Afghanistan – The Harvey Weinstein Strategy
In our post-Weinstein world, men charged with sexual misconduct are guilty until proven innocent, their crimes are capital offenses, there exists no statute of limitations, and “zero tolerance” has become a battle cry. The pain, suffering, and humiliation of the women preyed upon by reprobates should not be minimized but let us consider other victims and their perpetrators.
The American people retain a capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions. However, I am confused why this same level of outrage is absent when it comes to needless war.
Compare the culpability of these sexual scoundrels to those of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country’s various military misadventures of the present century. These wars have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars. *
The public treats, with respect, the views of pundits and media personalities who persist in promoting war while condemning any innuendo of sexual harassment. If I was more of a conspiracy nut I would conclude that mainstream media is guilty of colluding with the government to distract the public’s attention away from our executions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalis, Syria, Pakistan and soon to be North Korea or Iran.
When it comes to sexual harassment there are no statute of limitations and “zero tolerance” is expected in response to all allegations. So, why when it comes to war the past doesn’t count. The media prefers to sustain the pretense that tomorrow is full of possibilities. Victory lies just around the corner.
The president, who has yet to visit Afghanistan, in his Thanksgiving message to the troops remarked, “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around,” he continued “We’re fighting to win. And you people [have] turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody has seen.”
The term winning is quite elastic. Trump may think that it implies vanquishing the enemy—white flags and surrender ceremonies on the U.S.S. Missouri. General Nicholson knows better. “Winning,” the field commander says, “means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland.”
It took a succession of high-profile scandals before Americans truly woke up to the plague of sexual harassment and assault. What will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don’t work? Vietnam had a televised war, body bags returning and the My Lai Massacre to awakened our outrage.
The crime that is not being reported is that General “Mad Dog” Mattis, General Nicholson, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are following the Harvey Weinstein playbook: keep doing it until they make you stop.
Consider a recent article in U.S. News and World Report;
“Armed with a new strategy and renewed support from old allies, the Trump administration now believes it has everything it needs to win the war in Afghanistan. Top military advisers all the way up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis say they can accomplish what two previous administrations and multiple troop surges could not: the defeat of the Taliban by Western-backed local forces, a negotiated peace and the establishment of a popularly supported government in Kabul capable of keeping the country from once again becoming a haven to any terrorist group.”
Over the past 17 years the US has experimented with just about every approach imaginable: invasion, regime change, occupation, nation-building, pacification, decapitation, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency, not to mention various surges, differing in scope and duration.
We have had a big troop presence and a smaller one, more bombing and less, restrictive rules of engagement and permissive ones. And how about that MOAB that made a big boom but no “surrender” materialized. What is next using nuclear weapons?
If you believe that Harvey Weinstein has learned his lesson and can be trusted to interview young actresses while wearing his bathrobe then the “new strategy” in Afghanistan is right up your alley.
* By 2015, the Afghan project, had already absorbed at least $65 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars and more than 300,000 dead. By the way have those costly military efforts have not eliminated “terrorism,” they have fertilized the terrorist community.