portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

government | imperialism & war

How Will We Know When We Have Lost, America?

Who knows in this day and age what defeat means or how it is measured? Is defeat measured in the number of our soldiers that are killed and wounded or is it the number of innocent civilians killed?
Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation's moral compass becoming erratic or fixed on empire building and the theft of other's lands and resources?

What is it that tells us we have lost a battle or a war? Is victory marked by a nation's leader dressing the part of a warrior and declaring, "Mission Accomplished". Is "loss" defined by politicians officially reporting victory at least three times? Is a "loss" the "beautiful people" hanging onto the "last helicopter out"? Is it a "loss" when the most powerful army the world has ever seen can't travel its own six-mile road from its Baghdad airport to its administrative headquarters? Is defeat an Army's friendly fire killing its own military hero and then lying for months on end about the circumstances of the event? Does the need to manufacture a heroine like Jessica Lynch mark the end of a blatantly unjust cause and therefore defeat? How does a commander-in-chief wage a war when one of his senior generals says, "I don't know if I have the moral authority to send troops into combat anymore. I'm no longer sure I can look (a soldier or a Marine) in the eye and say: 'This is something worth dying for.'" (1)

Who knows in this day and age what defeat means or how it is measured? Is defeat measured in the number of our soldiers that are killed and wounded or is it the number of innocent civilians killed? Is defeat measured by the birth defects our soldiers' children experience from their parents' exposure to depleted uranium or is defeat measured by the increase in cancer among the enemy civilian population?(2) Is the degree of corruption involving the destruction/reconstruction of a defeated nation a measure of defeat? (For those with an extremely strong stomach for corruption, try reading "Sticky Fingers", The Making of Halliburton by Jeffry St. Clair in the July 15/17 2005 issue of Counterpunch.com). Is defeat measured by the loss of world oil production and the inevitable rise of worldwide petroleum prices? Do forcing the conquered country to pay for its own reconstruction and then stealing and squandering its "income stream" and national assets measure a conqueror's victory? How does one measure the success or failure of a war waged by a moral midget and a totally incompetent Minister of Offense?

Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation's moral compass becoming erratic or fixed on empire building and the theft of other's lands and resources? Is defeat marked by a nation choosing the wrong nation for retaliation after being attacked? Is ignoring international law a mark of defeat? Does living outside the treaties and agreements between nations mean that a nation has lost its sense of moral values or is that nation to be considered the only nation on earth to be righteous?

When does a nation quit saying, "In God we trust" and start saying "In our government I trust". I seem to remember something in the Bible about justice, punishment and right and wrong. If we trust in God, it would appear that our actions have already doomed this War on Terror. If we truly believe in biblical truths, how does one justify laying waste to a country (without provocation) that you have befriended, supported and supplied with money and weapons? Is there really 30 percent of we Americans who can look his son or daughter in the eye as he or she leaves for Iraq and say, "this is worth dying for"?

Does rejecting civilized treatment of prisoners and choosing torture for known innocents as well as the suspected guilty mark the end of a nation's humanity and mark it as a pariah and predator in the world community? Does defeat mean having to depend upon hypocrisy to overcome an enemy that your army can't defeat? What are you really saying when you have to rely on extraordinary rendition in order to satisfy "liberals" and "America haters" that you really do not believe in torture?

How are we going to know when we have lost the battles and the wars? Are we going to use history to define defeat or victory, or are we going to make the rules for everyone else to live by as we go along? We made the rules in Nuremberg, but now we know that only the "America haters" would want us to put Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith, Luty and Libby on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

George Bush's last bastion of deceit in justifying the invasion of Iraq has gotten down to saying that "if we don't fight them over there, we will have to fight them over here". That theory took a beating recently in London. The British "have been fighting them over there", and now it looks as though they are going to be fighting them in their own country precisely BECAUSE they are "fighting them over there".

I am afraid of another (many other) 9/11 - London type disasters in our country and for the same reasons as the previous London and New York tragedies. And, "no, whether or not we treat prisoners with hoods and electrodes in Abu Ghraib will make no difference to the suffering we will feel when the time for us comes again". They have gone too far; we have gone too far. There will be no humanitarianism on their part or on ours. Our government's policies - unconditional support for Israel, support of despots and tyrants around the world, the export of tyranny, terrorism and "regime changes" through the CIA and the School of the Americas, the purchase of our Congress by Israel and any other cash wielding PAC or war industry lobby, the corruption of destruction and reconstruction in our "war" for the freedom and democracy of Iraqis, insisting that we have enough troops in Iraq to "win" but having to hire mercenaries at exorbitant rates to cover the gaps in our troop strength - have put us in a position from which we cannot win. They (the world wide Muslim community) have limited ordnance and limited military capabilities, but they have tied down the most powerful army the world has ever seen - and they have a potential 1.3 BILLION - man/woman fighting reserve. Even the Chinese would envy that kind of army. One can safely say that not every Muslim is a jihadist. But then ask yourself WHY NOT if we are going to act in the same manner as the despotic rulers whom they know so well. Ask yourself how only nine, low ranking "bad apples" could completely destroy the worldwide perception of America's integrity and fairness - even in war!

We will know we have lost when we do what we have done in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram and the other entirely secret and not so secret CIA and military detention centers round the world. We will know we have lost when the first target in the massacre of a village or city is its hospital. We will know we have lost when we don't bother to learn about war and about the realities of war. We will know we have lost when we avoid impeaching a president who allows "his" Pentagon to defy a federal court order to release photos from Abu Ghraib showing, among other things, the rape of children and murder of prisoners.(3) We will know we have lost when our elite military units use the torture and suffering of their prisoners for sport and entertainment(4) . We will know we have lost when we don't care how similar our methods in Falluja are to those of the Nazis in Warsaw or the Russians in Chechnya. (No, I am not a bleeding heart liberal who thinks wars should be fought with powder puffs and cream puffs, but I am a very disillusioned American veteran who sees the horrors of Stalingrad, Warsaw, Falluja or Waco coming soon to a location very near to each of us).

We will know we have lost when we don't know where Jose Padilla is or how long he has been detained. We will know we have lost when we allow one million illegal aliens to cross our borders each year - any of which could be a suicide bomber, a "pilot-in-training" - or just a voter taking a job from an American non-voter. We will know we have lost when we have a Patriot Act I and are crafting a Patriot Act II behind closed doors in our Congress.

Notes:

(1) US 'lacks moral authority' in Iraq - By Pamela Hess
 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10539.htm

(2) Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets. A death sentence here and abroad: By Leuren Moret
 http://www.sfbayview.com/081804/Depleteduranium081804.shtml


(3) Pentagon Blocks Release of Abu Ghraib Images: Here's Why: By Greg Mitchell
 link to www.editorandpublisher.com

(4) Officer's Road Led Him Outside Army: By Richard A. Serrano
 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10394.htm

Nolan K. Anderson is a retired engineer and a veteran of Korea who was once a "conservative" until he found there was nothing left to conserve. (He may be reached at  nkanders@bellsouth.net ).

homepage: homepage: http://www.iraq-war.ru/home/

America lost again and again and again . . . and still more. 19.Feb.2006 00:30

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

Yes, korea, Vietnam, all the little wars in South America. The United States lost. Sure you might say, those were only battles against communism, but America won the cold war. I cannot imagine a bigger loss, than winning the cold war. Instead of ecconomic justise, where capital and the means of production are owned by the workers that produce these resources, instead of a system of the people, by the people, and for the people, we have economic ruin based on perpetual war, wage slavery for the common worker, corporatist fascism, and rubber stamp law designed to benefit the miniscule minority of the rich and powerful, and still the masses are sheep, unwilling to rise up in mass and tear down these few that are fat and weak. The only way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate the rich. People before profits, service before self, and remember, enough is a feast!

... 19.Feb.2006 08:41

this thing here

>Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation's moral compass becoming erratic or fixed on empire building and the theft of other's lands and resources?<

yes. exactly.

don't be fooled. in my opinion, behind the displays of military strength the bush admin. is orchestrating, there is nothing but desperation. behind all the propaganda about building "democracies" around the world, there is nothing but desperation. behind the phrase "war on terror", there is nothing but an excuse to wage state on state wars to try and relieve the desperation. everything is by proxy. everything is to maintain appearences, and manage perceptions. nothing is what it seems.

so the naive will see the bush admin's empire as a sign of strength, but in fact it is a sign of weakness, of a legacy of failed policies that can only be fixed by desperate, violent measures. yes, unilaterally starting a war against another state that posed no threat is not a sign of strength, but rather desperation and weakness, defeat.

Repression and injustice 19.Feb.2006 21:36

JE

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard - You forgot "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." You regurgitate all the pat words, phrases, and accusations like a well rehearsed machine. The fact remains that your comments are nothing more than ideologic group speak. The American people don't even have a clue what real repression and injustice are. A brief look at past Communist revolutions would give them a pretty good idea.

On JE Comment 20.Feb.2006 15:03

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

JE-"from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Is this to say that janitors, factory workers, and the person that delivers your pizza deserve less compensation because their work requires less ability than the work of Executives, celebrities, or polititions? I think not. Many of the most menial jobs are far more important than the "job" management does, and require far more ability. What would you do if someone wasn't out there picking asparagus for you? Last time I checked all people have the same basic needs. You . . . sound like one of those well rehersed machines, you know, one of those sheeple that believe Botox is a necessity, and that we deserve more because we have more. The fact remains that your comments are nothing more than your opinion, and while my comments are idealistic, and logical, they originate within me and are not the repetitions of pro-capitalist propaganda. I agree with you that the American people don't even have a clue what real repression and injustice are, but a brief look at past Communist revolutions would not give them a clue; especially if they do their reading from American histories. There are plenty of socialist systems around the world that are regularly used as examples of the failure and horror of communism, like the USSR (that second S standing for socialist not communist), China, and North Korea, but the fact is that there has never been a functioning communism anywhere yet. But there will be, the human species is communal by nature. I suggest you educate yourself JE.

On Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard comments 20.Feb.2006 17:52

JE

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard - I enjoyed your response to my observations, but I'll just ignore your ad hominum attack. You don't have a clue who I am, and your argument is weakened, not strengthened, when you attempt to demean me personally. "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is Karl Marx' quintessential slogan from the 1860s. I assume you are well aware of this, but the way you phrased your response belies the point. I agree that my comments are nothing more than my opinions. Propoganda is integral to and inherent in all ideologies. Growing up and living in a capitalist society, I am subject to the interpretations and culture of that society. But to suggest that I am the victim of propoganda, while your comments are "logical and originate within me" is absurd in the extreme.

With respect to my point about the history of Communist revolutions helping us to understand real repression and injustice, you seem to suggest that the problem once again is a slanted view...in this case from American historians. Take a look at Robert Service, "A Modern History OF Russia," Chang and Halliday's very recent biography, "Mao", or Harvards Richard Pipes "Communism, A History." Are these respected historians, like me, the victims of Pro-Capitalist propoganda. When you distinguish functioning communism from socialism, you are making a distinction without a diference. Stalin's regime was constantly try to acheive what they referred to as "mature socialism." Socilism and communism exist on a continuim as a sort of ideologic symbiosis.The overiding point is that Communism has produced repression and injustice on an unimaginable scale. Like so many hard left utopians, you seem to think a few little tweeks will correct the problems in an ideology that history has shown to be a brutal, abysmal failure. I'll side with free markets, competition, and the pursuit of excellence, with all their warts and imperfections, over the failed ideas of utopian socialist revolution...But then, as Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard suggests, I do need to educate myself.

LOL 20.Feb.2006 18:09

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

Oooh, so angry, JE. I am touched, and will remember to fully agree with Marx from now on. LOL

Just a thought . . . 20.Feb.2006 20:12

Another Leftist Utopian

George Orwell was a Socialist, and modeled the government in his novel 1984 on socialism to show how any form of government can become corrupt and cause repression and injustice. And even though Marx and Engels proposed a transitional system, with socialism graduating into communism, I agree with Commienokaze that socialism and communism are two seperate systems. Look them up in the dictionary for the definitions, then maybe read the Communist Manifesto, if you have never done so. My take on it is that communism is only an ecconomic system based on fairness to the worker, where the worker owns the profit of her or his labor, and owns the means of producing capital. A good example of socialism on the other hand would be the Nazis, nazism being a form of national socialism. The only difference between socialist fascism (Nazis) and democratic capitalism (Corporatists) is that that with socialist fascism the government owns the corporations, where as with democratic capitalism the corporations own the government, which is to say there is no difference. What is needed are fair markets, and cooperation. Free markets and competition only lead to the WTO and IMF and bring nothing but exploitation and suffering to the common workers of the world who are little more than slaves.