Democratic Underground

The Daily War Watch
Awe-Inspiring, Historic Damage to the Nation
November 20, 2001
by Jeremiah Bourque, aka J B

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This will be the final War Watch.

Simply put, I will not continue to write articles like this now that "victory" has been achieved. I shall let the Christopher Hitchens' of the world enjoy their Ode to the Bomb and quietly retire from commentary on military affairs. If this war should last another decade or three, I don't plan on writing another War Watch per se, in protest at the victory that has been supposedly won.

I simply wanted to state, for the record, that Bush has done, in a period of one year, colossal damage to the United States, and has sown the seeds for much greater damage in years to come. However, at a later date, there will be salvageable components. Currently, I am simply staring in complete awe and wonderment at the lunacy that this man has wrought upon us.

What this man has done defies any kind of neat list. However, in no particular order:

- Bush has managed to completely undermine the principle of justice for all. He has authorized secret military tribunals with the power of execution and not subject to appeal in a time when war has not been declared by Congress, in a state of emergency that is so great, that a Congress that has not been decimated by a 747 crashing into it cannot be called to vote on the matter.

Not satisfied with the Patriot Act, passed in a manner that is most shameful, he has arbitrarily taken for himself, through his own orders and through the Attorney General, steps to nullify key pieces of the Constitution, applying not only to foreigners under the care of the United States, but also any of its own citizens who are defined as terrorists by the capricious and unappealable whim of the Attorney General, operating at the discretion of the President.

- Bush has sold Pakistan down the river, apparently agreeing on the phone to allow the Russian-backed Northern Alliance, with the suspected cooperation of special forces and the confirmed political and material backing of Russia, to take Kabul in the interests of the war on terrorism.

This is a great boost for Russia, an unqualified disaster for Pakistan, and a complete betrayal of assurances made by the President, by his Cabinet, by his staff, by his diplomats, and by his spies, to Pakistan. It was also apparently taken without consultation with the President's key defense and security advisors, leading to the "victory" we have today.

- Bush is allowing the Northern Alliance to take steps that will likely end in the wholesale massacre of the Moslem Foreign Legion in Afghanistan, a name I have picked to be representative of their nature, nationality, and the hatred Afghans seem to have of them.

While Bush will shed no tears for their loss, the Moslems in the many, many nations that have sent their sons to die at the hands of the United States and the Afghan racial minorities that comprise the Northern Alliance, will shed them instead. The ill will created by this will last for generations. This sacrifice will be their shining moment, a defining act of martyrdom for the ordinary Moslem (or Arab) who does not need the name of Bin Laden to be proclaimed great by his death.

- Bush has created an atmosphere of Might Makes Right, to the point that the bombing of the Al-Jazzera office in Kabul is seen as a deliberate act, further poisoning the worldwide legitimacy of journalism.

Not in jest did I say that the offices of CNN have become a military target, especially now that they have employed a first cousin to the President; it is precedent set by American forces in Serbia. Incidentally, embassies are also legitimate targets as well now, as long as the embassy is not Russian.

- Bush has managed to permanize the already dominant theory that air power alone wins all wars, leading to the creative myth - it has not yet been a week since Kabul has fallen - that ground forces were not used in Yugoslavia to force the surrender of Kosovo. That surrender took place only because NATO ground forces were going in, like it or not; had the Serbs fought to the last man, there would have been many casualties.

In Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, on the ground, gaining momentum, courting, bribing, and otherwise seducing Taliban commanders to its side, was a vital component of the combined effort. These things have been quickly forgotten. The Perfect War has now been wholly enshrined in American military mythology. We will pay a damned heavy price for this.

- Bush has re-established the notorious principle of mass detention for the prevention of terrorist attacks. We can expect further increases in the number of Arab males detained without charge and without evidence for indefinite periods of time, on the suspicion that because they are Arab and male, and presumably, the Arab Moslem community contrasted with the substantial Arab Christian population, without any obvious reason for it but fear.

- Without prejudice to either side in the election controversy: Bush has forced acceptance in the wider population and in the punditocracy that if you make nice speeches and talk tough in the face of danger, that it matters not one bit if you have been legitimately elected, or not.

- Bush is leading a force of hawks in his Cabinet who have every desire to not only raze Iraq, but to plunge into the Moslem-Christian holy war going on at a low level in Indonesia, for the purpose of rooting out Al Qaida from the largest Moslem population on the face of the Earth. Indonesia is currently highly unstable, in the process of fracturing in thousands of directions in the face of a timid, though well-bred, daughter of a former head of state of that nation, who is completely incapable of retaining control of events if they begin to spin out of control.

Clamping down on the Moslem population is a good way of igniting the situation and breaking up Indonesia, threatening sea lanes far and wide through piracy, destabilization of nearby nations, the high likelihood of acts of mass slaughter towards Chinese merchants and businessmen, and increasingly likely, Americans.

- Bush has ended all American moral authority to dispute the streamlined trial and excecution of Americans, or other foreign citizens, in foreign nations, when charges of terrorism are involved. This will serve to quickly prove that terrorism is whatever the government in charge says it is, including America's.

Case in point: Britain has made failure to remove a disguise (such as a bandana) by a protestor a criminal offense in an effort to clamp down on animal rights and globalization protestors. The measure was included in an anti-terror bill.

- Bush has completely failed to recognize that Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan, is the real battlefield. Al Qaida will never be defeated by wiping out the Arabs in Afghanistan (that is, by hunting down and killing every single one, which is precisely what the Northern Alliance is planning to do, and has been encouraged to do, since US Special Forces are assisting in the process of wiping out Al Qaida forces).

- Bush has made diplomats worldwide happy by bringing cavalry into the 21st century, another military myth which may prove particularly costly when some fool tries to do it a second time.

- Bush has fostered a blind patriotism for the United States that leads to fascist impulses, a fierce drive to censor the media from within and from without, a complete repudiation of the principle of fair and balanced news from one of America's major networks, the impression that the hiring of a family member at a major cable news network will bring more favorable treatment from Washington, a clamor for the erosion of rights and freedoms, and a yearning for masculinity which encourages thoughtless, historically ignorant, penis-size-based military, political, and diplomatic policies.

- The encouragement of cowboy policy that has no idea what happened before last year, anywhere, ever. Bush did not know Musharraf's name when asked during the election campaign, an oversight which showed his complete ignorance of the coming storm. In a further expansion of this, Bush told security agencies to lay off the Saudis and quit going after the Bin Ladens, and also, hoped that the Taliban would be the bringer of long-term stability to Afghanistan. However, it is the deep ties with the Saudis that is the most damaging over the long term, continued by the sending of a completely Arabic-ignorant ambassador to Saudi Arabia who was not even at his post by Sept. 11.

- The replacement of Russia as the dominant political force in Afghanistan, backing many of the same people, operating in the same ruthless manner, leading to the same mass defections that will be reversed later, and saying the same stupid things about a broad-based government representatives of all peoples which the Soviets themselves proclaimed when they were in this position, not so long ago. Taking over for the French in Indochina apparently wasn't good enough for us. Now we have to replace the Evil Empire, too. Feel honored.

A complete and utter failure to reorganize the military, throwing billions upon billions of dollars on weapon systems that will see little practical application. This may not matter against Afghanistan, but if that's the standard by which we should measure our military might...

- Spectacular botching of the sensitive situations in Germany and Japan, brow-beating both nations through diplomatic channels, Japan in particular, to put up or shut up and to "Show the flag" in the conflict, acts which will cause major domestic dissention, reduce the level of democratic legitimacy of the governments of those nations, and please virtually no one besides a few diplomats. Do you remember that Japan has sent ships to support Infinite Justice? (Or whatever it's called now.) Well, neither does anyone else. The damage, however, is tangible.

- Complete, wholesale budgetary madness. I need say no more. The effects will speak for themselves.

- Establishing a historic level of trust in Vladimir Putin, to the point that Bush is being regularly manipulated by a former KGB spy handler who has convinced Bush of his own trustworthiness, faith in God (which plays spectacularly well with Bush), and reasonableness (which Russian leaders are not expected to display due to the anti-American sentiment among spies and generals in Russia, both of whom, of course, answer solely to Putin and cannot exactly survive in their positions if they disagree).

This situation will create a vast number of problems as Putin continues to extract American concessions for his own war against terrorism (as he defines it) for amazingly tiny costs on his part. Strategic and diplomatic vision, a skilled tongue, and a willingness to be driven around in a pickup truck, have won Putin more than the Cold War ever could. We have not seen the end of this by any means.

- A complete and historic repudiation of the sanctity of neutrality, a principle that the United States will find to be a very jealous one, one that has infinite ways of resisting anything but full and complete conquest.

- A drive towards secrecy that seeks to forever bury all incriminating documents about how this incompetence came to be, how it reveled in itself, and how it resisted all attempts to tame it.

- One word: Crusade.

This is my evidence; I will see if it stands the test of time. After all, it wasn't long ago that there was still an argument over whether the Gulf of Tonkin incident was real or fake. The way Bush is going, we will never find out anything like that ever again.

I would like to point out two things. First, the Daily Whopper series will resume without fanfare. Second, have confidence in the strength of America as a nation. It's been through the Alien and Sedition Acts, it's survived the Civil War, and every time there has been a lurch towards tyranny, some instinct has always pulled the United States back. Sometimes it's taken a while to happen, but it always did, in the end. America is a strong nation; Bush is not so great a man that even he can do irreversible damage.

It's just gonna hurt.

Previous Editions of The War Watch