Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Memento mori

May 27, 2019

This flag was unceremoniously dumped on our walkway as a promotional gimmick by a local real-estate agency with no apparent understanding of the Flag Code.

Remember the war in Afghanistan?

Some folks would prefer that you didn’t. Or at least remained blissfully ignorant about its purpose and progress.

As Tom Udall and Rand Paul noted in an essay for The Atlantic, starting this fall American soldiers will begin deploying to fight in a war “that began before they were born.”

They, along with their friends, family and neighbors, may not understand just what they’re getting into, because the U.S. military command in Afghanistan has gone all tight-lipped on just what — if anything — it is accomplishing there.

This concerns the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John F. Sopko, who told The New York Times that while he and many members of Congress had access to illuminating classified information, the rest of us were being treated like a cash crop of mushrooms, being kept in the dark and fed a steady diet of bullshit.

“The only people who don’t know what’s going on and how good or bad a job we’re doing are the people paying for it — the American taxpayers,” he said.

The colonel’s final deployment.

The brass hats seem happy to gin up some numbers to keep the easily distracted President Beelzebonespur in the game. In January 2018, according to the Times, the military began announcing Vietnam-style body counts “as part of an apparent strategy to rally White House support for remaining in the conflict.”

The practice ended abruptly when the Times started asking questions about it.

There’s a certain irony in using a dubious metric from a war dodged by the present commander in chief to hold his wavering interest in this one. Especially since shortly after his inauguration, according to the Times, a special-ops unit was told to prepare for a number of missions deemed too risky by the previous administration.

Again, the Times: “The commander of the unit, according to one American commando who was at the briefing, said the operations were meant to show Mr. Trump what they were capable of achieving in Afghanistan.”

This took me back to “Dispatches,” by the late Michael Herr, who recalled an encounter with a publicity-hungry commander when the Esquire correspondent, Sean Flynn and Tim Page choppered into a landing zone in Vietnam.

Wrote Herr: “(H)e wanted to throw a spontaneous operation for us, crank up his whole brigade and get some people killed. We had to get out on the next chopper to keep him from going ahead with it, amazing what some of them would do for a little ink.”

And the sales pitch continues. We still owe on this beat-to-shit 2001 Afghanistan — $45 billion per year, according to the Pentagon — and now they’re trying to get us into a brand-new 2019 Iran. We can give the ’01 to the kids, I guess.

Aw, who are we kidding? The kids will get both of them. And the rest of us will stick plastic flags in our planters, fire up the grill, and wonder idly if there’s anything good on TV. Hey, there’s a 24-hour Memorial Day tribute on TCM! Score!

• Mad Dog Media thinks the best way to honor those who serve is to equip them with top-shelf civilian leadership and bring them home.

I don’t know much about art, but. …

April 4, 2014
Spring has sprung, the grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers is.

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers is.

Well, look what the snow drug in.

That nice little dumper did wonders for what passes for a lawn here at Chez Dog (it’s kind of green, and it’s on the ground, so we call it a lawn). And there’s more precip’ in the forecast, so ’ray for April so far.

Elsewhere, something less appealing is crawling out from under its covering. It seems Alfred E. “Worry” Bush has turned his limited skill set to painting since leaving office, and an exhibition of his portraits has opened in Dallas.

You may be familiar with his previous works, “Afghanistan” and “Iraq,” bits of performance art that required gallons upon gallons of blood and bullshit. We can’t afford them, and don’t want or need them — they don’t even match the sofa, f’fucksake! — but we’re paying for them anyway.

Based on what we’ve seen of those, I’m surprised ol’ Alfred’s portraits could find an exhibition space loftier than a refrigerator door in a prison cafeteria. They certainly make a compelling argument for hanging more artists and fewer paintings.