Cause-and-effect: empire, overstretch, and the narratives we attach to phenomena

Nine days after the wikileaks leak of 90K pages of first-hand sources out of the Pentagon, the acknowledgement of hemeophiliac empire continues. Or as Glenn Greenwald calls it: Empire in Collapse. The serendipity of coming across the July31 NYT opinion piece of Frank Rich and this August3 article out of the Asia Times on the bungled futility of the US military exercises in Af/Pak. In reverse order, cuz I find the AsiaTimes article heftier …

The Asia Times’ Here Be Dragons, by Ann Jones in AsiaTimes:

not enough armor, not enough vehicles, not enough helicopters, not enough weapons, not enough troops – and even when there seemed to be plenty of everything, complaints that nothing was of quite the right kind.
This struck me as a peculiarly privileged American problem that seemed to underlie almost everything I was to see on the eastern front of this war. Those complaints, in fact, seemed to spring from the very nature of the American military enterprise – from its toxic mix of paranoia, entitlement and good intentions.

Jones is on to something. What does it say about an empire that this is a “not-enough war”?

Meanwhile, in “Kiss this War Goodbye,” Frank Rich tells the chronology of history in the early 1970s and of the four presidents preceding Tricky Dick that further doomed Vietnam:

What Ellsberg’s leak did do was ratify the downward trend-line of the war’s narrative. The WikiLeaks legacy may echo that. We may look back at the war logs as a herald of the end of America’s engagement in Afghanistan just as the Pentagon Papers are now a milestone in our slo-mo exit from Vietnam.

It wasn’t the Pentagon Papers that were the figurative nail in the coffin. It was the Tet Offensive, My Lai, life after lie by LBJ, and a public wiser than our politicians and power brokers that finally extracted young men and women out of Vietnam. And eventually, it will be the same in Af/Pak even if some war profiteers of a paler shade continue to linger and profit for years to come.

Published by


Writer. Humanitarian on the long slog to freedom. Baker with many a sweet teeth. Outdoorsman who is a kid at heart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s