Heck of a job, Hamid

According to the Serious Thinkers who rule our country’s destiny we have finally put an end to our role in Iraq. We have only 50,000 troops there, but they have no combat mission. I suppose they are there to explain to the newly awakened participants in this vibrant Middle Eastern democracy (scrubbed clean of WMDs) how they too could create their own episodes of Survivor, and they wouldn’t even have to go to Nicaragua. They could do the whole game show by walking down the streets of Baghdad. And if we have to send a few armed contractors to defend our largest overseas embassy, located not in London or The Hague or Beijing, but in the Green Zone, so be it; just send us the bill. It’s not like the citizens of this former Republic have any say in the matter.

Now all Serious Thinkers turn their attention to Afghanistan. We are so lucky to have Serious Thinkers in Washington, D.C. This group used to be known as the Wise Men, but Wise Men fell out of favor about the time that their pet project, the Vietnam War, fell out of Public Favor. In those days Public Favor was sought after by our rulers. Today, the Serious Thinkers have convinced our rulers that what we have to say is of little import. Much more important is Bipartisan Compromise. That way the Serious Thinkers can control our destiny without the inconvenience of going through the complicated procedures that a bunch of eighteenth century men in wigs devised. The only wise thing those guys came up with, after all, is the right to bear arms.

The first 2 years of the Obama Administration involved coming to a Bipartisan Compromise about the current state of the National Security State. Finally, we have arrived. Obama was allowed to proclaim that We are Better than the war criminals who ran things before him. And part of Our being Better is that no war crimes will ever be prosecuted, no discipline will ever take place of anyone in the Justice Department for fraudulent “legal” opinions justifying the crimes, and we won’t even bother prosecuting anyone for destroying hours and hours of torture by the CIA (both the torture and the destruction of evidence) because, well, because. We feel so much Better now.

Having put its imprimatur on the Bush-Cheney National Security State, the current Bush Term 3 is now looking to Afghanistan. That dreaded Public Opinion is beginning to get a little queasy at what it sees. The public, who still believes they have a small say in such Serious Matters, really is not convinced it wants to spend another $900 billion, like we did in Iraq, especially if it’s going to end in Disaster. Public Opinion, you see, is not sophisticated enough to understand, like Serious Thinkers do, that there is no such thing as Disaster. We may lose a fortune, we may lose many soldiers (which Public Opinion rather romantically calls sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, etc.), but in the end we can afford it. In fact, another branch of Serious Thinkers is putting the final touches on a plan to cut Social Security benefits, raise retirement age to 70, eliminate the mortgage interest income tax deduction all with a view to be able to drop $900 billion on a losing (there I go again, slipping into the language of Pubic Opinion) … on a Strategic Move.

So it is important that Serious Thinkers convince us that Afghanistan is not Vietnam. And as one who spent much of my life contemplating the disaster that was Vietnam, which took place in front of our eyes, I have to admit that there is no resemblance.

For example, we never transported negotiators from Hanoi while our soldiers were being killed to negotiate with our client government in Saigon. Serious Thinkers now realize that part of the plan in stomping out Al-Qaeda (wasn’t that the original rationale, I forgot) is to bring Taliban leaders to Kabul to talk. Remember when the Candidate said that we should go into Pakistan to root out Al-Qaeda if Pakistan wouldn’t turn them over? That was before Hope met Serious Thinkers. We now go to Pakistan solely to bring these gentlemen under military escort to discuss their future share in the government which replaced the thuggish regime they ran. Evidently we fought this war to achieve Semi-Barbarity. Only half the soccer stadium will be used to kill women and political opponents in public displays of blood-thirsty religious orthodoxy and tyrannical barbarity under the new Half-Civilized state we fought to achieve.

Money makes the World Go Round says a Serious Thinker

Plus, in Vietnam we would have been shocked (we were so naive in those days!) if we found out that Diem or Mihn or Thieu or Ky were regularly taking bags of money from the Soviet Union. We now know that there can be nothing wrong with Hamid Karzai regualrly taking bags brim filled with money from Iran — the Iranian head of government even comes directly to see our client with boxes of cash in tow. How could any one other than a not Serious Thinker conceive that this shows there is something amiss? Our own Supreme Court has said that money is simply expression. It’s free speech! And in our country corporations can now give money to politicians anonymouslly. In Afganistan by contrast, Hamid Karzai openly proclaimed(once the payments were disclosed) that he received money–off the books, as it were–from a fellow he of government. As one Afghan official noted, it was all “transparent” because it was brought in plastic bags. Get it? I bet that bit of sly wit will cheer up some of those attending military funerals for the soldiers who Serious Thinkers sent to Afghanistan to play their Strategic Game. Maybe it will help them see that the soldiers shouldn’t be looked at like sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, etc. Serious Thinkers sure don’t look at them that way.

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