The most worthless time of my life was the year and one half that I spent as an Army officer at Fort Hood,Texas. That said, I did learn a few things.
I learned the reality about the military, that my prejudices about Texas were valid, that my dream to marry a oil heiress was stupid, that I missed real trees, and much more. At the time, the only firearms I saw were hanging in the rear window of pick-up trucks. The gates to Fort Hood had guards, but they waved in any car with a sticker on the bumper and saluted those with a blue one. I do not recall any crime. Many were angry about the (senseless) war in Vietnam (Don't agree? read the true history, starting in 1918), but I do not recall any violence.
Times have changed. Guns have taken over American culture and being on an Army base does not guarantee safety. Perhaps, it is even more dangerous. Of course, the headlines about the latest shooting in Texas scream “not terror related”, as if this means anything, especially to the dead or wounded and their families. This is a different kind of terror: that of pickling the brains of Americans with fear about ghosts. This is the direct result of a needless war in a country that has oil and another needless war in a country that has devoured invading armies for centuries. These primitive tribes even made the “greatest nation god ever created” look like fools. Millions suffered--and continue to suffer--so that a few could profit. Now, many of the geniuses that brought us the never-ending “war on terror” are writing books and still blathering garbage of talk shows.
Now, they are trying to stir things up in Ukraine. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little war in Europe? That would be easier than one again Muslims...and just as profitable.
Government contractors are rejoicing; bonuses are assured...
Another example of All good deeds will be punished (although many would consider the deed stupid): the US Government paid this jerk millions (billions) over the years, only to deserve this, as reported by Salon (and many others)
Karzai suspends peace talks with Taliban
The Afghan president said dialogue will resume when the US exits negotiations
Conspiracy theorists, perhaps, recall that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld vetoed talks with the Taliban over a decade ago, leading to the current quagmire. Could he be advising the current Afghan “leader”?
Anyone traveling to Dubai might wonder where the money comes from to pay for all the new mansions on Palm Island or condos near the marina. I did...until reading articles about bundles of cash being paid by US CIA and British MI6 to Afghanistan officials. Biggest boom in that country is not something caused by explosives, but rather growth in rich ex-patriots.
Americans might be losing their homes, but American taxpayers are providing luxury homes so corrupt officials in Afghanistan can escape the war-torn country for the safety of Dubai.
NB. Anyone that noticed this headline...followed by an empty space, might have wondered why I had written so little. During posting, the internet died or took a holiday or went on strike... I became tired of trying and went to bed.
From the headlines, one could form the opinion that the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, under US impetus and leadership, has been beneficial to the local economy!
The link below is to the review of a book I plan to read. However, simply reading this article provides enough insight to understand the folly of US involvement in a country 99.9% of Americans could not locate on a map.
This is an excellent writer; I have read his books on the history of India,
which I highly recommend, if that subject piques your interest.
On a lighter note, but equally insightful into the folly, is the tongue-in-cheek rendition of the same story in Flashman.
I keep noticing headlines about the US Government “pulling out” of Afghanistan. Until that country ends up hermetically sealed like North Korea, some Americans will be meddling and/or helping.
I recall a classmate in private school almost 50 years ago, who claimed that his father worked for a company called Air America. He spent most of the year flying in Afghanistan. That meant nothing to us. Only the alleged enemy and type of aircraft have changed.
Afghanistan has some unexplainable lure for Westerners (which includes Russians). In past centuries, the British feared a Russian invasion of India. Last century, Americans wished to provoke Russia. In this century, only the enemy has changed...and perhaps the urge to plunder natural resources. Somewhere, some school kid is telling friends that his father works in Afghanistan. That will not change for a long time...or forever.
The below article is not for everyone: only those interested in military history and the military. Since military history of the United States is a major theme of national history, I tend to find such articles to be enlightening. People that only watch the news do not gain a clear understanding of how wars actually unfold. Only afterwards, when forensic writers go over the tea leaves, does the “true story” come out. Of course, one must be able to ignore or see through the hagiography of most biographies of key players. Some are excellent and give a good picture of the man and the times, such as World War 2 generals George Marshall’s or Vinegar Joe Stilwell’s.
One key conclusion from this article is that not only politicians blundered in Iraq and Afghanistan...
I mentioned watching a program on Custer’s Last Folly. Afterwards, I thought about how the US Government treated natives of the land settlers from Europe appropriated. Of course, money and greed drove acquisitions, as it always does. The story is much different than the one I learned in history classes during my formative years, thanks to being educated by the same government. Winners always write the history books.
I could not resist drawing parallels, for example, between the invasion of the Badlands of North Dakota to exploit gold discovery for white men and other US invasions. What was the true reason for invading Iraq...or Afghanistan? What was any foreign invader doing in Afghanistan, a land of isolated tribes who want to mind their own business and get on with their simple lives?
The Indian threat to the white man was only one of being in the way of something he wanted. Although those people had dwelled on the land since time immemorial, white settlers laid claim by right of might.
And, settlers were sent to the Black Hills to populate the region and establish a footprint...and a sense of ownership. How is this different from Israeli settlements on the West Bank? The strong will always take from the weak: that’s human nature. Sadly.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.