The End of the “Afghan Permanent War.”

Just before the start of the Afghan war — launched by George Bush II’s America — Scientific American published an article about major conflict regions that included a chart, detailing which areas involved the greatest number of child soldiers.

At the time we were fudging numbers on civilian casualties in Afghanistan (and later, Iraq), Afghanistan accounted for the greatest number of child soldiers anywhere on the planet — more than the next several conflict regions combined:

Chart from Scientific American, June 2000, Showing Afghanistan with the Most Child Soldiers from any Conflict Region on the Planet
Chart from Scientific American, June 2000, Showing Afghanistan with the Most Child Soldiers from any Conflict Region on the Planet

In the wake of the US withdraw from Afghanistan, it is clear that — had the US withdrawn 15 years ago — things could only have gone better.

America’s social Darwinist voters — who reject basic social services, public health, the science behind evolution and vaccines — have just handed the SURVIVING members of the Taliban millions of dollars worth of military equipment, first-hand experience fighting a first-world military, and an unconquerable PR message.

All that America learned was “support the troops.”

Your Tax Dollars at Work

In recent years the NFL has increasingly embedded nationalistic overtones in their televised spectacles, including F16 flyovers, football-field-sized American flags, and veterans displayed prominently on the field.

This past season, Pepsi got in on the action, plastering their logo all over a multi-billion-dollar aircraft carrier to defend the homeland from Coca-Cola while cross-promoting their product with the SuperBowl Halftime show.

As though the US troops weren’t already exploited enough — a volunteer force sent to Iraq on a fool’s errand, saddled with multiple-deployments under the stop-loss policy, unqualified soldiers enlisted as fodder through morality waivers and other  watered-down enlistment requirements, and, at the height of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts, about a quarter of the combat troops serving overseas came from the US National Guard — the military is now lending out its equipment and veterans to private industry to sell soft drinks for America.

In terms of the content of the Pepsi commercial, the spectacle is reminiscent of the scene in Apocalypse Now where a USO show involving Playboy Bunnies in the Vietnam jungle degenerates into an orgy of male aggression.

The relationship between military might and commerce is an old one: the Navy, specifically, is provided for under Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution.  While the Founders were wary of standing armies, a navy was viewed as essential for protecting trade routes.  Today, this function would seem to extend to protecting corporate brand-name identity.