The Moment is Gone

     Since the United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 7 years ago, more than 500 suicide bombers have killed themselves each year in those unfortunate nations. The suicide bombers killed another 14,000 people – about 2,000 a year – though that rate is accelerating rapidly.
     You might think the suicide bombers are misguided, deluded or insane. I certainly think so. But every one of them, deluded, insane or not, felt he or she was dying for a cause – and throwing the United States out of their country is one of those causes.
     In those 7 years, a U.S. serviceman has killed himself every other day. Suicide among active-duty U.S. soldiers is now twice the civilian rate – the first time military suicides have eclipsed the civilian rate since the Vietnam War.
     Our soldiers are not committing suicide for a cause. They are killing themselves because they don’t know what the hell happened to them.
     Leaving all other arguments aside, suicide statistics alone indicate that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will come to no good end.
     But there is no reason to leave the other arguments aside.
     The Pentagon admits that the only way it can get supplies and materiel overland to our troops and mercenaries fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan is to pay off the Taliban warlords and the drug lords who control the highways.
     Need I say that again? We are paying off the Taliban so we can get arms to our troops who are fighting the Taliban.
     The president of Afghanistan’s brother is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world.
     The president of Pakistan is a crook; his entire country knows it, and every day it becomes more apparent that he will be prosecuted for it.
     The president of Iraq is so incompetent and corrupt that he is less popular than the suicide bombers who in a single day this week killed more than 120 civilians by blowing themselves up at the ministry of education, the national arts council and three other equally insane targets.
     And President Obama says that our national security depends upon these crooks – these murderous, heroin-dealing, sticky-fingered creeps – suddenly cleaning up their act.
     I like President Obama. I hope he succeeds in everything he wants to do. But I am afraid he has missed his moment.
     He had the country behind him when he took office. He could have had his way with Congress. He could have changed our course in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he didn’t.
     He could have asked Congress to hold our corrupt bankers and Wall Street traders to account. He could have conditioned the bankers’ rescue, with trillions of our dollars, upon their dishing a little of that money back to people who were losing their homes to the banks. But he didn’t.
     He could have asked Congress to tax the bejeezus out of investment banks’ obscene bonuses to filthy rich traders and executives, as England did this week. But he didn’t.
     He could have pried upon the ugly can of worms that is the derivatives trading business, and forced some light onto it. But he didn’t.
     He could have told the nation that though we can save the world financial system by throwing a couple trillion dollars at the people who stole that much already, we will have to pay for it eventually, and the only way to do that is by collecting the payoff money in taxes. But he didn’t.
     He could have rammed these decent and reasonable programs through Congress as quickly and as ruthlessly as his predecessor rammed through his obscene tax cuts and his insane, ruinous wars. But he didn’t.
     I do not blame Obama for the recession, for the theft of our nation’s prosperity by the rich and politically connected, for the incompetent “regulators” in the SEC and elsewhere who were bought and paid for by the people who ruined us. Nor do I blame him for these insane and useless wars.
     But I do blame him for missing his moment. I blame him for trying to temporize, and compromise with the conscienceless bastards on Wall Street and in the Republican Party, and with the cowards in the Democratic Party, who brought our country to this point.
     I do blame him for not changing policies at home and abroad that are ruinous, deluded and corrupt.
     Obama does not have to continue the incompetent, harmful and corrupt policies of George W. Bush.
     He does not have to modify these policies, or ameliorate them.
     He has to change them.
     But he hasn’t.
     After Germany lost the most devastating war in the history of the human race, it became a prosperous, peaceful, respected and powerful nation again in a single generation.
     Germany did that by changing its policies.
     It did not become prosperous and respected, it did not rejoin the human race, by deciding to kill a few less Jews.

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