Democratic Underground

The Daily War Watch
Uncle Sam Wants You - Because He Doesn't Have a Clue
October 29, 2001
by J B

Printer-friendly version of this article Tell a friend about this article Discuss this article

To be blunt, the Pentagon wants your help in brainstorming because it is paralyzed by rigid thinking created by decades of postwar mentality. Though asking for help (Pentagon Seeks a Few Good Ideas to Fight Terrorism) was not intended to be an admission of an inability to think creatively, I'm not letting that stop me. They can't think creatively because creativity costs careers. Mistakes are simply not allowed; that is the law. All must obey. So, since no one is allowed to make mistakes and survive, no one - no one! - in the Pentagon has a license to be creative without the specific understanding that their advice will be ignored.

Maybe that's a lot to digest, but here's my evidence.

Remember Rumsfeld's military revolution? It was crushed by the Empire a lot more easily than Al Qaeda will be. Empire, you say? Conventional generals and admirals, in addition to unconventional generals and admirals with well defined fiefdoms to protect. See, Rumsfeld tried to use the Pentagon's think tanks to draw up the ideas to scrap reliance on traditional big budget military tools, each with a long history, many fathers jealously guarding their progeny, and a large number of Congressmen and Senators who saw jobs in their districts as being threatened.

The revolution died a quick, quiet death.

Now, you tell me how aircraft carriers, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, and V-22 Osprey aircraft (I refuse to call that ostrich a helicopter) are going to help defend America against Anthrax scares and domestic airline hijackings. Go on. I'm waiting.

Oh, let's not forget the M1-A2 main battle tank. How will it help us to invade Afghanistan?

What's that? It won't?

No kidding.

It's not that I like the think tank ideas much better. Arsenal ships are torpedo magnets and, besides, the US would have to build many, many more Tomahawks. How many civilian casualties, 10 year old sons of heads of pseudo-states and military hospitals and mosques converted to tank shelters are with a $1 mil a pop cruise missile? But we knew that when we started.

So what is the point of this bombing campaign? It's to convince everyone we're not wimps, with the beneficial side effect of pissing off every non-aligned Afghan, Pakistani, Saudi, and probably quite a few others. Wait... this is a beneficial effect? But the bombing is being done for a reason, isn't it?

Yeah. It's being done because we have to Do Something.

It's pretty pathetic, really.

But enough of that.

The Pentagon's problems are known. The solution really has little to do with the Pentagon.

Let's be serious. The REAL battlefield is not Afghanistan at all. Killing Osama Bin Laden will not stop terrorism, nor will removing the Taliban. Terrorism will only be stopped when there is no one alive to commit it; however, as global thermonuclear war is not a desirable outcome, we must move to plan B.

The real battlefield is Saudi Arabia.

The problem for the United States is that the President of the United States' father has a financial interest in the continued meshing of American and Saudi interests, the meshing which is the true root of the opposition of Osama Bin Laden to the Saudi government. Granted, Osama is a fanatic; he took to heart what the Saudis told him about God and fighting the heathen, went off and did it, kicked ass, and then decided that the House of Saud isn't holy enough. Welcome to the club. This is what happens throughout history when regional and great powers work through proxies. Religion is a potent match; don't be surprised to get burnt.

Anyway, the point is, Enron's stock falling is a dagger to the heart of this administration, of far more import than the World Trade Center attack. Similarly, the status of the permanent American occupation of Saudi Arabia, disguised as the Saudis using us as slave soldiers while our political masters are well paid (through arms sales as well as through important financial vehicles such as the Carlyle Group), while the soldiers receive only their low pay and benefits. The Saudis understand such a system. They do not so easily understand the idea of American patriotism and love of country being a valid reason for military action. My question is, why should they?

America is deliberately acting as if we are a foreign power acting at the behest of the Saudi government in attacking its enemies, which now include Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban. Therefore, since Americans in the middle east are all mercenaries and slave soldiers with no title to the land they defend, our actions can be laid at the feet of the real string-pullers: Israel and the House of Saud. But let's forget Israel here... it's not important.

The problem is that the House of Saud is deliberately fostering attacks on Sunni bretheren and then trying to deny it by cowardly inferences to Iraq being the real cause of the Sept. 11 attack, when everyone knows it was Saudi Arabia's own oil money, shared with the Bush family, that was responsible for this attack. If the true masters put their foot down and did something, the Americans would be isolated, would have few or no bases in the Middle East, and would have a very difficult time attacking the innocents suffering because of American indifference in central Asia.

Someone has to hold the House of Saud responsible, to put their feet to the fire. Someone has to let them know that it is not acceptable for them to plot against fellow Moslems. Perhaps even the unthinkable must be thought. We need someone to think the unthinkable. We need someone to say the undoable and then do it.

That someone is Osama Bin Laden.

...It's something like that, isn't it?

The Saudis are taking the rap for American action as if they planned the whole thing from the start. There are only two ways to approach this.

1. Become the Saudis.

Import state sponsored terror to the United States, including torture, detention without trial, political and religious oppression, and the exportation of fanatacism whenever it is in concert with our own national interests.

This is the option we are currently pursuing. The main side effect is that issues like Enron's stock falling and the SEC's investigation become matters of state of import to the highest levels of the American government. Corruption from the Saudi state will seep deeper into American society, threatening the long-term stability of the American government, which has been, by the standards of the world, despite the sheer size of America's national wealth, relatively low.

This also implies that we will do absolutely anything to keep Crown Prince Abdullah from the throne.

2. Step back from the Saudis.

This is the option that we are most definitely NOT pursuing. It is not an attempt to abandon the Saudis; it is an attempt to show that the Saudis are not our pawns, nor we theirs (the latter being substantially more important to the survival of the Saudi regime). We would trust Saudi Arabia to make good use of the weapons we have provided to keep Saddam Hussein at bay. Our troops would leave quietly, leaving pre-positioned equipment in case we have to go back; that is fair. The Saudis are ALLIES, and we must treat them as such and trust them to survive using their own means (i.e. religion, repression, resillience, and whatever legitimacy they can come up with).

We must also get far, far away from the battle of succession; any interference with it will go badly for us. We would be tainting the Saudi government by our presence.

This means that we must be willing to tolerate Crown Prince Abdullah on the throne, including his religious, fairly anti-American tilt and his desire to root out corruption in the royal family. That represents the best long-term chance for Saudi survival. Progress on that front, and removal of the irritant of our presence, would go a long way towards rehabilitating the United States in the eyes of the Saudis.

Now, option 2 has likely been ruled out at the highest levels of the American government because it is unthinkable, because it reverses decades of Bush family history, and because President Bush the First (#41) has financial interests that would be at stake. Keep in mind that these financial interests existed when Bush the Elder made telephone calls to Saudi Arabia on America's behalf with GWB in the same room, listening to Dad doing his job for him.

Consequently, the problem is political, not military.

Now, militarily, the only way to really do the job is to get the Taliban to do it for us; since that is politically impossible, the Taliban must be destroyed. This will require mass genocide. Every man, woman, and child not with us, is suspect. This is our alternative to thermonuclear warfare. Consequently, we must arm the Northern Alliance, demand that as a condition of retaking Kabul that they mercilessly rape, pillage, and murder, and then let the dogs of war loose. We tell them that we will pay them very well no matter what damage they will inflict, as long as we get our man. We will pay any price for Bin Laden's head. Any price. Once they understand that self-interest is at stake, they will expend any amount of manpower necessary. We will back them 100%.

If we're not gonna do that, then this bombing is extremely counter-productive. (Obviously, that is the truth as it stands now.) Every bomb that kills an innocent civilian further poisons our relations in that part of the world. If our objective is to be hated as the Great Satan, we're doing a great job. If our objective is to get Bin Laden, then we're doing exactly the wrong thing.

Of course, understanding this would require the concession that the entire military campaign is a fundamentally political act, a game intended to amuse the President and convince him that he is actually in the process of getting something done, while not actually getting much done, as that would be contrary to the economic interests of the military.

War, after all, is good for business.

So, um, Mr. Rumsfeld? You wanted to know how to fight terrorism, right?

Tell Bush Sr. that the United States has only permanent interests, not permanent allies, and that even his own family's are not more important than those of the nation. That will do more good than anything that your Department of Defense can do.

Sorry, Rummy. Truth hurts.

Previous Editions of The War Watch