There Will Be Blood

In the recent web-exclusive of the Bill Moyers Journal, Glenn Greenwald describes how the U.S. can be defined as a warrior nation, a country that has been at perpetual war for decades now. Presidents, and Obama is now no exception to the rule, become almost obliged to continue the tradition of invasion.

Putting our “There Will Be Blood” war-lust into perspective, Greenwald says,

I think the central problem is a lack of empathy. And my biggest wish is that if Americans– that every American in sort of a national collective exercise would spend just ten minutes thinking about the following question, which is:

Suppose there was a Muslim country that invaded the United States with 150,000 troops, and proceeded to occupy our country for the next eight years: dropped bombs on wedding parties, slaughtered men, women, and children who were innocent. Created prisons in our country, where they arrested American citizens and put us for years without charges. Created an overseas island prison where they shipped some of us to without any recourse whatsoever. And at the same time, were threatening to do that to several other Western countries. How much rage and anger and a desire for vengeance and violence would we feel towards that country that was doing that to us?

I mean, just look at what the singular one-day attack of 9/11, the kind of anger and rage it unleashed. And I think if Americans were to think about how we would react towards other countries, and what we would want to do to them, if they were doing to us what we are now doing to them, I think a lot of light would be shined on what it is that we’re really achieving in terms of our national security.

In a different interview, this one on Fresh Air, Jane Mayer discusses her recent article in the New Yorker on the use of unmanned drones to fight our wars, and points out one of the obvious moral problems with fighting high tech wars far away from home:

You know, right now, I think Congress is really infatuated with this technology. And you can see why, I mean it is a marvel. But the place where people are asking questions are in the human rights community, the international lawyers, the U.N.,. There are a number of sort of political philosophers asking questions, such as, you know, if there’s no – if we can’t feel the impact of the people that we’re killing and we can’t see them, and none of our own people at risk, does this somehow make it easier to just be in a perpetual state of war because there’s no seeming cost to us? These are the kinds of questions that people are asking.

Not to mention, as Mayer writes in her New Yorker piece that

The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military’s version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare. The C.I.A.’s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in countries where U.S. troops are not based. It was initiated by the Bush Administration and, according to Juan Zarate, a counterterrorism adviser in the Bush White House, Obama has left in place virtually all the key personnel. The program is classified as covert, and the intelligence agency declines to provide any information to the public about where it operates, how it selects targets, who is in charge, or how many people have been killed.

The CIA program is not only secret (and arguably committing illegal extrajudicial assassinations) but it is being outsourced to private military contractors and some of the attacks are on targets requested by the Pakistani government. In any event, I definitely recommend Mayer’s article as it attempts to present all of the facts without passing judgment.



Filed under Essays, Obama 44

11 responses to “There Will Be Blood

  1. LOL.

    Clarion call of the weak and fearful, what a laugher.

    Superpower nations, contemporary or historical have never been built with kindness, rainbow unicorns or fluffy white bunnies.

    They have all been built, and however successfully maintained, by the blood, slaughter and death that only warriors can provide.

    Lack of objectivity, as usual. Mayer, in a supreme show of idiocy, thinks this has anything to do with 9/11 or any other select terrorist incident. It doesn’t, never has and never will. Although admittedly, the trail of Muslim destruction against the West is long and egregious. How quickly those with validation agendas, forget. As far as killing innocents, Muslims and Islam hold the prize, far and away. History has already told this story.

    High tech warfare has nothing to do with human rights. That is again the validators and their fluffy white bunny agendas. Vae victis and hail the honored dead; that is all there is to war ~ unless one is a fan of Cervantes and then ~ “Love and War are the same thing, and stratagems and polity are as allowable in the one as in the other.” It is all, quite reasonably, the same.

    Unfortunately, we can’t anthropomorphise a drone, until the rainbow unicorn lawyers come around; then the “it” becomes “nex addo”; and BOOYAH, legislated morality, consummate evil … lol.

    If this Mayer broad had any family involved in the military, she might has a perspective on the use of drones for warfare. It saves lives, period.

    CIA > Mujahideen/Taliban/Al Queda/Hamas/PLO/etc. … tantamount. Strange, no one in the U.N. or the “human rights” organisations whining about them … Oh that’s right, they are just rogue entities, that cannot be held to any laws, national or international, so it’s okay then.

    Perspective and objectivity, fruit of life. Unless you are a “media” person.

    Have to go now, my rainbow unicorn needs to go for a walk and I have petted my fluffy white bunny today. 😦

  2. eric

    I am not sure your numbers about Islam add up? I don’t mean to be an apologist here, but the 20th Century simply does not support that claim. The Nazis, Japanese, Soviets, Chinese, and yes Americans (first country to ever use nuclear weapons on civilians), take the prize.

  3. Again cugino, expand your horizons.

    Learn some of the history of India, and you will find that there has been no change in the behavior of Muslims in 1,000 years. There are no “numbers” to be added up for their unending atrocities, records haven’t been particularly sparkling in that category … except in maybe the last decade. Plus, this “war” with Islam has actually been going since WWI. Some say even the Founding Fathers had some concerns about the Middle East in their day … Go back in the history of England, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, etc. … on and on and on … like I’ve said before, this isn’t a “current events issue” at all. Unless you are a boorishly uneducated cretin like Mayer … then, maybe it is.

    You’re trying to pull an argumentum ad Hitlerum with the nuclear bomb statement. That was a no choice situation. The Japanese, still in the throes of the feudal mentality and not at all swayed with the Meiji Restoration from a cultural values point, were not about to surrender to a foreign power or abate the process of tossing body after body at us … and we were not in the position to keep throwing away lives … troops were getting thin.

    Technology wins every war; end game.

  4. eric

    Founding Fathers?

    Our Founding Fathers were staunchly anti-British, now our biggest military party; were un-apologeticly in favor of the French Revolution regardless of its brutality, and the first nation in the world to recognize the independence of the United States was Morocco. Our Founding Fathers were pro-Slavery. Jefferson was in favor of an agrarian (cultivated by slave labor), non-industrialized, decentralized nation without a standing army. But all of this, like your dubious history is irrelevant.

    Practically every Middle Eastern and Muslim nation is, like the U.S., a former European colony. But who cares who killed whom a couple hundred years ago or that European crusaders cannibalized Muslims and Jews in the 12th Century. There is absolutely no justification for the U.S. to spend trillions of tax payer dollars and Chinese funded debt — radically greater than any possible health care proposal — to fight wars that have nothing to do with our national security.

    Technology wins every war? Is that another history lesson? The Americans were technologically inferior to the British in 1776, and superior to the Vietnamese, Iraqis, and sheep herding Afghanis, our three longest wars.

    As you alluded to in your first comment, it is not about national security or who is or was historically worse, it is simply about being perpetual warriors, it must be in our national DNA.

  5. All wars are about two things: ideology and resources. It’s just that simple. History gives you that, yes, it does.

    WTF are you talking about with Jefferson? Non sequitur maybe? There’s more to those people than your high school history textbook … ???

    Since when does war EVER require justification? From whom? For what?

    You are correct, we were in a direct sense technologically inferior to the British ~ but we quickly learned guerrilla warfare. We weren’t technologically superior to the Vietnamese. They had Russian/Chinese support ~ AK’s have been equal and sometimes superior to American weapons. If we were technologically superior to them, we would have been able to outdo them in their knowledge of the terrain.

    We beat the Iraqi’s in a matter of three weeks, TWICE. That is pure technological superiority. We haven’t been fighting the Iraqis since Suddam fell ~ we’ve been fighting an urban guerrilla war; and International laws limit technological use in those situations because of civilian casualties.

    Afghanistan, same thing. Your facts aren’t even close to the mark.

    No, it isn’t about being “perpetual warriors”, however necessary that is in actuality. Ideology and resources, period.

  6. William

    To quote Christopher Hitchens : “we don’t have the right to forget why we are in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place: to make up for past crimes of both omission and commission and to help safeguard emergent systems of self-government that have the same deadly enemies as we do and to which, not quite incidentally, we gave our word.”

    Eric, i think it’s important to look at the broader picture and the broader context of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. All you do is focus on all the collateral damage our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is causing (and to be sure, every innocent life lost is one too many) and how the US has to get the hell out. Do we not have a moral obligation to not commit the same mistakes we’ve made in the past and abandon the Afghan and Iraqi people? Should we stand by passively while the Taliban re-take control of Afghanistan and cozy up to their friends and supporters in neighboring “nuclear” Pakistan? Do we adandon ship and simply stick our heads in the sand internationally and just focus on what happening in our own backyard? You spend a lot of time criticizing and blaming the US for so many ills in the world, but it would be really interesting to know what alternatives the US have in conflicts such as in Afghanistan. What should the US do? What is in your view in the best interest of the Afghan people?

  7. eric


    I don’t think there is “nothing” we can do. But I also don’t think that bombing civilian populations, flying drones, spending billions of tax dollars without a costs analysis, occupying a country uninvited and calling anyone who disagrees a terrorist the solution. We only ever present military solutions that never work.

    Think about it. When has our military occupation of another country ever worked?

  8. LOL.

    I’ve talked to too many Iraqis, they wanted us there. That was a “by invitation only” party … going back to Bush I.

    They BEGGED us to come in and get rid of Saddam.

    Most of our “occupations” were requested, since most of them occurred during WWII … which again, we were BEGGED to be there.

    Even South Korea needs our occupation. Almost exclusively, the worst places on the globe come from the “occupation” of Islam … Thailand is fast becoming a war zone, as are the Philippines, Malaysia.

    Nothing is as militant as Islam … oh wait, that wouldn’t be a “war of ideology” now would it? :X

  9. William

    @Eric : You say “Think about it. When has our military occupation of another country ever worked?”

    do you mean to tell me Japan and Germany were ‘NOT’ occupied by the US after WW2 ???

    @Kitapzis : Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines fast becoming “war zones” ??? Where do you get this information from? Tourism is flourishing in all three countries, not exactly something that would happen in a war zone. Also, the Philippines is 90% catholic and Islam is in fast in decline.

  10. eric


    Interesting points. Vietnam was not a success and neither have been Iraq or Afghanistan 8 year into the making, now twice the length of WWII. It is hard to win against a civilian population, something that the British learned in America (I think the quote of the British general was, “you can’t beat a map” or something to that extent).

    In any event, I was recently reading about how there were some 40,000 French civilian casualties from D-Day and that at the time the “liberated” French political class resented the U.S., and probably still does. Some things stay the same, some things don’t.

  11. Well, I tried to reply to William’s erroneous statements, but apparently cugino’s webpage has issues with links. :S

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