Afghanistan and American Morality

Simulposted at Daily Kos

In my view, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Obama for one central idea. An idea so vital to world peace that the prize was not just deserved, but that it was in fact necessary.

That idea that Obama would restore American Morality.

Something that got dreadfully and tragically, and incredibly harmfully lost over the last eight years.

The lack of American Morality is far and away the greatest threat to world peace in the 21st century. Everyone agrees that America is the most powerful nation in the world. When the most powerful nation in the world, a nation that possesses enough firepower to end life on earth, loses it’s moral compass, it changes from a force for good to a force for evil.

Evil like…torture.

Or evil like invading a nation for just cause…and then letting the people of that nation and your own soldiers languish ignored in a brutal eight year war/occupation while you go off to fight another war.

Another war not based on a just cause, another invasion of a sovereign nation, but this time not based on ANY cause. To the point where you have to manufacture evidence and lie to the American People and the UN and the world to justify invasion. Another invasion that by no stretch of the imagination has anything to do with keeping America safe.

Even though you had to use the immoral and incredibly ludicrous threat of a mushroom cloud to scare people into going along.

An immoral invasion in which you brutally kill tens of thousands of innocent men women and children….and when asked why you are killing innocent men women and children….you can offer no valid, or even good, reason for doing so.

We Americans view ourselves differently from how the world views us. We view ourselves as just and fair and righteous. As moral. We have to, it is human nature to view oneself as moral. But morality is not based on self-image. It is a SHARED concept, morality is an agreement.

This is right…and this is wrong. We agree that something is moral, or that something is moral. Many many countries have viewed themselves as moral, while the rest of the world has agreed that they are immoral.

The rest of the world, for the past eight years, has viewed us as an immoral military behemoth, projecting our ability to kill men women and children around the world on what amounts to the whim of an unbalance, insensitive and nearly sociopathic religious Crusader.

The rest of humanity sees us as a threat.

The rest of the world, the world that helps define what is moral and what is not for all humans, has been shocked at our descent into immorality. They view us differently than we view ourselves.

They have been forced by our actions under George Bush and The Republican party …

…to view us as a people who are willing to kill children for no good reason. As capricious bullies and invaders.

As torturers.

As….immoral.

And if we look at the events of the past eight years from an objective point of view, or from their the rest of the worlds point of view, or god forbid, from the point of view of an Afghan or Iraqi child whose parents were just killed by an American soldier or a Smart Bomb or an aptly named Predator drone….it is damn hard to argue that America did not lose it’s morality.

It is immoral to wage Aggressive War, as we did in Iraq:

The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”[1] Article 39 of the United Nations Charter provides that the Security Council shall determine the existence of any act of aggression and “shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security”.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court refers to the crime of aggression as one of the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community”, and provides that the crime falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It is unquestionably immoral to torture, which even though we refuse to meaningfully investigate ourselves for doing, the entire world…and we ourselves…know we did.

It is immoral to invade a country and occupy it. And after eight years, when you are STILL trying to figure out the very meaning and goal of your invasion…..while still killing the people of that country, it is an occupation.

We have no idea of why we are in Afghanistan at this point. We have no idea of what we are trying to accomplish. We have no idea of what goal can be met to allow us to leave…other than trying to immorally dictate to another country and another people what THEY should do to ….be moral enough for us to leave.

Yes, perhaps THAT is what we are doing there. trying to force the Afghans to get to a point where we consider them morally rehabilitated enough to not harbor “terrorists” who MIGHT attack America. Perhaps we are killing them to try to get them to be moral.

As we prop up an immoral corrupt government and as we allowed the reestablishment of the heroin trade, and as we assassinate women and children with Smart Bombs and invisible drones, and as we detain them in the allegedly FORMER torture prison at Bagram…with no rights and no trials.

While admitting that we have no real idea of what our mission and our goals are in that country.

While admitting that it is NOT the people we are killing who are a threat to the USA.

While admitting that our “real” enemies, Al Qaeda, do not even exist in Afghanistan in any real number.

While NEARLY admitting that our reason for being there now has nothing to do with the country we are occupying, but indeed is about an entirely different country, Pakistan.

While in the meantime….

Killing people who are only fighting us…

Because WE invaded their country, and for some unknown reason, they resent that.

By any objective standard, America has indeed acted immorally.

Now Obama is trying to restore America’s morality. Thus the Nobel prize.

But since America DID torture, DID illegally invade another country, and continues to occupy yet another country with no clear goal in mind for that occupation, he is trying to restore America’s morality while being trapped in the continuing immoral actions “necessary” …to bring those immoral actions to an end.

Including being politically trapped into not addressing the most immoral act of all, torturing other human beings to death.

In a domestic atmosphere where not only is he being urged to undertake MORE immoral actions, such as escalating the killing in Afghanistan, while a significant number of his constituents are not even aware that America has acted immorally.

The lies, rationalizations and denial of the past eight years have allowed Americans to believe…incredibly enough…that even though they have illegally invaded a nation, tortured people to death, and continue to occupy and kill people in a nation where we have no idea why we are there….that we are still a moral nation.

When under George Bush, America violated nearly every, if not all, moral codes known to mankind.

As Obama struggles to find a moral answer to the problems of Afghanistan, and struggles to find a politically viable way to address the deep immorality of torture….

Even the attempt to rebuild America’s morality back from the depths it sank to under George Bush….is indeed worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The choices he makes in America’s current spotlighted moral challenge, who to kill and how to kill them, in Afghanistan will be the foundation that either crumbles the last vestiges of America’s morality….or will be the cornerstone on which we begin to build a new American morality for the rest of the 21st century and beyond.

Let’s hope that he is worthy of the trust we have placed in him and the award for Peace that he has just received.

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  1. Photobucket

    • Edger on October 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    then he isn’t trying, and if he is trying it doesn’t look like he’s tough enough for the job.

    Sad to say, but I think I agree with a lot of what Gore Vidal had to say the other day:

    “I was like everyone else when Obama was elected – optimistic. Everything we had been saying about racial integration was vindicated,” he says, “but he’s incompetent. He will be defeated for re-election. It’s a pity because he’s the first intellectual president we’ve had in many years, but he can’t hack it. He’s not up to it. He’s overwhelmed. And who wouldn’t be? The United States is a madhouse. The country should be put away – and we’re being told to go away. Nothing makes any sense.” The President “wants to be liked by everybody, and he thought all he had to do was talk reason. But remember – the Republican Party is not a political party. It’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth. It’s full of hatred. You’re not going to get them aboard. Don’t even try. The only way to handle them is to terrify them. He’s too delicate for that.”

    When he compares Obama to his old friend Jack Kennedy, he shakes his head. “He’s twice the intellectual that Jack was, but Jack knew the great world. Remember he spent a long time in the navy, losing ships. This kid [Obama] has never heard a gun fired in anger. He’s absolutely bowled over by generals, who tell him lies and he believes them. He hasn’t done anything.

    Gore Vidal’s United States of fury

  2. back to path of morality and international cooperation. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be easy to rollover entrenched opposition. I’m not sure how far he would be successful but I have confidence he is trying and not merely paying lip service.

  3. Even the attempt to rebuild America’s morality back from the depths it sank to under George Bush….is indeed worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    I wonder how many believe the words of the sage mr. steele… that the one truly worthy of the prize is none other than the war criminal gwb…

    I believe that number (How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?) clearly shows the mind-boggling immorality of so many in our country…  

    • banger on October 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    When I hear American “morality” I reach for my wallet — if I had one, I’d reach for my gun. Traditionally Americans had some limited interest in morality as a part of statecraft but mainly as a kind of ideal to hit other people over the head with. In short, it’s nonsense.

    America, if you actually read history, is no more or less “moral” (if you mean the usual perennial virtues and moral precepts declared by most civilizations) than any other great civilization. If we bragged less about our sense of morality we might well be, by a slight margin, more moral than any other civilization but the fact that we are endlessly hectoring everyone about our righteousness vis a vis everyone else destroys our credibility utterly.

    Please, stop speaking of “morality” what appears as morality is actually very coldly calculated realpolitik that happen to coincide with helping groups that had been oppressed in the past. The Civil Rights movement was given momentum rather than ruthlessly repressed because the United States had become a victim of its own anti-communist and anti-authoritarian propaganda during the 50’s. When the white southerners appeared to be little different from Nazi or Communist thugs “something” had to be done in order to remedy the situation and make it appear that the U.S. was making a bona fide effort at becoming a country based on respect for justice. The Civil Rights movement also had the benefit of turning class analysis into racial analysis which has proven to be a boon to the oligarchy. But I digress — we can analyze nearly all other “movements” that provided some degree of liberalization in the same way.

  4. gotta go on a grocery run…

    you are absolutely spot on. I really dont comprehend the people that are resistant to this whole manner of thinking, yet consider themselves on some sort of higher moral ground.  

    I just dont get people.

    Not really a whole lotta gray area on this one.

    Photobucket

  5. I do find a few things that I don’t completely agree with or as exactly the case.

    I think that Americans have always believed that “we’re the best” because our history has taught and made us to feel that way.  Morality?  It’s been slipping for a long time.

    But in the face of war crimes:  wars of aggression, torturing people to death, renditions, etc., etc., I think the real problem with Americans is that their mindsets and, thus, beliefs are stuck on a non-existent “war on terra” and they have been sufficiently propagandized to believe anything goes, without regard to morality.

    We had no just cause to be in Iraq, as we have no just cause to be in Afghanistan, or even Pakistan, truth be known.  These are wars of aggression period.  The purpose is to try and take over the resources of those countries, then base ourselves and watch over our “treasures.”  We have not left Iraq! One reason is that the benchmark, established by Bush and Congress, i.e., the signing of the “Iraq hydrocarbon law” or “Iraq oil sharing revenue law” (as it is also known), has yet to be signed — it never has been signed.  That’s one thing.  So, that’s yet to be achieved and then, of course, the bases are already established and thus, we would stay to protect our “interests!”  And for the mega-corporations involved, this is simply business to them — killing people means nothing.  The goals are the most important.  Note a comment I made here a little bit back.

    As to this Nobel Peace Prize, I think there may be, just may be a “blessing in disguise” in this.  In backing up Obama, Obama, himself, may feel a little more emboldened and encouraged, and encouraged by those who urge him, and might do more to “actually” work toward and honor peace.  

    I have more thoughts, but have to run now!  Cheers!  

  6. Or

    American Morbidity!

    • on October 11, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Good post and I 100% agree. The powers at be behind the scenes of the Nobel Prize did us a huge favor by giving Obama this honor even if he hasn’t even come close to earning it. With this honor it gives us more leverage and power to get people aboard on some vital issues like Iran and North Korea.

    Two Voices | Two Guys

    • on October 11, 2009 at 4:41 am

    I hope we can get Afghanistan problem fixed. It’s just been a drain on us. Since we made it our problem when there wasn’t a reason too. We will fix it. I hope.

    Two Voices | Two Guys

  7. Read the whole article here on his

    global reasearch site:

    When war becomes peace,

    When concepts and realities are turned upside down,

    When fiction becomes truth and truth becomes fiction.

    When a global military agenda is heralded as a humanitarian endeavor,  

    When the killing of civilians is upheld as “collateral damage”,  

    When those who resist the US-NATO led invasion of their homeland are categorized as “insurgents” or “terrorists”.  

    When preemptive nuclear war is upheld as self defense.

    When advanced torture and “interrogation” techniques are routinely used to “protect peacekeeping operations”,

    When tactical nuclear weapons are heralded by the Pentagon as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”

    When three quarters of US personal federal income tax revenues are allocated to financing what is euphemistically referred to as “national defense”  

    When the Commander in Chief of the largest military force on planet earth is presented as a global peace-maker,

    When the Lie becomes the Truth.  

    Obama’s “War Without Borders”

    We are the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US in partnership with NATO and Israel has launched a global military adventure which, in a very real sense, threatens the future of humanity.

    I tend to agree with this more than I anticipate Obama being persuaded by the NPP to really work for peace.

  8. part of the political and national dialog even on the left. I am constantly appalled at the  blogger’s who debate the pro’s and con’s of immoral wars and assorted crimes against humans as ‘foreign policy’. They use the same faux rationale and fictions that the neocon’s cooked up to whip the country to a scream and cheer ‘shocking and awing’ a country we had harrassed inhumanly for at least a decade, more if you count our support and arming, the dictator we supposedly liberated them from.

    This is a cruel vicious country that believes that all the things it does to people both here and in the rest of the world are okay if it’s in our interest. Veit Nam is now debated not in terms of how immoral, evil and wrong it was, but how ineffective and worse how it was a mistake strategically.

    President Obama is part and parcel of the problem. ‘The wrong war at the wrong time’ his reason for not supporting the Iraq war is not the words of a person who cares about morality. Promising to kill Goldstein to the bloodthristy masses is not the talk of a moral man. Cornerstones cannot be built unless you have a structure that is solid, they will not hold up if you refuse to admit that the damage exists that the structure is crumbling.

    As far as I can see he like the full blown sociopath before him, wouldn’t know immorality id it bit him. btw this is the most sympathetic take I can get about him. If he   really knows that this is a immoral, from farce of reforming the health care extortionist/too bigs to appointing the madman, McChrystal to carry out our mission and win, he is in a way even morally more reprehensible then the insane Bush. That would mean he knows better and yet does not choose to oppose the immorality we as a nation call national interests. Leaving it up to Obama to define morality only validates the sickness we seem unable to shake as he is unable to even call the Bushies what they were.      

           

    • Inky99 on October 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    He’s our new hero.  He’s a serial killer.  But it’s ok because he’s our serial killer.

    And, like the serial-killer United States, he only kills bad guys!  

    America only kills bad guys, right?   Terrorists and those who happen to live too close to terrorists.

    So it’s just FINE to be a Serial Killer State.

    I’m starting to think that somehow, at the very least on an unconscious level, and if you really go CT on a conscious level, America is not unlike the Aztec empire, which insisted on bloody human sacrifices for its continuance.   America seems to believe that you have to be constantly killing someone, somewhere, in order for “the machine” to keep working.  

    Otherwise, why would we do it?    If we quit killing people around the world, there must be a fear that the system will break down and we’ll all starve.  “It will bad bad for the economy”.

    So the bodies keep getting thrown into the meat grinder.

  9. what I really need is the cliff notes. Looking at their website I dont think its going to suit my needs.

    Had a great discussion today with 12 y.o. daughter who was doing History homework. Teacher has apparently taught them the Zinn version of Chris Columbus. So I took it a step further and connected it to all this.

    • allenjo on October 13, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Listening to Liz Cheney and her  dark view of the world yesterday was overwhelming.

    And yes, I do feel we are the threat to world, the bully of the world.

    Any country who spends on weapons and wars as we do and sends troops around the globe, and with multiple so called intelligence agencies (I lost count at 8 seperate ones) and being so stupid to do this all on credit as our country implodes, and with our congress always finding the votes for more war spending, while unable to get it together for health care reform –  and now I read that the White House wants to double foreign aid.

    Will we go down fighting the Afghan war like the Russians bankrupt and a broken nation?

    I am shamed that Obama is pushing congress to pass a law keeping the latest torture photos protected, that were ordered released, and case pending before the Supreme court.

    Obama disappoints on so many levels.  

    • icosa on October 13, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I hear we “must keep America safe”, I keep wondering… safe from what.

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