The cost of fighting the war in Afghanistan will overtake that of the Iraq conflict for the first time in 2010, Pentagon budget documents showed Thursday. On top of the basic defense budget of 533.7 billion dollars, the White House is requesting a further 130 billion dollars for overseas missions, including 65 billion for Afghanistan and 61 billion for Iraq. “This request is where you’re going to first see the swing of not only dollars or resources, but combat capability, from the Iraqi theater into the Afghan theater,”
I think the Pentagon is enjoying its increased budgetary importance (now over the halfway mark, so war now rules the nation) and will not let it drop back to the nominal (yet still huge) levels pre 911, so the terrifying nuclear Taliban are the latest brand to be rolled out to maintain their market share. Chris Floyd makes a great point, it must never be forgotten imperialism is fuelled in part on racism-
One of the largest empires the world has ever known – complete with second-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, capable of wiping out the planet several times over – disintegrated completely in the early 1990s, breaking into a myriad of different nations, and chaotic polities, some of which went to war with each other while others had internal wars that raged for years. Corruption was rampant, society collapsed, death rates climbed, birth rates plunged – all of this, again, with a vast nuclear arsenal looming over it all. Yet I don’t recall anyone recommending any U.S. military intervention to “preemptively mitigate the risks that might ensue from political chaos” in the break-up of the Soviet Union, to which I was eye-witness for a time. The only difference I can see in regard to Pakistan is that the scale of the risk and its possible global ramifications are actually much, much
Oh, I suppose there is one other difference, of course. The Pakistanis are Other – dark-skinned, Asian, Muslim, etc. – whereas most people perceived the Soviets to be like Us – white, European, etc. (Even though, in reality, many of the peoples of the Soviet Union were in fact dark-skinned, Asian and Muslim.) And thus, as Other, we must assume that a) they are so primitive, childish and incapable that they need real people like Us to step and save them from themselves and sort out their affairs; and b) they are so wild and crazed that they will seize the first possible opportunity to grab those nukes and blow up half the world. This is precisely the level of witless prejudice that underlies — or indeed, defines — any argument for “intervention” in Pakistan, of whatever degree. No matter how the argument is tricked out with think-tank speak and the savvy tropes of realpolitik, it actually goes no further than that.
PS. The Justin Raimondo piece going around about Jon Stewart, well duh, he’s ultimately a nice corporate liberal with vestiges of passion, a gift for comedy and a patriotic sentimentalist. He wouldn’t have gotten the gig if he was -stubbornly- radically dangerous and the US atomic attacks are still verboten in mainstream narrative of the ‘Good’ war. But the part about torture and US liberals focusing on that while letting Obama’s wars slide is only partially true (it’s mostly true of Dem partisan liberals) both can and should be done, oppose war and torture vocally. His attitude to the torture ‘debate’ I can understand in-so-much as I don’t have a badge saying ‘this blog is anti torture’, opposition to torture is normal, only abnormal cretins support torture (it is an aberrant phenomenon like paedophilia, think about that ’24’ fans). But it is still necessary to talk about it, because it is spread far and wide and the media now won’t even call torture torture and a key part of any apparatus of torture is intimidation of others. By speaking out we stem that intimidation. But then I suppose I am not in the ‘debate’ there is none, torture is wrong. Still his antiwar credibility is fine, just take his right wing libertarian roots under advisement (and yeah the Chavez bit was crap too).