Once again the final call is played and American troops withdraw in ignominy from a conflict they should never have been sent to fight. Wasted lives and wasted treasure, hundreds of thousands of civilians converted into collateral damage and the same villains, the cowardly politicians back home, still in play. The ones who deceived the stalwart American public into conflicts not their own, and then, symbolized by one man, first a Senator and now a president, assured that an orderly withdrawal would turn into a rout. As perhaps it should, were there a possibility it would teach us to mistrust them.
Never having been a proper time to enter Afghanistan it was far too late for the predestined departure, and seemingly, as always, no one to be held to account. The Nuremberg trials will once again be shown to be nothing more meaningful than the revenge of victors in too many ways as evil as the vanquished, indeed, in many ways they have become the residue and reincarnation of those they once sent the bravest and best among us to die in vain. Vietnam, where I lost so many friends seems to echo, sending regards from the shadows to the tune of Pete Seeger’s 1955 ballad “Where have all the flowers gone”. Has it already been sixty-six years and a few million lives ago?
There is despair in Washington, D.C. tonight, and angst and anger, and premature jubilation in Kabul as those initially vanquished and exiled have returned as victors. One wonders what will happen now to those long imprisoned without trials in Guantanamo. But there are, as of yet, no winners. Nor will there be. The putrid purveyors of misused power sit comfortable in their mansions while their tools in the media and academia are busy spinning deceptive narratives which they are sure will be the history our descendants learn. Seemingly always the case, which is why we rarely if ever learn from our mistakes and thus keep repeating them. But for some they were not mistakes, not mistakes at all; not for the vultures perpetually circling like Valkyries and enjoying the spoils derived from no-lose situations, more loans to make and armaments to sell now that so many have been used or wasted. Taxes and printing presses provide apparently never ending resources, at least for now, and as Luis XV purportedly said, “Après moi, le déluge”. Future generations can pay. They’ll just have to find a way, in the meantime, “let’s all eat cake”.
“Saving face” is important to most cultures but some, like the Japanese, have the decency to face their errors with honor in a manner that assures that they, at least, will never personally repeat them. Here, in the United States, tonight, the political and military leadership riding on the shoulders of their stooges just smile and look away, sure that soon everything will be forgotten by feckless voters in a dysfunctional parody of democracy, and that soon, it will once again be their day. They’ve planned for this contingency circulating fantasies involving recycled villains like Russia and China and new foes like Iran and Venezuela that have to be addressed, regardless of the price to be paid, albeit by others. The price to be paid by new generations of cannon fodder and by new “unavoidable” instances of collateral damage; new collaborators to be used and then discarded, as perhaps those willing to betray their own deserve to be. And when needed, there are plenty of scapegoats available in the middle ranks, those bothersome creatures who demand that those responsible be held accountable.
Of course, ultimately, the fault lies in the voters whose lack of courage or dignity, makes it impossible for them to ever vote their consciences in favor of something in which they believe instead of against a purported lesser evil. With a voting populace such as we have almost everywhere, democracy will work only for those who most efficiently use and delude them; use and delude us. Us; whose taxes fund the slaughter of friend and foe alike for the profit of the sophic vampires who, from behind the veils of their Deep State, rule us all as though possessed of the One Ring and we, of obedient trinkets.
Such is our world on this late August eve in 2021, as it has been as far back as we can remember, as it will seemingly continue to be, as Cassandra, the princess and seeress of Troy warned so very long ago.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com.