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.
Keep on laughing America, until one day you suddenly realize it has turned from funny to very scary.
The young do not remember.
Foreign policy has been dominated by hawks for thirty years or so.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.