Tuesday, March 11, 2008

These are not good things: Iran and AFRICOM

The officer currently in charge of Central Command (the major military command - or MACOM - that oversees actions in South and Southwest Asia and the Middle East), Admiral William "Fox" Fallon announced that he will resign at the end of the month.

I can't do anything but add to what others have said about this. The CW around the Beltway was that Fallon was the principal grown-up trying to take Bamm-bamm Cheney's club away from him to keep him from pounding on the coffee table already overburdened with the brunch-litter-of-the-damned left behind by our apparently endless imperial doodlings in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Wednesday's topic will be just exactly what I see as the geopolitical possibilities of these farragoes. But for now, I direct your attention to one of the lesser known moronic ideas that this Administration has engendered: AFRICOM.Wonder why we're talking about "bomb-bomb-bomb(ing) Iran? Look no further than this assload of cluelessness.

What will this thing be doing? I get the sense that most of the political nabobs along the Potomac have little or no idea what would be in the U.S.'s best interests - and would be politically, economically and militarily do-able - in Africa.

I mean, yes, it'd be lovely if all the subSaharan "countries" were stable, prosperous liberal democracies. It'd be nice if I had a big brick house and a pony. I can't get what I want from where I am now and neither can we. Formulating an actual geopolitical plan would posit that we've done some actual thinking about 1) where these "countries" are and how they got there, 2) what would be the best outcome - and the most likely outcome - if we did X versus Y or Z, and 3) would the benefit of this action be worth the cost (compared to the worst outcome if we did nothing...or the next worst if we only did A and B).

Any conventional military adventures we get into in Africa, any military adventure we embark on with Iran, will be indivisibly tied to political and economic complications we have absolutely no fucking idea how to anticipate, plan for or, God help us, control. The lesson we should have learned in Afghanistan was, as Sun Tzu would have put it: "In failed state; kick ass then grab hat."

All the blood and treasure in North America cannot solve Africa's problems. Only Africans can do that. To help them we already have the expeditionary capacity. Putting a MACOM in Africa will simply whistle up a couple of thousand headquarters drones looking for missions. That we need like a hole in the head.


Putting a loyal Bushie in charge at CENTCOM will simply whistle up another couple of thousand headquarters drones planning gee-whiz missions over Tehran. Think Tommy Franks and the glorious march to Baghdad - look at where that ended. The potential for blowback (remember blowback? The Afghans sure do...) is fucking nucular, as the Decider himself would say

Trust me: we need a war with Iran like we need another hole in the head. We need it like...like we need "AFRICOM". A war - and a headquarters - based on faith and hopes and blind wishful thinking, desperately in search of a purpose, like Amanda Feilding desperately drilling into her own head in hopes of finding something better than her own thoughts.
But in these sadly diminished days of our Republic we can't even do the bloody work ourselves. We seem to be content to hand the Black & Decker to the mad trepanners we have elected and close our eyes, hoping that some classic rock will be playing on the Sirius satellite radio to drown out the scream of the drilling inside our skulls.


atomic mama said...

I can think of a few people who deserve to be forcibly trepanned, Paleolithic-style.

Meghan H said...

I watched a documentary last night called "The Ground Truth" that spoke volumes about the higher-ups in the various military branches. The brass is woefully cut off from what the average Iraq or Afghanistan vet has experienced, and, worse, is completely hardened to what the soldiers have had to do there.

The most upsetting thing, in some strange way, is the story of a former Marine who, after having to kill civilians in Iraq, needed some psychiatric treatment. The psychologist he saw at the VA said she couldn't help him deal with his pain because, "I'm not allowed to help conscientious objectors." I despise this administration right now.