Guns and Butter

Neither the right nor the left wants to talk about Afghanistan.

The staunchest supporters of Obama’s military policies right now are Republicans, and they sure don’t want to come out in favor of this president at this moment. Meanwhile, three-fourths of Congressional Democrats oppose the war, and they’re trying just as adamantly to avoid coming out against him.

But what is going on in Afghanistan? Is it a “war?” Washington would like the American public to think of the bloody chaos over there as a war, because the term is nice and neat. It connotes a unified national enterprise, with a beginning and an end, and two discrete sides: good (Uncle Sam) and bad (whoever we’re fighting). America’s motivation is, by definition, supposedly always some noble goal. Spreading freedom, or something.

But the rest of the world knows that what’s going on in Afghanistan is motivated by Washington’s desire for control of resources and strategic territory. Equally obvious is the fact that the Karzai “government” is a cobbled-together posse of warlords, whose recent ludicrously corrupt election is just another CIA-staged charade (one which provoked barely a whisper of protest from those same US pundits who hit the roof condemning Iran for election fraud).

You really have to wonder whether the tired old saw about “preparing these people for democracy” is really the best Washington spin-meisters can come up with, six bitter years after that lie was spun about Iraq. And forty years after the fall of the puppet regime in South Vietnam, whose toadies scrambled to flee in that helicopter on the roof of the embassy in Saigon — remember that photograph? Talk about ignoble departures — when the native Vietnamese resistance had at last prevailed.

Just as the native resistance is prevailing now in Afghanistan. Indeed, throughout recorded history the native resistance has prevailed in Afghanistan.

So this issue is especially tricky for the “liberals”. (By this I guess I mean “Obama supporters.” You couldn’t really call this group leftists. Over the past decade the USA has moved so far to the right that the left is where the center used to be.) Way too many of these folks seem to be still cleaving to the clear-cut battle lines that were drawn last November, when you were either Blue-State or Red-State and that was that. Simple as pie. By this logic, if Obama was backing a war, you had to back it, too. (Just look what happened to MoveOn.org.) At least Obama has been consistent on this point. He’s always supported the occupation of Afghanistan. On the campaign trail he used it to try to woo hawks away from Bush.

What a difference a year makes. Surely only the most obtuse Obamamaniacs can believe any longer in their hero’s war program; though their moment of truth is being postponed by the sturm und drang of health care reform which has swept every other topic off the national stage.

For this we can thank the rabid right, who decided that the healthcare hot potato was their best bet to rally the ranks and elbow their way back to the top. This has left the Obamophiles with no option but to circle the wagons. With all their energy being pumped into defending their leader against attacks that grow more vicious and idiotic by the week, Obama’s fans are off the hook, for a little while longer, as regards his foreign policy.

But when this group snaps out of their reverie and starts searching their consciences, they’ll see, staring them in the face, another Viet Nam: a war many Obama supporters doubtless spent their youths earnestly opposing.

The fact that both of these doomed Asian wars were escalated by Democratic presidents is not the only similarity between them.

The Taliban was assembled by the CIA under Carter and armed under Reagan. The idea was to organize a band of ruthless native fighters to defeat the Russians, whose invasion of Afghanistan was itself partly due to the CIA’s efforts to seduce the Soviets into a protracted military quagmire that would keep them financially drained and geopolitically distracted. That part of the plan worked like a charm.

But then those pesky unintended consequences set in. Once assembled and armed, the Taliban outgrew their manipulators. Eight years later, as US drone-inflicted casualties mount week after week, the Taliban’s global image is morphing. They are on their way to being perceived as the Viet Cong came to be perceived: as nationalist guerrillas.
And as has been proven time and time again, indigenous guerrilla movements are nothing if not resilient. Counter-intuitively but quite predictably, they tend to win wars against superpowers. The big guys, despite their world-class armies, eventually lose too much money, blood and face to keep fighting.
Under Bush, 700 Americans died in Afghanistan.
Last month was the deadliest month of the whole 8 years. At the current casualty rate, by 2011 more than 1,000 more troops will die in Afghanistan’s forbidding mountains and rocky plains.
Civilian deaths will be in the tens of thousands. Land mines hidden among the rocks and rubble.
And then there are the refugees.

When the Obama folks wake up, they’ll find it doesn’t work to rationalize Afghanistan along party lines. If they respond at all, people are going to have to respond in a more informed way and from a deeper part of themselves. This is part of the plan, as transit trackers will have noticed. Saturn (responsibility) and Uranus (awakening) have shuffled the deck several times since they first opposed last November.

Then there are the sturdy American citizens whose fury is directed not at their government’s violence, but at its spending. It may be the money angle that rouses this crowd against the war. So far they have been confining their ire to the issue of health care funding, while apparently not giving a thought to the impact on the national debt of the tax-dollar-sucking black hole that is Afghanistan.

This strange conceptual disconnect in the collective mind serves an important role. It supports the financial architecture that unofficially underlies the whole American system: the military-industrial complex (a phrase coined not by some radical theorist but by old Dwight Eisenhower, who knew where the rubber meets the road). The fact that US forces have been fighting somewhere or other ever since any of us can remember is neither temporary nor random. Continuous war is an integral feature of the system.

The truly disturbing thing is that the US public seems, on some level of consciousness, to realize this, and, appallingly, to accept it.
This is where Pluto comes in, the key player now and in the years ahead; especially as regards the USA chart, about which I have written elsewhere. It is the Plutonian industries — the death merchants (the Pentagon brass, the mercenaries they employ, the arms brokers they do business with) — who flourish in this set up. Pluto governs those powers that lurk in the shadows behind a country’s official stories about itself. One doesn’t hear much in the media about defense contractors, who have been raking it in since the “War on Terror” began.

The US signed weapons agreements valued at $37.8 billion in 2008. This is 68% of all business in the global arms market place, up significantly from the year before. And that’s just the sales end. Uncle Sam was also at the top of the list of buyers.

It would be hard to understand why this gargantuan slice of the American economy gets so little press… if we didn’t know what we know about Pluto. This is the planet that specializes in horrors too ugly to look at. But its opposition to the US Sun Cluster will make this big, nasty piece of the American pie increasingly difficult to conceal. As the entity that is the USA approaches its Pluto Return in the second house of money, the nation’s breakdown is being played out financially.

America is broke. It doesn’t have the funds to keep buying both guns and butter. We can hardly maintain the gutted and stripped social programs we have now. We certainly won’t be able to afford the war in Afghanistan too.
Neither can Obama afford it on a political level. Unless his fans get their hero up to speed in a hurry, he will lose a big fat chunk of his constituency when the American peace movement arises from its beauty sleep.
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15 comments
Anne1Texas
Anne1Texas

Thank you for a very thoughtful, well-written article on a complex problem with no easy answers. Being able to 'distance' yourself to see a larger picture offers us, as readers, a new perspective as well. Well done!

Edda Sörensen
Edda Sörensen

That with Martin Luther - it was me posting it. I have nothing - nothing in commun with the "Hippie" writing anonym and finding grounds for the army to be in Afghanistan - its absolutely grotesk and any REAL Hippie would laugh at its face.Greetings from BavariaEdda

Anonymous
Anonymous

Oh - I forgot to tell you what I found out. The day when a angry young man nailed his thesis on the door of the church in Wittenberg,to protest against the roman katholic church, Pluto was just entering capricorne... the name of the young man: Martin Luther and the day the 31. Oktober 1517

Edda Sörensen
Edda Sörensen

Dear Jessica,do you real think, that the american peace moovement (and not only the american...) is having a beauty sleep? I admire your wonderfull highly intelligent comments very much, but in this topic I dont agree. I live in Munich and this time the famous groovy Oktoberfest was overshadowed by Pluto himself in form of black dressed Policemen who looked like they where serving Mordor. You have seen that in Pitsburgh, 20 Protesters and 500 Policemen with sound-cannons, pepperspray and 5 Million Cameras. I exagerate a little, but honestly, which peacestrugeling human beeing have the courage now to be confrontet with these modern time monsters? Its not a beautysleep, dear, its a nightmare.Edda

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

GlitterGal,Let me second your proposal that US war critics widen their focus to the citizenries Washington is bombing; rather than confining their attention to GI casualties. This kind of myopia is presumed normal within the "patriotic" worldview; but nationalism in general must be outgrown if we are to survive.Jessica

GlitterGal
GlitterGal

At the start of the war in Afghanistan (after the Twin Towers attacks), both my husband and I commented that the war was doomed to failure. It would be nice to say we were right except that troops and civlians have died unnecessarily for yet another war for territory and resources, now waged under the figleaf of NATO but with the US driving it.Over here in Australia, support for the war in Afghanistan is starting to fall. The illegal invasion of Iraq was never popular and now we're out of that pretty much, although we still pat the US stooges in the Iraqi government on the head.Only the Afghani warlords including Kharzai are so incompetent and blatantly corrupt, it's hard to keep the lid on the idea that the war is going down the gurgler, and fast. The picture here is clearer because our government isn't the driving force, just the hanger-on.Thanks for the astro insight on this subject, Jessica, and all your other comments. I really enjoy your take on the reality of events, not wishy-washy idealistic thinking which takes us nowhere in practice. It's always been people who make the difference, so hopefully as the mire of Afghanistan gets murkier and murkier, the anti-war movement will rise again - for once I'd like to see us take action for unselfish reasons, on behalf of the Afghan people so bitterly affected by this war, and not just because our own troops are dying there, even though I pay respect to the troops not their leaders.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Even though I am an old hippie peace-nik who has been teaching international relations and talking about the military industrial complex for decades, I think there are good reasons for us to be in Afghanistan in some capacity--albeit maybe not as a large army on the ground trying to out maneuver a native guerella army. Tina Brown has raised some good points in her articles on Afghanistan in The Daily Beast. I'd suggest those for perusal if you are looking for some actual reasons why we might need to stick around and try to help.

gsabino
gsabino

I like your response, especially the part about unconciousness not having the power of conciousness. I agree that movement from "below" is the only way to change the M-I complex. One of the things I find most worrisome is that, in contrast to the sixties, the press is no longer serving its role as dissemenator of information. Media has become a powerful tool of the Right. For most, if they didn't see it on TeeVee, it didn't happen. Years of "dumbing down" the national discourse have paid off in spades to those who would prefer that things stay just the way they are.On the other hand, at least on the coasts, it seems like the media isn't really fooling anyone anymore, and the people have gone way beyond the narrative created by "the experts".

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Gsbino,Here's where we need to make a distinction between the different levels of manifestation. 1. Energetically speaking, millions of vitally engaged, heart-connected humans amassing with one mind (as in those demos) is intensely impactful; both in terms of the individual karma of the participants, and in terms of global consciousness-raising. The machinations of soul-blind politicians doesn't even compare: unconsciousness in general has nowhere near the power of consciousness. But we can't judge such things by short-term "events on the ground"; karma works in mysterious ways.2. Moreover, even on the merely political level, the truth is that Washington pays obsessive attention to every one of those demos. They have state-of-the-art surveillance trained on the crowds at every rally; they wage full-throttle propaganda campaigns against peace activists and deploy the media to downplay and misreport the numbers of marchers. Why? Because the greatest threat to the M-I-Complex -- really the only thing that can bring it down -- is massive popular uprisings. Jessica

gsabino
gsabino

Thanks Jessica. I guess I became disheartened about the peace movement during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Literally millions of people marching all over the world - the largest demonstrations ever - and...completely dismissed.

analysa
analysa

"You couldn't really call this group leftists. Over the past decade the USA has moved so far to the right that the left is where the center used to be".Hmmm....., some say there is not much of a difference between the left or the right anymore, that Obama is just following in the steps of Bush.Seems to be time to start with the most basic, which a lot of people have muddled up. If you don´t understand this, you will never find the right direction.on youtubewatch?v=muHg86Mys7I&feature=relatedOn the other hand, if people don´t have a basic understanding of money and economics, they will never really understand this crisis and that governments, through the use of fiat money, finance all these wars and create all the inflation and hyperinflation and distortions in the markets. These wars and bubbles would not be possible without it."The truly distressing thing is that the US public seems, on some level of consciousness, to realize this, and, appallingly, to accept it"....and appallingly TO ACCEPT it........and THAT is a part of the big corruption of Americans, the accepting part of soooo many things. No wonder that they need all these corrupt bankers, corrupt corporatists and corrupt politicians to wake them up! One creates the other, they are totally interdependent. "America is broke."Yes it is. It can´t afford a bicycle but it wants a Rolls-Royce (socialized medicine). When the Chinese, Japanese et all, the modern slaves, stop buying US treasuries bonds, the whole thing will collapse, apparently a mathematical certainty. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitext/ess_germanhyperinflation.htmlIf by then you don´t understand the above video, you won´t understand the leadership you need and the direction you need to take. To compliment, on youtube watch?v=muHg86Mys7I&feature=relatedThe whole thing looks grim, but if you play your cards right, it is actually the beginning of the best Renaissance yet to have happened on this planet, but it won´t be easy and it will take some time.

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Gsabino,Saturn clicks into formation in late October; the cardinal T-square will be one step closer to exactitude. On Oct 7th in San Francisco there's to be a rally protesting the Pentagon's proposal to escalate troops in Afghanistan (http://www.answercoalition.org/)and coordinated national demonstrations are planned for the anniversary of the Iraq war March 20th. Jessica

gsabino
gsabino

Exactly.One question: Do you think the peace movement will ever return? How would you see it in terms of the astrology of the movement.

m.p.k
m.p.k

It's a great article and true Jessica. I wonder what we can do about it though, if anything... I suppose telling the truth about it is a good start.