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Richard Day: Patton Oswalt's Grief
The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is seeking $1,200,000,000 ($1.2 billion dollars) over 6 years to fight about 500 'hardcore' al Qaeda in the deserts of Yemen. Most of the money would go to US arms manufacturers to buy the usual tools of killing people, helicopters, guns, communication gear, bombs etc., and US 'trainers'. It works out to about $2.4 million per bad guy but who's counting? Certainly not General Petraeus who approved the request. Fortunately, some at the State Department are resisting the demand, and Obama thus far has said we will not invade Yemen. Yemen has the guys who fitted out the Nigerian youth with the liquid concoction he tried to light last December on an airliner bound for Detroit, which the Republicans swore was a worst intelligence failure since perhaps Pearl Harbor, although no one was even injured.
According to Andrew Bacevich in his recently published book, Washington Rules, on US militarism since WW2, the expansion of the US GWOT into Yemen might only be expected, he says neither the US military nor the US government has learned one thing from the debacles from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. It is still full speed ahead as Obama tries his surge in Afghanistan, even as Pakistan sinks into the Indus with billions in US military aid over the last 10 years doing little to suppress terrorism in that country or create an honest and responsible government.
Bacevish points out that it is no longer just the military-industrial complex, but the military-industrial-think tank-politician complex, they all feed out of the same trough of money and political contributions. It is in no one's interest in Washington to stop the perverse cycle of never ending, perpetual war. Bacevich thinks it will end badly if the American people don't wake up and demand the wars stop and the troops come home, however, there is precious little chance of that, as it is considered traitorous for the US not to seek total victory, although no one can define what that would look like, in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen.
The GOP is the leading party to use fear and war to get votes. They stoke anti-Muslim war fever constantly saying only they can 'defend America', see Newt's latest video on how he plans to save us from the imminent Islamic world takeover.
Give a country like Yemen, with 23 million people, most in poverty, with one of the highest birth rates in the world, a billion in war gear, and you may find the guy running the country will use the stuff against his political opponents, not the 'terrorists'. Presto! a Yemeni Saddam! In fact, according the article on Wikipedia, Yemen had a history of supporting Saddam, and voted against the UN resolution for Gulf War 1, when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Tens of thousands of Yemeni's were expelled from other Gulf states, a barrier was planned between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the desert boundary zone, and additionally, the government of Yemen has had a history of abuse of refugees, corruption, and voter fraud (it does have elections, the President every 7 years). Yemen is also ruled under Sharia Law. (see Wikipedia)
Why would any sane leader of Yemen, why would the Pentagon, why would US arms manufacturers ever want to thoroughly get rid of al Qaeda in Yemen (or anywhere)? How could any US President say he doesn't give a crap about killing every bad guy who talks about destroying America, and who lives on the other side of the world, that he only plans to stop them if they try something, and interrupt the execution of their plans? He would be called a coward and a terror sympathizer, and the voters would believe it. Fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here was Dubya's rule. The media loves wars and conflicts of course, so they would be of little help in promoting reason in the TV watching herds.
If terrorists were contained and not battled in an endless self perpetuating war, US military aid is reduced or eliminated to countries involved, the arms contracts are canceled, and the Pentagon brass is depleted by one or more commands, with the resulting loss of billets for promotion and brass. The media has less conflicts to report on, and the think tanks can fire a few people as there are less conquests to justify or demand action on as our responsiblity or our 'noble cause'. No one gains except the American citizen, who in fact, does not need to bankroll the policing of the Yemeni desert, or the Afghanistan mountains, to be secure in America.