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Is there Any Way to Win?

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 02:58 pm
Is it just me or....

... are systems whereby we elect national leaders set up in such a way that we'll never get a good person elected? I've thought about this from time to time, and I'd like to try and enunciate it.

Below is a blog-sort that I wrote quite a while ago (actually, I think it was round abouts 2004). I'd like to submit to you fine people for comments, criticisms, agreeing or disagreeing. Please note: I wrote this a long time ago during a time when I was very much embittered. I hope you'll see through some of the inflamatory language and help give feedback on the logic of the notion itself. Thank you Smile


A Losing Proposition

I have, for many years, wondered why every president seems unstable, stupid or downright evil. I've wondered what's wrong with our people... who elected these fools and why do we keep doing it? Well, I think I've found the answer, although it wasn't on purpose. As a matter of fact, I found it long after I'd given up looking; when I learned how our system works and realized that it's a very simple equation: The Rats win the Rat-race: The system the US employs to choose its President is flawed. Indeed the very values we extol the most, have no hope of surviving to the Presidency because of it. As long as we use our present system, we'll never have a good leader, and here's why. [INDENT]Ambitious: For one, you must want it so badly that it becomes nearly your life's work. What kind of person wants authority, power and influence this badly? Haven't you noticed that its the folks who don't seek these things that are the wisest and most revered? A person who craves power and exudes ambition is a person who is also unstable; satiating themselves with that Gives-Me-Value component which makes them feel good. They are among the most insecure people you'll ever see outside a mental institution - and thus the person you can trust the least becomes the one you end up trusting with your life.
[/INDENT][INDENT]You must be willing to lie for it: There is no honest person who can withstand the amount of public scrutiny a candidate must, without the inevitable skeletons coming out of the closed - the only way to withstand this is to lie or otherwise conceal them. Further, no individual who's knowledgeable about the complexities of life is completely sure about all things (e.g., what is right, what is wrong). If any candidate is honest in their forthcomings, they inevitably piss great numbers of people off and they won't get elected. In order to be elected, you must carefully script your words so that you can positively effect your audience. Honest, straightforward talk doesn't accomplish this. What kind of person is a liar? Now, I lie... I think we all do at some time. The difference is that you expect your neighbor to lie from time to time about who's dog poop that is, not the president when they give their campaign promises, assure you they won't go to war needlessly or didn't have sex with their secretary (which, by the way is no one's ******* business). Imagine an honest person coming to a press conference to profess, "Yes... I lie sometimes". Guess who's *not* getting the votes. Honesty isn't rewarded - the American public, through this process, is lied to and doesn't care. You must cater to people you don't like, tell lies (both white and otherwise) - those who don't deceive successfully don't get elected.
[/INDENT][INDENT]You must be Self Serving: Most giving, kind, naturally-altruistic individuals wouldn't even *run* for public office. Of those that do, they find quickly that generosity doesn't get you campaign funds, generosity doesn't sufficiently humiliate your opponent's character - generosity doesn't get you elected. What kind of leader does one make, who's *so* selfish that he/she is able to get through all this? He or she is one who is willing to subordinate all for his/her own benefit. That, my friends, is a dangerous leader. And with the way our system is, that's the only kind of leader we'll ever, ever have.
[/INDENT][INDENT] You have to be Package-able: Ask anyone, and they'll tell you that to be a smart voter you must look *beyond* the packaging into the person. This is one of the reasons why personal prying into candidates' lives is so widely accepted: we want to know about the person, all their dirty little secrets (and many of us honestly want to make a good choice). Unfortunately, that's not what we do. We swallow their bull****, look past all the dodged questions and magically "forget" when they break yet another campaign promise. We just want to feel good - play the old High School popularity contest. Take Arnold Schwartzenegger; a movie star (of particularly mindless, yet entertaining, repute) who said almost nothing, and yet still dislodged the Governor's Seat in California. This is a text-book example of how little the American People look at the individuals entrusted with public funds, our futures, our lives. Like our breakfast cereal, we don't really care what the *substance* is, as long as the packaging looks good.
[/INDENT]I'm ashamed at our behavior, our lack of vision and foresight. I ache for the time that I can see an Intelligent, thoughtful individual come to lead me and my people.

Thank you
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Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:02 pm
@Khethil,
Of course good people can get elected. They take office all of the time. The higher the position, the more difficult to reach for a good person, but none the less, good people reach high office all of the time. Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Mike Gravel.

Do we tend to elect egotistical, lying scoundrels? You bet. But sometimes the electorate makes a decent choice.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:08 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Of course good people can get elected. They take office all of the time. The higher the position, the more difficult to reach for a good person, but none the less, good people reach high office all of the time. Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Mike Gravel.


Yes... yes... very good point. There has been good in some; just doesn't feel like it, to be sure.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Do we tend to elect egotistical, lying scoundrels? You bet. But sometimes the electorate makes a decent choice.


Ah, pass me over a teaspoon of that positive political outlook, will ya?

Thanks DT
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:43 pm
@Khethil,
I'm not very positive about politics. It's my opinion that politics, already a nasty endeavor, has become worse in the past twenty years or so. McGovern's loss to Nixon may have been a fatal blow to decent American politics, and certainly caused a great deal of harm to politics in other nations as well.

I do not like Obama, but when I compare him to other modern politicians, he looks like a step in the right direction. We'll see how things go, eh?
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:58 pm
@Khethil,
Political contests in modern America are now just another form of mass entertainment. People enjoy watching their side tear the other side to bits in debates and on tv shows. People tune in for the SNL debates to laugh at our moronic candidates, but yet also go out and hunt down the jewelry they have on because it's the latest trend in fashion. Now we have an entire satirical movie coming out that is based around the life of a president, and I'm sure it will be a big hit.

The state of politics in this country is a big joke, and everyone just continues to laugh away at it. Keep on laughing America, until one day you suddenly realize it has turned from funny to very scary.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 06:58 am
@Pangloss,
Thanks guys,

Yea I know I really sound like I've got an axe to grind there; and perhaps I do. But I honestly believe that those points have validity - that the way things are set up (and the nature of our people) almost preclude anyone decent being elected. Beware those who crave power, beware those talking out both sides of their mouth, beware those who're beyond ostentatious: Boom! Guess what kind of person we've got.

Anyway yea - and good perspective Pang: I'm thinking about your last sentance,

Pangloss wrote:
Keep on laughing America, until one day you suddenly realize it has turned from funny to very scary.


Yesterday, the wife and I saw the last in a History Channel series on the Presidents. She actually picked the series - being the sweetie she is and recording that kind of stuff for me - and I was disappointed to see the title. But WOW, what a good series! It encapsulates each President's term and steps us through from Washington to George W. The point is, I actually felt some pride in a lot of our history (sometimes I fear I've become far too jaded). Then...

Last night we had some friends over; negativity ruled again I'm afraid, as we talked politics. The theme of the night was all of us - jokingly - deciding just how we were to go about moving to the backwoods of Canada or Australia. What I'm getting at is this: We're a people slow to move, tending towards selfishness and lassitude; and it takes a lot to get us caring about something passed our own little issues. Then I think about your statement, "... just keep laughing, one day... " and you're right; spot on.

I finally realized that we, as a nation, have no collective conscience (or the morality we extol) when I saw that despite the gross, abject and wanton murder we were committing in Iraq, the perpetrator of this (who used the pain of 911 to re-direct to his own agenda) was re-elected. And in that moment, with "all my devotion, betrayed", I started thinking about the "why" and came up with the initial post here.

So yes, I love my people very much. My dismay regarding our collective lassitude combined and non-nonchalant reaction to past betrayals does occasionally get calmed, it's just not very often.

Sorry for the rant and thanks again for the input.

:a-thought:
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 07:56 am
@Khethil,
In regards to foreign policy, I personally do not think it makes any difference who gets elected. The foreign policy advisors are all part of the neo-conservative camp, who believe in furthering the empire at every opportunity, and who were taught that Machiavelli is God. (Might = Right)

"The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must."

This philosophy dominates both the Dem. and Rep. camps. Congressmen can claim it was all Bush's fault, but they still voted to attack Iraq without provocation, and most of them have voted in support of the war since.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 01:54 pm
@Pangloss,
The young do not remember.

Foreign policy has been dominated by hawks for thirty years or so. But ask yourselves why. The reason is that those in power have, for the most part, been hawks. These hawks give the good jobs to fellow hawks. Even Nixon was forced to end the war in Vietnam because of popular opinion. Popular opinion had been shaped by dove foreign policy advisers.

Politics has always been entertainment. Satire is as ancient as politics itself. I have a hard time buying this notion that somehow satire will drive the erosion of decent politics. Satire isn't just funny, it's also critical. So, yeah, let's laugh until we puke, and then remember the witty criticisms of the smile producing satire next time we vote.
Resha Caner
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 02:36 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Are you familiar with Tocqueville? His theory was that democracy promotes mediocrity, and I am inclined to agree. If you study many of the "great moments" of American history, they were wrought by the more tyranically inclined of our Presidents.

Tocqueville attempts to show that autocratic government achieves more, and can be credited with the greatest of human moments. He also tries to show that it brings out the worst in human nature. His question then: are we willing to suffer horrible tyranny in order to achieve greater things? He concludes, no. Democracy is still the answer. Even if we sink to mediocrity, more people are better off in the long run.

I don't agree with all his conclusions, but it's a fascinating study of how democracy works.
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 02:40 pm
@Khethil,
Our corrupt leaders mirror our own corrupt hearts.
Each individual is part of the whole. 'Self' evolution will naturally bring evolution of our 'reflections' in Washington.
That is where the real work lies, not in complaining about our corrupt 'mirrors', but in doing the 'work' ourselves that will bring an honorable, compassionate, charitable, intelligent, empathic 'change' in our reflections!
"Be the change that you want to see!"
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 05:22 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;27679 wrote:
The young do not remember.

Foreign policy has been dominated by hawks for thirty years or so.


The foreign policy of empires in the history of empires has always been to expand and conquer when feasible, and go for "peace" or back down when threatened with a worthy adversary. Nobody in the international community has yet officially challenged US empire building with any force, and hey, all those troops we have on payroll might as well expand the empire while they're at it instead of being payed to sit here and train for nothing...

Quote:
Satire isn't just funny, it's also critical. So, yeah, let's laugh until we puke, and then remember the witty criticisms of the smile producing satire next time we vote.


Yes, I agree that satire is definitely a worthy and effective criticism. The problem I was trying to get at though is not that there's a problem with the message of satire, but there is a problem with the viewing audience.

People should be outraged by some of the things going in in government, and yet only a small number are actually speaking out or campaigning for REAL change. Politics have become nothing more than an entertaining spectacle. Sure, there has always been an element of entertainment in political contests, but our founding fathers took the matter very seriously, and some of the famous political cartoons from the days of our independence and the civil war really did inspire people to act. If you need proof that people just want political entertainment, simply watch the "political reports" of mainstream media on TV; much of it is now akin to the reports you will see on E! celebrity news. You can read about how Sarah Palin buys her glasses from X designer, or about what kinds of suits Barack wears, or about the number of houses John McCain owns...these are not real issues. The media does little real reporting because the masses, in general, would rather be entertained. Satire's critical message has little effect when people view it as a big joke and don't even care to consider the message.

You have a recent poll of voters coming back showing that 15% of them believe Obama is a muslim, when it is just blatantly not true. These will probably be the same people who cackle with glee at the upcoming W. movie, and maybe never get the point, or care enough to investigate an issue or a candidate.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 04:08 pm
@Pangloss,
Quote:
The foreign policy of empires in the history of empires has always been to expand and conquer when feasible, and go for "peace" or back down when threatened with a worthy adversary. Nobody in the international community has yet officially challenged US empire building with any force, and hey, all those troops we have on payroll might as well expand the empire while they're at it instead of being payed to sit here and train for nothing...


So you are saying that it is better for soldiers to slaughter people rather than sit in peace? That's a tough sell, Pangloss.

The US has been challenged - Islamic extremism. Personally, I'd like to see the challenge to US imperialism come from within, from the citizens of the United States.

Quote:
The problem I was trying to get at though is not that there's a problem with the message of satire, but there is a problem with the viewing audience.


Ah, that is a good point. It's astonishing how many people do not get Stephen Colbert's joke, and scary how many people like the literal Colbert.

This is what we get when people stop reading books.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 04:59 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;27790 wrote:
So you are saying that it is better for soldiers to slaughter people rather than sit in peace? That's a tough sell, Pangloss.

The US has been challenged - Islamic extremism. Personally, I'd like to see the challenge to US imperialism come from within, from the citizens of the United States.


Oh no, I am not trying to sell anything here, or to say that it is a good thing for soldiers to be slaughtering instead of training. But it does arguably make some economic sense, and if viewed from the collective, immoral eyes of "the state", it is doing good for the empire. Whether it is good or bad from an absolute standpoint is not what I'm getting at, but that the people who collectively make up "the state" have reasoned it to be a productive policy. These people do not consider absolute justice, but merely the will of the state (expand).

Islamic extremism is not a real challenge. It's like an amateur from Joe Blow's Gym stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson (in the 90s) and trying to make him flinch before getting KO'd. The islamic extremist threat has been hyped up to garner support for our war in the middle east. They might launch a few devastating attacks on us, but the net effect is that their actions do not affect our power. If we continue our current campaign and go after Iran or North Korea, Russia and/or China could decide to make a stand, and that would be the time where we consider a change in game plan.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 12:49 pm
@Pangloss,
Quote:
Oh no, I am not trying to sell anything here, or to say that it is a good thing for soldiers to be slaughtering instead of training. But it does arguably make some economic sense, and if viewed from the collective, immoral eyes of "the state", it is doing good for the empire. Whether it is good or bad from an absolute standpoint is not what I'm getting at, but that the people who collectively make up "the state" have reasoned it to be a productive policy. These people do not consider absolute justice, but merely the will of the state (expand).


Even from a purely economic perspective, I do not see the benefit. Either we deploy troops, which costs an immense amount of money, or we disband them which saves an immense amount of money. Considering the massive US deficit and national debt, saving some money sounds prudent.

Quote:

Islamic extremism is not a real challenge. It's like an amateur from Joe Blow's Gym stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson (in the 90s) and trying to make him flinch before getting KO'd. The islamic extremist threat has been hyped up to garner support for our war in the middle east. They might launch a few devastating attacks on us, but the net effect is that their actions do not affect our power.


I disagree. I think the fact that our leaders used Islamic extremism as a way to scare the people into consenting to war is just greater evidence that Islamic extremism is a real threat. The extremist leaders understand that the US will not be defeated in a military fashion by their lose, underground network. Instead, their strategy is to ruin the US financially, which will effectively eliminate the ability of the US to engage in the sort of foreign policy the extremists despise: US pressure in their region of the world, both military and economic pressure.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 02:02 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;27887 wrote:
Even from a purely economic perspective, I do not see the benefit. Either we deploy troops, which costs an immense amount of money, or we disband them which saves an immense amount of money. Considering the massive US deficit and national debt, saving some money sounds prudent.


Hmm. Even though hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of valuable oil lies beneath the dirt of Iraq? If we can control that oil supply with our puppet Iraqi govt., it doesn't matter how expensive the war is--the economic benefit is there. On the other hand, consider the consequences of pulling out and giving that control up to whatever band of fighters steps in to take it over when we leave.



Quote:
I disagree. I think the fact that our leaders used Islamic extremism as a way to scare the people into consenting to war is just greater evidence that Islamic extremism is a real threat. The extremist leaders understand that the US will not be defeated in a military fashion by their lose, underground network. Instead, their strategy is to ruin the US financially, which will effectively eliminate the ability of the US to engage in the sort of foreign policy the extremists despise: US pressure in their region of the world, both military and economic pressure.


Again, this was hyped up in order to give a more of a just reason for going in and controlling the oil fields. If we are so concerned about Islamic extremism, why do we have so few troops in afghanistan and so many in iraq? It is well known that al-qaeda operates in the hindu kush mountain region along the afghan-pakistani border. They might be sending some aid to the fight in Iraq, but their base is in those mountains.

Why then do we not focus all our might and power on attacking that region? It is because afghanistan is an economically worthless piece of real estate to conquer; it is filled with goat herders and opium farmers who are educated almost entirely by the Koran, and who live in what we would call third-world conditions. The "extremists" in Afghanistan now are gaining a stronger foothold across this group of states (it is really not a united country, and has never been in recent history), and it is not for our lack of ability to stop them. If we wanted to pour troops into Afghanistan (and dump money down the drain wiping them all out), we could take the country. But we want Iraq and its oil.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 03:52 pm
@Pangloss,
Quote:
Hmm. Even though hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of valuable oil lies beneath the dirt of Iraq? If we can control that oil supply with our puppet Iraqi govt., it doesn't matter how expensive the war is--the economic benefit is there. On the other hand, consider the consequences of pulling out and giving that control up to whatever band of fighters steps in to take it over when we leave.


Actually, cost does matter. Even with a puppet government in Iraq, the US only benefits from the oil in that we have a guaranteed supply of oil. The oil isn't free. We still have to buy the stuff. Already the cost of the war, trillions of dollars, has taken a serious toll on the American economy.

As for the power struggle in Iraq, this doesn't worry me much. A government exists and possesses a great deal of power. They may not always get along, but they will be able to get along well enough to combat local militia resistence.

On the other hand, consider the consequences of remaining. Countless thousands of innocent civilians slaughtered, trillions more dollars spent to protect a supply of oil, money that could be spent on developing American green technologies to replace oil.

Quote:
Again, this was hyped up in order to give a more of a just reason for going in and controlling the oil fields. If we are so concerned about Islamic extremism, why do we have so few troops in afghanistan and so many in iraq? It is well known that al-qaeda operates in the hindu kush mountain region along the afghan-pakistani border. They might be sending some aid to the fight in Iraq, but their base is in those mountains.


I'm not saying the US government has handled the threat well. Bush et al. used terrorism to justify the Iraqi invasion; Afghanistan was a token battle form them. But this is just another example of US failed foreign policy.
That we went to war anywhere is a victory for the extremists. They want us to spend our money on an impossible war. Our invasion of Afghanistan was a great success for the extremists, and the invasion of Iraq was an unexpected triumph for them.

Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. It was a bad foreign policy decision.

Quote:
Why then do we not focus all our might and power on attacking that region? It is because afghanistan is an economically worthless piece of real estate to conquer; it is filled with goat herders and opium farmers who are educated almost entirely by the Koran, and who live in what we would call third-world conditions. The "extremists" in Afghanistan now are gaining a stronger foothold across this group of states (it is really not a united country, and has never been in recent history), and it is not for our lack of ability to stop them. If we wanted to pour troops into Afghanistan (and dump money down the drain wiping them all out), we could take the country. But we want Iraq and its oil.


This doesn't change the strategy of the extremists - which is to bleed the US of as much wealth as possible until we decide to leave the Middle East altogether.

Oh, by the way, Afghanistan does have economic value. You said it: opium. Prior to the US invasion, virtually no opium was coming out of Afghanistan. After the invasion, opium production skyrocketed and Afghanistan grabbed 80% of the world's market share for opium. This is a boon for drug smugglers and for the pharmaceutical companies.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2008 10:25 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;27970 wrote:
Actually, cost does matter. Even with a puppet government in Iraq, the US only benefits from the oil in that we have a guaranteed supply of oil. The oil isn't free. We still have to buy the stuff. Already the cost of the war, trillions of dollars, has taken a serious toll on the American economy.


We are in a position now to setup the US oil companies with the best contracts for Iraqi oil. The US benefits from the oil economically, as well as from a security standpoint. Modern industry runs on fossil fuels, and we didn't want Saddam to be raking in the cash from Iraqi oil. Iran is a threat for the same reason, we don't want the money going there and funding their economy and thus their military might. Saudi Arabia has wisely used this resource to become a great economy in the middle east, and we don't want others to do this who are threats. The cost of war, however high, is still far below the valuation of the control of the Iraqi oil. Also, you have to remember that all of this war spending doesn't just go down the drain; billions have gone into US corporate contracts for supplies and services needed for war. This flow of money into private enterprise helps economic growth overall. In addition, the US control of Iraqi oil will work to bring down prices.

Quote:

That we went to war anywhere is a victory for the extremists. They want us to spend our money on an impossible war. Our invasion of Afghanistan was a great success for the extremists, and the invasion of Iraq was an unexpected triumph for them.

Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. It was a bad foreign policy decision.


Well, it is true that al-qaeda et al. did see a US war in the middle east as a way to bring us down. With Afghanistan, clearly there could be a repeat of the Russians' failed attempt there, and they hoped to inflict the same type of damage on us. Our campaign in Afghanistan though has been much more successful than the Russians' was.

I don't think the war in Iraq is a triumph for anyone yet. The region is stabilizing though somewhat, compared to our initial attacks, and the oil production is back up. This is a good sign for us, not for the extremists. And if you consider this war from the mindset of the neo-conservative machiavellians who run foreign policy in this country, I think it was a great policy decision for them. If nothing else, we took Saddam out of power, who was in position to rise in power with the rising oil prices. We've destabilized the region and installed our own government, giving the US more power and control in the middle east. If we can withdraw and remain in control of an allied Iraqi government with excellent oil contracts, it will be even better. Of course this is from the eyes of our collective empire, not the friends and families of dead soldiers, or the absolute view of morality or human decency.

Quote:

Oh, by the way, Afghanistan does have economic value. You said it: opium. Prior to the US invasion, virtually no opium was coming out of Afghanistan. After the invasion, opium production skyrocketed and Afghanistan grabbed 80% of the world's market share for opium. This is a boon for drug smugglers and for the pharmaceutical companies.


There was no value in hte opium until we decided to invade; as you said, the Taliban had entirely eradicated opium production due to their strict Islamic laws which prohibited such things. Shortly before the start of our campaign in Afghanistan, we even sent the taliban some multi-million dollar sum as a reward for eliminating the opium problem. This is not of economic value to us...the money now goes to the enemy, where it is used as a tool for jihad, to purchase supplies and weapons. Our presence in Afghanistan created this problem.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 06:31 pm
@Pangloss,
Quote:
We are in a position now to setup the US oil companies with the best contracts for Iraqi oil. The US benefits from the oil economically, as well as from a security standpoint. Modern industry runs on fossil fuels, and we didn't want Saddam to be raking in the cash from Iraqi oil. Iran is a threat for the same reason, we don't want the money going there and funding their economy and thus their military might. Saudi Arabia has wisely used this resource to become a great economy in the middle east, and we don't want others to do this who are threats. The cost of war, however high, is still far below the valuation of the control of the Iraqi oil. Also, you have to remember that all of this war spending doesn't just go down the drain; billions have gone into US corporate contracts for supplies and services needed for war. This flow of money into private enterprise helps economic growth overall. In addition, the US control of Iraqi oil will work to bring down prices.


I follow you, really. But I think your conclusions are incorrect. Yes, the securing of Iraqi oil will have a positive impact on the US economy. However, that positive impact is necessarily offset by the negative impact of the cost of the war which is in excess of three trillion dollars. The economic benefit of secure Iraqi oil will not offset the cost of the war. Don't believe me, go read what economists are saying.

Quote:
Well, it is true that al-qaeda et al. did see a US war in the middle east as a way to bring us down. With Afghanistan, clearly there could be a repeat of the Russians' failed attempt there, and they hoped to inflict the same type of damage on us. Our campaign in Afghanistan though has been much more successful than the Russians' was.


According to who? According to the US government and corporate media, yes the US invasion of Afghanistan has been more successful than the Russian invasion. I think they are about the same. Neither nation can hope for any real "victory".

But the Iraq war is the real economic threat to the US, and has been a rousing victory for extremists. The US national debt is climbing every day, and a balanced budget is a fantasy right now. This is serious trouble for the US, and a huge victory for extremists. An economic victory, and all wars are economic conflicts.

Quote:
There was no value in hte opium until we decided to invade; as you said, the Taliban had entirely eradicated opium production due to their strict Islamic laws which prohibited such things. Shortly before the start of our campaign in Afghanistan, we even sent the taliban some multi-million dollar sum as a reward for eliminating the opium problem. This is not of economic value to us...the money now goes to the enemy, where it is used as a tool for jihad, to purchase supplies and weapons. Our presence in Afghanistan created this problem.


The money does not go just to the "enemy". The money also goes to big pharma, and to bankers who launder the dirty money involved. The real winners from the drug trade are the bankers; that's why this stuff is illegal so that they can continue to rake in immense sums of cash from the trade, sums that would be much lower in a legal market.

And of course the opium had value - profit potential. Big pharma, drug smugglers and bankers benefit from that profit.

But you are right - our presence in Afghanistan did create the problem. However, something to note, the US did this intentionally. When we toppled the regime we released the drug smugglers apprehended by the Taliban. We put the criminals back on the street - and in high office; the biggest opium king-pin is the brother of the Afghani president.
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