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Monday, September 26, 2016

How American National Security Literally Went Down The Toilet

How American National Security Literally Went Down The Toilet

The following is an excerpt from Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, the recently released book by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Buy the book here

Nobody ever made an argument to the American people, for instance, that the thing we ought to do in Afghanistan, the way we ought to stick it to Osama bin Laden, the way to dispense American tax dollars to maximize American aims in that faraway country, would be to build a brand-new neighborhood in that country’s capital city full of rococo narco-chic McMansions and apartment/office buildings with giant sculptures of eagles on their roofs and stoned guards lounging on the sidewalks, wearing bandoliers and plastic boots. No one ever made the case that this is what America ought to build in response to 9/11. But that is what we built. An average outlay of almost $5 billion a month over ten years (and counting) has created a twisted war economy in Kabul. Afghanistan is still one of the four poorest countries on earth; but now it’s one of the four poorest countries on earth with a neighborhood in its capital city that looks like New Jersey in the 1930s and ’40s, when Newark mobsters built garish mansions and dotted the grounds with lawn jockeys and hand-painted neo-neoclassic marble statues.

Walking around this Zircon-studded neighborhood of Wazir Akbar Khān (named for the general who commanded the Afghan Army’s rout of the British in 1842), one of the weirdest things is that the roads and the sewage and trash situation are palpably worse here than in many other Kabul neighborhoods. Even torqued-up steel-frame SUVs have a hard time making it down some of these desolate streets; evasive driving techniques in Wazir Akbar Khān often have more to do with potholes than potshots. One of the bigger crossroads in the neighborhood is an ad hoc dump. Street kids are there all day, picking through the newest leavings for food and for stuff to salvage or sell.

There’s nothing all that remarkable about a rich-looking neighborhood in a poor country. What’s remarkable here is that there aren’t rich Afghan people in this rich Afghan neighborhood. Whether or not the owners of these giant houses would stand for these undrivable streets, the piles of garbage, the sewage running down the sidewalk right outside their security walls, they’re not here to see it. They’ve moved to Dubai, or to the United States, or somewhere else that’s safer for themselves and their money. (Or our money.)

  • The ‘Unmooring’ of American military power?! Really? Unmooring?!! Wow! And then people get perturbed when an author like this gets called out for using very insulting and provocative language…C’mon, Unmooring, seriously?! How about the very probable fact that a majority of those who invest in these discussed projects are in cahoots with the conservative faction of our government, the same people who don’t want to work with the President on anything!!! But have offered nothing worth mentioning besides copycat proposals claiming that they are better than his original ones? Can someone answer that for me starting with this dumbass author…

    • Ed

      Well yes, our political discourse is unmoored from out needs. The point of the title is that the military is not a part of the American conciousness except when politicians demand more money for NATIONAL SECURITY! The tea party works very hard to keepthe american people unmoored from what is needed for this countries future. Chooing to focus on what is needed for immediate gratification.

    • William Deutschlander

      Apparently you do not agree that our military was unmoored from reality when it was decided to conquer Iraq and prior to that trash all of Afghanistan when only the Taliban and AlQueda were the culprits?
      This is planet Earth, the home of the United States of America and many other soverign countries, which we have no legitimate right to attack!

  • jhk

    It’s about political, corporate, government, and military corruption and greed. The checks and balances envisioned by the Founding Fathers evaporated, along with civil liberties, when the “conservatives” finally got control of the Supreme Court.

  • You mean “figuratively,” not “literally.” There was no actual toilet involved that any policy went into.

  • William Deutschlander

    Thanks Ratchel, I pray someone, a majority of someones, reads and takes action to correct our way!

  • Our national security is being hurt by peple whose DNA reflects only training in sucking on the system. These are people whose culture of poverty and begging was fostered by our multi-nationals for decades burning and slting their cropland and factories. Our multi natioanl companies have the callousness and vengeful spleen of Rome after its Carthaginian Wars when it salted what was left of Carthage after Hannibal’s last attempt to destroy Rome (about 200 BC). If corporations have no heart and seek only money they must be treated as less than human!!!!

    The people who hate us after the depredations of thes corporations, especially in Haiti-where malnutrition, stArvation, incredibly sark brutality, thievery, brigands, and hate ruled for decades—must be allowed for their hate to abate before we put out the welcome mat to to their peoples.
    Our nation is in atime of trouble. The percentage of immigrants is at record levels. As in the early 20’s our nation needs to foster itself or there will be no nation worthy of what we have called America.

    • rustacus21

      I’m currently reading “Swords Against The Senate” by Erik Hildinger. The intro was interesting enuff 2 make me buy it on spot! The parallels between the ‘ole boys’ network of 137 B.C. Rome & 2002 (& going 4ward) is stunning!!! Americans born after 1970 will have great difficulty w/both of these (Maddow’s & Hildinger’s) books, simply b/c of the xpert demolition – in phases – of America’s public Education system & the ‘EXTRACTION’ of Civic’s & History curricula, as required LEARNING, has created generations of… intellectually challenged & detached vagabonds!!! As a consequence, these subjects & books which expand on them, are ‘boring’, ‘mundane’ &/or ‘uninteresting’, even while mirror-images of the very ‘CRISIS’ we are forced to confront, as a result of ‘drifting’ thru life, community, government, w/out a clue. The real ??? is, who hates US more? Domestic or foreign enemies?!

  • jerder

    And who can forget George W. Bushes “shock and awe” campaign to open the Iraq war by dropping thousands of bombs in the first 48 hours that devastated much of Iraq including sewage plants, museums full of antiquities, temples, electrical power stations, and the infrastructure that delivered water, natural gas, etc. to Iraqi families. And all of this to go after one man and destroy his regime. And we wonder why so many Iraqis quit having faith in the U.S. and quit believing that we were truly on the side of the people. Perhaps if we had handled things more efficiently at the beginning of our campaign to get Saddam Hussein, the war would not have lasted so long and cost us so much in the deaths of our soldiers, and the continued growth of Al Qaeda and their determination to destroy the U.S.

    And if our national security has gone down the toilet, then why have we foiled several terrorist plots inside U.S. borders and arrested the would be perpetrators, and uncovered security risks in the U.S. and fixed them, etc.

    • joyscarbo

      Don’t forget that W also sent OUR most precious resource into this senseless war- our American soldiers. Thousands died and many more were injured, disabled and mamed. The majority will never be the same. Over what?! Yellowcake and WMD’s- bad, phony intellegence and WMD’s that were never found.
      The commander in chief needs to consider every facet of a situation before going to war. Why isn’t W and his cronies being charged and convicted with war crimes??!! There is more than enough evidence.

  • maryjcorliss

    Great LITTLE book, not very long, but brings the problem of our drift to a military police state down to the individual, local level.

  • I usually do not read book like this, but I will be reading this one. Rachel is one of the best news anchors on cable. A progressive, who is fair and will listen to both side of all issues she presents the most fact true information available on TV talk show. She has put the journal back into journalism.

  • nococidences

    There are no American Indians in the wealthiest neighborhoods in America. It could be, but I am 50, seen a lot of America and have yet to see that yet. So why would you expect to see Afghans in the wealthy neighborhoods in Afghanistan.

  • ObozoMustGo

    Rachel Madcow is one ugly dude! I’m just sayin….

    Have a nice day!

    • What an obscene jerk you are. Cant you respond with an intelligent observation? What is ugly, is a moron like you.

    • rustacus21

      Now Mr. Bozo, say sumthing REALLY intelligent… Like U’r interpretation of the book, in relation 2 the article… PLEASE?!

      • ObozoMustGo

        Hey rusty… truth be told, I have no intention of reading that dude’s book. Too many others queued up ahead of it. Besides, he skeeves me. Sorry!

        Have a nice day!

  • War is still a racket………a hand full of people and businesses get very very wealthy. As always. And none of them want to see it end.

  • War is still a racket………a hand full of people and businesses get very very wealthy. As always. And none of them want to see it end.

  • Everyone knows that this war was one of America’s first unprovked wars. It was “hustled” by two oilmen, Bush, Jr. and Cheney in order to capture the mid East oil supplies. As a result, these two have nearly bankrupted our nation!

  • rustacus21

    This is what we get when we try to be what WE are NOT! Not savages! Not illiterates! Not blind! Not cowards! But what we’ve Bcum over the last decade EXACTLY is counter 2 what the Constitution ASPIRED we SHOULD BE @this point in time. By allowing ‘militarism’ to overtake ‘Democratization’ imperative, is the fault of a growing ignorance among the citizenry, to take their ‘ownership franchise’ seriously enuff to engage in every issue, debate, nomination & election, crucial to American Democratic (i.e., “Democracy” NOT the ‘Democratic’ party… 4 those who confuse the 2…) advancement. Again – the whinning, complaining & belly-aching is old & tired!!! We know THIS!!! Those ‘aware’ Americans that came out of the hell of 2001-2009 sumwhat ‘whole’, are MORE than aware of what THIS means & that we had no business going in2 Afghanistan. In spite of having a prior ‘out’ B4 hand. B/c a ‘guy’ wanted to B known as a ‘macho’ ‘war leader’, instead of an intelligent, modest, people’s representative; who rejected all the knowledge passed to him by his history & Liberal Arts professors, we repeated the same ‘Vietnam’ scenerio that 750,000 – plus Americans (& upwards of 2 million Vietnamese) were ‘injured’ (physically/psychologically/mortally) – but NOT he, & now making cavalier life & death decisions, the error was multiplied not once, but twice (Iraq), shows we are seriously lacking a particular intelligence, which ‘forces’ us to intellectually ‘multitask’ – BEFORE HAND! & again, President Clinton crafted a blueprint that only a FOOL could overlook. We know, from experience, who the Afghani people are, per their history. Refusing to respect those facts has led us 2 THIS point. DON’T blame this President 4 THIS disaster leftover by his irresponsible predecessors. Barack Obama wanted this job, true enuff, but wasn’t given – as was denied the American people – full disclosure. We understand how critical that is – NOW! Now, which it’s too late to undo the errors of the decade of 2001-2009 that American voters unwittingly cursed upon its own nation, further dividing its schizophrenic mind & soul… Now, that there is no ‘reasonable’ way out, we are in fact, a nation adrift…

    • oldtack

      I have read every comment on this subject and it appears everyone is upset rightfully so concerning the plight of our Country . The thing I see “wrong” is – most of the participants are either moderate or liberal and all of the frustration is aimed at the conservatives. That’s normal . It is also normal for a consevative to lambast the liberals. Truth is both sides are aware of the problems but are too involved with name calling and finger pointing to align together and get the ball rolling to correct the problem. We, the people, are never going to be able to stem this age old tide unless we drive the rats from the pantry(the legislative branch of our Government). Our problem was accelerated by the fear factor we entered after 9/11 when we began two armed invasions on borrowed money and created Homeland Security on borrowed money -and so forth. But the problem did not begin with Dick and Dumbo. The problem began at least 92 years ago. Every law that eroded the meaning of the Constitution had its origin in the Legislative Branch concieved and fomented by old Senior politicians that had built their little bureacuracies and had the power to push their flawed agendas through. We need to demand term limits for these packrats(both sides of the aisle). These characters have entrenched themselves with power brokers and will bend any rule to appease their “sugar daddies” and their constituents just to stay in power. We need two terms for a Senator and not more than three terms for a Representative. We need to stop the Media Circus on campaigning and limit this time to three months prior to election day. When the rats are expunged then we can sit down together and argue the merits of government Programs -which are necessary and which need to be stopped. My congressman ran on the promise of term limits and was going to serve no more than two terms – now the jack-ass is busy campaigining for his 10th term. We need to kick them out. Until we come to the table all we are doing is griping and fussing – and the Government keeps going to hell in a basket.

  • rustacus21

    The ‘point’ is how & why we went – NOT ONLY in2 Afghanistan, but Iraq – did our Nat’l Security AND foreign policy apperatus bcum obliterated, by the decisions of simpletons!!! What is hard for the intellectually-challenged Americans who don’t ‘get this’ is buying in2 the simplistic & irrational fox network version of the 2001-2009 decade. W/out the mind & the eye to see that money, not sound, reasoned judgements (see the latest J.P. Morgan scandal & backtrack to “WHO” opposed) is @the root of the problems – post 2001, failing 2 re-install policies & legislation making corruption, partisanship & yes – ERRORS harder to commit – even if intentionally! By putting money in2 the hands of gangsters & warlords between 2002-present, what did we xpect to occur in Afghanistan? In a society that remains roughly 96% illiterate? Who would’ve guessed? & now what?…

    • ObozoMustGo

      Rusty… I dont care how much $$ JP Morgan lost trading on their own account. As long as we dont bail them out, I dont care a single iota. There’s been bad trades since the beginning of time, and there will continue to be bad trades. No amount of laws or regulations is going to take away risk.

      At least they’re not trading with customer money like Jon Corzine was. If you want to get on your soap box, start with Obozo’s buddy, the crooked thief Corzine. He stole customer money to cover his bad bets. Clearly a felony of horrible proportion. In the investment world, that’s the equivalent of not screwing your dental patients when you have them put under with the laughing gas. It’s hard to get worse. Betcha Corzine doesnt bother you a bit, though, does it?

      Have a nice day!