The Shame of the Politicians
25/06/2010The miserable American President stepped bouncing to the microphones with his basketball walk and with his usual staccato delivery perfect for ticking off inmates of a remand home and announced that he had relieved General McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan. In fact the General had resigned. To anyone but an American it was clear that he had meant it to happen. It was no injudicious act but rather a master tactician’s carefully designed plot to disconnect from the failure of the democratic system to wage war not just honourably but rationally.
Think for a moment. The man repeatedly tells us, like poor Sarkozy, that he is President, and as such must act thus. On this occasion he announced, as if to convince not just us but himself, that he was Commander-in-Chief. Democratic politicians suffer from the collective delusion that a war can be conducted at long distance, and cannot face that combat troops and grieving parents look on them as despicable cowards. Such is the political animal whatever his party allegiance. From the middle of the hell of Stalingrad the German General conducting the siege sent a devastating telegram to Hitler, safe in his Berlin bunker: “I am here! Where are you?”
It was, in effect, the message of the brave weather-beaten soldier back from the front as he faced the fade-creamed face of the politician ready not for battle but for the television cameras.
If the political class were not in collapse on a world level, and human tolerance at a terminal phase, one would propose that it should be made mandatory that on a declaration of war the entire cabinet of ministers led by premiers and presidents should proceed to the front-line and face military action. We would enter an age of peace.
They will not fight the enemy. Part of their psychosis is that they have a right to send young men to die while they consider it ‘their war’. The abominable staring-eyed Premier of Britain during Iraq talked of ‘my Army’, and he was not even Head of State.
Internally, the political system is falling apart. Outrageously, the U.S. President said publicly that he thought the remarkable C.E.O. of BP should be sacked. He openly announced that this criminal corporation should pay for every dollar needed to restore order in the Gulf. Really! Well done! So the great Corporations and Consortia are under Presidential command also! Then, will he order the bailed-out banks to pay back to the ruined citizens the ‘vanished’ billions? He is allowed to play Commander-in-Chief – that only costs human lives. He is not allowed to command the banks or to sack the bankers.
With a Vice-President looking every day more like their cortisone-puffed Secretary of State and with an ex-Israeli ballet dancer Chief-of-Staff is it any wonder that they cannot oversee a Himalayan war from Washington?
As a distinguished 4-Star General it should not come as a surprise that he considers his strategy sabotaged by the political class. He is also aware that the reality of the war has been taken out of his hands while the public are kept in the dark.
What is the reality of Afghanistan that has so shaken a brilliant military leader?
The military fact, the hidden fact is that we have entered a phase of capitalist development which now requires Private Military Societies. At the global level they now employ one million personnel. Altogether, they represent the second-largest army in the world. They constitute a market estimated at 170 billion euros per year.
The first military private units appeared in 1989. Made up of former South African commandos they were installed in a disused Soviet base in Angola. ‘Executive Outcomes’ offered beleaguered African states a counter-insurgency force, no questions asked. They actually represented the first privatisation of military operations.
Next, in the U.S.A. came the M.P.R.I., Military Professional Resources Inc. That was 1990. Not unconnected with the U.S. military machine they sold their services to ex-Soviet Bloc countries, offering to tune their forces to be NATO-ready. We had entered the Age of the Contractors. By 1991 during the first Gulf War there was one Contracted civilian to 100 American military. By the Iraqi invasion in 2003 the ratio was 1:10. By 2007, for the first time, there were as many Contractors employed by the military as there were men in uniform.
On the 16th of September of that year one of the largest private military societies, Blackwater, opened fire on a vehicle in the middle of Baghdad. They left 17 dead. Withdrawn from Iraq they re-emerged as ‘Xe Services LLC’ and they now serve America in Afghanistan. Two of its staff were killed in the attack on the American base at Khost on 30 December 2009. From the Contractors’ base on the Pakistan frontier they fire their drones onto the tribal zones of Pakistan. The drones identify the targets which are then, theoretically, fired on by activated missiles of the Army. From 2008-2009 the number of cross-border strikes has increased, going from 36 to 53 in a continually accelerating rhythm.
A Congress report published in 2009 estimated that the Pentagon employed 104,100 civilians in Afghanistan. The military in that period were estimated at 63,950. Thus, 62% of men employed in the war by the American Defence Minister belonged to the private sector. Thus the Presidential increase of forces, 30,000 men, must be increased by 56,000 Contractors, over and above.
The function of the Contractors is to take over the running of the invaded country leaving only the holding of terrain and the military engagement in the hands of the soldiers. It was this purely capitalist programme that so offended the American General’s honour and military tradition.
The Contractors have taken over the whole sphere of human welfare. Housing. Support supplies. Internet connections. Food. The interconnection of Army to town. Aerial surveillance. Anti-drug schemes. Afghan government forces. ‘NATO’ plans – via the Contractors – to bring the Afghan army from 9,000 to 134,000 men by 2010 and to 240,000 by 2013. The Afghan army is being trained by K.B.R., Kellogg Brown and Root, along with the major force in Afghanistan, DynCorp. This latter group controls the Presidential Guard of Hamid Karzai.
The M.P.R.I. group controls the military doctrine of the Afghan Army and forms its leadership – a contract worth 200 million dollars. Paravent, a sister group to Blackwater, controls the Afghan Police which will reach 160,000 men.
According to the expert scholar on the subject, George-Henri Bricet des Vallons, there must also be counted Sherzai Society set up by a former Governor of Kandahar, Gul Agha Sherzai. According to Bricet des Vallons the present internal system saves the U.S. government from including Contractor deaths in official figures. Of course, it follows, since these private para-militaries are above Afghan law and military law, that they are legally speaking outlaws. Their official duties are protected by NATO, an organisation that itself cannot be brought to justice either nationally or internationally according to their self-declared mandate. Today they freely fight the Afghans for control and profits of the drug-trade and adult and child prostitution. This latter is a thriving business since no army in history has been able or required to forego its services.
The economic logic of the situation necessitates the Contractors to continue over a long term to provide a return on their investment. This, in turn, gives the lie to the pretended NATO exit strategy. Now, the wobbly Nike-shod President who trembles in front of professional soldiers has been told he must sack his brilliant military commander to avert the political accusations of wimpery over the BP crisis. Had he sacked him over military philosophy there might remain the echo of a chance for political democracy. Hitler destroyed Rommel because of his political insecurity. Churchill destroyed the greatest soldier of World War II, Earl Wavell, because of political weakness at home. Truman destroyed MacArthur because of trouble at home, and gave the world Communist North Korea and the nuclear bomb instead of a military victory.
Bush destroyed Powell by forcing him to lie in the political arena. Now the utterly inadequate, uneducated and unformed politico-President has sacked his most brilliant General. From thousands of miles away this distant ‘Commander’ has got rid of the man who had realised that America had failed, and who deliberately let the people understand that the war was not a war of any kind, but an adventure in Corporation capitalism – America’s last chance to have a toe-hold in an Asia that no longer needed it.
The great General withdrew from the battlefield.The war is now over. Only the useless slaughter will continue, for a time.