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American exceptionalism bulletin, 2016

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[Dec 30, 2016] The Coup against Trump and His Military

Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly.
Notable quotes:
"... In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means, which may help illustrate some of the current moves underway in Washington. These are especially interesting since the Obama Administration served as the 'midwife' for these 'regime changes'. ..."
"... Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly. ..."
"... In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists. ..."
"... The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'. ..."
"... The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'. ..."
"... Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia. ..."
"... Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. ..."
"... Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future. ..."
"... If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables'). ..."
"... He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him. ..."
"... It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984. ..."
"... What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra! ..."
"... I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else. ..."
"... Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand! ..."
"... What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia. ..."
"... Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason. ..."
Dec 28, 2016 | www.unz.com

Introduction

A coup has been underway to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from taking office and fulfilling his campaign promise to improve US-Russia relations. This 'palace coup' is not a secret conspiracy, but an open, loud attack on the election.

The coup involves important US elites, who openly intervene on many levels from the street to the current President, from sectors of the intelligence community, billionaire financiers out to the more marginal 'leftist' shills of the Democratic Party.

The build-up for the coup is gaining momentum, threatening to eliminate normal constitutional and democratic constraints. This essay describes the brazen, overt coup and the public operatives, mostly members of the outgoing Obama regime.

The second section describes the Trump's cabinet appointments and the political measures that the President-Elect has adopted to counter the coup. We conclude with an evaluation of the potential political consequences of the attempted coup and Trump's moves to defend his electoral victory and legitimacy.

The Coup as 'Process'

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means, which may help illustrate some of the current moves underway in Washington. These are especially interesting since the Obama Administration served as the 'midwife' for these 'regime changes'.

Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups, in which the elected Presidents were ousted through a series of political interventions orchestrated by economic elites and their political allies in Congress and the Judiciary.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were deeply involved in these operations as part of their established foreign policy of 'regime change'. Indeed, the 'success' of the Latin American coups has encouraged sectors of the US elite to attempt to prevent President-elect Trump from taking office in January.

While similarities abound, the on-going coup against Trump in the United States occurs within a very different power configuration of proponents and antagonists.

Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly.

Coup-makers depend on the 'Big Lie' as their point of departure – accusing President-Elect Trump of

  1. being a Kremlin stooge, attributing his electoral victory to Russian intervention against his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton and
  2. blatant voter fraud in which the Republican Party prevented minority voters from casting their ballot for Secretary Clinton.

The first operatives to emerge in the early stages of the coup included the marginal-left Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who won less than 1% of the vote, as well as the mass media.

In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'.

Like the Billionaire Soros-funded 'Color Revolutions', from Ukraine, to Georgia and Yugoslavia, the 'Rainbow Revolt' against Trump, featured grass-roots NGO activists and 'serious leftists', like Jill Stein.

The more polished political operatives from the upscale media used their editorial pages to question Trump's illegitimacy. This established the ground work for even higher level political intervention: The current US Administration, including President Obama, members of the US Congress from both parties, and current and former heads of the CIA jumped into the fray. As the vote recount ploy flopped, they all decided that 'Vladimir Putin swung the US election!' It wasn't just lunatic neo-conservative warmongers who sought to oust Trump and impose Hillary Clinton on the American people, liberals and social democrats were screaming 'Russian Plot!' They demanded a formal Congressional investigation of the 'Russian cyber hacking' of Hillary's personal e-mails (where she plotted to cheat her rival 'Bernie Sanders' in the primaries). They demanded even tighter economic sanctions against Russia and increased military provocations. The outgoing Democratic Senator and Minority Leader 'Harry' Reid wildly accused the FBI of acting as 'Russian agents' and hinted at a purge.

ORDER IT NOW

The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'.

President Obama solemnly declared the Trump-Putin conspiracy was a grave threat to American democracy and Western security and freedom. He darkly promised to retaliate against Russia, " at a time and place of our choosing".

Obama also pledged to send more US troops to the Middle East and increase arms shipments to the jihadi terrorists in Syria, as well as the Gulf State and Saudi 'allies'. Coincidentally, the Syrian Government and their Russian allies were poised to drive the US-backed terrorists out of Aleppo – and defeat Obama's campaign of 'regime change' in Syria.

Trump Strikes Back: The Wall Street-Military Alliance

Meanwhile, President-Elect Donald Trump did not crumple under the Clintonite-coup in progress. He prepared a diverse counter-attack to defend his election, relying on elite allies and mass supporters.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He appointed three retired generals to key Defense and Security positions – indicating a power struggle between the highly politicized CIA and the military. Active and retired members of the US Armed Forces have been key Trump supporters. He announced that he would bring his own security teams and integrate them with the Presidential Secret Service during his administration.

Although Clinton-Obama had the major mass media and a sector of the financial elite who supported the coup, Trump countered by appointing several key Wall Street and corporate billionaires into his cabinet who had their own allied business associations.

One propaganda line for the coup, which relied on certain Zionist organizations and leaders (ADL, George Soros et al), was the bizarre claim that Trump and his supporters were 'anti-Semites'. This was were countered by Trump's appointment of powerful Wall Street Zionists like Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn (both of Goldman Sachs) to head the National Economic Council. Faced with the Obama-CIA plot to paint Trump as a Russian agent for Vladimir Putin, the President-Elect named security hardliners including past and present military leaders and FBI officials, to key security and intelligence positions.

The Coup: Can it succeed?

In early December, President Obama issued an order for the CIA to 'complete its investigation' on the Russian plot and manipulation of the US Presidential election in six weeks – right up to the very day of Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017! A concoction of pre-cooked 'findings' is already oozing out of secret clandestine CIA archives with the President's approval. Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia.

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. Will Trump succumb? The legitimacy of his election and his freedom to make policy will depend on overcoming the Clinton-Obama-neo-con-leftist coup with his own bloc of US military and the powerful Wall Street allies, as well as his mass support among the 'angry' American electorate. Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future.

If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables').

He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him.

(Reprinted from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Kirt December 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm GMT

A very insightful analysis. The golpistas will not be able to prevent Trump from taking power. But will they make the country ungovernable to the extent of bringing down not just Trump but the whole system?

John Gruskos , December 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm GMT

If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Robert Magill , December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm GMT

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations

The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids?

Replies: @Skeptikal I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.
So many people have reacted with "first=level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department). , @animalogic Oh, yes, Robert -- To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.

What a god-awful president.

An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.

The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words -- & not one shred of supporting evidence.... ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity --

If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Brás Cubas , December 28, 2016 at 6:17 pm GMT

Excellent analysis! Mr. Petras, you delved right into the crux of the matter of the balance of forces in the U.S.A. at this very unusual political moment. I have only a very minor correction to make, and it is only a language-related one: you don't really want to say that Trump's "illegitimacy" is being questioned, but rather his legitimacy, right?

Another thing, but this time of a perhaps idiosyncratic nature: I am a teeny-weeny bit more optimistic than you about the events to come in your country. (Too bad I cannot say this about my own poor country Brazil, which is going faster and faster down the drain.)

Happy new year!

schmenz , December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm GMT
@John Gruskos If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Exactly...

Svigor , December 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm GMT

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.

And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

Replies: @Seamus Padraig

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.
That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Lieutenant Morrisseau , December 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm GMT

MAN PAD LETTER – DM 24 DEC 2016

I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft .such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers .such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still–that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this I think we are all in very great danger today–now– AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]–a felony under existing laws. –Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future–or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
–FOR TRUMP–
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

• Replies: @Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Bruce Marshall , December 29, 2016 at 6:05 am GMT • 100 Words @Lieutenant Morrisseau MAN PAD LETTER - DM 24 DEC 2016


I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft ....such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers....such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still--that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this......I think we are all in very great danger today--now-- AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]--a felony under existing laws. --Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future--or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
--FOR TRUMP--
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

• Replies: @El Dato Hmmm.... If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Mark Green says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 29, 2016 at 6:39 am GMT • 600 Words

This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump–not Obama–that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump–out of fear and necessity–run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?–Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?–Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

• Replies:

@Authenticjazzman

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist. ,

@Seamus Padraig

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.
Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.
And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.
It's been dead foreever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.
They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.
Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") - Caligula ,

@Rurik

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.
I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game. , @map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained.

How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors. ,

@RobinG "

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile...
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

@Tomster

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Pirouette , December 29, 2016 at 7:08 am GMT

The real issue at stake is that Presidential control of the system is non existent, and although Trump understands this and has intimated he is going to deal with it, it is clear his hands will now be tied by all the traitors that run the US.

You need a Nuremburg type show trial to deal with all the (((usual suspects))) that have usurped the constitution. (((They))) arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers and established the slave trade buying slaves from their age old Muslim accomplices, and selling them by auction to the goyim.

(((They))) established absolute influence by having the Fed issue your currency in 1913 and forcing the US in to three wars: WWI, WWII and Vietnam from which (((they))) made enormous profits.

You have to decide whether you want these (((professional parasitical traitors))) in your country or not. It is probably too late to just ask them to leave, thus you are faced with the ultimate reality: are you willing to fight a civil war to free your nation from (((their))) oppression of you?

This is the elephant in the room that none of you will address. All the rest of this subject matter is just window dressing. Do you wish to remain economic slaves to (((these people))) or do you want to be free [like the Syrians] and live without (((these traitor's))) usurious, inflationary and dishonest policies based upon hate of Christ and Christianity?

Max Havelaar , December 29, 2016 at 10:45 am GMT

My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

• Replies: @annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.
Karl , December 29, 2016 at 11:20 am GMT

the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches – it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

@Seamus Padraig
Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.
It seems you may be on to something:
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally--you know, a kosher nostra!

mp , December 29, 2016 at 11:23 am GMT

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups

The US is not at the stage of these countries yet. To compare them to us, politically, is moronic. In another several generations it likely will be different. But by then there won't be any "need" for a coup.

If things keep up, the US "electorate" will be majority Third World. Then, these people will just vote as a bloc for whomever promises them the most gibs me dat. That candidate will of course be from the oligarchical elite. Trump is likely the last white man (or white man with even marginally white interests at heart) to be President. Unless things drastically change, demographically.

El Dato , December 29, 2016 at 11:39 am GMT
@Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Hmmm . If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my.

Authenticjazzman , December 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm GMT
@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

Agent76 , December 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm GMT

D.C. has passed their propaganda bill so I am not shocked.

Dec 27, 2016 "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" Signed Into Law! (NDAA 2017)

It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.

Skeptikal , December 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm GMT
@Robert Magill
Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.

So many people have reacted with "first level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department).

animalogic , December 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Robert Magill

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

Oh, yes, Robert -- To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.
What a god-awful president.
An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.
The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words - & not one shred of supporting evidence . ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity --
If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website

@Svigor

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.
On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.
And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!
This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm GMT • 1

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.

Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

It's been dead for ever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.

They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") – Caligula

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Karl the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches - it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong.... plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

It seems you may be on to something:

RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra!

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 4:36 pm GMT

@Max Havelaar My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZK2FZGKAd0

The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell – who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor – is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

• Agree: Kiza • Replies: @Anonymous
The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.
It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do? , @Max Havelaar A serial killer, paid by US taxpayers. By universal human rights laws he would hang.

Maybe the Russian FSB an get to him.

Durruti , December 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm GMT

Nice well written article by James Petras.

I agree with some, mostly the pro-Constitutionalist and moral spirit of the essay, but differ as to when the Coup D'etat is going to – or has already taken place .

The coup D'etat that destroyed our American Republic, and its last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy, took place 53 years ago on November 22, 1963. The coup was consolidated at the cost of 2 million Vietnamese and 1 million Indonesians (1965). The assassinations of JF Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy, R. Kennedy's ally, Martin L. King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, John Lennon, and many others, followed.

Mr. Petras, the Coup D'etat has already happened.

Our mission must be the Restore our American Republic! This is The Only Road for us. There are no shortcuts. The choice we were given (for Hollywood President), in 2016, between a psychotic Mass Murderer, and a mid level Mafioso Casino Owner displayed the lack of respect the Oligarchs have for the American Sheeple. Until we rise, we will never regain our self-respect, our Honor.

I enclose a copy of our Flier, our Declaration, For The Restoration of the Republic below, for your perusal. We (of the Anarchist Collective), have distributed it as best we can.

Respect All! Bow to None!

Merry Christmas!

God Bless!

[MORE]
For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence , written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963, when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965 , the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala.

In the 1970s , the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion . This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled , and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

Anonymous , December 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm GMT

@annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.

It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do?

• Replies: @Bill Jones The corruption is endemic from top to bottom.

My previous residence was in Hamilton Township in Monroe County, PA . Population about 8,000.
The 3 Township Supervisors appointed themselves to township jobs- Road master, Zoning officer etc and pay themselves twice the going rate with the occupant of the job under review abstaining while his two palls vote him the money. Anybody challenging this is met with a shit-storm of propaganda and a mysterious explosion in voter turn-out: guess who runs the local polls?

The chief of the local volunteer fire company has to sign off on the sprinkler systems before any occupation certificate can be issued for a commercial building. Conveniently he runs a plumbing business. Guess who gets the lion's share of plumbing jobs for new commercial buildings?

As they climb the greasy pole, it only gets worse.

Meanwhile the routine business of looting continues:

My local rag (an organ of the Murdoch crime family) had a little piece last year about the new 3 year contract for the local county prison guards. I went back to the two previous two contracts and discovered that by 2018 they will have had 33% increases over nine years. Between 2008 and 2013 (the latest years I could find data for) median household income in the county decreased by 13%.

At some point some rogue politician will start fighting this battle.

Miro23 , December 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm GMT

If the US is split between Trump and Clinton supporters, then the staffs of the CIA and FBI are probably split the same way.

The CIA and FBI leadership may take one position or another, but many CIA and FBI employees joined these agencies in the first place to serve their country – not to assist Neo-con MENA Imperial projects, and they know a lot more than the general public about what is really going on.

Employees can really mess things up if they have a different political orientation to their employers.

Rurik , December 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game.

Art , December 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm GMT • 100 Words

I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace - Art

• Agree: Seamus Padraig • Replies: @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.

Francis Boyle writes:

"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP.

Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Svigor , December 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm GMT

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it.

True.

alexander , December 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm GMT • 200 Words

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned ..Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

• Replies: @annamaria

"They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration."

The subtitles are quite direct in presenting the US deciders as criminal bullies: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/12/russia-obama-was-most-evil-president.html

@Tomster What does Russian intelligence know? Err ... perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? - but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

RobinG , December 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm GMT

@Art I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace --- Art

"If we get past the inauguration ."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) – doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act – providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
" I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

• Replies: @Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

map , December 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

• Replies: @joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb , @RobinG "A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Realist , December 29, 2016 at 11:05 pm GMT • 100 Words

"The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

joe webb , December 29, 2016 at 11:35 pm GMT • 200 Words

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but

Joe Webb

• Replies: @map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

Stebbing Heuer says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm GMT

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else.

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 11:50 pm GMT

@Realist "The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html
"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."
Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies – the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

• Replies: @Realist Great observations. Thanks. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
Art , December 30, 2016 at 1:06 am GMT • 100 Words @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing – in a NYT's article today – they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 – they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart – not the DNC – it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really – how pissed off can they be?

Peace - Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

• Replies: @RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

Svigor , December 30, 2016 at 2:20 am GMT • 100 Words

Looks like I spoke too soon:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/312132-fbi-dhs-release-report-on-russia-hacking

The feds have now released their reports, detailing how the dastardly Russians darkly influenced the 2016 presidential election by releasing Democrats' emails, and giving the American public a peek inside the Democrat machine.

Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand!

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

@Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

• Replies: @Art
What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.
RobinG --- Agree 100% - some times I get things crossed up --- Peace Art
anon , December 30, 2016 at 6:33 am GMT

https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' - does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp .

• Replies: @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC


Realist , December 30, 2016 at 8:17 am GMT

@annamaria The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html

"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists... The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb ... the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."

Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies - the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

Great observations. Thanks.

map , December 30, 2016 at 9:16 am GMT

@joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb

The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

• Replies: @Tomster "treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs - who have done virtually nothing for them. , @joe webb good points. Yet, Palestinians ..."They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much...even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway.
Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.

Joe Webb

Seamus Padraig says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm GMT

@anon https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' -- does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

• Replies: @geokat62
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.
"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/ , @alexander Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today ....combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years...

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment...

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor...who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine...that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss ... who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently...."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party)......probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back.....four times...

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks..... demanding faux accountability... culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp.......all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA....Right, Seamus ?

Skeptikal , December 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm GMT • 100 Words

"what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. "

The longer Israel persists in its "facts-on-the-ground" thievery, the less moral standing it has for its white country. And it is a racist state also within its own "borders."

A pathetic excuse for a country. Without the USA it wouldn't exist. A black mark on both countries' report cards.

geokat62 , December 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm GMT @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/


RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm GMT

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by?

The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

"A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole.

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

"As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

Art , December 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

RobinG - Agree 100% – some times I get things crossed up - Peace Art

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm GMT @alexander

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff.....like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned........Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

What does Russian intelligence know? Err perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? – but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

"treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs – who have done virtually nothing for them.

alexander , December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today .combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently ."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party) probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back ..four times

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks .. demanding faux accountability culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp .all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA .Right, Seamus ?

joe webb , December 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

good points. Yet, Palestinians "They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway. Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.
Joe Webb

Realist , December 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm GMT • 100 Words

Trump has absolutely no support in the media. With the Fox News and Fox Business, first string, talking heads on vacation (minimal support) the second and third string are insanely trying to push the Russian hacking bullshit. Trump better realize that the only support he has are the people that voted for him.

January 2017 will be a bad month for this country and the rest of 2017 much worse.

lavoisier says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 31, 2016 at 1:38 am GMT • 100 Words

@joe webb

Sorry Joe, the "whites" did not give the Jews the atomic bomb. In truth, the Jews were critically important in developing the scientific ideas and technology critical to making the first atomic bomb.

I can recognize Jewish malfeasance where it exists, but to ignore their intellectual contributions to Western Civilization is sheer blindness.

[Dec 27, 2016] U.S. Sold $40 Billion in Weapons in 2015, Topping Global Market - The New York Times

Dec 27, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

Although global tensions and terrorist threats have shown few signs of diminishing, the total size of the global arms trade dropped to around $80 billion in 2015 from the 2014 total of $89 billion, the study found. Developing nations bought $65 billion in weapons in 2015, substantially lower than the previous year's total of $79 billion.

The United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015, as purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion and France's deals increased by well over $9 billion.

The report, " Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015 ," was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and delivered to legislators last week. The annual review is considered the most comprehensive assessment of global arms sales available in an unclassified form. The report adjusts for inflation, so the sales totals are comparable year to year.

[Dec 21, 2016] Russia: The Old-New Official Enemy

Dec 21, 2016 | www.fff.org
by Jacob G. Hornberger December 15, 2016

It is impossible to overstate the stakes involved in the latest controversy over Russia. They involve trillions of dollars in warfare largess to the tens of thousands of bureaucratic warfare-state parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.

Ever since the advent of the U.S. national-security state after World War II, America has needed official enemies, especially ones that induce fear, terror, and panic within the American citizenry. When people are fearful, terrified, and panicked, they are much more willing, even eager, to have government officials do whatever is necessary to keep them safe and secure. It is during such times that liberty is at greatest risk because of the propensity of government to assume emergency powers and the proclivity of the citizenry to let them have them.

That's what the Cold War was all about. The official enemies were communism and the Soviet Union, which was an alliance of nations that had Russia at its center. U.S. officials convinced Americans that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world, with its principal base in Moscow.

A correlative threat was Red China, whose communist hordes were supposedly threatening to flood the United States.

There were also the communist outposts, which were considered spearheads pointed at America. North Korea. North Vietnam. Cuba, which, Americans were told, was a communist dagger pointed out America's neck from only 90 miles away.

And then there was communism the philosophy, along with the communists who promoted it. It was clear, U.S. officials gravely maintained, that communism was spreading all across the world, including inside the U.S. Army, the State Department, and Hollywood, and that communists were everyone, including leftist organizations and even sometimes under people's beds.

Needless to say, all this fear, terror, and panic induced people to support the ever-growing budgets, influence, and power of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which had become the national-security branch of the federal government - and the most powerful branch at that. Few cared that their hard-earned monies were being taken from them by the IRS in ever-increasing amounts. All that mattered was being kept safe from the communists.

Hardly anyone questioned or challenged this warfare-state racket. President Eisenhower alluded to it in his Farewell Address in 1961, when he pointed out that this new-fangled governmental structure, which he called "the military industrial complex," now posed a grave threat to the freedoms and democratic processes of the American people.

One of those who did challenge this official-enemy syndrome was President John F. Kennedy. At war with his national-security establishment in 1963, Kennedy threw the gauntlet down at his famous Peace Speech at American University in June of that year. There was no reason, Kennedy said, that the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia) and the rest of the communist world couldn't live in peace co-existence and even friendship, even if the nations were guided by different ideologies and philosophies. Kennedy announced that it was time to end the Cold War against Russia and the rest of the communist world.

What Kennedy was proposing was anathema to the national-security state and its ever-growing army of voracious contractors and subcontractors who were feeding at the public trough. How dare he remove the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia) as America's official enemy? How could the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA justify their ever-growing budgets and their ever-growing emergency powers? Indeed, how could they justify the very existence of their Cold War totalitarian-type apparatus known as a "national security state" without a giant official enemy to strike fear, terror, and panic with the American people?

Kennedy was considered a neophyte and an incompetent by the national-security establishment, not to mention an immoral adulterous philanderer who was even sleeping with the girlfriend of a Mafia don. What Kennedy didn't realize, the Pentagon and the CIA believed, was that it was impossible for the United States and the communist world to live in peaceful coexistence. This was a fight to the finish. Kennedy was being lulled, perhaps even blackmailed, into surrendering America to the Reds. He was considered a traitor, a betrayer, and the epitome of naïve. (See: JFK's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne; The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger; Regime Change: The Kennedy Assassination by Jacob Hornberger; The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger; and CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.)

Once Kennedy was removed from the scene, everything returned to "normal." The Cold War continued. The Vietnam War against the commies in Asia to prevent more dominoes from falling got ramped up. The Soviet Union, Red China, and the worldwide communist conspiracy continued to be America's big official enemies. The military and intelligence budgets continued to rise. The number of warfare state parasites continued soaring.

Seemingly, there was never going to be an end to the process. Until one day, the unexpected suddenly happened. The Berlin Wall came crashing down, East and West Germany were reunited, and the Soviet Union was dismantled, all of which struck unmitigated fear within the bowels of the American deep state.

Oh sure, there was still Cuba, Red China, North Korea, and Vietnam but those communist nations, for some reason, just didn't strike fear, terror, and panic within Americans as Russia did.

U.S. officials needed a new official enemy. Enter Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, who had served as a partner and ally of the U.S. government during the 1980s when he was waging war against Iran, which, by that time, had become converted from official friend to official enemy of the U.S. Empire. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam was made into the new official enemy. Like the Soviets and the communists, Saddam was coming to get us and unleash mushroom clouds all over America. The American people bought it and, not surprisingly, budgets for the national-security establishment continued their upward soar.

Then came the 9/11 attacks in retaliation for what the Pentagon and the CIA were doing in the Middle East, followed by with the retaliatory invasions Afghanistan and Iraq. Suddenly the new official enemies were "terrorism" and then later Islam. Like the communists of yesteryear, the terrorists and the Muslims were coming to get us, take over the federal government, run the IRS and HUD, and force everyone to study the Koran. The American people bought it and, not surprisingly, budgets for the national-security establishment continued their upward soar.

The problem is that Americans, including U.S. soldiers and their families, are now growing weary of the forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. But U.S. national-security state officials know that if they bring the troops home, the official enemies of terrorism and Islam disappear at the same time.

That's why they have decided to return to their old, tried and true official enemy - Russia and, implicitly, communism. It's why the U.S. broke its promise to Russia to dismantle NATO. It's why the U.S. supported regime change in the coup in Ukraine. It's why the U.S. wants Ukraine into NATO - to enable the U.S. to install missiles on Russia's border. It's why the national-security state is "pivoting" toward Asia - to provoke crises with Red China. It's why they are accusing Russia of interfering with the U.S. presidential election and campaigning for Donald Trump. The aim of it all is to bring back the old Cold War official enemies of Russia, China, and communism, in order to keep Americans afraid, terrified, and panicked, which then means the continuation of ever-growing budgets to all those warfare state parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.

With his fight against the CIA over Russian hacking and his desire to establish normal relations with Russia, Donald Trump is clearly not buying into this old, tried-and-true Russia-as-official enemy narrative. In the process, he is posing a grave threat to the national-security establishment and its ever-growing budgets, influence, and power.

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[Dec 20, 2016] Is the slide toward military dictatorship the poarth the the USA will take due to collapse of neoliberlaism

Notable quotes:
"... But "bastard neoliberalism" that Trump represents in his internal economic policy probably is not a solution for the nations problems. It is too early to say what will be the level of his deviation from election promises, but judging for his appointments it probably will be considerable -- up to a complete reverse on certain promises. ..."
"... So I view his election as the next logical step (after the first two by Bush II and Obama) toward military dictatorship. Previous forms of "Inverted totalitarism" -- a neoliberal version of Bolshevism (or, more correctly, Trotskyism -- many neocons were actually former Trotskyites ) seems to stop working. Neoliberal ideology was discredited in 2008. All three: Bolshevism, Trotskyism and neoliberalism might also be viewed as just different flavors of Corporatism. ..."
"... After 2008 crisis, neoliberalism in the USA continues to exist in zombie state: as a non-dead dead, so it will be inevitably replaced by something else. Much like Bolshevism after 1945. How soon it will happen and what will be the actual trigger (the next oil crisis which turns into another round of Great Recession?) and what will be the successor is anybody guess. Bolshevism in the USSR lasted till 1991 or 46 years. The victory on neoliberalism in the Cold War was in 1991 so if we add 50 years then 2041 might be the date. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

likbez, December 19, 2016 at 09:18 PM

I think the shift from New Deal Capitalism to neoliberalism proved to be fatal for the form of democracy that used to exist in the USA (never perfect, and never for the plebs).

Neoliberalism as a strange combination of socialism for the rich and feudalism for the poor is anathema for democracy even for the narrow strata of the US society who used to have a say in the political process. Like Bolshevism was dictatorship of nomenklatura under the slogan of "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", neoliberalism is more like dictatorship of financial oligarchy under the slogan "The financial elite of all countries, unite!")

In this sense Trump is just the logical end of the process that started in 1980 with Reagan, or even earlier with Carter.

And at the same time [he is] the symptom of the crisis of the system, as large swats of population this time voted against status quo and that created the revolutionary situation when the elite was unable to govern in the old fashion. That's why, I think, Hillary lost and Trump won.

But "bastard neoliberalism" that Trump represents in his internal economic policy probably is not a solution for the nations problems. It is too early to say what will be the level of his deviation from election promises, but judging for his appointments it probably will be considerable -- up to a complete reverse on certain promises.

So I view his election as the next logical step (after the first two by Bush II and Obama) toward military dictatorship. Previous forms of "Inverted totalitarism" -- a neoliberal version of Bolshevism (or, more correctly, Trotskyism -- many neocons were actually former Trotskyites ) seems to stop working. Neoliberal ideology was discredited in 2008. All three: Bolshevism, Trotskyism and neoliberalism might also be viewed as just different flavors of Corporatism.

After 2008 crisis, neoliberalism in the USA continues to exist in zombie state: as a non-dead dead, so it will be inevitably replaced by something else. Much like Bolshevism after 1945. How soon it will happen and what will be the actual trigger (the next oil crisis which turns into another round of Great Recession?) and what will be the successor is anybody guess. Bolshevism in the USSR lasted till 1991 or 46 years. The victory on neoliberalism in the Cold War was in 1991 so if we add 50 years then 2041 might be the date.

And the slide toward military dictatorship does not necessary need to take a form of junta, which takes power via coup d'état. The control of the government by three letter agencies ("national security state") seems to be sufficient, can be accomplished by stealth, and might well be viewed as a form of military dictatorship too. So it can be a gradual slide: phase I, II, III, etc.

The problem here as with Brezhnev socialism in the USSR is the growing level of degeneration of elite and the growth of influence of deep state, which includes at its core three letter agencies. As Michail Gorbachev famously said about neoliberal revolution in the USSR "the process already started in full force". He just did not understand at this point that he already completely lost control over neoliberal "Perestroika" of the USSR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perestroika

In a way, the US Presidents are now more and more ceremonial figures that help to maintain the illusion of the legitimacy of the system. Obama is probably the current pinnacle of this process (which is reflected in one of his nicknames -- "teleprompter" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/obama-photo-caption-contest-teleprompter_n_1821154.html) .

You probably could elect a dog instead of Trump and the US foreign policy will stay exactly the same. This hissy fits about Russians that deep state gave Trump before December 19, might be viewed as a warning as for any potential changes in foreign policy.

As we saw with foreign policy none of recent presidents really fully control it. They still are important players, but the question is whether they are still dominant players. My impression is that it is already by-and-large defined and implemented by the deep state. Sometimes dragging the President forcefully into the desirable course of actions.

[Dec 12, 2016] Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, claims that former President George W. Bush and other government officials committed the crime of aggression when they launched the Iraq War, an international war crime that was banned at the Nuremberg Trials

Dec 12, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

ALberto | Dec 12, 2016 3:02:04 PM | 2

The Nuremberg Court Trials rulings only apply to 'them' not 'US'

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, claims that former President George W. Bush and other government officials committed the crime of aggression when they launched the Iraq War, an international war crime that was banned at the Nuremberg Trials.

Saleh filed her lawsuit in March 2013 in San Francisco federal court. The court ruled in December 2014 that the defendants in the lawsuit - George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz - were immune from civil proceedings based on the Westfall Act, a federal law which immunizes government officials from lawsuits for conduct taken within the lawful scope of their authority. Saleh appealed the decision in June 2015.

The Ninth Circuit has not indicated when it will issue an order with respect to Saleh's appeal.

Nuremberg trial also prosecuted Judges unt Doctors.

http://witnessiraq.com/blog/

[Dec 06, 2016] Mattis on Our Way of War

Dec 06, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
General Mattis reportedly spoke of his concerns during discussions over attacking Iran and thus fell afoul of the Washington establishment, so President Obama hastened his retirement. Foreign Policy 's Thomas Ricks reported :

Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way-not because he went all "mad dog," which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, "And then what?"

Washington did have a "strategy" when it attacked Iraq, the neoconservative one. This was to intimidate the Muslim world with massive bombing, "Shock and Awe" we called it, so all Muslims would be afraid of us and then do what we ordered. Then we planted giant, billion-dollar American air bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. These would, they thought, give us hegemony over Central Asia, intimidate Russia and Iran, while Iraq would turn into a friendly, modern democracy dependent upon Washington. Other Muslim nations would then follow with democratic regimes which would co-operate and obey Washington's plans.

With the neocons discredited, no other strategy has replaced theirs except to "win" and come home. This is not unusual in our history. In past wars American "strategy" has usually been to return to the status quo ante, the prewar situation. Washington violates nearly all of Sun Tzu's dictums for success. Endless wars for little purpose and with no end strategy are thus likely to continue. They are, however, profitable or beneficial for many Washington interests.

[Dec 06, 2016] Why is the USA addicted to war?

www.moonofalabama.org
ben | Dec 3, 2016 2:01:32 PM | 10

http://www.addictedtowar.com/ read the books online. don't let the books format fool you, massive thought, with footnotes.

Penelope | Dec 3, 2016 11:47:02 PM | 59

Ben @ 10, it's not the USA that's addicted to war. Rather it is the US govt AS CAPTURED BY THE OLIGARCHS. Nor is it truly an addiction, but a means to the end of a global oligarchy. It isn't enough to see the evil of US aggression. One must also understand why the international institutions which have usurped nationhood around the world are evil: Fed/IMF system, World Bank, WTO and the entire UN system to which they belong. US hegemony has never been intended as the endgame. Oligarchical global govt is-- initially as a decentralized administration which they are already trying to sell you as "multipolarity".

[Dec 05, 2016] Is war the health of state ?

Notable quotes:
"... I keep trying to point out that these nations are proxies for the global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else. That is the social cancer we need to eliminate. The British people are not all bad any more than all Americans but all of private finance is bad and has been for centuries. ..."
Dec 03, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

james | Dec 3, 2016 11:39:28 AM | 2

sst comment -

"b

Well, if you looked at it and decided against it why am I wasting my time? "unlike the U.S. military which is used to destroys foreign cities without much thought of the aftermath" Always with the nasty, sneering, condescending attitude toward us. I remind you that it was the BRITISH army that destroyed your grandparents house, not the US Army. pl"

and the usa has learned and followed the British in so many of it's imperialist ways carrying the mantel for empire building forward into the 20th and 21st century.. enough of British or American bullshit..

psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 12:10:21 PM | 4
@ james who wrote " and the usa has learned and followed the british in so many of it's imperialist ways caring the mantel for empire building forward into the 20th and 21st century.. enough of british or american bullshit."

I keep trying to point out that these nations are proxies for the global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else. That is the social cancer we need to eliminate. The British people are not all bad any more than all Americans but all of private finance is bad and has been for centuries.

okie farmer | Dec 3, 2016 12:15:14 PM | 5
"the state made war and war made the state."

Lords of 'Pride and Plunder' by Robert Bartlett

The Crisis of the Twelfth Century: Power, Lordship, and the Origins of European Government by Thomas N. Bisson Princeton University Press, 677 pp., $39.50

One of the major institutions of pre-industrial society, and one that makes it hard for people in the modern Western world fully to grasp the past, is lordship. Lordship means a personal bond, reciprocal but not equal, tying inferiors to superiors, bringing the latter a power over the former that modern democratic and egalitarian ideologies would abhor. We are not accustomed to address others as "Master" or "Mistress," "My Lord" or "My Lady."

Of course modern Western societies are not communities of equals. Vast differences in wealth and access to education exist. But the world of lordship embraced and endorsed those differences. Hierarchy was a valued ideal, and some people considered themselves better born than others-remember those nineteenth-century novels with characters "of good family." The aristocrats ("aristocracy" means "rule by the best") did not court their inferiors. They ruled them, and, if they were just and well disposed, they protected them and furthered their interests. This is what "good lordship" meant. Not all lords, of course, were good. Submission to cruel, arbitrary, or unhinged masters could mean misery or death. Much of the savagery of the French Revolution is to be explained by the fact that thousands of peasants had suffered just such a submission.

Thomas Bisson's new book concerns itself with lordship, that all-pervasive institution, in a formative period of European history, the twelfth century (or rather the "long twelfth century," starting well before 1100 and continuing after 1200). It is an age that evokes for many the majesty of the great cathedrals, like Chartres and Canterbury, the rise of a new kind of intellectual inquiry, embodied in the questing spirit of Abelard or the emergence of the first universities, and the flourishing of the love lyrics of the troubadours and the tales of Arthurian romance. There is even the (now well established but initially paradoxical) notion of "the Twelfth-Century Renaissance." This book, however, presents a different, and much darker, twelfth century.

Bisson, professor of medieval history emeritus at Harvard, is one of the leading historians of the Middle Ages. His early work concentrated on Catalonia, a region with particularly rich archival sources from this period; he has continually expanded both his geographical range and the breadth of the historical questions he asks. In the 1990s he was a participant in a lively debate on the so-called "Feudal Revolution," the theory that a transformation in the patterns of power and authority took place in Europe in the decades around the year 1000. In those years it was argued that older, official, and public structures of justice and administration were replaced by new, more violent, and more localized forms, based on strongmen and their fortresses.

In his new book many of the elements of that "Feudal Revolution" recur, now extended to a later period. Bisson's summary of developments in Catalonia in the years 1020 to 1060 presents such a picture very clearly: there was "a terrifying collapse of public justice and the imposition of a new order of coercive lordship over an intimidated peasantry." Moving on into the twelfth century, the model is still recognizable: there is an "old passing world" ruled by a few nobles, and a "burgeoning new world" of "vicious men," castle-lords and knights prepared to use violence against the despised peasantry. This book is indeed an extended discussion of the issues arising from that earlier debate. Bisson acknowledges that it is "not a systematic treatise, still less a textbook," and those unfamiliar with the period may soon be lost. The book is an interpretation, an individual assessment of European history of that period, one that takes a stand on a dozen debated issues, often in implicit dialogue with other scholars. The main topics are lordship, violence, and the state.

Lordship was a building block of most societies until relatively recently -- serfdom was abolished in Russia only in 1861. Such societies were distinguished by extreme inequalities, made visible by costume and gestures, like bowing and doffing of hats, and often supported by belief in hereditary superiority and inferiority of blood. Collective groupings existed, but were not powerful, and conflict and ambition were channeled more by vertical than horizontal solidarities: retainers, servants, and other followers and dependants sought patronage from the great, not action alongside their peers. At the highest level, lesser aristocrats became followers of great aristocrats, who themselves would be competing for the ruler's favor. Costume dramas set in Tudor England, like Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth, convey some of the flavor of such a world.

It was the prevalence of lordship that complicates any discussion of the medieval state. Bisson repeatedly uses the far from standard formulations "lord-king," "lord-ruler," and even "lord-archbishop" to convey the point that every ruler of this time was also a lord, a master of men, a patriarch of some kind, possessing his position as inheritance or property, rather than (or as well as) holding it as an office-indeed, he writes, "there is no sign that European people in the twelfth century thought of lordship and office as contrasting categories."

Kings were lords, but also more than lords. Like the great barons, their power was patrimonial: that is, inherited, dynastic, based on ideas of property we might call "private." A king's kingdom was his in the same way that a baron's landed estates were his. Transmission of power was through father-to-son inheritance, not by election. Hence marriages, births, and deaths were the great punctuating points of medieval politics, not caucuses and ballots. Yet a king was also more than just the greatest of the barons. Both the Church and a long secular tradition saw him as having special duties as a ruler, duties that might be called "public."

This dualism of lordship and the state meant that medieval rulership had two distinct faces, which were close to being opposites: on the one hand, the grand promises made at coronation by kings and emperors, to ensure justice and the protection of the weak and the Church; on the other hand, the reality of being a warlord trained in mounted warfare, a leader of proud, hard men, used to wielding lethal edged weapons, and the center of a court full of envy, ambition, and suspicion.

Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was a militarized world: it was "an age of castles," when "those astride horses and bearing weapons routinely injured or intimidated people" -- although, of course, they were still doing it in the thirteenth century, fourteenth century, fifteenth century, and beyond. The Cossacks were still doing it in the twentieth century. This raises a problem. In the absence of even a hint of dependable statistics, it is virtually impossible to weigh up the relative violence of different periods and places of the past. We know all the difficulties involved in dealing with modern crime figures; for the past we rarely have figures of any kind, but must rely on stories told by chroniclers (often ecclesiastical) and interested parties (usually plaintiffs). Historians read the laments, the individual accounts of plunder, murder, and rape, and try to assess whether this was the way life was then, or whether it simply reflects a very bad moment in that world. And while there can be little doubt that levels of violence were higher in the medieval period than in modern Western peacetime societies, we, who live in the aftermath of the worst genocidal atrocities in recorded history, should not make that claim with any complacency.

It is not difficult to gather stories of local violence and oppression from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. But if we put these twelfth-century tales alongside those of the sixth-century historian-bishop Gregory of Tours, whose History of the Franks reveals a world of monstrous cruelty, we might wonder if things had really gotten much worse in the intervening six hundred years. On one occasion, Gregory writes, a noble discovered that two of his serfs had married without his consent: he supposedly said how delighted he was that they had at least not married serfs from another lordship; he promised that he would not separate them, and then kept his word by having them buried alive together. And was the twelfth century any more full of violence than, say, late medieval France, a happy hunting ground for mercenaries and freebooters during the Hundred Years' War?

The rulers of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were trained in, and glorified, war, and expected to live off it, as well as off the tribute of a subjugated peasantry. If such rulers formed "the state" of their day, what are the implications? The state engages in violence; it takes away our property. How then does it differ from a criminal enterprise? This was a question that went back at least as far as Saint Augustine in the fourth century:

What are robber gangs, except little kingdoms? If their wickedness prospers, so that they set up fixed abodes, occupy cities and subjugate whole populations, they then can take the name of kingdom with impunity.

Augustine's ponderings stem from the worrying doubt that states and kingdoms, indeed all lawfully constituted governments, are just the most successful of the robber gangs. This idea, that the state and the criminal gang are but larger and smaller versions of the same thing, was one recurrent strand in medieval thinking. In the words of Gregory VII, the reformist pope of the eleventh century:

Who does not know that kings and dukes had their origin in men who disregarded God and, with blind desire and intolerable presumption, strove to dominate their equals, that is, other men, through pride, plunder, perfidy, homicides, and every kind of crime, under the inspiration of the lord of this world, the devil?

Westerns (like Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) often explore the thin line between the gunslinger and the sheriff, or the poignancy of the bandit turned law officer; and the thinness of that line is clear in the Middle Ages. In the fourteenth century the kings of France, wishing to concentrate their forces against the English, called upon their barons to curtail their own feuds and vendettas: "We forbid anyone to wage war (guerre) during our war (guerre)." What the king does and what the feuding nobles do is the same kind of thing-"war." Nowadays, we make a sharper distinction. For instance, in the modern world, someone who takes our property away is either a criminal or a tax collector. If the latter, then it is the state taking our property away, and most people, of most political outlooks, distinguish the lawmakers from the lawbreakers.

Traditionally the state took away people's property in order to finance war. In Charles Tilly's phrase, "the state made war and war made the state." The war-making, tax-raising state is indeed the standard, familiar political unit of modern world history. If we go back in time, do we reach a period when such an entity did not exist?

Bisson is not a scholar who throws the term "state" around freely. Indeed, the conceptual vocabulary of his book is worth a mention. On the one hand, Bisson is happy to use the traditional but deeply contested terms "feudal" and "feudalism," both of which even have entries in his glossary at the end of the book. He can write of "a massive feudalizing of England by the Normans." Some historians would do away with these concepts altogether. Even if some kinds of estates were called "fiefs" (feoda), they argue, why should that fact lead us to a characterization of a whole society? Perhaps a touch of self-questioning is visible in Bisson's embrace of the terminology: "'Feudal monarchy': is this the right concept?" he asks.
In contrast to his acceptance of this traditional terminology, Bisson has a marked tendency to use large conceptual terms with a peculiar, even personal, connotation. "Political" is an example. The bishops of this period, he says, "vied with one another for visible precedence," yet such struggles "were not political disputes; they were concerned with status, not process." A footnote refers us to an infamous incident when the archbishop of York, noticing that the archbishop of Canterbury had a seat higher than his, kicked it over and refused to be seated until he had a seat as high. Now, one might reasonably class this as a nursery tantrum, but why should not a public dispute over precedence count as "political"?
This wariness about the term "political" (usually in scare quotes in the book) is based on the idea that lordship "was personal, affective, and unpolitical in nature." Might it not be clearer to say that the politics of that time was not the same as the politics of ours? It may be that we have here an example of a recurrent dilemma, either to say that the power relations of long ago are not politics at all, or to say that they are, but that we must differentiate between medieval and modern politics. Similarly, we may say that the superior authorities of that time cannot be called states at all; or we can argue that they were, but that we must distinguish medieval and modern states.

One of the most important examples of Bisson's idiosyncratic use of general terms is his treatment of the word "government." He is reluctant even to apply the term to Norman England. "Royal lordship" was not the same thing as "government." Sometimes government is completely absent. Late-twelfth-century Europe was "an ungoverned society," although there were also "proto-governments" at this time; by the mid-thirteenth century "something like government hovered." This unwillingness to see the rulers of the central Middle Ages as constituting "governments" is to be explained partly because, in Bisson's view, the people of that time lacked any understanding of the state as distinct from lordship, but also because there are certain criteria for government, as distinct from lordship, that the rulers did not meet. He identifies three: accountability, official conduct, and social purpose.

"Accountability" is an important term in Bisson's historical vocabulary. Sometimes it means quite literally the rendering of financial accounts, like the Catalan fiscal records which Bisson himself has edited. He emphasizes the birth, in the twelfth century, of "a newly searching and flexible accountability," as simple surveys of resources and fixed revenues, which can be found from early in the Middle Ages, were supplemented by balance sheets of incoming and outgoing assets. The English Pipe Rolls, annual audits of income and expenditures of the royal sheriffs, are a classic example. The English Dialogue of the Exchequer of 1178, or thereabouts, reveals a department of government that is professional, with its own technical expertise, and (in the Dialogue) its own handbook or manual. Slightly later, in 1202, there appears what has been called "the first budget of the French monarchy."

But Bisson also uses the word in a broader sense: accountability means official responsibility, answerability. He associates it with the idea of office. Record-keeping is in fact one test of official status. And true government is "the exercise of power for social purpose," "social purpose" perhaps to be glossed here as "the common good." It is the emergence of "official conduct aimed at social purpose," linked, interestingly, with the rise of public taxation, that, for Bisson, signals the shift of the balance from lordship to government in the thirteenth century.

However, the chronology of state formation in the Middle Ages is a disputed issue. Some historians talk as if there were a stateless period at some point in the central Middle Ages. Others hold the view that, to take one notable example, the kingdom of England of the year 1000 was not only a state but a strong, centralized, and pervasive state. If taxation and a standardized coinage are, in Bisson's words, parts of "a new model of associative power" around the year 1200, then the uniform land tax and centralized currency of eleventh-century England show that that model already existed in some places two hundred years earlier.

What cannot be disputed is that over the course of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, the state became increasingly bureaucratic. The documents produced by the English government in the eleventh century could be placed on one large table (even given that monumental oddity, Domesday Book, the extensive survey of land ownership made in 1086 under William the Conqueror). The documents produced by the English government in the thirteenth century fill whole rooms and could never be read in one person's lifetime. Written records supplemented or replaced older oral forms of information gathering, testimony, or command (Michael Clanchy's 1979 masterpiece, From Memory to Written Record, analyzes this development for precociously bureaucratic England in the Norman and Plantagenet period). But more bureaucratic government does not necessarily mean less violent, or even less arbitrary, government.

Historians like bureaucracy, because it feeds their hunger for written sources, the raw material with which they work; but the bond between historians and government is deeper than that. The historical profession grew up in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in close symbiosis with government. Not only was the heart of historical study usually the archives produced by past governments, but many of the students and teachers in those generations, the first to study history as a discipline, entered government service. Charles Homer Haskins, the founding father of American medieval scholarship, was an adviser to Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

He was also the teacher of Joseph Strayer, himself the teacher of Bisson. Such academic genealogies can be overplayed, but there is no doubt that all three great medievalists, Haskins, Strayer, and Bisson, demonstrate a deep-rooted concern with the techniques and records of administration, with the procedures of the bureaucrats and officials. Strayer was as familiar with the modern as with the medieval version, since he worked for the CIA One of his most vigorous pieces of work is entitled On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State (1970; one might notice the emphasis on both the "origins" and the "modern"; we live in the modern state; its origins go back a long way, but the state of those days was not the state of ours). The book contains Strayer's cogent definition of feudalism as "public powers in private hands," with that confident assurance that these adjectives, "public" and "private," convey a simple and evident distinction that will arouse no intellectual discomfort in readers. By contrast, Bisson's book is generated in part by his wrestling with such concepts and their implications.

Bisson's book is called The Crisis of the Twelfth Century. "Crisis" means a vitally important or decisive stage in the progress of anything. But in that sense, any century of human history is a crisis. One might even say that this is simply the condition of human life-we are always in an Age of Crisis (although the situation might not always be as alarming as today's). Bisson acknowledges that "'crisis' was not a common word in the verbiage of the day," and the one instance he cites of the contemporary use of the word (in its Latin form discrimen) refers to a succession crisis in Poland in 1180. He wishes to see the various distinct political crises he discusses (such as the Saxon revolt of 1075, the communal insurrection in Laon in 1111, the "anarchy" of King Stephen's reign) as part of "the same wider crisis of multiplied knights and castles."

However, a case can be made that the levels of violence and disorder in this period were largely dictated by the patterns of high politics rather than by a deep-seated structural malaise. Disputed successions, or the accession of a child-king, could indeed upset the world of knights and castles, unleashing the strongmen and their castle-based predatory attacks. Yet a regime of knights and castles could also form the basis for fairly stable feudal monarchies, such as one sees in France and England for most of the thirteenth century. If this is so, there were, of course, crises in the twelfth century, but no Crisis.

The violence and greed of European knights of this period were directed beyond the local victims. Bisson's "long twelfth century" was not only an age of predatory lords in their castles bullying their peasantry but also an age of expansionary, one could say colonialist, violence. Christian armies, led by these predatory lords, crossed into Muslim lands, capturing Toledo in 1085, Jerusalem in 1099, and landing in North Africa in 1148; they destroyed the last remnants of West Slav paganism in the Baltic in 1168; they even turned their formidable fighting strength against their estranged Christian cousins in the Greek East, and sacked Constantinople in 1204. The energies generated in the conflicts between mounted men in the West, and the expertise they acquired in subjugating and fleecing the local peasantry, could be exported. The story of European violence is far from unique, but it was in the central Middle Ages that it took a form that shaped the subsequent history of the world.

A traditional view of the development of European society in the central Middle Ages, a view to be found in textbooks past and present, is that the empire of Charlemagne (747–814) and his successors had important elements of public authority, in the form of officials with delegated powers and courts open to all free men, but that this regime was replaced, around the year 1000, with a heavily militarized and violent world of strongmen in castles, lording it over peasants. Over the course of time this world was, in its turn, transformed by the persistent efforts of the kings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries into a network of more centralized and bureaucratic states, which led ultimately to modern systems of government. Like every model at this level of generality, as long as people who know something about the subject have created it, there must be some truth in this picture, however little it can be the whole truth. But we might have questions. Was the "old public order" of Charlemagne and his successors so public and so ordered? Was the subsequent regime so close to anarchy?

Bisson adds to this traditional account by thinking deeply about the benefits and disadvantages of government. He is very aware of the inhumanity of the past he studies. He refers, with allusion to the words of the twelfth-century cleric John of Salisbury, to "hunter-lords." John was talking about the way that aristocrats were obsessed with the chase, but we might apply his phrase in a wider sense. Since some theorists believe that human society is imprinted with its origins in hunting packs and the mentality of the pack, the predatory lordship of the central Middle Ages could be conceived of as just such a hunting pack-but its prey being fellow human beings, rather than beasts.

Confronting this world of hunter and hunted, Bisson is inspired by attractively humane impulses. In an earlier book, Tormented Voices, a microhistorical analysis of complaints raised by Catalan peasants in the twelfth century, he stated explicitly that he was attempting "an essay in compassionate history." Likewise in this book. And he looks for public, accountable, official remedies for suffering and oppression. He seems sympathetic to the idea that "power is rightly oriented towards the social needs of people." "If ever government was the solution, not the problem," he writes, "it was so for European peoples in the twelfth century." Is the modern world so happy in its governments? Whether we should endure the violence of the state, as a defense against the yet more fearful violence of our neighbors, and whether there comes a point where the violence of the state must be resisted are great recurrent questions of moral and political life. The questions raised by Bisson's book remain open.

james | Dec 3, 2016 1:03:24 PM | 6
@4 psychohistorian.. and i agree with you in that too.. it has to do with the packaging and a tendency in people to identify with the packaging - in this example 'made in the usa' as some sort of rationale for that social sickness many suffer from called 'patriotism'.. it seems to be especially prevalent in the worst nations, the usa at this point in time being the focal point for much of this marketing...
psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 1:28:39 PM | 8
@ okie farmer who added a loooong comment that contained the following about the definition of government:
"
He identifies three: accountability, official conduct, and social purpose.
"

The narrative provided did not get into a discussion of "social purpose" but I think that it is an important concept. The example I would posit is the original humanistic motto of the US, E Pluribus Unum which was instantiated by government creations of the time like the pony express....true socialism, if you need an ism to cling to. Social Security INSURANCE is another example of an instantiation of social purpose.

The original US motto was replaced by In God We Trust in the mid 1950's which, IMO, destroyed the social purpose concept of government and instead tells you to trust the leaders and religious institutions.....reversion to kings and feudalism.

You get the government you demand. What sort of world do you want to pass to the children?

ben | Dec 3, 2016 2:01:32 PM | 10
Why is the U$A addicted to war?

read the books online. don't let the books format fool you, massive thought, with footnotes.

http://www.addictedtowar.com/

[Dec 05, 2016] The Real Story of How America Became an Economic Superpower

Notable quotes:
"... Rather than join the struggle of imperial rivalries, the United States could use its emerging power to suppress those rivalries altogether. ..."
"... "a power unlike any other. It had emerged, quite suddenly, as a novel kind of 'super-state,' exercising a veto over the financial and security concerns of the other major states of the world." ..."
"... Peter Heather, the great British historian of Late Antiquity, explains human catastrophes with a saying of his father's, a mining engineer: "If man accumulates enough combustible material, God will provide the spark." So it happened in 1929. The Deluge that had inundated the rest of the developed world roared back upon the United States. ..."
"... "The originality of National Socialism was that, rather than meekly accepting a place for Germany within a global economic order dominated by the affluent English-speaking countries, Hitler sought to mobilize the pent-up frustrations of his population to mount an epic challenge to this order." ..."
"... He could not accept subordination to the United States because, according to his lurid paranoia, "this would result in enslavement to the world Jewish conspiracy, and ultimately race death." ..."
"... By 1944, foreigners constituted 20 percent of the German workforce and 33 percent of armaments workers (less than 9 percent of the population of today's liberal and multicultural Germany is foreign-born). ..."
"... The Hitlerian vision of a united German-led Eurasia equaling the Anglo-American bloc proved a crazed and genocidal fantasy. ..."
www.theatlantic.com

The United States might claim a broader democracy than those that prevailed in Europe. On the other hand, European states mobilized their populations with an efficiency that dazzled some Americans (notably Theodore Roosevelt) and appalled others (notably Wilson). The magazine founded by pro-war intellectuals in 1914, The New Republic, took its title precisely because its editors regarded the existing American republic as anything but the hope of tomorrow.

Yet as World War I entered its third year-and the first year of Tooze's story-the balance of power was visibly tilting from Europe to America. The belligerents could no longer sustain the costs of offensive war. Cut off from world trade, Germany hunkered into a defensive siege, concentrating its attacks on weak enemies like Romania. The Western allies, and especially Britain, outfitted their forces by placing larger and larger war orders with the United States. In 1916, Britain bought more than a quarter of the engines for its new air fleet, more than half of its shell casings, more than two-thirds of its grain, and nearly all of its oil from foreign suppliers, with the United States heading the list. Britain and France paid for these purchases by floating larger and larger bond issues to American buyers-denominated in dollars, not pounds or francs. "By the end of 1916, American investors had wagered two billion dollars on an Entente victory," computes Tooze (relative to America's estimated GDP of $50 billion in 1916, the equivalent of $560 billion in today's money).

That staggering quantity of Allied purchases called forth something like a war mobilization in the United States. American factories switched from civilian to military production; American farmers planted food and fiber to feed and clothe the combatants of Europe. But unlike in 1940-41, the decision to commit so much to one side's victory in a European war was not a political decision by the U.S. government. Quite the contrary: President Wilson wished to stay out of the war entirely. He famously preferred a "peace without victory." The trouble was that by 1916, the U.S. commitment to Britain and France had grown-to borrow a phrase from the future-too big to fail.

Tooze's portrait of Woodrow Wilson is one of the most arresting novelties of his book. His Wilson is no dreamy idealist. The president's animating idea was an American exceptionalism of a now-familiar but then-startling kind. His Republican opponents-men like Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Elihu Root-wished to see America take its place among the powers of the earth. They wanted a navy, an army, a central bank, and all the other instrumentalities of power possessed by Britain, France, and Germany. These political rivals are commonly derided as "isolationists" because they mistrusted the Wilson's League of Nations project. That's a big mistake. They doubted the League because they feared it would encroach on American sovereignty. It was Wilson who wished to remain aloof from the Entente, who feared that too close an association with Britain and France would limit American options. This aloofness enraged Theodore Roosevelt, who complained that the Wilson-led United States was "sitting idle, uttering cheap platitudes, and picking up [European] trade, whilst they had poured out their blood like water in support of ideals in which, with all their hearts and souls, they believe."

Wilson was guided by a different vision: Rather than join the struggle of imperial rivalries, the United States could use its emerging power to suppress those rivalries altogether. Wilson was the first American statesman to perceive that the United States had grown, in Tooze's words, into "a power unlike any other. It had emerged, quite suddenly, as a novel kind of 'super-state,' exercising a veto over the financial and security concerns of the other major states of the world."

Wilson hoped to deploy this emerging super-power to enforce an enduring peace. His own mistakes and those of his successors doomed the project, setting in motion the disastrous events that would lead to the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, and a second and even more awful world war.

What went wrong? "When all is said and done," Tooze writes, "the answer must be sought in the failure of the United States to cooperate with the efforts of the French, British, Germans and the Japanese [leaders of the early 1920s] to stabilize a viable world economy and to establish new institutions of collective security. Given the violence they had already experienced and the risk of even greater future devastation, France, Germany, Japan, and Britain could all see this. But what was no less obvious was that only the US could anchor such a new order." And that was what Americans of the 1920s and 1930s declined to do-because doing so implied too much change at home for them: "At the hub of the rapidly evolving, American-centered world system there was a polity wedded to a conservative vision of its own future."

Widen the view, however, and the "forgotten depression" takes on a broader meaning as one of the most ominous milestones on the world's way to the Second World War. After World War II, Europe recovered largely as a result of American aid; the nation that had suffered least from the war contributed most to reconstruction. But after World War I, the money flowed the other way.

Take the case of France, which suffered more in material terms than any World War I belligerent except Belgium. Northeastern France, the country's most industrialized region in 1914, had been ravaged by war and German occupation. Millions of men in their prime were dead or crippled. On top of everything, the country was deeply in debt, owing billions to the United States and billions more to Britain. France had been a lender during the conflict too, but most of its credits had been extended to Russia, which repudiated all its foreign debts after the Revolution of 1917. The French solution was to exact reparations from Germany.

Britain was willing to relax its demands on France. But it owed the United States even more than France did. Unless it collected from France-and from Italy and all the other smaller combatants as well-it could not hope to pay its American debts.

Americans, meanwhile, were preoccupied with the problem of German recovery. How could Germany achieve political stability if it had to pay so much to France and Belgium? The Americans pressed the French to relent when it came to Germany, but insisted that their own claims be paid in full by both France and Britain.

Germany, for its part, could only pay if it could export, and especially to the world's biggest and richest consumer market, the United States. The depression of 1920 killed those export hopes. Most immediately, the economic crisis sliced American consumer demand precisely when Europe needed it most. True, World War I was not nearly as positive an experience for working Americans as World War II would be; between 1914 and 1918, for example, wages lagged behind prices. Still, millions of Americans had bought billions of dollars of small-denomination Liberty bonds. They had accumulated savings that could have been spent on imported products. Instead, many used their savings for food, rent, and mortgage interest during the hard times of 1920-21.

But the gravest harm done by the depression to postwar recovery lasted long past 1921. To appreciate that, you have to understand the reasons why U.S. monetary authorities plunged the country into depression in 1920.

Grant rightly points out that wars are usually followed by economic downturns. Such a downturn occurred in late 1918-early 1919. "Within four weeks of the Armistice, the [U.S.] War Department had canceled $2.5 billion of its then outstanding $6 billion in contracts; for perspective, $2.5 billion represented 3.3 percent of the 1918 gross national product," he observes. Even this understates the shock, because it counts only Army contracts, not Navy ones. The postwar recession checked wartime inflation, and by March 1919, the U.S. economy was growing again.

As the economy revived, workers scrambled for wage increases to offset the price inflation they'd experienced during the war. Monetary authorities, worried that inflation would revive and accelerate, made the fateful decision to slam the credit brakes, hard. Unlike the 1918 recession, that of 1920 was deliberately engineered. There was nothing invisible about it. Nor did the depression "cure itself." U.S. officials cut interest rates and relaxed credit, and the economy predictably recovered-just as it did after the similarly inflation-crushing recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-82.

But 1920-21 was an inflation-stopper with a difference. In post-World War II America, anti-inflationists have been content to stop prices from rising. In 1920-21, monetary authorities actually sought to drive prices back to their pre-war levels. They did not wholly succeed, but they succeeded well enough. One price especially concerned them: In 1913, a dollar bought a little less than one-twentieth of an ounce of gold; by 1922, it comfortably did so again.

... ... ...

The American depression of 1920 made that decision all the more difficult. The war had vaulted the United States to a new status as the world's leading creditor, the world's largest owner of gold, and, by extension, the effective custodian of the international gold standard. When the U.S. opted for massive deflation, it thrust upon every country that wished to return to the gold standard (and what respectable country would not?) an agonizing dilemma. Return to gold at 1913 values, and you would have to match U.S. deflation with an even steeper deflation of your own, accepting increased unemployment along the way. Alternatively, you could re-peg your currency to gold at a diminished rate. But that amounted to an admission that your money had permanently lost value-and that your own people, who had trusted their government with loans in local money, would receive a weaker return on their bonds than American creditors who had lent in dollars.

Britain chose the former course; pretty much everybody else chose the latter.

The consequences of these choices fill much of the second half of The Deluge. For Europeans, they were uniformly grim, and worse. But one important effect ultimately rebounded on Americans. America's determination to restore a dollar "as good as gold" not only imposed terrible hardship on war-ravaged Europe, it also threatened to flood American markets with low-cost European imports. The flip side of the Lost Generation enjoying cheap European travel with their strong dollars was German steelmakers and shipyards underpricing their American competitors with weak marks.

Such a situation also prevailed after World War II, when the U.S. acquiesced in the undervaluation of the Deutsche mark and yen to aid German and Japanese recovery. But American leaders of the 1920s weren't willing to accept this outcome. In 1921 and 1923, they raised tariffs, terminating a brief experiment with freer trade undertaken after the election of 1912. The world owed the United States billions of dollars, but the world was going to have to find another way of earning that money than selling goods to the United States.

That way was found: more debt, especially more German debt. The 1923 hyper-inflation that wiped out Germany's savers also tidied up the country's balance sheet. Post-inflation Germany looked like a very creditworthy borrower. Between 1924 and 1930, world financial flows could be simplified into a daisy chain of debt. Germans borrowed from Americans, and used the proceeds to pay reparations to the Belgians and French. The French and Belgians, in turn, repaid war debts to the British and Americans. The British then used their French and Italian debt payments to repay the United States, who set the whole crazy contraption in motion again. Everybody could see the system was crazy. Only the United States could fix it. It never did.

Peter Heather, the great British historian of Late Antiquity, explains human catastrophes with a saying of his father's, a mining engineer: "If man accumulates enough combustible material, God will provide the spark." So it happened in 1929. The Deluge that had inundated the rest of the developed world roared back upon the United States.

... ... ...

"The United States has the Earth, and Germany wants it." Thus might Hitler's war aims have been summed up by a latter-day Woodrow Wilson. From the start, the United States was Hitler's ultimate target. "In seeking to explain the urgency of Hitler's aggression, historians have underestimated his acute awareness of the threat posed to Germany, along with the rest of the European powers, by the emergence of the United States as the dominant global superpower," Tooze writes.

"The originality of National Socialism was that, rather than meekly accepting a place for Germany within a global economic order dominated by the affluent English-speaking countries, Hitler sought to mobilize the pent-up frustrations of his population to mount an epic challenge to this order." Of course, Hitler was not engaged in rational calculation. He could not accept subordination to the United States because, according to his lurid paranoia, "this would result in enslavement to the world Jewish conspiracy, and ultimately race death." He dreamed of conquering Poland, Ukraine, and Russia as a means of gaining the resources to match those of the United States.

The vast landscape in between Berlin and Moscow would become Germany's equivalent of the American west, filled with German homesteaders living comfortably on land and labor appropriated from conquered peoples-a nightmare parody of the American experience with which to challenge American power.

Could this vision have ever been realized? Tooze argues in The Wages of Destruction that Germany had already missed its chance. "In 1870, at the time of German national unification, the population of the United States and Germany was roughly equal and the total output of America, despite its enormous abundance of land and resources, was only one-third larger than that of Germany," he writes. "Just before the outbreak of World War I the American economy had expanded to roughly twice the size of that of Imperial Germany. By 1943, before the aerial bombardment had hit top gear, total American output was almost four times that of the Third Reich."

Germany was a weaker and poorer country in 1939 than it had been in 1914. Compared with Britain, let alone the United States, it lacked the basic elements of modernity: There were just 486,000 automobiles in Germany in 1932, and one-quarter of all Germans still worked as farmers as of 1925. Yet this backward land, with an income per capita comparable to contemporary "South Africa, Iran and Tunisia," wagered on a second world war even more audacious than the first.

The reckless desperation of Hitler's war provides context for the horrific crimes of his regime. Hitler's empire could not feed itself, so his invasion plan for the Soviet Union contemplated the death by starvation of 20 to 30 million Soviet urban dwellers after the invaders stole all foodstuffs for their own use. Germany lacked workers, so it plundered the labor of its conquered peoples. By 1944, foreigners constituted 20 percent of the German workforce and 33 percent of armaments workers (less than 9 percent of the population of today's liberal and multicultural Germany is foreign-born).

On paper, the Nazi empire of 1942 represented a substantial economic bloc. But pillage and slavery are not workable bases for an industrial economy. Under German rule, the output of conquered Europe collapsed. The Hitlerian vision of a united German-led Eurasia equaling the Anglo-American bloc proved a crazed and genocidal fantasy.

How the Great War Shaped the World

[Nov 30, 2016] Trump Loves to Win, But American Generals Have Forgotten How

Notable quotes:
"... By Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is ..."
"... So, yes, Trump's critique of American generalship possesses merit, but whether he knows it or not, the question truly demanding his attention as the incoming commander-in-chief isn't: Who should I hire (or fire) to fight my wars? Instead, far more urgent is: Does further war promise to solve any of my problems? ..."
"... As a candidate, Trump vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism," destroy ISIS, "decimate al-Qaeda," and "starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah." Those promises imply a significant escalation of what Americans used to call the Global War on Terrorism. ..."
"... In that regard, his promise to "quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS" offers a hint of what is to come. ..."
"... To a very considerable extent, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, preferred candidate of the establishment, because he advertised himself as just the guy disgruntled Americans could count on to drain that swamp. ..."
"... Were Trump really intent on draining that swamp - if he genuinely seeks to "Make America Great Again" - then he would extricate the United States from war. His liquidation of Trump University, which was to higher education what Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve are to modern warfare, provides a potentially instructive precedent for how to proceed. ..."
"... Celebrity Apprentice ..."
"... Which brings us, finally, to that third question: To the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy do affect the outcome of wars, what can be done to fix the problem? ..."
"... The most expeditious approach: purge all currently serving three- and four-star officers; then, make a precondition for promotion to those ranks confinement in a reeducation camp run by Iraq and Afghanistan war amputees, with a curriculum designed by Veterans for Peace . Graduation should require each student to submit an essay reflecting on these words of wisdom from U.S. Grant himself: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword." ..."
"... this is the double failure of Washington. You might give them some credit if they were competent imperialists. But they are the worst of all worlds. They are reckless imperialists who can't even achieve their own stated aims with a modicum of competence. Real imperialists of the past would be rolling around laughing at this lot. ..."
"... They're not imperialists, they're corporatists. Graft is the object, and given that construction companies like Halliburton and mercs like Xe don't bankroll Ds, and since bombing campaigns are easy to keep up/out of the news, the money has now shifted to drones. ..."
"... I think they are imperialists in the sense that, as William Appleman Williams and others have argued, their primary orienting goal is to extend and sustain the US dominance of a world market. ..."
"... If you read what US foreign policy and military planners were saying in after WW2, that's an inescapable conclusion. Your focus on the corporation takes as a given what those planners have felt they need to strategically and militarily secure. Bacevich consistently avoids this issue and so ends up promoting a naive and implicitly hopeful view of US motives and the flexibility with which they can be pursued. ..."
"... It's really quite something to go back and read Dean Acheson testifying to a congressional committee that, unlike the Soviet Union, the US requires steady expansion of the world market to survive. He sounds like Rosa Luxemburg. ..."
"... The US is a nation of racketeers, which are perfecting the corruption of services into means of converting tax revenue into private profits. Some of these services are in fact essential, all have been – at least until recently – unassailable regardless of merit. Examples are housing, education, health care, private transportation and of course "national security". The rackets trace back to the exceptional US economic circumstances of WW2, and the leading racket was well established at the end of the Eisenhower presidency (his CYA address notwithstanding). ..."
"... For the "self-licking ice-cream cone" of military/security/intelligence/public safety expenditures to continue to grow exponentially, it is not only unnecessary for the tax-purchased services and goods to be functional, let alone deliver results – it is positively counterproductive. The question is not whether any captured government institution is dysfunctional, the question is merely whether and how the profitability it delivers to the "accounting control frauds" in charge of the incumbents can be increased. ..."
"... Success in any enterprise requires the definition of a goal. I believe that the goal of U.S. military action in MENA is two-fold: display fealty to Israel and the kings of the Arabian Peninsula; and to grow the corporate coffers of the MIC here at home. Defined in that way, the U.S. military has "hit it outta da park." Winning? Winning was a pipe dream of the likes of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Cheney knew better and took GWB along for a ride. ..."
"... I am highly suspicious that publicly stated goals of the wars were the actual targets. My take is that the actual goal has always been to keep those places in chaos; on US terms and under its control. with a safe US military base to punch those second-rate nations if necessary; By that measure, I believe both the Iraq and Afghan invasions were a success but they cannot pat each other's backs publicly. ..."
"... I think that may have been his point, albeit delivered obliquely, as in his statement that "some wars should not be fought"; his quote from Grant, "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword", as well as elsewhere in the piece. ..."
"... Drain the swamp indeed, extricate the military from our national misadventures and retire the top brass more intent on career advancement that the true needs of the nation. Problems solved and we can move on as a nation. Will the world fall apart, if true men and women of honor step forward, I highly doubt it. ..."
"... Pretty radical stuff actually, but something that resonates with many people, people without a voice. Change will come from within the military, and it is refreshing to hear words of sanity form those inside the military system-Tulsi Gabbard for one. ..."
"... There isn't too much of an incentive to win if you're a careerist either which many of them are since the military is a giant welfare program/bureaucracy largely based on licking boots to advance. It might be nice to add another accolade to that fat stack of attendance ribbons on their chests but that's all it is. Also, even if you were super serious about winning the war look at what happened to Shinseki when he clashed with the civilian leadership over the numbers of troops needed to pacify Iraq post-war. He was marginalized and finally canned altogether. ..."
"... James P. Levy , Ph.D. FRHistS, a man who never hid behind a goddamned nom de plume ..."
"... Bacevich has made the point (as have others) that when the draft was eliminated voters no longer had skin in the game and became ambivalent which is why the founding fathers set up the system with the citizen soldier as a cornerstone principle. ..."
"... Andrew Bacevich, as usual, writes a great article. But Grant and Sherman benefited from having a war with a clear goal: destroy the Confederate army and its government. I hesitate to call anything happening with the US in the Middle East or North Africa or SE Asia a "war" of that nature. There are no clear objectives. There are no criteria for an end of the conflict. ..."
"... Instead, this looks a whole lot more like the North's occupation of the South during Reconstruction. We all know how that ended: the North had to pull itself out after an economic depression, more or less leading to a reign of terror through Jim Crow. ..."
"... You make a good, concise case for what the real objectives are for these unending expensive wars. Of course, this level of clarity re these goals are seldom stated to the populace at large. Rather we're mostly fed bullshit about terrrrists and being kept "safe" and other noodleheaded claptrap. ..."
"... Yes, as I said above, the neocons objective have been an abject failure. They display incompetence at all levels. And yet nobody pays the price. And the fact that the neocons don't try to fire the generals who failed (as numerous political leaders in the past have done) is a reflection of both their incompetence and the fact that the wars have become the ultimate in self licking ice creams. ..."
"... Ordinary people make the mistake of believing that the current crop of leaders have their interests in mind at all. They do not. If Clintons Public/Private mumbo jumbo didn't clear you of that thinking I don't know what will. ..."
"... The proper way to think about these things is the neocon plan is succeeding wonderfully but they are truly too short sighted- i.e. stupid in the long term- to understand the consequences. They understand short term profit completely and how to dispense physical power but little else. Consequences and payback are externalized in their world ..."
"... 30 years in lockup for Chelsea Manning is a warning for those, I suspect, who want to say "enough is enough." I also believe that your ability to move up the hierarchy to make those decisions to keep fighting is determined by your willingness to continue to see through the neoliberal project. ..."
"... I disagree to the extent that the ideological neocons had a very clearly stated and unambiguous strategic purpose – re-engineering the world as America's corporate playground, with any possible competitor (i.e. Russia and China) firmly penned in. This meant replacing all the mid-size States which were still refusing to be part of the Washington Consensus. ..."
"... Its no secret or mystery about what they were seeking. In this, they have failed – Afghanistan remains in chaos, Iraq is more Iran controlled than US controlled, Iran still refuses to come to heel, and Russia and China are making increasing inroads to Central Asia, eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The neocon project is slowly unravelling, with Trump hopefully about to put it out of its misery. ..."
"... There are now more people in Washington who's job depends on finding more wars to fight than there are people employed to stop wars. This is the neocons fault, but its not the neocons project – they are just useful idiots for the profiteers. ..."
"... I don't make a distinction between the neocons and the profiteers. The worst possible outcome from this neocon disaster would be for the profiteers, the rentiers, to be able to reconstitute their hold over society- or to hold onto it for that matter. What will it take, complete destruction of the biosphere for people to understand that cooperation is the only means of survival? ..."
"... Part of the problem with the U.S military is that the Army sees enemy #2 as the Air Force and Navy. Gotta get those dollars. Another problem is that the U.S fails at the oft quote dictum of Sun Tzu, know yourself and know your enemy. ..."
"... In America's defense they are great at logistics side of war. ..."
"... Generals and admirals are all adept politicians and bureaucrats. they have to be to get to that level in the structure. War-fighters, no so much, with few exceptions, https://fabiusmaximus.com/2008/01/14/millennium-challenge/ . ..."
"... It's long seemed to me one of the many failings of the species is that some of us produce wise counsel that actually looks to the horizon and beyond, like the fundamental questions articulated by Sun Tzu about whether to commit the peasants who pay for it to a prolonged foreign war with long supply lines that will bankrupt the nation - http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html . And then the idiot few that gain, psychically or monetarily, from conflict, blow that kind of fundamental test of wisdom off and "go to war" or more accurately "send other people to hack and blast each other while the senders get rich." ..."
"... So is it just the inevitable case that Empires rise up, loot, murder, grow the usual huge corrupt capitals and the militaries to support the looting and keep the mopes in line, and finally succumb to some kind of wasting disease where all the corruption and interest-seeking honeycombs and finally collapses the structure? Is there no other way for humans to organize, because so many of us have the drive to dominate and to grab all the pleasure and stuff we can get away with? ..."
"... I've grown up hearing commentaries that echo this one as relating to our foreign policy adventures since WWII, and if you take a results oriented approach, they're probably true. But having gone to school for foreign policy work and talking to people who were involved with the foreign policy apparatus (doing the leg work, not the people at the top who basically have no idea what they're doing), I've become more and more convinced that it's simply incompetence. ..."
"... I think that the people dictating policy are basically a bunch of Tom Friedmans, who are utterly convinced that their empirically wrong views about how policy is executed are correct. Look at Iraq in the aftermath. Not only did they get not understand that the Sunnis and Shia might not have the best of intentions towards each other, but US companies aren't even getting all the plum oil contracts. Now surely a country that guarantees the security of the Iraqi elite could ensure that it's own companies got the best deals? ..."
"... First and foremost the US is the greatest spender in weapons, and why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them? The first objective is to use the weapons and avoid piling a dusting mountain of missiles, bombs, or any other kind of armament. Many wars are mainly the testing battlefields for new weaponry. ..."
"... Spreading fear might not be the best strategy but is has clearly been one of the main objectives in some cases, particularly Iraq. ..."
"... The best case of a president looking for an excuse to use the weapons and spread fear was G.W. Bush and Iraq v2.0. The fact that Bush excuses were clumsily manufactured and exposed without shame in the UN is a feature. It means: when we decide that we will attack you nothing will stop us. No democratic control and no international rules can stop us. ..."
"... The Bush Administration arrogantly assumed that all peoples are enough alike that they can be rescued the same way as Western Europeans were - after the Nazis were driven off. This premis was an epic error for the ages. The entire Washington establishment - to include the Pentagon - and the MSM went along with this premis. In many ways they STILL buy into it. ..."
"... You never read MSM articles questioning whether Iraqis or Afghans can buy into republican democracy. The assumption is that the whole world is waiting with baited breath to achieve this Western political-cultural ideal. ..."
"... The correct solution, in 2009, was to NOT expand Afghan operations. I spent many an hour arguing the folly of said expansion. It was inevitable that after any expansion there would be a massive draw down - which would destablize the Kabul government. ..."
"... Pull out of Syria entirely. Stop funding al Nusrah - which is an acknowledged branch of al Qaeda. Egypt has entered the conflict on the side of Assad, Iran and Russia, most recently. The "White Hats" are a fraud. ..."
"... US is caught in a typical occupation trap, where they want a subservient regime that is under their control. Subservient regimes are subservient because they lack a large power base and are dependent on their foreign backers. A subservient regime with a power base does not stay subservient for long, they quickly develop an independent streak at which point you have to overthrow them and install a different, weaker regime. ..."
"... Stabilizing a subservient regime with a weak power base requires US presence and boots on the ground. A subservient regime with a strong power base that can support itself quickly stops being subservient and has to be replaced. A "victory", where US troops would not be necessary for the regime support, means loss of control over the regime. ..."
"... So US is stuck in a loop. Political considerations force them to build up a regime to a point of independence, only to have to tear it down when it looks like it might go against American interests. US military takes the blame because they have to fight the latest insurgent group CIA built up to effect regime change. ..."
"... I would never gainsay that many technocratic, careerist general officers might be looking for ways to enhance their glory and bid up their asking price for CNN slots and board positions at Lockheed Martin. But the swamp you seek to drain has an apex predator; wealthy and powerful civilians. I seem to recall some generals, Eric Shinseki and Jay Garner come to mind, who tried to bring a little truth to power and avoid the biggest mistakes of the Iraq war. ..."
"... Eisenhower's prophecy has metastasized so deeply into the body politic, only a profound change in the views of the citizenry could possibly make a difference. Short of economic or military upheaval, it's hard to see how do we do this when our best paying jobs are strategically sprinkled across the country, making every procurement and every base sacrosanct to even the most liberal, libertarian or even peace-nick politicians? So, isn't the swamp much larger that the military officer corps? Drain this one part, and it would fill back in rather quickly if that was the main thrust of our attack on this nightmare. ..."
"... I suspect Trump is headed to the White House partly because a significant number of people concluded that social upheaval will be hastened by his administration, and that the consequences, whatever they may be, will be worth bearing so that we can rebuild on the ashes of the neoliberal/neoconservative era. ..."
"... Trump played the rubes about safety with his vitriolic Anti-Muslim rhetoric. Although Trump claimed not to want to continue the wars, I seriously doubt he'll do one damn thing to make improvements in this regard. ..."
"... Only Mussolini and Goering had a leg up on MacArthur regarding bling. ..."
"... Unfolding the Future of the Long War, a 2008 RAND Corporation report, was sponsored by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capability Integration Centre. It set out US government policy options for prosecuting what it described as "the long war" against "adversaries" in "the Muslim world," who are "bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance". ..."
"... Well, the US military's performance in WW1 and WW2, often against weak opposition, was less than stunning. They won their battles with massively superior firepower, for the most part. ..."
"... But the real problem does, indeed, lie in Washington; Accepting that the US strategy in Iraq, for example, was indeed to create a pliable, pro-western democratic state, it's not clear that there was actually much the military could do when it started to unravel because of the inherent stupidity of the idea. ..."
"... Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial. ..."
"... A dozen terrorism scholars gave a wide range of answers when asked to estimate how many members there are, how the numbers have changed during al Qaeda's lifespan and how many countries the group operates in. Analysts put the core membership at anywhere from 200 to 1,000 ..."
"... Instead it was scaled up into stupid endless Perpetual War without achievable objectives. In retrospect divide $5T by 200-1,000 and consider how little it may have cost if 9/11 had been treated as a criminal act by non-state actors, instead of sticking our foot into the role of destabilizing other sovereign countries, killing /antagonizing the citizens and generally fking up their countries?? ..."
"... I think the US is falling into the old imperialist trap of thinking of these places as countries with capital cities and leaders recognized as such by the population. The British had that issue in the 1770s when they captured the capital(s) of the new US but the revolution didn't stop. External superpower (French) support was able to keep the resistance functioning and the British eventually gave up. Both of those superpowers kept duking it out on other battlefields for another 30 years. ..."
"... The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire; total destruction of native culture and replacement with Roman forms. The places the Spanish controlled are still broken, so don't look for success in this endeavor anytime soon ..."
"... The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire ..."
"... Say what you want about the British Empire, but they did leave behind functioning legal and political systems in most of the countries they controlled. In India's case, they also left them a common language since there are so many languages there. Many of the countries remained in the Commonwealth after independence which is something that none of the other colonial powers achieved. ..."
"... I think the key was the British focused on empire as an extension of commerce, not ideology (they already knew they were superior, so they didn't have to prove it, which allows for pragmatism). In the end, when it was clear that they couldn't hold on, they backed out more gracefully than many other empires. ..."
"... The military-industrial complex has perfected the art of putting parts of the design, manufacturing, testing, and deployment of these programs into just about Congressional District so that everybody wants their constituents to have a shot at one part of the trough. ..."
"... This is how empires fall. Asymmetrical economic and military warfare against entrenched bureaucracies and corruption. ..."
"... Sounds like the lament of an aging mafia don that's forgotten what he's talking about is illegal. "Why can't our generals pull off a good old-fashioned smash and grab like they used to? They must be incompetent!" ..."
"... So I don't think an old-fashioned smash & grab has been the goal for a long time. For decades (ever since WWII?) we've been trying to regime change our way to the goal of every Hollywood mad scientist and super-villian: everlasting world dominance. ..."
"... So while China and Russia aim for Eurasian integration, we're all about it's disintegration. We're also determined to keep the EU from ever threatening our dominance. South America is slipping the yoke, but we haven't given up. ..."
"... Here in the "Homeland" (genuflects), on the "home front," in the domestic "battle space," it's important to realize that when the Pentagon says "full-spectrum dominance," that means us, comrades. Wall-to-wall surveillance? Check. POTUS power to execute or disappear dissidents? Check. Torture enshrined in secret laws and the public mind? Check. ..."
"... Obama never renounced FSD. AFAIK it's still the strategy. Why doesn't the esteemed colonel frame his analysis in terms of our official defense posture? Are we any closer to FSD, or not? ..."
"... I'll be impressed when the colonel starts calling our wars crimes against humanity and for their immediate cessation and full reparations. "Moar better generals" will not succeed at accomplishing a basically insane strategy. Until then, I'll file Bacevich under "modified limited hangout." ..."
"... Agreed. I was surprised, too. Of course, it's the working class children in the flyover states who join the military and go to war, and come back maimed or with PTSD to a rotten job market. So that may have been politically astute on Trump's part and, if so, good for him. ..."
"... Let's be brutally frank. The US both wants an empire, but also wants to pretend it is encouraging democracy everywhere. Objectives where the result is deceitful and duplicitous behavior. Ask the Indians about the methods, or the beneficiaries of the "Monroe Doctrine." The British wanted an empire. A simple objective. If you are not England, you are a colony, and we, the English, make the rules. At the heart of American activities is a kernel of deceit. Self determination for people, but only if you do what we say. The kernel of deceit poisons every walk of life connected to Washington. Every single one. ..."
"... The US is called the empire of chaos. It could also be called the empire of Deceit. Do as we say, but we are not taking any responsibility for you if you do what we say. Don't do what we say, and we will fund your opposition until they stuff a dagger up you ass. ..."
"... Think about Democrats using identity politics to claim religious fervor and war used to show being strong on defense. With both political parties using corruption to align power and control at home and abroad. Choosing your enemies carefully, for you will become them. ..."
"... The US military was the first part of the government to be turned into a business, the first neo-liberal institution created in America. The real problem is that the US military is run by managers and not soldiers. The Germans used to make fun of the British Army in WWI by calling it an army of lions led by donkeys. The US military is an army of lions led by managers. ..."
"... If Andrew is looking for a denouement to the Military Industrial complex then one need look no further than the British empire – specifically what made it shrink and shrivel very rapidly. WWI and WWII. The decimation of the economy and the inability to keep spending money to maintain empire is what reversed the entire machine. It will be the same with the US as well. ..."
Nov 30, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on November 29, 2016 by Yves Smith By Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. Originally published at TomDispatch

President-elect Donald Trump's message for the nation's senior military leadership is ambiguously unambiguous. Here is he on 60 Minutes just days after winning the election.

In reality, Trump, the former reality show host, knows next to nothing about ISIS, one of many gaps in his education that his impending encounter with actual reality is likely to fill. Yet when it comes to America's generals, our president-to-be is onto something. No doubt our three- and four-star officers qualify as "great" in the sense that they mean well, work hard, and are altogether fine men and women. That they have not "done the job," however, is indisputable - at least if their job is to bring America's wars to a timely and successful conclusion.

Trump's unhappy verdict - that the senior U.S. military leadership doesn't know how to win - applies in spades to the two principal conflicts of the post-9/11 era: the Afghanistan War, now in its 16th year, and the Iraq War, launched in 2003 and (after a brief hiatus) once more grinding on. Yet the verdict applies equally to lesser theaters of conflict, largely overlooked by the American public, that in recent years have engaged the attention of U.S. forces, a list that would include conflicts in Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

Granted, our generals have demonstrated an impressive aptitude for moving pieces around on a dauntingly complex military chessboard. Brigades, battle groups, and squadrons shuttle in and out of various war zones, responding to the needs of the moment. The sheer immensity of the enterprise across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa - the sorties flown , munitions expended , the seamless deployment and redeployment of thousands of troops over thousands of miles, the vast stockpiles of material positioned, expended, and continuously resupplied - represents a staggering achievement. Measured by these or similar quantifiable outputs, America's military has excelled. No other military establishment in history could have come close to duplicating the logistical feats being performed year in, year out by the armed forces of the United States.

Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial.

Yet in evaluating military operations, it's a mistake to confuse how much with how well . Only rarely do the outcomes of armed conflicts turn on comparative statistics. Ultimately, the one measure of success that really matters involves achieving war's political purposes. By that standard, victory requires not simply the defeat of the enemy, but accomplishing the nation's stated war aims, and not just in part or temporarily but definitively. Anything less constitutes failure, not to mention utter waste for taxpayers, and for those called upon to fight, it constitutes cause for mourning.

By that standard, having been "at war" for virtually the entire twenty-first century, the United States military is still looking for its first win. And however strong the disinclination to concede that Donald Trump could be right about anything, his verdict on American generalship qualifies as apt.

A Never-Ending Parade of Commanders for Wars That Never End

That verdict brings to mind three questions. First, with Trump a rare exception, why have the recurring shortcomings of America's military leadership largely escaped notice? Second, to what degree does faulty generalship suffice to explain why actual victory has proven so elusive? Third, to the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy bear directly on the outcome of our wars, how might the generals improve their game?

As to the first question, the explanation is quite simple: During protracted wars, traditional standards for measuring generalship lose their salience. Without pertinent standards, there can be no accountability. Absent accountability, failings and weaknesses escape notice. Eventually, what you've become accustomed to seems tolerable. Twenty-first century Americans inured to wars that never end have long since forgotten that bringing such conflicts to a prompt and successful conclusion once defined the very essence of what generals were expected to do.

Senior military officers were presumed to possess unique expertise in designing campaigns and directing engagements. Not found among mere civilians or even among soldiers of lesser rank, this expertise provided the rationale for conferring status and authority on generals.

In earlier eras, the very structure of wars provided a relatively straightforward mechanism for testing such claims to expertise. Events on the battlefield rendered harsh judgments, creating or destroying reputations with brutal efficiency.

Back then, standards employed in evaluating generalship were clear-cut and uncompromising. Those who won battles earned fame, glory, and the gratitude of their countrymen. Those who lost battles got fired or were put out to pasture.

During the Civil War, for example, Abraham Lincoln did not need an advanced degree in strategic studies to conclude that Union generals like John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, and Joseph Hooker didn't have what it took to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia. Humiliating defeats sustained by the Army of the Potomac at the Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville made that obvious enough. Similarly, the victories Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman gained at Shiloh, at Vicksburg, and in the Chattanooga campaign strongly suggested that here was the team to which the president could entrust the task of bringing the Confederacy to its knees.

Today, public drunkenness , petty corruption , or sexual shenanigans with a subordinate might land generals in hot water. But as long as they avoid egregious misbehavior, senior officers charged with prosecuting America's wars are largely spared judgments of any sort. Trying hard is enough to get a passing grade.

With the country's political leaders and public conditioned to conflicts seemingly destined to drag on for years, if not decades, no one expects the current general-in-chief in Iraq or Afghanistan to bring things to a successful conclusion. His job is merely to manage the situation until he passes it along to a successor, while duly adding to his collection of personal decorations and perhaps advancing his career.

Today, for example, Army General John Nicholson commands U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. He's only the latest in a long line of senior officers to preside over that war, beginning with General Tommy Franks in 2001 and continuing with Generals Mikolashek, Barno, Eikenberry, McNeill, McKiernan, McChrystal, Petraeus, Allen, Dunford, and Campbell. The title carried by these officers changed over time. So, too, did the specifics of their "mission" as Operation Enduring Freedom evolved into Operation Freedom's Sentinel. Yet even as expectations slipped lower and lower, none of the commanders rotating through Kabul delivered. Not a single one has, in our president-elect's concise formulation, "done the job." Indeed, it's increasingly difficult to know what that job is, apart from preventing the Taliban from quite literally toppling the government.

In Iraq, meanwhile, Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend currently serves as the - count 'em - ninth American to command U.S. and coalition forces in that country since the George W. Bush administration ordered the invasion of 2003. The first in that line, (once again) General Tommy Franks, overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime and thereby broke Iraq. The next five, Generals Sanchez, Casey, Petraeus, Odierno, and Austin, labored for eight years to put it back together again.

At the end of 2011, President Obama declared that they had done just that and terminated the U.S. military occupation. The Islamic State soon exposed Obama's claim as specious when its militants put a U.S.-trained Iraqi army to flight and annexed large swathes of that country's territory. Following in the footsteps of his immediate predecessors Generals James Terry and Sean MacFarland, General Townsend now shoulders the task of trying to restore Iraq's status as a more or less genuinely sovereign state. He directs what the Pentagon calls Operation Inherent Resolve, dating from June 2014, the follow-on to Operation New Dawn (September 2010-December 2011), which was itself the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 2003-August 2010).

When and how Inherent Resolve will conclude is difficult to forecast. This much we can, however, say with some confidence: with the end nowhere in sight, General Townsend won't be its last commander. Other generals are waiting in the wings with their own careers to polish. As in Kabul, the parade of U.S. military commanders through Baghdad will continue.

For some readers, this listing of mostly forgotten names and dates may have a soporific effect. Yet it should also drive home Trump's point. The United States may today have the world's most powerful and capable military - so at least we are constantly told. Yet the record shows that it does not have a corps of senior officers who know how to translate capability into successful outcomes.

Draining Which Swamp?

That brings us to the second question: Even if commander-in-chief Trump were somehow able to identify modern day equivalents of Grant and Sherman to implement his war plans, secret or otherwise, would they deliver victory?

On that score, we would do well to entertain doubts. Although senior officers charged with running recent American wars have not exactly covered themselves in glory, it doesn't follow that their shortcomings offer the sole or even a principal explanation for why those wars have yielded such disappointing results. The truth is that some wars aren't winnable and shouldn't be fought.

So, yes, Trump's critique of American generalship possesses merit, but whether he knows it or not, the question truly demanding his attention as the incoming commander-in-chief isn't: Who should I hire (or fire) to fight my wars? Instead, far more urgent is: Does further war promise to solve any of my problems?

One mark of a successful business executive is knowing when to cut your losses. It's also the mark of a successful statesman. Trump claims to be the former. Whether his putative business savvy will translate into the world of statecraft remains to be seen. Early signs are not promising.

As a candidate, Trump vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism," destroy ISIS, "decimate al-Qaeda," and "starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah." Those promises imply a significant escalation of what Americans used to call the Global War on Terrorism.

Toward that end, the incoming administration may well revive some aspects of the George W. Bush playbook, including repopulating the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and "if it's so important to the American people," reinstituting torture. The Trump administration will at least consider re-imposing sanctions on countries like Iran. It may aggressively exploit the offensive potential of cyber-weapons, betting that America's cyber-defenses will hold.

Yet President Trump is also likely to double down on the use of conventional military force. In that regard, his promise to "quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS" offers a hint of what is to come. His appointment of the uber-hawkish Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser and his rumored selection of retired Marine Corps General James ("Mad Dog") Mattis as defense secretary suggest that he means what he says. In sum, a Trump administration seems unlikely to reexamine the conviction that the problems roiling the Greater Middle East will someday, somehow yield to a U.S.-imposed military solution. Indeed, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, that conviction will deepen, with genuinely ironic implications for the Trump presidency.

In the immediate wake of 9/11, George W. Bush concocted a fantasy of American soldiers liberating oppressed Afghans and Iraqis and thereby " draining the swamp " that served to incubate anti-Western terrorism. The results achieved proved beyond disappointing, while the costs exacted in terms of lives and dollars squandered were painful indeed. Incrementally, with the passage of time, many Americans concluded that perhaps the swamp most in need of attention was not on the far side of the planet but much closer at hand - right in the imperial city nestled alongside the Potomac River.

To a very considerable extent, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, preferred candidate of the establishment, because he advertised himself as just the guy disgruntled Americans could count on to drain that swamp.

Yet here's what too few of those Americans appreciate, even today: war created that swamp in the first place. War empowers Washington. It centralizes. It provides a rationale for federal authorities to accumulate and exercise new powers. It makes government bigger and more intrusive. It lubricates the machinery of waste, fraud, and abuse that causes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to vanish every year. When it comes to sustaining the swamp, nothing works better than war.

Were Trump really intent on draining that swamp - if he genuinely seeks to "Make America Great Again" - then he would extricate the United States from war. His liquidation of Trump University, which was to higher education what Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve are to modern warfare, provides a potentially instructive precedent for how to proceed.

But don't hold your breath on that one. All signs indicate that, in one fashion or another, our combative next president will perpetuate the wars he's inheriting. Trump may fancy that, as a veteran of Celebrity Apprentice (but not of military service), he possesses a special knack for spotting the next Grant or Sherman. But acting on that impulse will merely replenish the swamp in the Greater Middle East along with the one in Washington. And soon enough, those who elected him with expectations of seeing the much-despised establishment dismantled will realize that they've been had.

Which brings us, finally, to that third question: To the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy do affect the outcome of wars, what can be done to fix the problem?

The most expeditious approach: purge all currently serving three- and four-star officers; then, make a precondition for promotion to those ranks confinement in a reeducation camp run by Iraq and Afghanistan war amputees, with a curriculum designed by Veterans for Peace . Graduation should require each student to submit an essay reflecting on these words of wisdom from U.S. Grant himself: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."

True, such an approach may seem a bit draconian. But this is no time for half-measures - as even Donald Trump may eventually recognize.

DanB November 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

As much s I have appreciated Bacevich's views over the past decade, my reaction to this is that he's asking the wrong questions. Just what would a "victory" in these imperial interventions look like? Does he really think our military is protecting our nation? I don't.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

I believe his point is narrower. Victory in Afghanistan and Iraq would (in the eyes of the establishment) have involved the pacification of those countries with pro-capitalist and pro-western nominally democratic governments in charge (i.e. puppets). That is what the explicit and implicit aim of those invasions was to be. The military was charged with achieving those ends, and they failed (as they've failed elsewhere). And yet, even by the criteria set by the establishment, there has been zero accountability.

And this is the double failure of Washington. You might give them some credit if they were competent imperialists. But they are the worst of all worlds. They are reckless imperialists who can't even achieve their own stated aims with a modicum of competence. Real imperialists of the past would be rolling around laughing at this lot.

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 11:37 am

Thank you. Well said. You are right to make the distinction between competent, incompetent and real imperialists. My parents came to the UK from a colony in the mid-1960s and talk about the colonial officials they came across. It was the same with my grandparents. I have come across the aspiring neo-cons on the make (and on the take) in the City, marking time until they can be parachuted into a safe seat.

Few, if any, speak a foreign language and / or spent much time abroad. They give the impression of playing chess from Tory Central Office or some "think tank", but with other countries and lives of people they know nothing, much less care, about. As we watched Obama being crowned in 2009, one (an aspiring Tory MP and former central office staffer) forecasted that Obama would go down as the worst president in history and added that Bush would go down as one of the greats. I made my excuses and went home.

Foppe November 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

They're not imperialists, they're corporatists. Graft is the object, and given that construction companies like Halliburton and mercs like Xe don't bankroll Ds, and since bombing campaigns are easy to keep up/out of the news, the money has now shifted to drones.

As such, they're not failing, except insofar as they are losing access to markets. And that isn't really the case either, since the iraqi don't form a market that matters; whereas the notional 'rebuilding effort' - which did provide opportunities for looting - is/was pretty much over anyway, once it became impossible to deny it "failed".

hemeantwell November 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I think they are imperialists in the sense that, as William Appleman Williams and others have argued, their primary orienting goal is to extend and sustain the US dominance of a world market.

If you read what US foreign policy and military planners were saying in after WW2, that's an inescapable conclusion. Your focus on the corporation takes as a given what those planners have felt they need to strategically and militarily secure. Bacevich consistently avoids this issue and so ends up promoting a naive and implicitly hopeful view of US motives and the flexibility with which they can be pursued.

It's really quite something to go back and read Dean Acheson testifying to a congressional committee that, unlike the Soviet Union, the US requires steady expansion of the world market to survive. He sounds like Rosa Luxemburg.

Crosley Bendix November 29, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Do you have a source for that Dean Acheson quote?

b. November 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Close but not quite there yet who benefits?

The US is a nation of racketeers, which are perfecting the corruption of services into means of converting tax revenue into private profits. Some of these services are in fact essential, all have been – at least until recently – unassailable regardless of merit. Examples are housing, education, health care, private transportation and of course "national security". The rackets trace back to the exceptional US economic circumstances of WW2, and the leading racket was well established at the end of the Eisenhower presidency (his CYA address notwithstanding).

For the "self-licking ice-cream cone" of military/security/intelligence/public safety expenditures to continue to grow exponentially, it is not only unnecessary for the tax-purchased services and goods to be functional, let alone deliver results – it is positively counterproductive. The question is not whether any captured government institution is dysfunctional, the question is merely whether and how the profitability it delivers to the "accounting control frauds" in charge of the incumbents can be increased.

There are many aspects of this particular proud strain of dysfunction capitalism – US weapon exports, "foreign aid" to Israel or Saudi Arabia, support for proxy forces, actual direct expenditure of armaments, and of course force modernization and extension are some of the many flavors. The fuel cost alone for moving men and materiel "fuels" entire industries. It would not at all be surprising to find that those 700 bases maintained – and expanded – are completely useless – if not even significant liabilities – while at the same time improving the bottom line of many suppliers. PMC's and the growing industry supporting ever-increasing logistical "needs" are another vector of the disease. Terrorism, of course, and the market for global and domestic surveillance and "public safety", is both a consequence and a pretext. The perfect racket produces its own justification while profit shares increase and "product" cost decrease.

It is the privilege of the continental US that, wedged between two oceans, a colony of the crown and a failed state, that it is largely insulated from the blowback of the various theaters of war profiteering (this is, after all, the major advantage the national security racket has over the competing domestic leeches). It stand to reason that the weaker the coupling to the fallout from profitable dysfunction, the longer trends that cannot continue will.

Iraq 2003 might well have been the last time that any of the major industries involved had any earnest intention to profit from the theater itself. Libya, Syria, Yemen etc. are in the main write-offs, pretexts that open profit channels but not part of it. It is usually ignored that the main issue China and Russia have with the US and its minion states is the abrogation of the concept of sovereign nation stages, going all the way back to Clinton's interventions in the Balkans. By accident or design, US foreign policy is one of scorched earth, preferring failed states to nations capable of resistance. This, too, is a consequence of that "splendid insulation".

steelhead23 November 29, 2016 at 7:18 pm

Bravo – spot on.

Seth November 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Yes. As Gen John Smedley Butler said, "War is a racket."

JTMcPhee November 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

Thank you, b., for saying clearly what so many of us perceive dimly through the fog of propaganda, and struggle to name.

Next question: is there a prayer of catalyzing a healthier political economy, or do we ordinary people just live until we die, as best we can manage? Maybe "judiciously studying the actions" and talking learnedly about them among our percipient selves, until even that illusion of action is finally blocked?

"In the end, he found he could not help himself: He loved Big Brother."

steelhead23 November 29, 2016 at 7:10 pm

The truth is that some wars aren't winnable and shouldn't be fought.

Success in any enterprise requires the definition of a goal. I believe that the goal of U.S. military action in MENA is two-fold: display fealty to Israel and the kings of the Arabian Peninsula; and to grow the corporate coffers of the MIC here at home. Defined in that way, the U.S. military has "hit it outta da park." Winning? Winning was a pipe dream of the likes of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Cheney knew better and took GWB along for a ride.

Let us pray that President Trump's small mind and loose tongue substantially degrades the willingness of the U.S.'s partners to continue to play along. May he make America un-great again. Amen.

john bougearel November 30, 2016 at 7:23 am

In the US today, we have raised a whole generation of kids where "winning matters not." To that extent we, and our generals – whether imperialistic or corporatistic, are all "special snowflakes" that deserve "participation trophy's" so we don't cry and act out over not winning. I say give all our general's another star for starting and participating in wars that can't be won to begin with. Where participation and not winning is the objective. Three cheers: hip, hip, hooray!

Kemal Erdogan November 30, 2016 at 5:51 am

I am highly suspicious that publicly stated goals of the wars were the actual targets. My take is that the actual goal has always been to keep those places in chaos; on US terms and under its control. with a safe US military base to punch those second-rate nations if necessary; By that measure, I believe both the Iraq and Afghan invasions were a success but they cannot pat each other's backs publicly.

However, they must now admit that they did not think the case of Iraq through, and the case of Syria is a complete failure, raising the stature of Russia to a super power again, while slowly but surely losing influence on Iraq and Egypt. But, that, arguably, could not have been realistically expected of the generals of the time to predict.

Lee November 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

I think that may have been his point, albeit delivered obliquely, as in his statement that "some wars should not be fought"; his quote from Grant, "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword", as well as elsewhere in the piece.

NotTimothyGeithner November 29, 2016 at 11:15 am

Grant's rise from drunk who couldn't get a job in 1861 and W Scott's efforts to recruit Bobby Lee, a guy who was out of the army for years by that point, are indications the general class was never particularly competent.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I think you need to re-read the post again. He is asking the right questions and provides a history lesson besides. The beginning paragraphs could be interpreted as the standard, we need victory fare, but all is designed to lead to his final prescription for action- all the while being very diplomatic and appreciative to those who serve in the military.

Drain the swamp indeed, extricate the military from our national misadventures and retire the top brass more intent on career advancement that the true needs of the nation. Problems solved and we can move on as a nation. Will the world fall apart, if true men and women of honor step forward, I highly doubt it.

Pretty radical stuff actually, but something that resonates with many people, people without a voice. Change will come from within the military, and it is refreshing to hear words of sanity form those inside the military system-Tulsi Gabbard for one.

Could Trump shake up the gridlock, we shall see. Like a toxic mine tailing pit, once the retaining walls are breached, the effluence tends to spill out very quickly.

Whine Country November 29, 2016 at 9:22 am

Silly question: Does the fault lie in our generals or in our commander in chief? Which leads to another silly question: Who does our commander in chief answer to?

tony November 29, 2016 at 10:20 am

The Praetorian Guard. aka the CIA and associates.

neo-realist November 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm

In addition to the Praetorian Guard, uber wealthy plutocrats and corporations.

Pete November 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

The generals seem to be only as effective as the policy they are prescribed to carry out. They ultimately answer to the President. So if they're ordered to carry out an impossible task they will obviously fail and they will kick the can down the road to save their own reputations.

There isn't too much of an incentive to win if you're a careerist either which many of them are since the military is a giant welfare program/bureaucracy largely based on licking boots to advance. It might be nice to add another accolade to that fat stack of attendance ribbons on their chests but that's all it is. Also, even if you were super serious about winning the war look at what happened to Shinseki when he clashed with the civilian leadership over the numbers of troops needed to pacify Iraq post-war. He was marginalized and finally canned altogether.

ambrit November 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Yes, the good doctor should resolutely shoulder the burden of "opposition party spokesman" and return to the fray. If we all took every slight and injury offered online to heart, there would be nary a rational word communicated, and, we would have much recourse to the suppressed Rogers Profanisaurus.
Besides, Upstate New York must be cold now, and the Professor spending a lot of time being housebound.

integer November 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm

I stood in James' corner once or twice as he started lashing out, as I thought he was just having a few bad days. It went on and I simply ran out of patience with him when he wrote his farewell screed and signed off with: James P. Levy , Ph.D. FRHistS, a man who never hid behind a goddamned nom de plume

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 9:38 am

It will be interesting to hear from readers if they have colleagues who are former service men and women. There has been an influx in the City since the crisis, but they were always there in fewer numbers. Some thrive in admin / COO roles, but many are frustrated and last no more than a couple of years. Dad retired from the Royal Air Force in March 1991 after 25 years. He found it difficult to settle in civilian life (employed as a doctor at St Mary's hospital in west London) and left at the end of 1991 for a development project in southern Africa (a year or so of being a middle class welfare junkie masquerading as a Foreign Office adviser) and twenty years working for Persian Gulf despots around MENA.

Whine Country November 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

I'm a Vietnam vet and I did respond but it has been ignored as usual. The point of my post was that the generals do what they are ordered to do by the commander in chief and the problem lies with whoever that is at any given time. From that flows the logical point that we elect the commander in chief and don't really pay much attention to what he orders. The fault lies with the electorate. Bacevich has made the point (as have others) that when the draft was eliminated voters no longer had skin in the game and became ambivalent which is why the founding fathers set up the system with the citizen soldier as a cornerstone principle. The president at any given time just does what he wants and the only possible means of accountability is through the voting booth. Our wars last stopped when the populace had skin in the game and made it extremely clear to Nixon that we wanted an end. We have met the enemy and he is us.

weinerdog43 November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

The fault lies partly with the electorate, but also with Congress. For more than a decade, Charlie Rangel has been introducing bills to reinstate the draft. Crickets from Congress.

I'm a former member of the Selective Service Board, and yes, they still exist. A draft in order to be effective, cannot offer deferments (a la Dick Cheney) and still be fair. Only until those who order the wars have family members (including women) subject to a draft, will we cease our idiotic imperialist impulses.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm

While all you say is true, 40 years of corporate evolution in the political sphere has changed the equation. As the last election cycle has shown, any attempt to alter current relationships will need political activism intended to change the system not just gaining office to make slight course corrections. We as a people are too far off course for that. The Vietnam era was a turning point and business interests mobilized to never let that fiasco- people power- take root again. They have been very successful in their mission, but now they have to deal with the problem of an unwanted and underused population. The unemployable if you will.

Re-instituting the draft is no longer necessary and would be counterproductive to the corporate mission. As long as our current standing army can be paid off, why bother with a draft, it is no longer necessary. You avoid the military coup problem also. Our military continues to be bought off and as long as the economic incentives supporting an excessively large military remain unchallenged, the draft is unnecessary. Unnecessary from the maintenance of corporate power that is. Corporate power must be minimized first, then talk of a draft will make more sense. What values are learned in the military today? USA has ben turned into a corporate brand.

Being poor, unemployable, or one illness away form such a fate is the new skin in the game. While national service is a force that must be worked into our social responsibilities, its true meaning for strengthening and protecting the people has been subverted into a tool for corruption. Voices within the military that call for a return to the ideal of a citizen soldier instead of a mercenary warrior is what I think Bacevich has in mind.

voxhumana November 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

"now they have to deal with the problem of an unwanted and underused population. The unemployable if you will."

I call them the "discontinued."

cocomaan November 29, 2016 at 10:01 am

Andrew Bacevich, as usual, writes a great article. But Grant and Sherman benefited from having a war with a clear goal: destroy the Confederate army and its government. I hesitate to call anything happening with the US in the Middle East or North Africa or SE Asia a "war" of that nature. There are no clear objectives. There are no criteria for an end of the conflict.

Instead, this looks a whole lot more like the North's occupation of the South during Reconstruction. We all know how that ended: the North had to pull itself out after an economic depression, more or less leading to a reign of terror through Jim Crow.

The United States is trying to do Reconstruction in a whole lot of spheres and is failing at that because it's generally an impossible enterprise.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 10:26 am

I would disagree that there were no clear objectives. The objective was to turn Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, etc., in to countries like Egypt or Jordan or Indonesia – weakened pro-western (or at least western-dependent) puppets with a sheen of democratic respectability, where US corporations could roam free. I don't think there is any need to read anything else into the objectives – that is the 'ideal' for the neocons, and that was their objective, both stated and unstated.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 11:11 am

You make a good, concise case for what the real objectives are for these unending expensive wars. Of course, this level of clarity re these goals are seldom stated to the populace at large. Rather we're mostly fed bullshit about terrrrists and being kept "safe" and other noodleheaded claptrap.

Given your definition, however, with which I agree, the Generals have still FAILED. And again, where's the accountability? There is none.

Trump plans to give himself and all the other Oligarchs, and the corporations giant tax cuts. There will be some in the middle class who experience a tax increase. Yet we're supposed to bloat the MIC budget by some huge amount for what purpose?? So Trump can build hotels, golf courses and casinos in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq? Not being all that snarky.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am

Yes, as I said above, the neocons objective have been an abject failure. They display incompetence at all levels. And yet nobody pays the price. And the fact that the neocons don't try to fire the generals who failed (as numerous political leaders in the past have done) is a reflection of both their incompetence and the fact that the wars have become the ultimate in self licking ice creams.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm

While a plan might not be 100% successful, I don't see how you characterize the neocon program an abject failure. It is chugging along just fine. If waste and chaos are states of being that directly benefit your program, they are probably 90% successful.

If war is a racket, then the good times roll on and talking about failed generals being replaced, or accountability will be served by getting hold of better generals, those sentiments must make them chuckle when they are discussing their private positions. Win/Win for the neocons.

Ordinary people make the mistake of believing that the current crop of leaders have their interests in mind at all. They do not. If Clintons Public/Private mumbo jumbo didn't clear you of that thinking I don't know what will.

The proper way to think about these things is the neocon plan is succeeding wonderfully but they are truly too short sighted- i.e. stupid in the long term- to understand the consequences. They understand short term profit completely and how to dispense physical power but little else. Consequences and payback are externalized in their world. If you live in the moment, who cares about the future. As the illuminist Karl Rove once stated, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Well, people don't stay passive actors forever. Just as nature cannot absorb carelessness forever. A day of reckoning will come- it alway does. Failure is in the mind of the beholder. It depends on perspective. As the neocons double, tripple, quadruple down on their policies, they will be able to ride the flaming mess into the ground. Think Clinton.

It is up to us- the sane- to realize the success of the neoliberal program and want out- or off- or whatever phrase makes sense. In our wars of misadventure, it will be those in the military that finally say enough is enough. If someone pulls that off, it would be viewed as the most courageous act in decades.

neo-realist November 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

In our wars of misadventure, it will be those in the military that finally say enough is enough. If someone pulls that off, it would be viewed as the most courageous act in decades.

30 years in lockup for Chelsea Manning is a warning for those, I suspect, who want to say "enough is enough." I also believe that your ability to move up the hierarchy to make those decisions to keep fighting is determined by your willingness to continue to see through the neoliberal project.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm

I disagree to the extent that the ideological neocons had a very clearly stated and unambiguous strategic purpose – re-engineering the world as America's corporate playground, with any possible competitor (i.e. Russia and China) firmly penned in. This meant replacing all the mid-size States which were still refusing to be part of the Washington Consensus.

Its no secret or mystery about what they were seeking. In this, they have failed – Afghanistan remains in chaos, Iraq is more Iran controlled than US controlled, Iran still refuses to come to heel, and Russia and China are making increasing inroads to Central Asia, eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The neocon project is slowly unravelling, with Trump hopefully about to put it out of its misery.

The issue of war profiteering is something that I see as something entirely different. What the neocons failed to anticipate was that their Clash of Civilisations would result in a hugely powerful military-industrial process which has become self replicating. There are now more people in Washington who's job depends on finding more wars to fight than there are people employed to stop wars. This is the neocons fault, but its not the neocons project – they are just useful idiots for the profiteers.

Norb November 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I don't make a distinction between the neocons and the profiteers. The worst possible outcome from this neocon disaster would be for the profiteers, the rentiers, to be able to reconstitute their hold over society- or to hold onto it for that matter. What will it take, complete destruction of the biosphere for people to understand that cooperation is the only means of survival?

While I agree with what you are saying, if desiring a peaceful world is on your agenda, then every effort must be made to not allow the rentiers to take the position of, well now, we overstepped somewhat, will do better next time.

Making neat divisions is the reason humanity is in the predicament we find ourselves in the first place. We have dissected the whole into so many parts, it is no longer recognizable.

Modernity has been a dissecting force- a unifying force is needed.

Brian M November 30, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I agree with so much of the analysis here. But why do people insist still (especially given his recent appointments) that Trump has any interest at all in putting "it" out of our misery? Color me skeptical.

cocomaan November 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

Hey Kim, as RUKidding says, I wouldn't argue that those are clear objectives, because the generals that are being talked about above aren't being told up front that they are working toward that goal.

Don't get me wrong, I think you're exactly right about those being the objectives.

visitor November 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Those are the ultimate political goals and the ends of the wars - but generals are never given them as objectives in this form. Concisely, the objectives of any general are threefold:

1) destroy the enemy forces;
2) break their will to fight;
3) control the territory under dispute.

They learned that at the military academy - after all, these were the fundamental principles articulated by Carl von Clausewitz almost 200 years ago. Well, in those purely military terms, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria are total failures.

Trump is correct on this point: job not done. At all.

River November 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Glad you brought up Carl von Clausewitz. I remember the Newsweek article when Gen. Tommy Franks said there were 9 centers of gravity in Iraq. The article took this as some type of wisdom. It was clear that Franks hadn't even read the Cliff notes version of On War as there is only one center of gravity according to Carl von C in which you focus your effort on.

Probably one reason when Franks was put on the Outback Steakhouse board of directors it did so poorly and was pulled out of Canada. He was a great strategist after all /sarc.

Part of the problem with the U.S military is that the Army sees enemy #2 as the Air Force and Navy. Gotta get those dollars. Another problem is that the U.S fails at the oft quote dictum of Sun Tzu, know yourself and know your enemy.

The U.S seems to create the enemy they would like to fight rather than the one that's actually there and as a nation has no sense of self anymore. They don't understand their limitations or even their strengths it seems. It seems the Pentagon and the Gov. thinks throwing money equals effectiveness. I'd argue that the unlimited money is the problem. Actual innovation often stems from being limited in some way. Mother is the necessity of invention and all that. Look the German assault teams that were born out of desperation in the final days of WWI. This concept helped tremendously in WW2 and it wasn't unlimited money that created them.

In America's defense they are great at logistics side of war.

H. Alexander Ivey November 30, 2016 at 6:10 am

To further this thread as to why the generals have failed:

If the point of these wars is to install a pro-Western style (aka USA business friendly) society and government, a point to which I agree is the reason for the US's fighting, then how, in God's name!, are you going to do that when the point of a military is to destroy things and kill people? (words taken from the cover of DoD's documents). The US military is not to build things and help people! The generals are asked to do what their own training prevents them and those they direct from doing.

JTMcPhee November 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Generals and admirals are all adept politicians and bureaucrats. they have to be to get to that level in the structure. War-fighters, no so much, with few exceptions, https://fabiusmaximus.com/2008/01/14/millennium-challenge/ .

From all I can see, it's all about looking, emphasize "looking," STRAC, a term from my callow military youth: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=STRAC , a pejorative applied to ambitious second lieutenants and Real Lifer Troopers with those creases in their fatigues and dress greens you could cut your finger on. And sucking up. And kicking down. and feathering one's nest, both now ("Petraeus scandal puts four-star general lifestyle under scrutiny," https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/petraeus-scandal-puts-four-star-general-lifestyle-under-scrutiny/2012/11/17/33a14f48-3043-11e2-a30e-5ca76eeec857_story.html ) and "going forward" (generals never retreat - they "execute strategic rearward advances to previously prepared positions," as in "Pentagon's revolving door in full swing," http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/department-of-defenses-revolving-door-in-full-swing-098813 )

Anyone remember this 2010 bit of PowerPoint-ia? "'When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war:' US generals given baffling PowerPoint presentation to try to explain Afghanistan mess," http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1269463/Afghanistan-PowerPoint-slide-Generals-left-baffled-PowerPoint-slide.html (And note the Brass Balls of the contractor, PA Knowledge Group Ltd, claiming a COPYRIGHT over this obvious work-for-hire.) This kind of stuff is the daily grist of the strategic/tactical mill that grinds out body counts, serial deployments in search of missions, and the endless floods of corrupt cash, destabilizing weapons and internal and external subterfuges, along with a lot of wry humor and a large helping of despair for the Troops and the mope civilians who "stand too close to Unlawful Enema Combatants ™".

It's long seemed to me one of the many failings of the species is that some of us produce wise counsel that actually looks to the horizon and beyond, like the fundamental questions articulated by Sun Tzu about whether to commit the peasants who pay for it to a prolonged foreign war with long supply lines that will bankrupt the nation - http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html . And then the idiot few that gain, psychically or monetarily, from conflict, blow that kind of fundamental test of wisdom off and "go to war" or more accurately "send other people to hack and blast each other while the senders get rich."

There's a fundamental problem that to me gets too little attention: What the Empire is doing is an entirely Barmicide game. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/barmecide Our rulers here in the Empire are pretty good at the procurement, deployment and logistical mechanics of Milo Minderbinder's complex Enterprise, the "war as a racket" thing, the extracting of public wealth to build shiny or stealthy or smart "systems." But as Bacevitch notes, they get to completely escape from the consequences of Only-tool-in-the-box monomania, of applying the big hammer of "War" to the subtle tasks of creating and maintaining a survivable space for the species. Which patently is not the "goal" in any event. And never answered, as pointed out, is the daring question of "what is the goal/are the goals, and what actions or refraining from actions are likely to get there?"

The talk about "asymmetric warfare" is mostly whining about little wogs who dare to adopt the wisdoms of other ambitious and thoughtful humans, like the Afghans and, yes, even ISIS, on how to defeat (within the terms of the game they are playing and understand that the Empire does NOT understand the terrain or the rules or moves) invaders and colonialists and even corporatists. Though the latter are often victorious in the after-conflict processes, if you can't clobber your enemy, corrupt him! works too.) There are wheels within wheels, of course, and "we mopes" in the Imperial homeland are too busy eking out a survival locally to even try to contemplate let alone understand the complexities of even the Middle East, let alone the Great Game being played out again with Russia and China and the aggressive and Teutonic bosses of the Eurozone All while the "defence" establishment figures out ever more exotic ways to kill humans, via code (genetic and cyber) and "smart weapons" like autonomous killing robots "on land, in air, at sea "

So is it just the inevitable case that Empires rise up, loot, murder, grow the usual huge corrupt capitals and the militaries to support the looting and keep the mopes in line, and finally succumb to some kind of wasting disease where all the corruption and interest-seeking honeycombs and finally collapses the structure? Is there no other way for humans to organize, because so many of us have the drive to dominate and to grab all the pleasure and stuff we can get away with?

pictboy3 November 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

I've grown up hearing commentaries that echo this one as relating to our foreign policy adventures since WWII, and if you take a results oriented approach, they're probably true. But having gone to school for foreign policy work and talking to people who were involved with the foreign policy apparatus (doing the leg work, not the people at the top who basically have no idea what they're doing), I've become more and more convinced that it's simply incompetence.

I think that the people dictating policy are basically a bunch of Tom Friedmans, who are utterly convinced that their empirically wrong views about how policy is executed are correct. Look at Iraq in the aftermath. Not only did they get not understand that the Sunnis and Shia might not have the best of intentions towards each other, but US companies aren't even getting all the plum oil contracts. Now surely a country that guarantees the security of the Iraqi elite could ensure that it's own companies got the best deals?

I think the most probable explanation is that they believed their own propaganda. They believed that the Iraqis wanted to be a liberal democracy with a free market, and that US firms would obviously be the most competitive in a bid for the oil contracts. People like Kerry believe in the ideas of human rights and war crimes, condemning the Russians for bombing Aleppo even though we do the exact same thing with a ever so slightly less flimsy justification.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Yes, again, good points, esp in re to the fact that US companies aren't even getting the plum oil contracts. We were told by feckless Cheney via W that there would be that magical mythical Iraqi "Oil Dividend" that would not only pay for the War on Iraq – essentially giving us back the money we spent on it (conveniently ignoring the collateral damage of many US combatant deaths, and many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizen deaths, but who cares about that piddling, trifling detail) – as well as getting more besides.

Eh? And then what? Well that Dick, Cheney, got very very rich offa US taxpayer dollars, and no doubt some other Oligarchs did as well. But we never ever got paid back for our "investment" in "freeing" the Iraqi's from their oppressor, Saddam.

And that salient detail was flushed down the memory hole, and duly noted, that at least the Oligarchs did learn ONE lesson from that bullshit, which is to never ever again even go so far as to make a promise that the hapless proles in the USA will ever see one thin dime from these foreign misadventures.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

I can't talk from personal experience but I've read plenty of foreign policy publications of the type taken seriously by academics and politicians, and I'd agree with you. Some are laughably stupid, they don't know the first thing about the countries they are talking about. It wasn't just Bush jnr in 2002 who didn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni, I strongly suspect that many 'experts' consulted had only the faintest knowledge of what they were dealing with. There are a scary number of second and third rate intellects roaming around sharing their 'knowledge'.

I think the standard textbook for this should be Graham Greenes 'The Quiet American' . I've always been amazed at the prescience of that book (he pretty much predicted the arc of the Vietnam War in 1959), but I always think of the main character, Pyle, when I see yet another Middle Eastern mess. Pyle is a generally well meaning young man with far too much power, who is convinced by some academic that he has the key to sorting out the whole Vietnam mess. Needless to say, lots of innocents die because of his half baked ideas. The establishment is full of Pyles, although many I think are not quite so well meaning.

Ignacio November 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I would like to agree with you, but I don't. First and foremost the US is the greatest spender in weapons, and why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them? The first objective is to use the weapons and avoid piling a dusting mountain of missiles, bombs, or any other kind of armament. Many wars are mainly the testing battlefields for new weaponry. For that reason, having endless localized wars can be quite useful. Besides using it, the second objective is spread fear. I have it, I have the will to use it, and I am well trained. Spreading fear might not be the best strategy but is has clearly been one of the main objectives in some cases, particularly Iraq.

The best case of a president looking for an excuse to use the weapons and spread fear was G.W. Bush and Iraq v2.0. The fact that Bush excuses were clumsily manufactured and exposed without shame in the UN is a feature. It means: when we decide that we will attack you nothing will stop us. No democratic control and no international rules can stop us.

All the rest is palaver.

Mark P. November 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm

'why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them?'

And yet the U.S.'s recent, most stupendously expensive weapons systems are unusable. Literally , they cannot be used for most practical purposes in combat.

The F-35, for instance, has trouble flying and would be bested by air fighters of the previous generation in combat. The Littoral Combat Ship's aluminum superstructure would burn down to the waterline if ever one were hit by a missile (among other problems). And there are other projects that are almost equally ridiculous.

The point is, of course, that with their cost overruns and sheer unusability, these projects continue precisely because they're stupendously profitable. The American economic system is utterly dependent on such military Keynesianism, which is a principle means of redistribution from rich U.S. states to small ones. And consequently we live in a world reminiscent of the world of useless wepfash designers - weapons fashions designers - envisaged by Philip K. Dick's The Zap Gun.

One takeaway may be that the U.S. can either have the largest level of military Keynesianism in history or win its wars. It apparently cannot do both.

voteforno6 November 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

Remember when Trump threatened to fire a bunch of generals? That really upset a lot of people in Washington. Replacing a flag officer is a very complicated affair – they have a whole rotation system set up, to move them from one job to another. That's certainly reflected in the combat commands as well. They all need to check that box, in order to burnish their credentials. It seems to be just achieving that rank is the real accomplishment. Measuring their performance afterward is irrelevant – in that way, it's very similar to how CEOs are treated in the corporate world. It would be nice if Trump fired a bunch of generals, just because we have too many of them already. I don't see that happening, though.

Bill Smith November 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Generals get removed. Mattis was retired a year early because he didn't get along with Obama. Whatever "get along' means. Flynn left early. Remember McChrystal?

Enquiring Mind November 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Rotation may have benefits of exposure to new areas and skill development opportunities. It may also hide failures, and demonstrate the military equivalent of the "dance of the lemons" that shuffles incompetent, corrupt or lazy principals around to different schools. There is more of a meritocracy in the military, with less overt politicization, although the politics takes different forms. I write that sadly as one from a family that supports the military and has many veterans.

American discussions about military are sidetracked easily by any number of stakeholders. Politicians posture for patriotism (alliteration intended to elicit Porky Pig), while collecting campaign cash. They are only the most visible of those that would shout down or hijack any objective discussion of mission failures or weapons systems debacles such as the F-35. Their less visible neo-con enablers, dual loyalty pundits and effective taskmasters all have their snouts in the trough and their rear ends displayed to the citizens. If there is no other change in DC than to unmask those Acela bandits, then many will applaud.

Eureka Springs November 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

War is failure. Do not engage. And for dawgs sake do not arm, train, fund al Q types. I think the last point in re Trumps way of doing things will be most telling. That would be victory.

Jim Haygood November 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Precisely. The US is situated in the safest neighborhood on the planet - oceans on two sides; Canada and Mexico on the other two. All of the other dozens of nations in the western hemisphere get along just fine without a global network of military bases and a 350-ship navy.

What the f*** is our problem? As history demonstrates, a value-subtracting global empire is an infallible recipe for economic decline.

a different chris November 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

To try to look at the bright side, here's the thing about military people who are "uber hawkish", or actually managed to get a nickname like "Mad Dog" . they like decisive, "clean" (funny word to use for blowing people and the landscape to smithereens, but that's what people label it as) engagements where bad guys are taken out and good guys rejoice.

If they are, and I'm sure they are, smart enough to see that this is exactly not what the Middle East messes are, they may well tell Trump "let's just get our stuff and go home".

What we have been trying to do in the ME is not, and has never been (going back to before us, the Russians in Afghanistan) anything where a military makes any sense at all. It's police+political work at best, and despite what we've been turning the police departments into at home, police work is very, very different from military work. Hopefully the warrior types see this, whereas the Hillary Clintons of the world simply won't.

Again, no more than just hoping

Plenue November 30, 2016 at 3:16 am

The US can win any standup fight. We quickly smashed the Taliban's military, and Saddam didn't last long at all. It's the long, grinding guerrilla war that comes after that we inevitably lose. And even there we will win 99% of the engagements (if all else fails, drop a giant bomb on them) and yet sooner or later we'll run home with our tail between our legs.

blert November 30, 2016 at 5:03 am

Washington is addicted to gold-plated occupations. Whereas the only route to success is minimalist, an economy of force strategy. That also entails economy of injuries. Occupying forces ought to spend most of their time like Firemen - in their bunks back at the barracks. That's how success was achieved in the 19th Century. ( British Empire, American nation, French Empire. )

Such a scheme is still working wonders in South Korea. Not a whole lot of casualties that way.

Nation building is crazy all across the ummah. They won't suffer it. You would NOT believe the amount of infrastructure blown up by our Iraqi allies - as a financial hustle.

It took forever for the American Army to figure out that the reason the power system kept crashing was that the fellow building it up was corrupt and cashing in hugely by re-doing the same work five times over. He would pull security off the power grid at point X so that his cousins could dynamite the towers. Yes, he fled when the jig was up.

With his departure, the system started to work. This fiasco was an extreme embarrassement to the US Army and the Iraqi officials. The perp had his whole clan involved. (!) Yes, this story is suppressed. Guess why ?

The dollar figures involved are staggering.

There were hundreds of Shia grifters, too.

Synoia November 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

1. The Generals have won. They are Generals.
2. The Military does not win wars, it prolongs the stalemate until the enemy's economy collapses.
3. With no public definition of win (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria), what is win?
4. The MIC is very lucrative. There are man, many winners there.

Mark P. November 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

All correct.

blert November 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Bush Administration arrogantly assumed that all peoples are enough alike that they can be rescued the same way as Western Europeans were - after the Nazis were driven off. This premis was an epic error for the ages. The entire Washington establishment - to include the Pentagon - and the MSM went along with this premis. In many ways they STILL buy into it.

You never read MSM articles questioning whether Iraqis or Afghans can buy into republican democracy. The assumption is that the whole world is waiting with baited breath to achieve this Western political-cultural ideal.

But Islam proscribes democracy, and these lands are emotionally Islamic in the extreme. When queried, virtually every man demands Shariah law, under Islam.

Changing Afghan culture is what doomed the Soviet 'project.' So the Pentagon was not ever going to touch cultural issues. This has proved very controvesial as Afghans practice pederasty on a grand scale. Likewise, the NATO nations were not going to 'touch' the opium trade.

They were also wholly dependent upon Pakistan for logistics. Ultimately, a second rail route was established at horrific expense across Russia. But no military specific goods could travel by that route.

So the entire campaign was both necessary - to punish al Qaeda and the Taliban - and unwinnable in a WWII sense. There never was a thought about expanding the scope of the conflict up to WWII purportions, of course.

The problem is not that of Pentagon leadership.

The folly starts at the strategic level - straight out of the White House.

It was a mistake for Bush to be so optomistic, grandiose.

It was a mistake for Obama to run away from Iraq. A corps sized garrison force would've permitted him enough influence to stop Maliki from sabotaging his own army - with crony appointments. ( The Shia simply did not have enough senior talent. So he over promoted his buddies and his tribe. This set the stage for ghost soldiers and a collapse in morale across entire divisions. )

The correct solution, in 2011, was to endure - like we have in South Korea.

The correct solution, in 2009, was to NOT expand Afghan operations. I spent many an hour arguing the folly of said expansion. It was inevitable that after any expansion there would be a massive draw down - which would destablize the Kabul government.

The correct solution for both was a steady-state, economy of operations mode - with the US Army largely standing idle in their barracks - letting the locals run all day to day operations.

You end up with the best of all worlds, low American casualties, low interference with the locals, yet a psychological back-bone for young governments – – who are financial cripples.

At this time, the best route is to cut off Pakistan from all Western aid, and to entirely stop Pakistani immigration to the West. Islamabad is as much an enemy of the West as Riyadh or Tehran.

This would also help calm Pakistan down, as it's the cultural embarrassment vis a vis the West that's driving Pakistanis crazy. Let them interact with their blood cousins, the Hindus of India. That'll be plenty enough modernity for Islamabad and Riyadh.

Pull out of Syria entirely. Stop funding al Nusrah - which is an acknowledged branch of al Qaeda. Egypt has entered the conflict on the side of Assad, Iran and Russia, most recently. The "White Hats" are a fraud.

voislav November 29, 2016 at 11:25 am

Comparing "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan with Civil War or such conflicts confuses the issue and shifts the responsibility from the policy makers to the military. Iraq and Afghanistan are not wars, they are occupations and as such are unwinnable.

US is caught in a typical occupation trap, where they want a subservient regime that is under their control. Subservient regimes are subservient because they lack a large power base and are dependent on their foreign backers. A subservient regime with a power base does not stay subservient for long, they quickly develop an independent streak at which point you have to overthrow them and install a different, weaker regime.

US imposed regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan are classic examples of this. Al-Maliki in Iraq was a marginal figure before becoming prime minister, similar to Karzai in Afghanistan. The new leaders, Ashraf Ghani as the new Afghan president and Haider Al-Abadi as the Iraqi prime minister are both ex-pats that only returned to the country after US occupation. Both Al-Maliki and Karzai have been in power long enough that they were starting to develop a power base and show signs of breaking away from the US, so they had to be replaced.

Stabilizing a subservient regime with a weak power base requires US presence and boots on the ground. A subservient regime with a strong power base that can support itself quickly stops being subservient and has to be replaced. A "victory", where US troops would not be necessary for the regime support, means loss of control over the regime.

So US is stuck in a loop. Political considerations force them to build up a regime to a point of independence, only to have to tear it down when it looks like it might go against American interests. US military takes the blame because they have to fight the latest insurgent group CIA built up to effect regime change.

Mick Steers November 29, 2016 at 11:27 am

I would never gainsay that many technocratic, careerist general officers might be looking for ways to enhance their glory and bid up their asking price for CNN slots and board positions at Lockheed Martin. But the swamp you seek to drain has an apex predator; wealthy and powerful civilians. I seem to recall some generals, Eric Shinseki and Jay Garner come to mind, who tried to bring a little truth to power and avoid the biggest mistakes of the Iraq war.

Ideologues in the administration had other plans. The first being the original sin of the war itself, supported by a vast industry of defense, finance and media interests who knew opportunity when they saw it. As for now, what the hell is the mission that the military is supposed to win? I get the sense we will have our next big, proper war on account of using the military to solve problems that no military could, like say a GWOT.

Eisenhower's prophecy has metastasized so deeply into the body politic, only a profound change in the views of the citizenry could possibly make a difference. Short of economic or military upheaval, it's hard to see how do we do this when our best paying jobs are strategically sprinkled across the country, making every procurement and every base sacrosanct to even the most liberal, libertarian or even peace-nick politicians? So, isn't the swamp much larger that the military officer corps? Drain this one part, and it would fill back in rather quickly if that was the main thrust of our attack on this nightmare.

I suspect Trump is headed to the White House partly because a significant number of people concluded that social upheaval will be hastened by his administration, and that the consequences, whatever they may be, will be worth bearing so that we can rebuild on the ashes of the neoliberal/neoconservative era.

I sympathize, but with three college aged daughters, I was willing to work for, wait for, another shot at a Bernie Sanders shaped attack on the system rather than throwing a Trump grenade. Trump will only disrupt the system by accident, and absolutely unpredictably. His family's interests are superbly served by the status quo, give or take a tax break or another busted union. It's madness not to see his run for presidency as a vanity project run amok. If his cabinet and congress play him right, it's pedal to the metal for the most reactionary, avaricious, vindictive and bellicose impulses in this country.

Someone might get hurt, and with bugger all to show for it.

Leigh November 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

Isn't victory the one thing we seek to avoid ? If there were victory anywhere, it would mean "the end", and everyone knows arm sales cannot, should not, must not, end. After all, it is the only industrial endeavor we are still good at.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Yes, well there's that as well. And that's not an insignificant issue. So again, the witless proles are fed endless propaganda about terrrrrists and being "safe" in order to keep on keeping on. Trump played the rubes about safety with his vitriolic Anti-Muslim rhetoric. Although Trump claimed not to want to continue the wars, I seriously doubt he'll do one damn thing to make improvements in this regard.

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

Have readers seen / thought of the amount of decorations modern US generals and admirals wear in comparison to their WW2 equivalents? I know Uncle Sam has been in permanent war for a long time, but does beating up Grenada and Panama count? The other lot to wear a lot of bling are the welfare junkies occupying Buck House.

NotTimothyGeithner November 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Compared to Ike and Bradley, but Beedle wrote a book where he claimed credit for single-handedly winning the war. West Point is ultimately a self selective group which poses a set of problems. What kind of kid wants to be a soldier for 30 to 40 years at age 16 when they need to start the application process? No one accidentally winds up at West Point or the other academies anymore. What kind of kid in 1810 thought he could carry on for Washington at age 16? I bet he's arrogant and loves pomp and pageantry.

I'm convinced we need to draft the officer corp from college bound seniors.

rd November 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Only Mussolini and Goering had a leg up on MacArthur regarding bling.

Fec November 29, 2016 at 11:48 am

From Nafeez Ahmed , last year:

Unfolding the Future of the Long War, a 2008 RAND Corporation report, was sponsored by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capability Integration Centre. It set out US government policy options for prosecuting what it described as "the long war" against "adversaries" in "the Muslim world," who are "bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance".

susan the other November 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Interesting. Rand was enlisted to write up a report almost a decade later on a decision that was made in 2000 when Little George decided to run for office. Making it appear to have just evolved into this situation today, no doubt. Remember Rumsfeld's name for the ME war in 2002 was "Odyssey Dawn". When he first tried to call it a "Crusade" he horrified everyone and had to find something more genteel. But Odyssey Dawn clearly says it all – it will be a very long war and it will carry us around the world and we will stagger in confusion but in the end we will find our way. Not the kind of war you can win by "bombing the shit out of em," as Donald might do. The victory we will get from Odyssey Dawn will be the benefits of attrition and engagement. But the devastation we cause will never be worth it.

Chauncey Gardiner November 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Bacevich: "Yet here's what too few of those Americans appreciate, even today: war created that swamp in the first place. War empowers Washington. It centralizes. It provides a rationale for federal authorities to accumulate and exercise new powers. It makes government bigger and more intrusive. It lubricates the machinery of waste, fraud, and abuse that causes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to vanish every year. When it comes to sustaining the swamp, nothing works better than war."

Appreciated Bacevich's three questions, particularly the second. Far past time to come clean on the real strategy in MENA. The mission and "the job" of military leaders has NOT been to bring America's wars to a timely and successful conclusion. Instead, there is a strategy to balkanize that region, keep it in chaos, keep the American people in perpetual wars and "support our troops" mode, threaten Europeans with a flood of immigrants, assure profits for the MIC and access for oil majors, and simply keep the military and other agencies occupied. "Winning a war" (and subsequent occupation) in terms of "bringing conflicts to a prompt and successful conclusion" doesn't appear to be high on the priority list of those who set the nation's geopolitical and military strategy. Project for a New American Century indeed.

In terms of "draining the swamp" that war has created, as Bacevich points out, the names mentioned as prospective appointees as national security adviser and defense secretary are not cause for optimism that the incoming administration will implement policies that will lead to resolution rather than perpetuating this mess.

David November 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Well, the US military's performance in WW1 and WW2, often against weak opposition, was less than stunning. They won their battles with massively superior firepower, for the most part. But many of the same criticisms that Bacevich makes could be, and indeed were, made of the Vietnam War, which is an odd omission from his article. If anything, the level of generalship then was probably worse than it is today.

But the real problem does, indeed, lie in Washington; Accepting that the US strategy in Iraq, for example, was indeed to create a pliable, pro-western democratic state, it's not clear that there was actually much the military could do when it started to unravel because of the inherent stupidity of the idea. At what the military call the "operational" level of war, there seems to have been a complete thought vacuum in Washington. I can imagine successive generals asking the political leadership "yes, but what exactly do you want me to do " and never getting a coherent answer.

optimader November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial.

http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

figure ~$5T squandered to date

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903285704576560593124523206
A dozen terrorism scholars gave a wide range of answers when asked to estimate how many members there are, how the numbers have changed during al Qaeda's lifespan and how many countries the group operates in. Analysts put the core membership at anywhere from 200 to 1,000

My recollection is toward the low end ( towards 200ppl) at the time of GWB addle-minded decision to pull the relatively modest special forces resources out of Tora Bora in Afghanistan that had the AlQ Principles in the crosshairs. Instead GWB pursued a bizarre and unrelated non-sequitur mission of tipping over SH in Iraq– allegedly because Saddam had threatened his Dad?

What was a reasonable response with explicit objectives to remedy a criminal act (as well at the time with fairly unanimous sympathies of other Countries) could have been accomplished with a modest Military footprint before getting the fk out of Afghanistan.

Instead it was scaled up into stupid endless Perpetual War without achievable objectives. In retrospect divide $5T by 200-1,000 and consider how little it may have cost if 9/11 had been treated as a criminal act by non-state actors, instead of sticking our foot into the role of destabilizing other sovereign countries, killing /antagonizing the citizens and generally fking up their countries??

Am I missing something here?

annie moose November 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm

oooo ooooo hand flailing wildly I want to build the next 43 million dollar gas station!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/11/02/pentagon-afghanistan-gas-station-boondoggle/75037032/

rd November 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I think the US is falling into the old imperialist trap of thinking of these places as countries with capital cities and leaders recognized as such by the population. The British had that issue in the 1770s when they captured the capital(s) of the new US but the revolution didn't stop. External superpower (French) support was able to keep the resistance functioning and the British eventually gave up. Both of those superpowers kept duking it out on other battlefields for another 30 years.

Yugoslavia was a temporary post-WW II construct based on a personality cult of Tito. When he died, the real Yugoslavia turned out to be a bunch of tribes that really, really hated each other and it all went to pieces.

North America is unusual with a huge moat around it other than a little isthmus at the south end. Even so, there are millions of illegal immigrants that come over that isthmus or cross over the southern moat (Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean) over the years. Only three countries (Mexico, US, Canada) are in play and those borders have been stable for over a century. This was after the US fought a massive civil war to keep that basic structure instead of having another country. Even so, Quebec has come close to secession, Texas and California mumble about it periodically, and Mexico effectively has a civil war with drug cartels. However, this is VERY stable compared to nearly anywhere else in the world, so it leads us to false equivalencies about how other parts of the world should work.

Putting in corrupt leaders with no popular support doesn't work as we have recently proved again in Afghanistan and Iraq after having proved it previously in Vietnam and Cuba (pre-Castro). The Afghanistan outcome may have worked better if the concept of Afghanistan disappeared and NATO had worked with each region to come up with rational boundaries based on historical tribal alliances. T.E. Lawrence had drawn a map like that for Iraq c.1918 but it did not fit the colonial power requirements.. Turkey vs. the Kurds and Iran linking with the Shiites ensured that natural map wasn't going to happen in 2003 either.

So, it is not clear what victory means in these areas. I think in many cases our concept of victory is very different than what the locals think is acceptable. It appears that Assad, Russia, and Iran may be "victorious" in Syria because it is clear they are willing to wipe out the village to save it. They may find that there is nobody left there to rule though, so they will repopulate those areas with allies, thereby probably sowing the seeds for another future war.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg November 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire; total destruction of native culture and replacement with Roman forms. The places the Spanish controlled are still broken, so don't look for success in this endeavor anytime soon

optimader November 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm

The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire

At least the Spanish had a quantifiable, albeit indefensible objective (resource extraction) that drove their predatory behavior. Our quizzical form of imperialism is a net resource drag with fuzzy morphing objectives

rd November 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Say what you want about the British Empire, but they did leave behind functioning legal and political systems in most of the countries they controlled. In India's case, they also left them a common language since there are so many languages there. Many of the countries remained in the Commonwealth after independence which is something that none of the other colonial powers achieved.

I think the key was the British focused on empire as an extension of commerce, not ideology (they already knew they were superior, so they didn't have to prove it, which allows for pragmatism). In the end, when it was clear that they couldn't hold on, they backed out more gracefully than many other empires.

Ranger Rick November 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

If there's one thing we can hope for in a Trump presidency, it's going to be Trump looking at the disaster of biblical proportions that continues to unfold in the arena of government contracting. It doesn't matter which sector his gaze falls upon, he's going to find an appalling failure in contract negotiation: the F-35, the Zumwalt, the LCS, the KC-46, the B-21 (really, just the idea of cost-plus contracts in general), the SLS, the FCC's Universal Service Fund, the EPA's Superfund, the Department of Education's "Race to the Top" and "No Child Left Behind" mandates, the ACA, the dollar value on whatever classified contract the telecommunications industry has to spy on the American people, the private contractors presently employed by the military to perform its duties - the list is endless.

rd November 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

The military-industrial complex has perfected the art of putting parts of the design, manufacturing, testing, and deployment of these programs into just about Congressional District so that everybody wants their constituents to have a shot at one part of the trough.

This is how empires fall. Asymmetrical economic and military warfare against entrenched bureaucracies and corruption.

dcblogger November 29, 2016 at 4:08 pm

the only way to win is to not play the game

jo6pac November 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

potus wants to make money giving speeches after office and also needs $$$$$$$$$$$ for his lieberry.
The merchants of death will hire him for those speeches and send money for lieberry.
The generals of today help the merchants of death make money so when the retire they can go to work for the merchants of death.
The idea is to never win so there is always an enemy so the merchants of death can continue to profit.
The easy way to control a country is to have chaos all the time. This makes easier to steal resources and keep citizens from pulling their own levers of justice. We only have to look at Amerika but other countries around the globe have the same going on. austerity for all.

The .01% would like to thank you for staying at each others throats.

Joaquin Closet November 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm

I matriculated at one of the U.S. Military Service Academies. I had my share of classes on "War Footing," "War Strategies" and "War, War, War – The Scarlet O'Hara Doctrine." (That last one was mine and mine alone.)

And then I took the typical post-grad Naval War College assortment of "think-tanked" war symposiums. All for naught, I must say.

Then came my time in the field. Most of my peers were good soldiers, junior officers and even a few were leaders. But no one I knew had the stomach for the orders passed down – they were seen just as watered-down "march-in-place" bullshit until the next wave of senior leadership flew in.

We junior officers were in the field just as much as our men – I'd say half (or more) of my squadrons were comprised of men and women on their second, third, fourth – or more – tours of duty. I'm so glad they didn't hear the bullshit we had to listen to. In fact, to this day, my greatest gift to my men and women was the translation and humanizing effect of taking bullshit orders and making them palatable for them.

No, we haven't won a war since WWII for many reasons; but, in my humble estimation, the two biggest culprits are politics and logistics. For one, our politicians don't know what it's like to wage war, what it's like for the combatants or the civilians seemingly always caught in the middle. Or what the hell we're going to do in the off-chance that we win one of these puppies.

No, the Generals have not forgotten how to win wars – in fact, there are no generals alive now who ever had the good fortune to win one. So the Generals don't know how to win wars.

Oh, by the way – this was during Vietnam. Nothing has changed.

Wombat November 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Glad to read a comment from someone with first hand experience. Generals know how to win conventional wars, where success is measured based on % enemy destroyed or seizing an objective. One could argue Norman Schwarzkopf won the 1st Gulf War, only difference is that U.S. Generals weren't left to perform humanitarian functions after. As the author eludes to - but still doesn't stray from attacking the competence of senior military leaders– without an objective can success be determined? If one's mission as a Colonel is to lead a Brigade security operation on a Forward Operating Base for a year, can he/she be successful based on the author's arbitrary standards of success? I would argue with minimal casualties and no breaches over the year, the mission would be a success, but these everyday successes are neglected. Accordingly, if a Component Combatant Commander leads coalition operations in Iraq for two years with 0.05% coalition casualties and no FOBs being breached, shouldn't that be a success?

It's too bad that General's success can't be measured like their CEO equivalents based on an quarterly earnings, instead they have to answer to often ill-informed civilian leadership being judged by vacant metrics and arbitrary standards by those like Bakevich. At least the military's top executives (Generals) make about 4x their median worker's salary. These men and women could take far better jobs in the MIC or the Corporate Realm, many I'm sure stay for noble reasons to lead their servicemembers.

knowbuddha November 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Sounds like the lament of an aging mafia don that's forgotten what he's talking about is illegal. "Why can't our generals pull off a good old-fashioned smash and grab like they used to? They must be incompetent!"

That's so last millennium. We've moved on, don. Smash & grabs are penny ante. Now the game is Full-Spectrum Dominance.

Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance

So I don't think an old-fashioned smash & grab has been the goal for a long time. For decades (ever since WWII?) we've been trying to regime change our way to the goal of every Hollywood mad scientist and super-villian: everlasting world dominance.

What have they actually accomplished? Hard to say, from my vantage point. "Insufficient data," as the old Star Trek computer said.

I know that one of the main goals is to prevent there from ever being any threat to our dominance. So while China and Russia aim for Eurasian integration, we're all about it's disintegration. We're also determined to keep the EU from ever threatening our dominance. South America is slipping the yoke, but we haven't given up.

At the very least, our generals are doing a smashing job of spreading chaos. And then there's weaponized economics.

Here in the "Homeland" (genuflects), on the "home front," in the domestic "battle space," it's important to realize that when the Pentagon says "full-spectrum dominance," that means us, comrades. Wall-to-wall surveillance? Check. POTUS power to execute or disappear dissidents? Check. Torture enshrined in secret laws and the public mind? Check.

On what level are the relevant decisions being made: public discourse, or top security? We're not privy to the councils where super secret intelligence is discussed and the big decisions are made. We're out here, on the receiving end of weapons-grade PSYOPS.

So what are we talking about, here? I don't think analyses based in kayfabe will ever arrive at real insight. Analyzing events in terms of the cover stories meant to dupe us is much ado about nothing.

The above article was published in 2000. Obama never renounced FSD. AFAIK it's still the strategy. Why doesn't the esteemed colonel frame his analysis in terms of our official defense posture? Are we any closer to FSD, or not?

But I must say, nice job of framing the debate. /s

As far as any hope for change under the new don, I don't see any. He'd have to publicly renounce FSD, wind down the empire of bases, and find something to do with all those now in its employ, all while "pivoting" to climate change and rejuvenating the economy, to actually respond to our actual conditions. The Don is many things, but a martyr for peace and Mother Earth ain't one.

I'll be impressed when the colonel starts calling our wars crimes against humanity and for their immediate cessation and full reparations. "Moar better generals" will not succeed at accomplishing a basically insane strategy. Until then, I'll file Bacevich under "modified limited hangout."

integer November 30, 2016 at 12:28 am

Great comment. Thanks.

ewmayer November 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

"But can he do anything about it?" - Don't go to war without a damn good reason seems like it might be a pretty good start. Despite his typically being all over the map on this – e.g. tough-on-terrorism-and-ISIS – I found myself repeatedly surprised during the primary season at Trump being the only major-party candidate – even including Bernie – to consistently talk good sense on Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Russia.

Lambert Strether November 30, 2016 at 3:30 am

Agreed. I was surprised, too. Of course, it's the working class children in the flyover states who join the military and go to war, and come back maimed or with PTSD to a rotten job market. So that may have been politically astute on Trump's part and, if so, good for him.

VietnamVet November 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Andrew Bacevich is correct if one wears blinders and looks strictly at DoD Generals. The reality is that there is a Western Imperium that is intent only on short term profits and has degenerated into looting its own people and destroying sovereign nations. The Vietnam War showed that colonial wars could not be fought with a conscript army. The volunteer US Army is too small to put a platoon of soldiers in every village and town square in Afghanistan let alone Iraq. The endless wars were unwinnable from the get go. The globalist empire is supremely efficient in looting taxpayers, trashing Deplorables and spreading regime change campaigns across the world. The forever wars are being fought by proxy forces with Western military support without a single thought for their deadly consequences to make money.

Synoia November 29, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Let's be brutally frank. The US both wants an empire, but also wants to pretend it is encouraging democracy everywhere. Objectives where the result is deceitful and duplicitous behavior. Ask the Indians about the methods, or the beneficiaries of the "Monroe Doctrine." The British wanted an empire. A simple objective. If you are not England, you are a colony, and we, the English, make the rules. At the heart of American activities is a kernel of deceit. Self determination for people, but only if you do what we say. The kernel of deceit poisons every walk of life connected to Washington. Every single one.

The US is called the empire of chaos. It could also be called the empire of Deceit. Do as we say, but we are not taking any responsibility for you if you do what we say. Don't do what we say, and we will fund your opposition until they stuff a dagger up you ass.

medon November 29, 2016 at 11:40 pm

I don't understand why we're in the Middle East at all. The US seems taken by the 4000 year old, 5th grade concept of controlling the "Fertile Crescent." Why don't we just buy the oil we want at prevailing prices.

Winning for the Boykin-ites is when the Middle East becomes Christian! lol As Smedley said. "It's a racket." Whatever, then there's Israel's push to steal Palestinian gas and pipe it thru Syria and Turkey to markets in the Europe.

blert November 30, 2016 at 4:51 am

1) You've got Qatar crossed up with the West Bank.

2) Israel has plenty of its own natural gas it wants to export.

Helping out Wahhabist Qatar is not in the playbook.

Wahhabish ~ Nazisim in all but name.

They line up almost perfectly right down the line starting with pathological Jew-hatred.

JTMcPhee November 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

HJi, blurt - Can you spell "Hasbarah"?

Davidt November 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Think about Democrats using identity politics to claim religious fervor and war used to show being strong on defense. With both political parties using corruption to align power and control at home and abroad. Choosing your enemies carefully, for you will become them.

Dick Burkhart November 30, 2016 at 4:37 am

Right on, Andrew!

Let's just pull out of the Middle East and do everything we can to de-escalate these wars: especially to keep the other great powers out too, unless called back in as a true UN peacekeeping force after the locals have found a way to cool things down.

Clark Landwehr November 30, 2016 at 6:01 am

The US military was the first part of the government to be turned into a business, the first neo-liberal institution created in America. The real problem is that the US military is run by managers and not soldiers. The Germans used to make fun of the British Army in WWI by calling it an army of lions led by donkeys. The US military is an army of lions led by managers.

fresno dan November 30, 2016 at 7:07 am

War on Crime.
War on Poverty.
War on Cancer.
War on Drugs.
War on Terror.

So many, many wars .so little victory.
A cynic might suggest its all a PR campaign

S Haust November 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Oddly enough, Tomdispatch does not appear to be on (drum roll)

THE LIST

Are they that stupid and careless or is it meaningful?

Paul Art November 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

If Andrew is looking for a denouement to the Military Industrial complex then one need look no further than the British empire – specifically what made it shrink and shrivel very rapidly. WWI and WWII. The decimation of the economy and the inability to keep spending money to maintain empire is what reversed the entire machine. It will be the same with the US as well.

As long as the dollar is high and Wall Street keeps it that way, there will be no pressure to do anything different. When people start going hungry and jobless and start getting the bejesus bombed out of them as happened during the blitz then they begin to understand what war truly means. In America there has been no war for too long and the people here know nothing about war's sufferings and privations. There was a little window via the draft during 'Nam' but that's about it. Nothing will happen until a majority of the populace start hurting real bad.

[Nov 23, 2016] Expect the Unexpected

Nov 23, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
This unadmitted ignorance was previously displayed for those with eyes to see it in the Libya debacle, perhaps not coincidentally Clinton's pet war. Cast by the Obama White House as a surgical display of "smart power" that would defend human rights and foster democracy in the Muslim world, the 2011 Libyan intervention did precisely the opposite. There is credible evidence that the U.S.-led NATO campaign prolonged and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, and far from creating a flourishing democracy, the ouster of strongman Muammar Qaddafi led to a power vacuum into which ISIS and other rival unsavories surged.

The 2011 intervention and the follow-up escalation in which we are presently entangled were both fundamentally informed by "the underlying belief that military force will produce stability and that the U.S. can reasonably predict the result of such a campaign," as Christopher Preble has argued in a must-read Libya analysis at Politico . Both have proven resoundingly wrong.

Before Libya, Washington espoused the same false certainty in advance of intervention and nation-building Iraq and Afghanistan. The rhetoric around the former was particularly telling: we would find nuclear weapons and "be greeted as liberators," said Vice President Dick Cheney. The whole thing would take five months or less, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. It would be a "cakewalk." As months dragged into years of nation-building stagnation, the ignored truth became increasingly evident: the United States cannot reshape entire countries without obscene risk and investment, and even when those costly commitments are made, success cannot be predicted with certainty.

Nearly 14 years later, with Iraq demonstrably more violent and less stable than it was before U.S. intervention, wisdom demands we reject Washington's recycled snake oil.

Recent polls (let alone the anti-elite backlash Trump's win represents ) suggest Americans are ready to do precisely that. But a lack of public enthusiasm has never stopped Washington from hawking its fraudulent wares-this time in the form of yet-again unfounded certainty that escalating American intervention in Syria is a sure-fire solution to that beleaguered nation's woes.

We must not let ourselves be fooled. Rather, we "should understand that we don't need to overthrow distant governments and roll the dice on what comes after in order to keep America safe," as Preble, reflecting on Libya, contends . "On the contrary, our track record over the last quarter-century shows that such interventions often have the opposite effect."

And as for the political establishment, let Trump's triumph be a constant reminder of the necessity of expecting the unexpected and proceeding with due (indeed, much overdue) prudence and restraint abroad. If Washington so grossly misunderstood the direction of its own heartland-without the muddling, as in foreign policy, of massive geographic and cultural differences-how naïve it is to believe that our government can successfully play armed puppet-master over an entire region of the world?

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities. She is a weekend editor at The Week and a columnist at Rare , and her writing has also appeared at Time , Politico , Relevant , The Hill , and other outlets.

[Nov 23, 2016] Money for ENDLESS WAR - no problem! Money for housing, health, education, environment - how the hell can we find money for that?

Notable quotes:
"... how the hell can we find money for that? ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pavel

That "Navy ship that broke down in the Panama Canal" - it cost $4.4 *billion* dollars. And there is a second one just finishing construction with a third coming in at the basement bargain price of $3.7B:

The Zumwalt cost more than $4.4bn and was commissioned in October in Maryland. It also suffered a leak in its propulsion system before it was commissioned. The leak required the ship to remain at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia longer than expected for repairs.

The ship is part of the first new class of warship built at Bath Iron Works in more than 25 years.

The second Zumwalt-class destroyer, which also cost more than $4.4bn, was christened in a June ceremony during which US Rep Bruce Poliquin called it an "extraordinary machine of peace and security". The third ship is expected to cost a bit less than $3.7bn.

[My emphasis]

US navy's most expensive destroyer breaks down in Panama Canal

Well, I understand that these are magnificent "machines of peace and security" but it seems rather a shame that some of that money couldn't be spent on delivering, say, clean water to residents of Flint and elsewhere.

US Dems and Republicans both:

Money for ENDLESS WAR - no problem!
Money for housing, health, education, environment - how the hell can we find money for that?

River

Given that the ammo is one million a shell, $3.7 billion is a bargain of sorts.

It isn't a shame that money couldn't be used elsewhere. It's a God Damn outrage.

PlutoniumKun

Well, not quite a million, but $800,000 a shell according to Stars and Stripes magazine. And each ship is supposed to carry 600 of them. The Zumwelt is basically a very expensive mobile artillery ship, with no clear military purpose. The Navy have pretty much confirmed this by cancelling the system (there were originally to be 38 of them). The worst thing is that despite it having no clear purpose and costing vast sums of money, nobody seems willing to call anyone to account for having blown billions on an entirely worthless defence system.

[Nov 22, 2016] Does Clinton's Defeat Mean the Decline of US Interventionism

Notable quotes:
"... Did the United States not know that intervening in "the lands of Islam" would act as a catalyst for Jihad? Was it by chance that the United States intervened only in secular states, turning them into manholes of religious extremism? Is it a coincidence that these interventions were and are often supported by regimes that sponsor political Islam? Conspiracy theory, you say? No, these are historical facts. ..."
"... The South has understood where the North has not: the selective nature of humanitarian interventions reflects their punitive nature; sanctions go to non-client regimes; interventions seem to be a new excuse for the hegemonic ambitions of the United States and its allies; they are a new rationale for NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union; they are a way to suppress Russia and deprive it of its zones of influence. (3) ..."
"... What a far-sighted motion was that of the coalition of the countries of the Third World (G77) at the Havana Summit in 2000! It declared its rejection of any intervention, including humanitarian, which did not respect the sovereignty of the states concerned. (4) This was nothing other than a rejection of the Clinton Doctrine, announced in 1999, in the wake of the war of Kosovo, which made "humanitarian intervention" the new bedrock, or perhaps the new facade, of the foreign policy of the United States. It was the same policy followed and developed by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state. (5) ..."
"... At the moment of this writing, any speculation as to the policy choices of Trump's foreign policy is premature. ..."
"... Like Donald Trump, George W. Bush was a conservative Republican non-interventionist. He advocated "America First," called for a more subdued foreign policy and adopted Colin Powell's realism "to attend without stress" (7) with regard to the Near and Middle East. But his policy shifted to become the most aggressive and most brutal in the history of the United States. Many international observers argue that this shift came as a response to the September 11 attacks, but they fail to note that the aggressive germs already existed within Bush's cabinet and advisers: the neo-conservatives occupied key functions in his administration. ..."
"... Up until now, Trump's links with the neo-cons remain unclear. The best-known neo-cons, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, and Robert Kagan, appear to have lost their bet by supporting Hillary Clinton's candidacy. But others, less prominent or influential, seem to have won it by supporting Trump: Dick Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, and James Woolsey, his adviser and one of the architects of the wars in the Middle East. ..."
"... it is more realistic to suppose that as long as the United States has interests in the countries of the South and the Near and Middle East, so long it will not hesitate to intervene. ..."
"... In this context, Trump's defeat and Clinton's accession are not sufficient reasons to declare the decline of interventionism -- the end of an era and the beginning of another. ..."
"... (Translated from the French by Luciana Bohne) ..."
www.counterpunch.org
... ... ...

If the discourse of humanitarianism seduced the North, it has not been so in the South, even less in the Near and Middle East, which no longer believe in it. The patent humanitarian disasters in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have disillusioned them.

It is in this sense that Trump's victory is felt as a release, a hope for change, and a rupture from the policy of Clinton, Bush, and Obama. This policy, in the name of edifying nations ("nation building"), has destroyed some of the oldest nations and civilizations on earth; in the name of delivering well-being, it has delivered misery; in the name of liberal values, it has galvanized religious zeal; in the name of democracy and human rights, it has installed autocracies and Sharia law.

Who is to blame?

Did the United States not know that intervening in "the lands of Islam" would act as a catalyst for Jihad? Was it by chance that the United States intervened only in secular states, turning them into manholes of religious extremism? Is it a coincidence that these interventions were and are often supported by regimes that sponsor political Islam? Conspiracy theory, you say? No, these are historical facts.

Can the United States not learn from history, or does it just doom itself to repeat it? Does it not pose itself the question of how al-Qaeda and Daesh originated? How did they organize themselves? Who trained them? What is their mobilizing discourse? (1) Why is the US their target? None of this seems to matter to the US: all it cares about is projecting its own idealism. (2)

The death of thousands of people in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya or Syria, has it contributed to the well being of these peoples? Or does the United States perhaps respond to this question in the manner of Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, who regretted the death of five-hundred-thousand Iraqi children, deprived of medications by the American embargo, to conclude with the infamous sentence, "[But] it was worth it "?

Was it worth it that people came to perceive humanitarian intervention as the new crusades? Was it worth it that they now perceive democracy as a pagan, pre-Islamic model, abjured by their belief? Was it worth it that they now perceive modernity as deviating believers from the "true" path? Was it worth that they now perceive human rights as human standards as contrary to the divine will? Was it worth it that people now perceive secularism as atheism whose defenders are punishable by beheading?

Have universal values become a problem rather than a solution? What then to think of making war in their name? Has humanitarian intervention become punishment rather than help?

The South has understood where the North has not: the selective nature of humanitarian interventions reflects their punitive nature; sanctions go to non-client regimes; interventions seem to be a new excuse for the hegemonic ambitions of the United States and its allies; they are a new rationale for NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union; they are a way to suppress Russia and deprive it of its zones of influence. (3)

What a far-sighted motion was that of the coalition of the countries of the Third World (G77) at the Havana Summit in 2000! It declared its rejection of any intervention, including humanitarian, which did not respect the sovereignty of the states concerned. (4) This was nothing other than a rejection of the Clinton Doctrine, announced in 1999, in the wake of the war of Kosovo, which made "humanitarian intervention" the new bedrock, or perhaps the new facade, of the foreign policy of the United States. It was the same policy followed and developed by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state. (5)

The end of interventionism?

But are Clinton's defeat and Trump's accession to power sufficient reasons to declare the decline of interventionism?

Donald Trump is a nationalist, whose rise has been the result of a coalition of anti-interventionists within the Republican Party. They professe a foreign policy that Trump has summarized in these words: "We will use military force only in cases of vital necessity to the national security of the United States. We will put an end to attempts of imposing democracy and overthrowing regimes abroad, as well as involving ourselves in situations in which we have no right to intervene." (6)

But drawing conclusions about the foreign policy of the United States from unofficial statements seems simplistic. At the moment of this writing, any speculation as to the policy choices of Trump's foreign policy is premature. One can't predict his policy with regard to the Near and Middle East, since he has not yet even formed his cabinet. Moreover, presidents in office can change their tune in the course of their tenure. The case of George W. Bush provides an excellent example.

Like Donald Trump, George W. Bush was a conservative Republican non-interventionist. He advocated "America First," called for a more subdued foreign policy and adopted Colin Powell's realism "to attend without stress" (7) with regard to the Near and Middle East. But his policy shifted to become the most aggressive and most brutal in the history of the United States. Many international observers argue that this shift came as a response to the September 11 attacks, but they fail to note that the aggressive germs already existed within Bush's cabinet and advisers: the neo-conservatives occupied key functions in his administration. (8)

Up until now, Trump's links with the neo-cons remain unclear. The best-known neo-cons, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, and Robert Kagan, appear to have lost their bet by supporting Hillary Clinton's candidacy. But others, less prominent or influential, seem to have won it by supporting Trump: Dick Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, and James Woolsey, his adviser and one of the architects of the wars in the Middle East.

These indices show that nothing seems to have been gained by the South, still less by the Near and Middle East. There appears to be no guarantee that the situation will improve.

The non-interventionism promised by Trump may not necessarily equate to a policy of isolationism. A non-interventionist policy does not automatically mean that the United States will stop protecting their interests abroad, strategic or otherwise. Rather, it could mean that the United States will not intervene abroad except to defend their own interests, unilaterally -- and perhaps even more aggressively. Such a potential is implied in Trump's promise to increase the budget for the army and the military-industrial complex. Thus, it is more realistic to suppose that as long as the United States has interests in the countries of the South and the Near and Middle East, so long it will not hesitate to intervene.

In this context, Trump's defeat and Clinton's accession are not sufficient reasons to declare the decline of interventionism -- the end of an era and the beginning of another. The political reality is too complex to be reduced to statements by a presidential candidate campaigning for election, by an elected president, or even by a president in the course of performing his office.

No one knows what the future will bring.

Marwen Bouassida is a researcher in international law at North African-European relations, University of Carthage, Tunisia. He regularly contributes to the online magazine Kapitalis.

(Translated from the French by Luciana Bohne)

[Nov 21, 2016] Chuck Baldwin -- Trump Supporters Must Not Go To Sleep

Notable quotes:
"... Reince Priebus is an establishment insider. He did NOTHING to help Trump get elected until toward the very end of the campaign. ..."
"... On the other hand, Stephen Bannon is probably a very good pick. He headed Breitbart.com, which is one of the premier "alt-right" media outlets that has consistently led the charge against the globalist, anti-freedom agenda of the political establishment in Washington, D.C. Albeit, Bannon is probably blind to the dangers of Zionism and is, therefore, probably naïve about the New World Order. I don't believe anyone can truly understand the New World Order without being aware of the role that Zionism plays in it. ..."
"... To be honest, the possible appointments of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, John Bolton and especially Newt Gingrich are MORE than troubling. Rudy Giuliani is "Mr. Police State," and if he is selected as the new attorney general, the burgeoning Police State in this country will go into hyperdrive. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is already warning us about this. Chris Christie is a typical New England liberal Republican. His appointment to any position bodes NOTHING good. And John Bolton is a Bush pro-war neocon. But Newt Gingrich is the quintessential insider, globalist, and establishment hack. ..."
"... Newt Gingrich is a HIGH LEVEL globalist and longtime CFR member. He is the consummate neocon. And he has a brilliant mind (NO morals, but a brilliant mind--a deadly combination, for sure). ..."
"... You cannot drain the swamp by putting the very people who filled the swamp back in charge. And that's exactly what Trump would be doing if he appoints Gingrich to any high-level position in his administration. ..."
"... Trump is already softening his position on illegal immigration, on dismantling the EPA, on repealing Obamacare, on investigating and prosecuting Hillary Clinton, etc. ..."
"... What we need to know right now is that WE CANNOT GO TO SLEEP. We cannot sit back in lethargy and complacency and just assume that Donald Trump is going to do what he said he would do. If we do that, we might as well have elected Hillary Clinton, because at least then we would be forever on guard against her forthcoming assaults against our liberties. ..."
"... The difference in this election is that Donald Trump didn't run against the Democrats; he ran against the entire Washington establishment, including the Republican establishment. Hopefully that means that the people who supported and voted for Trump will NOT be inclined to go into political hibernation now that Trump is elected. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.newswithviews.com

After my post-election column last week, a lady wrote to me and said, "I have confidence he [Trump] plans to do what is best for the country." With all due respect, I don't! I agree wholeheartedly with Thomas Jefferson. He said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

If Donald Trump is going to be anything more than just another say-anything-to-get-elected phony, he is going to have to put raw elbow grease to his rhetoric. His talk got him elected, but it is going to be his walk that is going to prove his worth.

And, as I wrote last week, the biggest indicator as to whether or not he is truly going to follow through with his rhetoric is who he selects for his cabinet and top-level government positions. So far, he has picked Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist.

Reince Priebus is an establishment insider. He did NOTHING to help Trump get elected until toward the very end of the campaign. He is the current chairman of the Republican National Committee. If that doesn't tell you what he is, nothing will. Trump probably picked him because he is in so tight with House Speaker Paul Ryan (a globalist neocon of the highest order) and the GOP establishment, thinking Priebus will help him get his agenda through the GOP Congress. But ideologically, Priebus does NOT share Trump's anti-establishment agenda. So, this appointment is a risk at best and a sell-out at worst.

On the other hand, Stephen Bannon is probably a very good pick. He headed Breitbart.com, which is one of the premier "alt-right" media outlets that has consistently led the charge against the globalist, anti-freedom agenda of the political establishment in Washington, D.C. Albeit, Bannon is probably blind to the dangers of Zionism and is, therefore, probably naïve about the New World Order. I don't believe anyone can truly understand the New World Order without being aware of the role that Zionism plays in it.

To be honest, the possible appointments of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, John Bolton and especially Newt Gingrich are MORE than troubling. Rudy Giuliani is "Mr. Police State," and if he is selected as the new attorney general, the burgeoning Police State in this country will go into hyperdrive. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is already warning us about this. Chris Christie is a typical New England liberal Republican. His appointment to any position bodes NOTHING good. And John Bolton is a Bush pro-war neocon. But Newt Gingrich is the quintessential insider, globalist, and establishment hack.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the globalist elite gave Newt Gingrich the assignment of cozying up to (and "supporting") Trump during his campaign with the sole intention of being in a position for Trump to think he owes Gingrich something so as to appoint him to a key cabinet post in the event that he won. Gingrich could then weave his evil magic during a Donald Trump presidential administration.

Newt Gingrich is a HIGH LEVEL globalist and longtime CFR member. He is the consummate neocon. And he has a brilliant mind (NO morals, but a brilliant mind--a deadly combination, for sure). If Donald Trump does not see through this man, and if he appoints him as a cabinet head in his administration, I will be forced to believe that Donald Trump is clueless about "draining the swamp." You cannot drain the swamp by putting the very people who filled the swamp back in charge. And that's exactly what Trump would be doing if he appoints Gingrich to any high-level position in his administration.

Trump is already softening his position on illegal immigration, on dismantling the EPA, on repealing Obamacare, on investigating and prosecuting Hillary Clinton, etc. Granted, he hasn't even been sworn in yet, and it's still way too early to make a true judgment of his presidency. But for a fact, his cabinet appointments and his first one hundred days in office will tell us most of what we need to know.

What we need to know right now is that WE CANNOT GO TO SLEEP. We cannot sit back in lethargy and complacency and just assume that Donald Trump is going to do what he said he would do. If we do that, we might as well have elected Hillary Clinton, because at least then we would be forever on guard against her forthcoming assaults against our liberties.

There is a reason we have lost more liberties under Republican administrations than Democratic ones over the past few decades. And that reason is the conservative, constitutionalist, Christian, pro-freedom people who should be resisting government's assaults against our liberties are sound asleep because they trust a Republican President and Congress to do the right thing -- and they give the GOP a pass as our liberties are expunged piece by piece. A pass they would NEVER give to a Democrat.

The difference in this election is that Donald Trump didn't run against the Democrats; he ran against the entire Washington establishment, including the Republican establishment. Hopefully that means that the people who supported and voted for Trump will NOT be inclined to go into political hibernation now that Trump is elected.

I tell you again: this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the course of a nation. Frankly, if this opportunity is squandered, there likely will not be another one in most of our lifetimes.

[Nov 21, 2016] Chuck Baldwin -- Trump Supporters Must Not Go To Sleep

Notable quotes:
"... Reince Priebus is an establishment insider. He did NOTHING to help Trump get elected until toward the very end of the campaign. ..."
"... On the other hand, Stephen Bannon is probably a very good pick. He headed Breitbart.com, which is one of the premier "alt-right" media outlets that has consistently led the charge against the globalist, anti-freedom agenda of the political establishment in Washington, D.C. Albeit, Bannon is probably blind to the dangers of Zionism and is, therefore, probably naïve about the New World Order. I don't believe anyone can truly understand the New World Order without being aware of the role that Zionism plays in it. ..."
"... To be honest, the possible appointments of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, John Bolton and especially Newt Gingrich are MORE than troubling. Rudy Giuliani is "Mr. Police State," and if he is selected as the new attorney general, the burgeoning Police State in this country will go into hyperdrive. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is already warning us about this. Chris Christie is a typical New England liberal Republican. His appointment to any position bodes NOTHING good. And John Bolton is a Bush pro-war neocon. But Newt Gingrich is the quintessential insider, globalist, and establishment hack. ..."
"... Newt Gingrich is a HIGH LEVEL globalist and longtime CFR member. He is the consummate neocon. And he has a brilliant mind (NO morals, but a brilliant mind--a deadly combination, for sure). ..."
"... You cannot drain the swamp by putting the very people who filled the swamp back in charge. And that's exactly what Trump would be doing if he appoints Gingrich to any high-level position in his administration. ..."
"... Trump is already softening his position on illegal immigration, on dismantling the EPA, on repealing Obamacare, on investigating and prosecuting Hillary Clinton, etc. ..."
"... What we need to know right now is that WE CANNOT GO TO SLEEP. We cannot sit back in lethargy and complacency and just assume that Donald Trump is going to do what he said he would do. If we do that, we might as well have elected Hillary Clinton, because at least then we would be forever on guard against her forthcoming assaults against our liberties. ..."
"... The difference in this election is that Donald Trump didn't run against the Democrats; he ran against the entire Washington establishment, including the Republican establishment. Hopefully that means that the people who supported and voted for Trump will NOT be inclined to go into political hibernation now that Trump is elected. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.newswithviews.com

After my post-election column last week, a lady wrote to me and said, "I have confidence he [Trump] plans to do what is best for the country." With all due respect, I don't! I agree wholeheartedly with Thomas Jefferson. He said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

If Donald Trump is going to be anything more than just another say-anything-to-get-elected phony, he is going to have to put raw elbow grease to his rhetoric. His talk got him elected, but it is going to be his walk that is going to prove his worth.

And, as I wrote last week, the biggest indicator as to whether or not he is truly going to follow through with his rhetoric is who he selects for his cabinet and top-level government positions. So far, he has picked Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist.

Reince Priebus is an establishment insider. He did NOTHING to help Trump get elected until toward the very end of the campaign. He is the current chairman of the Republican National Committee. If that doesn't tell you what he is, nothing will. Trump probably picked him because he is in so tight with House Speaker Paul Ryan (a globalist neocon of the highest order) and the GOP establishment, thinking Priebus will help him get his agenda through the GOP Congress. But ideologically, Priebus does NOT share Trump's anti-establishment agenda. So, this appointment is a risk at best and a sell-out at worst.

On the other hand, Stephen Bannon is probably a very good pick. He headed Breitbart.com, which is one of the premier "alt-right" media outlets that has consistently led the charge against the globalist, anti-freedom agenda of the political establishment in Washington, D.C. Albeit, Bannon is probably blind to the dangers of Zionism and is, therefore, probably naïve about the New World Order. I don't believe anyone can truly understand the New World Order without being aware of the role that Zionism plays in it.

To be honest, the possible appointments of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, John Bolton and especially Newt Gingrich are MORE than troubling. Rudy Giuliani is "Mr. Police State," and if he is selected as the new attorney general, the burgeoning Police State in this country will go into hyperdrive. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is already warning us about this. Chris Christie is a typical New England liberal Republican. His appointment to any position bodes NOTHING good. And John Bolton is a Bush pro-war neocon. But Newt Gingrich is the quintessential insider, globalist, and establishment hack.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the globalist elite gave Newt Gingrich the assignment of cozying up to (and "supporting") Trump during his campaign with the sole intention of being in a position for Trump to think he owes Gingrich something so as to appoint him to a key cabinet post in the event that he won. Gingrich could then weave his evil magic during a Donald Trump presidential administration.

Newt Gingrich is a HIGH LEVEL globalist and longtime CFR member. He is the consummate neocon. And he has a brilliant mind (NO morals, but a brilliant mind--a deadly combination, for sure). If Donald Trump does not see through this man, and if he appoints him as a cabinet head in his administration, I will be forced to believe that Donald Trump is clueless about "draining the swamp." You cannot drain the swamp by putting the very people who filled the swamp back in charge. And that's exactly what Trump would be doing if he appoints Gingrich to any high-level position in his administration.

Trump is already softening his position on illegal immigration, on dismantling the EPA, on repealing Obamacare, on investigating and prosecuting Hillary Clinton, etc. Granted, he hasn't even been sworn in yet, and it's still way too early to make a true judgment of his presidency. But for a fact, his cabinet appointments and his first one hundred days in office will tell us most of what we need to know.

What we need to know right now is that WE CANNOT GO TO SLEEP. We cannot sit back in lethargy and complacency and just assume that Donald Trump is going to do what he said he would do. If we do that, we might as well have elected Hillary Clinton, because at least then we would be forever on guard against her forthcoming assaults against our liberties.

There is a reason we have lost more liberties under Republican administrations than Democratic ones over the past few decades. And that reason is the conservative, constitutionalist, Christian, pro-freedom people who should be resisting government's assaults against our liberties are sound asleep because they trust a Republican President and Congress to do the right thing -- and they give the GOP a pass as our liberties are expunged piece by piece. A pass they would NEVER give to a Democrat.

The difference in this election is that Donald Trump didn't run against the Democrats; he ran against the entire Washington establishment, including the Republican establishment. Hopefully that means that the people who supported and voted for Trump will NOT be inclined to go into political hibernation now that Trump is elected.

I tell you again: this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the course of a nation. Frankly, if this opportunity is squandered, there likely will not be another one in most of our lifetimes.

[Nov 21, 2016] Michael Flynn Should Remember Truths He Blurted Out Last Year by DavidSwanson

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
www.washingtonsblog.com

Michael Flynn, expected to advise Donald Trump on counterproductive killing operations misleading labeled "national security," is generally depicted as a lawless torturer and assassin. But, whether for partisan reasons or otherwise, he's a lawless torturer and assassin who has blurted out some truths he shouldn't be allowed to forget.

For example:

"Lt. Gen. Flynn, who since leaving the DIA has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, charges that the White House relies heavily on drone strikes for reasons of expediency, rather than effectiveness. 'We've tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that "we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts" and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours,' Flynn said. 'And you know what? It doesn't matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.'"

Or even more clearly:

"When you drop a bomb from a drone you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just fuels the conflict."

Will Flynn then advise Trump to cease dropping bombs from drones? Or will he go ahead and advise drone murders, knowing full well that this is counterproductive from the point of view of anyone other than war profiteers?

From the same report:

"Asked . . . if drone strikes tend to create more terrorists than they kill, Flynn . . . replied: 'I don't disagree with that,' adding: 'I think as an overarching strategy, it is a failed strategy.'"

So Trump's almost inevitable string of drone murders will be conducted under the guidance of a man who knows they produce terrorism rather than reducing it, that they endanger the United States rather than protecting it. In that assessment, he agrees with the vast majority of Americans who believe that the wars of the past 15 years have made the United States less safe, which is the view of numerous other experts as well.

Flynn, too, expanded his comments from drones to the wars as a whole:

"What we have is this continued investment in conflict. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just fuels the conflict. Some of that has to be done but I am looking for the other solutions."

Flynn also, like Trump, accurately cites the criminal 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as critical to the creation of ISIS:

"Commenting on the rise of ISIL in Iraq, Flynn acknowledged the role played by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. 'We definitely put fuel on a fire,' he told Hasan. 'Absolutely there is no doubt, history will not be kind to the decisions that were made certainly in 2003. Going into Iraq, definitely it was a strategic mistake."

So there will be no advice to make similar strategic mistakes that are highly profitable to the weapons industry?

Flynn, despite perhaps being a leading advocate of lawless imprisonment and torture, also admits to the counterproductive nature of those crimes:

"The former lieutenant general denied any involvement in the litany of abuses carried out by JSOC interrogators at Camp Nama in Iraq, as revealed by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch, but admitted the US prison system in Iraq in the post-war period 'absolutely' helped radicalise Iraqis who later joined Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and its successor organisation, ISIL."

Recently the International Criminal Court teased the world with the news that it might possible consider indicting US and other war criminals for their actions in Afghanistan. One might expect all-out resistance to such a proposal from Trump and his gang of hyper-nationalist war mongers, except that . . .

"Flynn also called for greater accountability for US soldiers involved in abuses against Iraqi detainees: 'You know I hope that as more and more information comes out that people are held accountable History is not going to look kind on those actions and we will be held, we should be held, accountable for many, many years to come.'"

Let's not let Flynn forget any of these words. On Syria he has blurted out some similar facts to those Trump has also articulated:

"Publicly commenting for the first time on a previously-classified August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo, which had predicted 'the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria ( ) this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want' and confirmed that 'the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,' the former DIA chief told Head to Head that 'the [Obama] Administration' didn't 'listen' to these warnings issued by his agency's analysts. 'I don't know if they turned a blind eye,' he said. 'I think it was a decision, I think it was a willful decision.'"

Let that sink in. Flynn is taking credit for having predicted that backing fighters in Syria could lead to something like ISIS. And he's suggesting that Obama received this information and chose to ignore it.

Now, here's a question: What impact will "bombing the hell" out of people have? What good will "killing their families" do? Spreading nukes around? "Stealing their oil"? Making lists of and banning Muslims? Is it Flynn's turn to willfully ignore key facts and common sense in order to "advise" against his better judgment a new president who prefers to be advised to do what he was going to do anyway?

Or can Flynn be convinced to apply lessons learned at huge human cost to similar situations going forward even with a president of a different party, race, and IQ?

[Nov 20, 2016] Most individuals Trump is considering for his administration, including those already picked have a deep-seated obsession with Iran. This is very troubling.

www.moonofalabama.org
Posted by: Circe | Nov 19, 2016 8:37:46 PM | 23

95% or more of the individuals Trump is considering for his administration, including those already picked have a deep-seated obsession with Iran. This is very troubling. It's going to lead to war and not a regular war where 300,000 people die. This is a catastrophic error in judgment I don't give a sh...t who makes such an error, Trump or the representative from Kalamazoo! This is so bad that it disqualifies whatever else appears positive at this time.

And one more deeply disturbing thing; Pompeo, chosen to head the CIA has threatened Ed Snowden with the death penalty, if Snowden is caught, and now as CIA Director he can send operatives to chase him down wherever he is and render him somewhere, torture him to find out who he shared intelligence with and kill him on the spot and pretend it was a foreign agent who did the job. He already stated before he was assigned this powerful post that Snowden should be brought back from Russia and get the death penalty for treason.

Pompeo also sided with the Obama Administration on using U. S. military force in Syria against Assad and wrote this in the Washington Post: "Russia continues to side with rogue states and terrorist organizations, following Vladimir Putin's pattern of gratuitous and unpunished affronts to U.S. interests,".

That's not all, Pompeo wants to enhance the surveillance state, and he too wants to tear up the Iran deal.

Many of you here are extremely naïve regarding Trump.

b's speculation has the ring of truth. I've often wondered if Trump was encouraged to run by a deep-state faction that found the neocons to be abhorrent and dangerous.

Aside: I find those who talk about "factions" in foreign policy making to be un-credible. Among these were those that spoke of 'Obama's legacy'. A bullshit concept for a puppet.The neocons control FP. And they could only be unseated if a neocon-unfriendly President was elected.

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 10:20:57 PM | 26

Trump is turning animosity away from Russia and toward Iran. But I doubt that it will result in a shooting war with Iran. The 'deep-state' (arms industry and security agencies) just wants a foreign enemy as a means of ensuring that US govt continues to fund security agencies and buy arms.

And really, Obama's "peace deal" with Iran was bogus anyway. It was really just a placeholder until Assad could be toppled. Only a small amount of funds were released to Iran, and US-Iranian relations have been just as bad as they were before the "peace deal". So all the hand-wringing about Trump vs. Iran is silly.

What is important is that with Iran as the nominal enemy du jour plus Trump's campaign pledge to have the "strongest" military (note: every candidate was for a strong military), the neocons have no case to make that Trump is weak on defense.

And so it is interesting that those that want to undermine Trump have resorted to the claim that he is close to Jews/Zionists/Israel or even Jewish himself. Funny that Trump wasn't attacked like that before the election, huh?

The profound changes and profound butt-hurt lead to the following poignant questions:

>> Have we just witnessed a counter-coup?

>> Isn't it sad that, in 2016(!), the only check on elites are other elite factions? An enormous cultural failure that has produced a brittle social fabric.

>> If control of NSA snooping power is so crucial, why would ANY ruling block ever allow the another to gain power?

Indeed, the answer to this question informs one's view on whether the anti-Trump protests are just Democratic Party ass-covering/distraction or a real attempt at a 'color revolution'.

[Nov 19, 2016] Trump and the Neoconservatives by Jon Basil Utley

Notable quotes:
"... as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls. ..."
"... But more unending wars will continue to sap America's strength and prejudice the world's former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. ..."
Nov 13, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives' war-and-conquest agenda. Long ago I wrote about him, in "John Bolton and U.S. Lawlessness," "The Bush administration's international lawlessness did not come from nowhere. Its intellectual foundations were laid long before 9/11 by neoconservatives." I quoted Bolton, "It is a big mistake to for us to grant any validity to international law because over the long term, the goal of those who think that it really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States." In fact I set up a web page, the John Bolton File , containing various links about him and the neocons.

Nearly all of Donald Trump's appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. Indeed, I have known many of them for years. But he could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy. The New York Times reported how many are now scrambling to get back into their old dominant positions. And now National Review , which supported all the disasters in Iraq, has come out to promote Bolton for secretary of state.

I have written about the neocons for many years. Their originators were former leftists who later became anti-communists. After the collapse of communism, they provided the intellectual firepower for hawks and imperialists who wanted an aggressive American foreign policy. Having lived and done business for many years in the Third World, I thought they would only bring about disasters for America. What especially interested me was their almost total lack of experience in and knowledge about the outside world, particularly Asia and Latin America. I even set up a web page called War Party Neoconservative Biographies as I researched their education and experience.

Brilliant academics as many of them were, their "foreign" experience was at best a semester or two in London or, for the more daring, some studies in Paris or, for the Jewish ones, a summer on a kibbutz in Israel.

They are above all Washington insiders. John Bolton is very typical. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale, then Yale Law School, time with a top Washington law firm, and then various academic and political appointments, but no foreign living or work experience.

Also, as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls.

Long ago Peter Viereck explained them with his observation about the vicarious "lust of many intellectuals for brute violence." No wonder they urged Bush on to his disastrous war and occupation policies. Even before Iraq they were first urging dominance over Russia and then military confrontation with China, when a U.S. spy plane was collided by a Chinese fighter plane. It wasn't just the Arab world which was in their sights.

I write about all this based on my own experience of studying in Germany and France, working 15 years in South America, and speaking four languages fluently.

Trump appointments so far are really showing his focus upon getting America back on track with faster economic growth, which has been so stunted by Obama's runaway regulatory regime. To understand their costs, see analysis in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's "Ten Thousand Commandments."

But more unending wars will continue to sap America's strength and prejudice the world's former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. Few would now doubt that America has crossed this threshold. When it costs us a million dollars per year per man to field combat infantry in unending wars, we will face economic ruin just like happened with the Roman Empire.

The risk is that Trump's foreign-affairs transition team becomes infiltrated. Much of the transition is being run out of the Heritage Foundation, which was a big promoter of the Iraq War.

Mainly, however, Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the transition team, was another war wanter and still supports the neoconservative agenda-e.g., he strongly supported the attack on Libya . He also wants much more military spending.

Pence is great on domestic issues but not on foreign policy. Although a Catholic, he also is very close to those evangelicals who believe that supporting Israel's expansion will help to speed up the second coming of Christ and, consequently, Armageddon. One must assume that he, together with the military-industrial complex, is plugging for the neoconservatives again to work their agenda upon America and the world.

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative .

[Nov 19, 2016] Steve Bannon Interviewed Its About Americans Not Getting disposed

Notable quotes:
"... " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ..."
"... Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids." ..."
"... Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump" ..."
"... " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ." ..."
"... ... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet. ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
Bannon next discusses the "battle line" inside America's great divide.

He absolutely - mockingly - rejects the idea that this is a racial line. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist, " he tells me. " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Bannon's vision: an "entirely new political movement", one which drives the conservatives crazy. As to how monetary policy will coexist with fiscal stimulus, Bannon has a simple explanation: he plans to "rebuild everything" courtesy of negative interest rates and cheap debt throughout the world. Those rates may not be negative for too long.

" Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

How Bannon describes Trump: " an ideal vessel"

It is less than obvious how Bannon, now the official strategic brains of the Trump operation, syncs with his boss, famously not too strategic. When Bannon took over the campaign from Paul Manafort, there were many in the Trump circle who had resigned themselves to the inevitability of the candidate listening to no one . But here too was a Bannon insight: When the campaign seemed most in free fall or disarray, it was perhaps most on target. While Clinton was largely absent from the campaign trail and concentrating on courting her donors, Trump - even after the leak of the grab-them-by-the-pussy audio - was speaking to ever-growing crowds of thirty-five or forty thousand. "He gets it, he gets it intuitively," says Bannon, perhaps still surprised he has found such an ideal vessel. "You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don't speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids."

Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump"

At that moment, as we talk, there's a knock on the door of Bannon's office, a temporary, impersonal, middle-level executive space with a hodgepodge of chairs for constant impromptu meetings. Sen. Ted Cruz, once the Republican firebrand, now quite a small and unassuming figure, has been waiting patiently for a chat and Bannon excuses himself for a short while. It is clear when we return to our conversation that it is not just the liberal establishment that Bannon feels he has triumphed over, but the conservative one too - not least of all Fox News and its owners, the Murdochs. "They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. " Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they'll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly." Bannon recounts, with no small irony, that when Breitbart attacked Kelly after her challenges to Trump in the initial Republican debate, Fox News chief Roger Ailes - whom Bannon describes as an important mentor, and who Kelly's accusations of sexual harassment would help topple in July - called to defend her. Bannon says he warned Ailes that Kelly would be out to get him too .

Finally, Bannon on how he sees himself in the administration:

Bannon now becomes part of a two-headed White House political structure, with Reince Priebus - in and out of Bannon's office as we talk - as chief of staff, in charge of making the trains run on time, reporting to the president, and Bannon as chief strategist, in charge of vision, goals, narrative and plan of attack, reporting to the president too. Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the working man and a trillion dollars in new spending.

"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."

Life of Illusion nibiru Nov 18, 2016 2:32 PM ,
now that is direct with truth

" The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Deathrips Life of Illusion Nov 18, 2016 2:34 PM ,
William Jennings Bryan!!!! Bonus Points.

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1876-1900/william-jennings-bryan-cro...

Read cross of gold about bimetalism. Gold AND Silver

PrayingMantis wildbad Nov 18, 2016 3:51 PM ,
... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet.

........ from wiki ...

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia into a working-class, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 and holds a master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In 1983, Bannon received an M.B.A. degree with honors from Harvard Business School.

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department. In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. Through Bannon & Co., Bannon negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. As payment, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the project shifted emphasis from researching space exploration and colonization towards pollution and global warming. He left the project in 1995.

After the sale of Bannon & Co., Bannon became an executive producer in the film and media industry in Hollywood, California. He was executive producer for Julie Taymor's 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company. In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart. He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated (on Sarah Palin), and Occupy Unmasked. Bannon also hosts a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on a Sirius XM satellite radio channel.

Bannon is also executive chairman and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, where he helped orchestrate the publication of the book Clinton Cash. In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".

Bannon convinced Goldman Sachs to invest in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment. Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was chairman and CEO of Affinity Media.

Bannon became a member of the board of Breitbart News. In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart's death, Bannon became executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News. Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach towards its agenda. Bannon declared the website "the platform for the alt-right" in 2016. Bannon identifies as a conservative. Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class."

The New York Times described Breitbart News under Bannon's leadership as a "curiosity of the fringe right wing", with "ideologically driven journalists", that is a source of controversy "over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist." The newspaper also noted how Breitbart was now a "potent voice" for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Escrava Isaura The Saint Nov 18, 2016 6:11 PM ,

Bannon: " The globalists gutted the American working class ..the Democrats were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Well said. Couldn't agree more.

Bannon: " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

Dear Mr. Bannon, it has to be way more than $1trillion in 10 years. Obama's $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) didn't make up the difference for all the job lost in 2007/08. Manufacturing alone lost about 9 million jobs since 1979, when it peaked.

Trump needs to go Ronald Reagan 180% deficit spending. If Trump runs 100% like Obama, Trump will fail as well.

[Nov 19, 2016] British neocons are frustrated that Trump does not consult US neocons

Speaking to foreign heads of state without briefing papers from neocon bottom feeders from the State Department might be a wise move.
And meaningful contact with such the nation's foreign policy professionals as Samantha Paul or Victoria Nuland is probably impossible ;-).
"...turning a blind eye to Russia's designs on Ukraine and its support for the Assad regime in Syria." might be what is really needed for the USA foreigh policy.
Nov 19, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

From: Michael Flynn will be a disaster as national security adviser by Richard Wolffe

Like his new boss, Flynn appears very comfortable with the current Russian regime, working with Russia Today , the Kremlin's propaganda TV network. He apparently received classified intelligence briefings while running a lobbying firm for foreign clients. He seems to favor working with Russia to combat Islamist terrorists while turning a blind eye to Russia's designs on Ukraine and its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

... ... ..

In the brief time since he won the election, Trump's first call with a world leader was not with a trusted US ally but with the Egyptian dictator President al-Sisi. He sat with prime minister Abe of Japan this week, but his aides told the Japanese not to believe every word Trump said.

He met with the populist right wing British politician Nigel Farage before meeting the British prime minister Theresa May. But he somehow found time to meet with several Indian real estate developers to discuss his property interests with them, and the Trump Organization signed a Kolkata deal on Friday.

Amid his many interactions with foreign powers, Trump is speaking without briefing papers from the State Department because his transition team is in such chaos that they have yet to establish meaningful contact with the nation's foreign policy professionals.

[Nov 19, 2016] Trump and the Neoconservatives by Jon Basil Utley

Notable quotes:
"... as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls. ..."
"... But more unending wars will continue to sap America's strength and prejudice the world's former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. ..."
Nov 13, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives' war-and-conquest agenda. Long ago I wrote about him, in "John Bolton and U.S. Lawlessness," "The Bush administration's international lawlessness did not come from nowhere. Its intellectual foundations were laid long before 9/11 by neoconservatives." I quoted Bolton, "It is a big mistake to for us to grant any validity to international law because over the long term, the goal of those who think that it really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States." In fact I set up a web page, the John Bolton File , containing various links about him and the neocons.

Nearly all of Donald Trump's appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. Indeed, I have known many of them for years. But he could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy. The New York Times reported how many are now scrambling to get back into their old dominant positions. And now National Review , which supported all the disasters in Iraq, has come out to promote Bolton for secretary of state.

I have written about the neocons for many years. Their originators were former leftists who later became anti-communists. After the collapse of communism, they provided the intellectual firepower for hawks and imperialists who wanted an aggressive American foreign policy. Having lived and done business for many years in the Third World, I thought they would only bring about disasters for America. What especially interested me was their almost total lack of experience in and knowledge about the outside world, particularly Asia and Latin America. I even set up a web page called War Party Neoconservative Biographies as I researched their education and experience.

Brilliant academics as many of them were, their "foreign" experience was at best a semester or two in London or, for the more daring, some studies in Paris or, for the Jewish ones, a summer on a kibbutz in Israel.

They are above all Washington insiders. John Bolton is very typical. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale, then Yale Law School, time with a top Washington law firm, and then various academic and political appointments, but no foreign living or work experience.

Also, as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls.

Long ago Peter Viereck explained them with his observation about the vicarious "lust of many intellectuals for brute violence." No wonder they urged Bush on to his disastrous war and occupation policies. Even before Iraq they were first urging dominance over Russia and then military confrontation with China, when a U.S. spy plane was collided by a Chinese fighter plane. It wasn't just the Arab world which was in their sights.

I write about all this based on my own experience of studying in Germany and France, working 15 years in South America, and speaking four languages fluently.

Trump appointments so far are really showing his focus upon getting America back on track with faster economic growth, which has been so stunted by Obama's runaway regulatory regime. To understand their costs, see analysis in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's "Ten Thousand Commandments."

But more unending wars will continue to sap America's strength and prejudice the world's former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. Few would now doubt that America has crossed this threshold. When it costs us a million dollars per year per man to field combat infantry in unending wars, we will face economic ruin just like happened with the Roman Empire.

The risk is that Trump's foreign-affairs transition team becomes infiltrated. Much of the transition is being run out of the Heritage Foundation, which was a big promoter of the Iraq War.

Mainly, however, Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the transition team, was another war wanter and still supports the neoconservative agenda-e.g., he strongly supported the attack on Libya . He also wants much more military spending.

Pence is great on domestic issues but not on foreign policy. Although a Catholic, he also is very close to those evangelicals who believe that supporting Israel's expansion will help to speed up the second coming of Christ and, consequently, Armageddon. One must assume that he, together with the military-industrial complex, is plugging for the neoconservatives again to work their agenda upon America and the world.

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative .

[Nov 19, 2016] Syrian child disappointed she won't get to be drone-striked by the first female president by Duffel Blog

Nov 13, 2016 | duffelblog.com

ALEPPO, Syria - In the midst of sectarian violence that has overtaken Syria for more than five years, nine-year-old Asil Kassab is shocked by the defeat of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I am so unhappy that a woman was not elected President," Asil said, briefly ducking as a bomb from an American MQ-1 Predator drone leveled the hospital behind her. "Hillary Clinton is truly a role model for young girls like me. I was so hoping that she'd be the one to order the drone strike that would inevitably end my life."

Despite Clinton's support for regime change in Syria, leading to what is arguably one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the early century, Kassab surprisingly says she holds no ill will.

"I don't put much stock in the misogynist agenda of American politics," said Kassab, who, like many children, cannot remember a time before the war that has killed 400,000 people, including her family, and created over 4.7 million refugees. "People will always criticize her because she is a woman in a man's world; One who has the audacity to run for President."

"It is sexism that motivates her critics, plain and simple," she added. "It is sexism, and racism, that caused her to lose the election!"

... ... ...

[Nov 18, 2016] I gather our President lectured our President Elect on the necessity to stand up to Russia.

Notable quotes:
"... I gather our President lectured our President Elect on the necessity to stand up to Russia. (My first thought is that like that stupid charitable campaign to Stand Up to Cancer!, another place where the phrase was either meaningless or foolhardy.) ..."
"... IF Russia ever started actually interfering in our relations with our neighbors or attempted to get us thrown out of our legal bases in foreign nations, I would say that Barack Obama might have a point. Since we are the party guilty of such actions, he would do better to clean up his own administration's relations with Russia, apologize to Russia, and then STFU. ..."
"... 'Obama Urges Trump to Maintain Pointless, Hyper-Aggresive Encirclement of Russia Strategy, Acknowledge Nuclear Apocalypse "Inevitable"' ..."
"... In the best of circumstances, Obama in his post-presidency will be akin to Jimmy Carter and stay out of politics, less or less. (I think he has exhausted all trust and value.) If he goes the Jimmy Carter route; he is bound to do worse and will fade away. I don't think he'll go the Clinton route unless Michelle tries to run for office. ..."
"... The good people of the US are awaiting DHS' final report on Russia's attempts to hack our elections. We deserve as much. ..."
"... If there's any basis to the allegations it's about time someone provided it. Up till now it's been unfounded assertions. Highly suspect at that. ..."
"... My guess is the whole Russian boogeyman was a ploy to attract those "moderate Republicans" who liked Romney. ..."
"... "My hope is that the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from our values and international norms," Obama said. "But I don't expect that the president-elect will follow exactly our approach." ..."
"... Yes, because "U.S. values" as defined by the actions of the last 16 years have been so enlightened and successful and because the U.S. is a sterling example of adhering to international norms ..."
"... Just how deluded, ignorant or sociopathic does a person need to be that they can say things like that without vomiting? ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pat November 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm

I gather our President lectured our President Elect on the necessity to stand up to Russia. (My first thought is that like that stupid charitable campaign to Stand Up to Cancer!, another place where the phrase was either meaningless or foolhardy.)

IF Russia ever started actually interfering in our relations with our neighbors or attempted to get us thrown out of our legal bases in foreign nations, I would say that Barack Obama might have a point. Since we are the party guilty of such actions, he would do better to clean up his own administration's relations with Russia, apologize to Russia, and then STFU.

Which I am sure he will do once everyone recognizes that that is the appropriate thing to do. But as we well know everyone else will have to do the heavy lifting of figuring that out before he will even acknowledge the possibility.

Katharine November 17, 2016 at 3:26 pm

The Guardian headline struck me as hilarious:

Obama urges Trump against realpolitik in relations with Russia
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/17/obama-urges-trump-against-realpolitik-in-relations-with-russia

I mean, we can't have people actually taking our real interests into consideration in foreign relations, can we? That would be so–unexceptional.

JSM November 17, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Why not make it affirmative?

'Obama Urges Trump to Maintain Pointless, Hyper-Aggresive Encirclement of Russia Strategy, Acknowledge Nuclear Apocalypse "Inevitable"'

Knot Galt November 17, 2016 at 3:46 pm

In the best of circumstances, Obama in his post-presidency will be akin to Jimmy Carter and stay out of politics, less or less. (I think he has exhausted all trust and value.) If he goes the Jimmy Carter route; he is bound to do worse and will fade away. I don't think he'll go the Clinton route unless Michelle tries to run for office.

In this case, Obama is probably too vain and Michelle being the saner of the two might rein him in? Best of any world would, as you say, STFU. (As the Ex Prez. Obamamometer, that is probably not in the cards.)

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL November 18, 2016 at 12:28 am

Maybe he will end up like Geo Bush, sitting in the bathtub drooling while he paints childish self-portraits
Or maybe he will end up like OJ, where he tries to go hang out with all his cool friends and they tell him to get lost

Adamski November 18, 2016 at 5:18 am

Ppl still mention him as a master orator, etc. Lots of post presidency speaking engagements I suppose. I'd prefer him not to but then again if he makes enough annually from it to beat the Clintons we might get the satisfaction of annoying them

JTMcPhee November 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

"legal bases in foreign nations " Another reason why "we" are Fokked, thinking like that.

JSM November 17, 2016 at 4:48 pm

The good people of the US are awaiting DHS' final report on Russia's attempts to hack our elections. We deserve as much.

Steve C November 17, 2016 at 5:08 pm

If there's any basis to the allegations it's about time someone provided it. Up till now it's been unfounded assertions. Highly suspect at that.

NotTimothyGeithner November 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

My guess is the whole Russian boogeyman was a ploy to attract those "moderate Republicans" who liked Romney.

timbers November 17, 2016 at 5:43 pm

"My hope is that the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from our values and international norms," Obama said. "But I don't expect that the president-elect will follow exactly our approach." What Obama is saying is he wants Russia to join America in bombing hospitals, schools, children, doctors, public facilities like water treatment plants, bridges, weddings, homes, and civilians to list just few – while arming and supporting terrorists for regime change. And if anyone points this out, Russia like the US is supposed to say "I know you are but what am I?"

RMO November 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Yes, because "U.S. values" as defined by the actions of the last 16 years have been so enlightened and successful and because the U.S. is a sterling example of adhering to international norms

Just how deluded, ignorant or sociopathic does a person need to be that they can say things like that without vomiting?

Lemmy November 17, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Is this the same Russia that just hacked our election and subverted our fine democracy? Why, President Obama, I believe it behooves you to stand up to Russia yourself. Show President-Elect Trump how it is done sir!

[Nov 16, 2016] US Public Opinion Speaks to Anti-Militarism, the Electorate Votes for Warmongers

Nov 16, 2016 | www.unz.com
Castigating the US electorate as accomplices and facilitators of wars, or at best describing it as ignorant sheep herded by political elites, speaks only to a partial reality; in public opinion polls, even in ones weighted overwhelmingly to the center-right, the American people consistently opposse militarism and wars, past and present.

The right and Left, each in their own way, fail to grasp the contradiction that define US political life, namely, the profound gap between the American public and the Washington elite on questions of war and peace, and the electoral process which results in the perpetuation of militarism. We will proceed to analyze the most recent polling of US public opinion and then turn to the electoral outcomes. In the second part we will discuss the contradictions and raise several ways in which the contradiction can be resolved.

... ... ...

Analysis and Perspectives

On all major issues of foreign policy pertaining to war and peace, the political elite is far more bellicose than the US public; far more likely to ignore wars that threaten national security; more likely to violate the Constitution;and are committed to increasing military spending even as it reduces social programs.

The political elites are more likely to intervene or become "entangled" in Middle East wars, against the opinion of majoritarian popular opinion. No doubt the decidedly oligarchical military-industrial complexes, Israeli power configuration and mass media publicists, are far more influential than the pro-democracy public.

The future portends the political elites' continuation of military policies, increasing security threats and diminishing public representation.

Some Hypothesis on the Contradiction between Popular Opinion and Electoral Outcomes

There is clearly a substantial gap between the majority of Americans and the political elite regarding the military's role overseas, wars, constitutional prerogives, the demonization of Russia, the deployment of US troops to Syria and the US entanglement in Middle East wars, which it is understood to be Israel.

Yet it is also a fact that the US electorate votes for the two major political parties that supports wars, back Middle East alliances with warring states, Saudi Arabia and Israel,and sanction Russia as the main threat to US security.

ORDER IT NOW

Several hypotheses regarding this contradiction should be considered.

1. Close to 50% of the electorate abstain from voting in Presidential and Congressional elections, which most likely includes those Americans that oppose the US military role overseas. In other words the war parties 'win' elections with 25% or less of the electorate.

2. The fact that the mass media vehemently supports one or the other of the two war parties probably influences a minority of the electorate which votes in the elections. However, critics of the mass media have exaggerated their influence because they fail to explain why the majority of the American public respondents are in contrary to the mass media and oppose their militarist propaganda.

3. Many of the anti-militarism Americans who decide to vote for war parties may be choosing the lesser evil. They may decide there are possible degrees of war mongering.

4. Americans who oppose militarism may decide to vote for militarist politicians for reasons other than overseas wars. For example, majoritarian Americans may vote for a militarist politician who secures financing for local infrastructure programs, or dairy subsidies or promises of employment, or lowering the public debt or opposing corrupt incumbents.

5. Americans opposed to militarism may be deceived by demagogic war party presidential candidates who promise peace and who, once in power, escalate wars.

6. Likewise, 'identity politics' can divert anti-militarist voters into supporting war party candidates who claim office because of their race, ethnicity, gender, loyalties to overseas states and sexual preference.

7. The war parties block anti-militarist parties from access to the mass media, especially during electoral debates viewed by tens of millions. War parties establish onerous restrictions for registering anti-militarist parties, voters with non-violent prison records or lacking photo identification or transport to voting sites or time-off from work. In other words the electoral process is rigged and imposes 'forced voting' and abstention: limited choices obligate abstention or voting for war parties.

Only if elections were open and democratic, where anti-militarist parties were allowed equal rights to register and debate in the mass media, and where financial campaigns are equalized will the contradictions between anti-militarist majorities and voters for pro-war elites be resolved.

[Nov 16, 2016] The Rotation of Imperial Power by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton's defeat is more than anything else a rejection of Obama. Obama descended into the fray to bolster her campaign and witnessed the rejection of his own presidency. Conquered, in the 2008 electoral campaign, with a pledge of support not only for Wall Street but also "Main Street", that is, the ordinary citizen. Since then, the middle class has witnessed its conditions deteriorate, the rate of poverty has increased while the rich have become even richer. Now, marketing himself as the champion of the middle class, the billionaire outsider, Donald Trump, has won the presidency. ..."
"... As her e-mails make clear, when she was Secretary of State, she convinced President Obama to engage in war to demolish Libya and to roll out the same operation against Syria. She was the one to promote the internal destabilization of Venezuela and Brazil and the US "Pivot to Asia" – an anti-Chinese manoeuvre. And yet again, she also used the Clinton Foundation as a vehicle to prepare the terrain in Ukraine for the Maidan Square putsch which paved the way for Usa/Nato escalation against Russia. ..."
"... Given that all this has not prevented the relative decline of US power, it is up to the Trump Administration to correct its shot, while keeping its gaze fixed on the same target. There is no air of reality to the hypothesis that Trump intends to abandon the system of alliances centered around US-led Nato. ..."
"... Trump could seek an agreement with Russia, an additional objective of which would be to pull it away from China. China: against which Trump announces economic measures, accompanied by an additional strengthening of US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. ..."
"... Here you have the colossal financial groups that dominate the economy (the share value alone of the companies listed on Wall Street is higher than the entire US national income). ..."
"... Then you have the multinationals whose economic dimensions exceed those of entire states and which delocalize production to countries offering cheap labour. The knock-on effect? Domestically, factories will close and unemployment will increase, which will in turn lead to the conditions of the US middle class becoming even worse. ..."
"... It is 21st century capitalism, which the USA expresses in its most extreme form, that increasingly polarizes the rich and poor. 1% of the global population has more than the other 99%. The President[-elect], Trump, belongs to the class of the superrich. ..."
www.voltairenet.org

Clinton's defeat is more than anything else a rejection of Obama. Obama descended into the fray to bolster her campaign and witnessed the rejection of his own presidency. Conquered, in the 2008 electoral campaign, with a pledge of support not only for Wall Street but also "Main Street", that is, the ordinary citizen. Since then, the middle class has witnessed its conditions deteriorate, the rate of poverty has increased while the rich have become even richer. Now, marketing himself as the champion of the middle class, the billionaire outsider, Donald Trump, has won the presidency.

How will this change of guard at the White House change US foreign policy? Certainly, the core objective of remaining the dominant global power will remain untouched. [Yet] this position is increasing fragile. The USA is losing ground both within the economic and the political domains, [ceding] it to China, Russia and other "emerging countries". This is why it is throwing the sword onto the scale. This is followed by a series of wars where Hillary Clinton played the [lead] protagonist.

As her authorized biography reveals, she was the one as First Lady, to convince the President, her consort, to engage in war to destroy Yugoslavia, initiating a series of "humanitarian interventions" against "dictators" charged with "genocide".

As her e-mails make clear, when she was Secretary of State, she convinced President Obama to engage in war to demolish Libya and to roll out the same operation against Syria. She was the one to promote the internal destabilization of Venezuela and Brazil and the US "Pivot to Asia" – an anti-Chinese manoeuvre. And yet again, she also used the Clinton Foundation as a vehicle to prepare the terrain in Ukraine for the Maidan Square putsch which paved the way for Usa/Nato escalation against Russia.

Given that all this has not prevented the relative decline of US power, it is up to the Trump Administration to correct its shot, while keeping its gaze fixed on the same target. There is no air of reality to the hypothesis that Trump intends to abandon the system of alliances centered around US-led Nato. But he will of course thump his fists on the table to secure a deeper commitment, particularly on military expenditure from the allies.

Trump could seek an agreement with Russia, an additional objective of which would be to pull it away from China. China: against which Trump announces economic measures, accompanied by an additional strengthening of US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Such decisions, that will surely open the door for further wars, do not depend on Trump's warrior-like temperament, but on centres of power wherein lies the matrix of command on which the White House itself depends.

Here you have the colossal financial groups that dominate the economy (the share value alone of the companies listed on Wall Street is higher than the entire US national income).

Then you have the multinationals whose economic dimensions exceed those of entire states and which delocalize production to countries offering cheap labour. The knock-on effect? Domestically, factories will close and unemployment will increase, which will in turn lead to the conditions of the US middle class becoming even worse.

Then you have the giants of the war industry that extract profit from war.

It is 21st century capitalism, which the USA expresses in its most extreme form, that increasingly polarizes the rich and poor. 1% of the global population has more than the other 99%. The President[-elect], Trump, belongs to the class of the superrich.

[Nov 16, 2016] UK Government rejects call to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia over alleged war crimes

Nov 14, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Independent: Government rejects MPs' call to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia over alleged war crimes
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/saudi-arabia-arms-sales-committee-mps-government-response-rejected-a7417191.html

Dr Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, Sir Michael Fallon, and Priti Patel issued a joint rejection

The Government has rejected calls by two parliamentary committees for it to stop the sale of British bombs to Saudi Arabia's armed forces in Yemen.

Saudi forces have been widely accused of committing war crimes during the campaign in the country, where reports on the ground suggest they have blown up international hospitals, funerals, schools, and weddings.

Despite the reported incidents and the worsening humanitarian situation in the country since the bombardment began, the UK has signed off £3.3 billion in arms sales to the country since the start of the offensive….
####

What's not to like about supping from the Wahabbi cup?

[Nov 16, 2016] Rand Paul: Will Donald Trump betray voters by hiring John Bolton?

Notable quotes:
"... Trump has blamed George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for helping to create ISIS - but should add John Bolton to that list, who essentially agreed with all three on our regime change debacles. ..."
"... In 2011, Bolton bashed Obama "for his refusal to directly target Gaddafi" and declared, "there is a strategic interest in toppling Gaddafi… But Obama missed it." In fact, Obama actually took Bolton's advice and bombed the Libyan dictator into the next world. Secretary of State Clinton bragged , "We came, we saw, he died." ..."
"... All nuance is lost on the man. The fact that Russia has had a base in Syria for 50 years doesn't deter Bolton from calling for all out, no holds barred war in Syria. Bolton criticized the current administration for offering only a tepid war. For Bolton, only a hot-blooded war to create democracy across the globe is demanded. ..."
"... Bolton would not understand this because, like many of his generation, he used every privilege to avoid serving himself. Bolton said, with the threat of the Vietnam draft over his head, that "he had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy." ..."
"... But he's seems to be okay with your son or daughter dying wherever his neoconservative impulse leads us ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | rare.us
Bolton was one of the loudest advocates of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and still stupefyingly insists it was the right call 13 years later. "I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct," Bolton said just last year.

Trump, rightly, believes that decision was a colossal mistake that destabilized the region. "Iraq used to be no terrorists," Trump said in 2015. "(N)ow it's the Harvard of terrorism."

"If you look at Iraq from years ago, I'm not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy," Trump said of Saddam Hussein, "but it was a lot better than it is right now."

Trump has said U.S. intervention in Iraq in 2003 "helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper." In contrast, Bolton has said explicitly that he wants to repeat Iraq-style regime change in Syrian and Iran.

You can't learn from mistakes if you don't see mistakes.

Trump has blamed George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for helping to create ISIS - but should add John Bolton to that list, who essentially agreed with all three on our regime change debacles.

In 2011, Bolton bashed Obama "for his refusal to directly target Gaddafi" and declared, "there is a strategic interest in toppling Gaddafi… But Obama missed it." In fact, Obama actually took Bolton's advice and bombed the Libyan dictator into the next world. Secretary of State Clinton bragged , "We came, we saw, he died."

When Trump was asked last year if Libya and the region would be more stable today with Gaddafi in power, he replied "100 percent." Mr. Trump is 100 percent right .

No man is more out of touch with the situation in the Middle East or more dangerous to our national security than Bolton.

All nuance is lost on the man. The fact that Russia has had a base in Syria for 50 years doesn't deter Bolton from calling for all out, no holds barred war in Syria. Bolton criticized the current administration for offering only a tepid war. For Bolton, only a hot-blooded war to create democracy across the globe is demanded.

Woodrow Wilson would be proud, but the parents of our soldiers should be mortified. War should be the last resort, never the first. War should be understood to be a hell no one wishes for. Dwight Eisenhower understood this when he wrote, "I hate war like only a soldier can, the stupidity, the banality, the futility."

Bolton would not understand this because, like many of his generation, he used every privilege to avoid serving himself. Bolton said, with the threat of the Vietnam draft over his head, that "he had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy."

But he's seems to be okay with your son or daughter dying wherever his neoconservative impulse leads us: "Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives' war-and-conquest agenda," notes The American Conservative's Jon Utley.

At a time when Americans thirst for change and new thinking, Bolton is an old hand at failed foreign policy.

The man is a menace.

Rand Paul is the junior senator from Kentucky.

[Nov 13, 2016] Donald Trump Threatens Neocon War Lobby Five Principles To Develop A Foreign Policy For America

Notable quotes:
"... Trump, to a degree previously matched only by such outlier presidential candidates as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, is challenging Washington's conventional wisdom that America must dominate the globe. ..."
"... He also criticized nation-building. "We have a country that's in bad shape," he reasonably allowed: "I just think we have to rebuild our country." ..."
"... Fifth, foreign policy is ultimately about domestic policy. "War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne presciently declared a century ago. There is no bigger big government program war, no graver threat to civil liberties than perpetual conflict with the homeland the battlefield, no greater danger to daily life than blowback from military overreach. ..."
Mar 24, 2016 | forbes.com/

Still, Trump, to a degree previously matched only by such outlier presidential candidates as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, is challenging Washington's conventional wisdom that America must dominate the globe. The "usual suspects" who manage foreign policy in every administration, Republican and Democrat, believe that the U.S. must cow every adversary, fight every war, defend every ally, enforce every peace, settle every conflict, pay every bill, and otherwise ensure that the lion lies down with the lamb at the end of time, if not before.

Not Donald Trump. He recently shocked polite war-making society in the nation's capital when he criticized NATO, essentially a welfare agency for Europeans determined to safeguard their generous social benefits. Before the Washington Post editorial board he made the obvious point that "NATO was set up at a different time." Moreover, Ukraine "affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we're doing all of the lifting." Why, he wondered? It's a good question.

His view that foreign policy should change along with the world scandalized Washington policymakers, who embody Public Choice economics, which teaches that government officials and agencies are self-interested and dedicated to self-preservation. In foreign policy that means what has ever been must ever be and everything is more important today than in the past, no matter how much circumstances have changed.

Trump expressed skepticism about American defense subsidies for other wealthy allies, such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia as well as military deployments in Asia. "We spent billions of dollars on Saudi Arabia and they have nothing but money," he observed. Similarly, he contended, "South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we're not reimbursed fairly for what we do." He also criticized nation-building. "We have a country that's in bad shape," he reasonably allowed: "I just think we have to rebuild our country."

Unlike presidents dating back at least to George H.W. Bush, Trump appears reluctant to go to war. He opposed sending tens of thousands of troops to fight the Islamic State: "I would put tremendous pressure on other countries that are over there to use their troops." Equally sensibly, he warned against starting World War III over Crimea or useless rocks in East Asian seas. He made a point that should be obvious at a time of budget crisis: "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore."

... ... ...

Fifth, foreign policy is ultimately about domestic policy. "War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne presciently declared a century ago. There is no bigger big government program war, no graver threat to civil liberties than perpetual conflict with the homeland the battlefield, no greater danger to daily life than blowback from military overreach.

[Nov 12, 2016] Trump elected as President – risks and opportunities

Notable quotes:
"... Ideally, the next step would be for Trump and Putin to meet, with all their key ministers, in a long, Camp David like week of negotiations in which everything, every outstanding dispute, should be put on the table and a compromise sought in each case. Paradoxically, this could be rather easy: the crisis in Europe is entirely artificial, the war in Syria has an absolutely obvious solution, and the international order can easily accommodate a United States which would " deal fairly with everyone, with everyone - all people and all other nations " and " seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict ". ..."
"... The truth is that the USA and Russia have no objective reasons for conflict – only ideological issues resulting directly from the insane ideology of messianic imperialism of those who believe, or pretend to believe, that the USA is an "indispensable nation". What the world wants – needs – is the USA as a *normal* nation. ..."
"... The worst case? Trump could turn out to be a total fraud. I personally very much doubt it, but I admit that this is possible. More likely is that he just won't have the foresight and courage to crush the Neocons and that he will try to placate them. If he does so, they will instead crush him. It is a fact that while administrations have changed every 4 or 8 years, the regime in power has not, and that US internal and foreign policies have been amazingly consistent since the end of WWII. Will Trump finally bring not just a new administration but real "regime change"? I don't know. ..."
"... Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to say that regimes can be measured on a spectrum which ranges from regimes whose authority is their power and regimes whose power in in their authority. In the case of the USA we now clearly can see that the regime has no other authority than its power and that makes it both illegitimate and unsustainable. ..."
"... Finally, whether the US elites can accept this or not, the US Empire is coming to an end. ..."
"... With Hillary, we would have had a Titanic-like denial up to the last moment which might well have come in the shape of a thermonuclear mushroom over Washington DC. Trump, however, might use the remaining power of the USA to negotiate the US global draw-down thereby getting the best possible conditions for his country. ..."
Nov 12, 2016 | www.unz.com

So it has happened: Hillary did not win! I say that instead of saying that "Trump won" because I consider the former even more important than the latter. Why? Because I have no idea whatsoever what Trump will do next. I do, however, have an excellent idea of what Hillary would have done: war with Russia. Trump most likely won't do that. In fact, he specifically said in his acceptance speech:

I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America's interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone - all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict .

And Putin's reply was immediate:

We heard the statements he made as candidate for president expressing a desire to restore relations between our countries. We realise and understand that this will not be an easy road given the level to which our relations have degraded today, regrettably. But, as I have said before, it is not Russia's fault that our relations with the United States have reached this point.

Russia is ready to and seeks a return to full-format relations with the United States. Let me say again, we know that this will not be easy, but are ready to take this road, take steps on our side and do all we can to set Russian-US relations back on a stable development track.

This would benefit both the Russian and American peoples and would have a positive impact on the general climate in international affairs, given the particular responsibility that Russia and the US share for maintaining global stability and security.

This exchange, right there, is enough of a reason for the entire planet to rejoice at the defeat of Hillary and the victory of Trump.

Will Trump now have the courage, willpower and intelligence to purge the US Executive from the Neocon cabal which has been infiltrating it for decades now? Will he have the strength to confront an extremely hostile Congress and media? Or will he try to meet them halfway and naively hope that they will not use their power, money and influence to sabotage his presidency?

I don't know. Nobody does.

One of the first signs to look for will be the names and backgrounds of the folks he will appoint in his new administration. Especially his Chief of Staff and Secretary of State.

I have always said that the choice for the lesser evil is morally wrong and pragmatically misguided. I still believe that. In this case, however, the greater evil was thermonuclear war with Russia and the lesser evil just might turn out to be one which will gradually give up the Empire to save the USA rather than sacrifice the USA for the needs of the Empire. In the case of Hillary vs Trump the choice was simple: war or peace.

Trump can already be credited with am immense achievement: his campaign has forced the US corporate media to show its true face – the face of an evil, lying, morally corrupt propaganda machine. The American people by their vote have rewarded their media with a gigantic "f*ck you!" – a vote of no-confidence and total rejection which will forever demolish the credibility of the Empire's propaganda machine.

I am not so naive as to not realize that billionaire Donald Trump is also one of the 1%ers, a pure product of the US oligarchy. But neither am I so ignorant of history to forget that elites do turn on each other , especially when their regime is threatened. Do I need to remind anybody that Putin also came from the Soviet elites?!

Ideally, the next step would be for Trump and Putin to meet, with all their key ministers, in a long, Camp David like week of negotiations in which everything, every outstanding dispute, should be put on the table and a compromise sought in each case. Paradoxically, this could be rather easy: the crisis in Europe is entirely artificial, the war in Syria has an absolutely obvious solution, and the international order can easily accommodate a United States which would " deal fairly with everyone, with everyone - all people and all other nations " and " seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict ".

The truth is that the USA and Russia have no objective reasons for conflict – only ideological issues resulting directly from the insane ideology of messianic imperialism of those who believe, or pretend to believe, that the USA is an "indispensable nation". What the world wants – needs – is the USA as a *normal* nation.

The worst case? Trump could turn out to be a total fraud. I personally very much doubt it, but I admit that this is possible. More likely is that he just won't have the foresight and courage to crush the Neocons and that he will try to placate them. If he does so, they will instead crush him. It is a fact that while administrations have changed every 4 or 8 years, the regime in power has not, and that US internal and foreign policies have been amazingly consistent since the end of WWII. Will Trump finally bring not just a new administration but real "regime change"? I don't know.

Make no mistake – even if Trump does end up disappointing those who believed in him what happened today has dealt a death blow to the Empire. The "Occupy Wall Street" did not succeed in achieving anything tangible, but the notion of "rule of the 1%" did emerge from that movement and it stayed. This is a direct blow to the credibility and legitimacy of the entire socio-political order of the USA: far from being a democracy, it is a plutocracy/oligarchy – everybody pretty much accepts that today. Likewise, the election of Trump has already proved that the US media is a prostitute and that the majority of the American people hate their ruling class. Again, this is a direct blow to the credibility and legitimacy of the entire socio-political order. One by one the founding myths of the US Empire are crashing down and what remains is a system which can only rule by force.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to say that regimes can be measured on a spectrum which ranges from regimes whose authority is their power and regimes whose power in in their authority. In the case of the USA we now clearly can see that the regime has no other authority than its power and that makes it both illegitimate and unsustainable.

Finally, whether the US elites can accept this or not, the US Empire is coming to an end.

With Hillary, we would have had a Titanic-like denial up to the last moment which might well have come in the shape of a thermonuclear mushroom over Washington DC. Trump, however, might use the remaining power of the USA to negotiate the US global draw-down thereby getting the best possible conditions for his country. Frankly, I am pretty sure that all the key world leaders realize that it is in their interest to make as many (reasonable) concessions to Trump as possible and work with him, rather than to deal with the people whom he just removed from power.

If Trump can stick to his campaign promises he will find solid and reliable partners in Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Neither Russia nor China have anything at all to gain from a confrontation or, even less so, a conflict with the USA. Will Trump have the wisdom to realize this and use it for the benefit of the USA? Or will he continue with his anti-Chinese and anti-Iranian rhetoric?

Only time will tell.

[Nov 12, 2016] Neocon bottomfeeders now are having the second thoughts

Notable quotes:
"... Some of those applications are coming from the #NeverTrump crowd, the source said, and include former national security officials who signed one or more of the letters opposing Trump. ..."
"... Fifty GOP national security experts signed an August letter saying Trump "would put at risk our country's national security and well-being" because he "lacks the character, values and experience" to occupy the Oval Office, making him "the most reckless president in American history." ..."
"... Another bipartisan letter cited concern about potential foreign conflicts of interest Trump might encounter as president, and called on him to disclose them by releasing his tax returns. Trump has refused to do so, saying he is under audit and will make the returns public only once that is done. ..."
www.cnn.com

The extraordinary repudiation -- partly based on Trump's rejection of basic US foreign policy tenets, including support for close allies -- helped spark the hashtag #NeverTrump. Now, a source familiar with transition planning says that hard wall of resistance is crumbling fast.

There are "boxes" of applications, the source said. "There are many more than people realize."

Some of those applications are coming from the #NeverTrump crowd, the source said, and include former national security officials who signed one or more of the letters opposing Trump. "Mea culpas" are being considered -- and in some cases being granted, the source said -- for people who did not go a step further in attacking Trump personally.

... ... ...

Fifty GOP national security experts signed an August letter saying Trump "would put at risk our country's national security and well-being" because he "lacks the character, values and experience" to occupy the Oval Office, making him "the most reckless president in American history."

Another bipartisan letter cited concern about potential foreign conflicts of interest Trump might encounter as president, and called on him to disclose them by releasing his tax returns. Trump has refused to do so, saying he is under audit and will make the returns public only once that is done.

It remains to be seen what kind of team Trump will pull together, how many "NeverTrumpers" will apply for positions and to what degree the President-elect will be willing to accept them.

There's a fight underway within the Trump transition team about whether to consider "never Trumpers" for jobs, one official tells CNN. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is leading the transition team, has been working to persuade Trump and other top officials to consider Republicans who openly opposed his campaign. That has caused some friction with those who see no place for people who didn't support their candidate.

[Nov 12, 2016] NATO mulls worst-case scenario in case Trump pulls US troops out of Europe – report - RT News

Nov 12, 2016 | www.rt.com
NATO strategists are reportedly planning for a scenario in which Trump orders US troops out of Europe, as the shock result of the US presidential election sinks in, spreading an atmosphere of uncertainty. According to Spiegel magazine, strategists from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's staff have drafted a secret report which includes a worst-case scenario in which Trump orders US troops to withdraw from Europe and fulfills his threat to make Washington less involved in European security. Read more German defense minister says Trump should be firm with Russia as NATO stood by US after 9/11

"For the first time, the US exit from NATO has become a threat" which would mean the end of the bloc, a German NATO officer told the magazine.

During his campaign, Trump repeatedly slammed NATO, calling the alliance "obsolete." He also suggested that under his administration, the US may refuse to come to the aid of NATO allies unless they "pay their bills" and "fulfill their obligations to us."

"We are experiencing a moment of the highest and yet unprecedented uncertainty in the transatlantic relationship," said Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador in Washington and head of the prominent Munich Security Conference. By criticizing the collective defense, Trump has questioned the basic pillar of NATO as a whole, Ischinger added.

The president-elect therefore has to reassure the European allies that he remains firm on the US commitment under Article 5 of the NATO charter prior to his inauguration, the top diplomat stressed.

Earlier this week, Stoltenberg lambasted Trump's agenda, saying: "All allies have made a solemn commitment to defend each other. This is something absolutely unconditioned."

Fearing that Trump would not appear in Brussels even after his inauguration, NATO has re-scheduled its summit – expected to take place in early 2017 – to next summer, Spiegel said.

The report might reflect current moods within the EU establishment as well, as Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has called on the member states to establish Europe's own military.

Washington "will not ensure the security of the Europeans in the long term... we have to do this ourselves," he argued on Thursday.

If Trump is serious about reducing the number of US troops stationed in Europe, large NATO countries like Germany have little to offer, Spiegel said. Even major member states' militaries lack units able to replace the Americans, which in turn may trigger debate on strengthening NATO's nuclear arm, a sensitive issue in most European countries for domestic reasons.

Still, an increase in defense spending has already been approved by the Europeans following pressure from the outgoing US administration. Over the past few days in Brussels, representatives of NATO states have been working on the so-called "Blue Book," a secret strategy paper which stipulates each member's contribution in the form of troops, aircraft, warships, and heavy armor until 2032, Spiegel reported.

The document stipulates an increase in each NATO members' military spending by one percent of each nation's GDP, in addition to the current two percent.

Uncertainty over Trump's NATO policy seems to be taking its toll; Germany, one of the largest military powers in Europe, plans to allocate 130 billion euros ($140bn) to military expenditures by 2030, but the remarkable figure may be a drop in the ocean.

"No one knows yet if the one percent more would be enough," the German NATO officer told Spiegel.

Nevertheless, the US is continuing to deploy troops to eastern Europe, justifying the move with the need to protect the region from "assertive Russia." Earlier this week, the largest arms shipment yet, 600 containers, arrived in Germany to supply the US armored and combat aviation brigades, expected to deploy in Europe by January 2017.

Read more EU Commission president wants clarity from Trump on NATO, trade

[Nov 08, 2016] Clintons Foreign Policy Will Obviously Be More Aggressive, So Why Pretend Otherwise

Nov 08, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
By Daniel Larison James Traub gamely tries to convince us (and himself) that Clinton's foreign policy won't be as aggressive and meddlesome as she says it will be, but he undermines his argument when he says this:

As a senator and later secretary of state, she rarely departed from the counsel of senior military officials. She was far more persuaded of the merits of Gen. David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal's counterinsurgency plan for Afghanistan, which would have sent an additional 40,000 troops there, than Obama was and maybe even more than then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was. She rarely departed from Gates on any significant issue. Of course, the one time she did so was on Libya, where she advocated intervention and he did not [bold mine-DL]. On Syria, Clinton may have to choose between her own expressed commitments and a Pentagon that is far more cautious and more inclined to see mishap than are civilian interventionists. I wonder how Kagan-esque she will be in the White House. Less so, perhaps, than she was as secretary of state.

In other words, when military officers recommended a larger escalation, she agreed with them, and when Gates didn't support intervention she didn't agree. Clinton was fine with advice from the military when it meant supporting deeper involvement, but she broke with Gates when he didn't want to take sides in a foreign war. That isn't a picture of someone who consistently heeds military advice, but rather someone who always opts for the more aggressive option available at the time. It doesn't make much sense that Clinton as president would be less "Kagan-esque" than she was as a member of Obama's Cabinet. As president, she will have considerable leeway to do as she sees fit, Congress will be pathetically quiescent as usual, and most of the foreign policy establishment will be encouraging her to do more in Syria and elsewhere. Clinton will be predisposed to agree with what they urge her to do, and in the last twenty years she has never seen a military intervention that she thought was unnecessary or too risky. Why is that suddenly going to change when she has the power of the presidency? In virtually every modern case, a new president ends up behaving more hawkishly than expected based on campaign rhetoric. All of the pressures and incentives in Washington push a president towards do-somethingism, and Clinton has typically been among the least resistant to the demand to "do something" in response to crises and conflicts, so why would we think she would become more cautious once she is in office? I can understand why many of her supporters wish that to be the case, but it flies in the face of all the available evidence, including most of what we know about how Washington works.

Traub makes a number of predictions at the end of his article:

She will not make dumb mistakes. She will reassure every ally who needs reassurance. She will try to mute China's adventurism in the South China Sea without provoking a storm of nationalism. She'll probably disappoint the neocons. She won't go out on any limbs. She won't shake the policymaking consensus.

I don't know where this confidence in Clinton's good judgment comes from, but it seems misplaced. I suppose it depends on what you think smart foreign policy looks like, but there is a fair amount of evidence from Clinton's own record that she is quite capable of making dumb mistakes.

That doesn't just apply to her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq and her backing for intervention in Libya, but could also refer to her support for sending weapons to Ukraine, her endorsement of "no-fly" and safe zones in Syria, her preference for more sanctions on Iran while negotiations were still taking place, and her belief that the U.S. has to bomb another country to retain its "credibility." All of these are mistakes, and some are quite dumb.

It isn't at all reassuring to know that Clinton will "reassure every ally who needs reassurance," because in practice that means indulging bad behavior from reckless clients and rewarding them with more aid and weapons. Earlier in the article, Traub seems to understand that enabling the Saudis is a bad idea:

This last policy, which for Clinton will come under the heading of "alliance management," would only deepen the violence and sectarian strife rending the region. She would be better advised to tell the Saudis that the United States will reduce its support of their war effort unless they make serious efforts toward a lasting cease-fire.

That would certainly be wiser than offering uncritical backing of their intervention, but what is the evidence that Clinton thinks U.S. support for the war on Yemen needs to be curtailed? Yemen has been devastated in no small part because of Obama's willingness to "reassure" the Saudis and their allies. What other countries will be made to suffer so Clinton can keep them happy? Clinton may disappoint neocons, but then they are disappointed by anything short of preventive war. Even if Clinton's foreign policy isn't aggressive enough to satisfy them, it is likely to be far more aggressive than necessary.

[Nov 08, 2016] Oh, What a Lovely War! Delusional foreign policy could bring disaster

Notable quotes:
"... The American people don't know very much about war even if Washington has been fighting on multiple fronts since 9/11. The continental United States has not experienced the presence a hostile military force for more than 100 years and war for the current generation of Americans consists largely of the insights provided by video games and movies. The Pentagon's invention of embedded journalists, which limits any independent media insight into what is going on overseas, has contributed to the rendering of war as some kind of abstraction. Gone forever is anything like the press coverage of Vietnam, with nightly news and other media presentations showing prisoners being executed and young girls screaming while racing down the street in flames. ..."
"... Given all of that, it is perhaps no surprise that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, neither of whom has served in uniform, should regard violence inflicted on people overseas with a considerable level of detachment. ..."
"... They both share to an extent the dominant New York-Washington policy consensus view that dealing with foreigners can sometimes get a bit bloody, but that is a price that someone in power has to be prepared to pay. One of Hillary's top advisers, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famously declared that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. led sanctions were "worth it." ..."
"... Hillary Clinton and her advisors, who believe strongly in Washington's leadership role globally and embrace their own definition of American exceptionalism, have been explicit in terms of what they would do to employ our military power. ..."
"... She would be an extremely proactive president in foreign policy, with a particular animus directed against Russia. ..."
"... Hillary has received support from foreign policy hawks, including a large number of formerly Republican neocons, to include Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Michael Hayden, Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman. James Stavridis, a retired admiral who was once vetted by Clinton as a possible vice president, recently warned of "the need to use deadly force against the Iranians. ..."
"... Hillary believes that Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is the root cause of the turmoil in that country and must be removed as the first priority. . It is a foolish policy as al-Assad in no way threatens the United States while his enemy ISIS does and regime change would create a power vacuum that will benefit the latter. ..."
"... Hillary has not recommended doing anything about Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of which have at one time or another for various reasons supported ISIS, but she is clearly no friend of Iran, which has been fighting ISIS. ..."
"... One of Hillary's advisors, former CIA acting Director Michael Morell, has called for new sanctions on Tehran and has also recently recommended that the U.S. begin intercepting Iranian ships presumed to be carrying arms to the Houthis in Yemen. ..."
"... Hillary's dislike for Russia's Vladimir Putin is notorious. Syria aside, she has advocated arming Ukraine with game changing offensive weapons and also bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would force a sharp Russian reaction. One suspects that she might be sympathetic to the views expressed recently by Carl Gershman in a Washington Post op-ed that received curiously little additional coverage in the media. Gershman is the head of the taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which means that he is a powerful figure in Washington's foreign-policy establishment. NED has plausibly been described as doing the sorts of things that the CIA used to do. ..."
"... She would increase U.S. military presence in the South China Sea to deter any further attempts by Beijing to develop disputed islands and would also "ring China with defensive missiles," ostensibly as "protection" against Pyongyang but also to convince China to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. One wonders what Beijing might think about being surrounded by made-in-America missiles. ..."
Nov 08, 2016 | www.unz.com

The American people don't know very much about war even if Washington has been fighting on multiple fronts since 9/11. The continental United States has not experienced the presence a hostile military force for more than 100 years and war for the current generation of Americans consists largely of the insights provided by video games and movies. The Pentagon's invention of embedded journalists, which limits any independent media insight into what is going on overseas, has contributed to the rendering of war as some kind of abstraction. Gone forever is anything like the press coverage of Vietnam, with nightly news and other media presentations showing prisoners being executed and young girls screaming while racing down the street in flames.

Given all of that, it is perhaps no surprise that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, neither of whom has served in uniform, should regard violence inflicted on people overseas with a considerable level of detachment. Hillary is notorious for her assessment of the brutal killing of Libya's Moammar Gaddafi, saying "We came, we saw, he died." They both share to an extent the dominant New York-Washington policy consensus view that dealing with foreigners can sometimes get a bit bloody, but that is a price that someone in power has to be prepared to pay. One of Hillary's top advisers, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famously declared that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. led sanctions were "worth it."

In the election campaign there has, in fact, been little discussion of the issue of war and peace or even of America's place in the world, though Trump did at one point note correctly that implementation of Hillary's suggested foreign policy could escalate into World War III. It has been my contention that the issue of war should be more front and center in the minds of Americans when they cast their ballots as the prospect of an armed conflict in which little is actually at stake escalating and going nuclear could conceivably end life on this planet as we know it.

With that in mind, it is useful to consider what the two candidates have been promising. First, Hillary, who might reasonably be designated the Establishment's war candidate though she carefully wraps it in humanitarian "liberal interventionism." As Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has always viewed a foreign crisis as an opportunity to use aggressive measures to seek a resolution. She can always be relied upon to "do something," a reflection of the neocon driven Washington foreign policy consensus.

Hillary Clinton and her advisors, who believe strongly in Washington's leadership role globally and embrace their own definition of American exceptionalism, have been explicit in terms of what they would do to employ our military power.

She would be an extremely proactive president in foreign policy, with a particular animus directed against Russia. And, unfortunately, there would be little or no pushback against the exercise of her admittedly poor instincts regarding what to do, as was demonstrated regarding Libya and also with Benghazi. She would find little opposition in Congress and the media for an extremely risky foreign policy, and would benefit from the Washington groupthink that prevails over the alleged threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and China.

Hillary has received support from foreign policy hawks, including a large number of formerly Republican neocons, to include Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Michael Hayden, Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman. James Stavridis, a retired admiral who was once vetted by Clinton as a possible vice president, recently warned of "the need to use deadly force against the Iranians. I think it's coming. It's going to be maritime confrontation and if it doesn't happen immediately, I'll bet you a dollar it's going to be happening after the presidential election, whoever is elected."

Hillary believes that Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is the root cause of the turmoil in that country and must be removed as the first priority. . It is a foolish policy as al-Assad in no way threatens the United States while his enemy ISIS does and regime change would create a power vacuum that will benefit the latter. She has also called for a no-fly zone in Syria to protect the local population as well as the insurgent groups that the U.S. supports, some of which had been labeled as terrorists before they were renamed by current Secretary of State John Kerry. Such a zone would dramatically raise the prospect of armed conflict with Russia and it puts Washington in an odd position vis-à-vis what is occurring in Syria. The U.S. is not at war with the Syrian government, which, like it or not, is under international law sovereign within its own recognized borders. Damascus has invited the Russians in to help against the rebels and objects to any other foreign presence on Syrian territory. In spite of all that, Washington is asserting some kind of authority to intervene and to confront the Russians as both a humanitarian mission and as an "inherent right of self-defense."

Hillary has not recommended doing anything about Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of which have at one time or another for various reasons supported ISIS, but she is clearly no friend of Iran, which has been fighting ISIS. As a Senator, she threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran but she has more recently reluctantly supported the recent nuclear agreement with that country negotiated by President Barack Obama. But she has nevertheless warned that she will monitor the situation closely for possible violations and will otherwise pushback against activity by the Islamic Republic. As one of her key financial supporters is Israeli Haim Saban, who has said he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel, she is likely to pursue aggressive policies in the Persian Gulf. She has also promised to move America's relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a "new level" and has repeatedly declared that her support for Israel is unconditional.

One of Hillary's advisors, former CIA acting Director Michael Morell, has called for new sanctions on Tehran and has also recently recommended that the U.S. begin intercepting Iranian ships presumed to be carrying arms to the Houthis in Yemen. Washington is not at war with either Iran or Yemen and the Houthis are not on the State Department terrorist list but our good friends the Saudis have been assiduously bombing them for reasons that seem obscure. Stopping ships in international waters without any legal pretext would be considered by many an act of piracy. Morell has also called for covertly assassinating Iranians and Russians to express our displeasure with the foreign policies of their respective governments.

Hillary's dislike for Russia's Vladimir Putin is notorious. Syria aside, she has advocated arming Ukraine with game changing offensive weapons and also bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would force a sharp Russian reaction. One suspects that she might be sympathetic to the views expressed recently by Carl Gershman in a Washington Post op-ed that received curiously little additional coverage in the media. Gershman is the head of the taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which means that he is a powerful figure in Washington's foreign-policy establishment. NED has plausibly been described as doing the sorts of things that the CIA used to do.

After making a number of bumper-sticker claims about Russia and Putin that are either partially true, unproven or even ridiculous, Gershman concluded that "the United States has the power to contain and defeat this danger. The issue is whether we can summon the will to do so." It is basically a call for the next administration to remove Putin from power-as foolish a suggestion as has ever been seen in a leading newspaper, as it implies that the risk of nuclear war is completely acceptable to bring about regime change in a country whose very popular, democratically elected leadership we disapprove of. But it is nevertheless symptomatic of the kind of thinking that goes on inside the beltway and is quite possibly a position that Hillary Clinton will embrace. She also benefits from having the perfect implementer of such a policy in Robert Kagan's wife Victoria Nuland, her extremely dangerous protégé who is currently Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and who might wind up as Secretary of State in a Clinton Administration.

Shifting to East Asia, Hillary sees the admittedly genuine threat from North Korea but her response is focused more on China. She would increase U.S. military presence in the South China Sea to deter any further attempts by Beijing to develop disputed islands and would also "ring China with defensive missiles," ostensibly as "protection" against Pyongyang but also to convince China to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. One wonders what Beijing might think about being surrounded by made-in-America missiles.

Trump's foreign policy is admittedly quite sketchy and he has not always been consistent. He has been appropriately enough slammed for being simple minded in saying that he would "bomb the crap out of ISIS," but he has also taken on the Republican establishment by specifically condemning the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq and has more than once indicated that he is not interested in either being the world's policeman or in new wars in the Middle East. He has repeatedly stated that he supports NATO but it should not be construed as hostile to Russia. He would work with Putin to address concerns over Syria and Eastern Europe. He would demand that NATO countries spend more for their own defense and also help pay for the maintenance of U.S. bases.

Trump's controversial call to stop all Muslim immigration has been rightly condemned but it contains a kernel of truth in that the current process for vetting new arrivals in this country is far from transparent and apparently not very effective. The Obama Administration has not been very forthcoming on what might be done to fix the entire immigration process but Trump is promising to shake things up, which is overdue, though what exactly a Trump Administration would try to accomplish is far from clear.

Continuing on the negative side, Trump, who is largely ignorant of the world and its leaders, has relied on a mixed bag of advisors. Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency General Michael Flynn appears to be the most prominent. Flynn is associated with arch neocon Michael Ledeen and both are rabid about Iran, with Flynn suggesting that nearly all the unrest in the Middle East should be laid at Tehran's door. Ledeen is, of course, a prominent Israel-firster who has long had Iran in his sights. The advice of Ledeen and Flynn may have been instrumental in Trump's vehement denunciation of the Iran nuclear agreement, which he has called a "disgrace," which he has said he would "tear up." It is vintage dumb-think. The agreement cannot be canceled because there are five other signatories to it and the denial of a nuclear weapons program to Tehran benefits everyone in the region, including Israel. It is far better to have the agreement than to scrap it, if that were even possible.

Trump has said that he would be an even-handed negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians but he has also declared that he is strongly pro-Israel and would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which is a bad idea, not in America's interest, even if Netanyahu would like it. It would produce serious blowback from the Arab world and would inspire a new wave of terrorism directed against the U.S.

Regarding the rest of the Middle East, Trump would prefer strong leaders, i.e. autocrats, who are friendly rather than chaotic reformers. He rejects arming rebels as in Syria because we know little about whom we are dealing with and find that we cannot control what develops. He is against foreign aid in principle, particularly to countries like Pakistan where the U.S. is strongly disliked.

In East Asia, Trump would encourage Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear arsenals to deter North Korea. It is a very bad idea, a proliferation nightmare. Like Hillary, he would prefer that China intervene in North Korea and make Kim Jong Un "step down." He would put pressure on China to devalue its currency because it is "bilking us of billions of dollars" and would also increase U.S. military presence in the region to limit Beijing's expansion in the South China Sea.

So there you have it as you enter the voting booth. President Obama is going around warning that "the fate of the world is teetering" over the electoral verdict, which he intends to be a ringing endorsement of Hillary even though the choice is not nearly that clear cut. Part of the problem with Trump is that he has some very bad ideas mixed in with a few good ones and no one knows what he would actually do if he were president. Unfortunately, it is all too clear what Hillary would do.

[Nov 08, 2016] Does Society "Decide" to Engage in War?

Nov 08, 2016 | comehomeamerica.wordpress.com
Posted on March 7, 2016 by comehomeamerica by Joe Scarry I think if you asked most people, they would say that (a) war is deeply ingrained in society; and (b) society over and over again decides to engage in war.

There is a growing discourse around point (a): people are starting to unpack the idea that "war is deeply ingrained in society," and growing in understanding that this is not the same as saying "war is part of human nature."

I worry that there is less insight around point (b). At least in the United States, I think people continue to believe that war is a societal choice. I think this is not true.

In theory our Constitution is all about the people - through Congress - maintaining control over the decision to go to war. As it stands now, as a practical matter, that's not really what's happening.

I invite people to study the graph of historical US military spending below. It shows that there was a time when military spending went up when the US began to engage in a specific war, and then went back down after that war. Later, that pattern changed.

US Defense Spending - FY 1800 to FY 2010
(More at usgovernmentspending.com )

It is very interesting to consider why this change occurred. (Perhaps that's a topic for a later blog post or two.)

But I think the more fundamental point is:

Does Society "Decide" to Engage in War?

Posted on March 7, 2016 by comehomeamerica by Joe Scarry I think if you asked most people, they would say that (a) war is deeply ingrained in society; and (b) society over and over again decides to engage in war.

There is a growing discourse around point (a): people are starting to unpack the idea that "war is deeply ingrained in society," and growing in understanding that this is not the same as saying "war is part of human nature."

I worry that there is less insight around point (b). At least in the United States, I think people continue to believe that war is a societal choice. I think this is not true.

In theory our Constitution is all about the people - through Congress - maintaining control over the decision to go to war. As it stands now, as a practical matter, that's not really what's happening.

I invite people to study the graph of historical US military spending below. It shows that there was a time when military spending went up when the US began to engage in a specific war, and then went back down after that war. Later, that pattern changed.

US Defense Spending - FY 1800 to FY 2010
(More at usgovernmentspending.com )

It is very interesting to consider why this change occurred. (Perhaps that's a topic for a later blog post or two.)

But I think the more fundamental point is: at some point US society stopped being the "decider" about war. The US began to engage in war, and more war, and more war . . . but US society was no longer really making that decision in any real way.

(Think about US military action during your lifetime. In what ways, if any, did society at large determine what happened?)

If we confront this reality, what might this cause us to do differently?

(Think about US military action during your lifetime. In what ways, if any, did society at large determine what happened?)

If we confront this reality, what might this cause us to do differently?

[Nov 07, 2016] Ron Paul Regardless Of How America Votes, Americans Want A Different Foreign Policy by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... From the surprising success of the insurgent Bernie Sanders to a Donald Trump campaign that broke all the mainstream Republican Party rules – and may have broken the Republican Party itself – what we now understand more clearly than ever is that the American people are fed up with politics as usual. And more importantly they are fed up with the same tired old policies. ..."
"... These results should make us very optimistic about our movement, as it shows that we are rapidly approaching the "critical mass" where new ideas will triumph over the armies of the status quo. ..."
"... We know those in Washington with a vested interest in maintaining a US empire overseas will fight to the end to keep the financial gravy train flowing. The neocons and the liberal interventionists will continue to preach that we must run the world or everything will fall to ruin. ..."
"... We must resist those who are preaching "interventionism-lite" and calling it a real alternative. Claiming we must protect our "interests" overseas really means using the US military to benefit special interests. That is not what the military is for. We must stick to our non-interventionist guns. No more regime change. No more covert destabilization programs overseas. A solid defense budget, not an imperial military budget. US troops home now. End US military action in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on. Just come home. ..."
Nov 07, 2016 | ronpaulinstitute.org

I have said throughout this presidential campaign that it doesn't matter much which candidate wins. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are authoritarians and neither can be expected to roll back the leviathan state that destroys our civil liberties at home while destroying our economy and security with endless wars overseas. Candidates do not matter all that much, despite what the media would have us believe. Ideas do matter, however. And regardless of which of these candidates is elected, the battle of ideas now becomes critical.

The day after the election is our time to really focus our efforts on making the case for a peaceful foreign policy and the prosperity it will bring. While we may not have much to cheer in Tuesday's successful candidate, we have learned a good deal about the state of the nation from the campaigns. From the surprising success of the insurgent Bernie Sanders to a Donald Trump campaign that broke all the mainstream Republican Party rules – and may have broken the Republican Party itself – what we now understand more clearly than ever is that the American people are fed up with politics as usual. And more importantly they are fed up with the same tired old policies.

Last month a fascinating poll was conducted by the Center for the National Interest and the Charles Koch Institute. A broad ranging 1,000 Americans were asked a series of questions about US foreign policy and the 15 year "war on terror." You might think that after a decade and a half, trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives lost, Americans might take a more positive view of this massive effort to "rid the world of evil-doers," as then-president George W. Bush promised. But the poll found that only 14 percent of Americans believe US foreign policy has made them more safe! More than 50 percent of those polled said the next US president should use less force overseas, and 80 percent said the president must get authorization from Congress before taking the country to war.

These results should make us very optimistic about our movement, as it shows that we are rapidly approaching the "critical mass" where new ideas will triumph over the armies of the status quo.

We know those in Washington with a vested interest in maintaining a US empire overseas will fight to the end to keep the financial gravy train flowing. The neocons and the liberal interventionists will continue to preach that we must run the world or everything will fall to ruin. But this election and many recent polls demonstrate that their time has passed. They may not know it yet, but their failures are too obvious and Americans are sick of paying for them.

What is to be done? We must continue to educate ourselves and others. We must resist those who are preaching "interventionism-lite" and calling it a real alternative. Claiming we must protect our "interests" overseas really means using the US military to benefit special interests. That is not what the military is for. We must stick to our non-interventionist guns. No more regime change. No more covert destabilization programs overseas. A solid defense budget, not an imperial military budget. US troops home now. End US military action in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on. Just come home.

Americans want change, no matter who wins. We need to be ready to provide that alternative.


Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Nov 07, 2016] Election 2016 Playing a Game of Chicken With Nuclear Strategy

The author is a neocon... Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was deeply unfair as it did not eliminated see based missiles, only ground based one. It is essentially a trap Gorbachov went into.
Notable quotes:
"... On the American side, the weapon of immediate concern is a new version of the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile, usually carried by B-52 bombers. Also known as the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) ..."
"... No wonder former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry called on President Obama to cancel the ALCM program in a recent Washington Post op-ed piece. "Because they… come in both nuclear and conventional variants," he wrote, "cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon." And this issue is going to fall directly into the lap of the next president. ..."
Nov 07, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Michael T. Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What's Left . A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation . Follow him on Twitter at @mklare1. Originally published at TomDispatch

... ... ..

With passions running high on both sides in this year's election and rising fears about Donald Trump's impulsive nature and Hillary Clinton's hawkish one, it's hardly surprising that the "nuclear button" question has surfaced repeatedly throughout the campaign. In one of the more pointed exchanges of the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton declared that Donald Trump lacked the mental composure for the job. "A man who can be provoked by a tweet," she commented , "should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes." Donald Trump has reciprocated by charging that Clinton is too prone to intervene abroad. "You're going to end up in World War III over Syria," he told reporters in Florida last month.

For most election observers, however, the matter of personal character and temperament has dominated discussions of the nuclear issue, with partisans on each side insisting that the other candidate is temperamentally unfit to exercise control over the nuclear codes. There is, however, a more important reason to worry about whose finger will be on that button this time around: at this very moment, for a variety of reasons, the "nuclear threshold" - the point at which some party to a "conventional" (non-nuclear) conflict chooses to employ atomic weapons - seems to be moving dangerously lower.

Not so long ago, it was implausible that a major nuclear power - the United States, Russia, or China - would consider using atomic weapons in any imaginable conflict scenario. No longer. Worse yet, this is likely to be our reality for years to come, which means that the next president will face a world in which a nuclear decision-making point might arrive far sooner than anyone would have thought possible just a year or two ago - with potentially catastrophic consequences for us all.

No less worrisome, the major nuclear powers (and some smaller ones) are all in the process of acquiring new nuclear arms, which could, in theory, push that threshold lower still. These include a variety of cruise missiles and other delivery systems capable of being used in "limited" nuclear wars - atomic conflicts that, in theory at least, could be confined to just a single country or one area of the world (say, Eastern Europe) and so might be even easier for decision-makers to initiate. The next president will have to decide whether the U.S. should actually produce weapons of this type and also what measures should be taken in response to similar decisions by Washington's likely adversaries.

Lowering the Nuclear Threshold

During the dark days of the Cold War, nuclear strategists in the United States and the Soviet Union conjured up elaborate conflict scenarios in which military actions by the two superpowers and their allies might lead from, say, minor skirmishing along the Iron Curtain to full-scale tank combat to, in the end, the use of "battlefield" nuclear weapons, and then city-busting versions of the same to avert defeat. In some of these scenarios, strategists hypothesized about wielding "tactical" or battlefield weaponry - nukes powerful enough to wipe out a major tank formation, but not Paris or Moscow - and claimed that it would be possible to contain atomic warfare at such a devastating but still sub-apocalyptic level. (Henry Kissinger, for instance, made his reputation by preaching this lunatic doctrine in his first book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy .) Eventually, leaders on both sides concluded that the only feasible role for their atomic arsenals was to act as deterrents to the use of such weaponry by the other side. This was, of course, the concept of " mutually assured destruction ," or - in one of the most classically apt acronyms of all times: MAD. It would, in the end, form the basis for all subsequent arms control agreements between the two superpowers.

Anxiety over the escalatory potential of tactical nuclear weapons peaked in the 1970s when the Soviet Union began deploying the SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missile (capable of striking cities in Europe, but not the U.S.) and Washington responded with plans to deploy nuclear-armed, ground-launched cruise missiles and the Pershing-II ballistic missile in Europe. The announcement of such plans provoked massive antinuclear demonstrations across Europe and the United States. On December 8, 1987, at a time when worries had been growing about how a nuclear conflagration in Europe might trigger an all-out nuclear exchange between the superpowers, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

That historic agreement - the first to eliminate an entire class of nuclear delivery systems - banned the deployment of ground-based cruise or ballistic missiles with a range of 500 and 5,500 kilometers and required the destruction of all those then in existence. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation inherited the USSR's treaty obligations and pledged to uphold the INF along with other U.S.-Soviet arms control agreements. In the view of most observers, the prospect of a nuclear war between the two countries practically vanished as both sides made deep cuts in their atomic stockpiles in accordance with already existing accords and then signed others, including the New START , the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 2010.

... ... ...

To put this in perspective, Russian leaders ardently believe that they are the victims of a U.S.-led drive by NATO to encircle their country and diminish its international influence. They point, in particular, to the build-up of NATO forces in the Baltic countries, involving the semi-permanent deployment of combat battalions in what was once the territory of the Soviet Union, and in apparent violation of promises made to Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not do so. As a result, Russia has been bolstering its defenses in areas bordering Ukraine and the Baltic states, and training its troops for a possible clash with the NATO forces stationed there.

... ... ...

On the American side, the weapon of immediate concern is a new version of the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile, usually carried by B-52 bombers. Also known as the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), it is, like the Iskander-M, expected to be deployed in both nuclear and conventional versions, leaving those on the potential receiving end unsure what might be heading their way.

In other words, as with the Iskander-M, the intended target might assume the worst in a crisis, leading to the early use of nuclear weapons. Put another way, such missiles make for twitchy trigger fingers and are likely to lead to a heightened risk of nuclear war, which, once started, might in turn take Washington and Moscow right up the escalatory ladder to a planetary holocaust.

No wonder former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry called on President Obama to cancel the ALCM program in a recent Washington Post op-ed piece. "Because they… come in both nuclear and conventional variants," he wrote, "cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon." And this issue is going to fall directly into the lap of the next president.

pretzelattack November 7, 2016 at 1:46 am

scanning it, it keeps referring to the obama administration's beliefs about russia, and claims by american officials. given the hysteria about putin allegedly hacking the us election, and the propaganda surrounding the war on terror, i'm reluctant to rely on this kind of evidence.

Lambert Strether November 7, 2016 at 2:29 am

This:

But even Hillary Clinton, for all her experience as secretary of state, is likely to have a hard time grappling with the pressures and dangers that are likely to arise in the years ahead, especially given that her inclination is to toughen U.S. policy toward Russia.

"Even" is a little rich, given that the Clinton campaign has systematically - I hate to use the word, but - demonized* Putin. One can regard the political class as cynically able to turn on a dime when the election is done, but Clinton has also induced her base of "NPR tote baggers" to buy in, and the more massive base is harder to turn. And then of course the neo-cons have gone over to her, and they certainly know which side their bread has blood on.

So, if Clinton wins, the dominant faction of the Democrat Party is - from the leadership through the nomenklatura to the base - committed to a "muscular" foreign policy, including a "No Fly Zone" in Syria, where shooting down a Russian plane would be an act of war, so far as Russia is concerned. (In the last debate, Clinton pointedly didn't answer what she would do in that eventuality.)

It is what it is. We are where we are.

NOTE * I mean, come on. Trump and Comey as Putin's agents of influence? Beyond bizarre.

UPDATE One of the salient features of the bureaucratic infighters who brought about World War I is their utter mediocrity; see this review of The Sleepwalkers , a diplomatic history of how World War I came out. If you want to see real mediocrity in today's terms, read the Podesta emails.

integer November 7, 2016 at 2:50 am

And contrast that quote with:

Whoever is elected on November 8th, we are evidently all headed into a world in which Trumpian-style itchy trigger fingers could be the norm.

So even Hillary Clinton might not be able to handle a world full of Trumpian-style itchy trigger fingers. That's a bit hard to swallow imo.

timotheus November 7, 2016 at 5:35 am

"Muscular" policy towards Russia: [echo "muscular policy! muscular policy!" slow fade]. And we think Putin is a clownish macho.

Joins "innovation", economic "liftoff" and "headwinds", "fight for", etc.

hemeantwell November 7, 2016 at 8:44 am

Agreed. Klare's order of presentation creates a questionable sense of causality by talking first about Russian tech and strategy and then about what appear to be US responses. For example, my understanding of recent developments of low yield nuclear weapons - I'm thinking of the "dial a bomb" - has the US once again opening up a new strategic front the Russians feel compelled to duplicate. His discussion of the Iskander M similarly elides the question of how the Russians think about the B52-based cruise missiles the US has had for years.

He also seems to lose track of a point he introduces by referring to Kissinger's advocacy of the use of low yield nukes. Kissinger's book came out in 1957, and afair only the US had battlefield nuclear missile delivery systems back in early 60s. After Kissinger gained power in the Nixon administration, they both thought that it was useful to look rationally irrational, to set out a logic for dangerous policies in order to make opponents fearful of a catastrophic reaction. The Russians are likely doing the same thing. I'm sure, too, that talking of a low first use threshold is a way to split Europe from the US.

Massinissa November 7, 2016 at 2:38 am

I like the article, but it seems like its putting too much of the fault on Russia.

Roland November 7, 2016 at 3:10 am

This article on nuclear strategy makes no mention of the single most destabilizing thing that happened in nuclear affairs in this century: the USA's unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty.

How could the author make such an omission?

The biggest nuclear problem we face is that there are "serious" military and political leaders in the USA who think that their new ABM systems will allow them to burst the shackles of assured-destruction, and thus to actively employ escalation dominance as a foreign policy tool..

integer November 7, 2016 at 5:20 am

political leaders in the USA who think that their new ABM systems will allow them to burst the shackles of assured-destruction

"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand."

― Archibald Putt

charles 2 November 7, 2016 at 5:06 am

The author puts too much emphasis on anti-cities warfare at a pre-strategic level. A strike will be more likely to be an EMP anti-infrastructure strike. In modern societies, one doesn't need to kill people to break their resolve. Disrupting the provision of electricity, mobile, cable and internet connection is amply enough to eliminate the appetite for overseas military adventures.

fajensen November 7, 2016 at 6:13 am

The nukes run on a dead-man switch. If one EMP's "everything", the periodic "please do not launch today, sir"-signal will not reach the silos/submarines and missiles will launch automatically.

We can be pretty sure that the last missiles launched will be salted with some "well, fuck you too!"-concoction to create massive fallout and maybe even some bio-weapons on top for all those weakened immune systems (from the gamma radiation). The USSR did a lot of very high quality research on biological weapons, obviously, everyone else has whatever they had in the 1980's. People who ingest radioactive dust are goners sooner or later. Sooner with bio-weapons on top of the radiation poisoning.

People, especially people "on top" who should be informed and know better, yet still think ABM systems work effectively for any other purpose than moving billions of USD to into the pockets of defense industry cronies, are simply deluded. Even with cooked tests, where the speed and trajectory of the opposition missile is known to the missile defence in advance, the odds of an intercept are low.

Disturbed Voter November 7, 2016 at 6:31 am

The only way to win is not play – War-games

Why would the elites not want to win, compared to the first 70 years of the nuclear age?

fajensen November 7, 2016 at 8:04 am

Why would the elites not want to win, compared to the first 70 years of the nuclear age?

They are like 70-80 years old, geriatrics already, soon diaper-cases. All thes powerful people are in a desparate race with time to "set things right", before they lose all of their faculties (or start smelling of poo so no-one invites them anymore).

Jim A November 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

Even more troubling, Russia has adopted a military doctrine that favors the early use of nuclear weapons if it faces defeat in a conventional war, and NATO is considering comparable measures in response. The nuclear threshold, in other words, is dropping rapidly.

Of course this is the exact mirror image of the US policy during the Cold War. We relied on the threat of "theater nuclear war" to deter the huge Soviet conventional forces that NATO had little chance of stopping with conventional forces. Of course the Germans joked that the definition of a "theater" nuclear weapon was one that went off in Germany.

[Nov 07, 2016] Does the Right Hold the Economy Hostage to Advance Its Militarist Agenda

economistsview.typepad.com

Alex S -> Julio ... , November 05, 2016 at 03:50 PM

We have moved left. The gays and blacks are treated better. We no longer tolerate wars like Vietnam. The Iraq war was an order of magnitude smaller. War helps scientific discovery and progress. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/upshot/the-lack-of-major-wars-may-be-hurting-economic-growth.html?_r=0 For more capable nations to help civilize weaker and more chaotic ones is helpful, but leftists won't accept that.
anne -> Alex S... , November 05, 2016 at 04:08 PM
Oh, I understand:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/upshot/the-lack-of-major-wars-may-be-hurting-economic-growth.html

June 13, 2014

The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth
By Tyler Cowen

[ Who else could possibly have written such an essay? The guy is really, really scary. ]

anne -> anne... , November 05, 2016 at 04:20 PM
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/does-the-right-hold-the-economy-hostage-to-advance-its-militarist-agenda

June 14, 2014

Does the Right Hold the Economy Hostage to Advance Its Militarist Agenda?

That's one way to read Tyler Cowen's New York Times column * noting that wars have often been associated with major economic advances which carries the headline "the lack of major wars may be hurting economic growth." Tyler lays out his central argument:

"It may seem repugnant to find a positive side to war in this regard, but a look at American history suggests we cannot dismiss the idea so easily. Fundamental innovations such as nuclear power, the computer and the modern aircraft were all pushed along by an American government eager to defeat the Axis powers or, later, to win the Cold War. The Internet was initially designed to help this country withstand a nuclear exchange, and Silicon Valley had its origins with military contracting, not today's entrepreneurial social media start-ups. The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite spurred American interest in science and technology, to the benefit of later economic growth."

This is all quite true, but a moment's reflection may give a bit different spin to the story. There has always been substantial support among liberals for the sort of government sponsored research that he describes here. The opposition has largely come from the right. However the right has been willing to go along with such spending in the context of meeting national defense needs. Its support made these accomplishments possible.

This brings up the suggestion Paul Krugman made a while back (jokingly) that maybe we need to convince the public that we face a threat from an attack from Mars. Krugman suggested this as a way to prompt traditional Keynesian stimulus, but perhaps we can also use the threat to promote an ambitious public investment agenda to bring us the next major set of technological breakthroughs.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/upshot/the-lack-of-major-wars-may-be-hurting-economic-growth.html

-- Dean Baker

Alex S -> anne... , November 05, 2016 at 05:15 PM
Three points

1. Baker's peaceful spending scenario is not likely because of human nature.

2. Even if Baker's scenario happened, a given dollar will be used more efficiently in a war. If there is a threat of losing, you have an incentive to cut waste and spend on what produces results.

3. The United States would not exist at all if we had not conquered the territory.

anne -> anne... , November 05, 2016 at 04:24 PM
http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

September, 2016

US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting
Summary of Costs of the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Homeland Security
By Neta C. Crawford

Summary

Wars cost money before, during and after they occur - as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from them by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing the infrastructure destroyed in the fighting. Although it is rare to have a precise accounting of the costs of war - especially of long wars - one can get a sense of the rough scale of the costs by surveying the major categories of spending.

As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion.

But of course, a full accounting of any war's burdens cannot be placed in columns on a ledger....

[Nov 07, 2016] Up Against the Wall The American Conservative

Nov 07, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The War Party called the Peace Party Nazis in 1941, Communists in 1951, Soviet dupes in 1961, dirty hippies in 1971 … must I go on? In 2011, those who heed George Washington's counsel to seek "peace and harmony with all" will be called mullah-headed appeasers of Irano-fascism.

We live in an age in which one is free to view pornography that would make de Sade wince and gore that would make Leatherface retch, yet we have less "free speech," as the Founders would have conceived it, than ever before. The range of permissible political opinions has narrowed to encompass the rat-hair's breadth separating Mitt Romney from Joe Lieberman, and woe betide the straggler who wanders away from the cage.

Blame war. Blame TV. Blame the nationalization of political discourse, as regional variations and individual peculiarities are washed away by the generic slime of poli-talk shows. Radicals-even naïve Tea Partiers or idealistic left-wing kids-are dehumanized in ways unthinkable when America was a free country. No one was barred from the conversation back when there was a conversation. No dispatch ever read, "Wingnut Henry David Thoreau today issued a manifesto from his compound near Walden Pond…"

... ... ...

The squeezing out even of establishment dissent-especially since 9/11-has left us with an antiwar movement so feeble it makes the Esperanto lobby look like the AARP. Enter the new organization Come Home, America, its name taken from the magnificent 1972 acceptance speech delivered by George McGovern in the last unscripted Democratic convention.

Discussed in recent issues of this magazine, Come Home, America is based on the now decidedly radical premise that young men and women belong home, with their families and in their communities, rather than fighting needless wars on the other side of the globe. I am a small part of what I hope will become a chorus of patriotic dissent ringing from Main Street and Copperhead Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard, from farm and church and coffeehouse.

[Nov 05, 2016] Wall Street and the Pentagon by James Petras

Nov 02, 2016 | The Unz Review

Wall Street and the Pentagon greeted the onset of 2016 as a 'banner year', a glorious turning point in the quest for malleable regimes willing to sell-off the most lucrative economic resources, to sign off on onerous new debt to Wall Street and to grant use of their strategic military bases to the Pentagon.

Brazil and Argentina, the most powerful and richest countries in South America and the Philippines, Washington's most strategic military platform in Southeast Asia, were the objects of intense US political operations in the run-up to 2016.

In each instance, Wall Street and the Pentagon secured smashing successes leading to premature ejaculations over the 'new golden era' of financial pillage and unfettered military adventures. Unfortunately, the early ecstasy has turned to agony: Wall Street made easy entries and even faster departures once the 'honeymoon' gave way to reality. ; The political procurers persecuted center-left incumbents but, were soon to have their turn facing prosecution. The political prostitutes, who had decreed the sale of sovereignty, were replaced by nationalists who would turn the bordello back into a sovereign nation state.

This essay outlines the rapid rise and dramatic demise of these erstwhile 'progeny' of Wall Street and the Pentagon in Argentina and Brazil, and then reviews Washington's shock and awe as the newly elected Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte embraced new ties with China while proclaiming, 'We are no one's 'tuta' (puppy dog)!'

Argentina and Brazil: Grandiose Schemes and Crapulous Outcomes

The international financial press was ecstatic over the election of President Mauricio Macri in Argentina and the appointment of former Wall Street bankers to his cabinet. They celebrated the ouster of the 'evil populists', accusing them of inflating economic results, reneging on debt obligations and discouraging foreign lenders and investors. Under the Macri regime all market obstacles were to be removed and all the bankers trembled with anticipation at the 'good times' to come.

After taking office in December 2015, President Macri unleashed the 'animal instincts' of the market and the carrion birds flocked in. US 'vulture funds' scooped up and demanded payment for on old Argentine debt 'valued' at $3.5 billion – constituting a 1,000% return on their initial investment. A devaluation of the peso of 50% tripled inflation and drove down wages by 20%.

Firing over 200,000 public sector employees, slapping 400% price increases on utilities and transport, driving small and medium size firms into bankruptcy and enraged consumers into the streets ended the honeymoon with the Argentine electorate quite abruptly. This initial massive dose of free enterprise 'medicine' was prescribed by the local and Wall Street bankers and investors who had promised a new golden era for capitalism!

Now that he had banished the 'populists', Macri was free to tap into the international financial markets. Argentina raised $16.5 billion from a bond sale taken up by the big bankers and speculators, mostly from Wall Street, who were eager to cash in on the high rates in the belief that there was no risk with their champion President Macri at the helm. Wall Street based its giddy predictions on a mere three-month experience with Mauricio!

But then… some of the hedge fund managers began to raise questions about the viability of Mauricio Macri's presidency. Instead of reducing the fiscal deficit, Macri began to increase public spending to offset mass discontent over his triple digit increases in utility fees and transportation, the mass layoffs in the public sector and the slashing of pension funds.

The major banks had counted on the abrupt devaluation of the currency to invest in the export sector, but instead they were confronted with a sudden 11% appreciation of the peso and a skyrocketing inflation of 40% leading to high interest rates. As a result, the economy fell even deeper in recession exceeding minus 3% for the year.

While most Wall Street bankers still retain some faith in the Macri regime, they are not willing to fork-over the kind of cash that might allow this increasingly unpopular regime to survive. What keep Wall Street on board the sinking ship are the political and ideological commitments rather than any objective assessment of their protégée's dismal economic performance. Wall Street counts on free market bankers appointed to the ministries, the massive purge of social services (health and education) personnel and the lucrative bond sales to cover the burgeoning deficit. They hope the vast increase in profits resulting from increased utility fees and the sharp cuts in salaries, pensions and subsidies will ultimately lead them into the promised land.

Wall Street has expressed dismay over Macri's failure to stimulate growth – in fact GDP is falling. Furthermore, their 'golden boy' failed to attract productive investments. Instead thousands of Argentine small and medium businesses have 'gone under' as consumer spending tanked and extortionate tariffs were slapped on vital public utilities and transport – devastating profits. Inflation has undermined the purchasing power of the vast majority of households. Wall Street speculators, concentrating on fixed-rate peso denominated debt, are at risk of losing their shirts.

In other words, the administration's 'free enterprise' regime is based largely on attracting foreign loans, plundering the national treasury, firing tens of thousands of public sector workers and slashing spending on social services and business-friendly subsidies. Macri has yet to generate any large-scale investment in new innovative productive sectors, which might sustain long-term growth.

Already facing growing discontent and a general strike of private and public sector workers, the 'bankers' regime' lacks the political links with the trade unions to neutralize the growing opposition.

ORDER IT NOW

To hold back the growing tidal wave of discontent, President Macri had to betray his overseas investors by boosting fiscal spending, which has had little or no impact on the national economy.

Wall Street's hopes that President Mauricio Macri would inaugurate a 'golden era' of free market capitalism lasted less than a year and is turning into a real fiasco. Rising foreign debt, economic depression and class warfare ensures Macri's rapid demise.

Brazil: Wall Street's Three Month 'Whirl-Wind' Honeymoon

Most of the current elected members of the Brazilian Congress, Senate and the recently-installed (rather than elected) President, as well as his cabinet, are in trouble: The hero, Michael Temer and his argonauts, chosen by Wall Street to privatize the Brazilian economy and usher in another 'golden dawn' for finance capital, now all face criminal changes, arrest and long prison sentences for money laundering, bribery, fraud, tax evasion and corruption.

In less than four months, the entire political edifice constructed to impeach the elected President Dilma Rousseff and then de-nationalize key sectors of the economy, is shaking. So much for the financial press's proclamation of a new era of "business friendly" policies in Brazilia.

The pundits, politicians, journalists and editors, who prematurely celebrated the appointment of Michael Temer to the Presidency by legislative coup, now have to face a new reality. The key to understanding the rapid collapse of the New Right project in Brazil lies in the growing 'rap sheets' of the very same politicians who engineered the ouster of Rousseff.

Eduardo Cunha, the ex-president of the Congress in Brasilia, used his influence to ensure the super majority of Congressional votes for the impeachment. Cunha was godfather to ensuring the appointment of Michael Temer as interim president.

Cunha's influence and control over the Congress was based on his wide network of bribes and corruption involving over a hundred members of congress, including the newly anointed President Temer.

Once Cunha secured the ouster of Rousseff, the Brazilian elite washed their collective hands of the 'fixer', overwhelmed by the stench of his corruption. In September 2016, Cunha was suspended from Congress and lost his immunity. One month later, he was arrested on over a dozen charges, including fraud and tax evasion. It was public knowledge that Cunha had squirreled away a 'tidy nest' of over $70 million in Swiss banks.

Cunha directed (extorted) public and private firms to finance the campaigns of many of his political colleagues. He had intervened to secure bribes for President Temer, his foreign minister and even the next presidential hopeful, Jose Serra. One of the most powerful representatives of the new regime, Moreira Franco, Grand Wizard of the Privatization Program, was 'in hock' to Cunha.

As all this has come to light, Cunha has been negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor and judges in return for his 'singing' a few arias. He is facing over a hundred years in jail; his wife and daughter face trial; Eduardo Cunha is prepared to talk and finger political leaders to save his own neck. Most knowledgeable observers and judicial experts fully expect Cunha to bring down the Temer Administration with him and devastate the leadership of Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, as well as ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso's Brazilian Social Democratic Party.

The Brazilian elite, Wall Street bankers and their mass media propagandists, who wrote and directed the impeachment plot scenario are now discredited and bereft of political front men. Their expectations of a new 'golden era of free market capitalism' in Brazil has turned into a political mad scramble with every politico and corporate leader desperate to save his own skin and illicit fortune by denouncing each other.

With the demise of the 'Brazilian takeover', Wall Street and Washington are bereft of key markets and allies in Latin America.

The Philippines: The Duterte turn from the US to China

In April 2014, Washington 'secured' an agreement granting access to five strategic military bases in the Philippines critical to its 'pivot to target' China. Under the outgoing President 'Noynoy' Aquino, Jr. the Pentagon believed it had an 'iron-clad' agreement to organize the Philippines as its satrap and military springboard throughout Southeast Asia. Washington even prodded the Aquino government to bring its Spratly Island dispute with China before the obscure Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Washington anticipated using the Court's 'favorable' ruling as a pretext to confront the Chinese.

All this has changed with the June 2016 ascent to the Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte: In only four months, all Washington's imperial designs had been swept off the table. By October 21, 2016 President Duterte announced he would end military exercises with Washington because they threatened Philippine sovereignty and made his country vulnerable to a military confrontation with China. He promised to end sea patrols of disputed waters that the US uses to harass China in the South China Sea.

In advance of the Philippines President's meeting with China, he had already declared that he would not press the Dutch-based ruling over the South China Sea island dispute against Beijing but rely on diplomacy and compromise. During the China meeting President Duterte declared that the two countries would engage in a constructive dialogue to resolve the Spratly Islands as well as other outstanding issues. The 'agreement' over US access to bases in the Philippines was put in doubt as the President declared "a separation from the US" and promised long-term, large scale economic and investment ties with China. Undergirding the Philippines pivot to China were 13 trade and investment agreements worth more than $20 billion, covering financing of infrastructure, transport, social projects, tourism, industry and agriculture.

The military base agreement, signed by the notoriously servile ex-President Aquino without Congressional approval, was review by the Philippine Supreme Court and can be revoked by the new President Duterte by decree.

Inside of four months, the US strategy of armed encirclement and intervention against China has been dealt a major blow. The newly emerging China-Philippines linkage strikes a fatal blow to Washington's overtly militarist 'pivot' against China.

Conclusion

2016 opened with great fanfare: The defeat of the two major center-left governments (Argentina and Brazil) and the advent of hard-right US-backed regimes would inaugurate a 'golden era of free market capitalism'. This promised to usher in a prolonged period of profit and pillage by rolling back 'populist' reforms and creating a bankers paradise. In Southeast Asia, US officials and pundits would proclaim another 'golden era', this time of rampant militarism, encircling and provoking China on its vital sea lanes, and operating from five strategic military bases obtained through a Philippine Presidential decree by an unpopular and recently replaced puppet, 'Noynoy' Aquino, Jr.

These dreams of 'golden eras' lasted a few months before objective reality intruded.

By the autumn of 2016 the rightist regimes had been replaced in the Manila by a colorful ardent nationalist, while the 'banker boys' in Brasilia faced prison, and the 'Golden Boys' of Buenos Aires were mired in deep crisis. The notion of an easy Rightist restoration was based on several profound misunderstandings:

  1. The belief that the reversal of social reforms and denial of popular demands would smoothly give way to an explosion of foreign financing and investment was shattered when private bond purchases profited the financial sector but did not bring in large-scale productive investment. Devaluation of the currency was followed by skyrocketing inflation, which led to fiscal deficits and the loss of business confidence.
  2. Washington's promotion of 'corruption investigations' started with prosecuting democratically elected center-left politicians and ended up with the arrest of Wall Street's own protégés encompassing the entire right-wing political class and decimating the 'Golden' regimes.
  3. The belief that long-term hegemonic relations, based on client regimes in Asia, could resist the attraction of signing trade and investment agreements with the rising Chinese mega-economy, while sacrificing vital economic development, and relegating their masses to more stagnation and unemployment, collapsed with the massive electoral of nationalist Rodrigo Duterte as President of the Philippines.

In fact, these and other political assessments among the decision makers in Washington and on Wall Street were proven wrong leading to a strategic retreat of the empire in both Latin America and Asia. The policy failures were not merely 'mistakes' but the inevitable results of changing structural conditions embedded in a declining empire.

These decisions were based on a calculus of power, rooted in class and national relations that may have held true two decades ago. At the dawn of the new millennium the US still dominated Asia and China was not yet an economic alternative for its neighbors eager for investment. Washington could and did dictate policy in Southeast Asia.

Twenty years ago, the US had the economic leverage to sustain the neoliberal policies of the Washington Consensus throughout Latin America.

Today the US continues to pursue policies based on anachronistic power relations, seeming to ignore the fact that China is now a world power and a viable economic trade and investment alternative successfully competing for markets and influence in Asia. Washington is failing to compete in that marketplace and, therefore, can no longer rely on docile client state.

Washington cannot effectively control and direct large-scale capital flows to shore-up its newly installed rightist regimes in Argentina and Brazil as they crumble under their own corruption and incompetence. Meanwhile the world is watching a domestic US economy, mired in stagnation with its own political elites torn by corruption and scandals at the highest level, and staging the most bizarre presidential campaign in its history. Corruption has become the mode of governing under conditions of deregulation and rule by political warlords. Political allegiance to the empire and open doors to foreign pillage do not attract capital when those making political decisions are facing prison and the business 'doormen' are busy stuffing their suitcases with cash and making a mad-dash for the airports!

For Wall Street and the Pentagon, Latin America and Asia are lost opportunities – betrayals to be mourned at the officers clubs and exclusive Manhattan restaurants. For the people in mass social movements these are emerging opportunities for struggle and change.

The strenuous US effort to rebuild its empire in Latin America and Southeast Asia has suffered a rapid succession of blows. Washington can still seize power but it lacks the talent and the favorable conditions to hold it.

The vision of a Brazilian state, build on the edifice of the privatized oil giant, Petrobras, and the political incarceration of its left adversaries, with foreign capital attracted and seduced by political procurers, pimps and prostitutes, has ended in a debacle.

In this vacuum, it will be up to the new governments and peoples' movements to seize the opportunity to advance their struggles and explore political and economic alternatives. The aborted rightist power grab inadvertently has done the peoples' movements a great favor by exposing and ousting the corrupt and compromised center-left regimes opening the door for a genuine anti-imperialist transformation.

[Nov 02, 2016] Veterans, Feeling Abandoned, Stand by Donald Trump By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

Veterans pay the price for bankers war. Those wars has nothing to do with the USA security as a state. This was the case with Iraq war and other wars for the expansion of neoliberal empire. Switching to volunteer professional army after Vietnam was a shrewd move as it decimated anti-war movement.
Notable quotes:
"... There are 22 million living veterans in the United States, and many love or loathe Mr. Trump for the same reasons other Americans do. But polling, interviews with dozens of veterans and those who study their political views indicate a strong preference for Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. He now leads Mrs. Clinton by 19 points among veterans registered to vote, while trailing her among all voters by three points, according to a Fox News poll released Oct. 18. ..."
"... And on the post-9/11 battlefields, lower-income and less-educated communities have shouldered a greater share of American casualties than in past wars - even Vietnam. ..."
"... In the depths of the recession, veterans suffered higher than average unemployment. Career military retirees faced cuts to pensions after the sequester deal between President Obama and Congress, while other veterans endured long waits for the health care promised to them by the federal government. ..."
"... Medical advances reduced battlefield deaths but also, paradoxically, made veterans' sacrifice less visible to the public. They came home not in body bags but with missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries, leaving Americans less sensitive to the costs of further war, according to Douglas L. Kriner, a political scientist at Boston University who has studied post-9/11 veterans. ..."
"... Nonfatal casualties seem to "not have the political punch that fatal casualties do," Mr. Kriner said. ..."
"... By the middle of Mr. Obama's first term, the majority of post-9/11 veterans said they believed Americans did not understand military life, according to the Pew Research Center. Sixty percent said that the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas. ..."
"... Some former and current military personnel have embraced libertarian candidates, such as Ron Paul, a former United States representative from Texas, who criticized American interventions abroad. In 2012, Mr. Paul raised more money from active-duty service members during the early phase of the campaign than all other Republican candidates combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. ..."
"... "They lied," Mr. Trump said. "They said there were weapons of mass destruction - there were none and they knew there were none." ..."
"... His words startled the Republican establishment. But in the front row, Daniel Cortez nodded along. Mr. Cortez, a 65-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, did not like everything about Mr. Trump. Yet he seemed to be speaking a different language, Mr. Cortez said in a recent interview, more like the one veterans themselves spoke. Mr. Trump argued for a military that was bigger and better equipped but also used more sparingly. ..."
"... hey held back their misgivings for years, unable to admit to their friends and sometimes themselves that so much had been wasted. ..."
"... "Having to defend the rationale for the Iraq war for so long, and then to have someone on the stage talk about how it was a mistake, touched a real nerve." ..."
"... Mr. Trump's national security proposals, some veterans supporting him acknowledged, are often vague or contradictory. But many heard in Mr. Trump's voice a return to the days of big military budgets and boundless manpower. His sweeping denunciation of Washington elites echoed their own grumbling. ..."
"... In small military towns in California and North Carolina, veterans of all eras cheer Mr. Trump's promises to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs. ..."
"... Where Mr. Bush acted rashly in sending troops into Iraq, some veterans said, the Obama administration had acted politically in pulling them out. When the black flags of the Islamic State rose over Falluja and Mosul two years ago, they recalled the sweat or blood they or their friends had shed there. Politicians had started the war, they felt, and politicians had lost it. ..."
"... Though he has two Purple Hearts, it sometimes takes months for him to get an appointment with a neurologist at the V.A. ..."
"... One of Mr. Trump's earliest policy speeches, last October, offered a plan that would allow federal officials to more freely fire and discipline V.A. employees. After the V.A. scandal two years ago, when investigations revealed widespread delays and the deaths of some veterans while waiting for care, public employee unions fiercely oppose such measures. ..."
"... "Trump was the first guy to recognize the populist appeal of this problem," said Paul J. Rieckhoff, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. ..."
"... The situation is hard for many people in America. The veterans are probably right that Hillary will not do much for them. As many people have said, Hillary represents the status quo. ..."
"... As a vet, I've been to the VA hospitals and listened to many speak about the care they receive. Throw away all your conceptions of the type of voters they are and evaluate the core issue here: Vets were promised excellent care and they receive something that is barely adequate. Over the past 8 years it hasn't improved enough for people to think this administration has the right approach to fix it. ..."
"... Who do you trust more, the one that says they'll fix it from the party that hasn't fixed it in 8 years or the guy that has never been part of that system? ..."
"... "The rich start the wars and the poor fight the wars" Nothing new here as jingoistic thought pervades. ..."
"... The Republicans have never been kind to veterans just pentagon contractors. Sadly many of us veterans are not in tune with the facts and the history of war profiteering. ..."
"... in the infamous words of the man from the party that created our current batch of veterans "fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again" ..."
"... Yet you think something like a temperament issue can touch off a nuclear war. That a President can waltz in, and just decide out of the blue that a sub-continent or two needs to stop existing and it'll happen? That this is even a remotely possible scenario? Don't insult my intelligence. ..."
"... The vast majority of U.S. soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War were drafted into the military: over 58,00 of them died; over 304,000 were wounded. ..."
"... U.S. Soldiers who are fighting the "war on terror" voluntarily joined the military; over 6,300 have died; over 48,000 have been wounded. ..."
"... There was an alternative; that being combat veteran John Kerry who had a greater understanding of war and its costs than W and his discredited neocons ever would. ..."
"... I recall watching the Abu Ghraib Senate hearings and the only senator not grandstanding, but asking tough questions was Clinton. ..."
Nov 02, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

Now, as battlegrounds in the Middle East smoke and rumble once more, as V.A. wait times creep up instead of down, Mr. Trump's candidacy - and its resonance among veterans - is helping expose the gulf of culture and class between many Americans and those who fight wars in their name.

There are 22 million living veterans in the United States, and many love or loathe Mr. Trump for the same reasons other Americans do. But polling, interviews with dozens of veterans and those who study their political views indicate a strong preference for Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. He now leads Mrs. Clinton by 19 points among veterans registered to vote, while trailing her among all voters by three points, according to a Fox News poll released Oct. 18.

Growing Military Caste

For decades, Americans who serve in the armed forces have been growing more segregated from their fellow countrymen. Fewer than 1 percent of Americans now serve in the military. Those who join are likely to have parents, uncles or aunts who served before them, forming a kind of military caste. And on the post-9/11 battlefields, lower-income and less-educated communities have shouldered a greater share of American casualties than in past wars - even Vietnam.

In the depths of the recession, veterans suffered higher than average unemployment. Career military retirees faced cuts to pensions after the sequester deal between President Obama and Congress, while other veterans endured long waits for the health care promised to them by the federal government.

Medical advances reduced battlefield deaths but also, paradoxically, made veterans' sacrifice less visible to the public. They came home not in body bags but with missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries, leaving Americans less sensitive to the costs of further war, according to Douglas L. Kriner, a political scientist at Boston University who has studied post-9/11 veterans.

Nonfatal casualties seem to "not have the political punch that fatal casualties do," Mr. Kriner said.

By the middle of Mr. Obama's first term, the majority of post-9/11 veterans said they believed Americans did not understand military life, according to the Pew Research Center. Sixty percent said that the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas.

Some former and current military personnel have embraced libertarian candidates, such as Ron Paul, a former United States representative from Texas, who criticized American interventions abroad. In 2012, Mr. Paul raised more money from active-duty service members during the early phase of the campaign than all other Republican candidates combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Dustin Stewart, a former Army captain and an Iraq war veteran, supports Mr. Trump. "The Iraq war was a disaster. He is at least not trying to tiptoe around it," he said. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Mr. Stewart grew up in a conservative family in Texas, where Rush Limbaugh's show often played on the radio. In 2000, he cast a proud vote for George W. Bush. But six years later, he was leading an infantry platoon outside Ramadi, a hotbed of the insurgency then enveloping parts of Iraq. Mr. Stewart returned home alive but disillusioned. He supported Mr. Paul in the 2008 Republican primary race and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, in the 2012 election.

"I don't want pity. I just want people to care," said Mr. Stewart, adding, "Do you know what your politicians are sending us to do?"

'A Breath of Fresh Air'

In mid-February, boos rang from the rafters of a performing arts center in Greenville, S.C. Mr. Trump, onstage with remaining rivals for the Republican nomination, had just committed what seemed like a major apostasy, assailing the Iraq war and attacking Mr. Bush with gusto. "They lied," Mr. Trump said. "They said there were weapons of mass destruction - there were none and they knew there were none."

His words startled the Republican establishment. But in the front row, Daniel Cortez nodded along. Mr. Cortez, a 65-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, did not like everything about Mr. Trump. Yet he seemed to be speaking a different language, Mr. Cortez said in a recent interview, more like the one veterans themselves spoke. Mr. Trump argued for a military that was bigger and better equipped but also used more sparingly.


"Mr. Trump is a breath of fresh air because he is promoting peace through strength," Mr. Cortez said.

For some conservative veterans, Mr. Trump's criticisms of the Iraq war have allowed them to vent a stew of emotions: Relief and regret, bitterness and pride. They were repelled by liberal antiwar politics and felt little in common with the war's most prominent critics. So they held back their misgivings for years, unable to admit to their friends and sometimes themselves that so much had been wasted.

"Nobody likes to say that George W. Bush was a bad president," said David Fuqua, who spent four years in the Marines and served in Afghanistan in 2011. "Having to defend the rationale for the Iraq war for so long, and then to have someone on the stage talk about how it was a mistake, touched a real nerve."

Mr. Trump's national security proposals, some veterans supporting him acknowledged, are often vague or contradictory. But many heard in Mr. Trump's voice a return to the days of big military budgets and boundless manpower. His sweeping denunciation of Washington elites echoed their own grumbling.

"They look at Clinton as a continuance of what we've had for the last 16 years through two administrations," said Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general who led the United States Central Command in the late 1990s.

In small military towns in California and North Carolina, veterans of all eras cheer Mr. Trump's promises to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Where Mr. Bush acted rashly in sending troops into Iraq, some veterans said, the Obama administration had acted politically in pulling them out. When the black flags of the Islamic State rose over Falluja and Mosul two years ago, they recalled the sweat or blood they or their friends had shed there. Politicians had started the war, they felt, and politicians had lost it.

"This war became so politicized, so P.C.," Mr. Hansen said. Mr. Trump might take them to war again, he had concluded, but Mr. Trump would not hold them back.

"Under George, all we could do was straight right hooks and a couple of uppercuts," Mr. Hansen said. "When Obama took over, we could only do straight lefts - and we had to say 'we're going to punch you' first."

Mr. Verardo was invited to sit in Mr. Trump's V.I.P. box at the Republican National Convention. Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times

In 2010, in a bloodily contested river valley in southern Afghanistan, Michael Verardo stepped on an old Russian-made land mine wired to two jugs packed with explosives, rocks and nails. He lost most of his leg immediately. To save his left arm, medics sewed it temporarily onto his back.

Three years ago, Mr. Verardo and his wife, Sarah, moved to North Carolina, where the winters are easier. Though he has two Purple Hearts, it sometimes takes months for him to get an appointment with a neurologist at the V.A.

This summer, at Mr. Trump's invitation, the family flew to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. On the first night, Mr. Verardo and his wife sat in the V.I.P. box with Mr. Trump's family. Mr. Trump seemed to understand, Mr. Verardo recalled. Maybe he would be different.

"I think he's genuine," Mr. Verardo said.

One of Mr. Trump's earliest policy speeches, last October, offered a plan that would allow federal officials to more freely fire and discipline V.A. employees. After the V.A. scandal two years ago, when investigations revealed widespread delays and the deaths of some veterans while waiting for care, public employee unions fiercely oppose such measures.

Mrs. Clinton, who has her own plan for improving V.A. care, said last year that the scandal had "not been as widespread as it has been made out to be."

"Trump was the first guy to recognize the populist appeal of this problem," said Paul J. Rieckhoff, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

... ... ...


El Lucho, PGH 17 minutes ago

The situation is hard for many people in America. The veterans are probably right that Hillary will not do much for them. As many people have said, Hillary represents the status quo.

On the other hand, isn't that infinitely better that electing president the first charlatan that comes along? People should work hard to change the political system so that we elect people that work for us. This is something that takes years, it isn't done by voting for the buffoon that has easy solutions for everything.


Brian - Seattle, Seattle 22 minutes ago

Regardless of whether you think Trump is sincere, has the right abilities to fix the problems, etc. I can see why vets support him.

As a vet, I've been to the VA hospitals and listened to many speak about the care they receive. Throw away all your conceptions of the type of voters they are and evaluate the core issue here: Vets were promised excellent care and they receive something that is barely adequate. Over the past 8 years it hasn't improved enough for people to think this administration has the right approach to fix it.

If you are a vet coming home to promises from the Obama administration to deliver care you need for PSTD, loss of limbs, etc. and you don't get it or have to deal with piles of bureaucracy in the process - would you go with the status quo candidate or the other candidate? Would you go with the candidate that makes concerted efforts to reach out to you or the one that seems to not care because they did a cost-benefit analysis on whether it makes sense to reach out to you or some other demographic to win? Who do you trust more, the one that says they'll fix it from the party that hasn't fixed it in 8 years or the guy that has never been part of that system?

When there is no other option than voting for the current approach that has failed you and that you don't trust anymore, how hard do you think that choice is?

Ryan, Harwinton, CT 22 minutes ago

Can't say as I blame them. If I were walking around on a half of a leg because Hillary Clinton decided that a "yes" vote was the politically-expedient choice, I probably wouldn't vote for her either.


Peter marozik, Santa Monica. CA 54 minutes ago

"The rich start the wars and the poor fight the wars" Nothing new here as jingoistic thought pervades.

The Republicans have never been kind to veterans just pentagon contractors. Sadly many of us veterans are not in tune with the facts and the history of war profiteering.

Peter.
US Navy 1984-1998

M. Nyc 1 hour ago

My god, in the infamous words of the man from the party that created our current batch of veterans "fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again".

Come on you guys, keep it straight about Who and Which party has done you dirty. Trump has no plans to honor anyone in this country - should he be elected or not - his only purpose is to honor Donald. He would throw you all under the bus in a heart beat if he even gave it a second thought. Tax cuts for him, baby, namely the estate tax, that's ALL he cares about.

xxx 1 hour ago

I'm certain a large percentage of veterans back Trump. Most of them are reflexively Republican due to years of exposure to Fox and other right wing press organs. I'm also a veteran who served in the Cold War in the nuclear forces. I, like Bruce Blair, dread the thought of Donald Trump as our Commander in Chief, with his unpredictable temperatment controlling our nuclear arsenal. Trump is no friend of veterans, having himself found five deferments out of serving in Vietnam. He's a charlatan and I'm sad that so many of my veteran brothers and sisters see him as a savior rather than the demagogue he is.

Ekscalybur here 54 minutes ago

You served in the nuclear forces?

Yet you think something like a temperament issue can touch off a nuclear war. That a President can waltz in, and just decide out of the blue that a sub-continent or two needs to stop existing and it'll happen? That this is even a remotely possible scenario? Don't insult my intelligence.

IraqVet WA 1 hour ago

Generals are but politicians in uniform...Bill Clinto dodged the Draft and so did Joe Biden, Hillary and Obama chose not to serve, Bush served but couldn't be found. As a combat veteran who's brothers and sister sacrificed there all in Iraq just so Obama and Hillary could hand it back to ISIS, you better believe I'm voting for Trump because the career politicians have failed us.

nobrainer New Jersey 1 hour ago
Yes she really believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? I find this hard to believe but easier to accept Santa Clause. the Tooth Fairy and that the evidence was non existent and contrived. She had access to the truth and did not want to hear it. She is dangerous.
J L. S. Alexandria Virginia 1 hour ago
The vast majority of U.S. soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War were drafted into the military: over 58,00 of them died; over 304,000 were wounded.

U.S. Soldiers who are fighting the "war on terror" voluntarily joined the military; over 6,300 have died; over 48,000 have been wounded.

I fail to understand the allure of Trump, just as I failed to understand the allure of Nixon!

Gerald Granath, Chicago 2 hours ago

Do we know what "our politicians are sending you to do" and you voted for George W. Bush?? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There was an alternative; that being combat veteran John Kerry who had a greater understanding of war and its costs than W and his discredited neocons ever would.

It's clear we have created a mercenary class that yells foul when their "glory days" don't leave them fulfilled by a sense of heroism that they expected when they signed on the line.

I am a post-Vietnam Navy veteran of four FBM patrols that would never vote for Trump and his fascist aura.

I recall watching the Abu Ghraib Senate hearings and the only senator not grandstanding, but asking tough questions was Clinton.

[Nov 01, 2016] No Matter Who Wins the Election, Military Spending Is Here to Stay by William D. Hartung

Notable quotes:
"... The military-industrial complex is alive and well, and it's gobbling up your tax dollars. Through good times and bad, regardless of what's actually happening in the world, one thing is certain: In the long run, the Pentagon budget won't go down. ..."
"... Pillar one supporting that edifice: ideology. As long as most Americans accept the notion that it is the God-given mission and right of the United States to go anywhere on the planet and do more or less anything it cares to do with its military, you won't see Pentagon spending brought under real control. Think of this as the military corollary to American exceptionalism-or just call it the doctrine of armed exceptionalism, if you will. ..."
"... The second pillar supporting lavish military budgets (and this will hardly surprise you): the entrenched power of the arms lobby and its allies in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. The strategic placement of arms production facilities and military bases in key states and Congressional districts has created an economic dependency that has saved many a flawed weapons system from being unceremoniously dumped in the trash bin of history. ..."
"... Take as an example the M-1 tank, which the Army actually wanted to stop buying. Its plans were thwarted by the Ohio congressional delegation, which led a fight to add more M-1s to the budget in order to keep the General Dynamics production line in Lima, Ohio, up and running. In a similar fashion, prodded by the Missouri delegation, Congress added two different versions of Boeing's F-18 aircraft to the budget to keep funds flowing to that company's St. Louis area plant. ..."
"... The one-two punch of an environment in which the military can do no wrong, while being outfitted for every global task imaginable, and what former Pentagon analyst Franklin "Chuck" Spinney has called " political engineering ," has been a tough combination to beat. ..."
"... The overwhelming consensus in favor of a "cover the globe" military strategy has been broken from time to time by popular resistance to the idea of using war as a central tool of foreign policy. In such periods, getting Americans behind a program of feeding the military machine massive sums of money has generally required a heavy dose of fear. ..."
"... As Wayne Biddle has noted in his seminal book Barons of the Sky , the US aerospace industry produced an astonishing 300,000-plus military aircraft during World War II. Not surprisingly, major weapons producers struggled to survive in a peacetime environment in which government demand for their products threatened to be a tiny fraction of wartime levels. ..."
"... With the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Washington decisively renewed its practice of responding to perceived foreign threats with large-scale military interventions. That quick victory over Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces in Kuwait was celebrated by many hawks as the end of the Vietnam-induced malaise. Amid victory parades and celebrations, President George H.W. Bush would enthusiastically exclaim : "And, by God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all." ..."
"... In reality, he underestimated the Pentagon's ability to conjure up new threats. Military spending did indeed drop at the end of the Cold War, but the Pentagon helped staunch the bleeding relatively quickly before a "peace dividend" could be delivered to the American people. Instead, it put a firm floor under the fall by announcing what came to be known as the "rogue state" doctrine . ..."
"... Take Lockheed Martin Vice President Bruce Jackson, for example. In 1997, he became a director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and so part of a gaggle of hawks including future Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, future Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and future Vice President Dick Cheney. In those years, PNAC would advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as part of its project to turn the planet into an American military protectorate. ..."
"... The Afghan and Iraq wars would prove an absolute bonanza for contractors as the Pentagon budget soared. Traditional weapons suppliers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing prospered, as did private contractors like Dick Cheney's former employer , Halliburton, which made billions providing logistical support to US troops in the field. ..."
"... Recent terror attacks against Western targets from Brussels, Paris, and Nice to San Bernardino and Orlando have offered the national security state and the Obama administration the necessary fear factor that makes the case for higher Pentagon spending so palatable. This has been true despite the fact that more tanks, bombers , aircraft carriers , and nuclear weapons will be useless in preventing such attacks. ..."
10, 2016 | Defend Democracy Press
The military-industrial complex is alive and well, and it's gobbling up your tax dollars. Through good times and bad, regardless of what's actually happening in the world, one thing is certain: In the long run, the Pentagon budget won't go down.

It's not that that budget has never been reduced. At pivotal moments, like the end of World War II as well as war's end in Korea and Vietnam, there were indeed temporary downturns, as there was after the Cold War ended. More recently, the Budget Control Act of 2011 threw a monkey wrench into the Pentagon's plans for funding that would go ever onward and upward by putting a cap on the money Congress could pony up for it. The remarkable thing, though, is not that such moments have occurred, but how modest and short-lived they've proved to be.

Take the current budget. It's down slightly from its peak in 2011, when it reached the highest level since World War II, but this year's budget for the Pentagon and related agencies is nothing to sneeze at. It comes in at roughly $600 billion - more than the peak year of the massive arms build-up initiated by President Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s. To put this figure in perspective: Despite troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan dropping sharply over the past eight years, the Obama administration has still managed to spend more on the Pentagon than the Bush administration did during its two terms in office.

What accounts for the Department of Defense's ability to keep a stranglehold on your tax dollars year after endless year?

Pillar one supporting that edifice: ideology. As long as most Americans accept the notion that it is the God-given mission and right of the United States to go anywhere on the planet and do more or less anything it cares to do with its military, you won't see Pentagon spending brought under real control. Think of this as the military corollary to American exceptionalism-or just call it the doctrine of armed exceptionalism, if you will.

The second pillar supporting lavish military budgets (and this will hardly surprise you): the entrenched power of the arms lobby and its allies in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. The strategic placement of arms production facilities and military bases in key states and Congressional districts has created an economic dependency that has saved many a flawed weapons system from being unceremoniously dumped in the trash bin of history.

Lockheed Martin, for instance, has put together a handy map of how its troubled F-35 fighter jet has created 125,000 jobs in 46 states. The actual figures are, in fact, considerably lower, but the principle holds: Having subcontractors in dozens of states makes it harder for members of Congress to consider cutting or slowing down even a failed or failing program. Take as an example the M-1 tank, which the Army actually wanted to stop buying. Its plans were thwarted by the Ohio congressional delegation, which led a fight to add more M-1s to the budget in order to keep the General Dynamics production line in Lima, Ohio, up and running. In a similar fashion, prodded by the Missouri delegation, Congress added two different versions of Boeing's F-18 aircraft to the budget to keep funds flowing to that company's St. Louis area plant.

The one-two punch of an environment in which the military can do no wrong, while being outfitted for every global task imaginable, and what former Pentagon analyst Franklin "Chuck" Spinney has called " political engineering ," has been a tough combination to beat.

"SCARE THE HELL OUT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE"

The overwhelming consensus in favor of a "cover the globe" military strategy has been broken from time to time by popular resistance to the idea of using war as a central tool of foreign policy. In such periods, getting Americans behind a program of feeding the military machine massive sums of money has generally required a heavy dose of fear.

For example, the last thing most Americans wanted after the devastation and hardship unleashed by World War II was to immediately put the country back on a war footing. The demobilization of millions of soldiers and a sharp cutback in weapons spending in the immediate postwar years rocked what President Dwight Eisenhower would later dub the "military-industrial complex."

As Wayne Biddle has noted in his seminal book Barons of the Sky , the US aerospace industry produced an astonishing 300,000-plus military aircraft during World War II. Not surprisingly, major weapons producers struggled to survive in a peacetime environment in which government demand for their products threatened to be a tiny fraction of wartime levels.

Lockheed President Robert Gross was terrified by the potential impact of war's end on his company's business, as were many of his industry cohorts. "As long as I live," he said , "I will never forget those short, appalling weeks" of the immediate postwar period. To be clear, Gross was appalled not by the war itself, but by the drop off in orders occasioned by its end. He elaborated in a 1947 letter to a friend: "We had one underlying element of comfort and reassurance during the war. We knew we'd get paid for anything we built. Now we are almost entirely on our own."

The postwar doldrums in military spending that worried him so were reversed only after the American public had been fed a steady, fear-filled diet of anti-communism. NSC-68 , a secret memorandum the National Security Council prepared for President Harry Truman in April 1950, created the template for a policy based on the global "containment" of communism and grounded in a plan to encircle the Soviet Union with US military forces, bases, and alliances. This would, of course, prove to be a strikingly expensive proposition. The concluding paragraphs of that memorandum underscored exactly that point, calling for a "sustained buildup of US political, economic, and military strength… [to] frustrate the Kremlin design of a world dominated by its will."

Senator Arthur Vandenberg put the thrust of this new Cold War policy in far simpler terms when he bluntly advised President Truman to "scare the hell out of the American people" to win support for a $400 million aid plan for Greece and Turkey. His suggestion would be put into effect not just for those two countries but to generate support for what President Eisenhower would later describe as "a permanent arms establishment of vast proportions."

Industry leaders like Lockheed's Gross were poised to take advantage of such planning. In a draft of a 1950 speech, he noted , giddily enough, that "for the first time in recorded history, one country has assumed global responsibility." Meeting that responsibility would naturally mean using air transport to deliver "huge quantities of men, food, ammunition, tanks, gasoline, oil and thousands of other articles of war to a number of widely separated places on the face of the earth." Lockheed, of course, stood ready to heed the call.

The next major challenge to armed exceptionalism and to the further militarization of foreign policy came after the disastrous Vietnam War, which drove many Americans to question the wisdom of a policy of permanent global interventionism. That phenomenon would be dubbed the "Vietnam syndrome" by interventionists, as if opposition to such a military policy were a disease, not a position. Still, that "syndrome" carried considerable, if ever-decreasing, weight for a decade and a half, despite the Pentagon's Reagan-inspired arms build-up of the 1980s.

With the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Washington decisively renewed its practice of responding to perceived foreign threats with large-scale military interventions. That quick victory over Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces in Kuwait was celebrated by many hawks as the end of the Vietnam-induced malaise. Amid victory parades and celebrations, President George H.W. Bush would enthusiastically exclaim : "And, by God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all."

However, perhaps the biggest threat since World War II to an "arms establishment of vast proportions" came with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, also in 1991. How to mainline fear into the American public and justify Cold War levels of spending when that other superpower, the Soviet Union, the primary threat of the previous nearly half-a-century, had just evaporated and there was next to nothing threatening on the horizon? General Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, summed up the fears of that moment within the military and the arms complex when he said , "I'm running out of demons. I'm running out of villains. I'm down to Castro and Kim Il-sung."

In reality, he underestimated the Pentagon's ability to conjure up new threats. Military spending did indeed drop at the end of the Cold War, but the Pentagon helped staunch the bleeding relatively quickly before a "peace dividend" could be delivered to the American people. Instead, it put a firm floor under the fall by announcing what came to be known as the "rogue state" doctrine . Resources formerly aimed at the Soviet Union would now be focused on "regional hegemons" like Iraq and North Korea.

FEAR, GREED, AND HUBRIS WIN THE DAY

After the 9/11 attacks, the rogue state doctrine morphed into the "Global War on Terror" (GWOT), which neoconservative pundits soon labeled " World War IV ." The heightened fear campaign that went with it, in turn, helped sow the seeds for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was promoted by visions of mushroom clouds rising over American cities and a drumbeat of Bush administration claims (all false) that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda. Some administration officials including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld even suggested that Saddam was like Hitler, as if a modest-sized Middle Eastern state could somehow muster the resources to conquer the globe.

The administration's propaganda campaign would be supplemented by the work of right-wing corporate-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. And no one should be surprised to learn that the military-industrial complex and its money, its lobbyists, and its interests were in the middle of it all. Take Lockheed Martin Vice President Bruce Jackson, for example. In 1997, he became a director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and so part of a gaggle of hawks including future Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, future Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and future Vice President Dick Cheney. In those years, PNAC would advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as part of its project to turn the planet into an American military protectorate. Many of its members would, of course, enter the Bush administration in crucial roles and become architects of the GWOT and the invasion of Iraq.

The Afghan and Iraq wars would prove an absolute bonanza for contractors as the Pentagon budget soared. Traditional weapons suppliers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing prospered, as did private contractors like Dick Cheney's former employer , Halliburton, which made billions providing logistical support to US troops in the field. Other major beneficiaries included firms like Blackwater and DynCorp , whose employees guarded US facilities and oil pipelines while training Afghan and Iraqi security forces. As much as $60 billion of the funds funneled to such contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan would be "wasted," but not from the point of view of companies for which waste could generate as much profit as a job well done. So Halliburton and its cohorts weren't complaining.

On entering the Oval Office, President Obama would ditch the term GWOT in favor of "countering violent extremism"-and then essentially settle for a no-name global war. He would shift gears from a strategy focused on large numbers of "boots on the ground" to an emphasis on drone strikes , the use of Special Operations forces , and massive transfers of arms to US allies like Saudi Arabia. In the context of an increasingly militarized foreign policy, one might call Obama's approach "politically sustainable warfare," since it involved fewer (American) casualties and lower costs than Bush-style warfare, which peaked in Iraq at more than 160,000 troops and a comparable number of private contractors.

Recent terror attacks against Western targets from Brussels, Paris, and Nice to San Bernardino and Orlando have offered the national security state and the Obama administration the necessary fear factor that makes the case for higher Pentagon spending so palatable. This has been true despite the fact that more tanks, bombers , aircraft carriers , and nuclear weapons will be useless in preventing such attacks.

The majority of what the Pentagon spends, of course, has nothing to do with fighting terrorism. But whatever it has or hasn't been called, the war against terror has proven to be a cash cow for the Pentagon and contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

The "war budget"-money meant for the Pentagon but not included in its regular budget-has been used to add on tens of billions of dollars more. It has proven to be an effective " slush fund " for weapons and activities that have nothing to do with immediate war fighting and has been the Pentagon's preferred method for evading the caps on its budget imposed by the Budget Control Act. A Pentagon spokesman admitted as much recently by acknowledging that more than half of the $58.8 billion war budget is being used to pay for non-war costs.

The abuse of the war budget leaves ample room in the Pentagon's main budget for items like the overpriced, underperforming F-35 combat aircraft, a plane that, at a price tag of $1.4 trillion over its lifetime, is on track to be the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken. That slush fund is also enabling the Pentagon to spend billions of dollars in seed money as a down payment on the department's proposed $1 trillion plan to buy a new generation of nuclear-armed bombers, missiles, and submarines. Shutting it down could force the Pentagon to do what it likes least: live within an actual budget rather continuing to push its top line ever upward.

Although rarely discussed due to the focus on Donald Trump's abominable behavior and racist rhetoric, both candidates for president are in favor of increasing Pentagon spending. Trump's " plan " (if one can call it that) hews closely to a blueprint developed by the Heritage Foundation that, if implemented, could increase Pentagon spending by a cumulative $900 billion over the next decade. The size of a Clinton buildup is less clear, but she has also pledged to work toward lifting the caps on the Pentagon's regular budget. If that were done and the war fund continued to be stuffed with non-war-related items, one thing is certain: The Pentagon and its contractors will be sitting pretty.

As long as fear, greed, and hubris are the dominant factors driving Pentagon spending, no matter who is in the White House, substantial and enduring budget reductions are essentially inconceivable. A wasteful practice may be eliminated here or an unnecessary weapons system cut there, but more fundamental change would require taking on the fear factor, the doctrine of armed exceptionalism, and the way the military-industrial complex is embedded in Washington.

Only such a culture shift would allow for a clear-eyed assessment of what constitutes "defense" and how much money would be needed to provide it. Unfortunately, the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned Americans about more than 50 years ago is alive and well, and gobbling up your tax dollars at an alarming rate.

[Oct 30, 2016] Anatol Lieven reviews 'The New American Militarism' by Andrew Bacevich

Amazingly insightful review !!!
Notable quotes:
"... A key justification of the Bush administration's purported strategy of 'democratising' the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. ..."
"... The president's title of 'commander-in-chief' is used by administration propagandists to suggest, in a way reminiscent of German militarists before 1914 attempting to defend their half-witted Kaiser, that any criticism of his record in external affairs comes close to a betrayal of the military and the country. ..."
"... The new American militarism is the handiwork of several disparate groups that shared little in common apart from being intent on undoing the purportedly nefarious effects of the 1960s. Military officers intent on rehabilitating their profession; intellectuals fearing that the loss of confidence at home was paving the way for the triumph of totalitarianism abroad; religious leaders dismayed by the collapse of traditional moral standards; strategists wrestling with the implications of a humiliating defeat that had undermined their credibility; politicians on the make; purveyors of pop culture looking to make a buck: as early as 1980, each saw military power as the apparent answer to any number of problems. ..."
"... Two other factors have also been critical: the dependence on imported oil is seen as requiring American hegemony over the Middle East; and the Israel lobby has worked assiduously and with extraordinary success to make sure that Israel's enemies are seen by Americans as also being those of the US. ..."
"... And let's not forget the role played by the entrenched interests of the military itself and what Dwight Eisenhower once denounced as the 'military-industrial-academic complex'. ..."
"... The security elites are obviously interested in the maintenance and expansion of US global military power, if only because their own jobs and profits depend on it. ..."
"... To achieve wider support in the media and among the public, it is also necessary to keep up the illusion that certain foreign nations constitute a threat to the US, and to maintain a permanent level of international tension. ..."
"... They would include the element of messianism embodied in American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world. ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Important sections of contemporary US popular culture are suffused with the language of militarism. ..."
"... Red Storm Rising ..."
"... Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Among most non-Americans, and among many American realists and progressives, the collocation seems inherently ludicrous. But, as Bacevich brings out, it has deep roots in American history. Indeed, the combination is historically coterminous with Western imperialism. Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching 'freedom' at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than 'voluntary' conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus. ..."
"... Today, having dissolved any connection between claims to citizenship and obligation to serve, Americans entrust their security to a class of military professionals who see themselves in many respects as culturally and politically set apart from the rest of society. ..."
"... British power was far from unlimited. The British Empire could use its technological superiority, small numbers of professional troops and local auxiliaries to conquer backward and impoverished countries in Asia and Africa, but it would not have dreamed of intervening unilaterally in Europe or North America. ..."
"... As Iraq – and to a lesser extent Afghanistan – has demonstrated, the US can knock over states, but it cannot suppress the resulting insurgencies, even one based in such a comparatively small population as the Sunni Arabs of Iraq. ..."
"... Recognizing this, the army is beginning to imitate ancient Rome in offering citizenship to foreign mercenaries in return for military service – something that the amazing Boot approves, on the grounds that while it helped destroy the Roman Empire, it took four hundred years to do so. ..."
"... The fact that the Democrats completely failed to do this says a great deal about their lack of political will, leadership and capacity to employ a focused strategy. ..."
Oct 20, 2005 | LRB

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew Bacevich
Oxford, 270 pp, £16.99, August 2005, ISBN 0 19 517338 4

A key justification of the Bush administration's purported strategy of 'democratising' the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. Yet, as Andrew Bacevich points out in one of the most acute analyses of America to have appeared in recent years, the United States itself is in many ways a militaristic country, and becoming more so:

at the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The skepticism about arms and armies that informed the original Wilsonian vision, indeed, that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamoured with military might.

The ensuing affair had, and continues to have, a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue.

The president's title of 'commander-in-chief' is used by administration propagandists to suggest, in a way reminiscent of German militarists before 1914 attempting to defend their half-witted Kaiser, that any criticism of his record in external affairs comes close to a betrayal of the military and the country. Compared to German and other past militarisms, however, the contemporary American variant is extremely complex, and the forces that have generated it have very diverse origins and widely differing motives:

The new American militarism is the handiwork of several disparate groups that shared little in common apart from being intent on undoing the purportedly nefarious effects of the 1960s. Military officers intent on rehabilitating their profession; intellectuals fearing that the loss of confidence at home was paving the way for the triumph of totalitarianism abroad; religious leaders dismayed by the collapse of traditional moral standards; strategists wrestling with the implications of a humiliating defeat that had undermined their credibility; politicians on the make; purveyors of pop culture looking to make a buck: as early as 1980, each saw military power as the apparent answer to any number of problems.

Two other factors have also been critical: the dependence on imported oil is seen as requiring American hegemony over the Middle East; and the Israel lobby has worked assiduously and with extraordinary success to make sure that Israel's enemies are seen by Americans as also being those of the US.

And let's not forget the role played by the entrenched interests of the military itself and what Dwight Eisenhower once denounced as the 'military-industrial-academic complex'.

The security elites are obviously interested in the maintenance and expansion of US global military power, if only because their own jobs and profits depend on it. Jobs and patronage also ensure the support of much of the Congress, which often authorizes defense spending on weapons systems the Pentagon doesn't want and hasn't asked for, in order to help some group of senators and congressmen in whose home states these systems are manufactured. To achieve wider support in the media and among the public, it is also necessary to keep up the illusion that certain foreign nations constitute a threat to the US, and to maintain a permanent level of international tension.

That's not the same, however, as having an actual desire for war, least of all for a major conflict which might ruin the international economy. US ground forces have bitter memories of Vietnam, and no wish to wage an aggressive war: Rumsfeld and his political appointees had to override the objections of the senior generals, in particular those of the army chief of staff, General Eric Shinseki, before the attack on Iraq. The navy and air force do not have to fight insurgents in hell-holes like Fallujah, and so naturally have a more relaxed attitude.

To understand how the Bush administration was able to manipulate the public into supporting the Iraq war one has to look for deeper explanations. They would include the element of messianism embodied in American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world. This leads to a genuine belief that American soldiers can do no real wrong because they are spreading 'freedom'. Also of great importance – at least until the Iraqi insurgency rubbed American noses in the horrors of war – has been the development of an aesthetic that sees war as waged by the US as technological, clean and antiseptic; and thanks to its supremacy in weaponry, painlessly victorious. Victory over the Iraqi army in 2003 led to a new flowering of megalomania in militarist quarters. The amazing Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal – an armchair commentator, not a frontline journalist – declared that the US victory had made 'fabled generals such as Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison'. Nor was this kind of talk restricted to Republicans. More than two years into the Iraq quagmire, strategic thinkers from the Democratic establishment were still declaring that 'American military power in today's world is practically unlimited.'

Important sections of contemporary US popular culture are suffused with the language of militarism. Take Bacevich on the popular novelist Tom Clancy:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America's uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honor, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation's defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of 'virtuous men and perfect weapons', as one reviewer noted. 'All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.' Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

Such attitudes go beyond simply glorying in violence, military might and technological prowess. They reflect a belief – genuine or assumed – in what the Germans used to call Soldatentum: the pre-eminent value of the military virtues of courage, discipline and sacrifice, and explicitly or implicitly the superiority of these virtues to those of a hedonistic, contemptible and untrustworthy civilian society and political class. In the words of Thomas Friedman, the ostensibly liberal foreign affairs commentator of the ostensibly liberal New York Times, 'we do not deserve these people. They are so much better than the country they are fighting for.' Such sentiments have a sinister pedigree in modern history.

In the run-up to the last election, even a general as undistinguished as Wesley Clark could see his past generalship alone as qualifying him for the presidency – and gain the support of leading liberal intellectuals. Not that this was new: the first president was a general and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries both generals and more junior officers ran for the presidency on the strength of their military records. And yet, as Bacevich points out, this does not mean that the uniformed military have real power over policy-making, even in matters of war. General Tommy Franks may have regarded Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, as 'the stupidest fucking guy on the planet', but he took Feith's orders, and those of the civilians standing behind him: Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the president himself. Their combination of militarism and contempt for military advice recalls Clemenceau and Churchill – or Hitler and Stalin.

Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Among most non-Americans, and among many American realists and progressives, the collocation seems inherently ludicrous. But, as Bacevich brings out, it has deep roots in American history. Indeed, the combination is historically coterminous with Western imperialism. Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching 'freedom' at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than 'voluntary' conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus.

Its symbols may be often childish and its methods brutish, but American belief in 'freedom' is a real and living force. This cuts two ways. On the one hand, the adherence of many leading intellectuals in the Democratic Party to a belief in muscular democratization has had a disastrous effect on the party's ability to put up a strong resistance to the policies of the administration. Bush's messianic language of 'freedom' – supported by the specifically Israeli agenda of Natan Sharansky and his allies in the US – has been all too successful in winning over much of the opposition. On the other hand, the fact that a belief in freedom and democracy lies at the heart of civic nationalism places certain limits on American imperialism – weak no doubt, but nonetheless real. It is not possible for the US, unlike previous empires, to pursue a strategy of absolutely unconstrained Machtpolitik. This has been demonstrated recently in the breach between the Bush administration and the Karimov tyranny in Uzbekistan.

The most important contradiction, however, is between the near worship of the military in much of American culture and the equally widespread unwillingness of most Americans – elites and masses alike – to serve in the armed forces. If people like Friedman accompanied their stated admiration for the military with a real desire to abandon their contemptible civilian lives and join the armed services, then American power in the world really might be practically unlimited. But as Bacevich notes,

having thus made plain his personal disdain for crass vulgarity and support for moral rectitude, Friedman in the course of a single paragraph drops the military and moves on to other pursuits. His many readers, meanwhile, having availed themselves of the opportunity to indulge, ever so briefly, in self-loathing, put down their newspapers and themselves move on to other things. Nothing has changed, but columnist and readers alike feel better for the cathartic effect of this oblique, reassuring encounter with an alien world.

Today, having dissolved any connection between claims to citizenship and obligation to serve, Americans entrust their security to a class of military professionals who see themselves in many respects as culturally and politically set apart from the rest of society.

This combination of a theoretical adulation with a profound desire not to serve is not of course new. It characterized most of British society in the 19th century, when, just as with the US today, the overwhelming rejection of conscription – until 1916 – meant that, appearances to the contrary, British power was far from unlimited. The British Empire could use its technological superiority, small numbers of professional troops and local auxiliaries to conquer backward and impoverished countries in Asia and Africa, but it would not have dreamed of intervening unilaterally in Europe or North America.

Despite spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and despite enjoying overwhelming technological superiority, American military power is actually quite limited. As Iraq – and to a lesser extent Afghanistan – has demonstrated, the US can knock over states, but it cannot suppress the resulting insurgencies, even one based in such a comparatively small population as the Sunni Arabs of Iraq. As for invading and occupying a country the size of Iran, this is coming to seem as unlikely as an invasion of mainland China.

In other words, when it comes to actually applying military power the US is pretty much where it has been for several decades. Another war of occupation like Iraq would necessitate the restoration of conscription: an idea which, with Vietnam in mind, the military detests, and which politicians are well aware would probably make them unelectable. It is just possible that another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 might lead to a new draft, but that would bring the end of the US military empire several steps closer. Recognizing this, the army is beginning to imitate ancient Rome in offering citizenship to foreign mercenaries in return for military service – something that the amazing Boot approves, on the grounds that while it helped destroy the Roman Empire, it took four hundred years to do so.

Facing these dangers squarely, Bacevich proposes refocusing American strategy away from empire and towards genuine national security. It is a measure of the degree to which imperial thinking now dominates US politics that these moderate and commonsensical proposals would seem nothing short of revolutionary to the average member of the Washington establishment.

They include a renunciation of messianic dreams of improving the world through military force, except where a solid international consensus exists in support of US action; a recovery by Congress of its power over peace and war, as laid down in the constitution but shamefully surrendered in recent years; the adoption of a strategic doctrine explicitly making war a matter of last resort; and a decision that the military should focus on the defense of the nation, not the projection of US power. As a means of keeping military expenditure in some relationship to actual needs, Bacevich suggests pegging it to the combined annual expenditure of the next ten countries, just as in the 19th century the size of the British navy was pegged to that of the next two largest fleets – it is an index of the budgetary elephantiasis of recent years that this would lead to very considerable spending reductions.

This book is important not only for the acuteness of its perceptions, but also for the identity of its author. Colonel Bacevich's views on the military, on US strategy and on world affairs were profoundly shaped by his service in Vietnam. His year there 'fell in the conflict's bleak latter stages long after an odor of failure had begun to envelop the entire enterprise'. The book is dedicated to his brother-in-law, 'a casualty of a misbegotten war'.

Just as Vietnam shaped his view of how the US and the US military should not intervene in the outside world, so the Cold War in Europe helped define his beliefs about the proper role of the military. For Bacevich and his fellow officers in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, defending the West from possible Soviet aggression, 'not conquest, regime change, preventive war or imperial policing', was 'the American soldier's true and honorable calling'.

In terms of cultural and political background, this former soldier remains a self-described Catholic conservative, and intensely patriotic. During the 1990s Bacevich wrote for right-wing journals, and still situates himself culturally on the right:

As long as we shared in the common cause of denouncing the foolishness and hypocrisies of the Clinton years, my relationship with modern American conservatism remained a mutually agreeable one But my disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute. Fiscal irresponsibility, a buccaneering foreign policy, a disregard for the constitution, the barest lip service as a response to profound moral controversies: these do not qualify as authentically conservative values.

On this score my views have come to coincide with the critique long offered by the radical left: it is the mainstream itself, the professional liberals as well as the professional conservatives, who define the problem The Republican and Democratic Parties may not be identical, but they produce nearly identical results.

Bacevich, in other words, is skeptical of the naive belief that replacing the present administration with a Democrat one would lead to serious changes in the US approach to the world. Formal party allegiances are becoming increasingly irrelevant as far as thinking about foreign and security policy is concerned.

Bacevich also makes plain the private anger of much of the US uniformed military at the way in which it has been sacrificed, and its institutions damaged, by chickenhawk civilian chauvinists who have taken good care never to see action themselves; and the deep private concern of senior officers that they might be ordered into further wars that would wreck the army altogether. Now, as never before, American progressives have the chance to overcome the knee-jerk hostility to the uniformed military that has characterized the left since Vietnam, and to reach out not only to the soldiers in uniform but also to the social, cultural and regional worlds from which they are drawn. For if the American left is once again to become an effective political force, it must return to some of its own military traditions, founded on the distinguished service of men like George McGovern, on the old idea of the citizen soldier, and on a real identification with that soldier's interests and values. With this in mind, Bacevich calls for moves to bind the military more closely into American society, including compulsory education for all officers at a civilian university, not only at the start of their careers but at intervals throughout them.

Or to put it another way, the left must fight imperialism in the name of patriotism. Barring a revolutionary and highly unlikely transformation of American mass culture, any political party that wishes to win majority support will have to demonstrate its commitment to the defense of the country. The Bush administration has used the accusation of weakness in security policy to undermine its opponents, and then used this advantage to pursue reckless strategies that have themselves drastically weakened the US. The left needs to heed Bacevich and draw up a tough, realistic and convincing alternative. It will also have to demonstrate its identification with the respectable aspects of military culture. The Bush administration and the US establishment in general may have grossly mismanaged the threats facing us, but the threats are real, and some at least may well need at some stage to be addressed by military force. And any effective military force also requires the backing of a distinctive military ethic embracing loyalty, discipline and a capacity for both sacrifice and ruthlessness.

In the terrible story of the Bush administration and the Iraq war, one of the most morally disgusting moments took place at a Senate Committee hearing on 29 April 2004, when Paul Wolfowitz – another warmonger who has never served himself – mistook, by a margin of hundreds, how many US soldiers had died in a war for which he was largely responsible. If an official in a Democratic administration had made a public mistake like that, the Republican opposition would have exploited it ruthlessly, unceasingly, to win the next election. The fact that the Democrats completely failed to do this says a great deal about their lack of political will, leadership and capacity to employ a focused strategy.

Because they are the ones who pay the price for reckless warmongering and geopolitical megalomania, soldiers and veterans of the army and marine corps could become valuable allies in the struggle to curb American imperialism, and return America's relationship with its military to the old limited, rational form. For this to happen, however, the soldiers have to believe that campaigns against the Iraq war, and against current US strategy, are anti-militarist, but not anti-military. We have needed the military desperately on occasions in the past; we will definitely need them again.


Vol. 27 No. 20 · 20 October 2005 " Anatol Lieven " We do not deserve these people
pages 11-12 | 3337 words

[Oct 30, 2016] Hillary No Pasaran The United States is already the most militaristic country in recent history and under Clinton administration it might become even more militaristic

Notable quotes:
"... The United States is already the most militaristic country in recent history and the danger is that during Hillary Clinton administration it might become even more militaristic. ..."
"... Even in this slightly more academic then usual forum we have dozen or so of open jingoistic crazies who are so brainwashed that dutifully reproduce the worst excesses of the neocon/neoliberal propaganda about Russia and evil Putin regime. And do not care one bit about the real strategic interests on the US and its population, which are somewhat different from interests of weapon manufactures, transnational corporations and financial oligarchy. ..."
"... And this traditional since the collapse of the USSR for American "helecentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits, is very difficult to discard. The US population is by-and-large-completely brainwashed into this vision. ..."
"... The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance: Buried deep inside Saturday's New York Times was a grudging acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed "moderate" rebels in Syria are using their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive. ..."
"... Though Al Qaeda got the ball rolling on America's revenge wars in the Middle East 15 years ago by killing several thousand Americans and others in the 9/11 attacks, the terrorist group has faded into the background of U.S. attention, most likely because it messes up the preferred "good guy/bad guy" narrative regarding the Syrian war. ..."
"... For instance, the conflict in Aleppo between Syrian government forces and rebels operating primarily under Al Qaeda's command is treated in the Western media as simply a case of the barbaric Assad and his evil Russian ally Vladimir Putin mercilessly bombing what is portrayed as the east Aleppo equivalent of Disney World, a place where innocent children and their families peacefully congregate until they are targeted for death by the Assad-Putin war-crime family ..."
"... The photos sent out to the world by skillful rebel propagandists are almost always of wounded children being cared for by the "White Helmet" rebel civil defense corps, which has come under growing criticism for serving as a public-relations arm of Al Qaeda and other insurgents. (There also are allegations that some of the most notable images have been staged, like a fake war scene from the 1997 dark comedy, "Wag the Dog.") ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez : October 30, 2016 at 12:28 PM
The United States is already the most militaristic country in recent history and the danger is that during Hillary Clinton administration it might become even more militaristic. As Anatol Lieven noted:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v27/n20/anatol-lieven/we-do-not-deserve-these-people
The security elites are obviously interested in the maintenance and expansion of US global military power, if only because their own jobs and profits depend on it. Jobs and patronage also ensure the support of much of the Congress, which often authorizes defense spending on weapons systems the Pentagon doesn't want and hasn't asked for, in order to help some group of senators and congressmen in whose home states these systems are manufactured. To achieve wider support in the media and among the public, it is also necessary to keep up the illusion that certain foreign nations constitute a threat to the US, and to maintain a permanent level of international tension.

Russia was chosen by neocons for the role of scapegoat as it does want to become a vassal country and represents an obstacle on establishing the US world hegemony by being the nuclear armed state.

Even in this slightly more academic then usual forum we have dozen or so of open jingoistic crazies who are so brainwashed that dutifully reproduce the worst excesses of the neocon/neoliberal propaganda about Russia and evil Putin regime. And do not care one bit about the real strategic interests on the US and its population, which are somewhat different from interests of weapon manufactures, transnational corporations and financial oligarchy.

Hillary worldview includes messianism of Southern Baptist variety, a flavor of American nationalism based on quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of the USA [pseudo]democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world.

So her election meads continued megalomania in militarist quarters while the infrastructure crumbles under the growing costs on maintaining the global neoliberal empire ruled by the USA.

And this traditional since the collapse of the USSR for American "helecentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits, is very difficult to discard. The US population is by-and-large-completely brainwashed into this vision.

Opposition to the US militarism is almost non-existent due contemporary US popular culture infused with the language of militarism and American exceptionalism. As Bacevich on noted:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America's uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honor, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation's defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of 'virtuous men and perfect weapons', as one reviewer noted. 'All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.' Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

So while the election of Trump is a very dangerous experiment with its own considerable risks, especially on domestic front, the election of Hillary would be a tragedy.

In a sense we need to say Hillary "¡No Pasarán!"

anne, October 30, 2016 at 02:23 PM
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/10/29/the-de-facto-usal-qaeda-alliance/

October 29, 2016

The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance: Buried deep inside Saturday's New York Times was a grudging acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed "moderate" rebels in Syria are using their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive.

By Robert Parry

A curious aspect of the Syrian conflict – a rebellion sponsored largely by the United States and its Gulf state allies – is the disappearance in much of the American mainstream news media of references to the prominent role played by Al Qaeda in seeking to overthrow the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

There's much said in the U.S. press about ISIS, the former "Al Qaeda in Iraq" which splintered off several years ago, but Al Qaeda's central role in commanding Syria's "moderate" rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere is the almost unspoken reality of the Syrian war. Even in the U.S. presidential debates, the arguing between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton has been almost exclusively about ISIS, not Al Qaeda.

Though Al Qaeda got the ball rolling on America's revenge wars in the Middle East 15 years ago by killing several thousand Americans and others in the 9/11 attacks, the terrorist group has faded into the background of U.S. attention, most likely because it messes up the preferred "good guy/bad guy" narrative regarding the Syrian war.

For instance, the conflict in Aleppo between Syrian government forces and rebels operating primarily under Al Qaeda's command is treated in the Western media as simply a case of the barbaric Assad and his evil Russian ally Vladimir Putin mercilessly bombing what is portrayed as the east Aleppo equivalent of Disney World, a place where innocent children and their families peacefully congregate until they are targeted for death by the Assad-Putin war-crime family.

The photos sent out to the world by skillful rebel propagandists are almost always of wounded children being cared for by the "White Helmet" rebel civil defense corps, which has come under growing criticism for serving as a public-relations arm of Al Qaeda and other insurgents. (There also are allegations that some of the most notable images have been staged, like a fake war scene from the 1997 dark comedy, "Wag the Dog.")

Rare Glimpse of Truth

Yet, occasionally, the reality of Al Qaeda's importance in the rebellion breaks through, even in the mainstream U.S. media, although usually downplayed and deep inside the news pages, such as the article * in Saturday's New York Times by Hwaida Saad and Anne Barnard describing a rebel offensive in Aleppo. It acknowledges:

"The new offensive was a strong sign that rebel groups vetted by the United States were continuing their tactical alliances with groups linked to Al Qaeda, rather than distancing themselves as Russia has demanded and the Americans have urged. The rebels argue that they cannot afford to shun any potential allies while they are under fire, including well-armed and motivated jihadists, without more robust aid from their international backers." (You might note how the article subtly blames the rebel dependence on Al Qaeda on the lack of "robust aid" from the Obama administration and other outside countries – even though such arms shipments violate international law.)

What the article also makes clear in a hazy kind of way is that Al Qaeda's affiliate, the recently renamed Nusra Front, and its jihadist allies, such as Ahrar al-Sham, are waging the brunt of the fighting while the CIA-vetted "moderates" are serving in mostly support roles. The Times reported:

"The insurgents have a diverse range of objectives and backers, but they issued statements of unity on Friday. Those taking part in the offensive include the Levant Conquest Front, a militant group formerly known as the Nusra Front that grew out of Al Qaeda; another hard-line Islamist faction, Ahrar al-Sham; and other rebel factions fighting Mr. Assad that have been vetted by the United States and its allies."

The article cites Charles Lister, a senior fellow and Syria specialist at the Middle East Institute in Washington, and other analysts noting that "the vast majority of the American-vetted rebel factions in Aleppo were fighting inside the city itself and conducting significant bombardments against Syrian government troops in support of the Qaeda-affiliated fighters carrying out the brunt of front-line fighting."

Lister noted that 11 of the 20 or so rebel groups conducting the Aleppo "offensive have been vetted by the CIA and have received arms from the agency, including anti-tank missiles.

"In addition to arms provided by the United States, much of the rebels' weaponry comes from regional states, like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Lister said, including truck-borne multiple-rocket launcher systems and Czech-made Grad rockets with extended ranges."

The U.S./Al Qaeda Alliance

In other words, the U.S. government and its allies have smuggled sophisticated weapons into Syria to arm rebels who are operating in support of Al Qaeda's new military offensive against Syrian government forces in Aleppo. By any logical analysis, that makes the United States an ally of Al Qaeda....

* http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/world/middleeast/aleppo-syria.html

[Oct 30, 2016] The form of nationalism that prevails now can be called cultural nationalism not ethnonationalism . In a sense cultural nationalism is more inclusive, but it can be as radical as national socialism in the past. American exceptionalism is a good example of this type of nationalism.

Notable quotes:
"... Even if experience has shown it's futile, I still feel compelled to repeat the point that "tribalism" is a racist and imperialist pejorative ..."
"... "tribalism" is used to describe the very same racist ideological currents that give the term its rhetorical power in the first place. ..."
"... In essence, anything that relies on identification with an in-group against those outside the group. In that sense, nearly all of Trump's support base is tribalist, while only some could be described as racist/white nationalist. ..."
"... The term "Tribalism" implicitly stresses the ethnic/racial component in the complex phenomena that modern nationalism represents. That's a major weakness. ..."
"... Even in modern Ukrainian nationalism cultural elements are stronger then ethnic. ..."
"... 'Cultural nationalism' seems to come closest, at least in the Australian and British contexts I'm familiar with, because the so-called 'tribalists' seem to be people who have a strong idea about who are the 'right kind' of Australians (or Britons), and it is a mixture of cultural and racial/ethnic characteristics. ..."
"... Populations can be racialized according to literally any conceivable physical, social, or cultural characteristic - the idea that it can only depend on specific differentiating factors like one's melanin count or descent from Charlemagne or whatever is itself a racist idea, an attempt to reify particular forms of racism as rooted in some immutable aspect of "the way things are". ..."
"... "the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death" ..."
"... Except unlike with Quiggin's definition of tribalism @ 32, racism is explicitly a political and economic phenomenon to use a particular ingroup/outgroup differentiation as a way to systematically disenfranchise and subjugate the outgroup , which seems like the only reason we'd bother talking about it as a specific mass political movement at all. ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
WLGR 10.30.16 at 10:30 am 16

Even if experience has shown it's futile, I still feel compelled to repeat the point that "tribalism" is a racist and imperialist pejorative (basically this imagery condensed into a single signifier) that shouldn't play such a pivotal role in any remotely serious understanding, let alone one in which "tribalism" is used to describe the very same racist ideological currents that give the term its rhetorical power in the first place.

As described in an earlier thread about all of this, my preference would be not to beat around the bush and go with "fascism" plain and simple, and even if one isn't comfortable making that assertion directly, "ethnonationalism" seems like it could play an equivalent role to "tribalism" in this analysis with little or no extra clarification needed. Call me crazy but this seems like a pretty minor lexical sacrifice to make for combating racist imagery in one's own language.

Call me crazy but this seems like a pretty minor lexical sacrifice to make for combating racist imagery in one's own language.

likbez 10.30.16 at 12:05 pm

@16

"ethnonationalism" seems like it could play an equivalent role to "tribalism" in this analysis with little or no extra clarification needed.

While I agree that "tribalism" a bad term that clouds the issue, I think the form of nationalism that prevails now can be called "cultural nationalism" not "ethnonationalism". In a sense "cultural nationalism" is more inclusive, but it can be as radical as national socialism in the past. American exceptionalism is a good example of this type of nationalism.

John Quiggin 10.30.16 at 7:33 pm

@WLGR I'm happy to reconsider terminology. But I've been using "tribalism" for a kind of politics that's not necessary as extreme as ethno-nationalism, let alone fascism.

In essence, anything that relies on identification with an in-group against those outside the group. In that sense, nearly all of Trump's support base is tribalist, while only some could be described as racist/white nationalist.

likbez 10.30.16 at 7:39 pm

@20

The term "Tribalism" implicitly stresses the ethnic/racial component in the complex phenomena that modern nationalism represents. That's a major weakness.

Even in modern Ukrainian nationalism cultural elements are stronger then ethnic.

Val 10.31.16 at 6:22 am

I tend to agree with what WLGR is saying about 'tribalists'. What porpoise @43 said is interesting historically, but I don't think it removes the overlay from later colonial and imperial associations of 'tribes' with 'primitives'/inferiors. So I don't think tribalism is a good word here, but not sure what would be a better one.

'Cultural nationalism' seems to come closest, at least in the Australian and British contexts I'm familiar with, because the so-called 'tribalists' seem to be people who have a strong idea about who are the 'right kind' of Australians (or Britons), and it is a mixture of cultural and racial/ethnic characteristics.

Here in Australia, it is certainly possible for people from non-Anglo backgrounds to be at least conditionally accepted by the 'tribalists' if they appear to embrace the tribalists' idea of Aussie culture (although it's conditional because the 'tribalists' who are 'accepting' the non-Anglo immigrants unconsciously see their ability to pass judgement as related to their own Anglo/white background, I think). Complicated, I am getting tied in knots, but I agree tribalist isn't the best word.

WLGR 10.31.16 at 3:52 pm

likbez @ 16,

It seems to me that the effort to differentiate race-based from culturally based ultranationalism is still tangled in the weeds of a colloquial understanding of "race" and "racism".

Populations can be racialized according to literally any conceivable physical, social, or cultural characteristic - the idea that it can only depend on specific differentiating factors like one's melanin count or descent from Charlemagne or whatever is itself a racist idea, an attempt to reify particular forms of racism as rooted in some immutable aspect of "the way things are".

Although from my understanding Ukrainian citizenship like that in most of Europe is primarily determined by jus sanguinis, and like most of Europe it's still deep in the muck of racial discrimination toward e.g. the Roma, so unless I'm misreading things it seems like a stretch to put too much distance between Ukraine (or Europe in general) and even a very colloquial sense of "ethnonationalism". It can be articulated more explicitly by outright fascists or more obliquely by mainstream centrist parties, but it's still there.

And as long as we're talking about academic definitions of racism (I'm partial to the definition proffered by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, "the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death", although Emmett Rensin's obnoxiously thorough definition is also good) funnily enough they tend to point at something pretty much identical to what Quiggin appears to mean by "tribalism".

Except unlike with Quiggin's definition of tribalism @ 32, racism is explicitly a political and economic phenomenon to use a particular ingroup/outgroup differentiation as a way to systematically disenfranchise and subjugate the outgroup , which seems like the only reason we'd bother talking about it as a specific mass political movement at all.

And again, as annoying as it is to have pigheaded reactionaries accuse us of twisting language and "playing the race card" and so on, putting up with this noise is preferable to sacrificing useful concepts like racism and fascism from one's everyday understanding of the world,

[Oct 30, 2016] Anatol Lieven · The Push for War The Threat from America

[Oct 30, 2016] Anatol Lieven · A Trap of Their Own Making The consequences of the new imperialism · LRB 8 May 2003

[Oct 29, 2016] Obama Flinches at Renouncing Nuke First Strike by Jonathan Marshall

Notable quotes:
"... Time is running short for President Obama to make good on his 2009 promise "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet as both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times recently reported, Obama's advisers may have just nixed the single most important reform advocated by arms control advocates: a formal pledge that the United States will never again be the first country to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. ..."
"... Two-thirds of adult Americans surveyed support such a policy. So do 10 U.S. senators who wrote President Obama in July, proposing a no-first-use declaration to "reduce the risk of accidental nuclear conflict" and seeking cut-backs in his trillion dollar plan for nuclear modernization over the next 30 years. ..."
"... In a 2007 manifesto, Carter, Moniz, and other centrist Democratic foreign policy experts rejected the old claim that nuclear weapons are still needed to deter non-nuclear attacks. ..."
"... They also gave strong implicit support to a no-first-use doctrine, stating that "nuclear weapons must be seen as a last resort, when no other options can ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies." ..."
"... "Using nuclear weapons first against Russia and China would endanger our and our allies' very survival by encouraging full-scale retaliation," he and a colleague wrote. "Such use against North Korea would be likely to result in the blanketing of Japan and possibly South Korea with deadly radioactive fallout." ..."
"... As two senior officials at the Arms Control Association observed recently in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , "Among other advantages, a clear US no-first-use policy would reduce the risk of Russian or Chinese nuclear miscalculation during a crisis by alleviating concerns about a devastating US nuclear first-strike. ..."
"... Why would anyone believe the US would not strike first with nukes, pledge or no pledge? This country has lied so much. Nobody cares anymore. To Americans there are worse things in the world than slaughtering millions of people in war by "mistake", and that's the prospect of not looking tough. ..."
"... Before considering the relative merits of a "no first use" policy for nuclear weapons, it would first be necessary to consider whether words like "policy" actually mean anything relative to the U.S. history of the last seventy years. ..."
"... The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be "harmless to the surrounding civilian population". Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a "humanitarian undertaking". ..."
"... Overkill has been part of the American war strategy for some time and could be a sign of fear-inspired paranoia. People with a lot to lose are prone to magnifying threats. ..."
Sep 08, 2016 | consortiumnews.com
The U.S. threat to launch a first-strike nuclear attack has little real strategic value – though it poses a real risk to human survival – but President Obama fears political criticism if he changes the policy, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Time is running short for President Obama to make good on his 2009 promise "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet as both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times recently reported, Obama's advisers may have just nixed the single most important reform advocated by arms control advocates: a formal pledge that the United States will never again be the first country to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Ever since President Truman ordered two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, the United States has reserved the right to initiate nuclear war against an overwhelming conventional, chemical or biological attack on us or our allies. But peace advocates - and more than a few senior military officers - have long warned that resorting to nuclear weapons would ignite a global holocaust, killing hundreds of millions of people .

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

In a talk to the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association on June 6, Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes promised that President Obama would continue to review ways to achieve his grand vision of a nuclear-free world during his last months in office. Obama was reportedly considering a "series of executive actions" to that end, including a landmark shift to a "no first use" policy.

Two-thirds of adult Americans surveyed support such a policy. So do 10 U.S. senators who wrote President Obama in July, proposing a no-first-use declaration to "reduce the risk of accidental nuclear conflict" and seeking cut-backs in his trillion dollar plan for nuclear modernization over the next 30 years.

But Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (who oversees the nuclear stockpile), and Secretary of State John Kerry all warned during a National Security Council meeting in July that declaring a policy of "no first use" would alarm America's allies, undercut U.S. credibility, and send a message of weakness to the Kremlin at a time of tense relations with Russia.

Yet until they took charge of giant bureaucracies whose funding depends on keeping the threat of nuclear war alive, both Carter and Moniz were on record supporting "a new strategy for reducing nuclear threats" and achieving security "at significantly lower levels of nuclear forces and with less reliance on nuclear weapons in our national security strategy."

In a 2007 manifesto, Carter, Moniz, and other centrist Democratic foreign policy experts rejected the old claim that nuclear weapons are still needed to deter non-nuclear attacks.

"Nuclear weapons are much less credible in deterring conventional, biological, or chemical weapon attacks," they wrote. "A more effective way of deterring and defending against such non-nuclear attacks – and giving the President a wider range of credible response options – would be to rely on a robust array of conventional strike capabilities and strong declaratory policies."

They also gave strong implicit support to a no-first-use doctrine, stating that "nuclear weapons must be seen as a last resort, when no other options can ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies."

Risk of Overreaction

Why does a no-first-use policy matter? In a New York Times column last month, Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and head of the United States Strategic Command, emphasized the folly of introducing nuclear weapons into any conflict.

"Using nuclear weapons first against Russia and China would endanger our and our allies' very survival by encouraging full-scale retaliation," he and a colleague wrote. "Such use against North Korea would be likely to result in the blanketing of Japan and possibly South Korea with deadly radioactive fallout."

A policy of no first use, backed up by a reconfiguration of U.S. nuclear forces to reduce their offensive capabilities, would lower the chance of a rival nuclear power rushing to launch early in a crisis and unleashing World War III. Today some nuclear powers like Russia have their forces on hair-trigger alert for fear of being wiped out by a U.S. surprise attack; as a result, the world is just one false alarm away from all-out nuclear war.

As two senior officials at the Arms Control Association observed recently in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , "Among other advantages, a clear US no-first-use policy would reduce the risk of Russian or Chinese nuclear miscalculation during a crisis by alleviating concerns about a devastating US nuclear first-strike.

"Such risks could grow in the future as Washington develops cyber offensive capabilities that can confuse nuclear command and control systems, as well as new strike capabilities and strategic ballistic missile interceptors that Russia and China believe may degrade their nuclear retaliatory potential."

They also discounted the claim that U.S. allies such as Japan or Korea would rebel against such a change of policy: "They are highly likely to accept such a decision, since no first use will in no way weaken US military preparedness to confront non-nuclear threats to their security. . . Many US allies, including NATO members Germany and the Netherlands, support the adoption of no-first-use policies by all nuclear-armed states."

Warnings by nuclear hawks that a common-sense doctrine of no-first-use would undercut U.S. "credibility" or project "weakness" are simply business-as-usual attempts by national security bureaucrats to inflate threats and keep the war machine in high gear. If they succeed in blocking reform, America and the rest of the world will remain at real risk of annihilation through accidental nuclear escalation.

The question now is whether President Obama will listen to the fear-mongers in his cabinet, or remember what he said in May at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial: "Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them."

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were " Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions "; " Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran "; " Saudi Cash Wins France's Favor "; " The Saudis' Hurt Feelings "; " Saudi Arabia's Nuclear Bluster "; " The US Hand in the Syrian Mess "; and " Hidden Origins of Syria's Civil War. " ]

wobblie September 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

I almost forgot about the "Obama gets a Nobel Prize" joke.

Why would anyone believe the US would not strike first with nukes, pledge or no pledge? This country has lied so much. Nobody cares anymore. To Americans there are worse things in the world than slaughtering millions of people in war by "mistake", and that's the prospect of not looking tough.

We're along way from Paradise on Earth.

https://therulingclassobserver.com/2016/09/04/paradise-suppressed/

exiled off mainstreet September 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm
Unfortunately, nuclear blackmail is central to the Yankee imperium maintaining its claim on total power. It is Lord Acton's absolute power on steroids. The demonization of Putin on behalf the harpy's campaign by many whom at one time themselves showed skepticism of the power structure reveals the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of exponents of the Yankee regime.
F. G. Sanford September 8, 2016 at 4:09 pm
Before considering the relative merits of a "no first use" policy for nuclear weapons, it would first be necessary to consider whether words like "policy" actually mean anything relative to the U.S. history of the last seventy years.

I don't even have to mention "conspiracy theories" in order to illustrate the point. Gulf of Tonkin, Operation Phoenix, MK Ultra, Bay of Pigs, Operation Northwoods, subversion of the Paris Peace Talks, Watergate, October Surprise, Iran Contra, the Church Committee findings, The House Select Committee on Assassinations, Cointelpro, numerous regime changes and illegal wars – including the falsified case for invasion of Iraq – all highlight the complete lawlessness of the U.S.A.

According to international law, The Constitution, numerous treaties and United States public law, there should be no first use of CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS. Their "first use" constitutes war of aggression, "The Supreme International Crime" according to Chief Nuremberg Prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson. What has been missing in the United States for the last seventy years is simply SPECIFICATION OF CHARGES. All seven of the (known) countries in which we are currently conducting hostile military operations constitute examples of illegal wars based on our own Constitution and International Law. Retaliation against the United States for conducting these wars, should some country be willing or able, WOULD NOT BE ILLEGAL. Keep in mind, we haven't "won" a war since WWII unless you count Grenada. Even then, you'd have to ignore the fact that the Russians practically, if not politically, won WWII.

I realize the good intentions of the author, and I respect his credentials, but this analysis represents the typical tendency in the U.S. to devolve discourse into specks of sand while drowning in quicksand. It contributes to official propaganda without realization or intent. SPECIFICATION OF CHARGES is the topic no journalist seems willing to tackle. Let me give an example. When the 2000 Florida vote recount was underway, Jeb Bush got on the phone to the five biggest law firms in the state and told them not to represent Al Gore. THAT IS A FELONY. But, rather than discuss SPECIFICATION OF CHARGES, American journalists were content to stand by and watch an unindicted felon run for the highest office in the land. After finding out that his brother lied to us, they abrogated their duty and stood by while he was reelected…by another statistically impossible election result.

Americans may be oblivious to all this, but the rest of the world certainly isn't. They don't believe a damn thing we say. That will only worsen with the election of a bona fide war monger in November. NOBODY overseas believes ANY of our "official" narratives. We've stirred up trouble in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Now, we're working on the Asian Pacific. Europe is overrun by a refugee crisis we created. Does any rational person not see the risk posed by these unfettered abuses? Since they cannot match us conventionally, and they see no end to the onslaught of disastrous U.S. foreign intervention, at least two countries are likely to view a nuclear "first strike" as their only hope to salvage some semblance of national sovereignty. If anyone has read this far, thanks for listening. I'm at the point of giving up on further commentary; it all looks pretty hopeless at this point.

Bill Bodden September 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm
Excellent points.
Joe Tedesky September 9, 2016 at 12:11 am
F.G. We all get fed up and frustrated with our country's sad performances it displays on our world's stage, but whatever you do don't quit posting commentaries. This evening I was going over archived articles on this site from the past, and you were one of the commenters going back to around 2011 or maybe it was 2012, but no matter you were there. What I do like about this site, is it is an oasis in a desert when it comes to the commenters, and you are one of them I totally enjoy. Oh, and the articles are priceless.

Now, what gets me going of late, isn't just how treaties mean nothing to our American government, but how things come and go,,and then disappear down a black news hold. For instance, back in 2014 the torture files were brought up in our news media. The Panetta Review, and all that kind of garbage was finally being exposed. That was until the whole thing vanished like it never existed. Kind of like going to war to find WMD's, and then when we find there are none, well we just up and go on about our way, as if nothing ever happened.

The U.S. doesn't respect treaties, and there is never anyone to hold to accountability. We are the nation who creates the reality. As you have heard, we are the nation who is indispensable and exceptional. Your either with us, or against us. Another nations sovereignty doesn't mean a thing when it comes to waging war, if we are right well then we are right. There are no questions to be answered. What law is there, what legal system can enforce any law national or international, when it comes to what America does?

To all the commenters on this site, I can't say how much it means to me, to not only comment here, but more importantly what a pleasure it is to read all your comments and take in the knowledge I get by reading what you all have to say. Even the comments I don't agree with often leave food for thought…so yes I'm thanking everyone.

Oh yeah, ban the bomb!

Thomas September 9, 2016 at 8:43 pm
We need more not less of the unblinkered and sober assessments like this one you have educated and enlightened us with here.

Now is not a good time to allow Dr. Feelgood to run amok especially with faux concern governing the passing contests and ego driven games that endanger not only people, but every living creature on the planet, except perhaps cock roaches… the only ones who will benefit from an unfettered nuclear policy of when in doubt go nuclear……

Abe September 10, 2016 at 10:27 pm
The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be "harmless to the surrounding civilian population". Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a "humanitarian undertaking".

The Danger of Nuclear War
By Michel Chossudovsky (VIDEO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX9Lv7Jc_sQ

Stephen Sivonda September 11, 2016 at 10:13 pm
Thank you….the piece about Jeb Bush near the end was, something that I didn't know. The paragraph about the "Specifications of charges" was another aspect of which I've never seen mentioned. I really enjoy well written posts where I can keep filling in bits of the big picture ,as I call it.
M. September 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm
Nuclear war preparedness and the use of nuclear weapons have already affected so many and will continue to do so. Nuclear waste disposal alone is a huge problem. Since a nuclear war, limited or otherwise, will affect the entire world one way or another, it would seem that all nations should be brought together to have S.A.L.T.- like talks, not just the current nuclear powers, but the presumed and potential nuclear powers, as well as those nations who will in all likelihood never have them. Everyone on the planet has a stake in this. It could lead to great reductions in other kinds of weapons, and possibly, to the most important discussion of all – how to have and maintain real peace in the world. It isn't too late for President Obama to remember what he said in Hiroshima, as Mr. Marshall stated, and not too late for him to be a true leader and to act on those words.
Bill Bodden September 8, 2016 at 5:36 pm
Overkill has been part of the American war strategy for some time and could be a sign of fear-inspired paranoia. People with a lot to lose are prone to magnifying threats.

Obama's recent remarks referring to the insane bombing of Laos that was an example of Nixon's madness brought reminders of this lunacy. "Over 270 million cluster bombs were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War (210 million more bombs than were dropped on Iraq in 1991, 1998 and 2006 combined); up to 80 million did not detonate." – http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/ – That was probably more than a dozen cluster bombs for each Laotian – man, woman and child. In addition to suggesting this was insanity on the part of the Nixon-Kissinger administration it probably also indicates gross incompetence or a lack of moral courage on the part of the leadership in the Air Force.