Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Obama Boasts of Troop Reductions in Afghanistan, The Machine Trudges On

Tahrir Square

For the last ten years, we’ve been hearing about troop withdrawals in Afghanistan.  It’s not at all surprising that politicians will try to manipulate the masses with promises of an end to the war, but it is somewhat shocking that we seem to fall for it over and over again.  So with the latest reports that Obama is pledging a reduction in troop numbers in Afghanistan, it’s a good idea to ignore the corporate puppet and listen to what Pentagon officials have to say:

 U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy reminded lawmakers the U.S. troop force in Afghanistan will still be larger than it was when Obama took office, despite the President’s pledge to reduce the military presence in the country.

Michele Flournoy: “Even after the recovery of the surge forces, totaling about 33,000 troops, we will still have 68,000 U.S. service members in Afghanistan. That is more than twice the number as when President Obama took office. Clearly, this is not a rush to the exits that will jeopardize our security gains. More importantly, at the end of summer 2012, when all of the surge forces are out, there will actually be more Afghan and coalition forces in the fight than there are today.”

We’re not leaving Afghanistan, or Iraq, Libya, Yemen or Pakistan at any point in the foreseeable future.  As long as there is something to be gained by maintaining a troop presence, we will be there.  Such is the nature of empire, and ours is no different.  It doesn’t matter if the nation bankrupts itself in the process, because the wealthy elites that are pulling the strings have rigged the system in such a way that they always profit.  When the masses lose, they win.  When we’re struggling to survive on the unemployment line, they’re greedily lining their pockets with our national wealth, and laughing all the while.

Thinking has become a sort of taboo in our society.  It’s clear that our current system is failing miserably, yet we’re not allowed to question it.  We are a military empire, and everyone seems to know it, but no one seriously suggests changing our ways.  Violence and war are acceptable means to solving problems, and as a result war is always on the table.  Our capitalist system has also failed miserably, as the experience of many ordinary Americans attests, but suggesting that capitalism is flawed is considered sacrilegious.  The profit motive is the only thing that keeps society moving, we are told, and most people accept it without a second thought.

But clearly, something is terribly wrong.  The military empire is not helping anyone.  The capitalist state has enriched a ruthless few but enslaved the rest.  Yet even the most basic structures of our society and government are almost never questioned.  Why aren’t more people asking the relevant questions?  If capitalism has failed, why can’t more people see it?  If we have become a military empire, why aren’t more people enraged?

The answers, of course, are obvious:  generations of indoctrination by an extensive corporate media machine, combined with an era of relative prosperity and the emergence – and subsequent decline – of the largest middle class in history have resulted in a culture of intellectual and political apathy.  People have reached a state of general comfort, and in spite of a rapid deterioration of virtually all aspects of our standard of living, we refuse to acknowledge that our society is in a state of total decay.

There are no easy solutions, but it is gratifying to see that there are at least a few enlightened individuals out there who are at least making an attempt.  The best prospect we have at the moment is the October 6 rally, which has the noble goal of bringing the Tahrir Square experience to Washington, DC.  The realist in me doubts that the sustained protest needed to effect any meaningful change is unlikely to materialize, but we can always hope.  When that critical mass is eventually breached the transformation will be sudden and seemingly without warning – perhaps our time has finally come.

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One response to “Obama Boasts of Troop Reductions in Afghanistan, The Machine Trudges On

  1. W.D. Noble ("Astranavigo") June 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    “When the masses lose, they win. When we’re struggling to survive on the unemployment line, they’re greedily lining their pockets with our national wealth, and laughing all the while.”

    This sums up the whole damn thing, really – the uneducated masses have no clue that they’re the victims, rather than the beneficiaries of America’s Great War Machine and Empire; they’ve been told for decades now that they are ‘safe’ because of ‘those who serve’.

    The reality is that they’re enslaved by a system which spends their wealth, takes their sons and daughters to be killed, and keeps tidy profits from both.

    “All murderers are punished, save for those who kill in vast numbers to the sound of trumpets,” said Voltaire. He also said, “If you can convince the people to believe in absurdities, eventually you can convince them to commit atrocities.”

    America is now a surreal place. I hope we can survive what’s coming.

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