How Do You Win?

My neighbor has a sign in his yard, "Support our troops. Let them win." I see that sign every day and everyday I wonder what it means.

How do you know when you've won a war against insurgents? Who would offer the surrender of thousands of independent groups, hundreds of thousands of pissed off, homeless, jobless, religious fanatics? Who would rightfully be able to hand over the domain to their own country to an invading force? What would a win in the ridiculous and pompous “War on Terror” look like?

In Vietnam, I often heard old farts and returning vets claim that the way to win that war was to bomb the Vietnamese into oblivion, to "nuke 'em" until there was nothing left alive in that country. Since we, supposedly joined that war to protect the Vietnamese from other Vietnamese, that "win" never made much sense to me. You win when everyone is dead? You win when no one opposes your invasion of their country? Really? People really believe that you can win this kind of military action?

Since this war supposedly began when New York was attacked by a group of Saudi Arabian Islamic fundamentalists who hijacked a quartet of airliners and used them as bombs, I'm particularly curious as to how war can be fought against people who will kill themselves for the honor of killing us. In particular, I’m curious as to how we defeat Saudi militants by attacking every country except Saudi Arabia?

Every time one of our $10.5 million Predator drone's missiles strikes a village in Afghanistan, we kill a few people and turn a few more people into someone who has nothing to lose. With every military or Blackwater attack on civilians in Iraq, hundreds of Iraqi youth lost family and security and set themselves to wreak revenge on the country who hired those mercenaries. Seven years later, we have created armies of young people who have nothing but hatred for the United States. Generations later, this hatred will continue to fester. People with nothing to lose are tough to defeat, as the British discovered in its wars against “insurgents” from United States, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Rome took a shot at overcoming insurgents and, for a long while seemed to have the formula, until insurgents on both sides of the gates took down the empire. The old Soviet Union, at one time, believed itself to be the only successful modern empire, silencing dissent and propping up incompetent local governments, until it ran out of money and energy. Afghanistan had a lot to do with the end of the Soviet Union.

The United States has been creating enemies and battling insurgents since the turn of the last century, in the Philippines, in Panama, in Korea, in Vietnam, and, now, all over the Muslim world. For that matter, we’ll send troops any place that has a natural resource that our corporate masters want to incorporate. That policy has made enemies for the country all over the world. The reckless and ignorant Bush administration accelerated and expanded our enemy-making to new heights, so we have decades of surprise suicide attacks stored for our future.

Maybe worse, we are creating another generation of injured American men and women who will perpetrate the illusion that their wars could have been won if they’d have been allowed to carry out total war. Like the psychological damage done to the victims of our imperialist wars, the damage done to our own citizens tends to make it easier for us to keep trying to win these unwinnable wars. They want revenge, we want vindication.

It may be true that no enemy will ever be as clear and present as were the enemies of “the great wars.” Germany and the Axis powers made a pretty obvious target, even if they were supplied by Standard Oil and financed by Preston Bush’s Union Banking Corp. Withstanding the US and world banking interests that profited and encouraged WWI and WWII, our enemies mostly wore enemy uniforms, used weapons of their own manufacturer, and were based in their countries of origin. Today’s wars are fought by enemies wearing Levi’s and Nike’s, with weapons supplied by US weapon makers, and with techniques often learned in our own training camps.

As with McVeigh and Terry Nichols, some of our own soldiers bring those wars back to us, creating a completely different sort of terrorist with whom to wage this war. If the corporations and our government fights that war, we will all be insurgents. How will we define "winning" then?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/13/2009

    Hey, Tom.


    Those are all my thoughts on the "War" put into one concise column.

    I think there is obviously a hidden agenda here.

    One person I knew who came back from Iraq, said it was all about establishing a new military base in the middle-east. Of course the administration couldn't say that, as it comes off as blatently expansionist.

    He said that, when he saw the incredible size of the fortress-compound at "The Green Zone", it was obvious that this is what Bush went in for. He said that Turkey was growing tired of us, as was all of Europe, so we needed a new base to protect our "American interests".

    I'm assuming, that if the base was the hidden agenda, and Obama has to live up to his campaign promise to get us out of Iraq, then Obama has to try to open up a new country for us to use as a "defense" base. Otherwise, the total colapse of our oil-based economy looks as if it's his fault.

    I beleive that, even if we quit bombing other countries today, and didn't bomb any countries for 30 years, we would still have another 20 to 30 years of suicide bombers in the pipeline, that are ready to step up and kill us. The only way to circumvent this would be to engage a real and complete humanitarian effort to bring up the standard of living in the rest of the world and a campaign to end starvation, hunger, and poverty in the rest of the world. Elenor & FDR could have pulled it off...I'm not certian that any politician could pull that off in today's political environment in the US.

    If only the idealism of today's youth could last for 30 years until they're 50 years old, without getting corrupted by capitolism, consumerism & expansionism that took out so many former hippies.