If there were a Nobel Audacity Prize, former Vice-President Dick Cheney would deserve to win it, hands-down. This guy is unbelievable. He’s taking President Obama to task for “dithering” by not immediately sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
So, here’s a guy who, along with President Bush, had 7 years to straighten things out in Afghanistan. For all practical purposes, nothing tied their hands — not the Constitution (e.g., the declaration of war requirement), not the Congress, not the courts, and not the UN. Here was omnipotent government in action.
Yet, despite having the power to do whatever they wanted in their invasion, occupation, and rebuilding of Afghanistan, seven years later, as Bush and Cheney were exiting Washington, U.S. troops were still occupying the country, and, even worse, things were going from bad to worse, as reflected by the call to send in thousands of more troops to fortify the occupation.
And notice how cavalier Cheney still is regarding the lives of other people.
Over the last seven years, we’ve of course seen the calculus engaged in by pro-interventionists when it comes to the Afghani and Iraqi people. No number of dead Afghanis and dead Iraqis has ever been considered too high in terms of the benefits the U.S. Empire is bringing the survivors in these two countries.
Tens of thousands of dead? Hundreds of thousands of dead? No matter. The empire doesn’t even keep count. It just doesn’t matter. In the mind of the empire people, it’s all worth it.
We’re now witnessing this cavalier attitude in Pakistan with the CIA drone attacks. Some computer operator at CIA headquarters in Virginia fires a missile into a home in Pakistan in which a suspected terrorist is residing. The missile kills the suspect plus his wife and children and neighbors and relatives who happen to be visiting.
In the mind of the U.S. imperialist, all those deaths are “worth it” because they got the suspected terrorist.
But Cheney’s cavalier attitude toward life and death obviously isn’t limited to foreigners. It also extends to American soldiers. Everyone knows that they are being killed on an increasing basis in Afghanistan. Hey, they don’t call it the graveyard of empires for nothing! Sending in 40,000 more troops is only going to increase the death rate for U.S. soldiers.
And for what? Forget the old bromides — that the troops are in Afghanistan to protect our freedoms. That they’re doing it to establish democracy (with crooked elections). That they’re doing it to rebuild the country.
They’re doing it because they’ve been ordered to do it. And they’ve been ordered to do because the Empire considers it important to solidify its control over Afghanistan. That’s what empires do — they expand their control and enforce that control with brutal force.
Is that worth sacrificing even one U.S. soldier for? Would you be willing to die for such an ignominious aim?
Moreover, not only are these soldiers dying for nothing, they’re actually making the situation less secure for those of us here at home. By continuing to kill and maim people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Pakistan, they are succeeding in inflaming anger and rage that swells the ranks of terrorists.
The irony of Cheney’s cavalier attitude toward the lives of American soldiers is his personal history. When the U.S. government was sending American men to their deaths in Southeast Asia, for another worthless cause, where was Dick Cheney? Despite being the right age for going to Vietnam and fighting for freedom, justice, democracy, and the American way, Cheney did everything he could to escape military service.
Oh, I’m sure he was eager to sacrifice the lives of men in his generation during that time, just as he is eager to sacrifice the lives of young Americans today in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. He just wasn’t eager to risk his own life for the things for which he was eager to sacrifice other people’s lives, just like he is today.
Americans would be wise to do today what they should have done at the end of the Cold War and even before — reject the counsel of hypocrites who have led our nation down the road of moral debauchery and destruction — the road of empire, assassinations, invasions, occupations, sanctions, embargoes, torture, out-of-control federal spending, soaring taxation, debt, and inflation, and financial and economic bankruptcy.
Americans would be wise to restore our nation onto the road that the Founding Fathers intended for America — the road to moral principles, free markets, non-interventionism, peace, and a limited-government republic in which our nation once again serves as a model of freedom for the world.