Getting the Job Done

The U.S. government spent an estimated $624 billion on the military, plus $188 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008. This is about 12 times what the U.S. spent on education in 2008. 2009 marches on.

If one listens to General McChrystal, then it is because we have no alternative – and we must spend a lot more money – and blood. Why?

To get rid of Al Quaeda. To protect the Afghan people. To protect Pakistan and the United States from terrorism. To prepare an Iraqi Army of 600,000 {!?@%$!!] to protect themselves.

But more often, one hears an old familiar: To get the job done or to have the necessary tools to get the job done.

As an old professor I am driven to despair by this insultingly vague and meaningless stream of thoughtless clichés, utterly divorced from the reality on the ground in Afghanistan (and let us not forget about Iraq, which is spiraling out of control], spreading the smoke of catastrophic denial. George Orwell could no more have predicted this fulfillment beyond any expected degree of his worst cases of language abuse in the service of mad politics, than Kafka could have dreamed up a more schizophrenic nightmare.

If you missed it, you can catch Frontline’s “Obama’s War” on their website. In this coming New York TImes Sunday Magazine Dexter Filkins, in my view with George Packer, the best on the ground chronicler of the real war, reports on the facts and the folks as they are in Afghanistan And of course even he calls what is in fact a failed and unending occupation a “war”. Orwell again. Iran provides a nice distraction from our real problems with nukes at the ready in Pakistan, India, and [sshh!] Israel.

I guess you know that the overwhelming majority of Americans seek a single payer health care plan. Not on the table; ignored by Dems and GOPs together.

They do not listen. Maybe as a body they are too ignorant and banal to even try to figure it out. It is horrible to think that the money they get from the Health Industrial Complex alone speaks to them. This is bad enough.

But the “War” is the real killer of America, for which there is no shortage of money to get the job done.

The justly contemned Insurance industry scare “report” and General McChrystal’s straight-faced “assessment” are cut from the same cynical cloth.

Perhaps Obama is delaying while more momentum is built up against the AfPak debacle before he leaves? No, before he scales back. A whole new meaning to less is more. If he does, and it is sadly prolonging the waste, we will no doubt hear that deep voiceover intoning: “Obama, weak on terrorism, too weak for America.”