Confessing to the corruption swamp in which we are mired
By Prioleau Alexander
As a former Marine, I know the history of the American government’s cowardly retreat from Vietnam and well recall the horrifying pictures of those who worked for our military screaming at the embassy gates, begging to be evacuated.
But somehow, I rationalized our retreat away. I clouded my thinking by focusing on the courageous service of our servicemen, and how clear it was they’d won the war — in a big way. Our men were never defeated in a major engagement. The Viet Cong were utterly crushed, to the point they thought our retreat was a ruse. We overwhelmed millions of enemy combatants. And thus I focused my thoughts on the stories of our warriors’ personal bravery, which run into the tens of thousands.
I blamed “the politicians,” not our nation. In my youth, I was able to do so. The problem I now encounter is the fact that in a republic, we’re directly responsible for the actions of our government. Personally responsible.
In his brilliant book about Congress titled A Parliament of Whores, P. J. O’Rourke makes fun of the various aspects of what we now call “the Swamp,” but ends on a very serious tone: In a representative government, where we choose men and women to make decisions for us, aren’t we, in reality, the prostitutes? Exchanging our votes for those who most skilled at telling us sweet lies?
No, we tell ourselves. It’s how the system works. The best and the brightest don’t run for office, and we have to choose from those who do … but once we elect them, those who make a career of “public service” slowly slip into a state of sociopathic thinking. Americans stop being people, and as a result there are “acceptable casualties” in herding us about like sheep.
There are acceptable casualties in keeping Big Pharma happy. Big Tobacco. The Military Industrial Complex. The Lawyers Lobby. The War on Drugs. Running up $29 trillion in unpayable debt and even more in unfunded mandates are somehow part of “doing business on behalf of the people.”
These things exist because we’ve legalized corruption. It’s funny … we Americans love to look down on “Third World” nations and their rampant corruption — but at least there it’s illegal. If you get caught, you might actually get in trouble. In the USA? I can get 1,000 “friends” together, “suggest” they make a pledge of $3,500 to the candidate who does my bidding and voila — that’s $3.5 million dollars to my guy, and I get the wink-wink credit for having raised the money. It’s called bundling.
Or, if I don’t want to go to all that trouble, I can just give $20 million to the super PAC that plans to spend every penny of the money raised on getting my candidate elected. Think that gift will be anonymous? Sure, the same way the buyers of Hunter Biden’s paintings “remain anonymous.”
All this means that with enough money, I can buy any law I want. Need another few years in Afghanistan? Think that working together Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Halliburton would have trouble raising a hundred billion dollars in campaign contributions?
Once I grew up and became a conservative libertarian, and embraced the reality that politics at all levels is corrupt, I began to see clearly not just “where the puck is, but where it’s going.” And that’s when I began my life as a political satirist.
Yes, I make a great deal more fun of the left than the right, because their corruption is so breathtakingly obvious, but those who read me know I make fun of all politics. Why? Because it’s nothing more than professional wrestling … the Masked Meanie wrestles Captain Righteousness, and after the match is over and the audience leaves the coliseum, both get paid and go out to drinks together.
It’s just (show) business, right?
Yes, yes — I understand there are some politicians fighting the good fight. South Carolina’s Tim Scott is a good example. But how can Senator Scott fight and win against an entire Swamp designed to destroy his good intentions? His fight is righteous — as was the fight waged by our warrior class in Afghanistan and Iraq — but in the end, it was for naught. These soldiers fought for America, and America’s elected representatives laid waste to their sacrifices like the hollow men they always prove to be.
Right now our nation is home to tens of thousands of young men and women who are disabled due to the Afghanistan War — who gave their limbs, health and some their sanity. Tens of thousands of marriages have ended. Thousands of Americans have buried someone they love, due to combat, suicide or postwar drug addiction. Tens of thousands are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. Children will suffer a lifetime of ill effects from all of the above.
But if there was one small thing holding all these suffering individuals together, it would be “pride at having served.”
What now? Not only did the United States of America cut and run; President Biden admits we left behind 50-60,000 Afghanis who served us. Reports of the number of Americans still in Afghanistan vary wildly: The State Department claims 250 “who are attempting to leave.” Given the debacle that is this operation, I for one have a hard time believing anything the State Department says. Perhaps the best way to determine the number is to ask the Taliban, as it has been reported by dozens of sources that the U.S. gave them the names of Americans and Afghani sympathizers still in the country — believing the Taliban will “help” get them to safety.
The incompetence of our military generals is so gargantuan, they couldn’t even orchestrate an orderly abandonment of the country … something a second lieutenant or a young NCO could’ve done, easily.
How can a criminally inept “human” like General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, live with himself overseeing this disaster, despite the fact many in America’s civilian media had long since been reporting on the advances of the Taliban?
Is it possible for you to even conceive of sitting in Congress and not resigning, having played even a tiny part in this humiliation? Can you imagine being a general officer anywhere in the chain of command and not resigning your commission?
None will. They’ll point the blame to someone else. They’ll rationalize their decision to hide from responsibility by claiming they are “fighting to change the system from within.” The overwhelming majority of Americans will nod along or turn to more important things like surfing Netflix.
During this unnerving time in global history, one can only imagine what leaders in China, Russia and Iran are thinking. All three have made clear their desires for expansion, and before their very eyes they’ve seen the U.S. abandon our allies and flee from the battlefield.
The very real question that must be asked is: “Was this collapse and surrender of American equipment planned?”
America has an NSA that monitors every piece of digital data flowing in the world … a security system that’s broken up hundreds of terrorism plots before they happened … and a military that has dozens of fighters and drones available to vaporize Taliban groups approaching Kabul.
Occam’s razor says, roughly, that if you hear hoofbeats outside your window at night, don’t spend the next day tracking zebras. I think Mr. Occam would advise us not to search for our leaders’ incompetence but for proof they made a deliberate decision … not unlike the decision to allow 200,000 illegals to cross out border each month.
I can’t imagine being in a foreign country right now, sitting in a pub chatting up a local. I ponder them making the following remarks:
“So, big USA, huh? You’ve got rioters murdering cops and lighting their cars on fire. You’ve got arson and looting in your major cities, and no one does anything. You’ve got people storming your capital. You’re flying gay rights flags from your embassies in hostile countries. You’ve got a president who can’t hold an unscripted press conference. And now your big military superpower not only abandoned the Afghans who helped you but also your own citizens. What you got to say about that?”
I’d want to tell them that my America is about her people, and the principles the nation was founded on. I’d want to tell them of all the good America has done. I’d want to tell them of the equality shared in our great melting pot. Then — then I’d remember half of our nation doesn’t believe any of that … and our media and Americans on the left have been trumpeting their condemnation of the “hateful oppression” of American minorities … and I’d remember the message of the American left and the left-wing media has probably been the topic of my drinking buddy’s national media for a year.
And with those good things stripped away, and the cowardice of our leaders, and the division within our nation, and our politicians stating to the world that America has never been great, I’d probably say, “I know. Who would’ve thought it?”
God can change the fate of a nation, and I believe He has done so many times for America. Despite our flaws, we were His Christian nation … His shining light on a hill. We’ve turned our back on Him and descended into secularism, both in our governance and in our culture. Perhaps He has withdrawn His blessing for us, as He allows no other gods before Himself.
If that’s the case, we shouldn’t be looking for fire trucks coming around the bend. We’re reaping what we’ve sown.