Officially the Pentagon is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, but according to the Washington Post , it is secretly arming them, professedly to help them fight ISIS (aka Daesh), another official enemy of the United States.
At the same time, however, numerous testimonies from several countries of the “Greater Middle East” reveal that the very same Pentagon, who is officially fighting ISIS there, is covertly arming it.
These facts prove that the Pentagon is still going after the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy: to provoke “endless wars” aiming to deprive all states in the “Greater Middle East” of the ability to stand up against financial imperialism.
— INSURGE intelligence (@insurgeintel) May 23, 2015
War may be a racket, as General Smedley Butler claimed long ago, but who cares these days since business is booming?
And let’s add to such profits a few other all-American motivations. Start with the fact that, in some curious sense, war is in the American bloodstream.
As former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges once put it, “War is a force that gives us meaning.”
Historically, we Americans are a violent people who have invested much in a self-image of toughness now being displayed across the “global battlespace.” (Hence all the talk in this country not about our soldiers but about our “warriors.”)
As the bumper stickers I see regularly where I live say: “God, guns, & guts made America free.” To make the world freer, why not export all three?
Add in, as well, the issue of political credibility. No president wants to appear weak and in the United States of the last many decades, pulling back from a war has been the definition of weakness.
No one — certainly not Donald Trump — wants to be known as the president who “lost” Afghanistan or Iraq.
As was true of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in the Vietnam years, so in this century fear of electoral defeat has helped prolong the country’s hopeless wars.
Generals, too, have their own fears of defeat, fears that drive them to escalate conflicts (call it the urge to surge) and even to advocate for the use of nuclear weapons, as General William Westmoreland did in 1968 during the Vietnam War.
Washington’s own deeply embedded illusions and deceptions also serve to generate and perpetuate its wars.
Lauding our troops as “freedom fighters” for peace and prosperity, presidents like George W. Bush have waged a set of brutal wars in the name of spreading democracy and a better way of life.
The trouble is: incessant war doesn’t spread democracy — though in the twenty-first century we’ve learned that it does spread terror groups — it kills it.
At the same time, our leaders, military and civilian, have given us a false picture of the nature of the wars they’re fighting.
They continue to present the US military and its vaunted “smart” weaponry as a precision surgical instrument capable of targeting and destroying the cancer of terrorism, especially of the radical Islamic variety.
Despite the hoopla about them, however, those precision instruments of war turn out to be blunt indeed, leading to the widespread killing of innocents, the massive displacement of people across America’s war zones, and floods of refugees who have, in turn, helped spark the rise of the populist right in lands otherwise still at peace.
Lurking behind the incessant warfare of this century is another belief, particularly ascendant in the Trump White House: that big militaries and expensive weaponry represent “investments” in a better future — as if the Pentagon were the Bank of America or Wall Street.
Steroidal military spending continues to be sold as a key to creating jobs and maintaining America’s competitive edge, as if war were America’s primary business. (And perhaps it is!)
Those who facilitate enormous military budgets and frequent conflicts abroad still earn special praise here.
Consider, for example, Senator John McCain’s rapturous final sendoff, including the way arms maker Lockheed Martin lauded him as an American hero supposedly tough and demanding when it came to military contractors. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.)
Put all of this together and what you’re likely to come up with is the American version of George Orwell’s famed formulation in his novel 1984: “war is peace.”
The War the Pentagon Knew How to Win