…THE LONG, THE SHORT, AND THE TALL
The war that nobody really thinks about, or knows much about, is a war all right, but it’s really a pretty poor excuse for a war. The battle for, and in, Afghanistan rages on, or limps along, or simply simpers in place. America has boys, girls, men, and women over there trying to deal with an enemy that cannot be properly or clearly defined. Is it the Taliban? Is it Al Qaeda? Is it ISIS? Is it ISIL? Is it all of those supposed enemy forces, or none of them? Is it just that the U.S. is there, and to have a war somebody has to die here and there? Nobody really knows anymore. There are drones, now silently killing people, but reports have ceased about who has died or when or where. This is the new openly secret war, not to be confused with the old not-so-secret war.
The tired, the hungry and the poor of the desert ‘brought to justice’ by a humongous distant culture that isn’t really aware of that country’s cultural, religious or physically defined existence. The population there lives and dies unknown, unwashed and totally misunderstood, but die they do.
Meanwhile, back in America, there is the total reality television nonsense thing going on about the attempted appointment of an inexperienced elitist and upper-class snob to the U.S. Supreme Court, so he can make that snobby snotty body even more snobby and snotty. The U.S. tries to make sure that unborn pre-babies are protected while killing those born and unborn babies in the desert with secret abandon. The biggest stand-up guy in Congress turns up with the last name of Flake. Go figure. The FBI investigates. Really? Frat Boy Kavanaugh gets madder while more women get purposely ignored and denigrated. McConnell’s chin recedes even further, as he begins to resemble a catfish hauled up by what must be a jaw down there somewhere. President Trump, with his own mouth half shut for a change, actually begins to look like an old fat white president…after all. His crotch grabbing days might be over, although he sure admitted that he had them. Like the silent war in Afghanistan, those discomforting parts of the news, revealing what the president said about his real unscripted view of women, are no longer around. What happened today is all the public catches and holds very briefly into the morrow, when a new catch and hold story will replace the old one.
Late in a war, there is no celebration. All the wild enthusiasm is at the front end, before the dying begins and before the distribution of the dying begins to come home in wooden or aluminum boxes. The Civil War, the Spanish American War, and even World War I began with great celebrations, marching parades of wonderfully uniformed soldiers and plenty of great music. The songs began to change as the wars went on though. Bless Em’ All is the name of a famous WWI song, written in the middle of that war. There’s no glory in the lyrics, only pain, loss, and anger over the injustice of it all.
The war in Afghanistan started with ‘Shock and Awe’ in Iraq and extended itself into the sweeping rocky vistas and high mountain cliffs of Afghanistan. The Vietnam war was fought for ten years, but the war in Afghanistan (called many things, including the war on terror) has raged on through long periods of fitful silence for eighteen years. There are no celebrations anymore, or shock and awe. There is only that leftover mess of emotions illustrated by the WWI song lyrics. There is pent-up pain, loss, and anger over the injustice of it all. This war has also added a new element to the modern definition of the word war. ‘The war without end.’ There is no well-defined finish to a war wherein the ‘enemy’ keeps changing from one entity to another at the seeming whim of the occupying forces.
The war the U.S. is currently engaged in, more like a very lethal and deadly video game than any war before it, is also indicative of what is going on back home when it comes to the presentation of truth. The new media inventions of the last sixty years have added absolutely nothing to communicating the truthful reality of just how things are, have been, or might be in the future. The raging unfocused and polarized political situation all American’s are experiencing these days has little or no truth embedded within it. The never-ending war in Afghanistan is a war grounded and fought in secret duplicity portrayed to the public with the open duplicity of a different kind. The Supreme Court, once a body almost above ethical criticism is awash in revelations of unethical behavior previously believed not to be possible at that judicial or even civil or social level.
The war in Afghanistan may not end up being America’s longest war. That war, already started, is taking place right in the homeland.
Bless em’ All…the long, the short and the tall…