For Most Americans, Afghanistan Never Existed

W.J. Astore

How can you win a war when the country and peoples you’re fighting never existed?

Most Americans have little knowledge of Afghanistan. When we think of it, if we think of it at all, it exists as a battlefield. A place where some of America’s troops serve; a distant and obscure land where more than a few of them come home from with physical and mental wounds that may plague them for the remainder of their lives. Afghanistan, in sum, is an abstraction to most Americans, a “war,” an utterly foreign place where dangerous bearded “terrorists” now rule.

But is Afghanistan really that foreign to us? It shouldn’t be.

A friend sent me a terrific article by Jim Lobe with the title, “Three major networks devoted a full five minutes to Afghanistan in 2020.” You read that right. In 2020 America’s three major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) spent a total of five minutes (!) covering the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Keep that in mind as you today view blanket coverage of the collapse of America’s position there. What the mainstream media truly cares about is ratings and money, and a military collapse that threatens Americans is sure to glue more than few eyeballs to the screen. The networks can also play a hyper-partisan blame game, pitting Republicans against Democrats as the former accuse the latter of appeasement and weakness of some sort. That “game” is always good for ratings.

Of course America loses in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. These countries and peoples only exist as a backdrop to our collective national drama. And as soon as the curtain falls on America’s latest dramatic flop, it’s quickly forgotten until the next major flop.

But there’s always money to be made, and the war-show must go on. Which distant nation shall it be next? Somalia? Iran? Somewhere-istan? Does it matter?

Update: When you truly care about something or someone, you care consistently. You pay attention. You devote yourself to it. Certain talking heads are now telling Americans they need to care about Afghanistan after suppressing information about the war for the last two decades. Sorry. You can’t cover up and lie about the U.S. war effort for two decades and then expect Americans deferentially to listen to you.

61 thoughts on “For Most Americans, Afghanistan Never Existed

  1. Just rem. these Taliban were once created by our own Country when they went up against the Soviets w/ US support back in the long ago 1980’s…! Dan Rather interviewed in their Garb, and even Rambo had a run in with them if memory holds true watching @ the Theatre, and on my Firehouse Television Room screen!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I distinctly remember Dan Rather reporting during the Vietnam War, the CIA was running opium from Cambodia to pay for it’s Black Ops.

      It was the 1 time only MSM report on such a controversial allegation. Dan Ranter never followed up, and no other News outlet reported on it. Story squelched!
      The CIA must have been calling every News outlet all night long, to not pick up on Dan Rather’s allegation to be rid of the report.

      It makes sense. The Taliban banned opium production as UN-Islamic, but as soon as the Americans-CIA got control of Afghanistan, opium production was revived and flourished like never before.

      I emailed Dan Rather asking if he could add any more information on what happened with that story without a reply.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In 2020 America’s three major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) spent a total of five minutes (!) covering the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    Are you sure you didn’t leave out the word “up” ; which would have been inserted after covering.
    As in covering up the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You could say that too about COVID coverage. There is, even now, no real sense of how overwhelmed the hospitals have been. Just numbers and a few views of mask-antimaskers. I ran into a nurse way back in early March 2020, while both of us were walking our dogs, and he was then, already, telling me how piled up they were in their hospital. You could hear the anger that no one seemed to know.

    As a former reporter I am very sensitive to the parachute-in, shallow nature of most media I read or view or listen to. Remember how Nightline started with Ted Koppel, the esteemed, covering the Iranian crisis with the US embassy hostages. I don’t remember once that he talked about Mohammad Mosaddegh and the coup of 1953 and 25 years of the secret police in Iran. I’ve done various Google searches, enough, anyway to be sure that my lack of memories is accurate.

    Or Assange, accepting the massive smear jobs and persecution.

    Back to Afghanistan. Consortium News has a good article on how many times the Taliban tried to surrender to us, just after the Cole, in late 2000, ready for Bush as soon as he took office and then again after 9/11, multiple times (4 times before 9/11 and 5 days after and later again). It is worth a read. I do remember a couple of such accounts in much earlier years but forgot them until this article.
    The first time, after the Cole, the author says, “That was the standing offer the Taliban tendered in late 2000, seeking to retain U.S. favor after bin Laden bombed the U.S.S. Cole.”
    And I noted, “seeking to retain U.S. favor”
    A reminder, though not covered in this article, of how the U.S. supported and armed and helped finance the Taliban, i.e. the Mujahadin, of which Osama bin Laden was a part, a section.
    That’s a bite. Heck of a job.


    Liked by 4 people

  4. So true, Americans are ignorant of the facts of the history and culture of the countries the U.S. has waged war in.

    I served in Peshawar, Pakistan with the International Medical Corps providing medical care to a large Afghan refugee camp in 1987. In October I went into Afghanistan and held a moving clinic to give care to villages under mujahideen control.
    The basic unit in the villages is the family then the clan, then the village.
    They are all devout Muslims and pray five times a day. I did not see any police or crime. None of my valuables were stolen. I was protected at all times.

    During one visit to a friend of my host, I met a Taliban. He was from Pakistan and was in Afghanistan presumably to fight the Soviets. I do not know why he was in that village because it was deliberately chosen for me to be there because it was considered safe. The Taliban started asking me leading questions which escalated to the point he was becoming very hostile. I asked him why he hated the United States and Americans and he said: ‘They are an ungodly people who worship material things instead of Allah. They disrespect the prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him ) and the holy Koran.’ My host soon found a polite way to leave in order to defuse the situation.
    At the time I thought he was just some nut case who did not represent the majority of the people, now I understand the feelings are general although not expressed so directly or violently.

    I would be wise for Americans to look into the facts of the Afghan culture. It would be good if the schools taught about Islam. This would not be a violation of the separation of state and church if the course was factual. It could be part of a course on world religions which I took in college.

    I want to be clear that I am not a Muslim nor an Afghan. I do not approve of the methods or the ideology of the Taliban.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’m convinced that our media is a propaganda arm for the MIC. Over the years they have systematically and perfectly divided the population into just about equal proportions that so expertly keeps a leveling tension amongst us, that allows them to insert their “programs for progress toward freedom” into the dynamics of our social commons. They are experts at psy-ops and the whole facade of the Iraq/Afghanistan operation was built for our minds to feast on; all the while keeping a “tense drip”, hooked to our sensory mechanisms here at home; the media is our attendant nurse adjusting the flow of tension on our devices; assuring that the reality and meaningful aspects of living an altruistic life is blurred and ignored. When the individual comes to the awareness that we are all One Magnificent Expression which is an undefinable presence; we realize that we just spent 20 years destroying our own selves and in the process; put off the healing that the simple man’s heart so longs to participate in.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Just like in School as a young boy learning Geography the first time and those inflated Maps of the Continents versus their true size… I rem. believing Greenland was the same size as Africa not the true size it really is. The Mercator misconceptions vs. the true size of countries…!


      1. This probably will make you laugh; and prove beyond a shadow of doubt how stupid I can be. I was so confused looking at those dang maps and getting totally bamboozled on tests compared to my peers. It really had me believing I was unfit for higher education. I’m still capable of missing the turn and my co-pilot Catherine never lets me forget! I’m gonna use the Mercator defense next time and see how it flies…

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Speaking of maps, I’ve read where “Afghanistan” is a cartographer’s fancy. We see borders on a map and think one country exists with a unified identity, but that’s not the real “Afghanistan.” Its history and geography (mountainous terrain, valleys, twisting roads) favor villages, kinship groups, regionalism, not a centralized government like the U.S. (which has its share of localism as well).

      The U.S. government, so it said, wanted to create a strong centralized government that was contrary to Afghanistan’s history, its geography, even its culture. You can’t graft a government onto Kabul, no matter the graft and corruption you employ. That’s one lesson of this fiasco.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Starman” Getting/ bumming a Ride from a Diner’s Cook– Cook: What’s your Line? Starman: My Line? Cook: Yea. your Work your Line…? Starman: Oh, I make Maps… Day Cook: Any money in it? Starman: Money??? Cook: yea, coin, bank, bread?? Starman: Oh I make Maps…! Cook: Believe you me you don’t get rich being no Cook neither…lol —Cook to Starman: You’re not from around here are you? :O)

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Lol yea. forgot one: “Coin, Bank, Bread & An Arm & a Leg” Cost a lot to raise Kids these days!!! :/ :o)


    3. UTEJack, I’ve believed this for a long Time, “I’m convinced that our media is a propaganda arm for the MIC.”

      Up to the 60s, I was brainwashed to believe OUR News Media told us the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, and only Communist Media lied.

      I was awakened from a great slumber with OUR Media propagating Reefer Madness as the Reality until I realized it was to increase Police Powers.
      I believed the Propaganda, and was in favour of the Police doing everything possible to stop anyone smoking just 1 joint and suddenly snapping, committing suicide, raping, killing and plundering. That had to stop!

      American grunts on the ground were stoned and as high as a kite on Vietnam weed they brought back from the War, introducing it into the Public Domain once again.

      This movie was made in 1936


      1. William Randolph 1% Hearst….his famous fear tactic to get the hemp out of the paper making industry. Hearst was a Clear Cutting Timber Baron and dabbled in the paper making industry that supplied his massive print media empire… imagine that… probably got a lot of help from the drug runners to market that pack of lies…

        Liked by 1 person

    4. There are a number of fields that I have a more than superficial knowledge of either because I work in them or have read fairly widely about them. In every case I have found that material meant for general consumption is completely distorted toward the agenda of the reporting party. The purpose is clearly not to educate but to trigger responses that seem rational based on the distortions, but that are irrational when based on the facts. The problem is that the consequences are influenced by the facts, not by the distortions.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Imagine the way it was so long ago in Human History by this 4350 year old record in a Book?

        Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words.
        And it came to pass when they travelled from the east, that they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
        And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly”; so the bricks were to them for stones, and the clay was to them for mortar.
        And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the entire earth.”

        And the Lord descended to see the city and the tower that the sons of man had built.
        And the Lord said, “Lo! they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is what they have commenced to do. Now, will it not be withheld from them, all that they have planned to do?
        Come, let US descend and confuse their language, so that one will not understand the language of his companion.”

        And the Lord scattered them from there upon the face of the entire earth, and they ceased building the city.
        Therefore, He named it Babel, for there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth, and from there the Lord scattered them upon the face of the entire earth.
        Genesis 11

        The problem to this very Day is even people speaking the same language quite often don’t speak and understand the same language.

        On the other hand, no matter how dire our current circumstances appear to be, with Mass Media, it’s still possible to get to the point when humankind can find a common purpose when “it not be withheld from them, all that they have planned to do?”

        The notion of overcoming great obstacles is affirmed some 1500 years later, in the Jonah in the whale story
        from the Jewish/Christian tradition.

        This World’s Religious/Political Leadership did not recognize the Red Flag Warning to this World in 2014 when ISIS blew up the Islamic Mosque in Nineveh, Iraq, containing the Tomb of that selfsame Jonah.
        He was sent to that Great World City Nineveh to warn them they were on the Path to Destruction if they didn’t change their ways and values. They changed and according to the literal record,
        And God saw their deeds, that they had repented of their evil way, and the Lord relented concerning the evil that He had spoken to do to them, and He did not do it.
        Jonah 3:10

        Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.
        But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah:
        For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
        Matthew 12:38-40

        What makes that interesting to me is this line from the Apostle Peter, ‘But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’
        By that measurement of Time, it’s consistent with Matthew 12 cited above, and the action of ISIS destroying Jonah’s tomb in 2014, is making the Nineveh story from 2800 years ago CURRENT in our Generations as History repeats itself.

        Any speculation on who “US” is the Lord was speaking to according to the literal record of the Tower of Babel account?


  6. These are lyrics that arrived during the Vietnam epic…They are pain filled expressions about the war that propaganda buries; a propaganda that keeps the truth of conflict extremely well hidden from the public. Consequently we just don’t give a damn enough to even remember we are still manufacturing these horrible outcomes for both sides; now… and to appear in future acts of revenge. The burst of words in these Dylan lyrics that just blow me away whenever I turn to this piece are these….
    “But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
    And I saw that his face looked just like mine”….
    Shame on every member of the press for not taking these words to heart and stepping out of line and blowing the whistle loud and long against the forces that created the blunders of the last 2 decades!
    This is a grizzly set of sentences that follow and I apologize for posting them…
    It’s been a rough few weeks watching and reading about wars misadventures
    Sometimes emotion just blurts out hard lines such as these… so please forgive my indulgence into the hyper here…
    But it is my hope if you ever feel so inclined…
    To copy and paste them into a message for the press and any of your pro war acquaintances….

    John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
    His mama sure was proud of him
    He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all
    His mama’s face broke out all in a grin

    “Oh son, you look so fine, I’m glad you’re a son of mine
    You make me proud to know you hold a gun
    Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
    And we’ll put them on the wall when you come home”

    As that old train pulled out, John’s ma began to shout
    Tellin’ ev’ryone in the neighborhood
    “That’s my son that’s about to go, he’s a soldier now, you know”
    She made well sure her neighbors understood

    She got a letter once in a while and her face broke into a smile
    As she showed them to the people from next door
    And she bragged about her son with his uniform and gun
    And these things you called a good old-fashioned war

    Oh, good old-fashioned war!

    Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
    They ceased to come for about ten months or more
    Then a letter finally came saying, “Go down and meet the train
    Your son’s a-coming home from the war”

    She smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around
    But she could not see her soldier son in sight
    But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
    When she did she could hardly believe her eyes

    Oh his face was all shot up and his hand was all blown off
    And he wore a metal brace around his waist
    He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know
    While she couldn’t even recognize his face!

    Oh, lord, not even recognize his face!

    “Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they done
    How is it you come to be this way?”
    He tried his best to talk but his mouth could hardly move
    And the mother had to turn her face away

    “Don’t you remember, ma, when I went off to war
    You thought it was the best thing I could do?
    I was on the battleground, you were home acting proud
    You wasn’t there standing in my shoes”

    “Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
    I’m a-tryin’ to kill somebody or die tryin’
    But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
    And I saw that his face looked just like mine”

    Oh, lord, just like mine!

    “And I couldn’t help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink
    That I was just a puppet in a play
    And through the roar and smoke, this string is finally broke
    And a cannonball blew my eyes away”

    As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
    At seein’ the metal brace that helped him stand
    But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
    And he dropped his medals down into her hand

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Years ago after I returned from tour of duty in Vietnam 1970-71, draftee type. I started reading books about Vietnam. Bernard Fall was a go to author, others wrote about US militarism.

    The articles about US militarism were especially eye opening. For many of us in the anti-war movement we had no idea of how deeply militarism was embedded and interwoven into the fabric of American society.

    Politicians who fought for defense contractors in their districts or states, politicians who moved on to serving as advisors or even the board of directors in the MIC. Generals and Admirals who always needed some new weapons system or just more weapons and moved on after retiring to some cush job in the MIC.

    We also had the so-called “Think Tanks” that scoured the globe looking for new enemies to strike.

    Our preferred method of fighting in spite of stories about hard hitting Green Berets or some Rangers or other special small sized units, was massive firepower. You do not make a lot of profit from firing M-16’s in somewhereistan. You need modern fighter-bombers, drones and other missiles to take out the bad guys, tanks, brand new fighting vehicles and artillery – Now we are talking Profit. Of course all this equipment must move – How happy we must be making the oil companies. The beauty for the MIC is every expended explosive or blown up tank or fighting vehicle must be replaced – Profit. We also need to arm-up our “Allies” – More Profit.

    Our McMega-Media has willingly allowed itself to be neutered into cheerleaders for the Pentagon. No tough questions to the Generals or politicians about failures, that would not be Patriotic. Wave that Flag , sing the National Anthem and military marching band at sporting events, maybe even a Fly-Over by the Air Force.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If it’s anger or frustration you’re communicating, they’re misdirected. The MSM and the American public didn’t go to war; the U.S. military did. It was an unnecessary option and it was taken despite significant public protest during the months prior. The sales job failed but taxpayers were forced into the fully foreseeable $2 trillion boondoggle anyway. Sure, the MSM grew tired of pointless coverage and the American public never did know much or bother to learn about them furriners except that they look, dress, and talk funny. Don’t lose sight, however, that it was the U.S. military, its commanders, and a series of four U.S. presidents who made the decisions to their eternal shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, your last sentence is true, Brutus.

      For the most part, the MSM did go to war, in the sense of being cheerleaders for the Pentagon and credulous believers of reports of “progress.”

      The American public was kept isolated from the war — deliberately so. The public was also lied to. Small wonder that so many Americans were apathetic and uninterested.

      So my anger and frustration are directed at the decision makers who so blithely dismissed the Afghan peoples as easily winnable or controllable and otherwise dismissible. They didn’t matter; all that mattered was U.S. power (and of course profit).

      But in the end all that mattered were the Afghan peoples, who are now expelling the American invaders just as they did the Soviet ones, or the British ones … and so on.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Each administration has behaved shamefully indeed! I wonder if they weren’t assisted by some lying press secretaries and complicit White House news outlets. I will never forgive the press for creating the subterfuge that allowed the false narrative about weapons of mass destruction to be run up and flown so prominently from the national flagpole; and the completely prostate position of blind faith at the alter of BCRP Intelligence (Bush Cheney Rumsfeld Pentagon Intelligence) that allowed the connections of Saudi Arabia to go unquestioned. That wasn’t independent investigative reporting it was craven acquiescence. The truth was bum rushed in the beginning of the new century!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Absolutely brilliant cartoon! Thanks for sharing.

    As for Afghanistan’s being merely an abstraction, of course it is, as it has to be. That’s what always happens with “enemies.” If we thought of the Afghan people as having families, lives, and aspirations the way we do, well….then we’d sympathize with them, and the Pentagon can’t have THAT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot believe that the average American citizen cannot insert themselves into a virtual experience of having to live out their years being conceived in the womb of an Afghanistan mother. Sit and ponder how one would navigate that experience based on being brought up with a completely foreign way of engaging this physical reality. Try it from either gender perspective and then maybe you can sense what a difficult path they are asked to navigate. We have a perspective being from a land of plenty. In this virtual exercise know that there is no such frame of reference to enhance ones understanding. We are so privileged to win the birth lottery and have all the physical comforts of human existence with arms reach of a decent work ethic. To believe that we are somehow a superior physical presence is an ignorant perspective. We are living a lucky life and we should be making sure we extend these blessings toward every foreign shore; or we have missed the point of being a beacon of light for the world. On a side path….Has anyone been reading any articles about what the actor Daniel Craig is planning to do with his millions and what he believes about wealth creation. IMPRESSIVE! Search it out on your favorite engine and know that there is a wise old soul in that talented frame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For every Israeli child killed in the War with Palestine, it’s like having a State Funeral and massive Propaganda tugging at the heartstrings of the Jews who are totally oblivious the so many more Palestinian children killed by the IDF, the most immoral Army, that doesn’t get constant Israeli MSM Propaganda reporting as if Palestinian mothers and fathers don’t grieve for their children.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Regarding not paying attention, America is THE place for that because we are untouched for the most part by what goes on in the world, only being affected when prices go up or down. The 1973 oil crisis certainly got attention.

    Think, though, about American life. With some exceptions of course, for most of us gasoline, electricity, natural gas, food on the grocery shelves, restaurants offering meals, entertainment anywhere, flights always available to the entire world, everything is there and with an occasional upset like the 1973 oil crisis has been there since 1950, which is most of our lifetimes. Americans have the ultimate luxury of (so far) remaining ignorant without impact, enjoying whatever appeals, buying whatever one wants at incredibly low prices, now more than ever very conveniently on Amazon.

    We are enjoying a kind of life that would have been unimaginable even to royalty down through history.

    Now imagine if for your entire lifetime up to now you never watched TV or listened to the radio or got on the internet. In other words, you knew nothing about world affairs and simply enjoyed what was available to you, your family and friends, in ignorance. Say you had no idea of who was president when. Couldn’t this be seen as bliss?

    I’m not advocating ignorance, I always want to know about all manner of things, but can you see how America’s wealth and isolation from attack has made being oblivious an inviting option? It could easily be said (and advertising always does) that we’ve got stuff, lots of it and always available. Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, ignorance truly is bliss. So far. But I think we’re going to get a hellacious reveal within the next couple decades.

      OTOH, in the case of a secluded society living off the land c


      1. [There’s gotta be a glitch with my phone.] I was going to say, in a society carefully stewarding resources, living in harmony with nature, the intrusion of the “civilized” world would be a calamity beyond belief. Knowledge would be their worst nightmare come true.


        1. Yes! I’m a big fan of native-American culture. It had gone on for thousands of years and could have continued for centuries more at least…but the European arrived.

          I was born in 1950 and I reflect that the period since has been one of incredible abundance made possible by the unrestrained plundering of the resources of the planet. I look out over a freeway stalled with traffic and reflect on the incredible fact that each individual, driving all alone, can be using without a thought a 2 ton hunk of metal burning up in seconds a resource it took millions of years to create, dumping that CO2 stored those millions of years into the air…simply to get to nearby places “conveniently.”

          It’s all about each person’s “footprint” on the planet. Americans have left the largest footprints of all and consider it a right. As GW Bush said, nobody is going to change the American way of life (stated with genuine Texas defiance).

          Each generation can’t help but come to consciousness feeling that what is will always be. I’ve been of the generation that has sailed along with seemingly inexhaustible resources. It all looks so sustainable from the front porch but all the reports coming in from around the planet say it isn’t. While it is certainly true that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone, I think it equally true that you don’t stop what you’re doing until doing it is impossible.

          It used to be said in the days of open bigotry that poor (read black) people showed their mental inferiority by living for the moment. No self control! No responsibility! Get drunk often and never consider the consequences, seek immediately pleasure at all times, etc. This was absurd as it never considered the extreme constrictions on life that blacks were forced to endure, but my point here is it completely ignored the fact that the supposedly superior white people were doing the same thing only at a much higher level of consumption. I would ask if humanity as a whole has acted responsibly since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Mother Nature, could she take a moment out from groaning, would surely answer no. We’ve been making the bed we are going to have to lie in for some time now and we’re just beginning to see hints of the form that bed will take.

          Liked by 3 people

  11. Clif, for me it all started to go pear shaped with the election of G W Bush.
    The great American experiment was all going pretty well up until then – this was the inflexion point when it all started to go upside down.
    I was born in 1948. My kids are in their 40’s and will not live the same great lives we did. Sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that the ascension (?) of Bush II was a watershed, but I think Ronnie Raygun’s election was the beginning of the end. Certainly, it’s been getting exponentially worse for the last 170 years, but the rollercoaster of destruction reached the top of the hill when the Gipper got into the Oval Office. He tipped it over the edge.


    2. Dennis – I was born in ‘49 and — from a progressive/left perspective— I see the turning point as being in the mid 70’s. The Vietnam undeclared War ended, the oil embargo pushed-up prices, and a lot of us baby-boomers we’re settling down to family life, so too many people turned to the conservatives (even Jimmy Carter was a conservative Democrat who campaigned in 1980 on his de-regulation ‘accomplishments’), with the sea-change being the election of ‘St. Ronnie’ as POTUS in 1980.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I’d say things accelerated with Reagan as he gave the green flag to business and we’ve never looked back.

      But what has been a problem from the start relates to the euphoria with a new continent to take over. We still retain a holdover from that time that is still accepted without a thought – that the solution to problems is always economic growth.

      Anglo-Americans were excited by the eviction/destruction of the natives and I can’t forget what was so commonly said at the time that is haunting today. Eager settlers behind the plow would say, “but the Indians weren’t DOING anything with the land!”

      What they did was honor and revere both land and animals. They knew their place in nature and accepted it gladly. They appreciated the power they had over animals but that animals had lives of their own thus they apologized before killing one for food. They were caretakers, full participants in the web of life yet got the title of primitive savages. Every member worked hard to support a group of 50 to 100 people but it could be done reliably year after year without limit. We feed hundreds of millions with factory farms without an consumer ever seeing an animal killed. Whatever is happening at our modern slaughterhouses, I’m sure there are no apologies being offered. We don’t believe in limits and are the antithesis of stewards.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. it would appear that most of us raster-scanning wja’s blogs are the disdained and dismissed ‘elderly’ [my husband and i were birthed in ’39 and ’41]. have we nothing better to do in our retirement years but complain about the political, economic, and social situations that we helped create and then happily ‘retired’ from?

    i suspect most of us were resistors, iconoclasts, mavericks and peaceniks in our tenebrous pasts, but we were just as ignored then as we are now in our impuissant, ossified, collective elder-etiolations. how do we apologize to our youth for the deleterious swamp of intractable problems we have left in our wake? no wonder we are disdained; we are viewed as collective tartuffes who have abandoned our respective raison d’êtres and cantus-firmus recitatives. speaking for my craven self, i’m exhausted and discouraged, crying ‘sound and fury’ into winds that dissipate those furious sounds onto deafened shores.

    the generations following us have such augean stables to shovel our shit out of that they will need nose-plugs and mouth-masks. my bantlings and grand bantlings perpetually advise me to “stop complaining, stop agonizing, stop repining over that which you have insufficient seigneury to alter, and live in harmony w/ the sea and jungles surrounding you during the exiguous time you and dad have remaining.”

    if only mother earth had wiped us out first, quondam to our decimating the indigenous ‘first nations’ and inuit peoples of NA. our empire-building has now run hideously amok.

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    1. I don’t think it’ll be Mother ever…, but ourselves in the end that’ll do that rather nicely then Mother Earth though gravely wounded will return to her former glory after millions of yrs. of Recovery…As Carl so eloquently states: “We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We would prefer it to be otherwise, of course, but there is no compelling evidence for a cosmic Parent who will care for us and save us from ourselves. It is up to us…!” Saganist!!! To have a new Human Earth and to realize our potential.

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      1. thank you for that ‘earth-stone’ nugget, philip. sagan had the long term view, which is why his eloquent apothegms were and still are so uplifting, gratifying, and inspiring.

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    2. Agree with your last paragraph! Also agree with the pleas of your progeny that you should celebrate the life you have now.

      However, I personally feel no need to apologize to younger generations. I’ve marched, protested, petitioned, called representatives, emailed the White House, canvassed and voted for progressive candidates, and taken measures to lower my carbon foorprint. In short, I’ve spent most of my adult life working toward the outcomes Greta Thunberg and those like her are now taking up as causes. Not all of us boomers can be tarred with the same brush.

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      1. of course not, denise, no need to feel guilt at all. but i fear recusants like us were/are the minority, swimming against currents far more powerful and ubiquitous across the river’s breadth than we were/are able to realistically assess. we can only hope the greta thunbergs of her generation achieve more success.

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  13. Y.W. Jeanne and I think Carl was Agnostic advising Kubrick on the ending of 2001 which is a meditation on god, and man being from a higher intelligence…He also wanted to in his “Demon Haunted World” book had a innate desire to see his Parents again if there is an afterlife…! The most “Saganist” country now in the World I believe would have to be NZ we have a long way to go here in the States!!!

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  14. It is easy to forget. Since 1945 we have fought a series of “painless” Wars. I say “painless” because for the vast majority of Americans the big wars like Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2, were TV Wars.

    Certainly, these wars were not “painless” to those who went or who had loved ones or friends stateside waiting and hoping they would come home alive and well.

    For the overwhelming vast majority of Americans, life went on without the slightest bit of disturbance. There was no rationing, no War Bond rallies, Rosie the riverter, victory gardens or a sense we are all in this together and we each have a part to play.

    It shocked me when I came home from Vietnam in April 1971 after 13 months there, most of it in the bush or rain forest on patrol. The people in the San Francisco Airport were just going about their lives, oblivious to what I had and my comrades went through. I was not looking for a parade or some happy to have you home banner. They could turn the War off by not watching TV.

    Three piece suits, bell bottoms, gold chains, the local mall and muscle cars any number of diversions – All was good in America. It was what the politicians and the MIC wanted they did not want to have the American people sacrifice. If they had to sacrifice the People might start thinking – Is this War really Necessary.

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  15. Here is an article on Politico that makes some good points that reveal a fundamental flaw in America’s way of thinking.

    This is a specific example of a general problem. I will illustrate that using language as an example. When I speak English I produce a set of sounds that a listener’s brain can organize into meaningful statements, if the listener knows English. If the listener did not know English then the sounds would be meaningless, to them, BUT that does not mean the sounds had no meaning. If someone were speaking Pashto (one of the official languages in Afghanistan), then the sounds would be meaningless to me, but it would be a huge mistake for me to ignore them as irrelevant or meaningless. It would be a worse mistake to assume that sounds that resembled English words were actually English words.

    This generalizes to culture. The flow of interactions in a society is like a language. Foreigners who have not developed an understanding of the culture do not understand that language and make one of two mistakes. First, they may ignore the flow of interactions as irrelevant. Worse, they may parse them into their own social language and obtain completely erroneous conclusions.

    A large part of American hubris is our lack of respect for the information contained in the flow of interactions in other societies and our refusal to learn how to understand those correctly. Instead we pompously assume that other societies use our social language and misinterpret information, or assume that their social interactions are meaningless.

    The solution would be to learn the other culture’s social language, but that takes humility, time (decades) and effort. None of which is consistent with being an Empire.

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    1. Thanks for that link, JPA. This paragraph from it rings very true…

      “Afghan society has been described to me as a “permanent conversation.” Alliances shift, and people, families and tribes make rational calculations based on the risk they face. This is not to suggest that Afghans who made such decisions are to blame for doing what they felt to be in their self-interest. The point is that America’s commanders and officials either completely failed to understand these aspects of Afghan reality or failed to report them honestly to U.S. administrations, Congress and the general public.”

      I think of our creation of an Afghan “army” as like decorating a cake. When done the cake sure looks like the kind of cake we wanted to make, but we forget the interior, the body of the cake, is completely hidden by what is only frosting.

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    2. Another example of understanding mores and interactions of a society not one’s own: the burka. It’s pretty much a given among non-Muslims that women wearing burkas are oppressed. If they’re being forced to wear them by their male relatives, then, yes, they’re oppressed. But as I read some years ago, there’s a contingent of Muslim women (how sizeable, I don’t know) who wear it voluntarily as part of their religious observance. We can’t just assume we know the reasons for people’s actions, if we don’t understand their cultures.


      1. Good point, Denise. Being children of the Enlightenment, all of us want to know all that we can know. Closed cultures have allowed people to be happy, or at least content, at the same time as ignorant of the things we now take for granted as common knowledge.

        That said, with the interconnected globe it’s now almost impossible for any group to remain isolated and ignorant and content to be so, because contact with modernity reveals the ignorance and ruins the self sufficiency. Gods and taboos collapse. The British empire was instrumental in opening up, for good or ill, so many places around the world to modernity and there is no going back.

        Native-American culture was destroyed primarily from military attack, but culturally it was doomed upon exposure to modernity with all the “trinkets” that were seen, caused awe and then desire. This cultural imperialism is slower but far more effective than military adventures because it undermines from within. We are right to admire Native-American culture but comforts and pleasures will have their way everywhere. Once spoiled, always spoiled. No, I will NEVER give up my air conditioning! : )

        I think the way of life enforced by the Taliban is doomed. Even the modern USSR couldn’t withstand the draw of the capitalist West. All the residents of Spaceship Earth are being drawn into the same highly productive but unsustainable way of living that will present a common fate for us all.

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          1. There’s a decent song by Don Henley with the refrain: “Gimme! Gimme what you got! (I want it, I want it.)

            Although he does warn that there are no hearses with luggage racks …

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            1. love it! tnx ray. it’s an instructive cartoon that allows one to laugh while absorbing a quinessential truth about the lethiferous infection of capitalism that invaded north america and amplified its unbridled consumerism.

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    3. eximious comments, jpa… a reflective, sagacious, and refreshing use of the language-cum-culture metaphor. our personal experience has been that, w/ our 7 bairns’ having been raised in 3rd-/4th-world ambits, not in canada or the US, they conflate language w/ culture such that they are synonymous… i.e., that they are such an integral part of each other that one cannot understand those 2 words except in the context of the other. one cannot comprehend another’s culture w/out being exposed to, absorbing, and communicating in that culture’s language… the ease and profundity of which children can grasp far more comprehensively than most adults are capable of grasping. such multi-cultural, multi-lingual dynamics in a child’s ambit has a dramatic and transformative impact on the way s/he views the human ‘family’ that is external to one’s immediate family and idiocentric self. perhaps you too were raised in tramontane cultures, eh?

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