Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Grand Farce

I did a second take when I read the following headline in the New York Times, "Petraeus Opposes a Rapid Pullout in Afghanistan” prattles the Times article title. Since we were told nine years ago that we would only be there for a few months that must mean we have been pulling out for about eight years and six months because I know our government wouldn’t lie to us.

The lies and the “reporting” have long ago reached the level of farce. How could we possibly have a hasty retreat after nine years? Indeed, the Afghan War has reached the level of farce itself. The Washington Post has just reported that the Taliban have moved to the northern region of Afghanistan as the American forces are concentrated in the southern region. The army denies that the Taliban moved north to avoid confrontation which must be true because the army certainly wouldn’t lie to us.

So we continue to play the game where American and NATO troops move into an area and the Taliban correspondingly move to another area so that they might live on to fight another day. This makes clear that due to the size and rugged terrain of Afghanistan there aren’t nearly enough troops to defeat the Taliban. Indeed, it would take a real war with an all-out invasion requiring a concentrated effort of all American resources dedicated to defeating the Taliban to even begin to think about defeating the Taliban. Fortunately for our heroes (and unfortunately for everyone else concerned) they know they don’t have to defeat the Taliban, they know that they cannot defeat the Taliban. Instead we build fortresses to house the troops and sundry attendants while propping up a fake and fraudulent “government” whose “rule” is confined to the city of Kabul. This aspect of the grand farce of course is to gain the gift of legitimacy from our various allies and other bullied victims. Naturally our friends are only too happy to recognize Karzai and his band of bandits as being legitimate in order to make their American masters happy dappy (and to get their share of the loot).

The news keeps reporting that some members of Congress are unhappy with the war and that they don’t feel dappy at all about it. We note that this occurs only in those periods directly preceding Congressional elections and that they continue to fund the wars no matter how much they may weep and curse. Anyone can write “some members of Congress are unhappy about the war,” but what does it mean? It doesn’t mean anything really. It’s just more meaningless words in a meaningless culture in a meaningless world. It sure sounds great though, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s like democracy at work before our very eyes! Look, see the great debate over the Afghan War, it means we have serious and adult leaders who are considering all the important and relevant factors in order to come to a sane decision that will benefit the American public the most. Actually, no it doesn’t, but it’s what they would like you to think.

And so when the midterm elections arrive the American public will vote, some as they always have done and always will do which is vote the party line. Some will react to the economy and blame the Democratic Party. Then in a kneejerk reaction they will vote for the “opposing” party since they are unhappy with the current party. Many won’t pay much attention or even vote, or will vote on local issues only. This is exactly how Obama gained the Oval Office, by banking on ye olde knee jerk reaction and indeed rode it right into shore. Of course he’s hitting a few reefs and oil wells on the way in but nobody is really paying attention to that. The Deep Horizon has been deep sixed down the memory hole and some of the worse aspects of “health care reform” have yet to manifest themselves though they will, probably about four years after Obama leaves office.

Rather than solve problems the elections continue to reinforce the great farce. Elections help to divide the public over superficialities while more important issues are ignored. People are obsessed with their symbols and cling to their symbols even in the face of self-destruction. Our presidents have become symbols themselves. George Bush was the Midwest symbol of a good ol’ boy that made it good ridin’ the range and cutting brush on his Texas ranch. Obama is the symbol for wealthy sophisticated liberal elites who like to think of themselves as better and above the slobbering working classes. Symbols are powerful tools in the right hands and keep us divided over non-issues. I fear the so-called left and right will never be able to work together in order to bring pressure to bear upon our leaders to end the empire. It’s just not going to happen.

3 Comments:

At August 16, 2010 4:42 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

"People are obsessed with their symbols and cling to their symbols even in the face of self-destruction. Our presidents have become symbols themselves...."
Very relevant observation, Rob. It's so hard to know, but I sometimes think people are even more "obsessed" with such things than they used to be decades ago. Sure, the same thing has prevailed (think religion, nationalism, and so on) since time began, I guess, but breaking out of that mind set seems more difficult today. Or maybe I'm entertaining that notion because I came to an awakening only recently myself.

 
At August 16, 2010 9:45 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob,
something like a hundred democratic members of congress have vote against funding the Af-Pak war, but obviously supporting them without supporting the democratic party leadership means, at best, possibly voting for one's rep, depending on his track record, but not voting for BHO in 2012. Unfortunately a lot of people like you said are more oriented towards symbolism and are likely to just go ahead and vote straight party ticket, which in 2010 might mean voting for a congressman who was against the war and a senator who was for it. (But voting symbol is easier than paying attention to all those boring details.)

Rob n' Mimi,

here in North Texas the local GOP congressman is very firmly entrenched, although democrat Bill White, formerly Houston's mayor, has a shot in the governor's race which is surprisingly close. I think this is in part because people are tired of Rick Perry and associate him with the unpopular Trans-Texas corridor(aka "the NAFTA highway") they're planning to build to by-pass I-35. I know nothing about Bill White apart from the emails I get from his organization, which mainly say how horrible Rick Perry is supposed to be.

White kept mostly his mouth shut with respect to criticizing the feds about the BP spill, which will have an impact on Texas's coast (and probably already has).

If this is the worst manifestation of him playing ball as a democrat, I guess I should vote for him, but presently I am undecided.

 
At August 16, 2010 8:16 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Mimi,

Perhaps people are more obsessed with symbols than in the past and maybe that is because for many people all that remains are the illusions. Or maybe it’s the coarsening of our culture, a byproduct of becoming a military state. It’s like people have nothing to identify with here in the states because we really don’t have a culture, just a mishmash of rampant capitalism and self-absorbed lost souls.

Jonathan,

True, there are some congressoids who vote against funding the war but the majority does vote to fund the wars which is to be expected. After all, if you don’t support the troops you could be cannon fodder quicker than you can say cannon fodder. It’s important to pay attention to the blood and guts crowd if you are a politician. Molly Ivins loved to write about “Good Hair” Perry, it made me curious as to what he looked like and I found a picture of him and saw what Ivins was talking about, LOL. Perry truly has a magnificently quaffed (right word?) mane, truly awe inspiring. I could never have hair like that even on a good hair day!

 

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