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Thursday, July 6, 2017

americas afghanistan 2 of 3


AMERICAS AFGHANISTAN 2
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note: I haven't read it, but it looks interesting.  Irregular warfare. click here
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When we talk about our economic decline and our failing infrastructure, there is mention of the decrepit power lines ( brought up by the EMP doomers ) and failing sewer and water pipes, but no mention is made of our military.  I’m not sure what cultural trait allowed us to see the quicksand that was Vietnam, what a charnel house it was, and yet view Iraq and Afghanistan as patriotic and sensible ( deaths in terms of percentage of total armed forces personnel are not dissimilar to Vietnam ).  Yes, I understand we now have an all volunteer force as opposed to a conscripted one, and they are mostly White so the PC Princesses could give a crap less if Honky Mo-Fo’s come home in coffins or dragging colostomy bags ( good thing they love their darker complexioned brethren so they live next to them, making them the first target in the race wars-good riddance ), and I’m aware the news is controlled from the battlefield so only propaganda makes its way back home, but there has to be another aspect of another useless expensive war being viewed with such jingoistic fervor.   Off the top of my head I can only think it is panic or hubris.

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All the dissent in this war seems to be over the lack of medical care after the vets return home ( which is as it should be-of course, after the Civil War all the Southerners were sent back home to Sherman devastated farms with no support or compensation for wounds, so this isn’t a complete surprise.  You might be squawking about rebels not being entitled, but just recall that if you survived the genocidal wars against the Indians you were better provided for.  Yankees have a very poor record with their first conquered civilized country ), and nothing being discussed about even continuing the conflict in the first place.  Partially that might be to excuse the First Negro from his lies over ending the thing ( like FDR, the floppy ear prick can do absolutely no wrong ), but I can’t help wondering if the general, if at times begrudging, support isn’t over the acknowledgment that all protestations to the contrary the invasion was about oil and we need more to keep driving around.  That is basically what our economy is, isn’t it?  Mostly just driving around wasting gas ( it is about wasting petroleum above and beyond the commuter level, but the gist is close enough ).  Americans probably figured if we control the middle east we can never run out of oil ( an assumption such dinguses as National Geographic and The Economist do nothing to dispel, flogging the notion Saudi Arabia will have vast reserves for another fifty years, flying in the face of all past performances of all oil producing regions.  Seen much oil come out of L.A. lately?  Why not?  According to all our misconceptions the worlds leading oil producer in 1920 should still be going strong! ).

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Delusion and hubris are two sides of the same coin.  Well, if you could have a three sides coin you could also add award winning levels of dumb assness, but you can’t so we’ll ignore that for now.  We delude ourselves into thinking we now own all the middle east oil, and that makes the occupation okay ( never mind the lack of oil in Afghanistan, the more informed ones would likely counter that we need to be there because, ah, well, probably because of the Axis Of Evil member Iran right next to it.  Yeh!  That’s it! I don’t really buy the natural gas pipeline theory.  I won’t get into that now as I’m sure I can squeeze another article out of my rectum on that one ) and even if the Average American couldn’t say Peak Oil if you put a gun to his head, he does know we need to own as much oil as possible to keep things running.  So stealing is okay, which means we’ll never run out.  Problem solved, when I’m old enough to be on life support on the Arizona golf course I’ll get all my petroleum dependent medications and treatments and live my miserable life forever!  Groovy, dude!  I didn’t want to go to Vietnam but I don’t mind sending your son to Iraq, since it keeps me alive.

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“But, I digress” should be the official tag line for this blog.  Okay, to continue on our military being one of our infrastructure systems that is failing, I defy you to explain how our military could survive without nuclear weapons.  We over computerized everything to the point our ships and planes cost billions of dollars, and simply don’t work.  At all.  This isn’t just the odd weapon program being a lemon, and we’ve had plenty of those.  Working badly and not working at all are two different things ( days prior to writing this was the incident where a cargo container and one of our warships collided.  In case you are wondering, a cargo container ship is a really big bastard.  Kind of hard to miss.  We missed it.  Now there is talk of taking older ships out of mouthballs.  We have the Keystone Cops protecting our nation ).  Our military started thinking high tech was a substitute for large numbers of low tech weapons, a sure cost cutting formula.  We could cut our military from nine million to one, and have a fifth of that one million be women.  What could possibly go wrong?

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My question is, and how do you think our military with all its past performance issues is a force to be reckoned with?  We invaded Grenada.  Badly.  We can’t fight guerrillas even after fifty years of practice.  We can’t even pull off a scorched earth policy, another War Of Northern Aggression, to defeat our enemies.  One wonders if we could have even won World War Two if it hadn’t been for Hitler’s mistakes and the Soviets meat grinder ( of course, you could argue there were good indications Russia was going to attack first, or you could argue Hitler was too blinded by his political promises of transforming the nations boundaries and made a mistake [ he should have kept relations with Russian while invading the middle east-but Monday morning quarterbacks easily forget the geography of the region when they discount the fears of the Germans as regards Russia ] ).  We applied private company profits, banker controls, centralized bureaucracy and Civil War strategy and tactics to the conflict and it is amazing we won.  And we’ve only gotten worse since.

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We never won Korea, and you could imply that was because we needed to continue our Cold War for economic reasons ( all the Iraq and Afghanistan war might be is just Cold War Economy spending, a panic attack knee jerk reaction to the Tech Wreck, the Housing Bubble and the War On Terror Bubble keeping the economy afloat.  Yes, that justification involved the PetroDollar, but the last thing it was was the de facto control of oil itself.  As with every decision there are always multiple factors.  You don’t JUST buy a car for commuting, but to show your peacock feathers, enable yourself to be lazy, sooth your fear of being run over on a bike, your inclination to avoid winter weather and also to piss me off personally.  See-multiple reasons ) or you could guess that we couldn’t actually win it.  We had no way to defeat our former allies and all our military was busy garrisoning elsewhere.  We were also focusing on nuclear war rather than conventional.  All the reasons were rational, but also blinded us at the time.  Suddenly, our conventional military sucked and we just ignored that.  No worries, eh?  We’ll just nuke their asses.

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I would argue that the Vietnam era actually had a top notch military organization which would have been great in Korea.  But it wasn’t worth jack against guerrillas.  We learned from the last war to build up our military to a suitable level for fighting a regular war.  We screwed up in Korea, learned our lesson, and was ready for another Asian war.  Against conventional Chinese and Russian backed armies, just like Korea.  Well, the problem was two fold.  We had shot our economic wad in WWII, and twenty years later we had no way to pay for another overseas war, the economy having spend all the capital left over from the earlier war.  The WWII factories that led us to victory were too far aged and we were neglected too long.  The other issue was of course our inability to fight a guerrilla war.  We tried.  We emulated the Nazi’s with scorched earth genocidal fighting.  It wasn’t enough, and the supply lines were too long.  Our Korea Era army never had much of a chance.  Not because the political will to win was lacking but because the economic backing was.  And, very importantly, this was the death knell of the nation state.

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Which, you might remember, was the predominate economic and political organization which came about for colonization.  The wealth pump of empires, to use the apt phrase of the Druid Dude ( I don’t remember if he got it elsewhere himself.  Good bye, you selfish bastard.  It was nice while it lasted ), was colonies.  Remember that nice little country named Rome?  It lasted and prospered when it figured out how to colonize its neighbors.  The surplus wealth made Rome great.  Once the resources from the colonies, the wheat and slaves, started declining in volume, it was all over but the crying, or for that matter the fat lady getting her broad ass off the opera stage.  If you assume Rome was, roughly, a five century empire, and compare that not to individual entities but the western powers as a whole, you could call the last five hundred years another empire so as to basically emulate the first one, Rome.  They started out repeating the conventional resource wealth pump then just got lucky and stumbled onto the Carbon Fuel wealth bonanza to extend and pretend.

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You could think of the bankers as the originating power and the nation states as their territorial administrative units.  The bankers, after all, were behind the central banks of the nations which financed said units.  Without the banks, the nations couldn’t expand and conquer and draw in wealth nearly as well.  Nations were like competing cousins in the Rothschild family.  And if you recall the last five hundred years of colonization, gunpowder, the original nuclear weapons due to its revolutionary nature and its need for a centralized government to found and maintain the industry ( with the accompanying metal industry ), proved to be so superior to native resistance that nobody could stand in the way of the armies yielding it.  Natives and guerrilla forces, even when well equipped with gunpowder themselves, were easily ( relatively.  And, no, our colonial war for independence was not won by guerrillas but by conventional armies-like Frances ) defeated.  My contention is that was because of the surplus wealth able to run the occupation and saturate the battlefield with the new super weapon.  Not necessarily the weapons themselves, but the means to deploy them.  It didn’t have to be deployed with all that much finesse.  They just had to make an appearance with an overwhelming force.  And have the wealth to continue the occupation. 

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That was why Britain and France and the Netherlands lost their colonies.  They couldn’t afford to defeat the guerrillas.  There were ALWAYS guerrillas and ALWAYS guerrilla war.  But whereas before there was enough surplus wealth to defeat them, now there wasn’t.  Not because a single gun is effective.  Look how long it took the Americans to defeat the Indians that way.  It is through gunpowder equipped armies, primarily using cannon as well as navies, with the economic system with surplus wealth backing that, that colonies are pacified, occupied and exploited.  Colonization is expensive and needs wealth to produce wealth.  Lack of wealth means no colonies.  And Vietnam was started as our wealth had started evaporating.  We then used the last of our treasure to try to reverse that.  There was no real adequate reason to invade the country.  It had no oil.  It was not strategically placed to deny us oil from elsewhere.  But it wasn’t such a strategic blunder to invade it, as it was an economic one.  We screwed our economy by taking a weak aging economy and adding a huge conventional war to it ( we shipped over a conventional army even if it didn’t fight another conventional army ). 

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Britain and France killed their economy by fighting a war for colonies against other colony holders.  Germany lost its few colonies ( which is why it wanted to fight, never having adequately conquered enough viable ones ) and was actually blessed by that event, leaving enough to reequip for the next war amongst the colonial powers.  Her enemies continued to be bleed by the colonies, even if they were still somewhat productive, and entered the next war less powerful.  We fought Vietnam, and that was our version of wasting our treasury on a colony.  Economically, it is hard to deny that this was the war that broke us as a colonial power.  However, I’d also like to add that far more importantly, this was the war that began the process of the end of the nation state itself.  Globally.  The colonial wealth pump was broken.  We retained our nation state, not our functioning economy, with the last of the petroleum extraction world wide.  What you see as a strength of controlling the oil is merely a symptom of the last grasp of our nation state ( and others are following our path-many already failed states and others like China soon to follow as its economic problems portend food import issues, or Russia which gained new life through colony surrender to buy it time ).

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America drawing down the global oil is akin to Rome stripping the soil of all its North African and middle east colonies for the last of the wheat.  They continued in power for quite some time, but on a downward slope.  America started hers during the Vietnam War and despite more and more oil has been failing ever since then.  She, like all other nation states, is failing due to the surplus wealth, the wealth pump, the very function of the empire, is breaking down.  We’ll continue tomorrow.

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14 comments:

  1. "days prior to writing this was the incident where a cargo container and one of our warships collided."

    I'm not hearing much about how the investigation is going. Almost as if there is a media blackout. Imagine that?!?

    I wonder if the Officer in Charge was named Mohammad or Akmed?

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. The officer in charge was busy teaching a mandatory difference gender acceptability class to pregnant single mothers of color.

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  2. “Mouthballs”?

    I thought that was an affliction suffered by hollywood starlets on their rise to the top :D

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    1. I think I made this mistake before :) Thanks for not being a Grammar Nazi.

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  3. Guerrilla tactics are real tough to combat. Large, wide open areas like the middle east are probably not quite as bad to deal with, but in mountainous regions such as Afghanistan, forget about it. The south should have engaged in Guerrilla tactics from the beginning, and just kept it up until they finally wore the federals down. When you’re outnumbered and out funded, conventional warfare is a fools game.

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    1. Perhaps the southern plantation owners feared they would become the front lines, as they would be the obvious source of funding. Do as the rich always do, get the peasants to fight.

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  4. Actually Guerrilla warfare is extremely easy to counter : you have to exterminate every living being in the vicinity of the attack.

    It was done on a massive scale during the French Revolution in Vendée, for instance. And in other serious counterinsurgencies in space and time (The Second Boer War was quite horrendous in that regard).

    The reason counterinsurgency didn't work in the second half of the 20th century was because the population at home was against these principles, be it in France or in the USA.

    Also, there wasn't any need to, to be honest. Nowadays, the first private employer in Vietnam is NIKE. So Vietnam won the war... and ? Look at them now.

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    1. Hey, at least they have some employment :)

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  5. I thought the reason for wars for the USA was the profits to be had by the CIA, DIA, DEA,Special Forces in the drug trade. Heroin (Viet Nam), Cocaine(South America), Heroin (Afghanistan).

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    1. ONE of the reasons, not the only one. I'd say war was healthy for much bigger players ( I don't know if the drugs are for the benefit of the bankers as some claim, but an interesting hypothesis ) and the above are bit players. The knights and barons to the king.

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  6. IIRC Afghanistan, while having little oil does have 2 things to warrant its invasion.
    1) a strategic spot geographically. Controlling it gives access to Asia, the Middle East, etc.
    2) a LOT of rare earth metals necessary for solar PV and other alternative energy sources. With control of these metals a nation may be able to reduce its domestic dependence on petroleum to be sufficient to be the last military to have enough petroleum to fight a war. (and they are also good for computer chips).
    That second point may be why we are really still there. We got Osama, and enough of the Taliban we could keep them suppressed with locally bought troops, but we also have to have control of and protect the rare earth mines and refineries.

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    1. The problem I see with this is: Afghanistan as the pivot point might be an anachronism from Spice and Blackpowder. Rare earth metals are for much higher tech than our economy is going to support. Not saying you are wrong, just that your points may not justify the cost we are paying.

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    2. Solar PV panels last far longer than most people think (60+ years of nearly 50% rated max power) that's more than long enough to see a nation and civilization make a major transition to less/no petroleum. The problem is that the solar PV requires rare earths that are hard to find and very - well - rare on the earth, there are not enough to equip every person on earth with enough PV panels for a European level energy usage. Wind, water, and solar thermal power could take up SOME of the slack but things will get very poor in energy even for the richest people UNLESS your country has all the PV power it could possibly need ASAP. AKA - own the rare earth minerals NOW, and get your nation into a better state for the gearing down, and enjoy your luxuries for longer, and keep/get your country dominant. Mind you I think that is more depth than the politicians giving the orders can think, but the people they are really working for ~might~ be that clever.

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    3. I'd say China was clever. They invested in panel production surges to get unit price down. Nearly every Chinese home had a solar water heater, cheaply bought, and that was years ago. The US, capable of that kind of foresight? I spit blood as I gaffaw!

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