March 20 went by nearly unnoticed. It was the 15th anniversary of the Iraq war. Exactly one week earlier seven marines lost their lives in western Iraq in what was reported as a helicopter crash. The war has not ended. The flattening of cities to recapture them from ISIS also flattens civilians. How many dead? Who knows? Or, for that matter, who cares? Yemen? Where’s that?
A Nobel Peace Laureate destroys Libya and starts the Syrian mayhem. According to him the war in Afghanistan is good. Of course, he never saw a young man, legs blown off, screaming for someone to kill him.
If only our forces had stayed longer in Iraq … really? The results of the Afghan surge are apparent on any map, and the Taliban continue to bomb the most secure section of Kabul, the green zone, with impunity.
The man at the top may espouse the highest moral principles, be a man of faith, or a lascivious bimbo chaser; the results are the same. And the children learn their lessons well — school shootings averaging one per week this year (one in Maryland last Tuesday) as the unthinkable becomes commonplace.
What news had the ear of the American people on the anniversary of the Iraq War? Not a discussion of how and why, or of the neocons maneuvering behind the scenes. No, it was another Playboy centerfold, Karen McDougal, eager to jump on the cash and media publicity bandwagon suing for the right to tell her story. Already paid $150,000, she wants more. To start with, the now 46-year old is selling autographed nude posters from her modeling days for $85 a copy.
Ms. McDougal had an affair with Trump in 2006 when he was married to Melania. The story was quashed in a tabloid ‘catch and kill’ operation by American Media Inc., the owner the national Enquirer, which is headed by David Pecker, a close friend of Donald Trump. The contract Ms. McDougal signed gave AMI exclusive rights to her story forever but did not require the company to publish it. It simply made her shut up. Well, she has been on CNN, and last week’s bimbo in the news, porn star Stormy Daniels’ interview is to air this Sunday on CBS 60 Minutes. It may be a calculated gamble for both.
The sordid affair eclipsed any talk of the cost of U.S. wars — about $5 trillion according to the Watson Institute at Brown University. Meanwhile, the infrastructure is falling apart. Pot-holed roads, dangerous bridges occasionally collapsing, railroads a half-century behind Europe or Japan or even China in some respects, and the city of Flint, Michigan could have had potable water. School systems, locally financed through real estate taxes, suffer in poor neighborhoods where Federal cash would not have been amiss.
Also taking a backseat was the heroine of the Iraq war vote, which gave President Bush carte blanche. Barbara Lee, a Democrat representing California’s 13th District the sole voice in opposition as Senator and Congress members were led by the nose to precipitate a war without waiting for the UN investigators to conclude their work in Iraq and file a report on any weapons of mass destruction. It took enormous courage on the part of Barbara Lee as she was vilified for her vote and faced numerous death threats. A true tragedy that her voice fell on deaf ears.
Thousands of dead U.S. soldiers, tens of thousands wounded, hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and millions displaced, many streaming into Europe. The last causing electoral upheaval and a shot in the arm for right-wing extremists whose parties are becoming an important electoral factor. Effects of their nationalisms are evident as the UK is peeled off the EU and racism takes an ugly foothold in Europe.
In Trump’s White House junction, the comings and goings continue. General H. R. McMaster the National Security Adviser has been replaced by John Bolton — the very same John Bolton who as George Bush’s ambassador to the UN managed to offend and enrage almost every one. Suckled at neocon think tanks and the Muslim-baiting Gatestone Institute, he can only increase the chances for war with Iran.