Thursday, September 10, 2009

Riding Old 9/11

It is September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda hijacks four commercial airliners two of which are crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a third is crashed into the Pentagon, and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania as it headed for Washington D.C.. While the U.S. has been no slouch when it comes to using State Terror in the form of air bombings and the like from the American point of view it is insufferable that Americans be subjected to the same type of horrible deaths that the U.S. has been dealing out for many, many years. It was a gift from heaven, or bin Laden, for George W. Bush who had already been eying Iraq for invasion.

After investigation by the intelligence community the most that could be said was that the idea originated in Afghanistan but the actual plotting was carried out in Germany and the United Arab Emirates. The Taliban on October 4th had offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial but Pakistan refused the offer. Next on October 7 the Taliban offered to try bin Laden in Afghanistan which was rejected by the United States. Thus we see that bin Laden could have been easily had very early on but getting bin Laden was never the goal. It was on that same day, the seventh of October that Bush’s war dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom was begun though it wasn’t long before Iraq became the main target for the War on Terror. Today Obama is reanimating the Afghan War even as Iraq explodes into more violence.

Some felt it made sense to send the military into Afghanistan to root out the Taliban despite that the Taliban likely had nothing to do with the attack on the WTC. Attacking Afghanistan was likely meant more as a show for the rubes here in the States for it was Iraq that held the real prize, all that oil. Still, Afghanistan has strategic importance for the United States but when you look at the troop numbers clearly Iraq is deemed by far the more important of the two. There are still roughly twice as many troops in Iraq then are now in Afghanistan even though Afghanistan is supposedly the new center for the War on Terror, the “Right War” as it were.

So it was make a feint to Afghanistan and then a thrust into the heart of Iraq. The fact is the United States has been taking advantage of the collapse of the old Soviet Union and has been doing so for years. What better time to consolidate an American stranglehold on the Middle East with all of its glittering oil? If you recall in those first days of the Iraq invasion the U.S. military secured the Iraq oil fields even while looters pillaged one of the most important museums in the world containing treasures from the very cradle of civilization as we know it. Of course that was nothing compared to the horrors that were to come but it certainly showed where the priorities lay.

Ideology had nothing to do with the Iraq invasion. The neocons are totally overrated in their influence. This whole thing has more to do with Russia and China and keeping them from having any control over the oil fields in the Middle East. So these neocons with their new found ideology were likely no more than convenient tools or allies. That oil is the reason for our presence in the Middle East is what we should keep in mind. Ideology is only useful to throw up a smoke screen for disguising the real motives for waging war. Likewise, ideology has nothing to do with escalating a war in Afghanistan. Some believe that it is a planned oil pipe line to bypass Russia others dismiss the oil line and insist that it is Afghanistan’s strategic location that is of value to the U.S. in a much bigger game in the U.S. bid to control as much of the world’s oil as possible. Whatever you may believe one thing is clear we are riding the same rails that helped get us there in first place. Obama insists that the war in Afghanistan is necessary to protect Americans which no doubt his masters in the corporate world would love to have us believe. Yet if al Qaeda is the true target then all that has been accomplished is that they have merely gone elsewhere to fester and grow untroubled by bombs falling in Afghanistan.

In the end 9/11 wasn’t all that important despite that Obama and others still invoke the 9/11 ghost train and ride it for all it’s worth. The whole premise for the Afghan War, as we are given to understand it, that we are being protected from terrorists is completely absurd. Al Qaeda has had eight years to make a get-away. And why on earth would they stay? I don’t think there is much doubt that we were headed for the Iraq invasion sooner or later and 9/11, whether fortuitous calamity, or allowed to happen, or even caused to happen by our own government, will be used to grease the wheels of imperialism on into an unforeseeable future if Obama is any example.

At the beginning of the Afghan campaign Bush bombed the supply route for food that fed from 5 to 7.5 million Afghans in a deliberate attempt to starve the civilian population, punishment for not having the type of government the U.S. approved of or perhaps for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And despite recent vows by general McChrystal to “protect” the Afghan civilian population we see the recent dropping of 500 pound bombs on stolen tankers in the middle of an Afghan village killing as many as 75 innocent civilians. Clearly there is a huge difference between what is said and what is actually occurring on a daily basis.

Just as clearly 9/11 should have been an abject lesson for Americans which is that it is absolutely wrong to interfere with the lives of other peoples in other nations even if we have strong interests in doing so. Naturally the opposite occurred and here we are today. It’s one thing for a war to become unpopular because it isn’t going well and another to be against a war because it wrong. To date the Afghan War has cost 150 billion dollars I believe. And as someone pointed out that is what health care reform is going to cost if you trust the figures. So this is the choice the government faces. Continue with the imperial wars or pay for health care reform because you cannot do both and it looks to me they are choosing war. No doubt this is one of the “hard choices” I heard so much of during the last presidential election.

Today, eight years later we see that Obama is not only escalating the war in Afghanistan but is also escalating the war in Iraq by increasing the number of mercanary murderers and thugs there. Oh and you thought we were removing the troops well guess again.


Nearly eight months into his administration President Obama has not significantly reduced the number of troops in the nation since taking office, and what was roughly 135,000 when he arrived is now still 131,000 or so, and this number is not expected to change until at least 60 days after the January election. So indeed, these thousands of new contractors are “replacing” troops that haven’t actually gone anywhere, and amount to a covert escalation of the overall force operating in the nation.

So much for that transparency in government we heard so much about. Got your ticket ready? Then it’s all aboard old 9/11 the ghost train from hell.


At September 10, 2009 8:35 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob, I'd like to think that when people sour on the war because it's going badly, this creates an opening to persuade some of them that the US shouldn't have an imperial policy.

Certainly not 100 out of a hundred, maybe not even 50 or 40 out of a hundred, but some people have a capacity to start thinking beyond their usual horizons.

CFO may well accuse me of being polyannish here, but I think history is often cyclical, and it seems we're going through a particularly dark time. Having said that, a better future is by no means inevitable, but I'd like to think it's possible. Maybe the empire will be spent by the time today's preschoolers are in their 40s and 50s.

At September 10, 2009 8:56 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

No, I'm not levelling that accusation today, Jonathan.

In the journey of persuading others to see the truth, a variety of perspectives must be mustered. A lot of people are fond of incrementalism. But some of us have worked on incrementalism our entire adult lives to no effect, and aren't quite as fond of that approach.

Incrementalists will reach those who are inclined in that direction, the direction of tiny baby steps.

All I would say on that is, the most meaningful changes in any human society have not been wrought by those who are happy with "just enough." The truly passionate, those who are driven by purity of motive and impatience on the increment of change, they are the ones who push humanity forward.

The incrementalists are the ones who keep the momentum going forward, but they're not the engine that drives things. If everyone were happy with "just enough," I submit that changes would take millennia. And a lot of suffering would continue while the slow increments add up.

People like me are easily dismissed by the incrementalists. I don't mind that; I'm used to it; I've dealt with it my whole life. I've not been worn down by it, either.

Everyone who wants to see positive change has a role to play. Mine just isn't identical to yours. That doesn't make either of us wrong.

At September 10, 2009 9:59 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


…this creates an opening to persuade some of them that the US shouldn't have an imperial policy.

Thank you, that was the whole point of my post.

This is indeed the most important task progressives have, to convince people that our policy of imperialism is not only self destructive for us, murderous for our victims, but is also morally wrong at the most basic of levels, the basic right all humans should enjoy which is the right to be left alone. To not be told what one can or cannot do.

At September 10, 2009 10:13 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

hi Charles, I don't know if this is going to descend into inconsequential distinctions, but I don't think it's about incrementalism in terms of legislation. Maybe you thought I was talking about that, and I dind't make my meaning clear.

let me refer to something you wrote:

"In the journey of persuading others to see the truth, a variety of perspectives must be mustered.

A lot of people are fond of incrementalism. But some of us have worked on incrementalism our entire adult lives to no effect, and aren't quite as fond of that approach."

I'm just saying that a lot of people hold unenlightened opinions because they've rarely if ever been exposed to anything else, but among those number are people with dull minds who couldn't care less, as well as others who do have more curiousity about the world around them.

You never know when and in what circumstances you'll come upon persons with a capacity and desire to challenge themselves, or the obverse(?), people who by all rights should have greater breadth of vision, who's views are surprisingly pedantic and prone to groupthink. (Matt Iglesias comes to mind.)

I'd like to see a majority of ordinary Americans decide the empire needs to be swept away, now. I just doubt it will happen soon unless we suffer some sort of catastrophic setback.

What's especially exasperating to me is a lot of people who like to regard themselves as "progressive" and are in fact part of the problem. You often have to be very gentle in your critique of their patron if you want them to understand why a policy of his is bad. And they'll look at you like you're crazy if you suggest to them that if they really have views closer to Kucinich's
(as they often say they do)

than maybe they should have voted for him in the primary.

I know you're not so crazy about ole Dennis, but I think you can appreciate my point. (Actually here in Texas the state democratic party wouldn't let him on the '08 primary ballot because he refused to commit to supporting the eventual nominee regardless of who it was.)

At September 11, 2009 7:34 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

"Today, eight years later we see that Obama is not only escalating the war in Afghanistan but is also escalating the war in Iraq by increasing the number of mercanary murderers and thugs there."

Yes, because if John McCain were President he would have been making nice. And if Hillary Clinton were President the troops would be home.

Obama this. Obama that.

The war is being waged, not be politicians, but by a corporate war machine that is not under the control of any politician. All the politicians know it.

No matter how much anger you want to direct about any politician, it won't do one bit of good. It's like taking a rooting interest in professional wrestling. You can express frustration, but being angry at Obama (or Clinton or Carter) doesn't change the fundamental rules of the game. It's time we stop confusing the spokesman for the person with power.

At September 11, 2009 7:49 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan-- I was being general in that prior response, not specific. I was addressing the notion you raised, that I might consider you a pollyanna... in generalities.

Bob-- Indeed. But let's remember there are a lot of Americans who think it would make a huge difference if McCain were POTUS, or Hillary were POTUS, or Kucinich were POTUS.

It would not. It will not change significantly until the system changes significantly. Everyone wants a hero, it seems. What this says to me is that most people have abdicated from their own responsibilities, and given responsibility over to the politicians-as-saviours notion.

This comes back to my personal objection to incrementalism. Because a systemic change is needed, incremental change "from within" and the like, that stuff is just window dressing, like Dennis Kucinich's stage shows are window dressing.

At September 11, 2009 9:52 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

All you do is defend Obama like he is some kind of misunderstood saint. Everything you say is designed to let that bastard off the hook. Perhaps you ought to bill him for services rendered. Yes Bob, we all know about the corporate influence but unlike you I think Obama does have choices, he may have to pay politically for those choices yet he still has choices. Obama is a war criminal; he became one the first week in office when his beloved little drones blew some children to smithereens. If you wish to defend that be my guest.

At September 11, 2009 11:42 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

How do we know Kucininch would just be "window dressing"? I think Ron paul would be too, to be frank. Basically what I'm asking is what sort of new political world do we want here?

At September 12, 2009 7:36 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Because as long as the system is corrupted by the money power and by corporate influence, the POTUS is nothing but a figurehead.

Let me reverse the question for you, Jenny. How would Kucinich be different from Obama? Not what vague, dreamy characteristics would he have differently, but how as POTUS would he be different?

Who would allow him to carry the vote?

If Gore won the popular vote and the electoral vote in 2000 and yet the SCOTUS gave the White House to Bush, how would Kucinich prevent that sort of outcome?

You are free to believe in the cult of personality, Jenny. I can't make you believe in the truth, I can only tell you what is real. It's up to you to reject or accept reality. If you think Kucinich would do things differently, explain (1) how he would do it, (2) why he would do it, and (3) what would be the outcome.

At September 12, 2009 9:53 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Rob, saying that Obama is not in control is not defending him.

He is undoubtedly at some level complicit. He doesn't stand in front of the nation and admit he has no control over the military. But who in that position would?

By saying that Obama is waging a war in Afghanistan, you have personalized it. "Let's all hate Obama" kind of thing. Where does that leave you if the same agenda, planned for at least as far back as the nineties and engaged in during Bush II's presidency, would have been followed by Clinton, McCain or any of the other plausible candidates?

Jenny, I don't think Kucinich would necessarily be window dressing. Now give me the set of circumstances that would have allowed him to be President.

What I am saying is that politics as we know it will not produce any real change in the upper rungs. That's why you can see an occasional Green and more frequently liberal, progressive Dems elected to lower level offices but are eventually weeded out before they get anywhere near the real seats of power.

And why would people who so control the system be willing to let the hoi polloi get control of anything? What happened to Spitzer after he wrote an op-ed about the approaching mortgage meltdown?

The game is fixed. All I'm saying is at least understand the rules of the game when you enter the casino and don't blame the floorshow for what you lost at the roulette table.

At September 12, 2009 10:31 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Kuncininch would probably actually, you know, keep promises Obama has broken. He seemed more dedicated to changing the country, ensuring health care and all.

At September 12, 2009 10:44 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

And may I also ask: if we shouldn't be mad at Obama who allows and approves of his fucking legislations, who should we direct our rage at?

At September 12, 2009 11:17 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Jenny, how's that rage working? Get the troops out ov Afghanistan yet? I lived through the sixties and fought against the Vietnam War. Those demonstrations didn't move squat. The military decided to get out. And things were more flexible, not as locked down back then.

The rage is precisely the thing I am arguing against here. Obama is a replaceable part. We demonstrated against LBJ and got Nixon for our troubles (and another dead Kennedy).

You know who you get when Obama is vanquished politically? You don't get Kucinich. The system doesn't work that way. You get Palin, or Huckabee. If Obama's shot you get Joe Biden.

By the way, you never answered my question. Explain to me how Kucinich is going to win.

At September 12, 2009 12:51 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

I'm not going to address Jenny's fantasies about Kucinich "keeping promises," mainly because the fantasies are irrelevant to America. Jenny prefers to live in a fantasy world, which seems to be Jenny's path to sanity. Adieu, Jenny.

Bob @ 9:53 -- Yep. I've written at length about the AIG fiasco and how it's a huge charade but despite the fact that I know how AIG works and from that I know how it's a charade, people continue to believe that the fantasies are what matter, not the reality.

"Rhislart Gwilym" recently posted a comment at Chris Floyd's latest post concerning 9/11/2001, and it lays out the reality quite nicely. I don't know who Mr Gwilym is, or whether that's an obvious pen-name for someone, but that isn't relevant to whether the comment he posted is accurately assessing what is going on. Most particularly sage is Gwilym's observation about the GICs seeing "peak everything" and how that's driving the insanity afoot now around the globe.

I have written very similar comments in the past at many people's blogs' comment sections, and I've been laughed at and dismissed -- presumably because people fear such ugly realities being true. Some of us have the ability to spot trends and synthesize the convergence of those trends. The fact that others lack this skill/ability doesn't mean we're wrong.

I've had my synthetic analyses prove themselves accurate time and again over the past 15 years, and I'm not inclined to think I'm wrong in agreeing with Gwilym's take at Mr Floyd's. I'd suggest that you, Rob, Jonathan and all the Dead Horse readership go check out Gwilym's comment.

At September 12, 2009 1:02 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I have to disagree that the protests in the sixties were useless. In the Iraq War people protested against it before we actually invaded while with the Vietnam War it took a few years before people spoke out against it. I would say that is progress.

Bob, you are defending Obama and he is indefensible. He is, in fact, a monster. You argue that since Obama is nothing but a figurehead that it is a waste of time to criticize him. The real truth is that as long as there is a Democrat in the White house you will support that person no matter what. You can’t stand the idea of a Republican being in the White House. I submit you are out of ammunition which is why you keep repeating the same catch phrases because Obama has screwed you on everything you probably cared about. And you continue to defend him from the ravages of my awful onslaughts as if anyone gave a damn about what I think anyway.

The proof is in the pudding. I mentioned several things in my post where I only mentioned Obama among several other topics -- such as how Bush tried to starve 5 million people -- I thought would have been of interest like the covert increase of troop levels in Iraq but the only thing you picked up on was Obama and how I am so mean to Dear Leader. Basically what you are saying is that there is no use in doing anything because Obama is a figurehead therefore Obama can do what he wants without any criticism. That this is a contradiction seems to escape your notice. If you are going to make extraordinary claims then you better have some extraordinary proofs which you have to date failed to provide.

At September 12, 2009 1:19 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Rob, I see both you AND Bob being correct.

Bob correctly states that the POTUS is a figurehead. What actual power does the POTUS have, presently?

- signing statements... these can be ignored by the Congress and the Courts

- ability to declare anyone an "enemy combatant" and thereby deny all civil and criminal procedure rights to that person... this is probably the most problematic area of power held by the POTUS at present

- ability to kill legislation with a pocket veto... this requires the POTUS to actually disagree with the Congress, an event I have not seen in my lifetime

- power to declare war... this has been sidestepped so many times that it's now an irrelevant point of constitutional authority

This is why I said Jenny's take on Kucinich as POTUS is a mere fantasy.

At the same time, Rob, you are correct about the partisanship being problematic, and I agree with you there mainly because partisan bickering distracts everyone's analysis, energy, and democratic impulse away from what matters -- retaking power -- and toward a ridiculous Roman Circus of distraction, without the bread!

In fact, it **appears** somewhat ironic to me that while you point out the problem of partisanship, you are engaging in a partisan argument of sorts with Bob.

Each of you 3 principals here at Dead Horse is a smart fellow with good insights on many things.

And healthy disagreement is a good thing, it is how ideas are made durable and rigorous, or rejected as impractical.

And we're in a highly stressful time in America right now, so I can see how there's some temptation to argue a bit more strenuously, or more personally, than in a better time of America's history.

I'm suggesting that you 3 can get further by seeing your commonalities first, and working from that common perspective to resolve differences.

At September 12, 2009 2:45 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

All right, I read the chris floyd comment: what now? Once we realize that 9/11 is an inside job, what do you want us to do?

At September 12, 2009 2:54 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jenny, you're a troll. Only a brain-dead robot comes around asking others to tell "her" what to do.

Get a life. A better routine. And a REAL sense of humor.

At September 12, 2009 3:00 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

It's a sincere fucking question, what are you doing now that you realize the attacks were a sham? Seems to me you're sitting around waiting for the end to come and cursing out everyone. You seem to be doing something like the same think Rob has accused Bob of doing: you say what's the point of taking any action when everything's a lie?

At September 12, 2009 4:07 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Your posts betray an intent directly opposite their words, "Jenny."

At September 12, 2009 4:07 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Rob, what power does Obama have? Does he have the power to decide to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow? He simply wouldn't be allowed to do it.

I think Ray McGovern at BradBlog touches on what I've been saying:

but I don't think that there is any doubt as to what happens if you stray from the agenda.

I'm not counting your ammunition, but you say that Obama is a monster. More of a monster than Bush, less of a monster than Carter, more coherent a monster than Reagan in his last term, less of a monster with sexual baggage than Clinton? Does your analysis include the degree of monsterism?

I suspect that part of the real job description for being a President these days is that he must be a monster.

What President do you think hasn't been a monster? How far back do you go to find a non-monsterish President?

If the system keeps selecting monsters for our Presidents, then why get worked up over this particular monster? Are you concerned that some people think he may not be as monsterish as the last monster or as monsterish as you think he should be considered?

Because, in fact, there is a difference between Bush II and Obama. There is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. Not enough to change the agenda at the top because the top is pretty much immune from political pressure.

But let's take your position. Obama is a monster. A really, really, really bad monster. Is he worse than the last monster? And why didn't our democratic system produce something better than a monster?

And what are you suggesting we do in order to prevent another monster in the White House? Because unless you've got some answers you're just saying that you can say monster louder than me.


As far as the Vietnam War, it essentially started after WWII after the Japanese withdrew as the French tried to reassert control over it, but with U.S. assistance. From 1954 on it was the U.S.'s ballgame. So the demonstrations began in the mid-sixties after LBJ had the Gulf of Tonkin to justify the troop increases in 1965. By '68things were hot. But by then the FBI, army intelligence and who knows else permeated the movement. When Nixon ended the draft near the end of his first term the anti-war movement was all but over. Only compromised groups like the rump of the SDS were still making noise, and their tactics alienated the public. The war ended when the military decided it was time to end it.

At September 12, 2009 4:07 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Please, can we do without the flinging of insults and name calling? These topics are worthy of discussion and Jenny’s question is perfectly legitimate though I have no good answer. In fact I agree with Bob to a large degree and Bob does make very good points and I’m always willing to listen to what Bob has to say though I do wish Bob, that you would start out your comments with something other than “Obama this and Obama that.” I’m much more interested in “discussion” than I am arguing.

At September 12, 2009 4:17 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jenny's question is not legitimate, because Jenny is not legitimate. Naivete is not Jenny's problem. Lying is. Go read Jenny's comments at my blog if you doubt me.

Jenny just comes here looking for a fight.

Tell me please, what obligates any of us on Earth to command Jenny how to respond to the truth?

She asks us to tell her what to do. By so doing, she is making it seem like we are problems and not solutions. Her angle is the same everywhere she comments. She is a snark-vector.

Treating snark-vectors seriously merely degrades the conversation.

Treating false questions seriously merely degrades the conversation.

Have Jenny identify herself and her real motives, and I'll respond to her questions with all the seriousness her forthcoming facts suggest is warranted.

At September 12, 2009 5:09 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Sorry Rob.

At September 12, 2009 6:38 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I go away for a couple of days and this is what happens.


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