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A Harvey Weinstein Moment for America’s Wars?
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What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

In the relatively recent past, a roster of prominent offenders would include Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and, of course, Donald Trump. Throw in various jocks, maestros, senior military officers, members of the professoriate and you end up with quite a list. Yet in virtually all such cases, the alleged transgressions were treated as instances of individual misconduct, egregious perhaps but possessing at best transitory political resonance.

All that, though, was pre-Harvey. As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein’s epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it’s the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we’re smack dab in a Great Depression.

How profound is the change? Up here in Massachusetts where I live, we’ve spent the past year marking John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday. If Kennedy were still around to join in the festivities, it would be as a Class A sex offender. Rarely in American history has the cultural landscape shifted so quickly or so radically.

In our post-Harvey world, men charged with sexual misconduct are guilty until proven innocent, all crimes are capital offenses, and there exists no statute of limitations. Once a largely empty corporate slogan, “zero tolerance” has become a battle cry.

All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

Everything They Need to Win (Again!)

What’s puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn’t extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet.

In no way would I wish to minimize the pain, suffering, and humiliation of the women preyed upon by the various reprobates now getting their belated comeuppance. But to judge from published accounts, the women (and in some cases, men) abused by Weinstein, Louis C.K., Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, my West Point classmate Judge Roy Moore, and their compadres at least managed to survive their encounters. None of the perpetrators are charged with having committed murder. No one died.

Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country’s various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated “terrorism,” as President George W. Bush promised back when today’s G.I.s were still in diapers.

Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts.

It discomfits me to reiterate this mournful litany of truths. I feel a bit like the doctor telling the lifelong smoker with stage-four lung cancer that an addiction to cigarettes is adversely affecting his health. His mute response: I know and I don’t care. Nothing the doc says is going to budge the smoker from his habit. You go through the motions, but wonder why.

In a similar fashion, war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted. Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that. We also know — we cannot not know — that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter.

It’s not exactly a good news story, to put it mildly. So forgive me for saying it (yet again), but most of us simply don’t care, which means that we continue to allow a free hand to those who preside over those wars, while treating with respect the views of pundits and media personalities who persist in promoting them. What’s past doesn’t count; we prefer to sustain the pretense that tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities. Victory lies just around the corner.

By way of example, consider a recent article in U.S. News and World Report. The headline: “Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year.” The title suggests a balance absent from the text that follows, which reads like a Pentagon press release. Here in its entirety is the nut graf (my own emphasis added):

“Armed with a new strategy and renewed support from old allies, the Trump administration now believes it has everything it needs to win the war in Afghanistan. Top military advisers all the way up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis say they can accomplish what two previous administrations and multiple troop surges could not: the defeat of the Taliban by Western-backed local forces, a negotiated peace and the establishment of a popularly supported government in Kabul capable of keeping the country from once again becoming a haven to any terrorist group.”

Now if you buy this, you’ll believe that Harvey Weinstein has learned his lesson and can be trusted to interview young actresses while wearing his bathrobe.

For starters, there is no “new strategy.” Trump’s generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old “strategy,” which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled.

Short of using nuclear weapons, U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan over the past decade and a half have experimented with just about every approach imaginable: invasion, regime change, occupation, nation-building, pacification, decapitation, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency, not to mention various surges, differing in scope and duration. We have had a big troop presence and a smaller one, more bombing and less, restrictive rules of engagement and permissive ones. In the military equivalent of throwing in the kitchen sink, a U.S. Special Operations Command four-engine prop plane recently deposited the largest non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Although that MOAB made a big boom, no offer of enemy surrender materialized.

In truth, U.S. commanders have quietly shelved any expectations of achieving an actual victory — traditionally defined as “imposing your will on the enemy” — in favor of a more modest conception of success. In year XVII of America’s Afghanistan War, the hope is that training, equipping, advising, and motivating Afghans to assume responsibility for defending their country may someday allow American forces and their coalition partners to depart. By 2015, that project, building up the Afghan security forces, had already absorbed at least $65 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. And under the circumstances, consider that a mere down payment.

According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001, the efforts devised and implemented by his many predecessors have resulted in a “stalemate” — a generous interpretation given that the Taliban presently controls more territory than it has held since the U.S. invasion. Officers no less capable than Nicholson himself, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal among them, didn’t get it done. Nicholson’s argument: trust me.

In essence, the “new strategy” devised by Trump’s generals, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Nicholson among them, amounts to this: persist a tad longer with a tad more. A modest uptick in the number of U.S. and allied troops on the ground will provide more trainers, advisers, and motivators to work with and accompany their Afghan counterparts in the field. The Mattis/Nicholson plan also envisions an increasing number of air strikes, signaled by the recent use of B-52s to attack illicit Taliban “drug labs,” a scenario that Stanley Kubrick himself would have been hard-pressed to imagine.

Notwithstanding the novelty of using strategic bombers to destroy mud huts, there’s not a lot new here. Dating back to 2001, coalition forces have already dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan. Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency, alas with essentially no effect whatsoever. What Trump’s generals want a gullible public (and astonishingly gullible and inattentive members of Congress) to believe is that this time they’ve somehow devised a formula for getting it right.

Turning the Corner

With his trademark capacity to intuit success, President Trump already sees clear evidence of progress. “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around,” he remarked in his Thanksgiving message to the troops. “We’re fighting to win. And you people [have] turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody has seen.” The president, we may note, has yet to visit Afghanistan.

I’m guessing that the commander-in-chief is oblivious to the fact that, in U.S. military circles, the term winning has acquired notable elasticity. Trump may think that it implies vanquishing the enemy — white flags and surrender ceremonies on the U.S.S. Missouri. General Nicholson knows better. “Winning,” the field commander says, “means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland.” (Take that definition at face value and we can belatedly move Vietnam into the win column!)

Should we be surprised that Trump’s generals, unconsciously imitating General William Westmoreland a half-century ago, claim once again to detect light at the end of the tunnel? Not at all. Mattis and Nicholson (along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster) are following the Harvey Weinstein playbook: keep doing it until they make you stop. Indeed, with what can only be described as chutzpah, Nicholson himself recently announced that we have “turned the corner” in Afghanistan. In doing so, of course, he is counting on Americans not to recall the various war managers, military and civilian alike, who have made identical claims going back years now, among them Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012.

From on high, assurances of progress; in the field, results that, year after year, come nowhere near what’s promised; on the homefront, an astonishingly credulous public. The war in Afghanistan has long since settled into a melancholy and seemingly permanent rhythm.

The fact is that the individuals entrusted by President Trump to direct U.S. policy believe with iron certainty that difficult political problems will yield to armed might properly employed. That proposition is one to which generals like Mattis and Nicholson have devoted a considerable part of their lives, not just in Afghanistan but across much of the Islamic world. They are no more likely to question the validity of that proposition than the Pope is to entertain second thoughts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In Afghanistan, their entire worldview — not to mention the status and clout of the officer corps they represent — is at stake. No matter how long the war there lasts, no matter how many “generations” it takes, no matter how much blood is shed to no purpose, and no matter how much money is wasted, they will never admit to failure — nor will any of the militarists-in-mufti cheering them on from the sidelines in Washington, Donald Trump not the least among them.

Meanwhile, the great majority of the American people, their attention directed elsewhere — it’s the season for holiday shopping, after all — remain studiously indifferent to the charade being played out before their eyes.

It took a succession of high-profile scandals before Americans truly woke up to the plague of sexual harassment and assault. How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don’t work? Here’s hoping it’s before our president, in a moment of ill temper, unleashes “fire and fury” on the world.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, most recently, of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, American Military 
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  1. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It’s astonishing to see people make the claim that “victory” is possible in Afghanistan. Could they actually believe this or are they lying in order to drag this out even longer and keep the money pit working overtime? These are individuals that are highly placed and so should know better. It’s not really a war but an occupation with the native insurgents fighting to oust the foreign occupier. The US has tried every trick there is in trying to tamp down the insurgency. They know what we’re trying to do and can thwart us at every step. The US lost even as it began it’s invasion there but didn’t know it yet in the wake of it’s initial success in scattering the Taliban, not even a real army and not even a real state. They live there and we don’t; they can resist for the next thirty years or fifty years. When does the multi-billion bill come due and how will we pay it?

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @Joe Wong
  2. but … but … Nazis!! Hitler!

    Who gets tried at Nuremberg II? Where?

    Are all Americans guilty therefore in need of “de-Americanization” just like all Germans were guilty and subjected to 2+ generations of de-Nazification?

    Can a nation with a free press and veerrrrry noisily elected representatives seriously mouth the defense, “We didn’t know?”

    Will our one-year old grandchild face trial and imprisonment after being tried and convicted of complicity in war crimes in 2112?

    (PS was 9/11 Pearl Harbor or Reichstag fire?)

    • Replies: @Wally
    , @Cloak And Dagger
  3. Issac says:

    “How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don’t work?”

    It already happened, but Progressives like you failed to note that Republican voters subbed the Bush clan and their various associates for Trump in the Primary season, precisely because he called the Iraq and Afghan wars mistakes. The Americans suffer under a two party establishment that is clearly antagonistic to their interests.As a part of that regime, a dutiful Progressive toad, you continue to peddle the lie that it was the war-weary White Americans who celebrated those wars. In reality, any such support was ginned up from tools like you who wrote puff pieces for their Neocon Progressive masters.

    Thus far, Trump’s interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. Might you count that among your lucky stars? Fat chance. You cretinous Progressive filth have no such spine upon which to base an independent thought. You trot out the same old tiresome tropes week after week fulfilling your designated propagandist duty and then you skulk back to your den of iniquity to prepare another salvo of agitprop. What a miserable existence.

    • Agree: Twodees Partain
  4. USAMNESIA says:

    This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments.

    Obama ended up killing more people than any dictator or demagogue of this generation on earth you care to name, several hundred thousand of them in his eight years. And he found new ways to kill, too, as by creating the world’s first industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation. Here he signs off on “kill lists,” placed in his Oval Office in-box, to murder people he has never seen, people who enjoy no legal rights or protections. His signed orders are carried out by uniformed thugs working at computer screens in secure basements where they proceed to play computer games with real live humans as their targets, again killing or maiming people they have never seen.

    If you ever have wondered where all the enabling workers came from in places like Stalin’s Gulag or Hitler’s concentration camps, well, here is your answer. American itself produces platoons of such people. You could find them working at Guantanamo and in the far-flung string of secret torture facilities the CIA ran for years, and you could find them in places like Fallujah or Samarra or Abu Ghraib, at the CIA’s basement game arcade killing centers, and even all over the streets of America dressed as police who shoot unarmed people every day, sometimes in the back.

    https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/john-chuckman-essay-of-wizards-and-washington-and-the-dreary-unrelenting-reality-of-american-politics-a-raw-and-sometimes-darkly-comic-survey-of-americas-treacherous-political-terrain/

    • Agree: Bill Jones, Druid
  5. nsa says:

    ZOG has now asserted the right to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason. No trial, no hearing, no witnesses, no defense, no nothing. Is this actually legal? Any constitutional lawyers out there care to comment? Has ZOG now achieved the status of an all-powerful all-knowing deity with the power of life and death over all living things?

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Harvey Weinstein moment” is wishful thinking. The killerbots are taking over soon. When that happens, the whole enchilada will be handed over to the CIA and no one will bother to declare war. Public interest will converge to zero and Lockheed Martin’s gravy train will keep chugging along.

    Stray thought: when the killerbots take over, will the grunts complain about being out of a job?

  7. Bill Jones says: • Website

    It’s a nation of morons.

  8. It’s unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors’ drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @Anonymous
    , @Druid
  9. 5.6 TRILLION $$$$$$ FOR GULF WAR 1…AND GULF WAR 2

    The Native Born White American Working Class Teenage Male Population used as CANNON FODDER for Congressman Steven Solarz’s and Donald Trump’s very precious Jewish only Israel….

    WAR IS A RACKET!!!!…don’t you think?

  10. A wise article, but one correction:

    A prominent sexual predator drowned Mary Jo Kopechne.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  11. Israel and the deep state did the attack on 911 and thus set the table for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and the Zionist neocons who control every facet of the U.S. gov and the MSM and the MIC and the FED ie the BANKS set in motion the blood sacrifice for their Zionist god SATAN, that is what they have done.

    The Zionist warmongers and Satanists will destroy America.

  12. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Typical TomDispatch: 2,100 words, not including “Obama” or “Hillary.”

  13. It’s not so much that America is addicted to war as that the American “business model” makes permanent war inevitable. US global dominance rests on economic domination, in particular, the dollar as world reserve currency. That has allowed the US economy to survive in spite of being hollowed out, financialised and burdened with enormous sovereign debt. Economic dominance derives from political dominance, which, in its turn, flows from military dominance. For that military dominance to be credible, not only must the US have the biggest and best military forces on the planet, it must show itself willing to use those forces to maintain its dominance by actually using them from time to time, in particular, to unequivocally beat off any challenge to its dominance (Putin!). It also, of course, must win, or, more correctly, be able to present the outcome credibly as a win. Failure to maintain military dominance will undermine the position of the dollar, sending its value through the floor. A low dollar means cheap exports (Boeing will sell more planes than Airbus!), but it also means that imports (oil, outsourced goods) will be dear. At that point the hollowed out nature of the US economy will cut in, probably provoking a Soviet-style implosion of the US economy and society and ruining anyone who has holdings denominated in dollars. I call that the Gorbachev conundrum. Gorby believed in the Soviet Union and wanted to reform it. But the Soviet system had become so rigid as to be unreformable. He pulled a threat and the whole system unravelled. But if he hadn’t pulled the thread, the whole system would have unravelled anyway. It was a choice between hard landing and harder landing. Similarly, US leaders have to continue down the only road open to them: permanent war. As Thomas Jefferson said of slavery, it’s like holding a wolf by the ears. You don’t like it but you don’t dare let go!

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
    , @peterAUS
  14. TG says:

    “How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don’t work?” Answer: Never.

    In Alabama when people would rant about how toxic Roy Moore was, I would politely point out that his opponent for Senate was OK with spending trillions of dollars fighting pointless winless wars on the other side of the planet just so politically connected defense contractors can make a buck, and ask if that should be an issue too? The response, predictably, was as if I was an alien from the planet Skyron in the galaxy of Andromeda.

    We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It’s all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

    • Replies: @Sollipsist
    , @peterAUS
  15. Andrew Bacevich is wrong about a couple of things in this article.

    First, he says that the American public is both apathetic and credulous. I agree that we have largely become apathetic towards these imperial wars, but I disagree that we have become credulous. In fact, these two states of mind exclude one another; you cannot be both apathetic and credulous with respect to the same object at the same time. The credulity charge is easy to dismiss because virtually no one today believes anything that comes out of Washington or its mouthpieces in the legacy media. The apathy charge is on point but it needs qualification. The smarter, more informed Americans have seen that their efforts to change the course of American policy have been to no avail, and they’ve given up in frustration and disgust. The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever.

    Second, Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. An echo of that groundswell happened again in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected to office on an explicitly antiwar platform. But Obama turned out to be one of the most pro-war presidents ever, and thus an angry electorate made one final push in the same direction by attempting to clean house with Donald Trump. Now that Donald has shown every sign of having cucked out to the war lobby, we seem to be left with no electoral solutions.

    The only thing that’s going to work is for the American Imperium to be handed a much-deserved military and financial defeat. The one encouraging fact is that if the top ten percent of our political and financial elite were planed off by a foreign power, the American people would give as few damns about that as they currently do about our imperial wars.

    • Agree: Wade
    • Replies: @Sollipsist
  16. @nsa

    Maybe, but usually you do not loose your life. You only loose the means of supporting yourself and your family.

  17. @Buzz Baldrin

    And he did not even get a ticket for drunk driving.

  18. @Michael Kenny

    Very good but some little errors. Concerning Russia and China, Russia vent all or nothing.
    China was much smarter. first they allowed self employment, than small business and long time after they started to sell state enterprises,

  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If Tom’s Dispatch continues to be successful, Americans will continue to be asleep.

    Masterful propaganda. War, according to our favorite spooks, is necessary to win, but otherwise reprehensible.

    Sex is otherwise necessary for human life but Harvey Weinstein is ugly. Hold tightly to your cognitive dissonance, because you’re expected to remember John F Kennedy who got it on, but is the expendable martyr you should care about, not that other guy

    Let’s review: terror attacks are wins. Superior or effective anti-war propaganda comes from the military
    itself. They really don’t want war, but really they do.

    • Replies: @Paw
  20. nebulafox says:
    @anonymous

    We’re trying to make Afghanistan not Afghanistan: aka, trying to be a miracle worker. We can throw as much money as we like at that place, and it isn’t going to happen, least of all with troops on nine month shifts.

    Let Iran and Pakistan squabble over it. Good riddance.

    • Replies: @Delinquent Snail
  21. nebulafox says:
    @Waiting too

    1) doesn’t really make much sense, given that Poland and the Baltic States would be more than happy to take all US forces in Europe to give us a presence near Russia in a part of the world that would be far easier to justify to the American public-and to the international community. Afghanistan? Who exactly is Russia going to mess with? Iran is their-for now, longer term, the two have conflicting agendas in the region, but don’t expect the geniuses in the Beltway to pick up on that opportunity-ally, and unlike the USSR, the Russians don’t want to get involved in the India-Pakistan conflict. Russia’s current tilt toward China makes a strategic marriage with India of the kind that you found in the Cold War impossible, but they obviously don’t want to tilt toward the basketcase known as Pakistan. The only reason that Russia would want to get involved with Afghanistan beyond having a more preferable status than having American troops there is power projection among ex-Soviet states, and there are far more effective ways to do than muddle about with Afghanistan.

    2, on the other hand, given Iran-Contra… who knows? The first generation of the Taliban pretty much wiped the heroin trade out as offensive to Islamic sensibilities, but the newer generations have no such qualms.

    I think you give America’s rulers far too much credit. The truth is probably far scarier: the morons who work in the Beltway honestly believe their own propaganda-that we can make Afghanistan into some magical Western democracy if we throw enough money at it-and combine that with the usual bureaucratic inertia.

  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Waiting too

    Another bonus is that Afghan heroin seeps into Russia and wreaks havoc in the regions bordering Afghanistan—krokodil and all that.

  23. Art says:

    According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001,

    We have been killing these people for 17 years. Now our generals say that if we indiscriminately kill enough men, women, and children who get in the way of our B52s, that they will see the light and make peace. How totally wonderful.

    My solution is to gage the Lindsey Grahams for a year.

    What will do more good for peace – B52s or shutting up Graham’s elk?

    Think Peace — Art

    • Replies: @Art
  24. MarkinLA says:

    I remember when Trump said he knew more than the generals and was viciously attacked for it. It turns out he did know more than the generals just by knowing it was a waste. Trump was pushed by politics to defer to the generals who always have an answer when it comes to a war – more men, more weapons, more time.

  25. @TG

    Your kilts are ready, Mr. Podgorny.

  26. Art says:
    @Art

    What will do more good for peace – B52s or shutting up Graham’s elk?

    How about “ilk” not elk.

    Sorry —- Art

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  27. @Intelligent Dasein

    “The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever.”

    I wonder if any Abolitionists criticized the slaves for failing to revolt? Probably not; I’m guessing they were mostly convinced that the negro required intervention from outside, whether due to their nature or from overwhelming circumstance.

    If the enslaved American public is liberated, I hope we’ll know what to do with ourselves afterwards. It’d be a shame to simply end up in another kind of bondage, resentful and subject to whatever oppressive system replaces the current outrage. Perhaps the next one will more persuasively convince us that we’re important and essential?

  28. peterAUS says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Agree.
    Very good post, IMHO.

    That phrase “a choice between hard landing and harder landing” is good and can be easily applied to USA today.

    Interesting times.

  29. peterAUS says:
    @TG

    Agree.
    This is well written, IMHO:

    We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It’s all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

  30. Sowhat says:

    Thank you, Andrew J. Bacevich, for your words of wisdom and thank you, Mr. Unz, for this post.
    This corporation needs to be dissolved. I’ve read about “the inertia” of Federal Government that has morphed into a cash cow for a century of wasted tax dollars funding the MIIC, now the MIIC. Does our existence have to end in financial ruin or, worse yet, some foreign entity creating havoc on our soil?
    The Founders NEVER intended that the US of A become a meddler in other Sovereignty’s internal affairs or the destroyer of Nation States that do not espoused our “doctrine.” Anyone without poop for brains knows that this is about Imperialism and greed, fueled by money and an insatiable luster for MORE.
    This should be easier to change than it appears. Is there no will? After all, it Is our Master’s money that lubricates the machinery. So, we continue to provide the lubrication for our Masters like a bunch of imbeciles that allow them to survail our words and movements. Somebody please explain our stupidity.

  31. @nebulafox

    If americans would just go all in and commit genocide. That would lead to victory.

    No afgans, no enemy.

  32. joe webb says:

    the folks in the US are sick of the wars, contrary to Bacevich. They simply will vote come next election accordingly. They register their disgust in all the polls.

    This article is not very useful. More punditry puff.

    No comments on the Next War for Israel being cooked up by the new crop of neocon youngsters, I guess, and Trump who will trump, trump, trump into the next War for the Jews.

    How about some political science on Iran, Syria, Hisbollah, Hamas and the US, Arabia, Judenstaat axis of evil?

    Joe Webb

  33. Hey Bacevich? When you link to WashPost and NYTimes to make your points, you don’t. They block access if you’ve already read links to those two papers three times each and can no longer, for the month, read there. When folks link to papers that won’t let you read, it makes one wonder why.

  34. I believe Americans are damned sick and tired of the stupid, needless war in Afghanistan. But then they should have been sick and tired of stupid , needless wars like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, and probably most of them were. But it’s easy to be complacent when someone else’s son is doing the fighting and dying And it’s easy to be complacent when your stomach is full and you have plenty of booze and pain killers available. There will be a day of reckoning when the next big economic bust arrives and which may make the Great Depression paltry by comparison. America is a far different place then it was in the 1930s when our population was 140 million. Americans were not so soft and the conveniences we now take for granted not available. When the supermarkets run out of food, watch out. There may not even be any soup lines to stand in.

  35. In truth, U.S. commanders have quietly shelved any expectations of achieving an actual victory — traditionally defined as “imposing your will on the enemy” — in favor of a more modest conception of success.

    Your assumptions are wrong about the US goal of the invasion of Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan and Iraq were not invaded to establish democracy or impose American will whatever that is.

    Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded to establish a temporary military staging ground for a US invasion of Iran, the designated regional enemy of Israel.

    As long as the current regime in Iran remains, the US will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A secondary goal of the invasions was to install American anti-ballistic missile equipment in Afghanistan that could grant some interim missile defense coverage for Israel in case Iran decides to lob a missile at Israel.

    US neocons are waiting for a significant Iranian provocation to justify a US invasion of Iran.

    Neocons will ramp up war hysteria when conditions are right.

    A warmongering stooge such as a President Hillary Clinton was the Zionist’s best hope for manufacturing a pretext for an American invasion of Iran.

    If you want to get the US out of Mideast wars, you would need to first get rid of the Jewish invented victim cult entitlement scheme in the US that empowers their undue influence.

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Art

    I had my doubts, concerning his integrin-linked kinase.
    Thank you for clearing that up.

  37. Jake says:

    Sleight of hand. If the media directs us to focus a growing fury on various white males for randiness, then we are much less likely to consider the enormities perpetrated daily by our Deep State. As well as the actual results of Sacred Diversity.

  38. Druid says:
    @Waiting too

    And minerals! Eric Prince himself recently tried to sell the idea od having his private militias do the fighting in Afghanistan for the US and finance it by mining said country’s minerals, thus making himself even richer.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  39. “i can live without a friend, but not without an enemy.”

    • Replies: @norse nestor
  40. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Druid

    sweden yes contributing

  41. Wally says: • Website
    @SolontoCroesus

    Bacevich conveniently forgot one:

    fake ‘holocau$t’ liar Elie Wiesel accused of sexual assault
    https://medium.com/@jblistman/when-i-was-nineteen-years-old-elie-wiesel-grabbed-my-ass-10370829c4bd

    “Some stories are true that never happened.”
    – Elie Wiesel

    The ‘6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    http://codoh.com
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:
    http://forum.codoh.com

  42. @SolontoCroesus

    I was onboard with Mr. Bacevich, until I got to this:

    Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency

    What utter rubbish! The Taliban was instrumental in shutting down the poppy production until the CIA came along and restarted it to fund their black ops.

    http://www.sfaw.org/newswire/2017/03/28/a-conspiracy-theory-that-became-a-conspiracy-fact-the-cia-afghanistans-poppy-fields-and-americas-growing-heroin-epidemic/

    We have the reverse Midas touch. Everything we touch (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., etc.) turns to shit. We supposedly attack countries to liberate them from their tyrants who are supposedly killing their own people, and end up killing more people than all of them put together. And, oh yes, we have our favorite tyrants (Saudis, Israelis) whom we provide with horrible weapons (like cluster bombs) to help them kill people we hate.

    Mr. Bacevich is right about the lack of outrage about our wars, but the current Weinstein explosion consists of hordes of mostly American female victims, mostly white, a (very) few jews, and a few men, who have the stage to complain about their oppressors. What would be the counterpart of that w.r.t. the wars? Millions of brown victims in far away lands that most of us couldn’t even find on a map? How likely is that to happen?

    So yes, no outrage, and none likely. The last 17 years have proven that.

  43. Bill Jones says: • Website

    The best thing Americans could do is self genocide.

  44. Joe Wong says:
    @anonymous

    You don’t know the American has been paying everything through monopoly money printed through the thin air since WWI, i.e. a keystroke on the Federal Reserve’s computer? No wonder the Americans have been waging reckless wars all over the world on the fabricated phantom WMD allegations as humanitarian intervention relentlessly.

    Romans did not stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed; the British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, hence the Americans will no stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed like the Romans.

  45. Paw says:
    @Anonymous

    Actresses, singers , celebrities, sportpersons and all “artists” do whatever to advance their carriers..More than everything. If it was Just ordinary things, Weinstein I would say was saved from the worst…

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