Blogs, The Forever War October 10, 2019

The Forever War: The Friend of My Enemy..


The conservative mantra that has justified the armed intervention in the Middle East and specifically Iraq has morphed from the original drumbeat propaganda of the “search for WMDs” into a plan for “bringing freedom and democracy to totalitarian dictatorships”. Yes. Iraqis did have elections, but how has this plan for a democratized society in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East worked out so far? Who benefited from “freedom and democracy” and who did not.

The recent takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul and other towns by the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” (ISIS or ISIL), a group expelled from al Qaeda for being too violent, is a shattering blow to U.S. plans for the region. Over a decade of America’s war and occupation has left in its wake decimated, desperate societies, and the type of power vacuums that, historically, precede widespread, violent upheaval, something the world at present can’t really afford.

—- Barton Kunstler.

Our self-aggrandizing NSA and the so-called foreign “intelligence” services in 2012 dismissed evidence of an ISIS resurgence. It was felt by these august agencies, that ISIS was no threat. Was this just a flat-out intelligence failure? Or could it have been about current and former bureaucrats saving their asses? Or how about the possibility of bureaucrats distorting reality to serve a hidden agenda? Or lastly (but not leastly), was it a blatant example of outright incompetence?

In a recent post on TomDispatch.com, blogger Tom Engelhardt makes the case that after a half century of continuous war (actually it is longer), no one seems willing or even capable of drawing the obvious conclusions that the history of American military campaigns throughout this period has resulted in a sweeping record of failure that should stagger the imagination.

That possible solutions to global problems, possible winning strategies, might come from elsewhere than the U.S. military or other parts of the national security state, based on 50 years of imperial failure, 50 years of problems unsolved and wars not won and goals not reached, of increasing instability and destruction, of lives snuffed out or broken? Not on your life. It’s not the American way.

In any one or even all of these cases, we have to question why the U.S. spends so much of the taxpayer’s money on military and intelligence strategies that sap our resources – not to mention our freedoms – and that in the end prove to be so dysfunctional.

We assume the right to impose on other cultures and systems our own singular, deeply-flawed combination of democracy and corporate capitalism. Under the neoliberal banner of “freedom” we deliver “intervention” in the form of death squads, regime change, dictatorship, and drone attacks, solely justified by the claim we are creating fertile soil for growing democracy. But to the arrogant architects of these aggressions – against sovereign states and their people, mind you – the consequences of these interventions are really just collateral damage for the benefit of those who would profit from war. The Forever War.

Let’s once again follow the bouncing ball. It is mind-boggling how convoluted, self-defeating and delusional The Forever War is as a strategy for controlling the global economy. Consider the following.

The latest threat to global capitalist domination is ISIS – a militant Sunni jihadist movement funded by Kuwait (remember, we ‘”democratized” them from Iraq in the Gulf War) and our ally Saudi Arabia, a feudal theocracy with economic ties to the Bush family. The Saudis directly fund al Qaeda and other Wahhabist groups that the U.S. brands as ‘terrorist”, and together with Jordan and our CIA, the Saudis are currently providing weapons to the jihadist insurgents attempting to overthrow the secular, democratically elected Assad regime in Syria. Why would the U.S. be supporting jihadist terrorists that it brands as enemies? Because Russia (and Iran) supports Assad. The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

“Who could be surprised that such a “war” has been eating American taxpayer dollars at a rate that should stagger the imagination in a country whose infrastructure is now visibly crumbling? In a separate study, released in November, the Costs of War Project estimated that the price tag on the war on terror (with some future expenses included) had already reached an astronomical $5.6 trillion. Only recently, however, President Trump, now escalating those conflicts, tweeted an even more staggering figure: “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!” (This figure, too, seems to have come in some fashion from the Costs of War estimate that “future interest payments on borrowing for the wars will likely add more than $7.9 trillion to the national debt” by mid-century.)”

….. Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch

So now let’s follow this thread – as a taxpayer. Your money helped bring “democracy” to Kuwait, a country that is now using this largesse to fund radical Sunni insurgents who in turn are currently engaged in efforts to both overthrow a secular (democratic) Syrian government and to also overrun half of the Iraq that your money also helped to “democratize”. If that weren’t enough to torque your balls, the Neo-Con enablers who spent your money on these neoliberal capitalist terraforming expeditions in the first place, now want to use more of it to fight the same jihadist insurgents that you’ve also (indirectly through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) given your money to. So in order to save one ally you gave money to, from an enemy armed and funded by agents that you also gave money to, you have to spend more of your money to blow up one or the other or both. The friend of my enemy is both my enemy and my friend. This is the essence and dysfunctional nature of The Forever War.

The result of this futile exercise in democratization – and let’s be clear that this term applies in name only; it is only a convenient label to hang the hopes of the masses on – has been to leave in its wake hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed and traumatized victims, and to serve as a clarion call to the opposition – our enemies (nee friends) – for mustering new recruits, or Freedom Fighters in their parlance, for – wait for it – The Forever War.

You really have to wonder whether this state of perpetual violence and destruction masks a strategy on the part of the West that is actually aimed at preventing political stablility in the Middle East that might otherwise mean the establishment of competing economic systems. Just ask yourself: “Who stands to profit from a Forever War?”

In the end we have to confront the real enemy, for the toll of The Forever War is being exacted on all of us as increasingly scarce resources are being wasted on tragically inept, unrealistic, and destructive policies implemented and enforced at the bidding of corrupt and arrogant elites who view the world as a roulette table where governments play the croupier and the house always wins.

To quote Walt Kelly’s Pogo:

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Thanks to Nation of Change where you can read Barton Kunstler’s complete post and to TomDispatch where you can catch Tom Engelhardt’s posts.

Post Script: For a recent update on the covert origins of ISIS check out this excellent SGC News post.

Revised from a 19 June 2014 post.


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