by Evert Cilliers
If you'd have told me that America would ever spritz $65 billion of its annual taxes and manpower into yet another country's civil war, I would've said you're articulating via the IQ of your sphincter. Wasn't our own Civil War painful enough?
If you'd have told me that this civil war was a fight over who controls the world's opium production, and that we'd picked the losing side in this battle of criminals, I would've said your cerebellum is on an intravenous drip of LSD spiked with toad venom.
That sort of dumbass bellicosity happened back in the 19th century, when Britain smuggled opium into China and got into two wars with China about it.
America is a dumbass nation, for sure: we use most of our spare time to follow the lives of pretty but dim bulbs in Hollywood, and millions of us will be reading a book credited to Sarah Palin, the current all-time queen of dumbosity.
But we can't be THAT dumb, can we?
Or that criminal. It would be like backing one side of the Mafia against another, where both are equally bad.
Yet we are.
In fact, we are responsible for the whole dumbolical return of Afghanistan to form as the major supplier of illegal drugs to a grateful planet of barbecued minds.
Before we got involved in Afghanistan, its opium industry was on its knees, down by 94%, because its crazy Taliban government, besides banning music and snuffing women who had sex outside of marriage, didn't like drugs either.
But we jumped in there, and toppled the Taliban from their puritan perch — something to do with the fact that they were harboring Osama Bin Laden, whose handover to us they were willing to negotiate, but our dumbfuck administration wasn't.
And so, without the crazy Taliban government around to tell them what not to do, the Afghan people got down to what they do best, which is growing opium, and they could again more or less feed themselves.
1. AFGHANISTAN IS NOT A COUNTRY, IT'S A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE
76% of Afghanistan's 28 million people live in small rural villages of a thousand or so people, where the opium poppies are grown, and the other 24% live in a dozen towns ranging from the size of Witchita to Little Rock, and in the single city, Kabul, population three million. Nearly 10% of the population are engaged in the production of opium, from which heroin is made. The farmers get 20% of the $3 billion profits made in Afghanistan out of total drug exports of $64 billion, which is about 40% of national GDP. 80% of the profits go to drug kingpins also known as warlords, among the biggest of whom are relatives of Afghanistan's president.
Afghanistan produces 93% of the world's opium, and this drug kills a 100,000 users a year. Like Burma, Afghanistan is basically a criminal enterprise.
Afghanistan has no government as we know it, although we've installed a pretend government there run by our puppet, a chap called Hamid Karzai who wears beautiful flowing robes and great hats, and who rules the city of Kabul, but no place else, because we put him there, and he made deals with all the other major criminals in the country on our behalf, because we promised to stuff their butts with bucks if they'd help us whack dudes whose jibs we don't dig, like the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The country is run by hundreds of such gangsters big and small, with their various militias who provide security and buy the country's opium crop from its farmers.
The gang we threw out, the Taliban, recovered themselves in Pakistan next door and are now back, fighting to take control of Afghanistan again. They've changed their minds about drugs, and are now funding their fight with taxes on the drugs. Over the past four years they've scored between $450 and $600 million this way, and have won back loose control of 80% of the countryside from the other gangsters (who are also called warlords, as if that's a better name). We're squabbling with the Taliban over the last 20%, and using our tax dollars — excuse me, YOUR tax dollars — to help the losing gangster-warlords against the victorious religious crazies.
Stupid dumbfuck us. We're backing the losers for control of a criminal enterprise known as Afghanistan. We call this “foreign policy.” A truer description would be “peeing up our nostrils.”
2. HOW WE FUND THE DRUGLORDS AND THE TALIBAN
When our media squawk that our puppet Karzai is not a reliable partner in Afghanistan, but a corrupt SOB, we're being total hypocrites. It's our fault he's corrupt. We bought him to do our bidding and now we're complaining that he's using our money to keep his gangster pals happy, which is the only way he has any influence in his criminal country. When we accuse him of corruption, we're merely bewailing the lack of a good excuse for us to be there, because we think if we had a reliable partner there, it would be some justification for us to be there, which it wouldn't. It costs us a lot of money to be there, and we're sore because too much of our money goes to Karzai's cronies to fund the drug trade, but we don't want to say this out loud, so we just call it “corruption.”
Of course there is other corruption, but it's corruption we're happy to indulge in. We're making various Afghan gangsters rich, many of whom are relatives of Hamid Karzai, by paying their legal companies — yes, like the Mafia, they have illegal AND legal enterprises — to truck our military supplies all over the country. We pay them a lot of money because we can't move our supplies around by ourselves — too dangerous — and these Afghan trucking companies pass our money as bribes on to the Taliban and the Afghan Army and assorted gangster-warlords not to shoot them or blow them up or hold them up, and that's how we're able to keep fighting the war. The guestimate is that about 10% of the Taliban's income comes from us in this way. We pay our enemies to keep our supplies running. They've got us coming and going.
Our semi-reliable partners, the gangster-warlords, haven't been together enough to keep the Taliban from taking over 80% of the country. If you're a small village of 500 people growing opium, it's a total toss-up whether you want to be ruled by the Taliban or the local gangster-warlord. The ones with the most guns get your loyalty, and if they don't rape your women, that's a bonus. One week the Taliban may be in charge, then our Army shows up, and a gangster-warlord is in charge again — and then our Army leaves, and the Taliban is in charge again, and it's all the same to the villagers, as long as somebody buys their opium.
As for the Afghan Army we're training — supposedly 94,000 strong, of whom maybe half are trained enough to put up half a fight — they're there for the paycheck, not the fight. The desertion rate is 20%, and rises dramatically when the trainees have to go into actual combat. The top officers are mostly Tajiks, not trusted by the Pashtuns, who are the base of the Taliban, and the biggest Afghan tribe. The Army is probably quite infiltrated by the Taliban anyway, as came to light when an Afghan cop shot and killed five British soldiers who were mentoring him.
If we were backing the Taliban instead of the gangster-warlords, the war would be over by now, because the Taliban are winning. That doesn't stop those gangster-warlords who are still in charge of their 20% of the country from living high not only on their drug profits, but also on our tax dollars being shoveled to them by us, the suckers of the criminal enterprise. So much is shoveled that Afghanistan is now the second most corrupt country in the world after Somalia, the other country besides Afghanistan that doesn't have a government, where security is also provided by gangsters who rule by the gun over tribe and clan and village.
This is the situation in Afghanistan. No government. A fight between gangster-warlords and the Taliban for control of the opium, and us in the middle, backing the losers.
3. TWO OR THREE REASONS WE'RE IN AFGHANISTAN
So WTF are we doing there? Why are we involved in the biggest drug racket on earth?
Well might you ask. The original reason we went there was to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. Well, he's gone, because our dumbfuck troops let him get away. The last time the CIA counted, they figured there were no more than a hundred Al Qaeda chappies left in Afghanistan.
Osama Bin Laden now sits in Pakistan's Waziristan, much diminished (some say there are fewer than 4,000 Al Qaeda people there), hooked up to his dialysis machine, with CIA drones dropping missiles on his Al Qaeda buddies in Waziristan, although these missiles have a tendency to hit more weddings than terrorists. But for all intents and purposes, we've got Al Qaeda pinned down in Waziristan, and the successful parts of the organization are now much further afield, where they've always been, right in our midst, in Germany and Britain and India and so on. Perhaps even in America.
So WTF are we doing in Afghanistan?
Some say we're there to defend the women of Afghanistan. Well, the Taliban don't want girls to go to school, and execute women who screw outside marriage, but they did protect Afghan women from being raped by the militia of the gangster-warlords, who don't want girls to go to school either, so in this case we are backing the rapists against the guys who execute women for fucking. Some difference. The one woman in Afghanistan's parliament of gangsters, Malalai Joya, who fled because the gangsters thought she was too uppity, says she doesn't want the US in Afganistan:
“Over the past eight years the U.S. has helped turn my country into the drug capital of the world through its support of drug lords … Many members of Parliament and high ranking officials openly benefit from the drug trade. President Karzai's own brother is a well known drug trafficker. Meanwhile, ordinary Afghans are living in destitution. The latest United Nations Human Development Index ranked Afghanistan 181 out of 182 countries. Eighteen million Afghans live on less than $2 a day. Mothers in many parts of Afghanistan are ready to sell their children because they cannot feed them. Afghanistan has received $36 billion of aid in the past eight years, and the U.S. alone spends $165 million a day on its war. Yet my country remains in the grip of criminals … We are sandwiched between three powerful enemies: the occupation forces of the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban and the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai. Now President Obama is considering increasing troops to Afghanistan and simply extending former President Bush's wrong policies. In fact, the worst massacres since 9/11 were during Obama's tenure. My native province of Farah was bombed by the U.S. this past May. A hundred and fifty people were killed, most of them women and children. On Sept. 9, the U.S. bombed Kunduz Province, killing 200 civilians. My people are fed up. That is why we want an immediate end to the U.S. occupation.”
So WTF are we doing in Afghanistan?
Basically, I can think of only two reasons, both to do with money. Yes, once more, it's all the fault of good old capitalism. Number one, there must be some goddam oil pipeline we're defending there somewhere, since that's always the only reason we're ever in these parts of the world. Number two, we're there to make all the suppliers to our army rich, who have as many folks in Afghanistan as there are actual US soldiers.
There is a third reason we continue fighting in Afghanistan, the most important reason, and that is simply this: we're fighting there because we've been fighting there. It's much easier to start a war than to end a war. We're in Afghanistan because we're in Afghanistan — the law of inertia.
4. THE WAR SERVES OUR POLITICS, NOT OUR INTERESTS
Usually I find I can rely on my own relationship with the English language to put things pithily, but I came across this very pithy summation from Harper's Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur:
“'Fighting terrorism' in Afghanistan 'to prevent another 9/11' simply isn’t a serious argument, and I suspect that even the deluded Gen. Stanley McChrystal understands that his men are shooting at indigenous Afghan rebels, not Osama bin Laden or his followers. No, the more likely reason for killing all those people and wasting nearly $3.4 billion a month is an ugly mixture of vanity, misplaced pride, crass politics, and liberal self-righteousness. The Army still wants to prove it can defeat a guerrilla army and erase the shame of Vietnam. The politicians, Obama included, want to look warlike and tough, so they can’t be accused of being 'soft on terror' in 2010. And then there are the civil servants and think-tank denizens known as 'humanitarian interventionists' — now led by Hillary Clinton, who think that America’s 'civilizing' mission in the world includes not only establishing 'democracy' but also 'freeing' Afghan women from being required to wear the burqa.”
He puts the nut rather neatly in the shell, doesn't he?
As MacArthur implies, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president ran his campaign last year on the fact that Afghanistan was our good war, so his promise to get out of Iraq wouldn't make him look like too much of a sissy. Not that long ago he even called Afghanistan a “war of necessity.”
But now he's actually been looking into the necessity of this war, and he must he asking himself WTF a hundred times a day as he salutes returning coffins of our troops from the Middle East and trudges by all those crosses in Arlington Cemetery.
He is obviously in two minds, as are his advisers. On the one side are the war party idiots, which includes our army, who always wants more troops anyway, so that's no surprise. The Pentagon always wants more. They're our worst public welfare queens after Wall Street. General McCrystal won't ever admit he can't win the war in Afghanistan, or even consider what a win there actually means, so like any Army welfare queen, he's going to ask for more troops. He's doing this because after he loses, as he surely will (just like Britain and Russia did in Afghanistan), he can say he could've won if the civilians had given him more troops — but he was stabbed in the back by the goddam civilians. (When guys lose a war, it's never because the enemy in front of them outshot them — it's always because the cowards of their own country stabbed them in their backs. It's a wonder the military of any country isn't smart enough to shoot all their citizens first before they go fight the enemy in order to save themselves from being stabbed in the back.)
Then there are the other war party idiots, who should know better, like Hillary Clinton — poor gal, she's a woman, so she can't afford to look like a sissy when it comes to war — and assorted other idiots like Richard Holbrooke.
But there are two sensible voices, thank God.
One is our Ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry,who told Obama to please not send more troops, it will just enable our “partner” the corrupt Karzai to buy himself more hats. Eikenberryought to know, since he used to head up our Army in Afghanistan.
And there's Joe Biden, who brought up this telling point at a “strategy” meeting of “top national-security advisers” (you know, Hillary and Holbrooke and other assorted war party morons) on September 13 this year:
“Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year in Afghanistan?” $65 billion, one guy said.
“And how much will we spend on Pakistan?” $2.25 billion.
“Well, by my calculations that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?”
And let us not forget our President's own words, which got him his first serious support from the left when he started running against Hillary for the presidency. This was his famous anti-Iraq War speech, famous because very few politicians back then in October 2002, when Obama was still an Illinois State Senator, had the balls to speak out against the war in Iraq. He said then:
“I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income— to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”
He could make just about the same speech today about the war in Afghanistan, and he would be as right now as he was then.
Let us also remember these words from him during the campaign itself:
“I don't want to just end the war, I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.”
Here is the point: there is less justification for our war in Afghanistan now than there were ever was for our war in Iraq. The Afghanistan war is as necessary to our security as an indoor flush toilet is necessary to an elephant. There is nothing for us to win there, even if we achieve the impossible and put the gangster-warlords back in charge of Afghanistan, instead of the religious nuts. There is only the continuation of our macho posturing as a pathetic declining power in the world, a power that Jon Stewart summed up nicely when he said Obama went to China to go and visit with our money.
5. OUR REAL ENEMIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST AREN'T THE TALIBAN OR IRAN, BUT ISRAEL AND SAUDI-ARABIA
Anyway, our real enemies in the Middle East aren't Afghanistan's Taliban or Iran's theocrats. Our real enemies are Israel and Saudi-Arabia. These are the two countries who screw us up the most in that part of the world, and endanger our national security there the most.
The Arabs on whose oil we depend are pissed with us because we back Israel, who supply us with nothing we need except grief. The Saudis supply us with oil, but they fund the schools in Pakistan, the madrassas, which spawn the Taliban, and they also funded 9/11, and 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 were Saudis.
But hey, we're dumbfucks, so we regard the two countries who screw us the most in the Middle East as our friends. Our foreign policy works AGAINST our interests. We MUST be a nation of consummate dumbfuckeronskis if we can't even get basic things like that right.
6. FROM MESSIAH TO WAR CRIMINAL IN LESS THAN A YEAR
At this point the decision in Afghanistan is not about what's good for them or for us, but about how good or bad it would make Obama and his administration look.
And since that's the point of Obama's deliberations, why doesn't he simply look at the polls? In an August poll — before Karzai cheated his 'election' to the presidency — 51% of Americans thought the war in Afghanistan was NOT worth fighting.
But hey, Obama's got all his experts telling him to do things the nation, who in this case happens to be much smarter than the experts, is telling him NOT to do.
Obama has already made one big mistake in his first year — coddling Wall Street, because he is being advised by two economic war criminals, Summers and Geithner. Now, if he lets himself be swayed by the actual war criminals among his advisers, he will be nothing but a war criminal himself.
Which will be a pity. Because instead of our money being spent on progressive causes in America — education, infrastructure, green energy — it will be wasted on backing a bunch of gangster-warlords against a bunch of religious wingnuts. Funny how there's never any money to solve our real problems, but there's always money to fight some goddam useless war.
7. WE COULD WIN SOMETHING WITH MORE SCHOOLS INSTEAD OF MORE TROOPS
We could even spend our money on progressive causes in Afghanistan: on schools not troops.
As Nicolas Kristof recently wrote in the New York Times:
“In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: for the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.”
Kristof elaborates on his point:
“In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan — particularly when there’s a strong 'buy-in' from the local community. Greg Mortenson, author of 'Three Cups of Tea,' has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban.”
That would be money well spent — educating the country's kids instead of killing their parents. But no, Obama is not thinking about building more schools there, but debating with his advisers and himself about whether he should send more troops there. A debate of dumbfucks by dumbfucks for dumbfucks.
8. THE ANNOYING ENDURANCE OF OUR DUMBFUCKERY
What if Obama decides to send more troops? I'm trying hard to think that Obama cannot be THAT dumb, but I'm also terribly despondent, because you know: I won't be surprised if he IS that dumb. Will you?
In fact, I will be much more surprised if he has the smarts to say we need to get out of Afghanistan pronto.
If that's how little faith one can have in American politics, and even in the only bright spark in it, Barack Obama, it tells you much about the pathetic if not tragic state of our union of deliberate and dastardly and damnable and doxilaciously dismal dumbfuckereadiness.
It will be terribly sad if Obama becomes another LBJ, also a progressive president who pushed through two great pieces of progressive legislation on civil rights and Medicare, and could've done more, but torpedoed himself because he got stuck in Vietnam. The lessons of Vietnam are staring Obama in his face (he has in fact read all about it), but he might go and get himself hobbled by his own Vietnam in Afghanistan, and tragically prevent himself from pushing through any more progressive legislation besides his health reform. Then he'll be a sort of half LBJ, who knew the Vietnam War was a crock of dumbfuckeroni, but took it on anyway because he was scared the country's Right would use his retreat from Vietnam to whip him in the next election, which he ended up retiring from anyway.
If Obama is himself so scared of our country's Right, or simply duped by his own advisers, what is there left of the hope he installed in us?
Let's pray for a miracle, folks. Let's hope Obama doesn't become a war criminal himself.
Barack Obama, war criminal.
Jeez, it's entirely possible. How do you like da ring of dem apples, my sweet Obamaniacs? What can we do to protect our man's reputation? Maybe it's time for some more anti-war marches on Washington, folks. Make love not war. Shoot sperm not bullets.
Imagine the irony if Barack goes and collects his Nobel Peace Prize after having sent more troops to their deaths in Afghanistan. From hopeful Messiah to war criminal in less than a year.
Forsooth and begorrah and gadzooks: destiny is a sidewalk of banana skins lying in wait for the sole of one's hapless shoe leather. And our brilliantly gifted president is walking right up to it, like some clueless Laurel or Hardy.
Oh, what a fall that will be: the fall of a promising prez who turns out to be just another dismal dumbfuck.