By Hans Vogel
Some twenty years ago, when the Berlin Wall had fallen and the Soviet Union was collapsing and desintegrating, when Francis Fukuyama jubilantly proclaimed the end of history, many in the so-called West sighed with relief: the world would finally become a better place. The Cold War had ended and the nightmare of nuclear war vanished, seemingly forever. World Peace had finally become a reality. In much of Europe, conscription was abolished as a result. But the US and its faithful patsies in Europe ignored appeals to dissolve NATO.
Back then, in the pre-internet days, many countries could still boast a lively media world, with respectable dailies and weeklies and half-way decent, or at least tolerable TV and radio (yes, even in the United States). Every so now and then, voices and opinions critical of the government could be read, heard or seen on the major media. To anybody under 25, that must sound incredible, yet anyone over 40 will be able to attest to its veracity.
Today the dailies that were once considered to be the epitome of reliability, quality and sound judgment, have all become lousy rags that are losing more of their readership as each year goes by. Where in order to be well-informed it was once imperative to read the Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, or the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, to name just a few of the most prestigious papers, today one is much better informed when these are not read at all. On the contrary, these emblematical “quality papers”, or “newspapers of record,” have become mere conduits for government propaganda.
In order to be well-informed today, one just has to pay daily visits to web sites and blogs that have replaced the quality newspapers. It is a good thing that the web is expanding impressively day after day and that more an more people all over the world can have access to reliable sources of information and analysis. Moreover, they can take part in forums and online debates, something that was absolutely impossible twenty years ago.
Like the media, education has suffered a serious loss of quality and credibility. Over the past two decades, primary and secondary education in all of what is generally considered to be the “Western World” has become adulterated to a degree that would abhor any responsible parent living in the 1980s and early 1990s. Education today is all about teaching competences, skills and abilities, where once it taught knowledge and independent thinking and judgment. In other words, for educators everywhere, the young have become like monkeys, whom you teach tricks. Those kids that cannot sit still while their teacher is instructing them on yet another trick, are often diagnosed as suffering from ADHD and given ritalin or other dangerous mind-altering drugs. Kids who can sit still and who are eager to learn, are diagnosed as especially gifted and soon isolated from their peer group and enrolled in special programs. Mind you, all kids without exception are being raised on wicked stuff like Coca Cola, bottled Iced Tea, and high-fat, high-sugar diets. No wonder that by the time they enter university (which nearly everyone seems to qualify for these days), today's kids have only very scant knowledge about anything. In politically correct terms, they are “informationally challenged”.
Many kids are enticed to become drug users, with many becoming outright addicts. The drugs they consume are shipped precisely from areas where the US military holds sway, namely Afghanistan (heroin) and Colombia (cocaine). The heroin from Afghanistan comes by way of Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. These last two nations being mere muslim narco states under US protection. Nor do the drugs reach the main markets in North America and Europe in any piecemeal fashion: they come by the boat and plane load. The drug trade is so vast it cannot be carried on without the consent or connivance of the powers that be. Hence, anyone who still believes the US is serious about fighting the drug trade must be either naïve or stupid.
Woefully undereducated compared to their peers of preceding generations, most of today's young adults cannot easily develop any kind of informed opinion or judgment. Since about twenty years, the most intelligent and ambitious have been opting for careers in finance, banking and related legal circles. Uniformly educated at management and law schools, any form of critical thinking has been carefully weeded out by their instructors.
The less gifted and less fortunate kids have been filling the nameless and faceless armies of mindless paper pushers in both the public and the private sectors, while those at the bottom of the scale have no choice but take the lowliest, dreariest and most dreadful jobs, such as hamburger flippers.
And then there are the high school dropouts, the good for nothings, petty criminals, gang members, the illiterate rowdies with a vocabulary of some 300 words, those who communicate at best in raucous monosyllables. Yet they are quite knowledgeable about street politics, about power, revenge, loyalty, punishment and other such basic values. Their ranks have been expanding at a dazzling pace over the last twenty years. It would seem society and the government have forgotten aboutthem, but no, this group has in a way become essential to modern states in the “West.”
Why? One would ask. Well, since conscription has been abolished in most of Western Europe and the United States (as a concession to the once vast and influential middle class but also in order to reduce potential restiveness among the rank and file), the underprivileged youth living in the squalor of ghettoes and slums all over the “West” have become the main recruiting base for the new volunteer armies.
During the latest wave of US colonial wars (Panama Somalia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), ghetto kids have been the mainstay of the armed forces. This should not surprise us. Victims of a poor educational system, accustomed to hefty doses of real violence in their day-to-day lives and brainwashed by the treacherous content of military and political propaganda that Hollywood specializes in, these kids have been signing up in big enough numbers to enable the US government to carry out its criminal, murderous schemes across the globe.
And murderous these are, indeed. About one million Iraqis have been killed since the US invaded their country. Well over a million have been seriously injured. Figures for Afghanistan are less, but mounting steadily: some 50.000 civilians may have died already. Unfortunately, the media in the nations that invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan hardly pay any attention to the suffering brought to those distant lands. The media seemingly have eyes only for “their own boys”. Indeed, the price in lives and human misery has been considerable. In both theaters, the US so far has had some 6.000 of its soldiers killed and about 45.000 wounded, most of them seriously. Given the Pentagon's secrecy, it is highly likely the real number of killed soldiers is much higher. For instance, many of the seriously wounded die eventually, but are not listed as killed in the official statistics. Some 850 coalition troops have been killed and over 12.000 seriously injured. About 1.000 mercenaries (“contractors”) were killed and almost 14.000 seriously injured.
According to a recent RAND corporation study, at least 300.000 US veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. For these poor devils, a normal civilian life is no longer possible. If they are not on prozac or some other drug, they have become alcoholics. Many who cannot adapt to normalcy commit suicide. And that is not the end of it. Some 30.000 US soldiers have been evacuated from Iraq for being ill. I suspect many were ill from inhaling the radioactive dust caused by the firing of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by their own comrades. Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of US Iraq and Afghanistan vets have been contaminated by DU and are now slowly dying from cancer. Thousands of European veterans and soldiers must be suffering the same fate, but except for the Italian government, not a single European or North American government has had the decency and courage to admit this fact.
Most of those who have been killed, maimed, injured or contaminated, have only themselves to blame for their fate. Few are drafted into the armed forces before reaching adulthood. Adults enjoy full citizenship, have the right to vote and are generally supposed to be able to make informed judgments. “Western” professional soldiers and mercenaries are still citizens and it is their civic duty to be informed about politics. Granted, they are ill-equipped to inform themselves but it is their responsibility to face the challenge. Moreover today, access to reliable information and lucid analysis has a lower threshold than twenty years ago and it is safe to say that almost anyone now has the possibilities to be well-informed.
The volunteer soldiers of the US and its vassals ought to know that when they cross another country's border carrying weapons, they must expect to be shot at. By now it must have dawned on even the most benighted observer that the so-called autonomous governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are mere puppet regimes, propped up by foreign occupying forces. In fact, most Afghans and Iraqis want the foreign invaders out and they make their opinion clear by fighting the occupation troops.
Anyone enlisting in an army now deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq could and should have informed himself of the chances of being sent there and of the political issues involved. However, many US soldiers still believe they are in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight the people who blew up the New York Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Yet today, most people in the US no longer believe the official conspiracy theory repeated ad nauseam by the government and its propaganda outlets, i.e. that it was former CIA operative Bin Laden who planned it all from his cave in Afghanistan. Most people in the US now believe it was their own government that did it!
It seems most who joined the army anyway did so “to see the world, meet interesting people, and shoot them.”
Therefore, every foreign soldier who dies or is injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, deserves it. Those who escape can just consider themselves lucky.
However, there may still be something positive coming out of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Without a doubt, the US and its vassals are headed for defeat. It will resemble the ludicrous US retreat from Viet Nam and it will look a bit likethe Soviet retreat from Afghanistan in 1989. It will be a terrible and humiliating defeat, but it may have a wholesome, sobering effect.
The US and its NATO clients will have no option but to overhaul their educational systems. Like a boomerang, the misery and suffering they have been inflicting on the world over the past decades will return home in a massive way. In fact, this is happening already. Before long, the public will begin to notice how many crippled, maimed, ruined, pathetic former soldiers are living their miserable lives among them. These poor devils have no one to blame but themselves, for they could and should have known better. Their families and children will rediscover the simple truth that an informed, educated citizenry is the best defence against most of the ills and problems besetting current societies. It is always dangerous to trust one's government, but anyone who puts his faith in any of today's governments in the US or Europe, must be a complete idiot.
During a videoconference meeting with students on January 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin answered the question about the "palace," which, as Alexey Navalny claims, is being built especially for the president