June 21, 2011

The Fragile Vanity of the War Criminal

I wrote the following almost five blood-soaked, barbaric, murderous, goddamned, fucking years ago:
If you have ever wondered how a serial murderer -- a murderer who is sane and fully aware of the acts he has committed -- can remain steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show not even the slightest glimmer of remorse, you should not wonder any longer.

The United States government is such a murderer. It conducts its murders in full view of the entire world. It even boasts of them. Our government, and all our leading commentators, still maintain that the end justifies the means -- and that even the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents is of no moral consequence, provided a sufficient number of people can delude themselves into believing the final result is a "success."


It is useless to appeal to any "American" sense of morality: we have none. It does not matter how immense the pile of corpses grows: we will not surrender or even question our delusion that we are right, and that nothing we do can be profoundly, unforgivably wrong.
As I detailed in "The Blood-Drenched Darkness of American Exceptionalism," the United States exhibits all the symptoms of severe neurosis brought on in significant part by "the extreme nature of the delusions necessitated by an unquestioned belief in the myth of American exceptionalism."

It is not enough that our national political culture completely ignores the deadly, catastrophic consequences of the U.S. government's actions. Our national delusions, and our national neurosis, compel us to invert every moral value and principle. This is a world in which evil becomes good, and death becomes life:
The American exceptionalist myth tells us that the United States is unique and uniquely good. It is not sufficient to ignore negative consequences of our actions: we must transform any and all negative consequences into a positive good. This process has been rigorously followed for every American intervention ever undertaken (going back to the Philippines, then with the American entrance into World War I, on into many interventions after World War II, on into Iraq and Afghanistan today), and the identical process has been well underway for several years in connection with Iraq in particular.
I could mention many facts about the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, but let us consider only two.

The propagandists continue in their damnable work, as reflected in the headline of this AP story: "Obama to Move US Closer to Leaving Afghanistan." [The headline was changed after this post was published, which alters nothing in the following argument.] To grasp the huge lie this represents, you have to read the entire story -- which, of course, very few readers will do. For it is only near the very end that we read this sentence: "Obama has tripled the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan since taking office, bringing the total there to about 100,000." Keeping that 100,000 figure in mind, now read the opening paragraph of the story:
President Barack Obama is set to announce a blueprint for bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan that is expected to reduce the number of troops by up to 5,000 next month, as well as a broader plan for recalling the rest of the 30,000 surge forces he sent there in 2009.
Assuming all 30,000 of the "surge forces" leave, 70,000 U.S. troops will remain. Well, there's "leaving" and then there's leaving. Moreover, as we are always told about such matters, all this is subject to "conditions on the ground" -- which means only that the U.S. government will do whatever the hell it believes is required to maintain dominance and control. And, not at all by the way, Afghanistan is especially crucial to ongoing U.S. plans for geopolitical dominance; see this post, as well as the Robert Higgs article I excerpt: "CENTCOM's Master Plan and U.S. Global Hegemony." I therefore state, as I have many times before: WE ARE NOT LEAVING.

(Also note: This bloody charade about "leaving" follows exactly the pattern seen in Iraq. One can hardly blame the war criminals who lead the U.S. government for playing the same bloody tune again. After all, almost no one is objecting in any way that matters to our continued presence in Iraq. Why not offer the identical music of death another time? Everyone already knows the melody, and no one gives a damn.)

So, an enormously significant, ongoing U.S. troop presence is the first fact to remember about Afghanistan. The second is the nauseating number of civilian deaths caused by U.S. warmaking. As is always the case, we can only be certain of one aspect of this bloody business: whatever number manages to surface into public awareness must necessarily be far, far lower than the accurate and truthful number. With that qualification noted, we can turn to an article published just a few months ago:
The latest UN report puts the death toll for Afghan civilians across the nation in 2010 to 2,777, the largest since the war began in 2001 and a 15% increase over the toll from 2009. The vast majority of those killed were random victims of the fighting between NATO and the Taliban.
Take a look at this article from the Guardian, too. It's from a year ago, but it remains helpful in grasping the continuing slaughter.

It would appear very safe to say that the total for civilian deaths in the last ten years is well over 10,000, and the actual number may be far greater than that figure. But hell, it's not as if we're talking about Americans. They're just those people, the Other. Who gives a shit? Almost no one.

Certainly, one of the many Ministers of Death -- the departing American ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry -- doesn't give a shit. That is, he doesn't give a shit about the U.S. troops that will remain in that devastated country into the foreseeable future, or about the slaughtered civilians. But he wants to be sure Karzai and the rest of us know that he is deeply offended and hurt because not everyone appreciates how noble, glorious and self-sacrificing Americans are. Reread my description offered at the beginning of this post, and especially note my observation about the serial murderer (and, I stress, his accomplices) remaining "steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show[ing] not even the slightest glimmer of remorse." And then read these sickening remarks offered by Eikenberry:
“When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost — in terms of life and treasure — hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people,” the ambassador said, “my people, in turn, are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here.”


“When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse,” Mr. Eikenberry said, “and our generous aid programs dismissed as totally ineffective and the source of all corruption, our pride is offended and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on.”


“Mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers, spouses of soldiers who have lost arms and legs, children of those who lost their lives in your country, they ask themselves about the meaning of their loved one’s sacrifice,” he said. “When I hear some of your leaders call us occupiers, I cannot look these mourning parents, mourning spouses and mourning children in the eye and give them a comforting reply.”
I often describe our national leaders as monsters. These are some additional reasons for that description. And "monsters" has special application to those who fashion, implement and defend U.S. foreign policy.

I referred above to "the symptoms of severe neurosis" which result from a dedicated reliance on the delusions supporting American exceptionalism. Eikenberry's comments show how that severe neurosis begins to veer ever closer to psychosis, if we use "psychosis" to indicate a condition representing an irreparable break with reality. I emphasize again that it is not simply that U.S. leaders ignore the murderous, bloody consequences of the U.S. government's actions. That would be more than sufficiently evil by itself, but U.S. leaders and functionaries like Eikenberry go much further. They transform evil into a positive good. And they go further still: they demand that others acknowledge their nobility and goodness -- and thank them for it.

"Oh, thank you, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Eikenberry! Thank you for destroying my country and slaughtering my family and half my relatives. How can I ever thank you enough for your overwhelming kindness and generosity! Thank you a thousand times!"

If that isn't insane, nothing is. Our leaders are profoundly, deeply terrible people. They are monsters. I stand by that description.