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Oct-12-2009 23:23printcomments

Ending America's Acceptance of Permanent War
Building an America we Can Live With

What invisible force is driving us to continue a seemingly endless war?

A U.S. soldier and a British soldier on security duty in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A U.S. soldier and a British soldier on security duty in Kabul, Afghanistan. Inset series below is from Afghanistan, winter 2006/2007. photos by Tim King

(CINCINNATI, Ohio) - Whatever happened to America? Millions of Republicans voted for Barack Obama, hoping he would just simply do something, maybe anything, not just health insurance reform and political grandstanding for the party faithful. Things had gone that far.

Bush left us up to our necks in the quicksand of Afghanistan and the Democrats seem to think it's their job to put us the rest of the way under.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that we don't really have any government at all, just an overpriced lawyer's club trolling the world for a handout.

The shock America has awakened to is that there is no clear will to change, no will to stop doing everything wrong, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how hopeless and senseless it seems.

We can no longer police the world and keep an economy going back home capable of building jobs.

We really seem unable to do anything at all other than bicker among ourselves. We are pros at that.

The idea wasn't that we simply quit trying to run the world, no, we had decided to become reasonable, less belligerent, less braggardly and much more likable.

This was the whole idea, those who see us as enemies were supposed to take a fresh look at a changed America and our allies who had learned to distrust us were supposed to respond to our call for an equal partnership based on respect.

Are allies friends or the countries we can buy off, bully or coerce? Is an ally a country that shares our delusion or can an ally be one who profits from our insanity and failure?


Palestinian protester tangles with
IDF soldiers. Photo: Dexter Phoenix

The first thing we need some realistic thinking about is Israel. Not only are they capable of taking care of themselves, they are very capable of being dangerous as hell.

Few nations have the economic and territorial ambitions of Israel and the talent to be a mini-super power through the Middle East and Central Asia. They know it and are working hard to make it happen.

In the process, their influence in the US, their use of our press through Rupert Murdoch with Fox News and his worldwide media empire along with the dozens of members of Congress they own like so many toy soldiers in a box, often overshadows vital American interests.

I would like to say that never in our history have we had an ally and friend we have needed to watch as much as Israel but it isn't true.

Britain used the United States as a hand puppet for decades, in many ways their financial power remained influential in America with some consistency since the Declaration of Independence.

Americans have to learn to talk honestly about Israel, recognizing our special relationship, recognizing Israel as a democracy and shunning some of the senseless rhetoric used in attacking Israel but also recognizing that our interests are not always the same.

We must also acknowledge that Israel's penetration of our government, military, security services and news media has endangered our national security in the past and will continue to do so until we begin to reassert American values.

Afghanistan, Islam and Pakistan

U.S. medics treating Afghan civilians photo by Tim King

It is impossible to approach a solution in Afghanistan without taking into account the religious implications tied to the war. The United States may have gone to war against terrorists, but has ended up in a religious war encompassing not only Afghanistan, but large areas of Pakistan as well.

There has never been any discussion, no real war aim, despite the continual "crusader" references by President Bush, of fighting a war against religious conservatives, Islamic ones at least. They exist in Afghanistan as a seemingly almost cosmic force; the Taliban, with an unrelenting desire to reestablish an Islamic state based on the most restrictive and coercive interpretation of a quasi-religious doctrine.

Their goal is to establish a bronze age pre-agrarian society armed to the teeth with modern weapons purchased for them by friendly Islamic nations whose roads are filled with hi tech German cars.

Separating those participating in the current war into various categories, those fighting for religious reasons, those simply fighting America as a "foreign" power and those with a strong dislike for the unpopular US backed government in Kabul is critical.

We have no clear idea whether those we are fighting desire a return of Taliban rule or simply fair elections and a US withdrawal of forces. There is little hope of a settlement in Afghanistan if we are saddled with supporting the political ambitions of an unpopular government or end up pushing forward a fractionalization based on a simple desire to "cut and run."

Seizing the Reins of Government from Special Interest

Notwithstanding the questions many Americans have about 9/11 or the war in Iraq, questions long suppressed as "unpatriotic," any realistic analysis of why we seem hopelessly stuck in a war supported openly by no faction, no party, no group of any kind in America, is a conundrum.

There is no outcry by political, military or religious leaders in the US to continue the war. There are no vital national interests being spoken of, actually quite the contrary. The war is being spoken of as a threat to our security, world standing and financial well being.

There is even talk of the human loss and suffering it causes, but no concrete action to address this, not in Afghanistan, not with our armed forces nor with our veterans, not more than just enough to fool the public into thinking someone cares when we all know it's a lie.

Any American who simply looks around them, looks into the faces they see every day will see, not just apathy but something akin to the mindless stare of the living dead. Institutionalized war breeds institutionalized indifference.

Veteran's claims are being processed to denial quicker than before. Wounded and sick soldiers are being institutionalized, brutalized and minimized into invisibility.

Afghanistan is being developed into a nation capable of exporting record tonnage of opium and importing record tonnage of guns and bombs.

What invisible force is driving us to continue a seemingly endless war? What force pushes us forward, what we believe is forward, when in fact we believe nothing at all, when in fact we know forward doesn't exist? Is it oil and gas pipelines the Taliban refused to be "flexible" about?

Is it our need to keep our troops out of the country, a country where troops come home to live under bridges, fill our jails or die by their own hands?

Are our policies made by the corporations joined at the hip with the Pentagon? For every phony "cost plus" contract, we make an office clerk into a General who retires to join a corporation and turn back into an office clerk, a clerk who helps make another clerk into a General.

They call it the "revolving door" but doors don't grind human beings into dust.

How do we talk to them? How do we tell them we have had enough? Just because we don't have Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld doing their childish and idiotic photo opportunities with our troops as though they were children having their pictures taken riding a pony, just because Bush is gone and working so hard to be forgotten, it doesn't make the insanity they began any less poisonous.

How do we tell them. Voting doesn't work, there doesn't really seem to be anyone to vote for.

If that was supposed to be a big secret, someone should tell them, "The word is out."


Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon's published articles at this link:

He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today's veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon's timely and critical reports on, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.

You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address:

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G-2/3; November 1, 2009 8:03 am (Pacific time)

another gutsy piece Gordon,and again I regret getting it this late. Keep on going and maybe we grind the bastards down for a change! The vessel is w/o a rudder and being forced into the rocks,fox news lie and smile w/o perspiring and the fucking beat didn't miss a step. rahm emmanuel reminds me of cheney,and the new secretary of state? Can you imagine marraige to the woman? Who the hell are these people?

Vic October 13, 2009 6:59 am (Pacific time)

"Afghanistan is being developed into a nation capable of exporting record tonnage of opium and importing record tonnage of guns and bombs." There's the profit motive..even more so than oil, I beieve. Every time a US cruise missile blows up a mud hut or a wedding, United Technologies makes one and a half million dollars...the weapons manufacturers, Boeing, Raytheon, GE, etc. are reaping huge profits from death, destruction and human misery. They are our enemies and should be treated as such. They should live in fear and have to spend incredible ammounts of their blood money for security.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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