They move quickly from person to person and present no moving target at which to shoot.  They are like the head of the hydra.  Once the idea takes hold in a person, if you cut that person down at least two more arise in his or her place.   You cannot pin a target on an idea.

Let’s fight them with a surge.  After all,  it worked in Iraq.  But it didn’t.  A couple of things happened in Iraq that made the surge look successful.  First, in the neighborhoods where we were getting our butt kicked, the minority population was driven out—the segregation was complete.  The neighborhoods were either all Sunni or all Shiite.  Second, we started to pay them not to shoot at us.  We called it something else, but basically, we “hired” them to fight for us.  They didn’t go anywhere to fight on our behalf, but they “kept order” in the neighborhoods they had recently “cleansed.”  In other words, we paid them not to shoot at us.

Now, about these Afghans, we don’t have the Sunni/Shiite split like we did in Iraq.   We just have Afghans who are basically uneducated because decades of war have kept the country from developing.  They have warlords who act as “mayors” of large areas.  The plant enough crops to be able to eat and large crops of opium poppies which brings in foreign currency.  The army we are fighting is the one that we trained and equipped to fight the Russians, whom we have since replaced.

Supposedly we are training a new army to fight the old army we created years ago.  We are having trouble though.  It seems that the Afghans who kicked Russia’s ass and are now kicking ours just can’t seem to find the motivation to kick their own ass, as it were.

At the small-unit level, Western troops and journalists have documented their corruption, drug use, mediocre or poor fighting skills and patterns of lackluster commitment, including an unwillingness to patrol regularly and in sizable numbers, or to stand watch in remote outposts.

At the higher levels, Western military officers often describe patronage, favoritism and an absence of managerial acumen, rooted in part in the pervasive culture of corruption and in widespread illiteracy. (Now, 14 percent of the combined force can read or write — at the third-grade level.)

On top of this stellar performance, there is an attrition rate of at least 3% per month.  While it does not seem like much, if I could get a rate like that from a bank I could retire very quickly.  These soldiers simply “disappear,” the article said.  Whoa, we are spending billions to train and equip these guys and they disappear?  I don’t think so.  They cross “the line.”  And, I bet they are better at shooting across it than they ever were when they were on our side.  In other words, we re training and equipping our enemy.

We were providing one teacher for every 79 Afghans.  Now we are providing one instructor got every 29 Afghans.  Our surge is getting better at training our enemies.  The soldiers that do not disappear simply do nothing except consume our tax dollars and work, as it were, on behalf of a corrupt government that is in bed with the very people we are at war with.

We are told that our enemy is getting fiercer and more sophisticated.  Duh.  We are getting more wounded.  We are squandering more and more needed tax dollars to feed this machine. We are unable to get people back to work in this country so we have to borrow even more money to maintain this gargantuan war effort.

At home we are hearing more and more about how our jobs are being outsourced to China and Mexico or about hoards of Mexicans are sweeping across our border and stealing our jobs.  The real answer is that our jobs are being outsourced to our prisons, here in our own country.  I have permission to share with you an email I received from a person who commented on a previous blog of mine.  We were talking about how it is our prisons that are making jobs in the private sector so scarce.  I joked about how ironic it would be if prison labor were to be used to build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Bob Sloan, Prison Industry Consulting, Indianapolis, IN  46226, http://piecp/ had this to say.

I heard using Mexican labor to build the fence kicked around in the media a couple of years ago, but never thought it would take hold. However, picking them up as illegal and putting them in immigration facilities, where they are then taken out to farms in Colorado to pick and gather produce and perform other farm tasks did take hold. In several SW states this is happening more and more frequently. It allows the “farmer” corporations to reduce immigrant labor even further by using incarcerated “employees” and provides profits to the private owned detention facilities housing them.  What little money they are allowed to keep from their work, they spend in detention commissaries corporate owned by the likes of Keefe Commissary Network.

Sadly the $2.4 billion you mention is not the full extent of the sales and profits…check out the federal bureau of prison industries. They had gross sales in 2008 of more than $1 billion and the Florida prison industry run by PRIDE had gross sales of prisoner goods in excess of another $80 million in 2008. Using your figure of $2.4 and seeing that one state and the FPI accounted for more than half of the $2.4, it is easy to understand that a figure of $2.4 in annual sales is possibly conservative. This is especially true where there are now 42 PIECP operating “Certificates” nationwide. Each of these certificates allow state prison industries to operate multiple product industries under a single certificate. FPI is not a PIECP Certificate holder, so there are 41 other operations in addition to PRIDE in Florida.

There are thousands of private sector jobs being lost to prisoners every year. It is being done with the assistance of lobbyists and greedy lawmakers working on behalf of the likes of CCA, Geo Group, AT&T HP, McDonalds (yes, that one), Starbucks, Microsoft and hundreds of others. All of these corporations are involved in prison labor to manufacture, package and distribute their products or provide their services - such as Technical support call centers or reservation call centers. It is well hidden of late, most corporations like AT&T, Microsoft and Boeing use sub-contractors as go-betweens to keep public awareness of their use of prison labor and goods hidden from the media and general public.

An important note…ALEC membership includes AT&T, Prison Ministries, UPS, GlaxoSmithKline, American Bond Coalition, Koch Industries, Coca-Cola, Johnson and Johnson and Wal-Mart are but a few of the Public Enterprise members. Together they set the corporate and legislative paths conservatives wish to follow to higher profits and governmental control. A visit to ALEC’s site and a reading of their publications and laws they have gotten passed will leave you with a case of nausea. Several of these corporate members and sponsors (BP, etc.) choose inmate labor over private sector employment for the obvious reason - profits.

It is no wonder that the middle and lower class of this country is being battered.  Our poor educational system is producing just enough fodder for the military and to keep our prisons full.  And sadly, you can’t fight these ideas with bullets either.