“This is the end…” ???

by JC

This upcoming week marks Barack Obama’s taking full ownership of the Afghan war, and escalating it to over a hundred thousand troops. To those of us who lived during the Vietnam war the similarities are eery. That war changed the history of this country–not because of the war or the purpose it was fought for, but because of the clash of cultures at home that ripped this country apart.

Even given that Obama will sell his war and its escalation with an exit strategy, we have to ask: is it worth this? Does this make sense for America to take on at this time? Can you really write an exit strategy while you are escalating a war with ill-defined goals, and botched strategies? A war in a part of the world where outsiders have never won?

Another similarity with WWII: it was the scope and scale of that war which eventually drug this country out of the Great Depression. Will our destabilization of the middle east–with Iran and Pakistan potentially entering the war theater with Afghanistan and Iraq, lead to WWIII? Is this the end play? Perpetual war? Return of the draft?

Too many questions, and no answers.


I’m reminded, as the title to this diary attests, of the scene in Apocalypse Now, where the helicopters rage across the countryside spewing napalm, and we feel the war taking a turn towards madness.

“This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land
Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane…”
– The Doors

  1. Lizard

    you can’t talk about our shooting wars without talking about the money wars. right now some the people i read are saying there is a much greater chance of america escalating hostilities with a country like iran or pakistan to draw attention away from the bigger picture financial war raging between the US/UK/Israel axis and the rest of the developed/developing world.

    the wall street scam (with fed collusion) is still happening for anyone who cares to look, and obama’s behavior thus far shows he’s either cowardly or powerless to address it.

    mike whitney’s latest piece @ counterpunch, titled blame larry summers ends with this:

    Summers’ assignment is to bring the broader economy to its knees; to crush big labor by keeping unemployment high, to force state and local and governments to privatize more public assets and services, and to generate as much human misery as possible. In short, Summers is laying the groundwork for structural adjustment within the US, a policy which reflects his ongoing commitment to multinational corporations and neoliberalism. It’s the shock doctrine redux. These people are monsters.

    this shit doesn’t seem to change, does it.

    but i’m sure obama will give another wonderful speech full of empty rhetoric to pacify his restless supporters, right?

    • lizard, “multinational corporations” and “neoliberalism” are just euphemisms for capitalism and capitalism is incompatable with democracy in both the economic sphere and the political. Obama plays a role because the state is a capitalist state. Any change must start there.

  2. Remember Nixon secretly invaded Cambodia while jaw-jacking us on Pulling Out ostensibly the senario of Plausible Deniablity for the secret invasion.
    It’s embarassing to be the same species as these rapacious imbiciles – sure BO we’re boosting the troops in order to pull out… WTF you dim wit – you think we haven’t seen this before. Then you stop and think what would jesus do if Palin/McCAin had won?

  3. I have been lamenting on this since it was announced that he would be announcing (this Tuesday) an increase in troops. My friends of all political spectrum have, too, raised their concerns.

    Very troubling indeed – and as both JC and Darwin26 point out, there are parallels that should not be ignored.

    Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe my state of mind. Nor will I be silent just because I voted for the President making this decision.

  4. This is not going to end well.

  5. All war is class war. In order to resist imperialism you have to understand it’s root.

  6. Jim Lang

    I’m willing to wait until after I hear Obama’s plan before I start criticizing it.

    • Lizard

      go ahead jim, wait. maybe something phenomenal will happen tomorrow. just pack that hopium pipe, and inhale deeply.

      but the sad reality is this: nothing obama says tomorrow will change the fact that our entire justification for occupying afghanistan in the first place is bullshit.

      the war is not about avenging the perpetrators of 911, fighting terrorism, or freeing women from the taliban’s strict adherence to sharia law.

      it’s about american imperialism; and no matter what articulate things the captains says, it doesn’t change the fact that the ship is sinking.

      • Lizard

        from counterpunch today (i sure am glad they hit their financial target for the year):

        What makes sense now, from a U.S. imperialist point of view? Just look at the map. Realize that Afghanistan has no products the U.S. corporate world wants or needs. During the Cold War, Iran, Iraq, Turkey sometimes played crucial roles in U.S. geostrategic thinking but Afghanistan was practically conceded to the Soviet camp even before 1978. It only acquired significance as a Cold War battleground when U.S. strategists realized (in Brzezinski’s words) that they could “bleed the Soviets…the way they did us in Vietnam.” More recently, it has acquired significance as U.S. energy corporations do global battle with the Russians over access to Caspian Sea natural gas.

  7. If there is one thing that seems obvious to me after watching eleven presidential campaigns, it is that presidents don’t seem to be in charge of foreign policy.

    (Although I should add, just to contradict myself, that Nixon said that foreign policy was the only reason to have a president – that domestic policy took care of itself. That’s why he signed so much progressive legislation – he just didn’t care about it much.)

    But no – our Iraq policy from 1989 to 2009 has not changed with four different men in office, and most likely Afghanistan would be McCain’s war if he had been elected.

    But vote, y’all. Be sure to vote. It’s part of our precious freedom.

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