Rats and Monsters

The US generals and politicians, the war profiteers and the military contractors are running for cover and squeezing through the cracks like rats—the monsters are retreating to their crypts. Shame on all of them.

American carnage at a bloody pause. Death and deception.

You’ll now hear a steady drum-beat from the US war-mongers and the fascists: “We could have prevailed in Afghanistan if the politicians hadn’t tied our hands;” “This proves once more that we need more resources for the Pentagon;” “We were stabbed in the back by the liberals and their buddies in the media.”

The liberals will babble and blither and clear their throats as they rattle on in response: “We knew it couldn’t be won on the battlefield, but the rapid collapse of Afghan forces was a complete surprise;” “We should have invested in a smaller, stronger, more coherent, and better-trained force, linked to a search for some more sustainable political outcome;” “Our intentions were good, our forces stepped up when the call of duty sounded and always acted nobly, but the political will of the Afghanis themselves was sorely lacking.”

For the fascists, the liberals are the problem; for the liberals, the US puppets—whether in Viet Nam or Iraq or Afghanistan—are always the problem.

What you will not hear from the liberals or the reactionaries is the simple truth: the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was a classic imperial adventure. You won’t hear it because they all agree: the US has the right (even the duty) to invade other countries at will—“We are the exceptional nation.” The arrogance and the assumed superiority are breath-taking.

Like every other adventure, the imperial architects will claim that this time was unique, that we came only to civilize and enlighten (to “save the women and the girls” in this case), that we wanted nothing more than to install democracy and bring prosperity and progress, and that the death and destruction were an unintended and unhappy by-product. It’s all demonstrably false, and it makes me want to holler: If you export democracy—US style—please take the electoral college and the senate and leave them there; if you invade on behalf of women and girls against fundamentalist religious zealots, why not Saudi Arabia, or better yet, invade the US Supreme Court. 

Thousands of US troops dead and injured, and we know that the suffering will be ongoing, tens of thousands of Afghani people thrown into the furnace of war, hundreds of thousands of lives disrupted and destroyed—there is no adequate reparations the US war-makers can offer.

And as for the trillions of US dollars that went up in smoke, the powerful will remind you not to be confused—we still can’t afford universal health care in this country, full employment, housing the unhoused, canceling student debt, or fully funded public schools.

There will be finger-pointing, and there will be rationalizing as “considered judgments” are offered up by the war criminals themselves—the politicians and generals who created and managed this 20-year catastrophe—and barely a word in the for-profit press from Phyllis Bennis or Rashid Khalidi or Ajamu Baraka or Medea Benjamin, smart and principled thinkers and scholars who opposed the war from the start. These dangerous folks might ask the real questions: What is the rank of the US in military spending worldwide? What percentage of the federal budget goes to the military-industrial complex? How much tax money—your money—went to private military contractors last year? How many US military installations are there in foreign countries? How many foreign countries have military installations on US soil? How should we make sense of these facts?

~~Close all military bases.

~~Defund the police

~~End the aggression against Cuba

~~Abolish war

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