This is a brief description of how American Imperialism works: It is not a pretty thing at all. America decides she needs something from another country. That country isn’t particularly interested in giving us what we want, so American finds a pretext to invade militarily. We invaded Iraq because we lied and said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We found none. We really invated because Bush II was mad that Saddam wanted to assassinate Bush I. We also toppled their government and established a new one in its place. We say we are setting up a democratically elected government in these countries, but never bother to ask them what form of government they would prefer. That means the truth is that we impose our preferred system whether they want it or not. Since they very often haven’t been exposed to democracy, they don’t know how to run a democracy nor do they want it. It is bound to fail.

Afghanistan isn’t very different in substance. We rolled on into a country that has known fifty years of war. We were going in get Osama bin Laden. He was most likely in Pakistan, but we didn’t feel we could justify invading Pakistan and so we rolled into Afghanistan, toppled their government, set up our people, occupied the country for twenty years. Along the way there were people in America who felt we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan and wanted us to leave. The same was true in Iraq. We engage in these long operations that are very costly in terms of lives lost as well as money spent and anyone with any memory knows the moment we leave things will go back to the way they were before we arrived. Have you ever heard of a place called Vietnam?

Then, while all this is going on, we celebrate our troops as the great protectors of the American way of life. The problem is that’s not went on in Afghanistan or Iraq. Those troops are being used to carry our American imperial interests and nothing else. When they leave, Americans decry their departure almost as much as they decried how long we had been there. Invariably, we leave military equipment behind because we can make new equipment for less than it costs to ship it back home – but we don’t destroy it, so the enemy just takes it and uses it. Nobody says much about that. The truth is that most often we create the discord, then we expand the discord, then we leave behind the tools which will be used to facilitate future discord. Please don’t talk about our troops protecting our way of life. They are used to interrupt other ways of life in other parts of the world. That’s not the fault of our troops, who are compelled to go where they are told to go.

Perhaps the most awful part of all this is that we recruit locals to help us in our mission and we don’t bother to get them out. We didn’t bother in Vietnam and we didn’t bother in the Middle East. I am afraid our government uses and disposes of those human beings the same way they treat Humvees. They believe it would be too expensive to ship them out. The relatively few we do get out we would really rather not allow to immigrate, so the powers that be try to ship them elsewhere. Then we weep, gnash our teeth, and wring our hands. The truth is that if the troops were to really fight to preserve our way of life, they would have to start right here.