Oh - first, a question for the readership; this months' battle is either going to be the Reoccupation of the Rhineland (1936) or the Battle of Adowa (1896). I'm leaning towards the latter just because it's more interesting and less known. But in pure "decisiveness" terms the Rhineland was the more critical event. Any strong feelings one way or the other?And this morning I was scanning through the news and one thought kept sticking in my head; why does it seem that my country seems to be stuck on the notion that the world "should be" something other than it is?
One example is this year's ridiculous presidential campaign, which - in the middle of some truly spectacular economic and geopolitical fuckups - seems to be mainly about what women do or don't do with their genitals.
One of the other examples is summed up in my friends jim and Lisa's post about the recent "Koran burning" controversy. Their money graf is:
"The Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) is not about liberal democratic values and has nothing to do with the welfare of the Afghan people. The entire philosophy of Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24 was based upon a simulacrum of truth, and the burning (as with previously reported incidents of Koran desecration) proves the point to the citizens of Afghanistan."Which is absolutely true.
But IMO the greater point is; we knew that the central Asian plateau was chock full o' religious nuts when we went in there. We had a ringside seat for Charlie Wilson's War, watching the Soviets try to turn the Afghan Allah-pesterers into good little Young Pioneers and failing bloodily.
Why the hell - why the HELL - would we think otherwise?Here's my opinion; it's because we as a people, we as a polity, are eaten up from head to toe with magical thinking. We believe wholeheartedly that if we just WANT it bad enough that the world will be what we want it to be. That we have the Awesome Yankee Doodle Dandy Power that will make Afghans become suburban Maryland Presbyterians, make piles of corporate money do something other than turn our electoral process into a pimp-and-ho show, make individuals and corporations act prudently, sensibly, and responsibly...in other words, make the world into a rational and sensible place rather than the monstrous concatenation of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision we should know by now that it is.
And, specifically, in Afghanistan we the U.S. chose to go into the religious nuthouse and play with the religious nuts. Inside Chock Full o' Nuts you either play by the Nutjob Rules, you lose, or you don't play. All the power and money in the world won't change that, because you're dealing with religious nuts; they don't care about power and money - they're doing what they truly deeply believe their Invisible Sky Daddy wants.Their magical thinking is always going to be stronger than your magical thinking. It's really that simple.
Why is that so difficult to understand?
It seems that it is.