.

people actually needful of services which the improvement of conditions for all would entail would rather suffer than see the detested 'other' improve...

Exactly.