Here’s to 2012…

Only Revolutions…

Holy Shit…2011 definitely hit us like a fucking shotgun blast to the chest.  Only a few days after celebrating the new year we saw the rise of some of the greatest and most powerful human revolutions of all time sparked by a simple man who simply had enough of injustice.  The uprisings and calls for greater realities spread like wildfire throughout the dry powder keg of our unsustainable global power structures.  Dictators fell.  People rose.  Armies defected.  Capitalism declined.  And empire finally stumbled.  Now as we look to the turning of a yet another  year, happy that we have at least survived the beginning of the next wave of human revolution, we can  only see a glimpse the great amount of work left to be done, the countless mountains left to climb, and the broken and treacherous road ahead…

When the history books finally tell our tale, I can only predict that 2011 will be remembered as the year of the Revolution, of the Arab Spring and the countless movements across the world which it spawned.  It will be remembered as the year of greater calls for human freedom and the year of human awakening to the unsustainable situations and orders of our day.  As we saw dictators and regimes falter across the world we supported some through our weapons and military might, others we passively watched waiting for the proper moment to install our new realities while wondering if true democracy would really take hold and what it would mean for our “national interests”, and at least one other we crushed amid the context of “humanitarian intervention”.  While democracy was not a new concept to this part of the world as many forms of it had indeed been tried and dissolved by both ourselves and more localized forms of tyranny, the essence of the popular democratic uprisings were their unpredictable nature to which we were left painfully impotent in our ability to control.  And as the movements pass into their second year, as the passion of freedom meets the reality of state-building and governance, and as greater ideals and realities are questioned all over the world I can only see further growth of instability and youthful angst across the most critical regions of  our world…

And then there is the great American house of cards…Once again we saw waves of popular uprisings in our streets, although this time they were calling not for simple petty reforms, but much greater structural and cultural change.  And through the turmoil and angst in our streets, we began to see the true nature of the glass palace that has become the current manifestation of American Empire.  Our society is among the most unequal and polarized in the world with almost half of our citizens surviving on low income and we are beginning to see the final death throes of our current system of narrow corporate protectionist capitalism which can only be described as a despicable mutation of the economic paradigms developed by Adam Smith.  There is more violence in our streets than almost any non-warzone in our world.  And we selfishly export it to our global community under the false flag of a war on terrorism as if a small number of jihadist organizations are capable of achieving anywhere near the level of death and destruction as a great industrial empire.  Yet even though our corporate mass media continues to distort and glamorize reality in the interest of profit, their monopoly on our intellect is fast eroding amid the power of free information and the countless voices of dissent rising greater calls for new and better human realities.

Of course, 2011 will be remembered as the year we finally left Iraq and the year in which we began a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.  While it is no small achievement that we have actually succeeded in bringing some manifestation of democracy to the people of Iraq, it is highly doubtful that the history books will ever look favorably upon our little adventure in Mesopotamia.  Our reasons for the invasion were simply too dubious and deceitful.  Our work was plagued by mass violence, sectarian conflict, and the ghosts of Abu Grahib, Haditha, and Falluja.  Too many souls, both American and Iraqi (by a ratio of roughly 1 to 100) perished in the name of “freedom” and still unresolved present realities and paradigms.  And our American contractors seem to have benefitted a bit too much from the waves of death and destruction for the comfort of any truly free and democratic society…

Afghanistan of course has been much more successful.  The Taliban have been virtually eliminated as a coherent threat to regain power.  The Afghan army is steadily evolving and growing more and more capable as a military force with each passing month, and as a whole the level of violence finally appears to be going down.  Yet, it when the scribes of history finally sit down to pass their final judgment, “mission creep” will likely be the operative phrase of the day.  We invaded the country as a response to the greatest terrorist attack in our history in the name of removing a safe haven for an Al Qaeda organization that was by all accounts a work of our creation, strategic blowback from an old war against an old enemy.  And we struggled with the reality of trying to develop one of the least developed nations in the world through the barrels of our guns and suitcases of our hard currency.   We continued to squander our time, talent, and treasure amid roads to nowhere, fields of poppies, pipelines of natural resources, and the blood of some of our closest friends.  And while it is a great testament to the dedication, creativity, and determination of our military that we are actually this close to success in this country, there are certainly hard lessons to be learned from our toils and we would be very wise to pay attention to them…

And of course there is Iran…only moments after we announced our final withdrawal from Iraq it appears the drums of preemptive war have once again been beating with renewed vigor.  While nuclear proliferation is a real danger in our own world, it is not the most dangerous of our time.  And as we stumble through the various elements of propaganda and war mongering looking for real evidence of the actual threat posed by the Islamic Republic we are likely to find very little of substance, a smoking gun with no bullets or shell casings.  And as we continue the present discourse, I only hope that the American people will not for the second time in ten years, fall for the oldest trick in the tyrant’s book:  quell internal instability at home through mass mobilization against an “enemy” abroad.  There are simply so many alternatives to war with Iran that it would take an entire book to describe them all.  Only a cursory reading of history will tell us that democracy in that country was once the order of the day until we decided to overthrow it for the benefit of American capitalists and energy resources.  And even amid the posturing of the present day, there is still a healthy democratic movement within the country which only needs our time and patience to achieve real reforms.  Of course, if war is the path we chose in the coming years, I will be among the first to volunteer for the fight, but until that day I will just be another professional soldier looking for a better solution…

For Americans, 2012 will also be the year we chose yet another corporate CEO.  For a campaign expected to cost the American people over a billion dollars in political advertising I find it difficult to say that we are electing an actual president anymore.  The state of politics in our nation is so degenerate and absurd that I find it amazing that we still even call ourselves a democracy and try to spread our “democratic ideals” throughout the world.  Once again, we will see our society break apart along factional lines as the media races to call out our red states and blue states while portraying the entire experience as some type of perverted sporting event complete with plenty of commercial interruptions.  Many people will be lead to believe that one candidate or the other actually represents some type of concrete new ideas for the improvement of society and that his opponent is the actual spawn of Satan as depicted in a strong advertising campaign backed by the dollars of wealthy campaign contributors and some of the greatest minds in marketing and propaganda on the face of the planet.  Yet many more, I believe, are likely to be turned off by the entire process and will see that the very concept of having only two strikingly similar choices for president is the absolute worst example of democracy during one of the most critical political eras in history.  They will question why it costs so much money to run an effective campaign based on propaganda and misinformation and how this is shutting the door on so many new ideas that our country so desperately needs.  And they will ask their fellow citizens how it is possible to be content acting like a real citizen once every four years by casting a vote for one advertising campaign over another.  True democracy requires a bit more of commitment, and true patriotism doesn’t just accept the reality of the day, but actively seeks to question and change it.  The election of 2012 will probably go as planned, but I really don’t see this going on much longer as the winner of the popular vote will likely not be either the Democratic or Republican candidate but the apathetic dissenting voice of the likely 50% of eligible voters who choose not to participate in a flawed and deeply corrupt system that needs drastic reform…

And then there’s the end of the world…as if reality was not interesting enough 2012 will have to deal with the burden of being the last year of human history on planet Earth.  There are various names for it, the “rapture” the “quickening” the “great awakening” the “end times” and while most are based off of the ending of the Mayan calendar there are surely multiple versions of the theory out there dealing with anything from various celestial bodies, to the return of false gods and “saviors”, to alien invasion.  And while there is some scientific truth to parts of it (the Mayans weren’t complete retards by any standards) it is highly doubtful that the world will end in 2012 based on just about every piece of evidence we can find.  Still, the blending of religious ideologies of liberation and eternal salvation for man combined with natural phenomenon and completely unrelated human events will likely make 2012 turn out to be quite an interesting year.  And while I believe absolutely none of the “doomsday” stories of our time there is likely to be some type of “quickening” associated with the new year based not on a religious calendar from thousands of years ago but the simple exponential growth in technology and population driving head long into a steady and constantly depreciating level of planetary resources necessitating great changes in human society that began in 2011 and will continue to gain momentum in the new year.  While the year 2012 will likely not be the last of human history, it will be among the last in human society as we know it today…

Although I am only 25 years old moving in to 2012, I can’t shake the feeling that I am closer to 35 and pushing 40 fast.  The weeks and months weigh down on me these days like years amid the challenges we are facing in our world and the great personal mountains I have yet to climb.  And I am left with a much deeper sense of personal urgency as we move closer and closer to our collective point of no return where our realities begin to slip far beyond our control.  2011 was certainly an interesting year for me, I made some epic jumps, came much closer to finishing my first Master’s degree, went off to war, did a few “combat” missions but never got shot at, and ended my time as a platoon leader for a desk job that while at keeping me occupied a bit, has given me ample opportunity to read, think, and ask tougher questions about the true nature of the world I am inheriting.  This blog started as a means to share some of my experiences but as time has worn on, I feel it is a much better tool for sharing a few of my thoughts, insights, and ideas.  I don’t claim to be right on anything I say or anything I will say in the coming year as being wrong is ultimately one of the greatest intellectually liberating experiences we can have.  In the end, I am just shooting for a decent batting average in this game.  400 was good enough for Ted Williams and I believe it is really the only thing any modern thinker can really hope for in a world full of too many intangibles and crazy human coincidences.  Regardless of how “right” I end up being in the coming years, 2012 will definitely be a year to begin making moves and seeing how far I can go with this and a few other projects already in the initial planning stages.  As human being and members of a global society our greatest danger is failing to evolve with the times and changes to our known environment and to this end I will continue to push forward regardless of how many setbacks and dead ends I encounter in the coming years.  What began as a journey to war in 2011 has ended in 2012 with a much longer and more treacherous journey to figuring out and expressing the new human realties our society and our community are truly capable of…

In the next year, many of us will choose to protest against the false gods and fake realities of this era in our time.  Others will calmly follow the established order and fall in line with the only society they have come to know and understand.  And maybe a few will seek the middle path and try to make sense of the immense challenges we face as a global society while working for change from within the very tools and power structures which it provides.  The only thing that is certain is that at some point, we must come together, find ways of resolving our differences peacefully through discussion and discourse, and make peace and reconciliation with both our enemies and our oppressors.  The challenges before us are immense and complex indeed.  How can we reconcile the need for economic growth with the realities of scarce planetary resources and growing unemployment due to the power of human machines and technology?  How can we balance our need for security with our responsibility to create greater openness to new ideas and paradigms?  How can we break from the realpolitik of our parents’ day and build the structures of real politics that our children deserve?  And how can we learn to accept the sins of our past so that we can bring our heads together and develop a counter-narrative for the opportunities of our future?  We have all the tools available to us right now and everything we need for the journey ahead at our fingertips.  It will just take a bit of personal courage, a dedication to a cause much greater than ourselves, a willingness to discuss the ideas in our hearts while opening ourselves up to new realities and the prospects of being dead wrong, and the ability to put our current situations in their proper perspective and get to work figuring out our dreams for the future.  If 2011 was the year of global Revolution, let’s try to make 2012 the year of global Renaissance…I’ll see you at work…

 

Here’s to 2012

Cheers,

Brian

2 Jan 2012, 2000 AST, Sharana, Paktika, Afghanistan

Dedicated to Darren, John, Dimitri, and Tim…job well done, be at peace…and all 20 of our brothers and sisters we lost jumping this year…If human beings have learned to fly, what the fuck could be impossible?

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About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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