BTW, There’s a War Going On

It’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die

Edwin Starr, “War”

 Yes people, lest we forget, there is a war going on in Afghanistan that we and a number of nations’ troops are engaged with, running ten years and beyond, and spokespeople for this mess continue to delude us with a promised close to the thing. Andrew Davies of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (we’re supposed to be listening to him now on this matter) says that he thinks there are some reasons to be cautiously optimistic’ about outside troop intervention in that war torn country, as far as getting the hell out of there goes. He followed that up by stating “I think if the last 10 years has shown us anything, then the ability of the outside world to influence the future of Afghanistan in the long term is fairly minimal.”

 Really? It took ten years of people dying or getting their limbs blown off over there to come to the conclusion that we aren’t really accomplishing much of anything? Our Administration’s current schedule shows 2014 being the most current posted date that we will withdraw our troops, allowing Afghan forces to take over the fight against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Two more years, with no solid guarantee-and the real kicker is, no one in America can do much about it. The ball is in play, procedures for evacuation must be adhered to, yadda yadda yadda, more dead people. Does anyone still believe that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here? The only constructive thing I can see coming out of that mess in the foothills of Kabul and surrounding areas is, it gives troops a great on-the-job training opportunity, and that statement alone, is pretty grim to face. If the United States were to take our fighting forces and work ten years (plus) in the fields of Uganda fighting the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) I would be a bit more understanding. War is a terrible thing no matter when, where or why it happens, but we are not a perfect race of beings, and it will happen. The big question is, what’s worth fighting for?

 Back in 1961 Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram devised a series of tests which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. He had the participants sit in a room next to a small box with buttons on it. The test subjects were led to believe the box was wired with electricity to someone in another room. They were instructed to push a button each time the individual in the other room answered a question wrong, which would send an electric shock to this person; each button was described as having an increased amount of voltage, therefore, every time they got a question wrong, the electric jolt would increase. The people weren’t actually hooked up to electricity but they managed to carry on as if they were causing some real trauma to the individual at the button’s control.

 The final conclusions drawn from the Milgram studies showed Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become ‘agents in a terrible destructive process, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality*’. Somewhere in the last decade or so it seems a lot of people have forgotten about this menacing little test and what it says about us as a species. Most of us have been given that hypothetical question by someone, asking if we would kill another individual if our family or loved ones were being threatened and most people will admit that in the face of outright terror like that, they could easily take a life. The problem with the chess game warfare overseas is it, it has nothing to do with a direct threat to our family or loved ones (excluding the soldiers in the field over there at this moment). It has unleashed a paranoia among people throughout the world telling us that at any moment, the Taliban will start raining terrorist bombers in our back yards to rape our women and kill our children. This paranoia has caused us to become ‘agents in a terrible destructive process’. We are being told that we must continue to push the metaphoric button, for the better of our country-our world. Yet where are the hordes of Taliban terrorists? We haven’t been attacked by them since…when? Anyone who says that this is due to our increased security and pumped up aggressive military actions is kidding themselves; reread what Davies stated. Let’s end this thing now and start working toward something that counts, something that truly matters.

* Milgram, Stanley (1974). “The Perils of Obedience”. Harper’s Magazine. Abridged and adapted from Obedience to Authority.


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