Sunday, August 09, 2009

Under a Darkling Sky: Waging War in Order to Wage More War

All along Obama was hawkish on Afghanistan. Obama has depicted the Afghan war as the epicenter of the war on terror. True to his word Obama has escalated that war and with no doubt what-so-ever that there is much more to come. As is normal reality is somewhat different than what Obama and crew would have us believe. The true purpose of the Afghan war is to perpetuate that which has made so few so wealthy, namely the defense industry, a name that is laughable for it hardly describes the true purpose of America’s main export, death. Of equal or more importance is the planned gas line to wend its way through Afghanistan. Oil is of extreme importance to not only domestic uses but much more importantly is its military strategic value. Invading troops need supplies to invade and to keep things moving you need oil and gas, or no invasion. That this fact lies at the root of our bid to dominate the oil bearing regions of the world cannot be denied. Patriotism, altruism, ideology, humanitarian, are all very nice, a convenient way to veil the ugliness beneath and mislead others and one’s self.


The legendary German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel once wrote: "The battle is fought and decided by the quartermasters before the shooting begins.”

Students of military history tend to pay lip service to the importance of logistics, preferring to read about tanks and artillery, mass and maneuver, attack and counterattack. The reasons for that bias are easy to understand. There is no obvious drama in examining supply lines, and it is easier and simpler to believe wars are always won on battlefields.

For instance, millions of pages have been written about the tactics and strategies of World War II, but relatively little about how almost every major decision of that conflict was conditioned by the need for one commodity without which no modern army can operate - oil.

The leaders of every nation involved in World War II were aware of how crucial oil supplies were to their war plans. The importance of oil had become apparent during the First World War. As armies became more mechanized, the need for secure sources of fuel and lubricants became the sine qua non for military operations. French diplomat Henri Berenger was right when as early as 1921 he explained that, in the next war: "He who owns the oil will own the world, for he will rule the sea by means of the heavy oils, the air by means of the ultra-refined fuels, and the land means of gasoline and the illuminating oils."

So we wage war in order to be able to wage more war in the future. Sounds pretty loopy to me, how about you? But this is what Obama represents. Obama himself is of little importance and could be easily replaced with any of thousands of other androids all poured out of the same mold Obama was ejected from. As the new imperial manager Obama is a smooth talker but will it be enough to mollify his supporters in the years to come? This remains to be seen for there is little doubt that the new and improved war in Afghanistan is shaping up in such a way as to make Iraq seem like the good old days.

Link via

"We will need a large combat presence for many years to come, and we will probably need a large financial commitment longer than that," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the "strategic assessment" team advising McChrystal. The expansion of the Afghan security force that the general will recommend to secure the country "will inevitably cost much more than any imaginable Afghan government is going to be able to afford on its own," Biddle added.

"Afghan forces will need $4 billion a year for another decade, with a like sum for development," said Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine who has chronicled the Iraq and Afghan wars. Bing said the danger is that Congress is "so generous in support of our own forces today, it may not support the aid needed for progress in Afghanistan tomorrow."

“A large combat presence for many years to come,” and on top of that billions in aid for the next ten to twenty years. Indeed, this is the right war for it would seem that the defense industry has a secure future as far as you can see. Continuity indeed.

Among other purposes, contractors have been sought this summer to build a $25 million provincial Afghan National Police headquarters; maintain anti-personnel mine systems; design and build multimillion-dollar sections of roads; deliver by sea and air billions of dollars worth of military bulk cargo; and supervise a drug-eradication program.

One solicitation, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, is aimed at finding a contractor to bring together Afghan economic, social, legal and political groups to help build the country's infrastructure. The contractor would work with Afghan government officials as well as representatives from private and nongovernmental organizations to establish a way to allocate resources for new projects.

"We are looking at two decades of supplying a few billion a year to Afghanistan," said Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow and military expert at the Brookings Institution, adding: "It's a reasonable guess that for 20 years, we essentially will have to fund half the Afghan budget." He described the price as reasonable, given that it may cost the United States $100 billion this year to continue fighting.

"We are creating a [long-term military aid] situation similar to the ones we have with Israel, Egypt and Jordan," he said.

Who says we don’t create our own reality, we are certainly creating this one. O’Hanlon may believe that this is a reasonable price yet O’Hanlon doesn’t mention those who pay the ultimate price for imperialism namely those hundreds of thousands of innocent lives snuffed out in order to satiate the criminally greedy. True it won’t hurt O’Hanlon any which is why it is reasonable to him.

Iran is now almost completely surrounded by neighbors who have U.S. troops or who are allied with the U.S. in one form or another. To the west is Iraq; on the eastern border of Iran is Afghanistan and Pakistan so the U.S. has Iran fairly well ringed in. No doubt this is one reason the troops will never really leave Iraq, for if the aim is, as I believe it to be, the domination of the Middle East oil bearing nations then we certainly will see U.S. troops remain for many years to come.

Iran may be the grand prize or not yet considering the cost and difficulties of the Afghan war itself it is hard to see how we can maintain a ten year occupation on top of all the others and then still be able to invade Iran. But never underestimate our leader’s ability to overestimate their own ability. In the end I suspect Afghanistan will stop the U.S. in its tracks. We will dig deeper and deeper until the money runs out while the U.S. infrastructure crumbles under the weight of its own corruption. And that will likely be the end to American empire. It really is too bad that we couldn’t put an end to it in a more logical and less destructive form.


At August 10, 2009 12:57 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob, you might appreciate Robert Newman's History of Oil, a stand-up/performance art piece just under an hour long in which he discusses US and Anglo interference in the middle east. It should still be on Google Video.

At August 12, 2009 1:05 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I found the video you mentioned. He certainly gives history a different twist. I enjoyed watching it, quite good in fact.


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