“The times they are a-changin',” Bob Dylan once sang, and they are, though they are a-changin' in ways that seemed impossible back then. Not that it should come as a surprise. Empire is always a slow slide into brutality that gradually desensitizes its citizens.
Who remembers the outrage that swept the country in 1975 when the Church Committee revealed that the CIA had been involved in a number of assassination plots? The shock and the anger were palapable.
Fast forward thirty-four years and a plan to assassinate Afghan drug lords appears on the front page of The New York Time and causes nary a ripple. It’s just another news story about another dirty little war we can’t seem to win.
The first paragraph spells it out. Fifty Afghan warlords “believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be killed or captured…”
But rest assured, this isn’t a hit list; it’s a “joint integrated prioritized target list.” Military officials assure us that “the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law,”
I guess Jay Beebe wrote another memo.
No doubt the weapon of choice will be the Drone with its production of “collateral damage.” The Afghans will have to start holding their weddings in rented bunkers.
So, The Big Dick won after all. He led us to the “Dark Side” and it looks as if we’re going to stay there.
Of course, you can count on those wimpy Europeans to have qualms about such a policy. One military officer admitted that it was a “hard sell to NATO.”
Jeff Huber writes that, “The Cold War justified defense spending for a half-century. Now, the Pentagon is trying to validate its existence with another long war in the Middle East. “
Huber has sunk his teeth into a half-truth. The other half is that six decades of military Keynesianism has given birth to the delusion that military might is the only solution to policy problems. This is why our leaders believe that they can control Middle East and Central Asian oil militarily, even though the effort will not only be unsuccessful in the long run, but will bankrupt us.
The net outcome of this delusion has us involved in two guerilla wars that cannot be won by military means. Huber points out that a Rand study showed that military force “accounted for a mere 7 percent of success against terrorists.” (Insurgents are now labeled terrorists for marketing purposes.)
Dylan was right about the times a-changin' as America, once again, proves that empires become so blinded by their hubris that they lose every shred of decency in an enterprise that eventually ends in collapse and failure.
We are destroying ourselves for bragging rights, and even those will be denied us in the end.