"Memorialize This!"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

War for the USA these days is a weird, inconclusive enterprise.

Our objectives are poorly discerned, hardly even articulated anymore, just a pattern of going through the motions as destructively as possible with no end in sight.

How many Americans can state what our mission in Afghanistan is after seventeen years of blundering around its bare mountains and valleys?

What exactly has been the point of our exercises in Syria?

To get rid of Bashar al-Assad, the wonks might say. Really? And replace him with what? With the ragtag ISIS maniacs we’ve been shoveling arms and money to?

What goes on in the Baghdad Green Zone these days with Operation Inherent Resolve still underway?

How come four US Special Forces soldiers were killed in Niger in 2017? Do you know what they were doing there?

How many Americans can even say where Niger is on a map? How much better is life in Somalia these days with American soldiers on-the-scene?

What was the net effect of our effort to liberate Libya in 2011 (Operation Freedom Falcon)?

What factions are US military advisors training in Ukraine?

And what for?

Defense Secretary James Mattis says, “We’re working with them on reform of their military.” Hmmm…. So they can be more like us?

Did you happen to notice Sunday that many Major League Baseball teams were sporting military-themed camo caps? What’s up with that? Are we planning to send Aroldis Chapman to throw 105mph fastballs at Hezbollah? In fact, camo has been a popular theme in civilian fashion for years so that everyone from truck drivers to millionaire rap stars can affect to be mighty warriors. Did you know that since 2009 the National Football League has been under contract with the US military to stage on-field patriotic tributes and warplane flyovers — and how much do these displays cost (taxpayer alert)?

I suppose that military prowess is all we’ve got left in the national pride bag in these times of foundering empire.

Few are fooled these days by the “land of opportunity” trope when so many young people are lucky to get a part-time gig on the WalMart loading dock along with three nights a week of slinging Seaside Shrimp Trios for the local Red Lobster. Of course, there are a few choice perches in venture capital out in Silicon Valley, or concocting collateralized loan obligations in the aeries of Wall Street - but nobody is playing Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man to celebrate these endeavors.

There’s a macabre equivalency between our various overseas war operations and the school shootings that are now a routine feature of American daily life. The purposes are equally obscure and the damage is just as impressive - many lives ruined for no good reason. But consider more lives are lost every year in highway crashes than in the Mexican War of the 1840s and more Americans are dying each year lately of opioid overdoses than the entire death toll of the Vietnam War. America’s soul is at war with its vaunted way-of-life.

It’s hard to be empire, for sure, but it’s even harder, apparently, to be a truly virtuous society. First, I suppose, you have to be not insane. It’s hard to think of one facet of American life that’s not insane now. Our politics are insane. Our ideologies are insane. The universities are insane. Medicine is insane. Show biz is insane. Sexual relations are insane. The arts are insane. The news media is utterly insane. And what passes for business enterprise in the USA these days is something beyond insane, like unto the swarms of serpents and bats issuing from some mouth of hell in the medieval triptychs. How do you memorialize that?

Comments

Chupacabra-322 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:55 Permalink

War is a Racket

 

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” 
― Smedley D. ButlerWar is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

 

 

TBT or not TBT 1 Alabama Mon, 05/28/2018 - 13:31 Permalink

You go to war with the Democrat Party you have, not the one you might ideally like to have .  Example:  The "you broke it you fix jt" whining about the removal of Saddam, or the overthrow of the Taliban, was from Democrats     The "hearts and minds" mantra on Vietnam was of the left    The detail of Abu Ghraib, was a 24/7 cry that we must repent presumably by appeasing everyone     Fuck that      All that could have been easily done to 1/10th the cost and a lot less American blood, if we just kept to hard power, "rubble don't cause trouble" logic of a self confident nation .  

In reply to by 1 Alabama

RedBaron616 PrayingMantis Mon, 05/28/2018 - 12:53 Permalink

This IS the land of opportunity! Too many of you just want to sit around and blame anything, particularly Jews. 

Why is it that Asians can come here with nothing but the shirt on their backs, work like crazy, save like crazy, get a small business going, and the next generation graduates college with high honors and a decent career ahead? Meanwhile, lazy Americans claim "it's all over!" It's over for you because you can't get off your lazy butt and actually put some effort into making something of yourself!

In reply to by PrayingMantis

Uncertain T Ima anal sphincter Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:14 Permalink

Thank You Mr looks-like-crap-to-me.... you prove my point exactly.

 

Where the short-sighted (no offense) see 'shit' the opportunist sees success.... Just ask Waste Management, Port-A-John, American Standard, Charmin- Ultra- Soft, and countless others.

Opportunities for achievement are found in the most unlikely places... and a simple idea is always so obvious after someone else thinks of it.

Again, thanks for the reinforcement. 

In reply to by Ima anal sphincter

Uncertain T Ima anal sphincter Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:14 Permalink

Perhaps, someone will invent a way to embed gold coins into shit and store it in a compost heap.  A secret hideaway. 

Then, while everyone else is claiming their gold lost in an 'unfortunate-boating-accident" one will be secure in their compost secured gold.

Meanwhile, some folks will be wiping up their shit with Federal Reserve Notes.....

Opportunity abounds.

In reply to by Ima anal sphincter

Kendle C RedBaron616 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

Asian couple off the boat, next door. Didn't even know what to do with a toilet so they removed it and pooped in the hole. They rented their infant to other couples to show the AFDC to increase their welfare check. Sold crack out a bedroom window, a plank serving as the counter. The baby they rented speaks perfect English and is now a dentist.

In reply to by RedBaron616

lew1024 RedBaron616 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 13:27 Permalink

Not just Asians.  We know of Mexicans working as house cleaners all their life who put 3 kids through Med School and another through dentistry school.  We know well divorced Russian woman working as a legit massage therapist who is putting her third kid through college just now, all engineering, I think.

Culture and expectations make the difference.

 

In reply to by RedBaron616

rejected RedBaron616 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

"Meanwhile, lazy Americans claim "it's all over!"

Because they (all protected species) get free business loans from SBA. 

It's almost impossible for a White male to get a small business loan.

The SBA has been taken over by Identity Politics like the rest of government and Academia. 

And the people that cannot get the loans,,, are the ones funding them,,,, called tax payers. 

In reply to by RedBaron616

Quantify lew1024 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 14:02 Permalink

Competition IS. War is competition. War is fear. Fear of losing, fear of enslavement, fear of defeat. that fear drives mankind to achieve. Its why we had the space race. The race for high ground to watch over and drop bombs on out adversaries and competitors. And that race gave us technological advances. in Bombs, in rockets, in spacecraft, in cameras, in the ability to stream images so we could watch LIVE FROM SPACE our enemies and competitors. We ARE animals and we compete for everything. Everything from natural resources to the bragging rights of the fastest runner. And it PUSHES us to win and achieve. War is what humans do, and the best at war is always, ALWAYS the world's preeminent power. Don't like facts? Too bad.

In reply to by lew1024

not dead yet Quantify Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:52 Permalink

If war is so fantastic why did you get out after your 20? Afraid they were going to send you to some shithole to die a slow death at the hands of some illiterate moron. To you war is the answer. You like to believe humans have progressed through wars but never give a thought to how much farther we could have progressed if we weren't engaged in constant war to prove your dick is bigger than the other guys. Never do neanderthals like you ever consider we can do better by helping and lifting our fellow man instead of stomping him into the ground.

The USA is chock full of people who have fled countries where the US has killed their friends and family and destroyed their homes and economy. Or caused them to be killed by overthrowing their governments to put a despicable POS in the king chair to rape and pillage his people as the US looks away as long as US corporations get their way. South of the US border there is a huge pile of poverty and illiteracy as that's what the US wants. Potential slaves for the corporations and cheap goods for the US masses to keep them fat and complacent so they don't get in the way of the warmongers. The Monroe Doctrine was a message to the world that the US was going to royally rape these countries not you. Thanks to it's drive for world hegemony the US has a potential huge fifth column inside it's borders. Never forget that all empires fall from within.

In reply to by Quantify

Quantify not dead yet Mon, 05/28/2018 - 16:19 Permalink

Well I am pragmatic and not immune to aging. By pragmatic I mean to say I got 50% of my base pay after 20 years so why stick around get half pay? And as the military requires a certain pysical ability and bones, joints and muscles are not immune to the gravity of the Earth. I decided to give my body some rest and recovery. I actually went to 4 war zones after I retired, as a contractor. Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan twice. I only went to war zone once while active duty. Kuwait. My dick is average in size I don't see a need to claim otherwise. I do have 3 children so it seems it was adequate. But thanks for asking. As for what the U.S. is full of, I doubt your claims its full of people who have fled countries where the U.S. have killed its friends. Indeed the U.S. has killed many over the years but very few that haven't deserved it. And if not, c'est la vie. As all Empires have killed, the U.S. has done so in a pretty civilized manner. At least in comparison, in any case your whining and crying won't change it. Nor at any time did I claim it was fantastic only the natural progression of what an advanced animal is and does within the animal kingdom, which IS what we are. Don't like history or what humans are? Too FUCKING BAD!

In reply to by not dead yet

Quantify Chupacabra-322 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 12:21 Permalink

The governments stated reason for war cannot not be truly provided. For various reasons. The U.S. isn't going to announce to 1.6 billion Muslims that we are at war with its 7th century values, that hold less sense than a millennial's ability to discern how many sexes there truly are. 

However I will agree with the misguided method or actual lack of a true cognoscente strategy to defeat it. That is probably just to deceive the cult enough so it doesn't realize the it IS being attacked. Smarter people than I are military strategists in charge of fighting Islamic conquest.. ..or the government really is just run by buffoons.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

lew1024 Quantify Mon, 05/28/2018 - 13:53 Permalink

Why play negative sum games, of which war is the outstandingly stupid example?

Problem with negative sum games is, you can lose.  Why play games you can lose?

In addition to which, the game of empire is one which every player in human history has lost.

Positive-sum straegy examples such as Switzerland have done much better by their citizens than any Empire, over the centuries.

In reply to by Quantify

Quantify lew1024 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

The only stupid war, was the one that was lost. What has Switzerland ever achieved? Other than making watches and staying neutral. Do you look to Switzerland when you expect humans to travel to Mars. Are you expecting Switzerland to create the next breakthrough in energy? To protect the international sea lanes? Did they have the first man on the moon or the first pilot to break the sound barrier? Is Google or Facebook or Netflix Swiss companies?

In reply to by lew1024

not dead yet Quantify Mon, 05/28/2018 - 16:13 Permalink

All of your examples of what the Swiss have not done are a big bunch of whoop dee doos. Contrary to your ignorance the US does not keep the sea lanes open. It parades it's ships to intimidate, or bomb the crap out of somebody, not to bring law and order. For years off Somalia with all the piracy there wasn't a US warship to be found. Plenty of them in the Med and Persian Gulf to flip the bird at Iran, and prove US dick is mightier than theirs, who wasn't a danger to shipping. The Swiss and other countries in the world might be doing fantastic things but we in the US wouldn't know it as the media doesn't want US citizens to know they are not the "one exceptional people in the one exceptional nation". Notice whenever another country comes up with a technological breakthrough or whatever it's always "they stole it from the US." But our universities are the best so that's why so many foreigners attend them. More like they come here because colleges are one big booze and drug filled party and it's easy to get laid and they can get away with all kinds of shit because they pay top dollar.

 

In reply to by Quantify

zob2020 Chupacabra-322 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 12:49 Permalink

those are still goals that raise american living standards... nowadays the wars are just for the purpose of wasting money ie weapon purchases which means more campaign contributions to hawks demanding ever more war spending. Essentially a corrupt system of moving wealth from taxpayers to the politicans own pockets.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

zob2020 Quantify Mon, 05/28/2018 - 13:55 Permalink

it is today.. or they wouldnt be dragged out forever with as much expensive stuff wasted as ever possible. It would be quicker missions like back when fruit slavelabor (by destroying farmers own farmers forcing them to work for pennies for united fruit aka chiquita these days to stay alive) or similar tasks were secured.

Now its "nation building" what the ever that is supposed to mean... bringing democracy wherein no democracy is brought only squashed.

In reply to by Quantify

Quantify zob2020 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 14:17 Permalink

As I have stated in earlier posts, wars can be ongoing for various reasons. Such as to prevent them from escalating between nuclear powers directly, hence the term proxy wars. Guerrilla wars are difficult indeed to win as history as shown. So local indigenous groups are supported to support the political agenda.  These can be time consuming and lasting for many years, even decades. The quote the enemy of my enemy is a good quote that comes to mind. Which simply can mean use local resources when available and take on local allies that need external logistical support. Far cheaper than importing everything especially troops.

In reply to by zob2020