RANGER AGAINST WAR: Over the Range <

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Over the Range

Afghan Crossroads, Paresh Nath (UAE)

Let us be grateful to the mirror for
revealing to us our appearance only

, Samuel Butler

But he was not the man to go about

telling his neighbors that he was in error

--Things Fall Apart
, Chinua Achebe

There are more things in heaven and earth,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy

(I, v), Shakespeare

As I have walked among the desperate,

rejected angry men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails

and rifles would not solve their problems.

But they ask -- and rightly so --

what about Vietnam?

Wasn’t our own nation using massive doses

of violence to solve its problems?

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Riverside Church addresss


Two headlines above the fold in USA Today yesterday combined to offer a sobering commentary on the state of The State.

"Vietnam: A New Land of Opportunity" + "Are Iraqi Security Forces Ready?" tell the story of a nation's 40+ years of military history -- The U.S. -- with concision.

From the Vietnam story: "Today, some of those who left years ago now look at Vietnam as a land of opportunity. At least 500,000 Viet Kieu, as they are known, return every year to this nation of 86 million, some to stay." Vietnam -- a success story -- but a success in spite of U.S. military intervention. The Vietnamese resolved their own destiny (much as did the Chinese Communists.)

The U.S. policy wonks said that for success in Vietnam, we needed a large, aggressive Army, Air Force, police and all the trimmings. Today, they are peddling the same goods for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The truth is, Iraq and Afghanistan will also return to a homeostasis irrespective of the massive efforts of the U.S. military machine.

The question is:
Will we ever learn? The world is neither our oyster, nor our problem. The U.S. should focus on the U.S., and allow the rest of the world the same dignity. As Bob Herbert wrote in yesterday's NYT, "We are never going to build a stable, flourishing society in Afghanistan. What we desperately need is a campaign of nation-building to counteract the growing instability and deterioration in the United States" (No "Graceful Exit").

The concepts of counterinsurgency or Presidential warfare are bound to fail because we view
the other as being the problem, when in fact, it is we. American soldiers in the Republic of Vietnam used to say "This is NOWHERE!" when observing the unreality of the situation in which they were mired. Perhaps the soldiers stuck in remote outposts today feel the same, but there is a psychology to this thought which Americans miss.

Vietnam (and Iraq and Afghanistan) are not "nowhere" and unreal; they are all-too-real. We fail to understand the reality beyond our borders. We cannot control our own destiny, so why are we imposing our chaos upon others?

There are more thing in heaven and earth . . .

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i have always loved pointing out to folks that our real military geniuses, general motors, general foods, and colonel sanders were able to accomplish what the combined military effort could not. they all, today, occupy hanoi.

the most telling thing about afghanistan is that when asked what are we accomplishing for our nation the folks you question hem and haw and delve into their sack of nebulous bullshit.

the only thing we are truly accomplishing there right now is getting people killed. all we can expect to accoplish by staying is killing more people.

some people's fucking kids....

Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 10:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I wish I had something intelligent and helpful to add. I don't.

Large nations have been fucking with small ones since before there were nations. I'm sorry, but not surprised, that we are among them. I can't imagine what will change this now; the only mistakes the "leaders" who insisted we prop up the Vietnam domino for 12 years made was they dragged Joe and Molly's kid into their war. This time, it's invisible and bulletproof because it's someone else's kid whose coming home in a bag.

Eventually we will lose interest and wander away. But I can't imagine that anytime soon. There's no money in betting the under on this dog.

Friday, August 20, 2010 at 12:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Choloazul said...

Will we ever learn?

If by 'We', you mean 'Them'...


Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 11:51:00 PM GMT-5  

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