America’s First Disastrous Mistake of the 21st Century

A woman is never more beautiful than when the first grey hairs appear. And at the beginning of the 21st century, America looked divine.

Then, when George W Bush launched his War on Terror in 2001, three thousand generations of dead humans must have all laughed at once. There was America — so rich, so sophisticated…making a damned fool of herself.

The gods must have laughed too…and no one louder than Ares himself, the god of war.

This was the kind of endless, expensive and unwinnable war that Ares knew well. It was the kind of war that was easy to get into…and hard to get out of. It was the kind of war that corrupted the military…and the government that supported it. It was the kind of war that could only be lost.

And there she was, the US stooping for the bait like every empire before it.

Fatal mistakes

But wait…we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Bush’s war against nobody in particular was the first of two colossal mistakes in the 21st century.

Both can be traced to the failure of the nation’s traditional ‘conservatives’. It was they who were supposed to prevent this kind of nonsense — mindless wars and asinine spending. On both counts, they failed.

On display last week was evidence of the second failure. On his own say-so, the Commander in Chief ordered his troops to commit murder.

‘Never carry out an idiotic order,’ was French general Leclerc’s sage advice during the Second World War.

Yet the soldiers did what they were trained to do.

No trial, no jury, no verdict; they killed a high ranking military officer of a sovereign government with whom the US is not at war.

But such is the temper of the times, that ‘conservatives’ no longer try to limit government’s over-reaching power; they now enable it. And so they rallied around the president and insisted that he should be able to kill whomever he wants whenever he wants…as long as the press is mostly favourable.

Mr Trump is, of course, not unique in claiming this authority. Barack Obama checked the murder list himself — just to prove what a tough guy he was. And George W Bush, in the same lame-brained spirit, doomed more than 2,000 US soldiers and as many as 1 million Iraqis…and wasted $6 trillion.

Instead of creating the model of American civic virtue in the Middle East that the Bush team had promised, US forces turned Iraq into a dysfunctional wreck…and now Iraqis want Americans out.

Delusions of grandeur

Last week, we showed how the American Empire was born and nurtured on conquest — of a new continent…primitive tribal peoples…dissident Southerners (who tried to exercise the right of self-government promised in the Declaration of Independence)…Mexicans…Spaniards…

Over more than 200 years, the Republic stuck out its elbows and, by 1950, it had become the indisputable numero uno of the entire world.

It is the one ‘indispensable’ nation, said Bill Clinton’s last secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. ‘Exceptional’ was how other officials described it. ‘Without the US, nothing good happens,’ said Hillary Clinton.

And we should have the lowest interest rates in the world, added Donald J Trump, because ‘we’re the US’.

But the US is neither indispensable nor exceptional. Americans are like all the rest of the world’s bipeds — subject to vanity, delusions of grandeur, and imbecility.

America’s presidents — Bush, Obama and Trump — are endowed with varying measures of vanity, delusions of grandeur, or imbecility. But all played the cards they were dealt. And the joker in the deck was always the deep state..

Assisted suicide

Understandably, Mr Bush was eager to ‘do something’ about the people who had blown up the Twin Towers. But those people were mostly Saudis. And those who were still alive could have been dealt with — at trivial expense or loss of life — by normal police work.

Instead, Bush decided to attack Iraq on trumped charges of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ and harbouring terrorists, which is the last thing that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would have done.

The war looked ‘stupid’. But it was not stupid. It was wicked. It was a way to satisfy the deep state’s real goal: not victory over terrorism (no one ever had the slightest hope of winning)…but the transfer of trillions of dollars to the deep state’s own cronies, operatives, and apparatchiks.

After all, who buys the big houses in Northern Virginia? Who gets a chauffeured car…paid for by the taxpayers? Who enjoys the best health care in the world at no expense? Who gets to appear on TV as an ‘expert’?

At a deeper level, empires, like every living thing, must die. The War on Terror was America’s first move towards assisted suicide. We’ll look at the second tomorrow.


Bill Bonner,
For The Rum Rebellion

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries.

A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities.

Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally.

With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance.

Bill has been a weekly contributor to The Rum Rebellion.

The Rum Rebellion