Curtain Raiser

Oblivious to the Open Wound, Colltalers

As the U.S. braces for the second week of the Republican assault against the Obama administration, which hit instead millions of already embattled Americans, is there anything equally as negative as having a group of taxpayer-funded public servants doing their worst to paralyze a whole nation?
Try our indifference about the Afghanistan war, for a fit, despite of over a decade of carnage and missed opportunities. As four more U.S. troops got killed there over the weekend, one wonders whether their ultimate sacrifice can be treated with any more disrespect than it’s been and for how long.
It’s as if the latest casualties have been diligently added to the more than 2,000 Americans, almost as many troops from other countries, and most likely a multiple of 10 of this total in Afghan combatants and innocent civilians, and then promptly forgotten until it can be turned into a new commodity.
The war that started 12 years ago today shows no signs of having become any less brutal than it was, for the few months that it made some sense, right after the Sept. 11, 2001. A war that, by all accounts, has lost its purpose, if there’s ever one in wars, and now it’s just a gigantic grave, swallowing human lives and compassion, a gaping black hole where all hope for a better world gets buried daily.
The inferno that’s been raging longer than any previous American conflict, however, is no match in the news headlines for the disgusting display of political expediency by such a small, exceedingly wealthy group, trying to achieve by force of obstruction what the popular vote denied them.
Despite some expected coverage about the status of the U.S. plan to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014 (hint: not so good), and predictable grandstanding by a variety of buffoons, the tenor of what’s going on in Washington is likely to increase towards the end of the week.
That’s when the U.S. Treasury may run out of borrowing means and default on its bills, a potentially catastrophic event for the world’s financial system. Faith on U.S. bonds and its ability to pay is a cornerstone of global trade, and even a threat of default may destabilize the entire system.
That’s the second of the two-punch combination, which has been concocted and brewed for a long time deep in the bowels of the GOP’s radical right by the tea party movement, its ideologues and sponsors. Even though it’s causing fractures and bringing to its knees the old-guard leadership, all Republicans have a lot to gain from an implosion in the U.S. social contract, millions of Americans and the world’s stability be damned.
And while the first punch, the 40th-plus failed attempt to de-fund the Affordable Health Act, followed previous ones and didn’t cause as much pain as their architects hoped – millions sought to enlist in the new exchanges, system flaws and coverage gaps notwithstanding – the second does pack heat.
There are two ironies to be highlighted here about this attack on the government, and they both run parallel to other absurdities implied on this costly act of truly treason against Americans.
One is that a default would shatter Wall Street, the engine behind the personal and collective wealth of many of the bandits now trying to subjugate the power of those elected by democratic vote. Unless, of course, their offshore riches is indeed much bigger than what they all stand to lose at home with a default. Still, it’s a reckless act even by those standards.
The other startling fact is that despite cuts in vital functions and all levels of government, and serious consequences to large segments of the American society, many rendered completely helpless by the shutdown, guess what activities were deemed untouchable and remain operating at full blast.
Why, the military, of course. Not the care for millions wounded Veterans, or their families, or the few programs designed to streamline the processing of their health and retirement plans, help them to reintegrate in society, or at least prevent them from signing off in the worst possibly way.
These kind of programs will continue to lag and falter and be kept at the very bottom of the priorities, if not of the expensive shoes worn by the lobby-assisted and the well-heeled voter buyers of DC, now in full barbarians-at-the-gate regalia.
Our ability to kill and be killed in faraway lands, though, or hire subcontractors to do our bidding, (and to monitor the private lives of individuals here at home too, we guess) is and must remain open, thank you very much, unobstructed, fully funded and operational at all times and circumstances.
That hasn’t prevented those four troops from being blown into pieces yesterday, or the many more that will come, no matter how the Pentagon budget gets even more inflated, or the U.S.’s defense spending, which continues to be higher than the next 13 other nations combined.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who’ll end his term next year and can’t be reelected, continues to articulate the conditions of an American exit from his country, in terms of how he can maximize his future, profitable role, while at the same time, looking tough with the U.S. before his countrymen.
Officially, as expected, he advocates a partial withdraw, which means having troops there beyond 2014 enough to guarantee (his) security, and ending U.S. raids, which he obviously knows is not going to happen. But what he really fears is the Taliban coming back and seizing his personal assets.
He won’t win, neither will we, and Afghanistan has already lost. There’s no way that the U.S. will give up its self-granted prerogative of ‘hunting terrorists’ at will, or get on the bad side of the nuclear ally next door, Pakistan, to many, the real breeding ground of American-hating groups.
Thus we mark this grim milestone date with diminishing hopes that we’ll get our priorities reversed back to a fairer course. Even though the default is unlikely to happen, not because of charity, but out of self-interest and preservation, we fear for what will be offered in return for its avoidance.
The shutdown will be extended, for it affects a group that’s been increasingly disfranchised by Washington power elites, and frankly, no longer have even the means to argue to the contrary: simply put, the majority of Americans who have no stocks in Wall Street, or love lost for politicians.
At Colltales, we’ll take a moment today to pay respects to those who’re spilling their blood everyday, so we can have the twisted luxury of watching, and being hurt, by a rabble of irresponsible hacks, whose moral compass got stuck at zero the moment they sold their vote to the higher bidder.
In other news, though, one century ago today Henry Ford started the moving assembly line to speed up production of its Model T., so there’s probably a silver lining here somewhere. Have a great week trying to find it. WC


One thought on “Curtain Raiser

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    So well said as usual, as usual, Wesley. I can read clearly your disgust at the republicans, but I wonder if the people on the street, those affected – can they see it is the republicans doing the harm, not Obama? I hope so – I hope the republicans lose & lose & lose in these actions.

    “…the bandits now trying to subjugate the power of those elected by democratic vote” is so well written.


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