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Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars


Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars

Nick Turse

Winning: it’s written into the DNA of the U.S.A. After all, what’s more American than football legend Vince Lombardi’s famous (if purloined) maxim: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”?


I would respond to the last point of Mr Bacevich.

If you could kill people and break things AND achieve your political goals would that be ok?

I am going to suggest that if the US through its Military could kill people and break things and achieve its Political goals , it would always be at war. I am going to add to that point that given the US always seems to be at war killing people and breaking things then its Political goals are being achieved.

From this I would conclude the Political goals we are told the US Government has do not match what the real Political goals in fact are. This leaves me with this.

While they are really good at killing people and breaking things, those in fact lead to their goals.

What could those Political goals possibly be in reality? Well we can start with the fact that CEOS of major arms manufacturing firms are boasting that all of the instability in the world will generate more in profits and also recognize that in order to “win” these wars the US Government claims it needs the power to more closely monitor its citizens.

I can look at how the Government preaches austerity at the local level claiming it can not afford programs to address poverty or a National health care system , even as they proclaim the need to spend more on the Military.

I can then look at the Clean break strategy, and the PNAC papers calling for creation of instability in Countries abroad so as to force their breakup so that the smaller States that form from it are easier to control.

I can conclude from this that the Political Goals of the United States Government are being met . Their military is not the greatest killing machine in the world because they mean well.


Today’s subject will be about the vast sums of money and immense power derived from deconstruction and reconstruction campaigns.

“Okay class, repeat after me: If you don’t know history, then…’”

It seems as if the United States has adopted a game-plan that calls for perpetual wars. The current focus is on the Mid East. However, there are many other areas that are prime candidates for U.S. invasion or intervention. All it takes is the invocation of fear/terror, and mass media’s devout compliance—in incessantly beating the war drums.

I think they took the recent myriad wars straight out of “1984,” by George Orwell. In that book, there was always constant news about some perpetual war, being waged on the periphery or borders of the “civilized” world. The reports were usually of “near victory”, but never any real substantial gains.

On June 28, 2010, an AP article quoted then-CIA director Leon Panetta, "We’re seeing elements of progress, but this is going to be tough.” That article read, “Panetta estimated there are fewer than 100 al-Qaida militants operating inside Afghanistan, with the rest hiding along Pakistan’s mountainous western border.” When asked about the Taliban, he said, “There is progress—even if it’s slower than I think anyone anticipated."

On July 25, 2010, an article read, “More NATO troops will die in Afghanistan as violence mounts over the summer, but Washington’s goal of turning the tide against the [Taliban] insurgency by year’s end is within reach, the top U.S. military officer said.”

Back then, I recalled many an article with a title similar to, “Al Qaeda’s network has been ‘severely degraded’ by joint U.S.-Pakistani efforts”.

Yeah right… It is just like I constantly read about the al-Qaeda’s ”Number-3 man” being killed. He’s replaced. Then, the next “Number-3 man” is killed. Of course, he’s replaced. Then… ad nauseam.

This war-on -terror news will “see-saw”—up and down, back and forth—into public consciousness for the next 50 years. The U.S. news media will mostly be reporting the military’s achievement of some sort of progress or near victory—punctuated by occasional setbacks. However, they’ll never accomplish anything definitive. Certainly, there will be no actual victory or “mission accomplished”, as the United States plans to engage perpetual wars in that region.

Recently the West has embarked on ambitious campaigns of active combat engagement in several other Mid-East countries, from Libya, to Syria and Yemen. All the while—predictably— it is still stuck in the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iraq. Certain military strategists shocked many onlookers, when they suggested that the United States partner with certain elements of al-Qaida in order to achieve geo-political goals of the West.

And since then, for the sake of propaganda branding and stoking seemingly everlasting tension and fear, al-Qaida has almost magically morphed into various incarnations/factions. There are the so-called moderate rebels and then there is ISIS. Those relatively recently re-named forces mysteriously obtain training, logistics, funding, transport and supplies (i.e. from Iraq and Libya); certain of those ragtag forces are imported into different countries to create boogeymen so as to justify interventions on the scale which serve to further the geo-political agenda of the global power-elite. (It is no surprise that many of those recruits “defect” to the “enemy,” along with their newly acquired training, weapons and supplies. Nice!)

So, be prepared next week for an article to read, “ISIS’ network has ‘gained substantial strength’ DESPITE joint U.S.-[Insert name of coalition-force du-jour here] efforts”.

Hmmm… It begs the question, “Why didn’t the coalitions of the West learn their lesson from the former Soviet Union?” For, it also got bogged down in an Afghanistan quagmire. Truth be told, the powers-that-be—in their “infinite wisdom”— always knew that such wars would drag on and on and on… But then again, the military-security-industrial complex does seem to have an insatiable appetite.

So, let’s have three cheers for the ever-enduring hegemony and geo-political strategizing of the global-elite:
"Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!


But wars are so good for the defense contractors feeding at the no-bid trough!!


So what’s the point of this article?

Are Turse and Bacevich saying that if the US were 64-0, the world would be a better place?

What are the “political goals” that a person of conscience would wish the US to achieve?

Is “Mission Accomplished” - in the words of Martha Stewart - “a good thing”?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki (not to mention Tokyo and Dresden) were “plays” in a “win”.

To be all Albright about it, is “the price … worth it” if the dead and broken put the US in the “Win” column?

I’m just asking

And I really shouldn’t have to.


“twice bailed them out in victorious world wars during the twentieth century.”

Bollocks. We PAID the USA for both wars. And it was the USSR which shattered the German army, just as it was the British RAF and Navy which stopped the German and Italian airforces and navies.


“We can kill people, we can break things,” Bacevich observes, “but we don’t accomplish our political goals.”

Yes. It would have been far less expensive for everyone, and a damn sight safer, if the USA had engaged in ordinary diplomacy and trade, like the unexceptional nations of the world.The USA might even have been able to afford a nationalised public health service, to have provided free university education, to have had clean pure water in its cities, to have had sane public schools wherein lunatic teenagers didn’t let rip with semi-automatic weapons and might even have had police with good manners.


It’s really quite bizarre hearing Americans call their country the greatest in the world. Does that not sound a little narcissistic? There are two countries that have not signed up to the UN convention on the rights of the child: namely Somalia and the great US of A. What percentage of the US population is in prison, what percentage has no healthcare cover, how many are illiterate? How do any of those figures stack up against those of other nations? Take the time to check and you might well be shocked. By continually thinking and believing that your country is great you cannot have the humility to look to other countries and see how they do things. No single country on this planet is the greatest, it behoves us to look to others and to learn. We can only learn if we are humble enough to believe that others might be able to teach us something.


Now just who do around 246 million Europeans need protection from?

As for paying for wars, we Brits paid the USA for WW1 turning the USA from a debtor to creditor nation in the space of four years and we paid the USA for WW2, the debt plus interest being paid off in around 2006 and then we paid off the loan made in 1947 when we were bankrupt from fighting the Nazis and the Italians and the Japanese for 6 years. That loan plus interest was paid off in around 2011; one of the conditions of the loan (who needs enemies when you have friends like the USA) was that the Pound Sterling be devalued against the US dollar, making it more expensive to buy stuff from overseas, such as oil and iron ore and wheat and also meaning we had to pay more pounds on the two debts. It also removed Sterling as a reserve currency. Yep; you sure have wasted a lot of our money being stupid internationally. As for patrolling shipping lanes etc; we have done our fair share.

Unequal trade deals? Then don’t set them up!


Oh please. The USA did not keep the Brits “safe” from the Germans. the USA did not enter the war until it was obvious the Germans would lose due to having invading Russia. The US did not get its Military on the scene until the Germans in retreat from the Russians. The reason the USA went in was self serving, that to ensure their Government dominated the weakened Nations of West Europe over that of the USSR.

UP to entering the war the USA was selling Germany fuel , providing their war machine with vehicles and US Corporations like IBM helping to run the concentration camps. It was US investors who helped finance the Nazi war machine and US Investors that helped build those railroads to those concentration camps. They saw the Nazi’s as a bulwark against the Bolsheviks and guys like Prescott Bush invested heavily in Germany to ensure Hitler rose to power.

Even during the war US Corporations maintained a business as usual mentality with Germany with Standard Oil continuing to deliver fuel to the Germans via third countries.

The British people, the Germans people, the Italians, The Spanish and the French do not “fear Russia”. Read their newspapers. They are opposed to their Governments actions towards Russia just as many in the USA are opposed to the actions of their own Government. The Governments in those Countries are acting in conjunction with the Government of the USA to pretend there a threat. They are manufacturing it out of nothing and the US presence there, just as in Iraq, Syria and Africa , is not to “defend Europe” but to maintain their own hegemony in the region and sure the Western Corporations and banking systems run the show.


Winning? Losing? Tying? War is not a goddamn GAME!


Jihadi John Kirby: “Russian troops will be coming home in body bags”