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April 17, 2017 | America’s “Forever War” in the Middle East

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Last week, we rounded up the cattle.

For a more literary account of the yerra, here’s Elizabeth’s recollection of it, as sent to the children.

This week, we round up the grapes.

Delicate Sensibilities

The gauchos will get off their horses tomorrow and begin the harvest.

In a conciliatory gesture to our readers’ delicate sensibilities… following their disgust in the mailbag (see below) at how the gauchos handle cattle… we will urge them to go easy on the grapes.

That is, after all, why people prefer fake news to real news: Fake news is soothing and flattering; real news can be disturbing.

This is a tough climate for cattle… and just about everything else. We toughen up, too, when we come.

First, it is our intestines – not used to the water and its microbial life – that feel the rigors of the place.

Then the lungs must get to work… now taking two breaths to draw the oxygen that they used to get from one.

Our legs toughen up from daily horseback rides. Our skin hardens against sun and wind.

Our sensibilities also adapt. After a few weeks, we barely notice the lamb lying dead on our kitchen table… its throat cut… waiting for the butcher’s knife.

“It’s Easter,” said our housekeeper, Marta, cheerfully; that was all the explanation necessary. This was Easter Sunday. We would eat the Paschal Lamb.

Forever War

Before we go on… we would like to pause and admire our own readers’ depth of feeling.

Many seem to have an immense supply of outrage… a well of indignation so deep that even the most absurd and appalling acts of mankind fail to exhaust it.

Last Friday, for example, the Trump administration went against its campaign promises and delivered the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) in what has become the MOAF, the Mother of All Failures – America’s “forever war” in the Middle East.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s disastrous wars went on for 13 years. Hitler’s began in 1939; six years later, they were over.

But the U.S. has been at war in the Middle Eastern world for 14 years. The bombing began on March 20, 2003 – and it’s still going on.

The latest big boom in Afghanistan is said to have killed 94 “militants.”

Raining Bombs

Blowing up things has always been a fun pastime for adolescent boys.

But when it goes on too long… adults usually get outraged by the noise and damage.

Last year alone, the Pentagon dropped 26,000 bombs. At that rate, it’s dropped some 364,000 of them since the wars began… probably many more.

In the heat of the Iraq War, bombs fell like raindrops. Win-lose. Great for the people who make bombs. Bad for everybody else.

After so many years, we can’t remember what got the bombs started.

Why was the U.S. so upset with Iraq in the first place?

Iraq was, after all, a secular nation. Its leader, Saddam Hussein, was a mortal enemy of Islamist terrorists.

But you don’t ask questions in the heat of battle. The U.S. is still fighting terrorists… and the people who are fighting terrorists… and the people who are fighting the people who are fighting the terrorists.

Which is to say we seem ready to bomb, drone, missile, or assassinate just about anybody.

Minor Miracle

The toll from all this is what has earned the adventure the MOAF title.

Fourteen years. Seven trillion dollars (World War II cost only $4.2 trillion – in today’s dollars).

In 2015, Washington-based group Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated that as many as 2 million people had died since the beginning of the MOAF.

News website Middle East Eye claimed it was as high as 4 million.

These totals are much lower than the equally absurd World War I. But World War I came to an end after just four years and was judged, at least by half the combatants, as a success.

So far, the War on Terror has yielded no success for anyone – except the Deep State’s war industries.

Killing even 1 million people for nothing should take a lot of the outrage out of a nation.

Thinking citizens should be shocked… appalled… and furious that their elected leaders… using their money… acting in their names… have done such a thing.

Like Lady Macbeth, they must wash their hands over and over.

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” they yell, trying to scour away the bloodstains… or forget them with trivial diversions and cheap entertainments.

What is the big bomb for, after all?

It is right there at the top of the fake news cycle… along with the burning question: “When will Melania move into the White House?”

Still, the shared guilt must rest heavy on their consciences… and trouble their sleep. In the middle of the dark night, in moments of terrifying clarity, they must feel the hot flames of hell licking up at their heels and private parts.

That such people can spare a thought for the poor cattle of Gualfin is remarkable.

That they could brim with outrage at the callous hands of South American cowboys…

…is a minor miracle.




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April 17th, 2017

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

One Comment

  • Nasir Khan says:

    Thanks Bill for telling it like it us. But when the world has become deaf , dumb and blind to the depravity of our so-called leaders, I wonder what it will take to wake us up from our mortal slumber.

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