Where to Begin Rebutting the Afghan Blather?

Everything that appears in our mainstream media about foreign policy is blather.

Everything we read about Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran floats upon a sea of false premises and lies of omission and commission.

Right now the American mainstream media is printing mountains of news stories and editorials and opinion pieces about the Afghanistan "elections." All of it is blather. All of it. This is an election where no political parties are allowed. This is an election for a government that does next to nothing but serve as a propaganda tool for an occupying army, an election where no one truly opposed to the U.S./NATO occupation is allowed to run. All the stories and opinion pieces on this election miss the plain, simple fact that this is an "election" being conducted under occupation and is seen by probably next to no one in Afghanistan, regardless of their politics or ideology, as legitimate.

In fact, this whole election production in Afghanistan is being staged more for Americans than Afghans. The election is meant to soothe a skeptical and impatient American public. Having lived with war and occupation propaganda of all types for 30 plus years, Afghans know better.

And it’s barely worth mentioning, as it is the sort of hypocrisy out of Washington that barely merits notice at this point, that the U.S., at one time, espoused the principle that elections held under foreign occupation were automatically illegitimate. But of course, elections held under American occupation are never illegitimate, because we are America and America is inherently good and selfless. The rules don’t apply to us, the exceptional and indispensable nation.

And Monday we got more of the same out of the president. Obama went before the VFW in Phoenix and did some rote, costless, and meaningless denunciation of Pentagon waste a month after approving a $636 billion "defense" budget. And then he told us why the Afghan war has to be fought:

"This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. This is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

Other than possibly Ron Paul, there isn’t one person of renown in this country who would challenge that false justification for this meaningless war for war’s sake.

Don’t we have "those who attacked us 9/11" in some dark dungeons somewhere awaiting super-secret special military trials? Who are "those"? Well, "those who attacked us on 9/11" are "al-Qaeda," or just "Qaeda," which is becoming the fashionable appellation for that mysterious organization among our mainstream press stenographers now. And what is "al-Qaeda"?

"Qaeda" is quite simply anyone the U.S. military, intelligence community, or major D.C. politicians say it is. "Al-Qaeda" is a catch-all term applied to enemies of the current interests of our Beltway ruling elite. And when those interests change or shift? So does the definition of "al-Qaeda." If you doubt that is possible, just witness the shifting blame for Lockerbie as the needs of the Beltway have changed over the past decade. And note the sickening history of blame for the Halabja gas attack as Washington’s interests changed.

"Those who attacked us on 9/11" cannot and never will be defined. There is no end to it. There never will be. Anyone who picks up arms against the U.S. or its regional puppets will be called "al-Qaeda" or "Taliban."

Our "debate" on foreign policy is so far from reality that we just accept plainly preposterous statements like the Afghan war "is fundamental to the defense of our people" without comment. What can you even say to that? What do you say to people who mouth such things? Where do you begin?

Do you point out that the U.S. would not have been attacked on 9/11 if it were not for its self-serving entanglements in the Middle East and Central Asia for the past 60-plus years?

Do you point out that slaughtering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people all but assures that this country will be attacked again by "terrorists"?

Do you point out that the attack on 9/11 was the result of a comedy of errors on the part of a "defense" and "intelligence" community that even then cost us half a trillion dollars a year?

Do you point out that terrorists don’t need a "safe haven" to plot attacks?

Do you point out that even a moderately cautious and alert immigration policy would have prevented 9/11?

I could go on…

But you know what? No one cares. Our Beltway elite barely even try to justify these elective wars with coherent rationales anymore. In fact, Obama could have gotten up on that stage yesterday and justified the Afghan war as the latest front in the war on drugs (which is now a sub-justification) and no one would have cared. Not one major politician would say boo about it. They don’t care enough anymore about our opinion on these wars to treat our intelligence with respect. They know that these wars are going to go on no matter what Americans think and no matter which vetted mannequin of the two-party fraud occupies the White House. No matter what imbecilic justifications they advance for these wars, the wars will continue until the last nickel can be made from them.

I’ve seen some commentary lately about how the Afghan war is not winnable. These columns miss the point. D.C. doesn’t care about "winning." It has no definition of winning quite on purpose. The war in Afghanistan is a war for war’s sake.

What the Imperial City on the Potomac wants is a long, low-burning conflict with tolerably low casualties and extremely high overhead. It will end only when Americans are pushed to the precipice of real economic hardship and their two-party system is in genuine jeopardy. Only then will the Empire declare victory and come home. And after a decade of holding a huge pity party for ourselves, in which we file into movie theaters to watch film after film showing how Americans were actually the victims of the weakling nations we destroyed on the other side of the globe, D.C. will plot the next round of wars against the next batch of "madmen" ruling over distant, impoverished countries that are absolutely no threat to us at all. My guess is that it will be the "Bantu threat" in 25 years. And, yeah, we will fall for even that.

Author: Christopher Dowd

Christopher Dowd is a Boston native and entrepreneur.