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Afghanistan: American Security Policy
August 9, 2010
by William P. Meyers

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The economic, military, and political stupidity of the United States of America's war against Afghanistan, and "War Against Terror," has been noted by an increasing number of American citizens over the last decade. The war makes sense only to the military-industrial complex. Watching President Barack Obama addressing disabled veterans on Friday, I saw the new mask of brutal Americanism. It is a smooth talking mask, crucial to keeping enough liberal voters in the war camp to keep the dollars flowing to the aggression industries.

Having dissected the real nature of the Taliban and the politics of Afghanistan on many occasions, here I want to focus on how the system is "fixed" [as in a crooked gambling game]. Most people remember that most Obama voters thought they were voting to get the U.S.A. out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Was Obama lying from the start, or did he really change his policy once he became President?

Now, of course, Obama claims that he never promised to withdraw from the war on terror. He offered "hope" and "change." It is like game of blackjack in a casino. The house always wins, but a new shuffle or pack of cards always offers hope to the chronically deluded gambler.

Barack Obama was a very confident man long before he became President. It is conceivable that during the campaign he imagined he could finesse his way out of Afghanistan. After all, the success of President Bush's surge strategy in Iraq, and the clear sentiment of a majority of Americans that we do not need to wage a large scale war to deal with the few dozen dingbats who actually are in Al-Qaeda, seemed to provide a lot of leverage against the national security establishment. Obama knew better than most Americans that Presidents don't make the laws, or even foreign policy: they only enforce them. But he probably thought that he would have the cooperation of the Democratic Party members of Congress. He may have even thought the Republican Party would be happy if the issue went away, and any blowback, like successful terrorist acts in the U.S., could be blamed on the Democrats.

But probably he knew how Washington D.C. really works: some policies can change with changes of the popular will, but most change comes only with the permission of, and when it is to the benefit of, a set of power brokers. The military-industrial complex, with its secretive national security, black-ops adjuncts, knows all the tricks of power. The election of Barack Obama did not diminish its power one inch.

Recall that during the election the nation was in a deep economic crisis, caused primarily by the Bush tax cuts for the rich and the incompetence of the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan. This made it possible for small groups of Senators and Representatives to hold the nation hostage to their special interests.

One of those small, but certainly not tiny, groups were the committee and subcommittee chairs who were (and are) in the pockets of the security establishment or the military contractor corporations. Progressive Democrat like to assume that these men and women are mostly Republicans, but the group has been dominated by Democrats ever since President Franklin Roosevelt began the largest military buildup in American history in the late 1930's with the objective of conquering Japan. In the Senate this included Joseph Lieberman chairing the Homeland Security Committee, Carl Levin chairing Armed Forces, and Diane Feinstein chairing Intelligence. Levin, Feinstein, and Lieberman have always favored U.S. funded aggression against Palestinians and other Moslems. All are Jewish. Levin is also chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security.

In the House of Representatives, on the all-important Appropriations committee the Defense subcommittee is chaired by Norman D. Dicks, while the Homeland Security subcommittee is chaired by David E. Price. The Armed Services Committee is chaired by Ike Skelton; its Terrorism subcommittee is chaired by Loretta Sanchez. The Foreign Affairs Committee chair is Howard L. Berman. Committee on Homeland Security chair is Bennie G. Thompson. Its subcommittee chairs are Jane Harman for Intelligence, Sheila Jackson Lee for Transportation Security, Henry Cuellar for Border and Maritime, Christopher Carney for Investigations, Yvette Clarke for Cyber & Science, and Laura Richardson for Emergency Communications. The Judiciary Committee also has a Terrorism subcommittee chaired by Robert C. Scott.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is chaired by Sivestre Reyes. Its numerous subcommittees are headed by Mike Thompson, Anna Eshoo, Dutch Ruppersberger, and Janice Schakowsky.

Traditionally almost ever congressional district was given some sort of military base or factory with a defense contract, giving the military the ability to put pressure broadly on Congress. Thus the servants become the masters, while preserving the illusion of civilian control of the military.

Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator representing the 13th District, basically Chicago's South Side, from 1996 to 2004 [he ran unopposed in the Democratic primary because he successfully challenged the nomination petitions of 4 other candidates]. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and served their from 2005 until 2008. Chicago and Illinois are bloated with defense contracting industries, including the corporate offices of the world's largest defense contractor, Boeing. Obama would have worked closely with his state's defense contractors while holding his U.S. Senate seat.

To get anything done after becoming President, given that he was unlikely to pick up Republican votes in Congress, Barack Obama needed a Democratic Party that was 100% behind his program. Even one defecting vote in the Senate could derail any agenda item, as we have seen several times. But with important Democrats demanding the continued expansion of homeland security and Pentagon spending in their districts, Obama folded almost immediately. He took credit that was due to George Bush for winding down the war in Iraq, but bought into transferring troops and budgets to the Afghan war. Exaggerating the power of Al Qaeda and vilifying the Taliban became necessary to provide political cover for Obama's lack of balls. The problem is that if Obama had the balls to take on the Pentagon, they would have made his domestic agenda impossible.

No one person, not even a President, can change the system. Many Presidents have tried to put the Pentagon on a modest diet, only to find Congress injecting all the pork they can think of into the budget.

It is a little house of horrors scenario. At some point the Pentagon, CIA and homeland security will eat every living thing in America. Then the have two choices: eat up other nations in a more openly imperialistic manner, or collapse with the rest of the American economy.

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