Sunday, December 04, 2011

American Exceptionalism

So, you have some visitors in your home and they start kicking the hell out of your dog. You tell them that you don’t want them doing that and tell them to stop. They say no. You tell them that you are really fond of your dog, that this is your home, not theirs, and that you want them to stop kicking your dog. They say that kicking your dog makes them feel good and continue to kick your dog. You can’t throw them out, even though it’s your house, because they are bigger than you are and, they claim, they are doing you a favor by being in your house.

In what universe does that make any kind of sense?

In the universe where we are making night raids on homes in Afghanistan and the government there has been trying for years to get us to stop doing it, with no success. Instead, we make even more of them, to the point where we average ten raids every single night. We say that it serves our purpose, has a “high risk to reward ratio,” and we really don’t care that it’s their damn country.

We are back into the Vietnam-era realm of “body count warfare” now, which is a sure sign that we are losing the war, and the claim is made, notably by unnamed “officials,” that, “Thousands of Taliban insurgents, hundreds of them midlevel commanders, have been captured or killed in the raids.”

What they don’t say, something that is reported only by overseas sources, is that 90% of those captured turn out to be completely unconnected to the Taliban and are released the next day. But we are generating numbers, as we did with the Vietnam body counts, to justify our military activity and to secure promotions for the officers conducting it. The fact that the host nation doesn’t like it does not concern us much.

More of the much admired American exceptionalism.

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