We have an election in November. It is certainly meaningless in terms of policy outcomes, but it does provide an opportunity for entertainment and conversation.
But what should we talk about? Both main political parties and their candidates are nearly indistinguishable on foreign policy, domestic policy, and policy in between. We are left with interesting non-issues like who killed or saved whom thirty plus years ago in Vietnam or Midland, and how they used to party back in the day.
This might be interesting for the .0001 percent of Americans that are students of American culture in the 1960s and 1970s. It is, by design and strategy, totally boring for most potential voters in November.
Bored people usually go to sleep or seek something more entertaining. Like watching a movie about an organization that secretly pushes its agenda by pushing its candidate.
Of course, we do have real issues of life and death and American principles. Our occupation of Iraq and political colonization of Afghanistan are military disasters, and political and moral failures. The Iraqis are not only winning tactically today at a high human cost, they have already won strategically — we will leave Iraq, whether next year or 25 years from now, whether after 1,500 or 150,000 dead Americans, makes no difference to them, or to the neoconservatives who have already gained what they envisioned — oil region military dominance as we retreat behind concertina wire and concrete-cordoned Guantanamo-style bases in Iraq, U.S. corporation-and-friends raids of major Iraqi business in every major city, and Israel’s enemies put on notice. The U.S.-Likud alliance is cemented, and the only cost is paid by young American servicemen and women, millions of unliberated Iraqis and the odd member of the coalition of the bullied — none of whom count for beans in the neoconservative playbook.
What have Bush and his neoconservative team really accomplished? They toppled Saddam Hussein, America now militarily threatens both the Shia government in Iran and the secular one in Syria, the House of Saud is crumbling and we have removed American troops from Saudi Arabian territory.
These achievements match — word for word — the oft-stated goals of the Wahhabist Sunni radical Osama bin Ladin.
Bush has clearly delivered the goods for Osama, our one time friend in fighting Soviet communism. The turmoil, destruction of economic and social life in Iraq, the escalation of political Islam there, both Sunni and Shia, and the sheer daily injustices visited on the very people we were "liberating" gives al Qaeda added bonuses of recruitment opportunities, local support, and tactical access to Americans and American interests.
George W. Bush formed the Homeland Defense Agency monstrosity but gave it little authority or funding to actively engage in policing terms with others, domestically or abroad. Further, Bush failed to eliminate any of the superfluous waste pre-existing in the already monstrous state security system. Not surprisingly, this also helps al Qaeda.
Our actions in Afghanistan have resulted in warlord rule and competition throughout most of the countryside and a resurgence of the national flower, the opium poppy — again, a profitable black economy that eventually supports not only al Qaeda directly, but after it is cleaned and fluffed and sanitized, those profits are deposited in national and global banks, fueling the global financial system, and with it those who invest in American empire.
And sadly, the military effort to capture bin Ladin in Afghanistan has not succeeded in the past three years due to a combination of political/tactical decisions made in Washington, and the pullout of logistics and manpower from Afghanistan in order to pursue Bush (and strangely, Osama bin Ladin) objectives in Iraq.
This has nothing to do with Bush family ties to the bin Ladin family. People who know young George best would be the last to bet on his loyalty and sense of duty to Daddy’s friends.
If we are looking for entertaining issues, why not this one: Which candidate has done more to further the aims of al Qaeda around the world? Which candidate has killed more enemies of al Qaeda as well as directly destroyed more American troops and military capability? Which candidate has done more to recruit followers and sympathizers of bin Ladin and his message of political and violently anti-American Islam?
George W. Bush may honestly believe he has made the world a safer place. Of course, the blood on the ground and splashing against camera lenses around the whole world tells a very different story. But somewhere Osama is smiling, more influential and powerful than ever. Surely that counts for something.
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com. She’s voting for Badnarik in November, as a matter of principle.