BY WILLIAM C. HENRY This just in, folks: America is now spending $2,000,000,000 a f _ _ _ _ _ g* WEEK in Afghanistan! Wouldn’t you think that that might finally be enough to make even the bloodthirstiest of Washington’s fiscal phonies cry out for SOME sense of sanity, reason, or rationality, or, at the VERY least, a tiny smidgen of f _ _ _ _ _ g HUMANITY on the subject. Of course not. There’s not so much as a single SYLLABLE in ANYONE’S budget proposal devoted to reducing, or even ACKNOWLEDGING, the pissed away BILLIONS (345 SO FAR!) and the unconscionable human toll (1,532 brave American men and women sent home in BODY BAGS, 10,468 seriously wounded, SO FAR!) of this ungodliest of abominations. So, where in hell is the goddamn OUTRAGE?!
Let me ask you another question. When was the last time you saw footage on a major (or minor) news broadcast of coffins returning from Afghanistan? It was banned during the Bush administration (negative publicity is never a good thing when it might interfere with official state propaganda) but consequently allowed by Obama. So, why aren’t we seeing any footage? Not only that. Have you noticed that when the names of the dead scroll down your TV screen (most news programs don’t even bother with it any more) that it’s nearly impossible to read the entire caption before it disappears? But I digress.
Are you familiar with David Halberstam’s The Best And The Brightest? If you haven’t read it, you really should. In fact, it ought to be required reading in every high school and college in America. In it Halberstam analyzes how, as the result of character flaws such as egoism, hubris, elitism, laziness, false assumption and downright stupidity, the seeming “best and brightest” the country had to offer lead us down one of the most disastrous paths in the nation’s history. It was called Vietnam.
So, after 58,159 DEAD (2,000 are still missing) and 303,635 severely MAIMED, surely it should come as no big surprise that even many of the most cynical and distrustful among us felt somewhat justified in believing that the next generation of these seeming “best and brightest” wouldn’t allow themselves to make those very same horrendous mistakes again. But, they hadn’t figured on the slimy likes of Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld!
Sure enough, those “best and brightest” did the very SAME f _ _ _ _ _ _ g thing all over again in a wretched little stretch of silica called Iraq. But, thank our lucky stars, at least the first Bushwhacker (the one with the H and W in between) had the moxie to declare victory and get the f _ _ k out before Armageddon set in! Unfortunately we weren’t nearly as fortuitous with the second (the short banty one with the phony military strut). Come now, surely you haven’t forgotten the little Napoleon wannabe who declared “Mission Accomplished” 7 YEARS TOO SOON and self-confidently shoved the country overboard! Unfortunately, in the case of the seriously under-maligned “Dubya” administration, it was discovered far too late that we had failed to update Halberstam’s originally identified “best and brightest” character flaws with such terms as “deviousness, deceitfulness, deplorableness, and, can’t utter so much as a f _ _ _ _ _ g word of TRUTH”!
So, fast-forward to 2001 and it’s deja vu all over again. Keep in mind that we were told we were going into this godforsaken little shit hole ONLY to capture or kill bin-Laden and destroy al-Qaeda (there were about 500 of them in Afghanistan following 911 and fewer than a couple dozen remain today) and then GET OUT! Well, how has that worked out for us up to now?! OK, go ahead, kick me again! Ten years and 100,000+ troops-on-the-ground later and bin-Laddie boy is still on the loose! As a matter of fact, we don’t even know if the son-of-a-bitch is still ALIVE! So, lacking even a semblance of success in that area, how about a little NATION BUILDING to make up for it?! Well, guess what? That’s going real well too! For all of our wasted treasure (both human and monetary) we’ve ended up with the single most CORRUPT government on the face of the earth! Literally hundreds of Afghan politicians and bureaucrats have become overnight multi-millionaires. Well, golly gee, isn’t that coincidental! Oh, by the way, did I mention that the Afghan president’s brother is one of the biggest drug traffickers in the entire region?!
Oh, yeah, did I also mention that, in addition to the “hoards” of al-Qaeda, we’re also fighting some other stone-tool fundamentalist assholes who call themselves the Taliban. They’re those courtly fellows whose respect for women falls about one level below that for sewer rats. But, wait! Now that these gallant rogues have killed and severely maimed literally thousands of our bravest young men and women, the “best and brightest” appear to be considering yet another sure-to-succeed course of action. Maybe we should just sit down and talk to them, try to get to know them a little better, discuss their possible “integration” into Afghan society, maybe even nudge them into a little governance “sharing” with their totally CORRUPT competitors down in Kabul, or, at the very, very least, and failing ALL of the above, maybe we should explore just flat out “buying the bastards off”! I mean, it’s the f _ _ _ _ _ g American way, right?!
But, enough of the good news, you say. Surely there must be SOME way to bring an end to this debacle. Like Bush I, why the hell don’t we just declare victory and go home? Well, brother, you just hit the 34- billion-dollar-1,532-American-lives nail right on the head! That is EXACTLY what we should do. So, why don’t we do it? The reason is disgustingly simple: There is no politician in a position of significant power or influence in Washington with the GUTS or common DECENCY to stand up and state publicly that the time has finally come for the nation to swallow its pride and be willing to trade face saving for the sake of American lives, limbs, and livelihoods. That’s the long and short of it, folks. That’s all there is to it. It’s so simple it’s sickening. We CAN’T win this goddamn war! We will NEVER win this goddamn war! Afghanistan is nothing but a bottomless f _ _ _ _ _ g PIT — just ask the Russians, or the British before them. Anyone who tells you otherwise is spouting nothing more than wishful BULLSHIT! So, I ask you one more time: Where in the hell is the goddamn OUTRAGE?!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit.