The War Goes On – Part One
Readers know that I am not a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, in general. What sticks in my craw – and endangers my fellow Americans – is the senseless, useless and too expensive war in Iraq and Afghanistan he continues to support.
Proponents like to point out the actions in the two countries are separate; they lie, for their own purposes. We should also link-in Pakistan. All three nations are Muslim. Large portions of their population sincerely believe – no matter how hard and consistently Washington objects – that the United States wages a war against their religion. (By the way, jihad does not mean war; it’s a struggle to achieve anything spiritual and noble in purpose, like Jesus in Gethsemane wrestling with the idea of being crucified.)
As the daughter of Great Britain, who shares a similar language, America inherited the mantel of colonialism, proven by the way we massacred Native Americans “to save them.”
Pakistan and Iraq were taken over on the pretext of civilizing and bringing them up to date. Afghanistan resisted interlopers in modern times starting 170 years ago when Britain suffered what historians called the greatest imperial defeat in battle: a solitary red coat survived. And as recently as 1989, when the Russian forces were summoned home after 10 years of trying – and failing – to “pacify” Afghans. In the aftermath, the Soviet regime fell, ending the great experiment of national communism that had endured since 1917.
In Iraq, London carved out a colony to oblige British Petroleum (BP), sweeping up Kurd and Shiite oil fields, taking and utilizing the Sunni minority to keep their fellow Muslims in check, as they used Christian Copts to control Egypt, for years. Americans no longer possess the blindness or cruelty that empire needs; President Franklin D. Roosevelt virtually terminated the colonial system by insisting nations must be ruled by their people, as in democracies.
This is important: The moods in those lands are not strictly anti-American; they defy all foreigners who try to order them to do anything against their mores and their religious tenets. In post-World War I Syria and Iraq, both the French and English called upon their superior weapons – airplanes, artillery and machine guns – to quell massive rebellions. Armed chiefly with swords, pikes and single-shot rifles, thousands died trying to throw the European powers out.
Afghanistan’s role as the breaker of empires did not suffer when Russia brought in its modern technology; we suffer more of a handicap. In order to curb the growth of communism, the United States heavily armed the local populace. Rocket-propelled missives and grenade launchers lead our contributions to the present Afghan uprising.
Moreover, we deal with our enormous miscalculations, a la Dien Bien Phu. In Vietnam, Americans felt compelled to continue colonial France’s struggle. Rudyard Kipling described it as “the white man’s burden.” The poet rendered magnificent propaganda to justify 19th century England’s spreading red (its color) on maps.
Behind Barack Obama’s consoling words, I suspect he means to keep the military industrial complex off his back; loss of those jobs could prove mortal to our staggering economy. Coping with a country that already threatens to blow apart, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan must wait on better times – if they ever come.
Tomorrow: Part Two