After 17 years: Why are we still waging war in Afghanistan?

Frosty Wooldridge

Major General Smedley Butler, the most decorated U.S. Marine in history wrote a book:  War is a racket!

In Butler’s book, he described and criticized the workings of the United States government in its foreign actions and wars, such as those he took part, and the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said the same thing during his last speech as president of the United States.  He called the factions creating wars, “The military industrial complex.”  It’s made up mega corporations in the business of warplanes, munitions, textiles, boots, rifles, foods, tanks and everything that soldiers need to fight wars. Profits, profits, profits!

What kind of men make up the military industrial complex?  As Butler said they generate and buy wars by creating conflict where no conflict occurs.

Even the German Nazi Hermann Goring said, “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

The United States started the Korean War by making up a story that we needed to combat communism from spreading.  Over 33,000 young men lost their lives in that pointless and useless conflict.  But the military industrial complex made a fortune!

The United States started the Vietnam War, which, again, began as a civil war between the people of that country.  Again, politicians ramped it up, and sold the public as to Nam’s purpose.  Over 58,300 kids paid with their lives for Robert McNamara and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s pointless and useless war.  But again, as William Lederer wrote in his book Our Own Worst Enemy, the big money corporations made billions on war production.  It lasted for 10 solid years while accomplishing nothing.  Except we dropped more bombs than WWII and sprayed Agent Orange that killed more people and created horrific birth defects in the Vietnamese for decades.  Who made Agent Orange?  Monsanto, and they continue to poison the world with their GMO crops and Round-Up weed killer.

Personally, I think the CEO and stockholders at Monsanto should be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity and the natural world.  They destroy every living thing they inject, spray or change DNA.

About the only thing that stopped the Vietnam War—college kids marching and burning draft cards, and refusing to go to war. The Kent State killings made huge impact on the “Silent Majority.”  How did the military industrial complex sneak around that problem to create the Iraq War and/or continuation of the Afghanistan War?  Make our military a volunteer army so if a kid gets killed, he chose to join the U.S. military, so he chose his own death.

In reality, the men and corporations of the military industrial complex chose his death.  All soldiers remain chattel and chowder for our war machine.  No heroes exist in war—only lucky guys that dodged that bullet with their name on it.

Today, after 17 years, George W. Bush started a war in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, more than 4,100 of our finest youth lost their lives and thousands walk with prosthetic limbs.  Obama continued it and Trump continues those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We’ve spent in excess of $5 to $7 trillion.  Our country drowns in $20 trillion in debt.  What did we accomplish?  We killed bin Laden six years ago at a cost of $7 trillion and thousands of young kids’ lives sacrificed.

Mind you! We spent that $7 trillion to fight a bunch of goat herders, war lords and poppy growers, most of them illiterate.  And, we keep training their men to stop the insurgents, when most of them ARE the insurgents. So, we’re training them to kill our soldiers.

And, because we support a volunteer military, less than one percent of American youth serve our country.  Thus, no big outcry because so few suffer death or dismemberment.

But the military industrial complex corporation stockholders continue making a killing.   As General Butler said, “War is a racket; it’s all about money; it’s not about freedom; it’s all about money.”

On top of that our US Congress financially supports 700 bases in 80 countries around the world.  Yes, seven hundred military bases!  We pay for 450,000 military personnel operating those bases.  For what?  It means we stick our nose into everybody’s else’s business.  Again, the military industrial complex makes a fortune maintaining those bases.

For the record, doesn’t knowing this make you sick to your stomach?  What could we have done spending $7 trillion in our own country?  How about building homes for 1.5 million homeless Americans?  How about supporting 13 million children living below the poverty level?  Any ideas on solving the health care crisis to cover all Americans in need of health care?  How about stopping 13 teens from dying of overdoses of drugs hourly, 24/7?  I suspect that $7 trillion would have covered everyone for decades.

How about African-Americans slugging it out in our inner cities?  Any chance $7 trillion would build new schools, gyms, pools and after school activities? Any chance we could pay inner city teachers double their current salaries to teach in those Godforsaken inner-city schools where violence, incest, drugs and killings remain the norm?  How about cleaning up Chicago and Los Angeles?   How about building a wall on our southern border to keep out drugs?  That $7 trillion would have made our country vibrant, vital and successful beyond imagination!

As we move into the “Season of Peace on Earth”, I bet the men of the military industrial complex have already planned the next war for our kids to go get killed and maimed.  And, we citizens will sit by complacently without a whimper.  Goring hit it dead on the head!

Why are we still waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Answer: because most Americans don’t give a damn!  And that my friend, is what the men of the military industrial complex count on!

Frosty Wooldridge is a Population-Immigration-Environmental specialist: speaker at colleges, civic clubs, high schools and conferences. Facebook: Frosty Wooldridge. Facebook Adventure Page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World.