Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

American Exceptionalism as the USA version of nationalism

News Who Rules America Recommended books Recommended Links Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Economic costs of American Exceptionalism American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Narcissism as Key American Value Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money NeoMcCartyism Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition Neoconservatism Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism What's the Matter with Kansas
Cultural imperialism Technological imperialism Andrew Bacevich on the American militarism Anti-Americanism Industrial Espionage Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Diplomacy by deception
National Security State Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Fighting Russophobia Fifth Column of Globalization Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians (Rovism) The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept
Big Uncle is Watching You Nation under attack meme Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism National Socialism and Military Keysianism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Authoritarian Corporatism Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation
Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite William Browder, MI6, economic rape of Russia, and Magnitsky Act Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion Fighting Neo-Theocracy Inside democratization hypocrisy fair The Unlikely History of American Exceptionalism Walter A. McDougall
Quotes Mark Twain Quotes Niccolo Machiavelli Reinhold Niebuhr Propaganda Quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Introduction


I call it a tribal phenomena. A tribe can be a religion, a nation, a gender, a race, or any group which is different from the group you identify with. It is not confined to religion.

And it seems to be an inherent trait in the human species that was one aspect of our evolution. Only when we learn that it is better to cooperate with each other rather than kill each other will we be free from this deadly disease which may, in the end, destroy us all.

sheridan44 comment in The Guardian

[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side."  In other words 9/11 was important step to the transformation of the USA in the "National Security State" with the permanent regime of Total surveillance" over the population. The next step were events of 2008, which signified crisis of neoliberalism as an ideology. Neoliberalism now can mostly be propagated by brute force, via military intervention or some form of coup d'état (aka color revolutions) much like Trotskyites planned to propagate socialism to other countries via Permanent Revolution.  With  "Democracy promotion" instead of "liberation of proletariat".

Rise of American exeptionalism is also connected with the reaction to neoliberalism with its redistribution of wealth up by most of US population. Actually this is global phenomenon: neoliberalism gives strong impulse to the rise of neofascism in many countries, not only in the USA. As William I. Robinson noted in his article  Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism  

Yet another response [ to globalization] is that I term 21st century fascism.5   The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims.

Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.

American exceptionalism is unique in many ways as it does not include mass mobilization (see Inverted Totalitarism). "Go shopping" famously recommended George W Bush after 9/11. It should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. The latter is  a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, which does not necessarily employ physical violence against political opponents.  

The sad fact is that the America of today is even more arrogant than the America  in the days of Manifest Destiny and gunboat diplomacy. Indeed, the dissolution of the USSR cemented the national myth of superiority. The establishment of unparalleled industrial might, military victories in two world wars and on both sides of the globe, and the staggering economic defeat of Communism in the Cold War all have combined to cement America’s presumption of  chapters in a long history of escalating national illusions of pre-eminence and blind national egoism. The dominant view about the USA from most countries is that it has a split paranoid personality,  a “Jekyll and Hyde” America, “a democracy inside, an empire outside.” American policy makers, with their pretensions of global superiority after collapse of the USSR and with ever-increasing power of their military machine moved steadily toward making the whole globe a US preserve.  Despite its vulgarity and borderline obsession with pornography (or may be because of that) the US culture made inroad all over the globe, and even in Europe and Russia despite rich cultural traditions of both. While the blatant American imperialism of the turn of the last century is now only a memory, today the nations face policies evidence more insidious brands of imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism,  the imperialism of neoliberal ideology and forced globalization on the US terms.  All are spread by the same national arrogance, the same cock-sure certainly that we are right.  Many nations fear the United States practices a contemporary brand of “soft imperialism,” enslaving nations with IMF debt meachisms under  the auspice of economic globalization.  Converting  the Third World in debt slaves or simply exploit it. In spite of such fears, and despite the setbacks, Americans remain convinced that eventually all nations are destined to fall into step and adopt “the American way.” All the while, the US politicians decry the rigid fundamentalism of our enemies while we remain utterly blind to our own.

Americans have been, and are today, exposed almost from birth to a particularly virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in other modern nations. The resulting affliction stems from an unswerving faith in national superiority and uniqueness that is deeply ingrained in the American mind. Historically, these notions of superiority sprang from myths of the visions of chosen-ness, and high destiny; from the myth of frontier self-sufficiency; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology and dominance of US culture and English language over the globe. While in some of us, nationalist feelings are not that pronounced, few of us are immune, and that is especially visible in times of anger, or fear. In spite of, and perhaps because of, our many strengths, practically all of us as Americans share this particularly prideful, unlovely, and potentially fatal weakness. In one form or another and to some degree or another, we carry national pride across the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism from malignant far right nationalism. Hillary candidacy demonstrates that this process went too far and became really  malignant:

Still, Americans are sure that they, like Woodrow Wilson, have seen “visions that other nations have not seen,” and that, accordingly, the United States’ mission has always been to become the “light of the world.”28 Indeed, from the very beginning, the American national identity was built on audacious visions of chosen-ness, destiny, and mission. Ronald Reagan was not the first nor the last in a long line of entrenched American visionaries to proclaim American exceptionalism, with its missionary implications of the Puritan “city on the hill,” no longer a stationary beacon, but an active force, the “leader of the free world” directing its forces against “empires of evil.”29

With such visions comes a warning: “the adoption of political and social values … as a framework for national identification is possible only if these values are based on some source of apparent ultimate truth which confers on them absolute validity — if they can claim universality.”30 If Americans unflinchingly believe that theirs is the single principle of Absolute Truth representing the universal interests of humankind, then any opposition will appear either criminal or inhuman.31 As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. puts it, “Those who are convinced that they have a monopoly on Truth always feel that they are saving the world when they slaughter heretics. Their object remains the making of the world over in the image of their dogmatic ideology — their goal is a monolithic world, organized on the principle of the infallibility of a single creed.”32 If Americans are so egotistical as to believe that their nation with its gleaming lamp of Ultimate Truth is the envy of the world, then they will perceive no wrong in trying to make the world over in America’s image, by whatever means. However, the world is a very complex and diverse place, and Ultimate Truth is a highly elusive and unstable substance. Thus, these are not only very arrogant ideas; they are also very dangerous ideas.

The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in cultural nationalism) and chauvinistic point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, that militarism is always encouraged and defended. With the considerable part of brainwashed lemmings (aka American public) believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others.

This view involves a unique mixture of prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric ways, and to to strive for unilateral rule of the world using military supremacy as door opener to resources of other nations.  And first of all oil.

The other key support of American exeptionalism are large financial institutions, which depend on the success of the US "financial imperialism". We can view imperialism as ethnocentrism in action. And "financial imperialism" is very similar to "old-style" European imperialism, where  European nations discovered new lands and imposed capitalism, their system of law and culture on the native peoples usually through violence. Like old colonies were forced to abandon their way of life and adopt a “superior” lifestyle and became resource base of metropolia, financial imperialism impose debt on other nations keeping them in a kind of debt slavery with the same result: they also became resource base for metropolia. 

American exceptionalism might also have religious overtones as "citi on the hill" metaphor implies.  It is not thus accidental that the first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian came to conclusion that it represents a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America.  Those views were later enhanced and developed further by Professor Bacevich. See more details exposition of his views on the subject in the page New American Militarism

Any unbiased analysis of the nationalist activities leads to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of a foreign occupier of their own territory. In this case international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples. In the same way the USA can be viewed as a country occupied by financial oligarchy with most of its citizents converted into "debt slaves".

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex and multifaceted, like any type of nationalism,  phenomena. We will discuss (in breif) just four thinkers that made significant impact in understanding of this very complex concept. Among them: 

  1. Niebuhr
  2. Michael Ignatieff
  3. Anatol Lieven
  4. Andrew Basevich

American neo-conservatism  is a closely related phenomenon. In this case the key point is that the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs and with wide use of military force. Among prominent neocons we can name Hillary Clinton and most of republican candidates for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race. That means that American exeptionalism is an establishment view, the view of the US elite, not some anomaly.  

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book The Irony of American History Bacevich noted:

In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.

In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.

...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."

Michael Ignatieff contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:

I would add to it

The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.

Anatol Lieven contribution

The second important contribution to to the studies of American exceptionalism is Anatol Lieven.  He correctly linked American exceptionalism with far right nationalism which Wikipedia defined as

Far-right politics or extreme-right politics are right-wing politics to the right of the mainstream centre right on the traditional left-right spectrum. They often involve a focus on tradition as opposed to policies and customs that are regarded as reflective of modernism. They tend to include disregard or disdain for egalitarianism, if not overt support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism

 "America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism."  In a way US neocons, who commanded key position in Bush II and Barack Obama administrations  are not that different from Israeli Likud Party. 

While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.

Both of those tendencies are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy

The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.

The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.

These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wild oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.

Some attribute the term “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term originated by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.

In reality the term "American Exceptionalism is nothing but a disguised, more "politically correct" reference to America's Janus-faced nationalism. It has some mystical components like long vanished under the hill of financial oligarchy the "American dream" and its German-style refrain "God bless America". What is interesting about "God bless America" is that most founding fathers were Deists, profoundly critical of organized religions and they sought to separate personal -- what many of them described as mythologies -- from government. They were profoundly respectful of personal religious belief, but saw government as necessarily secular if freedom was to prevail. Not until the religious revivals of the 1820s through the 1860s can you find many identifying religion as a component of American exceptionalism.

As Martin Woollacott aptly noted in his review of Anatol Lieven book America, Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism ( Guardian):

He cuts through the conformist political rhetoric of America, the obfuscating special language of the "American dream", or the "American exception", which infects even foreign accounts. Even to use the word "nationalism" to describe an American phenomenon is, as he notes, not normal. Americans are not "nationalist", they are "patriotic". It is a patriotism which too often leaves no room for the patriotism of others, combining a theoretical care for all humanity with, in practice, an "indifference verging on contempt" for the interests and hopes of non-Americans. Nothing could be more distant from "the decent respect to the opinions of mankind" recommended to Americans in the early years of their independent existence

Lieven first paints a picture of an in some ways admirable American "civic nationalism", based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality, and a desire to spread these values in the world. But because this nationalism unrealistically holds that such "American" values can be exported at will, it blinds Americans to the different nature of other societies, sustaining the mistaken idea that if only particular rulers or classes can be displaced, "democracy" will prevail - a "decapitation" theory which contributed to the decision to attack Saddam. The American campaign to democratize other societies, Lieven says, harshly but fairly, "combines sloppiness of intellect and meanness of spirit". But, while in part mythic and not entirely rational, this side of American nationalism is of some value not only to the United States, but to the world as a whole.

...The result, Lieven argues, is that instead of the mature nationalism of a satisfied and dominant state, American nationalism is more akin to that of late developing and insecure states such as Wilhelmine Germany and Tsarist Russia.

"While America keeps a splendid and welcoming house," Lieven writes in his preface, "it also keeps a family of demons in its cellar.

His book supports Mark Twain quite to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one!

He also points at the very important side effect of Exceptionalism: "America's hypocrisy," (see for example Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair). An outstanding level of hypocrisy in the US foreign policy also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American (although British are strong competitors). Now after Snowden, Libya, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc we might be appear to be entering an new stage on which "The era of easy hypocrisy is over."

The regime of easy hypocrisy means that America position itself as a blessed nation created by God and (here’s the rub) therefore privileged in what actions it can take around the world and the nation that can safely ignore international norms, which are created only for suckers. It is above the international law.

We create our own reality

The source of the term, which implicitly stresses that the USA stands outside international norms and treaties and can act as it please, is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove[1]):

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "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."[2]

This is pretty precise definition of the idea of introduced by Nazi idea of “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. Decisionism is a defining feature of any totalitarian state. By extension if you find decisionism exists in particular state, it is rational to expect other F-features of such states. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes along with two major features: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.

The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.

Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.

After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany. The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.

Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:

And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).

Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Its crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.

There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.

From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive. Negations, page 18.

The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.

An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.

He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/

Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)

The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm

When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.htmlAgainst these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…

"Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community

The same idea from slightly different angle is reflected in term "Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community ( Wikipedia )

Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "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."[1]

Commentators who use this term generally oppose former President Bush's policies and by using this term imply that Bush's policies (and, by extension, those of the conservative movement generally) were (or are) out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration's unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide's quote. Its popularity has prompted some conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning "reality-based community" of ignoring reality[2].

Imperial Outreach

The Republican Party — and more particularly the neo-con wing of the party — is particularly susceptible to imperial outreach. This imperial mentality is well exemplified by Fox News reporting.

For example, Matt Lewis, a conservative political Pundit on MSNBC attacked Barack Obama for saying “Any world order that elevates one nation above another will fall flat.” In response Lewis stated:

“I think that goes against the idea of American exceptionalism…most Americans believe that America was gifted by God and is a blessed nation and therefore we are better.”

For any conservative the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is rather bemusing. America is not more democratic, more free, more enterprising, more tolerant, or more anything else be it Canada, New Zealand or for that matter Australia. America is just a bigger country and due to its size, human resources and industrial potential it the leading Western country and the owner of world reserve currency, after Great Britain became financially exhausted after WWII. That means that American Exceptionalism is simply a politically correct work for a combustible mixture of nationalism (with Christian messianism component similar to Crusades with "democracy" instead Jesus) and Jingoism. In a very deep sense this is negation of the idea "all men are created equal" and as such is anti-American ;-).

America is a blessed nation as everybody in the country is an immigrant, the nation that at some point of time was freer and more prosperous than many others, but as a great Nazarene once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

sample:

BILL MOYERS:

Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,

"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people," you write, "is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."

In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.

ANDREW BACEVICH:

Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.

We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.

Anti-Americanism as blowback of American exeptionalism

Quite logically the imperial actions is a source of widespread Anti-Americanism. As Ian Tyrrell noted in What is American exceptionalism

It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?

The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.

Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual, and even religious heritage, and is enduring.

Conclusions

Skeptic view on American Exceptionalism is valuable for different reasons some of which were listed by Stephen M. Walt in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Foreign Policy, November 2011)

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities -- from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom -- the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America's tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America's true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.

Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.

Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man's burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.

So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you're special is the norm, not the exception.

Myth 2: The United States Behaves Better Than Other Nations Do.

Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.

If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America's moral superiority.

For starters, the United States has been one of the most expansionist powers in modern history. It began as 13 small colonies clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, but eventually expanded across North America, seizing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California from Mexico in 1846. Along the way, it eliminated most of the native population and confined the survivors to impoverished reservations. By the mid-19th century, it had pushed Britain out of the Pacific Northwest and consolidated its hegemony over the Western Hemisphere.

The United States has fought numerous wars since then -- starting several of them -- and its wartime conduct has hardly been a model of restraint. The 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines killed some 200,000 to 400,000 Filipinos, most of them civilians, and the United States and its allies did not hesitate to dispatch some 305,000 German and 330,000 Japanese civilians through aerial bombing during World War II, mostly through deliberate campaigns against enemy cities. No wonder Gen. Curtis LeMay, who directed the bombing campaign against Japan, told an aide, "If the U.S. lost the war, we would be prosecuted as war criminals." The United States dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs during the Indochina war, including tons of napalm and lethal defoliants like Agent Orange, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of many of the roughly 1 million civilians who died in that war.

More recently, the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, a percentage of their population equivalent to 2 million dead Americans. U.S. military action has led directly or indirectly to the deaths of 250,000 Muslims over the past three decades (and that's a low-end estimate, not counting the deaths resulting from the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s), including the more than 100,000 people who died following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. U.S. drones and Special Forces are going after suspected terrorists in at least five countries at present and have killed an unknown number of innocent civilians in the process. Some of these actions may have been necessary to make Americans more prosperous and secure. But while Americans would undoubtedly regard such acts as indefensible if some foreign country were doing them to us, hardly any U.S. politicians have questioned these policies. Instead, Americans still wonder, "Why do they hate us?"

The United States talks a good game on human rights and international law, but it has refused to sign most human rights treaties, is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and has been all too willing to cozy up to dictators -- remember our friend Hosni Mubarak? -- with abysmal human rights records. If that were not enough, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the George W. Bush administration's reliance on waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and preventive detention should shake America's belief that it consistently acts in a morally superior fashion. Obama's decision to retain many of these policies suggests they were not a temporary aberration.

The United States never conquered a vast overseas empire or caused millions to die through tyrannical blunders like China's Great Leap Forward or Stalin's forced collectivization. And given the vast power at its disposal for much of the past century, Washington could certainly have done much worse. But the record is clear: U.S. leaders have done what they thought they had to do when confronted by external dangers, and they paid scant attention to moral principles along the way. The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans; too bad it's not true.

Myth 3: America's Success Is Due to Its Special Genius.

The United States has enjoyed remarkable success, and Americans tend to portray their rise to world power as a direct result of the political foresight of the Founding Fathers, the virtues of the U.S. Constitution, the priority placed on individual liberty, and the creativity and hard work of the American people. In this narrative, the United States enjoys an exceptional global position today because it is, well, exceptional.

There is more than a grain of truth to this version of American history. It's not an accident that immigrants came to America in droves in search of economic opportunity, and the "melting pot" myth facilitated the assimilation of each wave of new Americans. America's scientific and technological achievements are fully deserving of praise and owe something to the openness and vitality of the American political order.

But America's past success is due as much to good luck as to any uniquely American virtues. The new nation was lucky that the continent was lavishly endowed with natural resources and traversed by navigable rivers. It was lucky to have been founded far from the other great powers and even luckier that the native population was less advanced and highly susceptible to European diseases. Americans were fortunate that the European great powers were at war for much of the republic's early history, which greatly facilitated its expansion across the continent, and its global primacy was ensured after the other great powers fought two devastating world wars. This account of America's rise does not deny that the United States did many things right, but it also acknowledges that America's present position owes as much to good fortune as to any special genius or "manifest destiny."

Myth 4: The United States Is Responsible for Most of the Good in the World.

Americans are fond of giving themselves credit for positive international developments. President Bill Clinton believed the United States was "indispensable to the forging of stable political relations," and the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington thought U.S. primacy was central "to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world." Journalist Michael Hirsh has gone even further, writing in his book At War With Ourselves that America's global role is "the greatest gift the world has received in many, many centuries, possibly all of recorded history." Scholarly works such as Tony Smith's America's Mission and G. John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan emphasize America's contribution to the spread of democracy and its promotion of a supposedly liberal world order. Given all the high-fives American leaders have given themselves, it is hardly surprising that most Americans see their country as an overwhelmingly positive force in world affairs.

Once again, there is something to this line of argument, just not enough to make it entirely accurate. The United States has made undeniable contributions to peace and stability in the world over the past century, including the Marshall Plan, the creation and management of the Bretton Woods system, its rhetorical support for the core principles of democracy and human rights, and its mostly stabilizing military presence in Europe and the Far East. But the belief that all good things flow from Washington's wisdom overstates the U.S. contribution by a wide margin.

For starters, though Americans watching Saving Private Ryan or Patton may conclude that the United States played the central role in vanquishing Nazi Germany, most of the fighting was in Eastern Europe and the main burden of defeating Hitler's war machine was borne by the Soviet Union. Similarly, though the Marshall Plan and NATO played important roles in Europe's post-World War II success, Europeans deserve at least as much credit for rebuilding their economies, constructing a novel economic and political union, and moving beyond four centuries of sometimes bitter rivalry. Americans also tend to think they won the Cold War all by themselves, a view that ignores the contributions of other anti-Soviet adversaries and the courageous dissidents whose resistance to communist rule produced the "velvet revolutions" of 1989.

Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality -- Europe's got those areas covered.

Finally, any honest accounting of the past half-century must acknowledge the downside of American primacy. The United States has been the major producer of greenhouse gases for most of the last hundred years and thus a principal cause of the adverse changes that are altering the global environment. The United States stood on the wrong side of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and backed plenty of unsavory dictatorships -- including Saddam Hussein's -- when short-term strategic interests dictated. Americans may be justly proud of their role in creating and defending Israel and in combating global anti-Semitism, but its one-sided policies have also prolonged Palestinian statelessness and sustained Israel's brutal occupation.

Bottom line: Americans take too much credit for global progress and accept too little blame for areas where U.S. policy has in fact been counterproductive. Americans are blind to their weak spots, and in ways that have real-world consequences. Remember when Pentagon planners thought U.S. troops would be greeted in Baghdad with flowers and parades? They mostly got RPGs and IEDs instead.

Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.

A crucial component of American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was "some divine plan" that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, "We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck's alleged quip that "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States."

Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.

Despite America's many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln's admonition that our greatest concern should be "whether we are on God's side."

Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it's unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting -- and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America's role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made.

America has its own special qualities, as all countries do, but it is still a state embedded in a competitive global system. It is far stronger and richer than most, and its geopolitical position is remarkably favorable. These advantages give the United States a wider range of choice in its conduct of foreign affairs, but they don't ensure that its choices will be good ones. Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.

International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country's virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects.

But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of "American exceptionalism" with a much more skeptical eye.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News

Home 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Nov 06, 2019] Manufacturing Fear and Loathing, Maximizing Corporate Profits! A Review of Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc. Why Today's Media Makes Us

Notable quotes:
"... "Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). ..."
"... Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic. ..."
"... The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15). ..."
"... our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21). ..."
"... And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid. ..."
"... For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260). ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc . is the most insightful and revelatory book about American politics to appear since the publication of Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal almost four full years ago, near the beginning of the last presidential election cycle.

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class. In fact, I would strongly recommend that the reader spend some time with Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) and Listen, Liberal! (2016) as he or she takes up Taibbi's book.

And to really do the book the justice it deserves, I would even more vehemently recommend that the reader immerse him- or herself in Taibbi's favorite book and vade-mecum , Manufacturing Consent (which I found to be a grueling experience: a relentless cataloging of the official lies that hide the brutality of American foreign policy) and, in order to properly appreciate the brilliance of Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the Media Stole from Pro Wrestling," visit some locale in Flyover Country and see some pro wrestling in person (which I found to be unexpectedly uplifting -- more on this soon enough).

Taibbi tells us that he had originally intended for Hate, Inc . to be an updating of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent (1988), which he first read thirty years ago, when he was nineteen. "It blew my mind," Taibbi writes. "[It] taught me that some level of deception was baked into almost everything I'd ever been taught about modern American life .

Once the authors in the first chapter laid out their famed propaganda model [italics mine], they cut through the deceptions of the American state like a buzz saw" (p. 10). For what seemed to be vigorous democratic debate, Taibbi realized, was instead a soul-crushing simulation of debate. The choices voters were given were distinctions without valid differences, and just as hyped, just as trivial, as the choices between a Whopper and a Big Mac, between Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats, between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, between Marlboro Lites and Camel Filters. It was all profit-making poisonous junk.

"Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). And there's an indisputable logic at work here, because the reality of hideous American war crimes is and always has been, from the point of view of the big media corporations, a "narrative-ruining" buzz-kill. "The uglier truth [brought to light in Manufacturing Consent ], that we committed genocide of a fairly massive scale across Indochina -- ultimately killing at least a million innocent civilians by air in three countries -- is pre-excluded from the history of the period" (p. 13).

So what has changed in the last thirty years? A lot! As a starting point let's consider the very useful metaphor found in the title of another great media book of 1988: Mark Crispin Miller's Boxed In: The Culture of TV . To say that Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic.

Taibbi summarizes the history of these three decades in terms of three "massive revolutions" in the media plus one actual massive political revolution, all of which, we should note, he discussed with his hero Chomsky (who is now ninety! -- Edward Herman passed away in 2017) even as he wrote his book. And so: the media revolutions which Taibbi describes were, first, the coming of FoxNews along with Rush Limbaugh-style talk radio; second, the coming of CNN, i.e., the Cable News Network, along with twenty-four hour infinite-loop news cycles; third, the coming of the Internet along with the mighty social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15).

For all that, however, the most salient difference between the news media of 1989 and the news media of 2019 is the disappearance of the single type of calm and decorous and slightly boring cis-het white anchorman (who somehow successfully appealed to a nationwide audience) and his replacement by a seemingly wide variety of demographically-engineered news personæ who all rage and scream combatively in each other's direction. "In the old days," Taibbi writes, "the news was a mix of this toothless trivia and cheery dispatches from the frontlines of Pax Americana . The news [was] once designed to be consumed by the whole house . But once we started to be organized into demographic silos [italics mine], the networks found another way to seduce these audiences: they sold intramural conflict" (p. 18).

And in this new media environment of constant conflict, how, Taibbi wondered, could public consent , which would seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from conflict, still be manufactured ?? "That wasn't easy for me to see in my first decades in the business," Taibbi writes. "For a long time, I thought it was a flaw in the Chomsky/Herman model" (p. 19).

But what Taibbi was at length able to understand, and what he is now able to describe for us with both wit and controlled outrage, is that our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21).

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

Or pretty much so. Taibbi is more historically precise. Because of the tweaking of the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model necessitated by the disappearance of the USSR in 1991 ("The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, / As Russians do ," Jackson Browne presciently prophesied on MTV way back in 1983), one might now want to speak of a Propaganda Model 2.0. For, as Taibbi notes, " the biggest change to Chomsky's model is the discovery of a far superior 'common enemy' in modern media: each other. So long as we remain a bitterly-divided two-party state, we'll never want for TV villains" (pp. 207-208).

To rub his great insight right into our uncomprehending faces, Taibbi has almost sadistically chosen to have dark, shadowy images of a yelling Sean Hannity (in lurid FoxNews Red!) and a screaming Rachel Maddow (in glaring MSNBC Blue!) juxtaposed on the cover of his book. For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260).

And that effect is hate. Impotent hate. For while Rachel's fan demographic is all wrapped up in hating Far-Right Fascists Like Sean, and while Sean's is all wrapped up in despising Libtard Lunatics Like Rachel, the bipartisan consensus in Washington for ever-increasing military budgets, for everlasting wars, for ever-expanding surveillance, for ever-growing bailouts of and tax breaks for and and handouts to the most powerful corporations goes forever unchallenged.

Oh my. And it only gets worse and worse, because the media, in order to make sure that their various siloed demographics stay superglued to their Internet devices, must keep ratcheting up levels of hate: the Fascists Like Sean and the Libtards Like Rachel must be continually presented as more and more deranged, and ultimately as demonic. "There is us and them," Taibbi writes, "and they are Hitler" (p. 64). A vile reductio ad absurdum has come into play: "If all Trump supporters are Hitler, and all liberals are also Hitler," Taibbi writes, " [t]he America vs. America show is now Hitler vs. Hitler! Think of the ratings! " The reader begins to grasp Taibbi's argument that our mainstream corporate media are as bad as -- are worse than -- pro wrestling. It's an ineluctable downward spiral.

Taibbi continues: "The problem is, there's no natural floor to this behavior. Just as cable TV will eventually become seven hundred separate twenty-four-hour porn channels, news and commentary will eventually escalate to boxing-style, expletive-laden, pre-fight tirades, and the open incitement to violence [italics mine]. If the other side is literally Hitler, [w]hat began as America vs. America will eventually move to Traitor vs. Traitor , and the show does not work if those contestants are not eventually offended to the point of wanting to kill one another" (pp. 65-69).

As I read this book, I often wondered about how difficult it was emotionally for Taibbi to write it. I'm just really glad to see that the guy didn't commit suicide along the way. He does describe the "self-loathing" he experienced as he realized his own complicity in the marketing processes which he exposes (p. 2). He also apologizes to the reader for his not being able to follow through on his original aim of writing a continuation of Herman and Chomsky's classic: "[W]hen I sat down to write what I'd hoped would be something with the intellectual gravitas of Manufacturing Consent ," Taibbi confesses, "I found decades of more mundane frustrations pouring out onto the page, obliterating a clinical examination" (p. 2).

I, however, am profoundly grateful to Taibbi for all of his brilliantly observed anecdotes. The subject matter is nauseating enough even in Taibbi's sparkling and darkly tragicomic prose. A more academic treatment of the subject would likely be too depressing to read. So let me conclude with an anecdote of my own -- and an oddly uplifting one at that -- about reading Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the News Media Stole from Pro Wrestling."

On the same day I read this chapter I saw that, on the bulletin board in my gym, a poster had appeared, as if by magic, promoting an upcoming Primal Conflict (!) professional wrestling event. I studied the photos of the wrestlers on the poster carefully, and, as an astute reader of Taibbi, I prided myself on being able to identify which of them seemed be playing the roles of heels , and which of them the roles of babyfaces .

For Taibbi explains that one of the fundamental dynamics of wrestling involves the invention of crowd-pleasing narratives out of the many permutations and combinations of pitting heels against faces . Donald Trump, a natural heel , brings the goofy dynamics of pro wrestling to American politics with real-life professional expertise. (Taibbi points out that in 2007 Trump actually performed before a huge cheering crowd in a Wrestlemania event billed as the "battle of the billionaires." Watch it on YouTube! https://youtu.be/5NsrwH9I9vE -- unbelievable!!)

The mainstream corporate media, on the other hand, their eyes fixed on ever bigger and bigger profits, have drifted into the metaphorical pro wrestling ring in ignorance, and so, when they face off against Trump, they often end up in the role of inept prudish pearl-clutching faces .

Taibbi condemns the mainstream media's failure to understand such a massively popular form of American entertainment as "malpractice" (p. 125), so I felt more than obligated to buy a ticket and see the advertised event in person. To properly educate myself, that is.

... ... ...


Steve Ruis , November 5, 2019 at 8:13 am

I have stopped watching broadcast "news" other than occasional sessions of NPR in the car. I get most of my news from sources such as this and from overseas sources (The Guardian, Reuters, etc.). I used to subscribe to newspapers but have given them up in disgust, even though I was looking forward to leisurely enjoying a morning paper after I retired.

I was brought up in the positive 1950's and, boy, did this turn out poorly.

Dao Gen , November 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

Matt Taibbi is an American treasure, and I love his writing very much, but we also need to ask, Why hasn't another Chomsky (or another Hudson), an analyst with a truly deep and wide-ranging, synthetic mind, appeared on the left to take apart our contemporary media and show us its inner workings? Have all the truly great minds gone to work for Wall Street? I don't have an answer, but to me the pro wrestling metaphor, while intriguing, misses something about the Fourth Estate in America, if it indeed still exists. And that is, except for radio, there is a distinct imbalance between the two sides of the MSM lineup. On the corporate liberal side of the national MSM team you have five wrestlers, but on the conservative/reactionary side you have only the Fox entry. Because of this imbalance, the corruption, laziness, self-indulgence, and generally declining interest in journalistic standards seems greater among the corporate liberal media team, including the NYT and WaPo, than the Fox team.

I'm not a fan of either Maddow (in her current incarnation) or Hannity, but Hannity, perhaps because he thinks he's like David, often hustles to refute the discourse of the corporate liberal Goliath team. Hannity obviously does more research on some topics than Maddow, and, perhaps because he began in radio, he puts more emphasis on semi-rationally structured rants than Maddow, who depends more on primal emotion, body language, and Hollywood-esque fear-inducing atmospherics.

I'd wager that in a single five-minute segment there will often be twice as many rational distinctions made in a Hannity rant than in a Maddow performance. In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong from the very beginning as propaganda industry trend-setter Adam Schiff. So for at least these last three years, the Maddow-Hannity primal match has been a somewhat misleading metaphor. The Blob and the security state have been decisively supporting (and directing?) the corporate liberal global interventionist media, at least regarding Russia and the permanent war establishment, and because the imbalance between the interventionist and the non-interventionist MSM, Russia and Ukraine are being used as a wedge to steadily break down the firewalls between the Dem party, the intel community, and the interventionist MSM. If we had real public debates with both sides at approximately equal strength as we did during the Vietnam War, then even pro wrestling-type matches would be superior to what we have now, which is truthy truth and thoughtsy thought coming to us from the military industrial complex and monopolistic holding companies. If fascism is defined as the fusion of the state and corporations, then the greatest threat of fascism in America may well be coming from the apparent gradual fusion of the corporate liberal MSM, the Dem party elite, and the intel community. Instead of an MSM wrestling match, we may soon be faced with a Japanese-style 'hitori-zumo' match in which a sumo wrestler wrestles with only himself. Once these sumo wrestlers were believed to be wrestling with invisible spirits, but those days are gone . http://kikuko-nagoya.com/html/hitori-zumo.htm

coboarts , November 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

"If we had real public debates" and if they were even debates where issues entered into contest were addressed point by point with evidence

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , November 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

Today's Noam Chomksy? Chomsky was part of the machine who broke ranks with it. His MIT research was generously funded by the Military Industrial Complex. Thankfully, enough of his latent humanity and Trotskyite upbringing shone through so he exposed what he was part of. So I guess today that's Chris Hedges, though he's a preacher at heart and not a semiotician.

neighbor7 , November 5, 2019 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Dao Gen. An excellent analysis, and your final image is usefully haunting.

a different chris , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

> In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong

Eh. Read whats-his-name's (Frankfurter?) book On Bullshit . You are giving Hannity credit for something he doesn't really care about.

jrs , November 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I don't believe the media environment as a whole leans corporate Dem/neoliberal.

T.V. maybe, but radio is much more right wing than left (yes there is NPR and Pacifica, the latter with probably only a scattering of listerners but ) and it's still out there and a big influence, radio hasn't gone away. So doesn't the right wing tilt of radio kind of balance out television? (not necessarily in a good way but). And then there is the internet and I have no idea what the overall lean of that is (I mean I prefer left wing sites, but that's purely my own bubble and actually there are much fewer left analysis out there than I'd like)

Self Affine , November 5, 2019 at 9:05 am

Also,

Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

Critical deep analysis of not just the media but the whole American political enterprise and
the nature of our "democracy".

DJG , November 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

The whole review is good, but this extract should be quoted extensively:

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class.

In short, stagnation and self-dealing at the top. What could possibly go wrong?

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

Are you serious? Maddow called Trump a traitor and accused him of betrayal in Russiagate, and was caught out when that fell apart. This was pointed out all over the MSM .

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/27/rachel-maddows-deep-delusion-226266

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/17/rachel-maddow-hits-the-panic-button-after-trump-putin-summit-this-is-the-worst-case-scenario/

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

This is great stuff. Thanks.

One quibble: the author says

Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets

and then goes on to spend most of the article talking about television. I'd say television is still the main propaganda instrument even if many webheads like yours truly ignore it (I've never seen Hannity's show or Maddow's–just hear the rumors). Arguably even newspapers like the NYT have been dumbed down because the reporters long to be on TV and join the shouting. And it's surely no coincidence that our president himself is a TV (and WWE) star. Mass media have always been feeders of hysteria but television gave them faces and voices. Watching TV is also a far more passive experience than surfing the web. They are selling us "narratives," bedtime stories, and we like sleepy children merely listen.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , November 5, 2019 at 9:54 am

This rave review has inspired me to add this to my to-read non-fiction queue. Currently reading William Dalrymple's The Anarchy, on the rise of the East India Company. Next up: Matt Stoller's Goliath. And then I'll get to Taibbi. Probably worth digging up my original copy of Manufacturing Consent as well, which I read many moons ago; time for a re-read.

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

almost every page of mine is dog-eared and marked along the edge with exclamation points

urblintz , November 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

May I suggest Stephen Cohen's "War with Russia?" if it's not already on your list? In focusing on the danger emerging from the new cold war, seeded by the Democrats, propagated by corporate media (which he thinks is more dangerous than the first), Cohen clarifies the importance of diplomacy especially with one's nuclear rivals.

Imagine that

shinola , November 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Support your local book store!

Off The Street , November 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

Us rubes knew decades ago about pro wrestling. There was a regional circuit and the hero in one town would become the villain in another town. The ones to be surprised were like John Stossel, who got a perforated eardrum from a slap upside the head for his efforts at in-your-face journalism with a wrestler who just wouldn't play along with his grandstanding. Somewhere, kids cheered and life went on.

The Historian , November 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

Ah, Ancient Athens, here we come – running back to repeat your mistakes! Our MSM media has decided that when we are not at our neighbor's throats, we should be at each other's throats!

teacup , November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

I was watching old clips of the 'Fred Friendly Seminars' on YouTube. IMHO any channel that produced a format such as this would be a ratings bonanza. Imagine a round table with various media figures (corporate) left, (corporate) right, and independent being refereed by a host-moderator discussing topics in 'Hate, Inc.'. In wrestling it's called a Battle Royale. The Fourth Estate in a cage match!

@ape , November 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

This is important, if people don't want to be naive about what democracy buys. Democracy in the end is a ritual system to determine which members of an elite would win a war without actually having to hold the war. Like how court functions to replace personal revenge by determining (often) who would win in a fight if there were one, and the feudal system replaced the genocidal wars of the axial age with the gentler warfare of the middle ages which were often ritual wars of the elite that avoided the full risk of the earlier wars.

That, I think, is important -- under a democracy, the winner should be normally the winner of the avoided violent conflict to be sustainable. Thus, it's enough to get most people to consent to the solution, using the traditional meaning of consent being "won't put up a fight to avoid it". If the choices on the table are reduced enough, you can get by with most people simply dropping out of the questions.

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

It shouldn't be a surprise that we've moved to "faking dissent" -- it's the natural evolution of a system where a lot of the effective power is in the hands of tech, and not just as in the early 20th century, how many workers you have and how many soldiers you can raise.

If you don't like it, change the technology we use to fight one another. We went from tribes to lords when we switch from sticks to advanced forged weapons, and we went from feudalism to democracy when we had factories dropping guns that any 15 year old could use (oversimplifying a bit). Now that the stuff requires expertise, you'd expect a corresponding shift in how we ritualize our conflict avoidance, and thus the organization of how we control communication and how we organize our rituals of power.

Aka, it's the scientists and the engineers who end up determining how everything is organized, and people never seem to bother with that argument, which is especially surprising that even hard-core Marxists waste their time on short-term politics rather than the tech we're building.

I'd be curious whether Taibbi thought about the issue of the nature of the technology and whether there are technological options on the horizon which drive the conflict in other directions. If we had only kept the laws on copyright and patent weaker, so that the implementation of communicative infrastructure would have stayed decentralized

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Tabby's "manufacturing fake consent" was really the whole punchline – the joke's on us. Hunter S. Thompson, another of Taibbi's heroes, is, along with Chomsky, speaking to us through MT. Our media is distracting us from social coherence. Another thing it is doing (just my opinion) is it is overwhelming us to the point of disgust. Nobody likes it. And we protect ourselves by tuning it out. Turning it off. Once the screaming lunatics marginalize themselves by making the whole narrative hysterical, we just act like it's another family fight and we're gonna go do something else. When everyone is screaming, no one is screaming.

Jerry B , November 5, 2019 at 10:26 am

I have tried to read Hate Inc. and Taibbi's Griftopia but one of my main issues with Taibbi's writing is his lack of notes, references, or bibliography, etc. in his books. In skimming Hate Inc. it seems like a book I would enjoy reading, however my personal value system is that any book without footnotes, endnotes, citations, or at minimum a bibliography is just an opinion or a story. At least Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal has a section for End Notes/References at the end of the book. Again just my personal values.

Sbbbd , November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

Another classic in the genre of manufactured consent through media from the age of radio and Adolf Hitler:

"The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", in the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Joe Well , November 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

I am from Greater Boston, far, far from flyover country (which I imagine begins in Yonkers NY), but I sure grew up with pro wrestling as part of the schoolyard discourse. I certainly knew it was as much of a family affair as Disney on Ice and have trouble believing he thought otherwise though I will not impugn his honesty. I am very grateful to the author for taking the time to write this, but is it possible for a male who grew up in the US to be as deeply embedded in the MSNBC demo as he claims to be?

Seriously, how is it possible for a male raised in the US to not at least have some working familiarity with pro wrestling? My family along with my community was very close to the national median income–do higher income boys really not learn about WWF and WWE?

Seriously, rich kids, what was childhood like? I know you had music lessons and sports camps, what else? Was it really that different?

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

And it's not just the US. See the British WWE movie: Fighting With My Family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_with_My_Family

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Sorry, my blue collar, lifetime union member brother says your view is horseshit. All the knows about WWE and WWF is that they are big-budget fakery and that's why they are of no interest.

amfortas the hippie , November 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

aye. in my blue to white collar( and back to blue to no collar) upbringing, wrestling was never a thing. it was for the morons who couldn't read. seen as patently absurd by just about everyone i knew. and this in klanridden east texas exurbia
wife's mexican extended familia oth luche libre is a big thing that all and sundry talked about at thanksgiving. less so these days possibly due to the hyperindiviualisation of media intake mentioned
(and,btw, in my little world , horseshit is a good thing)

BlueStater , November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

Even allowing for my lefty-liberal bias, I do not see how it is possible to equate Fox Noise and MSNBC, or Hannity and Maddow, as "both-sides" extremists. Fox violates basic professional canons of fairness and equity on a daily basis. MSNBC occasionally does, but is quick to correct errors of fact. Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar. It is one of the evil successes of the right-wing news cauldron to have successfully equated these two figures and organizations.

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Huh? MSNBC regularly makes errors of omission and commission with respect to Sanders. They are still pushing the Russiagate narrative. That's a massive, two-year, virtually all the time error they have refused to recant.

The blind spots of people on the soi-disant left are truly astonishing.

semiconscious , November 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm

'Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar '

oh, well, then – end of conversation! i mean, god knows, it'd be a cold day in hell before a rhodes scholar, or even someone married to one, would ever lead us astray down the rosy neoliberal path to hell, while, at the same time, under the spell of trump derangement syndrome, actually attempt to revive the mccarthy era, eh?

Summer , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Actual drugs are being used to hinder debate as well as emotional drugs like hate.
They can't trust agency to be removed by words and images alone – the stakes are too high.
Now all of you go take a feel good pill and stop complaining!

McWatt , November 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

I would like to know if Matt is doing any book signings any where around the states for this new title?

David , November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

I've been impressed with Taibbi's work, what I've read of it, but ironically this very article contains a quote from him which exemplifies the problem: his casual assertion that the US committed "genocide" in Indochina. Even the most fervent critics of US policy didn't say this at the time, for the very good reason that there was no evidence that the US tried to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or nationalist group (the full definition is a lot more complex and demanding than that). He clearly means that the US was responsible for lots of deaths, which is incontestable. But the process of endless escalation of rhetoric, which this book seems to be partly about, means that everything now has to be described in the most extreme, absurd or apocalyptic tones, and at the top of your voice, otherwise nobody takes any notice. So any self-respecting war now has to be qualified as "genocide" or nobody will take any notice.

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

by John Quiggin on October 13, 2019 On Facebook, my frined Timothy Scriven pointed to an opinion piece by classics professor Ian Morris headlined In the long run, wars make us safer and richer It's pushing a book with the clickbaity title War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots .". Timothy correctly guessed that I wouldn't like it.

Based on the headline, I was expecting a claim along the lines "wars stimulate technological progress" which I refuted (to my own satisfaction at any rate) in Economics in Two Lessons" . But the argument is much stranger than this. The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity.

For the classical world at 100 CE or so, the era on which Morris is an expert, that argument seemed pretty convincing. As the famous Life of Brian sketch suggests, Roman rule delivered a lot of benefits to its conquered provinces.

The next 1900 years or so present a bit of a problem, though. There have been countless wars in that time, and no trend towards bigger states. On the contrary two or three dozen states (depending on how you count them) now occupy the territory of the former Roman Empire.

You could cut the number down a bit by treating the European Union as a new empire, but then you have an even bigger problem. The EU was not formed through war, but through a determination to avoid it. Whatever you think about the EU in other respects, this goal has been achieved.

Morris avoids the problem by a "no true Scotsman" argument. He admits in passing that the 1000 years of war following the high point of Rome had the effect of breaking down larger, safer societies into smaller, more dangerous ones, but returns with relief to the era of true wars, in which big states always win. That story works, roughly, until 1914, when the empires he admires destroyed themselves, killing millions in the process.

After that, the argument descends into Pinker-style nonsense. While repeating the usual stats about the decline in violent deaths, Morris mentions in passing that a nuclear war could cause billions of deaths. He doesn't consider the obvious anthropic fallacy problem – if such a war had happened, there would not be any op-eds in the Washington Post discussing the implications for life expectancy.

I haven't read the book, and don't intend to. If someone can't present a 700 word summary of their argument without looking silly, they shouldn't write opinion pieces. But, for what its worth, FB friends who have read it agree that it's not very good.


William Meyer 10.13.19 at 12:31 pm (no link)

I have not read the book in question, so I don't know if the author made this point: "Since violence or implicit violence is how we overcome essentially all collective action problems as humans, war probably does belong in the human toolkit." Obviously it would be better if we could find more and better alternatives to war, and remove the obvious glitches in the alternatives (e.g., representative democracy, single-party states, etc.) we have tried in the past. So I find it odd as I get old that so little energy/research/academic effort is devoted by the human race to finding better means of collective decision making. Clearly our current abilities in this field are completely inadequate. I ponder if this is because we are incapable of doing better by some inherent flaw in our makeup or if it is because, as in some many areas of life, the wicked work tirelessly to maintain the systems that enrich and empower them. I suspect I'll never find out.
Omega Centauri 10.13.19 at 4:33 pm (no link)
There might be a case to be made for empire building conquest advancing human society. I think it was primarily by forcing the mixing of cultures which otherwise would have been relatively isolated from each other. Also empires tended to create safe internal trade routes, the Silk Road was made possible by the Mongol empire.

At least the authors of books about such empires like to state that over a timespan of centuries that empire creation was a net positive.

Orange Watch 10.13.19 at 7:07 pm (no link)
Tim Worstall and Dipper's suggestion that the EU is borne of war is mostly just a failure to take Morris's claim on its unsophisticated face and instead assume it contains subtle complexity that is obviously missing if you read the article itself:

This happened because about 10,000 years ago, the winners of wars began incorporating the losers into larger societies. The victors found that the only way to make these larger societies work was by developing stronger governments; and one of the first things these governments had to do, if they wanted to stay in power, was suppress violence among their subjects.

For the EU to have been a result of war in the sense that Morris means, it would have to have been forcibly formed in 1945 by the US/UK/Russia forcibly incorporating Europe into it. When Morris states "wars make us stronger and richer" he very simply means wars of conquest are long-term net positives. He doesn't mean something subtle about nations banding together to forestall further war; he bluntly means conquerors gluing together their conquests into empires and then liberally applying boot leather to necks.

Mark Brady 10.13.19 at 7:56 pm (no link)
John Quiggin is, of course, well aware of this quotation, but some of you may not.

"Though some of them would disdain to say that there are net benefits in small acts of destruction, they see almost endless benefits in enormous acts of destruction. They tell us how much better off economically we all are in war than in peace. They see "miracles of production" which it requires a war to achieve. And they see a postwar world made certainly prosperous by an enormous "accumulated" or "backed up" demand. In Europe they joyously count the houses, the whole cities that have been leveled to the ground and that "will have to be replaced." In America they count the houses that could not be built during the war, the nylon stockings that could not be supplied, the worn-out automobiles and tires, the obsolescent radios and refrigerators. They bring together formidable totals.

"It is merely our old friend, the broken-window fallacy, in new clothing, and grown fat beyond recognition. This time it is supported by a whole bundle of related fallacies. It confuses need with demand."

Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, Chapter 3, "The Blessings of Destruction."

Alex SL 10.13.19 at 8:37 pm (no link)
On one side, AFAIK the last few centuries of war in Europe have indeed seen a reduction of the number of states. Yes, the trend was partly reversed since 1914, but never to the degree of splintering that existed in the middle ages.

On the other side, even the widely accepted cases of supposedly 'beneficial' empires such as the Romans bringing the Pax Romana and the Mongols allowing far-reaching trade and travel need to be seen against the devastation they caused to make their victories possible. The Romans, for example, committed genocide in Gaul and Carthage, and they enslaved millions.

Best case argument in my eyes is that a very successful war is beneficial because it stops continuous smaller wars, which is still not exactly the same as a general "war is beneficial". Why not just create institutional arrangements that avoid wars between small nations in the first place?

fran6 10.13.19 at 9:26 pm (no link)
Here's another personality who's also unfazed by the evils of war (although, she does wish more folks were "kind" to each other):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/EsWSh8kPMfg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Barry 10.13.19 at 10:40 pm ( 18 )
Tim Worstall: "The EU came into existence in 1992, neatly coinciding with the Yugoslav unpleasantnesses."

You might want to look at the time between then and WWII.

You also might want to check the membership in the EU in 1992, and see which state(s) were not in it (hint – Yugoslavia).

John Quiggin 10.13.19 at 11:36 pm ( 19 )
Stephen @11 Say what? Are you suggesting that the Soviet bloc was part of the EU? As both your comment and Tim Worstall's unwittingly illustrate, the fact that the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation (by contrast with non-EU Europe) is not because Europeans suddenly became pacifists.
Salazar 10.14.19 at 12:39 am ( 20 )
Sorry if I have a hard time getting Morris' argument, but: towards the end, be seems to be saying the world requires a "Globocop" like the US to ensure its prosperity. But how does that relate to his wider point about the benefits of war? Does Morris believe the hegemon owes it to itself, and to the rest of the world, to wage permanent war?
Tabasco 10.14.19 at 1:23 am ( 21 )
"the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation"

Spain and Portugal are still arguing the 200+ year border dispute over Olivenza/Olivença, but it hasn't reached Kashmir levels (yet).

Ed 10.14.19 at 2:34 am ( 22 )
Morris sold out. This was evident in his book comparing the progress of China and Europe, though that book made excellent points in between the fluff and is well worth reading. But he is well versed enough in Chinese history to be aware of the ultimate example of armies conquering and bringing peace to a large area, which happens repeatedly in Chinese history.

Actually, Chinese history itself shows that the opposite argument has more support, that instead of war being valuable because one powerful country will conquer a large area and bring peace to it, its valuable because competition between states who are worried about other states getting a jump on them turns out to be valuable to progress. Large continental empires, including the Roman one as well, tended to stagnate in terms of culture and technology and become correct.

MFB 10.15.19 at 7:18 am (no link)
Well, the opinion-piece was published on Jeff Bezos' blog. Oligarchs are naturally in favour of centralised power and therefore of empires (so long as they are at the apex thereof, which they usually are). The best way to build an empire is through war.

Of course, the author has to say "despite Hitler, Stalin and Mao", for ideological reasons. Actually, Hitler built his empire largely through the threat of war rather than through war itself; once he had actually started the war, he antagonised three more powerful empires than his own and his empire was then crushed. As for Stalin, he actually did various double-back-somersaults to avoid getting into wars, and the "empire" which he built in Eastern Europe as a result of winning a war he didn't want did not sustain itself. And of course Mao didn't start any wars at all -- his name just had to be thrown in for reactionary reasons.

It is true that the Spanish, Portuguese, French and British empires were built upon war. But where are they now? The United States fought a lot of wars against its indigenous people, but frankly it would still have been a global superpower if it had simply sidestepped most of them, at least from about 1865 onward.

An interesting question: can it be that a professor of Classics doesn't actually have to understand the concept of evidence-based argument in any case, because everything has already been said on the subject and all you have to do is cherry-pick other people's statements? Because that seems to be how that silly article reads.

And yes, the whole thing reeks of the better angels propaganda. Let's not forget, by the way, that various members of the EU -- Britain, France, Italy et al -- have launched brutally murderous wars elsewhere, and the fact that they don't fight among themselves doesn't make them peaceful or moral entities.

Neville Morley 10.15.19 at 9:47 am (no link)
@TheSophist #25: that was mentioned as a joke rather than self-publicity, but if you're really interested: The Roman Empire: roots of imperialism (Pluto Press, 2020). Obviously books about the Roman Empire are ten a penny; my main claim for this one, besides its being less apologetic and/or gung-ho than most, is that I try to integrate the historical reality with its reception, i.e. how people have subsequently deployed Rome as an example or model.
Bill Benzon 10.15.19 at 12:44 pm (no link)
Maybe the Roman Empire delivered on peace, but prosperity is a bit more complicated. Some years ago David Hays wrote a book on the history of technology. One of the things he did was make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of material welfare at different levels of development. He concluded that, while civilization has always been a good deal for the elite, it's been rather iffy for peasants and workers. It's only during the Industrial Evolution that the standard of living at the lower end of society rose above that of hunter-gatherers. So, the prosperity delivered by the Roman Empire went mostly to the elite, not the peasantry.

I've excerpted the relevant section of Hays's book .

steven t johnson 10.16.19 at 8:06 pm (no link)
Peter Erwin@43 wanted the Nazis to roll right up to the eastern border of Poland, etc. etc. So did Hitler. And although I'm quite reluctant to read minds, especially dead one, I will nevertheless guarantee the move into the Baltics was seen as a blow to his plans, even if accepted for temporary advantage. You must always see who hates Stalin for beating Hitler, and those rare few who object to his real crimes.

And, Erwin thinks Chinese troops being in Korea with permission is an aggression, while US troops closing on Chinese borders is not. The US still isn't out of Korea, but China is, but he can't figure out who the aggressor is.

Really, Peter Erwin really says it all. The maddest ant-Communist propaganda is now official.

MFB 10.17.19 at 9:02 am (no link)
I don't want to unnecessarily dump on Peter Erwin, because I don't believe in kicking disadvantaged children, but if he reads the original post he will notice that it was talking about international wars, not civil wars. I'll admit the invasion of Finland (and of the Baltic states and Poland) but those were fairly obviously ways of strengthening the USSR's position in order to discourage a German invasion, and all took place within the boundaries of the former Russian Empire which Stalin undoubtedly saw as the default position.

As to Mao, he didn't start the Korean war (as Erwin unwillingly admits) and all the other wars except for the invasion of Vietnam were civil wars since they entailed moving into Chinese-controlled territory which had broken away during the main civil war. I'll admit that Vietnam was a problem, but then, since Mao had been dead for some time by then, it's would be hard for Erwin to blame him except for the fact that Erwin clearly lives on Planet Bizarro.

Z 10.17.19 at 9:05 am (no link)
@John Quiggin The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity

I don't think this is an intellectually generous summary of the arguments, as presented in the article.

The author himself summarizes it as "war made states, and states made peace", and if it is indeed true that the author often speaks of "larger, more organized societies" there is a strong implication that for a society to be "large" in the sense discussed in the article, it is not really necessary that it be territorially very wide (the most clear cut indication of that is that the author refers to the European states of the 1600s as "big, settled states" while they all were geographically tiny at the time). So the point of the author, if interpreted with intellectual honesty, seems to me to be twofold: 1) that war has been a crucial factor in the formation of complex, organized states and societies and 2) that these complex, organized states and societies brought with them so many positive things that the wars required to form them were worth it.

The second point is pure Pinker. I consider it logically meaningless, myself (it ultimately relies on the concept that History proceeds like an individual who is choosing a pair of shoes) and morally repugnant (it is not hard to see who will be pleased to have a rhetorical tool that can justify any atrocity by the long term gains it will provide humanity – indeed, it is instructive in that respect to read SS internal papers on when and why children should be executed with their parents, and how to select people for that task: contrary to what could be guessed, the manual recommends the soldiers who appear to have a strong sense of empathy and morality, with the idea that they will those who will most strongly endorse the "by doing this abominable act, we are sacrificing ourselves on behalf of future generations" thesis).

The first point, however, appears to me to be broadly correct descriptively. Extracting an interesting thesis out of it requires much more work than is indicated by the article, however (I consider Ertman's Birth of the Levianthan an example of that kind of extra work done successfully).

Z 10.17.19 at 9:30 am ( 52 )
@John Quiggin Lots of people predicted, along the lines of your post, that with the external threat of the USSR gone, and the US pulling back, the old warlike Europe would reassert itself.

I think what we may call the "wide military context thesis" runs rather like this: because of the experience of WWII and the Cold War, modern industrial states have amassed enormous military power while at the same time knowing that they can experience total destruction if they enter into a military conflict with a state of comparable military might. As a consequence, peace dominates between them. So France is not at war with the United Kingdom or Germany, certainly in part because they are all (for now) members of the EU but also in part for the same reason Japan is not at war with South Korea and Russia not at war with China.

Personally, I think it would be absurd to claim that the EU has played no role in the pacification of Western Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, but I think it would be equally absurd to deny the role of other factors that plainly play a major role in the equally remarkable pacification of other regional areas in the absence of an economical and political unification process (rise in prosperity, rise in education, aging populations, increased military power ).

otpup 10.19.19 at 10:51 pm ( 68 )
@7, Omega
Not really wanting to get into the "do empires benefit civilization by promoting trade" argument, but having just read Lost Enlightenment, nothing in that lengthy tome suggests the Silk Road city states gain any special advantage from the Mongol invasion. In fact, quite the opposite. After the Mongols (in part for reasons preceeding the conquest), Central Asia never regained its pre-eminence (it had actually not just been a facilitator of trade but also a center of manufacture, culture, scientific progress). Maybe the trade routes hobbled along as trade routes but the civilization that was both built by and facilitated trade did not rebound. Most empires seem to get that there is wealth to be had from involvement in trade, they don't always know how to keep the gold goose alive.
LFC 10.20.19 at 9:10 pm (no link)
"War made states and states made peace" is a riff on Charles Tilly's line "war made the state and the state made war."

[Oct 31, 2019] The Militarization Of Everything

Notable quotes:
"... But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. ..."
"... But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs? ..."
"... Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars ..."
"... The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. ..."
"... A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. ..."
"... America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." ..."
"... The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. ..."
"... America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. ..."
"... In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. ..."
"... Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. ..."
"... 9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II. ..."
"... Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism. ..."
Oct 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Militarization Of Everything by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/30/2019 - 23:10 0 SHARES

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

Killing Me Softly with Militarism - The Decay of Democracy in America

When Americans think of militarism , they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult ; or, like our president , they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently when he said he'd like to award himself a Medal of Honor?) And what they may also think is: that's not us. That's not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15 . We don't wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. Even in the heartland of Trump's famed base, most Americans continue to reject nakedly bellicose displays like phalanxes of tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs?

What do I mean by softer forms of militarism? I'm a football fan, so one recent Sunday afternoon found me watching an NFL game on CBS. People deplore violence in such games, and rightly so, given the number of injuries among the players, notably concussions that debilitate lives. But what about violent commercials during the game? In that one afternoon, I noted repetitive commercials for SEAL Team , SWAT , and FBI , all CBS shows from this quietly militarized American moment of ours. In other words, I was exposed to lots of guns, explosions, fisticuffs, and the like, but more than anything I was given glimpses of hard men (and a woman or two) in uniform who have the very answers we need and, like the Pentagon-supplied police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, are armed to the teeth. ("Models with guns," my wife calls them.)

Got a situation in Nowhere-stan? Send in the Navy SEALs. Got a murderer on the loose? Send in the SWAT team. With their superior weaponry and can-do spirit, Special Forces of every sort are sure to win the day (except, of course, when they don't, as in America's current series of never-ending wars in distant lands).

And it hardly ends with those three shows. Consider, for example, this century's update of Magnum P.I. , a CBS show featuring a kickass private investigator. In the original Magnum P.I. that I watched as a teenager, Tom Selleck played the character with an easy charm. Magnum's military background in Vietnam was acknowledged but not hyped. Unsurprisingly, today's Magnum is proudly billed as an ex-Navy SEAL.

Cop and military shows are nothing new on American TV, but never have I seen so many of them, new and old, and so well-armed. On CBS alone you can add to the mix Hawaii Five-O (yet more models with guns updated and up-armed from my youthful years), the three NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) shows, and Blue Bloods (ironically starring a more grizzled and less charming Tom Selleck) -- and who knows what I haven't noticed? While today's cop/military shows feature far more diversity with respect to gender, ethnicity, and race compared to hoary classics like Dragnet , they also feature far more gunplay and other forms of bloody violence.

Look, as a veteran, I have nothing against realistic shows on the military. Coming from a family of first responders -- I count four firefighters and two police officers in my immediate family -- I loved shows like Adam-12 and Emergency! in my youth. What I'm against is the strange militarization of everything, including, for instance, the idea, distinctly of our moment, that first responders need their very own version of the American flag to mark their service. Perhaps you've seen those thin blue line flags, sometimes augmented with a red line for firefighters. As a military veteran, my gut tells me that there should only be one American flag and it should be good enough for all Americans. Think of the proliferation of flags as another soft type of up-armoring (this time of patriotism).

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Dragnet 's Sergeant Joe Friday, on the beat, serving his fellow citizens, and pursuing law enforcement as a calling? He didn't need a thin blue line battle flag. And in the rare times when he wielded a gun, it was .38 Special. Today's version of Joe looks a lot more like G.I. Joe, decked out in body armor and carrying an assault rifle as he exits a tank-like vehicle, maybe even a surplus MRAP from America's failed imperial wars.

Militarism in the USA

Besides TV shows, movies, and commercials, there are many signs of the increasing embrace of militarized values and attitudes in this country. The result: the acceptance of a military in places where it shouldn't be , one that's over-celebrated, over-hyped , and given far too much money and cultural authority, while becoming virtually immune to serious criticism.

Let me offer just nine signs of this that would have been so much less conceivable when I was a young boy watching reruns of Dragnet :

1. Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars . Such colossal sums are rarely debated in Congress; indeed, they enjoy wide bipartisan support.

2. The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. No other institution even comes close, certainly not the presidency (37%) or Congress (which recently rose to a monumental 25% on an impeachment high). Yet that same military has produced disasters or quagmires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. Various "surges" have repeatedly failed. The Pentagon itself can't even pass an audit . Why so much trust?

3. A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. Wars are now automatically treated as multi-generational with little concern for how permawar might degrade our democracy. Anti-war protesters are rare enough to be lone voices crying in the wilderness.

4. America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." Sages like former Secretary of Defense James Mattis ( cited glowingly in the recent debate among 12 Democratic presidential hopefuls) will save America from unskilled and tempestuous politicians like one Donald J. Trump. In the 2016 presidential race, it seemed that neither candidate could run without being endorsed by a screaming general ( Michael Flynn for Trump; John Allen for Clinton).

5. The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. Simultaneously, when the military goes to war, civilian journalists are "embedded" within those forces and so are dependent on them in every way. The result tends to be a cheerleading media that supports the military in the name of patriotism -- as well as higher ratings and corporate profits.

6. America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. Consider, for instance, the current controversy over the aid to Ukraine that President Trump blocked before his infamous phone call, which was, of course, partially about weaponry . This should serve to remind us that the United States has become the world's foremost merchant of death, selling far more weapons globally than any other country. Again, there is no real debate here about the morality of profiting from such massive sales, whether abroad ($55.4 billion in arms sales for this fiscal year alone, says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency) or at home (a staggering 150 million new guns produced in the USA since 1986, the vast majority remaining in American hands).

7. In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. Roughly 15 million AR-15s are currently owned by ordinary Americans. We're talking about a gun designed for battlefield-style rapid shooting and maximum damage against humans. In the 1970s, when I was a teenager, the hunters in my family had bolt-action rifles for deer hunting, shotguns for birds, and pistols for home defense and plinking. No one had a military-style assault rifle because no one needed one or even wanted one. Now, worried suburbanites buy them, thinking they're getting their " man card " back by toting such a weapon of mass destruction.

8. Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. But ignorance is not bliss. By tacitly giving the military a blank check, issued in the name of securing the homeland, Americans embrace that military, however loosely, and its misuse of violence across significant parts of the planet. Should it be any surprise that a country that kills so wantonly overseas over such a prolonged period would also experience mass shootings and other forms of violence at home?

9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II.

What these nine items add up to is a paradigm shift as well as a change in the zeitgeist. The U.S. military is no longer a tool that a democracy funds and uses reluctantly. It's become an alleged force for good, a virtuous entity, a band of brothers (and sisters), America's foremost missionaries overseas and most lovable and admired heroes at home. This embrace of the military is precisely what I would call soft militarism. Jackbooted troops may not be marching in our streets, but they increasingly seem to be marching unopposed through -- and occupying -- our minds.

The Decay of Democracy

As Americans embrace the military, less violent policy options are downplayed or disregarded. Consider the State Department, America's diplomatic corps, now a tiny , increasingly defunded branch of the Pentagon led by Mike Pompeo (celebrated by Donald Trump as a tremendous leader because he did well at West Point). Consider President Trump as well, who's been labeled an isolationist, and his stunning inability to truly withdraw troops or end wars. In Syria, U.S. troops were recently redeployed, not withdrawn, not from the region anyway, even as more troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. In Afghanistan, Trump sent a few thousand more troops in 2017, his own modest version of a mini-surge and they're still there, even as peace negotiations with the Taliban have been abandoned. That decision, in turn, led to a new surge (a " near record high ") in U.S. bombing in that country in September, naturally in the name of advancing peace. The result: yet higher levels of civilian deaths .

How did the U.S. increasingly come to reject diplomacy and democracy for militarism and proto-autocracy? Partly, I think, because of the absence of a military draft. Precisely because military service is voluntary, it can be valorized. It can be elevated as a calling that's uniquely heroic and sacrificial. Even though most troops are drawn from the working class and volunteer for diverse reasons, their motivations and their imperfections can be ignored as politicians praise them to the rooftops. Related to this is the Rambo-like cult of the warrior and warrior ethos , now celebrated as something desirable in America. Such an ethos fits seamlessly with America's generational wars. Unlike conflicted draftees, warriors exist solely to wage war. They are less likely to have the questioning attitude of the citizen-soldier.

Don't get me wrong: reviving the draft isn't the solution; reviving democracy is. We need the active involvement of informed citizens, especially resistance to endless wars and budget-busting spending on American weapons of mass destruction. The true cost of our previously soft (now possibly hardening) militarism isn't seen only in this country's quickening march toward a militarized authoritarianism. It can also be measured in the dead and wounded from our wars, including the dead, wounded , and displaced in distant lands. It can be seen as well in the rise of increasingly well-armed, self-avowed nationalists domestically who promise solutions via walls and weapons and "good guys" with guns. ("Shoot them in the legs," Trump is alleged to have said about immigrants crossing America's southern border illegally.)

Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

With apologies to the great Roberta Flack , America is killing itself softly with war songs.

hoytmonger , 12 minutes ago link

"Police who deployed explosives and armored vehicles to flush out a man –who'd stolen two belts and a shirt from a Greenwood Village Walmart– from the house of Leo and Alfonsia Lech, are not required to compensate the couple for destroying their home, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday."

https://www.rt.com/usa/472224-police-explode-house-zero-compensation/

charlie_don't_surf , 3 minutes ago link

Those police destroyed a house worth well over 200K since it's in metro Denver...and all to apprehend a punk that shoplifted less than $100 of merchandise...something terribly wrong, all the govt units, local on up are high on the arrogance of power with impunity.

[Oct 29, 2019] Asia Times China's financial threat to the 2020 US election Article

Oct 29, 2019 | www.asiatimes.com
Henry 4 days ago ,

The author seems to be writing an interesting fiction, reminds one of a Hollywood movie about a Russian oligarch at the behest of a senior Russian government official, attempting to engineer wall street crash.

Taking out a newspaper advertisement with proper representation to state one's case can't be compared with the US funded National Endowment for Democracy's funding of Hong Kong's increasingly violent rioting.

tinhatter Henry 4 days ago ,

Is the NED something like the China's interference in the NBA ?

Henry tinhatter 4 days ago ,

This is like apple and orange, not comparable. China did not interfere in NBA's affairs, just reacting to her citizens uproar against the infamous now deleted tweet. Thus many Chinese Chinese sponsors pulled out. This is no different to sponsors pulling out of US athletes endorsements from time to time when there are scandals.
Whereas NED is US intelligence cover for interference in targeted countries like Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran and many Islamic countries around the world, to advance US political agenda.

tinhatter daggo77 4 days ago ,

And in breaking news. 39 Britons have been found dead in a container trying to be smuggled fromt eh failed UK state to the successful state run by the CCP.
Did I get that the right-way round ?

Mustafa 4 days ago ,

Who is this guy? Does he think this is CNN?

Is he smoking a heretofore unheard of narcotic?

Let me set the stage.

This is a paper or news site about asia. It is written in English? What does this tell you? The audience ostensibly consists of westerners (or educated people from asia or elsewhere) who want to read an alternative to the drivel and rubbish that's propagated in copious quantities by the scat factories of the west and their zionist-oligarch dominated news conglomerates...

Who is interfering in elections? Does china name some loser guaido as president of venezuela or support terrorists in syria? Is china sanctioning (with financial warfare)the whole world including their own allies? You must have no modicum of shame to come up with this absolute smorgasbord of rancid festering bollocks that you think is befitting of "reporting." You are bettet off taking a sabbatical and never coming back... i would tell you all of this to your face with the utmost respect that i could muster before i vomited...

Presidents come and go... the empire, deep state bureaucrats, and their slavish dual-state minions such as yourself will march on no matter what until your rotten seed perpetuate the corruption and degeneracy passed down through your genes. That xyz is president makes zero difference in deterring the momentum of evil that lurks within the diseased sociopaths such as yourself.

You are an unmitigated disgrace to true journalism and do a grave disservice to this site's reputation.

pooi-hoong chan Mustafa 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter. He constantly spews out lies, fake news, propaganda and BS against China.

M Henri Day pooi-hoong chan 2 days ago ,

"Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter." Alas, pooi-hong chan, these two professions are in many cases equivalent....

Henri

AsianInvestor Mustafa 4 days ago • edited ,

CIA uses fake identities for the propaganda articles. If a nation is building close ties with China, automatically an author with a name from that nation appears. They also have groups posting propaganda under a single fake name. There are only a few genuine Asian CIA hacks making a living off the CIA.

USA is heading for multiple recessions possibly a depression unless they change their current anti China policies.

Bianca AsianInvestor 4 days ago ,

In fact, in military, fake identities for information warfare are assigned to one person, so that it multiplies the effect. To keep track of these "personas" per each real person, and their postings -- a "persona" data bases are needed to keep track of their activities. And unfortunately , there are always some technicians who are more then happy to talk about it.

Deuxieme Bianca 4 days ago ,

Yes. just google Operation Earnest Voice. It's a project by Pentagon that let one person control several of these "personas"

Mustafa AsianInvestor 4 days ago ,

It would not surprise me if he worked for the CIA... this organization is, by its mission, embedded into all public spheres...

What is worrisome is that the cia has no accountability to anyone. It is one great example of deep state operator. Also, cia is heavily infiltrated by mossad. In other words, cia is a parallel drug traffickers organization that dabbles in news, democracy promotion, torture, coups, blackmail, assasibation, rendition...

It is accountable to no one ... their actions are conducted in secrecy and cannot be scrutinized... the president can't control them... these organizations are a manifest example of why this article is a huge fallacy dressed up in cured excrement.

Huashen 4 days ago • edited ,

These people are outrageously shameless in their assertion that they can openly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, like the recent bills passed by the US House of Representatives in support of the Blackshirts of HK, but they would not brook any interference from China in their election, not that it's true at all.
This is a good example of how the US apply its Orwellian ideology of "American Exceptionalism" - "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Lee Sky 4 days ago ,

Another guy cashing in on the evil China fad, pathetic. It is the US who conducts financial warfare by imposing illegal sanctions and restrictions on other countries using the dominance of the dollar in international trade.

Bianca 4 days ago ,

If it is so easy to have a country's financial system snd stock markets manipulated -- how do know that our own financial sharks are not already manipulating market to enrich them selves , while making it appear that everything is fine? Or that they are not crashing markets in order to profit?
There is something not right about a country with financial and market systems living off the fumes of news cycle?

Look at how many times West attacked Russian financial systems
and markets, blocking whole companies and financial institutions -- yet nothing crashed. Currency lost some value helping exports, while those earning in dollars simply had more money to spend domestically. And by placing sanctions kn European food products -- they shot up to the first place globally in wheat production.

I am wondering if the difference is Russia's large currency and gold reserves. As opposed US economy that sits atop a large debt bubble? Than anything can spook it.

Deuxieme 4 days ago • edited ,

Bill Gertz is running out of stuff to bad mouth China. He is eager to make some money now that he's been fired by Washington Free Beacon for having some shady deals with the Chinese billionaire fugitive Guo who is the subject covered in his reporting.
Maybe Gertz can tell us who China wants to be elected by staging these financial influence campaign? Gertz is sounding utterly ridiculous now.

Bapa aku 4 days ago ,

american are losers, foreign influence here and there, well thanks to your own foreign policies bombing here and there and regime change everywhere, you sow what you get. if you don't want foreign influence. just build a great wall and extend it to these. not only no 5G, ditch all comunications including mail

Bobserver 4 days ago • edited ,

This is a nonsense article. Lots of hypotheticals with no proof presented of China's intention or cases of actually trying to influence any American election.

This is more how Western countries behave with their Machivellian modus operandi overthrowing governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. This author and American officials are merely voicing what the USA is already capable of doing rather than what China has in place.

In fact there is a debate among Chinese officials and think tanks that they might want Trump to have a second term because as the USA p@sses off many countries including those allied with the USA that might help China down the line.

Bianca 4 days ago ,

Wait a minute -- Russia wants Trump to be reelected, and China wants him to lose?

With US creating legislation for the whole world -- our sanctions whose enforcement is imposed in others -- means that other people must have the right to elect the president? How can the world accept such financial burden on others with no right to vote.

Remember America next time you vote for sanctions, tariffs etc. -- no taxation without representation. Global presidents must be elected globally!

MD6888 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is a Washington-based national security journalist and author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy

007's imaginary script writer. LOL!

Alex 4 days ago ,

There's no need for the Chinese to rely on 'covert' operation to influence the election's outcome. For instance, if China just cancels the buying of the agricultural goods from the US that it has dealt with Trump in what is being called the partial deal from the trade war, it would be already enough to influence in the election. Lol!

[Oct 24, 2019] Empire Interventionism Versus Republic Noninterventionism by Jacob Hornberger

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."

That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Oct 22, 2019] It's four more years of the Trumpian Reich folks, with Russian Spetsnaz patrolling the streets, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, babushkas, the whole nine yards by CJ Hopkins

Notable quotes:
"... Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review, ..."
Oct 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review,

So, it looks like that's it for America, folks. Putin has gone and done it again. He and his conspiracy of Putin-Nazis have "hacked," or "influenced," or "meddled in" our democracy.

Unless Admiral Bill McRaven and his special ops cronies can ginny up a last-minute military coup , it's four more years of the Trumpian Reich, Russian soldiers patrolling the streets, martial law, concentration camps, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, mandatory Sieg-heiling in the public schools, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, death's heads, babushkas, the whole nine yards.

[Oct 20, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area. ..."
"... Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials. ..."
"... Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind. ..."
"... A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion? ..."
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says: October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!


sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 19, 2019] Our pentagon should be producing best and first technologies ACROSS THE BOARD, not spending all its time trying to hide from the taxpayer how many billions the neocons pilfered last quarter

Instead something has to be found to justify 12 Carrier Strike Force fleets for the U.S. Navy, so we've discovered Russia as the perfect scapegoat.
Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

alexander , says: October 5, 2019 at 1:10 am GMT

@Alta It has already started.

Our neocon policies have proven to be an existential threat to the solvency , well being, and future of the United States.

We have squandered tens of trillions of dollars on stupid wasteful wars when we could have been using those exact same resources to build out our infrastructure, education and technological advantages.

Our pentagon should be producing best and first technologies ACROSS THE BOARD, not spending all its time trying to hide from the taxpayer how many billions the neocons pilfered last quarter.

We need to replace our policy of "perpetual war fraud" with a policy of empowering and igniting creativity and human excellence.

[Oct 13, 2019] Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again

The Collapse of American exceptionalism is actually the collapse of neoliberalism and the US neoliberal empire.
Oct 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

At its core, exceptionalism places America outside of normal history into a category of its own. Our initial "escape" from history followed two interrelated tracks: one was the religious radicalism of the Puritans, the other was the frontier experience. Both paths were the warpath.

The early settlers believed that they were "chosen" -- blessed by a special relationship to their God. They viewed their " errand in the wilderness " as a holy mission destined to bring a new and better way of life to the world. God's judgment on their progress was revealed in the bounty of a harvest or the outcome of a war.

Exceptionalism was not a free-floating idea but was forged into a lasting culture by the frontier wars aimed at the elimination or assimilation of native people and the conquest of land. America's frontier history produced a lasting mythology that popularized empire and white settler culture while cloaking their many contradictions.

I know it is hard to believe that the Puritans are still camped out in our minds. The old religious radicalism has taken modern form in the liberal-sounding belief that the US military is a "force for good (read God) in the world." The double-edged sword of exceptionalism traps us into repeating history: our high moral standards and special role in the world gives us license for wars and aggressions. It is the liberal elements of exceptionalism that are most seductive, most difficult to wrap our heads around, and the most effective at winning our consent to war.

Exceptionalism Wins Our Consent to War With A One-Two Punch

On the one hand, we have the "hard" exceptionalism like that of the Cold War (New and Old) and the War on Terrorism. These war stories revolve around a rigid binary of good and evil. After 9/11, in scores of speeches, George W. Bush repeated the mantra that there were "no gray areas" in the struggle between good and evil.

On the other hand, "soft" exceptionalism takes a slightly different tack by appealing to the liberal in us. Stories of rescue, protection, democracy and humanitarian efforts assure us of our goodness. Obama mastered this narrative by claiming the US had a "duty to protect" the weak and vulnerable in places like Libya.

These two strains of war stories are the narrative one-two punch, winning our consent to war and empire.

Here is how war propaganda works: if authority figures in government and media denounce foreign leaders or countries or immigrants as an evil threat and repeat it thousands of times, they do not even have to say, "We are the chosen people destined to bring light to the world." They know that millions of Americans will unconsciously refer to the exceptionalist code by default because it's so deeply embedded in our culture. Once made brave by our exceptional character and sense of superiority, the next moves are war, violence and white supremacy.

Myth Meets the American War in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, and the resistance to it, profoundly challenged all existing war stories. At the heart of this disruption was the soldier's revolt. Thousands of US soldiers and veterans came to oppose the very war they fought in . An anti-war movement inside the military was totally unprecedented in US history. The war-makers have been scrambling to repair the damage ever since.

Following the defeat of US forces in Vietnam, the elites shifted gears. The idea that the US could create a new democratic nation -- South Vietnam -- was an utter illusion that no amount of fire-power could overcome. In truth, the US selected a series of petty tyrants to rule that could never win the allegiance of the Vietnamese people because they were the transparent puppets of American interests. The ruling class learned a lesson that forced them to abandon the liberal veneer of "nation-building."

The Next Generation of War Stories: From "Noble Cause" to "Humanitarian War."

Ronald Regan tried to repair the damaged narratives by recasting the Vietnam War as a "Noble Cause." The Noble Cause appealed to people hurt and confused by the US defeat, as well as the unrepentant war-makers, because it attempted to restore the old good vs. evil narrative of exceptionalism. For Regan, America needed to rediscover its original mission as a "city on a hill" -- a shining example to the world. Every single President since has repeated that faith.

The Noble Cause narrative was reproduced in numerous bad movies and dubious academic studies that tried to refight the war (and win this time!). Its primary function was to restore exceptionalism in the minds of the American people. While Regan succeeded to a considerable degree -- as we can see in the pro-war policy of both corporate parties -- "nation-building" never recovered its power as a military strategy or war story.

The next facade was Clinton's "humanitarian war." Humanitarian war attempted to relight the liberal beacon by replacing the problems of nation-building with the paternalistic do-gooding of a superior culture and country. In effect, the imperialists recycled the 19th Century war story of "Manifest Destiny" or "White Man's Burden." That "burden" was the supposed duty of white people to lift lesser people up to the standards of western civilization -- even if that required a lot of killing.

This kind of racist thinking legitimized the US overseas empire at its birth. Maybe it would work again in empires' old age?

From the "War on Terrorism" to the "Responsibility to Protect."

After the shock of 9/11 the narrative shifted again. Bush's "global war on terrorism" reactivated the good vs. evil framing of the Cold War. The "war on terror" was an incoherent military or political strategy except for its promise of forever wars.

Just as the Cold War was a "long twilight struggle" against an elusive but ruthless communist enemy, terrorists might be anywhere and everywhere and do anything. And, like the fight against communism, the war on terrorism would require the US to wage aggressive wars, launch preemptive strikes, use covert activities and dodge both international law and the US Constitution.

9/11 also tapped into deeply-rooted nationalistic and patriotic desires among everyday people to protect and serve their country. The first attack on US soil in modern memory powerfully restored the old binary: when faced with unspeakable evil, the US military became a "force for good in the world." It's easy to forget just how potent the combination is and how it led us into the War in Iraq. According to The Washington Post :

Nearing the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, seven in 10 Americans continue to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks, even though the Bush administration and congressional investigators say they have no evidence of this.

The mythology is so deep that at first the people, soldiers especially, just had to believe there was a good reason to attack Iraq. So we fell back on exceptionalism despite the total absence of evidence. Of course Bush made no attempt to correct this misinformation. The myth served him too well -- as did the official propaganda campaign claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

But in due course, some of the faithful became doubters. A peace movement of global proportions took shape. But in the US far too much of what appeared as resistance was driven by narrow partisan opposition to Republicans rather than principled opposition to war and empire.

But fear not war-makers -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came to the rescue! As they continued Bush's wars in the Middle East and expanded the war zone to include Libya, Syria and then all of Africa, they sweetened "humanitarian war" with a heaping dose of cool-coated "Responsibility to Protect." Once again, American goodness and innocence made the medicine go down and our wars raged on.

Obama restored legitimacy to the empire so effectively that it took years for the illegal, immoral, racist and "unwinnable" wars to reveal themselves to the public. I was told by one of the leaders of About Face: Veterans Against War that they almost had to close shop after Obama was elected because their donor base dried up. Obama's hope was our dope. Just as the daze was finally lifting, Trump started to take the mask off.

Is The Mask Off?

Today's we face an empire with the mask half off. Trump's doctrine -- "We are not nation-building again, we are killing terrorists." -- is a revealing take on military trends that began with the first US – Afghan War (1978-1992). US leaders gave up nation-building and opted for failed states and political chaos instead of the strong states that nation-building, or its illusion, required. The US military began to rely on mercenaries and terrorists to replace the American citizen-soldier. The soldier revolt of the Vietnam Era already proved that everyday Americans were an unreliable force to achieve imperial ambitions.

Nothing rips the mask off of the humanitarian justifications better than the actual experience of combat in a war for oil and power -- so the war managers tried to reduce combat exposure to a few. And they succeeded. The number of official US troops abroad reached a 60-year low by 2017 . Even still a new resistance movement of veterans is gathering steam .

Can the mask be put back on? It's hard to say, because as The Nation reports, Americans from a wide spectrum of political positions are tired of perpetual war.

Can the "Green New Military" Put The Mask Back On?

The recycled imperial justifications of the past are losing their power: Manifest Destiny, White Mans' Burden, leader of the free world, nation-building, humanitarian war, war against terrorism, responsibility to protect -- what's next? If only the military could be seen as saviors once again.

A last-ditch effort to postpone the collapse of the liberal versions of war stories might just be the " Green New Military ." Elizabeth Warren's policy claims, "Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change. " It's a wild claim that contradicts all evidence unless she is also calling for an end to regime-change wars, the New Cold War and the scaling down of our foreign bases. Instead, Warren is all about combat readiness. She did not invent this -- the Pentagon had already embraced the new rhetoric . Given that the Working Families Party and some influential progressives have already signaled their willingness to accept Warren as a candidate, she might just silence dissent as effectively as Obama once did.

But, the lie is paper-thin: "There is no such thing as a Green War." You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you cannot fool mother nature one little bit. War and climate change are deeply connected and ultimately there is no way to hide that.

The New Cold War and More of The Same Old Wars

So far the New Cold War against Russia and China has recycled the anti-communist conspiracy of the old Cold War into the xenophobic conspiracy theory of Russia-gate. Even a trusted tool like Mueller could not make it work as a coherent narrative but no matter -- the US did not skip a beat in building up military bases on Russia's borders .

The media and political attacks on Russia or China or immigrants, or Iran or Syria are likely to continue because propagandists cannot activate the exceptionalist code without an evil enemy. Still, it takes more than evil. An effective war story for the US ruling class must project the liberal ideas of helping, protection, saving and the spread of democracy in order to engineer mass consent to war. Hence the need for "Humanitarian War," "Duty to Protect" or maybe the"Green New Military."

Let anyone propose a retreat from any battlefield and the "humanitarian" war cry will rally the empire's pawns and savior-types. If we practice our exceptionalism religiously -- and religion it is -- then the US empire will never ever pull back from any war at any time. There is always someone for the empire to "protect and save:" from the "Noble Savages" and innocent white settlers of the frontier, to the Vietnamese Catholics, to the women of Afghanistan, to the Kurds of Syria.

We so want to see our wars as a morality play, just as the Puritans did, but the empire is all about power and profit.

"War is the Continuation of Politics by Other Means." -- Carl von Clausewitz

All the Big Brass study Clausewitz because he is the founder of western military science -- but they are so blinded by the dilemmas of empire that they make a mess of his central teaching: War is politics.

None of the war narratives and none of the wars can solve the most important question of politics: governance . Who will govern the colonies? The overwhelming verdict of history is this: colonies cannot be democratically or humanely governed as long as they are colonies. Until the empire retreats its heavy hand will rule in places like Afghanistan.

The empire is reaching the limits of exceptionalism as both war narrative and national mythology. This is why our rulers are forced to desperate measures: perpetual war, occupation, intense propaganda campaigns like Russia-gate, the reliance on mercenaries and terrorists, and the abuse and betrayal of their own soldiers.

Just as damning to the war machine is the collapse of conventional ideas about victory and defeat. The US military can no longer "win." The question of victory is important on a deep cultural level. According to the original mythology, the outcome of wars waged by "the chosen people" are an indication of God's favor or disfavor. In modern terms, defeat delegitimizes the state. Endless war is no substitute for "victory."

But it's not military victory we want. Our victory will be in ending war, dismantling the empire, abolishing the vast militarized penal system and stopping irreparable climate chaos. Our resistance will create a new narrative but it can only be written when millions of people become the authors of their own history.

The empire is slipping into decline and chaos – one way or another. Will we be actors deciding the fate of the American Empire or will it's collapse dictate our fate? But these wars will, sooner or later, become the graveyard of empire -- or else America is truly exceptional and we really are God's chosen people.

[Oct 10, 2019] There is no reason that anyone should treat George Bush with respect: he is a war criminal, who escaped justice

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... George W. Bush's presidency wasn't just morally bankrupt. In a superior reality, the Hague would be sorting out whether he is guilty of war crimes. Since our international institutions have failed to punish, or even censure him, surely the only moral response from civil society should be to shun him. But here is Ellen DeGeneres hanging out with him at a Cowboys game: ..."
"... This is what we say to children who don't want to sit next to the class misfit at lunch. It is not -- or at least it should not -- be the way we talk about a man who used his immense power to illegally invade another country where we still have troops 16 years later. His feet should bleed wherever he walks and Iraqis should get to throw shoes at him until the end of his days. ..."
"... DeGeneres isn't a role model for civility. Her friendship with Bush simply embodies the grossest form of class solidarity. From a lofty enough vantage point, perhaps Bush's misdeeds really look like minor partisan differences. Perhaps Iraq seems very far away, and so do the poor of New Orleans, when the stage of your show is the closest you get to anyone without power." ..."
"... There is no reason that anyone should treat George Bush with respect. ..."
Oct 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , October 09, 2019 at 04:05 PM

Despicable. She is actually saying Bush's actions were just a difference of opinion, as opposed to causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.

I have never watched anything she has ever done without thinking about it. Now I will never watch anything she does because of her imbecility.

Nobody Should Be Friends With George W. Bush by Sarah Jones

"Comedian Ellen DeGeneres loves to tell everyone to be kind. It's a loose word, kindness; on her show, DeGeneres customarily uses it to mean a generic sort of niceness. Don't bully. Befriend people! It's a charming thought, though it has its limits as a moral ethic. There are people in the world, after all, whom it is better not to befriend. Consider, for example, the person of George W. Bush. Tens of thousands of people are dead because his administration lied to the American public about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and then, based on that lie, launched a war that's now in its 16th year. After Hurricane Katrina struck and hundreds of people drowned in New Orleans, Bush twiddled his thumbs for days. Rather than fire the officials responsible for the government's life-threateningly lackluster response to the crisis, he praised them, before flying over the scene in Air Force One. He opposed basic human rights for LGBT people, and reproductive rights for women, and did more to empower the American Christian right than any president since Reagan.

George W. Bush's presidency wasn't just morally bankrupt. In a superior reality, the Hague would be sorting out whether he is guilty of war crimes. Since our international institutions have failed to punish, or even censure him, surely the only moral response from civil society should be to shun him. But here is Ellen DeGeneres hanging out with him at a Cowboys game:

And here is Ellen DeGeneres explaining why it's good and normal to share laughs, small talk, and nachos with a man who has many deaths on his conscience:

Here's the money quote from her apologia:

"We're all different. And I think that we've forgotten that that's okay that we're all different," she told her studio audience. "When I say be kind to one another, I don't mean be kind to the people who think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone."

This is what we say to children who don't want to sit next to the class misfit at lunch. It is not -- or at least it should not -- be the way we talk about a man who used his immense power to illegally invade another country where we still have troops 16 years later. His feet should bleed wherever he walks and Iraqis should get to throw shoes at him until the end of his days.

Nevertheless, many celebrities and politicians have hailed DeGeneres for her radical civility:

There's almost no point to rebutting anything that Chris Cillizza writes. Whatever he says is inevitably dumb and wrong, and then I get angry while I think about how much money he gets to be dumb and wrong on a professional basis. But on this occasion, I'll make an exception. The notion that DeGeneres's friendship with Bush is antithetical to Trumpism fundamentally misconstrues the force that makes Trump possible. Trump isn't a simple playground bully, he's the president. Americans grant our commanders-in-chief extraordinary deference once they leave office. They become celebrities, members of an apolitical royal class. This tendency to separate former presidents from the actions of their office, as if they were merely actors in a stage play, or retired athletes from a rival team, contributes to the atmosphere of impunity that enabled Trump. If Trump's critics want to make sure that his cruelties are sins the public and political class alike never tolerate again, our reflexive reverence for the presidency has to die.

DeGeneres isn't a role model for civility. Her friendship with Bush simply embodies the grossest form of class solidarity. From a lofty enough vantage point, perhaps Bush's misdeeds really look like minor partisan differences. Perhaps Iraq seems very far away, and so do the poor of New Orleans, when the stage of your show is the closest you get to anyone without power."

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/10/ellen-degeneres-is-wrong-about-george-w-bush.html

... ... ...

...I am all in favor of Tulsi Gabbard's anti-war stance, but this comment shows me she is too childish to hold any power.

Tulsi Gabbard
‏Verified account @TulsiGabbard
22h22 hours ago

.@TheEllenShow msg of being kind to ALL is so needed right now. Enough with the divisiveness. We can't let politics tear us apart. There are things we will disagree on strongly, and things we agree on -- let's treat each other with respect, aloha, & work together for the people.

There is no reason that anyone should treat George Bush with respect.

[Oct 09, 2019] Mark Ruffalo called out for selective outrage over tweet shaming Ellen Degeneres and George Bush's war crimes

Notable quotes:
"... "Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars -- emotional & otherwise -- inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can't even begin to talk about kindness," the actor of Incredible Hulk fame tweeted. ..."
"... While some online were appreciative of the anti-Bush sentiment, many wondered aloud why similar treatment was rarely afforded to Bush's successor, Barack Obama, who is largely given a pass despite pursuing – in some cases escalating – many of the same policies for which Bush is condemned today. ..."
"... From a massive escalation of the Afghan war in 2009, ramping up drone bombings on Pakistan, establishing a secret presidential "kill list" that included American citizens, leading a NATO operation that left Libya in ruin, or arming violent Islamist militants in Syria – Obama still has much to answer for, but is rarely asked to do so. Despite bragging that he'd already bombed seven countries by 2015, liberal celebrities like Ruffalo have had few harsh words for the Nobel Peace Prize winner. ..."
"... *Nobel Peace Drones™ ..."
"... "Mark Ruffalo (correctly) calling out George Bush for being a war criminal, responsible for the displacement and death of millions," ..."
Oct 09, 2019 | www.rt.com

Actor Mark Ruffalo was shredded for double standards after he posted a "callout" tweet assailing George Bush for the sins of the Iraq War, with many netizens noting his aversion to slamming Barack Obama's military adventures. Weighing into a controversy kicked off by TV personality Ellen Degeneres, who came under fire for schmoozing it up with former President George W. Bush at a football game last weekend, Ruffalo insisted no quarter or kindness should be offered to perpetrators of heinous war crimes until they face consequences, including Bush.

"Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars -- emotional & otherwise -- inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can't even begin to talk about kindness," the actor of Incredible Hulk fame tweeted.

Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars -- emotional & otherwise -- inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can't even begin to talk about kindness. https://t.co/dpMwfck6su

-- Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 9, 2019

While some online were appreciative of the anti-Bush sentiment, many wondered aloud why similar treatment was rarely afforded to Bush's successor, Barack Obama, who is largely given a pass despite pursuing – in some cases escalating – many of the same policies for which Bush is condemned today.

Claiming Bush is some monster while worshipping Obama even though they did the same things abroad🤔

-- Dave Weber (@Dave_Weber86) October 9, 2019

Bush and Obama bro! They're both war criminals!!

-- Dodgers High Correspondent (@42o_Bandit) October 9, 2019

From a massive escalation of the Afghan war in 2009, ramping up drone bombings on Pakistan, establishing a secret presidential "kill list" that included American citizens, leading a NATO operation that left Libya in ruin, or arming violent Islamist militants in Syria – Obama still has much to answer for, but is rarely asked to do so. Despite bragging that he'd already bombed seven countries by 2015, liberal celebrities like Ruffalo have had few harsh words for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

*Nobel Peace Drones™

-- Fuzzy Chimp (@fuzzychimpcom) October 9, 2019

Obama must be brought to justice for his drone strikes that killed thousands of civilians.

-- ed (@eleventy17) October 9, 2019

"Woke Twitter, [including] Mark Ruffalo, are selective about call outs," one user observed, noting the several occasions former first lady Michelle Obama posed affectionately with Bush without facing a similar wave of outrage from figures like Ruffalo.

People ripping Jameela Jamil and the celebs in these screenshots but it was tumbleweed 101 when Michelle Obama was getting regular sweeties fixes from George W. Bush & going above and beyond duty in friendly optics. Woke Twitter, incl Mark Ruffalo, are selective about call outs. pic.twitter.com/snNYZEbAWM

-- Independent Thinker (@ThinkIndep) October 9, 2019

It's funny how Mark Ruffalo can criticize Ellen, who was an actual person affected by Bush's ignorance, but not a peep about Michelle Obama who admits to having a special FRIENDSHIP with GW. https://t.co/9UM1BP8GpY

-- Anthony Joseph (@Anthony45525826) October 9, 2019

Another commenter seconded Ruffalo's views on Bush, but encouraged the actor to take his criticism further, applying the same humanitarian standard evenly, regardless of the party in power.

"Mark Ruffalo (correctly) calling out George Bush for being a war criminal, responsible for the displacement and death of millions," the user said.

The same is true for Obama. He started 5 wars and displaced even more people than Bush. However, Obama is a media darling who Mark gushes over.

Mark Ruffalo (correctly) calling out George Bush for being a war criminal, responsible for the displacement and death of millions

The same is true for Obama. He started 5 wars and displaced even more people than Bush

However, Obama is a media darling who Mark gushes over

-- HeroAssange (@HeroAssange) October 9, 2019

100% on Bush. You forgot to add Obama & Clinton though. No reason to root for justice against one war criminal, while giving a free pass to others. It makes it partisan, rather than ethical.

-- Life Coach (@jimlyons3000) October 9, 2019

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

[Oct 08, 2019] Are There Israelis in the U.S. Government by Philip Giraldi

Looks like Us politicians adopted the stance: if you can't win against Israel lobby, join... And yea we should talk about Zionists as a flavor of far right nationalism, nit about Jews, per se. The latter smells with anti-Semitism as it accuses the ethnic group as a whole. Which is not only false, but also self-defeating stance: Russophobia is "politically correct" anti-Semitism in the USA.
Notable quotes:
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
"... I would suggest to Phil Giraldi to talk about Zionists instead of Jews doing Israel's bidding. These Zionists adhere to the most racist and Apartheid ideology under the sun; Zionism. Not every Jew is a Zionist. Therefore it's an insult to those Jews who do not adhere to this wicked ideology and resist it. The notion of the right-wing Zionist regime in Israel to speak in the name of world Jewry should be rejected not only by the Jewish citizens of each country but by the public in general. It's amount to the hijacking of Jews in the name of a vile racist and occupation regime. Such a claim puts the local Jewish population in a precarious position, which could reproach in "dual loyalty." As Giraldi has pointed out numerous times, the majority of Americans have lost control of their Middle Eastern policy. A group of people whose loyalty to the US can cautiously describe as vague are in charge. ..."
"... I read in a sidebar on Antiwar.com that Sigal Mandelker was one of the attorneys representing Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. ..."
"... Mandelker was one of the DOJ officials who signed off on Epstein's sweetheart nonprosecution agreement. One suspects she was the superior of Alexander Acosta who told him that Epstein belonged to intelligence and was above Acosta's pay grade. ..."
Oct 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Given Israel's clearly demonstrated ability to manipulate and manage American government at all levels, there is inevitably considerable speculation about the presence of actual Israeli citizens in the federal and state bureaucracies. Very often, lists that appear on the internet focus on Jewish legislators, but in reality, few of them are likely to have Israeli citizenship even if they regularly exhibit what amounts to "dual loyalty" sympathy for the Jewish state. Nevertheless, Jews who are Zionists are vastly overrepresented in all government agencies that have anything at all to do with the Middle East.

There are, of course, some Jews who flaunt their identification with Israel, to include current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who describes himself as "protector" of Israel and former Senator Frank Lautenberg, frequently referred to as "Israel's Senator." One might also include Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and mayor of Chicago, who reportedly served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army, and Doug Feith, who caused so much mischief from his perch at the Pentagon in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Feith had a law office in Jerusalem, suggesting that he might have obtained Israeli citizenship.

To be sure there are many non-Jews in the American government who have hitched their star to the Israeli wagon because they know it to be career enhancing. One only has to observe in action Senator Lindsay Graham, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and perhaps the most revolting of all, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who ran for office proclaiming that he would be the most pro-Israel governor in the United States. After being elected he traveled to Jerusalem with a large entourage of Zionist supporters to hold the first meeting of the Florida state government cabinet. According to some authorities in Florida, the meeting was supposed to be held in the state capitol Tallahassee and was therefore illegal, but DeSantis was undaunted and made clear to observers where his loyalty lies.

Part of the problem is that Israeli citizenship is obtained virtually automatically upon application by any Jew and once obtained it is permanent, only revocable by petitioning the Israeli government. Nor is there anything equating to a list of citizens, so it is possible to be an Israeli citizen while also holding American citizenship and no one would be the wiser. As the United States permits American citizens to have multiple passports and therefore nationalities there is, in fact, nothing in U.S. law that prohibits being both Israeli and American.

Having dual nationality only a real issue when the policies of one citizenship conflict with the other, and that is precisely where the problem comes in with Israeli dual nationals in the United States, particularly if they wind up in the government. Frank Lautenberg, for example, was responsible for the "Lautenberg amendment" of 1990 which brought many thousands of Russian Jews into the United States as refugees, even though they were not in any danger and were therefore ineligible for that status. As refugees, they received significant taxpayer provided housing, subsistence and educational benefits.

Some other current officials in the government who may or may not have dual nationality and are in policy making positions might include U.S. (sic) Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and the recently resigned international negotiator Jason Greenblatt. Both have long histories of pro-Israel advocacy to include supporting illegal settlements on the West Bank. And there is also someone named Jared Kushner, whose ties to Israel are so close that Benjamin Netanyahu once slept in his father and mother's apartment. If the metric to judge the actions – and loyalty – of these individuals is their willingness to place American interests ahead of those of Israel, they all would fail the test.

That said, there was one individual dual national who truly stood out when it came to serving Israeli interests from inside the United States government. She might be worthy of the nickname "Queen of Sanctions" because she was the Department of the Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI), who handed the punishment out and had her hand on the throttle to crank the pain up. She is our own, unfortunately, and also Israel's own Sigal Pearl Mandelker, and is its wonderful to be able to say that she finally resigned last week!

OFTI's website proclaims that it is responsible for "safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats," but it has from its founding been really all about safeguarding Israel's perceived interests. Grant Smith notes how "the secretive office has a special blind spot for major terrorism generators, such as tax-exempt money laundering from the United States into illegal Israeli settlements and proliferation financing and weapons technology smuggling into Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons complex."

To be sure, sanctions have been the key weapon in the ongoing unending war against perceived "enemies" like Russia and Venezuela, but they have been laid on most promiscuously in the case of Iran, Israel's number one enemy du jour, which has also been demonized by Washington even though it is no threat to the United States. And it should be recognized that sanctions are not a bloodless exercise used to pressure a recalcitrant government. They disproportionately affect the poor and powerless, who starve and are denied access to medicines, but they rarely have any impact on those who run the government. Five-hundred thousand Iraqi children died from sanctions imposed by President Bill Clinton and his vulturine Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Currently, Iranians and Venezuelans are dying, by some estimates in their tens of thousands.

Once on a sanctions list administered by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) , there is no actual appeal process and no getting off the hook unless Mandelker said so. And anyone who has any contact with the sanctioned entity can be in for trouble, including American citizens who will find themselves no longer having rights to free speech and association. The terms for violation of sanctions used by OFAC are "transaction" and "dealing in transactions," broadly construed to include not only monetary dealings or exchanges, but also "providing any sort of service" and "non-monetary service," including giving a presentation at a conference or speaking or writing in support of a sanctioned group or individual.

OFAC has a broad mandate to punish anyone who has anything to do with any Iranian group or even any individual as Iran is considered a country that is "comprehensively sanctioned." To cite just one example of how indiscriminately the sanctions regime works, Max Blumenthal has described how the FBI recently, acting under Mandelker's orders, warned a number of Americans who had planned on speaking at an Iranian organized conference in Beirut that they might be arrested upon their return.

Mandelker was born in Israel and largely educated in the United States. She is predictably a lawyer. She has never stated how many citizenships she holds while repeated inquiries as to whether she retains her Israeli citizenship have been ignored by the Treasury Department. It is not clear how she managed to obtain a security clearance given her evident affinity to a foreign country. The position that she held until last Wednesday was created in 2004 by George W. Bush and is something of a "no Gentiles need apply" fiefdom. Its officials travel regularly on the taxpayer's dime to Israel for consultations and also collaborate with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Mandelker's predecessor was Adam Szubin and he was preceded by David Cohen and, before that, by the office's founder Stuart Levey, who is currently Group Legal Manager and Group Managing Director for global bank HSBC. Since its creation, OFTI has not surprisingly focused on what might be described as Israel's enemies, most notably among them being Iran.

Mandelker was clear about her role, citing her personal and business relationship with "our great partner, Israel." Referring to sanctions on Iran, she has said that "Bad actors need money to do bad things. That is why we have this massive sanctions regime Every time we apply that pressure, that crunch on them, we deny them the ability to get that kind of revenue, we make the world a safer place." In support of the pain she is inflicting to no real purpose other than to force complete Iranian capitulation, she cites alleged Iranian misdeeds, foremost of which is its alleged threatening of Israel. She also condemns Iran's support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad, who she claims has killed his own people with chemical weapons, an assertion that has proven to be untrue.

Mandelker touted her personal history as a claimed child of the seemingly ubiquitous "holocaust survivors." In a speech at the Holocaust Museum in April she claimed that her parents went underground in Eastern Europe: "They were hiding underground, in forests, in ditches and under haystacks. I grew up hearing their stories, including about moments of great courage, some of which resulted in survival and others that ended in death."

To be sure, Mandelker and her predecessors have been going after Iran's money since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, constantly devising new restrictions and rules to make it hard for Tehran to do business with any other country. In 2006 Levey's office began to focus on cutting off Iran from the global financial system. Currently the Trump administration is applying what it describes as "maximum pressure" in seeking to sink Iran's economy by blocking all oil exports. Since May, any country buying Iranian oil has been vulnerable to secondary sanctions by Washington, all set up and choreographed by Mandelker.

That Mandelker and company have been engaging in economic warfare with a country with which the United States is not at war seems to have escaped the notice of the media and Washington's chattering class, not surprisingly as Israel is a beneficiary of the policy. And the fact that the way sanctions are being enforced against American citizens is clearly unconstitutional has also slipped by the usual watchdogs. Sigal Mandelker was a prime example of why anyone who is either an actual dual national or plausibly possesses dual loyalty should not hold high office in the United States government and is a blessing that she is gone, though one imagines she will be replaced by another Zionist fanatic. If anyone wonders why Israel gets away with what it does the simple answer would be that there are just too many people at the federal level who think that serving Israel is the same as serving the United States. That is just not so and it is past time that the American public should wake up to that fact.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


Greg Bacon , says: Website October 8, 2019 at 12:28 am GMT

As refugees, they received significant taxpayer provided housing, subsistence and educational benefits.

Including free Social Security, even though they never paid any money into that fund.

And it's not merely thousands, but hundreds and hundreds of thousands, all living off the generosity of the American taxpayer. But Shhh, don't say anything, why that would be anti-Semitic!

Talk about welfare Queens.

Those covered by the Lautenberg Amendment are eligible for Special Cash Assistance and for Federal Public Assistance Programs including, but not limited to, Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

CRS statistics indicate that over 370,000 refugees were admitted from the Former Soviet Union in the first ten years of the Lautenberg Amendment. In October 2002 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that "The Lautenberg Amendment allowed some 350,000 to 400,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union to gain entry into the United States without having to prove they were individually persecuted." In 2010 the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society cited Eric Rubin, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow stating that the amendment had resulted in almost 440,000 refugees from the former Soviet Union and other regions of the world.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/06/the-lautenberg-amendment/

I'm sure Wolf Blitzer of Rachael Madcow will cover this theft soon.

renfro , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:33 am GMT
*Eric Alterman made extended remarks in 2009 at the 92d Y, celebrating his dual loyalty:

"You know, one of the touchiest words you can say when you're discussing Jews and Israel is the word dual loyalty. It's sort of one of those words that American Jewish officialdom has ruled out of the discourse. If you say dual loyalty, you're playing into the hands of anti-semites, because it's been a consistent trope among anti-Semites that you can't trust Jews. etc. etc. And I find this very confusing because I was raised dually loyal my whole life. When I went to Hebrew school, the content of my Hebrew school was all about supporting Israel. When my parents who I think are here tonight sent me to Israel when I was 14, on a ZOA [Zionist Organization of America]-sponsored trip it was drummed into me that I should do what's best for Israel.
I was at the Center for Jewish History not long ago where I heard Ruth Wisse, the Yiddishist professor at Harvard instruct a group of young Jewish journalists that they should think of themselves as members of the Israeli army.
I am a dual loyal Jew and sometimes I'm going to actually go with Israel, because the United States can take an awful lot of hits and come up standing. Whereas if Israel takes one serious bad hit it could disappear. So there's going to be some cases where when Israel and the United States conflict I'm going to support what's best for Israel rather than what I think is best for the United States.
Then-editor of the Forward Jane Eisner: Can you imagine a time where you would feel that dual loyalty and go with Israel?
Alterman: I just said, there are many occasions.
Eisner: Can you give us an example?
Alterman: I think that bin Laden and 9/11 were to some degree inspired by U.S. support of Israel. I think a great deal of the terrorist attacks and the sort of pool of potential terrorists who want to attack the United States are inspired by the United States support for Israel. I'm not saying we shouldn't support Israel for that reason. I'm saying, Dammit if that's the price we have to pay, then I'm willing to pay it. I'm just saying Let's be honest about it.".>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Just think that what Alterman said is not condemned ..he suffers nothing for admitting that he is basically a traitor who would sacrifice Americans for the Jewish state.

Unbelievable ..staggers the mind how this kind of Jew treason is so accepted in America ..just staggering.

How did this kind of treason come to be O.K. for the Jews?
It came from this kind of treason .. Nancy Pelosi Addressing AIPAC in December of last year:

"I have said to people when they ask me, if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain would be our commitment to our aid, I don't even call it our aid, our cooperation with Israel. That's fundamental to who we are.""

If there was a terrorist out there worth a damn he would be bombing congress instead of Wal-Mart's.

Oscar Peterson , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:31 am GMT
@renfro It's true. They're utterly disgusting.
Jon Baptist , says: October 8, 2019 at 5:15 am GMT

If there was a terrorist out there worth a damn he would be bombing congress instead of Wal-Mart's

This is the key observation.

"ISIS once 'apologized' to Israel for attacking IDF soldiers – former Defense Minister" –
https://www.rt.com/news/386027-isis-apologized-israel-golan/

"'You can assume that these terrorists are fighting for Israel. If they aren't part of the regular Israeli army, they're fighting for Israel. Israel has common goals with Turkey, the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries,' Assad was quoted by Ynet" – https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4946010,00.html

Greg Bacon , says: Website October 8, 2019 at 6:23 am GMT

Dammit if that's the price we have to pay, then I'm willing to pay it

Altermann is being slippery here, saying HE would be willing to pay the price of some neoCONs or Zionists dragging the USA into another war for Israel.

What he should of said is that as a member of the Jewish dominated MSM, they are more than willing to trick, deceive, bamboozle and pull us by our Star of David shaped nose ring into endless wars for the glory of Apartheid Israel and if you disagree, why you're just a mouth breathing, knuckle-dragging anti-Semite.

Dmitry , says: October 8, 2019 at 6:28 am GMT

obtained virtually automatically upon application

^ Just nonsense.

They need to live for 3 months in Israel (after attaining the correct visa) to attain the citizenship, or a year of living in Israel for the passport (unless they changed this recently or accelerated it).

What you are confused with is obtaining the repatriation visa and the temporary card. The visa they can issue before people arrive in Israel, and the temporary identity card at the airport. But those are only useful if you will live for the following months in Israel.

Ludwig Watzal , says: Website October 8, 2019 at 7:12 am GMT
I would suggest to Phil Giraldi to talk about Zionists instead of Jews doing Israel's bidding. These Zionists adhere to the most racist and Apartheid ideology under the sun; Zionism. Not every Jew is a Zionist. Therefore it's an insult to those Jews who do not adhere to this wicked ideology and resist it. The notion of the right-wing Zionist regime in Israel to speak in the name of world Jewry should be rejected not only by the Jewish citizens of each country but by the public in general. It's amount to the hijacking of Jews in the name of a vile racist and occupation regime. Such a claim puts the local Jewish population in a precarious position, which could reproach in "dual loyalty." As Giraldi has pointed out numerous times, the majority of Americans have lost control of their Middle Eastern policy. A group of people whose loyalty to the US can cautiously describe as vague are in charge.
JR , says: October 8, 2019 at 7:18 am GMT
"current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who describes himself as "protector" of Israel "

FARA registration?

Tom Welsh , says: October 8, 2019 at 7:59 am GMT
"As the United States permits American citizens to have multiple passports and therefore nationalities there is, in fact, nothing in U.S. law that prohibits being both Israeli and American".

Although I have not checked recently, I am fairly sure that is not the whole story by any means.

It is quite true that ordinary citizens can go a lifetime with dual nationality and feel no pain. I am one such, as my parents were British by birth but I was born in Argentina. Like the USA, Argentina grants nationality to everyone born there (or, perhaps more accurately, claims such people as its citizens).

However I think you will find that US law forbids anyone with dual US-anything nationality to serve as an officer (or perhaps in any rank) in the other nation's armed forces, or to accept political office in the other nation's government. There may well be other restrictions.

The exceptions I have pointed out are very relevant indeed to the dual US-Israeli citizens mentioned in the article, as many of them have served in the Israeli armed forces. Indeed is that not compulsory for any Israeli citizen resident in Israel)? Some of them have also held political office, had civil service jobs, etc.

For such people to remain anonymous is a scandal and, frankly, a serious national security risk for the USA.

Tom Welsh , says: October 8, 2019 at 8:03 am GMT
"Israeli citizenship is obtained virtually automatically upon application by any Jew and once obtained it is permanent, only revocable by petitioning the Israeli government".

Neat and effective. "It's a kopeck to get in, but a ruble to get out".

Tom Welsh , says: October 8, 2019 at 8:08 am GMT
'OFTI's website proclaims that it is responsible for "safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats" '

Doesn't the US government mind this office setting itself up against the power of Washington?

Illicit use of funds – check.
Rogue nation – check.
Terrorist facilitators – check in CAPITAL LETTERS. (Also actual terrorists).
WMD – check. (No other nation's government still maintains nuclear, chemical and biological weapons).
Money launderers – Hell, Washington is the world's biggest counterfeiter.
Drug kingpins – check, although that is mostly delegated to the CIA.
Other national security threats – check, Washington is a national security threat to every other nation in the world except Israel.

Realist , says: October 8, 2019 at 10:32 am GMT

To be sure there are many non-Jews in the American government who have hitched their star to the Israeli wagon because they know it to be career enhancing.

It can only be career enhancing if whites allow it.

One only has to observe in action Senator Lindsay Graham, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and perhaps the most revolting of all, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who ran for office proclaiming that he would be the most pro-Israel governor in the United States.

With the exception of Nikki Haley, who was appointed by an elected official, the other two were elected by the majority white electorate. Jews have inordinate power in our country because whites allow it.

To be clear any problems caused by Jews are the result of white insouciance.

alexander , says: October 8, 2019 at 10:46 am GMT
@renfro Dear Phil,

I read in a sidebar on Antiwar.com that Sigal Mandelker was one of the attorneys representing Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.

If it is true, then she,like Alexander Acosta, is guilty of breaking the law by entering into judgement a plea deal without first notifying the plaintiffs of what that deal was, and whether or not it met to their satisfaction.

The fact that it was MORE important to Mandelker to reward a child rapist/ pedophile with a super sweet, totally cush deal , than to seek justice for his numerous victims , indicates , with extreme clarity , she has no business working in our treasury department, let alone our OFAC.

Individuals, who breach our laws and rules of ethics to ensure pedophiles and child rapists are free to roam our streets, have no business working in the United States Government, in any capacity.

The fact that both Mendaker AND Acosta were given prominent positions of power , with the full awareness of their actions by those who appointed them, is very, very troubling.

It is simply NOT acceptable to the American People that there may be pedophiles and/or child rapists serving within, and/ or influencing , our representative bodies.

The fact there has been no investigation into any of this, as well as Mandelkers connection, is an absolute disgrace.

It seems to me, that until all the facts are clear, President Trump should order a "clean sweep protocol" As soon as possible.

Child rapists , and their enablers , belong in only one place .and that is Federal Prison. .

It is not just a matter of ethics it is a matter of National Security.

mark green , says: October 8, 2019 at 11:14 am GMT
Excellent article. Important subject.

Zionists have thoroughly infiltrated and compromised the US Treasury. This is news. Watch it be ignored.

Crypto-Israelis have captured (and partly converted) a US Federal agency for the purpose of crippling the economies of any state that interferes with the far-flung agenda of global Zionism. Their duplicitous mission borders on treason.

Using American resources to target Israel's far-away foes has nothing to do with advancing the interests of the American people. To the contrary. It damages us economically and strategically. It also undermines us domestically since these actions allow a foreign-based faction to seize and exploit US power for its own nefarious ends.

Crypto-Zionist penetration of Washington is a backdoor assault on US sovereignty. We are being parasitized.

Incredibly, Israeli influence over Washington has become so embedded that's it's now taken for granted by Jews and acquiescing gentiles alike. Success in Washington now requires one to A) fully understand (and respect) Jewish privilege, while B) never transgressing upon the taboos that protect this indomitable group.

Indeed, just examining the range and depth of Jewish power in America is a forbidden topic (except by Jewish scholars for a Jewish audience).

But for the rest of us, just noticing Jewish power is a risky enterprise. (So say nothing.)

Officially, there's no such thing. Only Jewish victims.

Hapless Americans are confused. For Diaspora Jews however these artful deceptions constitute a familiar gameplan. Organized Jewish subversion dates back to ancient Persia. Jews celebrate it. (See: Purim)

Today, Israeli operatives are all over Washington, Wall Street, Hollywood and beyond. And they're not the least bit ashamed about it. No siree. It's what they do.

Activist Jews are deeply committed to weaving Israel's economic and political needs into the very fabric of American life. They are succeeding.

When Zio-America's corrupt, bloodthirsty, and over-extended empire finally collapses, Diaspora Jews can simply cash in their chips and migrate to Israel. America's demise will mark a new chapter in their glorious, wandering, drama-filled history.

Unfortunately, we goyim are expected to go down with the American ship.

Richard B , says: October 8, 2019 at 11:23 am GMT
@Grigor That's exactly right! They should not be recognized.

What should be recognized is the fact that no American could seriously think of a single thing Israel has ever done for us.

We could think of a lot of things they've done TO us.

Now THAT's something that should be recognized.

They've corrupted our Congress.
They've subborned our Citizens.
They've looted our Treasury.
They've sold our secrets to China and Russia.
They've attacked our military (USS Liberty)
They've attacked our country (September 11th, 2001)

I could go on but I'd never finish.

Either way, you get the idea.

Just as Iran is no threat to the US, Israel is no benefit to the US.

Israel is a Terror State working with its Dual Citizens to Destroy America. Period!

By the way, if Mueller really wanted to bust someone for collusion he could arrest the entire US Congress after its next AIPAC meeting.

He could contact CNN and organize a live feed of Congress coming out of the hotel holding their AIPAC checks.

geokat62 , says: October 8, 2019 at 11:45 am GMT
@renfro

To see just how 'entitled' the Jewish State thinks it is read these two articles. They are aflame over Trump decision not to interfere in the Turkey Kurd dispute on the Turkey Syrian border.

Speaking of aflame, I would recommend a third. It's an article by Yossi Alpher, who is a former Mossad official and former director of Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.

Concluding paragraphs from, What Trump's Withdrawal From Syria Means For The Kurds – And For Israel :

At the end of the day, there are two basic lessons here for Israel and its supporters. For anyone who has entertained doubts about the need for a state for the Jewish people, the Kurds represent a tragic reminder. They are consistently being abandoned to an ugly fate because they don't have a country.

The second lesson is that Israel cannot and must not depend on Trump. The cries of alarm in Israel in recent days about a looming security threat do not only reflect lessons drawn from Iran's (or one of its proxy's) spectacular attack on Saudi Arabia's energy infrastructure. The alarms also reflect concern over the precedent set by Trump's refusal to get involved militarily after Washington's Saudi ally was the victim of naked aggression from Iran.

From that standpoint, America abandoning the Syrian Kurds is just icing on the cake of Trump's Middle East non-strategy.

https://forward.com/opinion/432783/what-trumps-withdrawal-from-syria-means-for-the-kurds-and-for-israel/

lysias , says: October 8, 2019 at 12:06 pm GMT
@alexander Mandelker was one of the DOJ officials who signed off on Epstein's sweetheart nonprosecution agreement. One suspects she was the superior of Alexander Acosta who told him that Epstein belonged to intelligence and was above Acosta's pay grade.

[Sep 29, 2019] Want To Save The Environment De-Fund The Pentagon by Caitlin Johnstone

Sep 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Millions of people are uniting in demonstrations worldwide against our civilization's ecocidal march toward extinction, which makes me so happy to see. It's really encouraging to see so many young people burning with love for their planet and a hunger to reverse the damage that has been done to our ecosystem by the refusal of previous generations to turn away from our path of devastation. This must continue if we are to survive as a species.

The challenge now is the same perennial challenge which comes up every single time there is a massive and enthusiastic push from the public in a direction that is healthy: such movements always, without exception, become targeted for manipulation by establishment interests. I write all the time about how this has happened with the intrinsically healthy impulse of feminism; I just finished watching an MSNBC pundit proclaim that anyone who still supports Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren is a sexist. This corralling of healthy energy into the advancement of corrupt establishment interests happens with feminism, it happens with the healthy fight against racism and antisemitism, and of course it happens with environmentalism.

Of course it does. People get very emotional when you say this, even if you fully support environmentalism and don't have any objections to the overall scientific consensus about what's happening to our environment, but environmentalism is not destined to be the one and only popular movement which establishment interests don't move mountains to co-opt.

We know that our oligarchic empire will do literally anything, up to and including murdering a million Iraqis, to secure control over energy resources. We know this with absolute certainty. Therefore we can also know with certainty that they are working to ensure that when new energy systems are put in place, they are put in place in a way which allows the oligarchs to retain their power, and ideally to expand it, without losing their thrones to rival plutocrats, to governments, or (worst case scenario) to the rank-and-file public gaining control over their own energy. This agenda is on the table. It is happening.

The ruling elites have many advantages over us, but one of the greatest is the fact that they know exactly what they want and exactly where they're trying to push things, whereas we the general public, on average, do not. If we only had one positive anti-establishment direction to push in there'd be no stopping us, and as soon as we find one the oligarchs will be done. But in general and on average what we have is a few clear ideas about what we don't want and a great many vague, frequently contradictory ideas about what we do want. This lack of clarity in direction always leaves us highly susceptible to the influence of any well-funded narrative manager who steps forward to say "Oh yeah I know exactly where we're going! It's this way, follow me!"

Luckily for us, there's a very clear demand we can add into the mix in this new push for environmentalist reforms which runs directly counter to the interests of the empire that is trying to manipulate our healthy impulses: de-fund the Pentagon.

There is no single, unified entity that is a larger polluter than America's dishonestly labeled "Department of Defense". Its yearly carbon output alone dwarfs that of entire first-world nations like Sweden and Portugal ; if the US military were its own country it would rank 47th among emitters of greenhouse gasses, meaning it's a worse polluter than over 140 entire nations. That's completely separate from the pollution already produced by the US itself. None of the sociopathic corporations whose environmental impact is being rightly criticized today come anywhere remotely close to that of the Pentagon. They are going under the radar.

And that's just greenhouse gas emissions, which the Pentagon's poisonous effects on our environment are in no way limited to. As journalist Whitney Webb highlighted in an excellent article for Mintpress News about the wildly neglected subject of the US military's ecological toxicity:

"Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined, the US Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others."

Webb documents how the US "has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined", how US military interventionism in Iraq "has resulted in the desertification of 90 percent of Iraqi territory , crippling the country's agricultural industry and forcing it to import more than 80 percent of its food," and how "US military bases, both domestic and foreign, consistently rank among some of the most polluted places in the world."

"While the US military's past environmental record suggests that its current policies are not sustainable, this has by no means dissuaded the US military from openly planning future contamination of the environment through misguided waste disposal efforts," Webb writes.

"Last November, the US Navy announced its plan to release 20,000 tons of environmental 'stressors,' including heavy metals and explosives, into the coastal waters of the US Pacific Northwest over the course of this year."

This is all a massive environmental burden to take on for a branch of the government which provides no other service to anyone beyond bullying the rest of the world into obedience , wouldn't you agree? So get rid of it.

Surely with all this talk about the huge, sweeping changes that are required to avert climate catastrophe we're not going to overlook the world's single worst polluter just because a few think tankers and their plutocratic sponsors believe it's important for the US-centralized power alliance to retain total global hegemony? If we're making huge, sweeping changes, the completely needless globe-spanning US war machine would be the obvious place to start.

That's something we can inject into the mainstream dialogue as this environmental movement grows, and the cool thing about it is that the establishment manipulators can't reject it or they'll expose themselves. It's something we can demand that they can't legitimately say no to. We can surf this clear, concrete, exciting and utterly indisputable idea on the surging momentum of these climate demonstrations, and the same healthy impulse to save our planet that these budding activists are now embodying will lift it right up and carry it to the top of mainstream awareness. No sane person will reject this, so if anyone pushes back against it to say "No, not that," they'll immediately spotlight the insane agendas they serve.

The US does not need any more military power than what other normal nations have: enough to defend its own easily defended shores from unprovoked attack. Anything beyond that, and certainly the hundreds of environmentally toxic military bases circling our planet, exists solely for the benefit of murderous dominating imperialists and sociopathic war profiteers. Demanding a reversal of US military expansionism as a part of the environmental movement is sane on its face and will benefit everyone, and it will also help highlight all unwholesome elements of empire loyalism.

* * *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , checking out my podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following me on Steemit , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

[Sep 22, 2019] US reconnaissance plane operated drones that attacked Hmeymim

Highly recommended!
Oct 01, 2025 | tass.com

Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin © Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry's press service/TASS BEIJING, October 25. /TASS/. The drones that attacked Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria were operated from the US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on Thursday.

"Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours," he noted. Read also Three layers of Russian air defense at Hmeymim air base in Syria When the drones met with the electronic countermeasures of the Russian systems, they switched to a manual guidance mode, he said. "Manual guidance is carried out not by some villagers, but by the Poseidon-8, which has modern equipment. It undertook manual control," the deputy defense minister noted.

"When these 13 drones faced our electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating. Then they were destroyed," Fomin reported.

"This should be stopped as well: in order to avoid fighting with the high-technology weapons of terrorists and highly-equipped terrorists it is necessary to stop supplying them with equipment," the deputy defense minister concluded.

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that on January 6 militants in Syria first massively used drones in the attack on the Russian Hmeymim airbase and the Russian naval base in Tartus. The attack was successfully repelled: seven drones were downed, and control over six drones was gained through electronic warfare systems. The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the solutions used by the militants could be received only from a technologically advanced country and warned about the danger of repeating such attacks in any country of the world.

The forum

The eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security will run until October 26 in Beijing. It was organized by the Chinese Ministry of Defense, China Association for Military Science (CAMS) and China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS). Representatives for defense ministries, armed forces and international organizations, as well as former military officials, politicians and scientists from 79 countries are taking part in the forum.

[Sep 22, 2019] Shoigu calls US belief in its superiority the major threat to Russia and other states

Highly recommended!
Sep 22, 2019 | tass.com

The defense minister also stressed that the number of threats to Russia is not declining

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. The United States' belief in its own superiority could lead to various unreasonable ideas, posing a major threat to Russia and other states, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in his interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets published on Sunday.

"When you think - as the United States continues to believe so by inertia - that the balance of power has developed in your favor, various ideas may come to your head, including unreasonable ones. I consider this situation now as the main threat, and not only for Russia," Shoigu said.

Meanwhile, the recognition of your vulnerability and a wish to maintain balance and universal equal security "makes you turn your head on," the defense minister said, also stressing that the number of threats to Russia is not declining.

At the same time, Shoigu voiced hope that a full-scale war is not on the horizon.

The priority task now is to ensure information security, he stressed, noting that "at the current level of informatization and automation, there is a high probability of errors in the weapons control system.".

[Sep 18, 2019] The Obama Administration Destroyed Libya. Could Trump Make It Worse? by Ted Galen Carpenter

Notable quotes:
"... The United States also cannot resist the urge to meddle. Worse, U.S. officials seemingly can't even decide which faction it wants to back. Washington's official policy continues to support the GNA, which the United Nations recognizes as the country's legitimate government -- even though its writ extends to little territory beyond the Tripoli metropolitan area. President Donald Trump, however, had an extremely cordial, lengthy telephone conversation in April with Haftar and appeared impressed with Haftar's professed determination to combat terrorist groups and bring order and unity to Libya. Neither Libyan faction now seems certain about Washington's stance. ..."
"... One poster child for such continuing arrogance is Samantha Power, an influential national security council staffer in 2011 and later U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In her new book, The Education of an Idealist , Power takes no responsibility whatever for the Libya debacle. Indeed, flippant might be too generous a term for her treatment of the episode. "We could hardly expect to have a crystal ball when it came to accurately predicting outcomes in places where the culture was not our own," she contends. American Conservative analyst Daniel Larison correctly excoriates her argument as "a pathetic attempt by Power to deny responsibility for the effects of a war she backed by shrugging her shoulders and pleading ignorance. If Libyan culture was so opaque and hard for the Obama administration to understand, they should never have taken sides in an internal conflict there. If the 'culture was not our own' and they couldn't anticipate what was going to happen because of that, then how arrogant must the policymakers who argued in favor of intervention have been?" ..."
"... Obama and company not only destroyed Libya, they also helped to unleash a wave of jihadis who are terrorizing vast swaths of west Africa, especially Mali and Burkina Faso. Their stupidity and lack of foresight is mind-boggling! ..."
"... I understand the role which the Obama administration played in getting the Libyan intervention started. However the major destruction of Libya's fragile structure of governance under Qaddafi was done by the French, Brits, and Italians. ..."
Sep 16, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

The United States cannot resist the urge to meddle. Worse, U.S. officials can't seem to decide which faction they want to back.

The Western-created disaster in Libya continues to grow worse. Fighting between Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) and the even more misnamed Government of National Accord (GNA) has intensified in and around Tripoli. The LNA boasted on September 11 that its forces had routed troops of the Sarraj militia, a GNA ally, killing about two hundred of them. That total may be exaggerated, but there is no doubt that the situation has become increasingly violent and chaotic in Tripoli and other portions of Libya, with innocent civilians bearing the brunt of the suffering.

An article in Bloomberg News provides a succinct account of the poisonous fruits of the U.S.-led "humanitarian" military intervention in 2011. "Libya is enduring its worst violence since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar el-Qaddafi, which ushered in years of instability that allowed Islamist radicals to thrive and turned the country into a hub for migrants destined to Europe. Haftar had launched the war as the United Nations was laying the ground for a political conference to unite the country. It is now more divided than ever." The country has become the plaything not only of rival domestic factions but major Middle East powers , including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Those regimes are waging a ruthless geopolitical competition, providing arms and in some cases even launching airstrikes on behalf of their preferred clients.

The United States also cannot resist the urge to meddle. Worse, U.S. officials seemingly can't even decide which faction it wants to back. Washington's official policy continues to support the GNA, which the United Nations recognizes as the country's legitimate government -- even though its writ extends to little territory beyond the Tripoli metropolitan area. President Donald Trump, however, had an extremely cordial, lengthy telephone conversation in April with Haftar and appeared impressed with Haftar's professed determination to combat terrorist groups and bring order and unity to Libya. Neither Libyan faction now seems certain about Washington's stance.

Given the appalling aftermath of the original U.S.-led intervention, one might hope that advocates of an activist policy would be chastened and back away from further meddling in that unfortunate country. Yet, that is not the case. Neither the Trump administration nor the humanitarian crusaders in Barack Obama's administration who caused the calamity in the first place seem inclined to advocate a more cautious, restrained U.S. policy.

One poster child for such continuing arrogance is Samantha Power, an influential national security council staffer in 2011 and later U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In her new book, The Education of an Idealist , Power takes no responsibility whatever for the Libya debacle. Indeed, flippant might be too generous a term for her treatment of the episode. "We could hardly expect to have a crystal ball when it came to accurately predicting outcomes in places where the culture was not our own," she contends. American Conservative analyst Daniel Larison correctly excoriates her argument as "a pathetic attempt by Power to deny responsibility for the effects of a war she backed by shrugging her shoulders and pleading ignorance. If Libyan culture was so opaque and hard for the Obama administration to understand, they should never have taken sides in an internal conflict there. If the 'culture was not our own' and they couldn't anticipate what was going to happen because of that, then how arrogant must the policymakers who argued in favor of intervention have been?"

The answer to Larison's rhetorical question is "extraordinarily arrogant." It is not as though prudent foreign-policy experts didn't warn Power and her colleagues about the probable consequences of intervening in a volatile, fragile country like Libya. Indeed, as Robert Gates, Obama's secretary of defense, confirms in his memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War , the Obama administration itself was deeply divided about the advisability of intervention. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice President Joe Biden, and Gates were opposed. Among the most outspoken proponents of action were Power and her mentor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gates notes further that Obama was deeply torn, later telling his secretary of defense that the decision was a "51 to 49" call.

The existence of a sharp internal division is sufficient evidence by itself that Power's attempt to absolve herself and other humanitarian crusaders of responsibility for the subsequent tragedy is without merit. Indeed, it has even less credibility than Pontius Pilate's infamous effort to evade guilt. They were warned of the probable outcome, yet they chose to disregard those warnings.

Power, Clinton, Obama and other proponents of ousting Qaddafi turned Libya into a chaotic Somalia on the Mediterranean, and the blood of innocents shed since 2011 is on their hands. Given the stark split within the president's national security team, the Libya intervention was especially reckless and unjustified. The default option in such a case should have been against intervention, not plunging ahead.

The Trump administration should learn from the blunders of its predecessor and resist any temptation to meddle further. America does not have a dog in the ongoing fight between Haftar and the GNA, and we should simply accept whatever outcome emerges. Washington's arrogant interference has caused enough suffering in Libya already.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest , is the author of thirteen books and more than eight hundred articles on international affairs. His latest book is NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur .


Druid 7 hours ago ,

The outcome in Libya is what the intent was - chaos, per the Yinon plan. The side effect of mass immigration to Europe was warned by Gaddafi! All was known, yet the destabilization war continued.

npbinni 8 hours ago ,

Obama and company not only destroyed Libya, they also helped to unleash a wave of jihadis who are terrorizing vast swaths of west Africa, especially Mali and Burkina Faso. Their stupidity and lack of foresight is mind-boggling!

dieter heymann 13 hours ago ,

Libya was and still is the case of a civil war into which foreign powers have intervened. The major parties of that war have always been the Tripolitanian West and the Cyrenaican East. Whoever is on top considers the others to be the rebels. That is how the demise of Qaddafi began. For him Benghazi was the rebel's nest which needed some cleaning. Nothing has changed. Haftar is the new Qaddafi.

I understand the role which the Obama administration played in getting the Libyan intervention started. However the major destruction of Libya's fragile structure of governance under Qaddafi was done by the French, Brits, and Italians.

Mark Thomason a day ago ,

You can always make things worse. It is one thing that Trump and friends are good at.

They don't consider that a criticism either, since they want what the rest of us consider worse -- more war, more enemies, more inequality in outcomes at home, more desperation at home giving more power to the haves over the have-nots.

redeemed626 2 days ago • edited ,

Mortimer Adler's "How to Read a Book" is a timeless classic that still applies to articles produced for electronic consumption. One of Adler's primary admonitions was to consider the author's expertise, credibility, and potential biases. With regard to this article, scrolling down to the end reveals the author's association with the Koch Brother financed Cato Institute. The Koch Brothers and their money have done more to destroy American democracy than any foreign tyrant or Presidential folly.

And oh, by the way, what did the Neocons and the Vulcans of the W Administration do to the entire Middle East other than create a contiguous geographic belt of Iranian Shiite influence from Tehran to Beirut?

[Sep 18, 2019] USA Pretend Unmasked - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Sep 18, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

"USA Pretend" Unmasked By S. Brian Willson Global Research, September 12, 2019 Region: Asia , USA Theme: History

Viet Nam – Epiphany for the USA

There was a moment in Viet Nam when I questioned whether everything I had been taught about "America" was one big fabricated lie – a huge pretend. It was April 1969, and I had just experienced witnessing the aftermath of a series of bombings of supposed military targets. They were in fact inhabited, undefended villages where virtually everyone in those villages perished from low flying bombings, that included napalming. The majority of dead – murdered – were young burned children. On several occasions I observed those bodies up close, sickened by the sight, now burdened by the criminal nature of the US war. The policy of accumulating massive numbers of body counts was an inkling of the Grand Lie. Reading the entrance sign to my squadron in-country headquarters, "Welcome to Indian Country," was a first clue.

My duty station was the "home" of the fighter-bombers and pilots who followed orders to destroy those "enemy targets", i.e., villages. I was the USAF night security commander following orders to protect those soldiers and planes from mortar and sapper attacks.

A few days later I was reading an article in Stars and Stripes , an official, independent newspaper for soldiers, reporting on a recent Supreme Court decision ( Street v . New York , 1969) that upheld the right of desecrating our "sacred" symbol – the US flag. During a period of increased burnings of the US American flag in protests of the US wars against African-Americans at home, and Asians abroad, an African-American veteran recipient of a Bronze Star, Sidney Street , publicly burned his personal flag on a New York City street corner for which he was arrested and convicted.

Depressed, I pondered how it is that one could be arrested for burning a piece of cloth – even a national symbol – that represented an official policy of criminally burning innocent human beings, including large numbers of young children, while the pilot-perpetrators were commended, and whom, in my duties I was protecting? Initially suicidal, I had difficulty wrapping my head around this dystopian nightmare. I was in psychic shock from extreme cognitive dissonance.

Our behavior against the Vietnamese, a nation of peasants with one-sixth the population of the USA, one-thirtieth its size, certainly must rank as one of the worst of a number of barbarisms in the 20 th Century. The US left 26 million bomb craters, sprayed 21 million gallons of DNA-altering chemical warfare on the landscape and people, murdered some 6 million Southeast Asians, destroyed by bombing over 13,000 of Viet Nam's 21,000 villages, 950 churches and pagodas, 350 clearly marked hospitals, 3,000 high schools and universities, 15,000 bridges, etc.

Why all this overwhelming firepower and destruction? Incredulously, to prevent the Vietnamese from enjoying their self-determination, absurdly touted as necessary to stop "communism." Does there in fact exist a kind of psychopathy in our cultural DNA? Though I hadn't fired a bullet myself, or dropped a bomb, I had been a compliant participant in a mindless murder machine. Viet Nam was not an aberration, but consistent with a long history of arrogant interventions revealing something very dark about who we are. Was I part of a savage culture of unthinking sadists, I wondered?

VNWarMontage.png

Clockwise, from top left: U.S. combat operations in Ia Đrăng , ARVN Rangers defending Saigon during the 1968 Tết Offensive , two A-4C Skyhawks after the Gulf of Tonkin incident , ARVN recapture Quảng Trị during the 1972 Easter Offensive , civilians fleeing the 1972 Battle of Quảng Trị , and burial of 300 victims of the 1968 Huế Massacre . (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Learning Real People's Versus Fake, Kool Aid US History

I have spent countless hours studying a more comprehensive people's version of world and US history. Study of US history of course is part of the Eurocentric globalization/colonization over the past 500 years. The 20 percent Eurocentric "developed-world" is a product of self-proclaimed "superiors" violently and deceitfully stealing resources and labor from the other 80 percent, all cloaked in the conceited rhetoric of spreading "civilization." This patriarchal policy is totally unsustainable from a social, political, ecological, psychological, and moral perspective.

It is instructive to learn that the "Founding Fathers" chose, not democracy, but oligarchy/plutocracy "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." Jefferson's "empire of liberty" was a vision to expand private property for large landowners. Our Constitution is more a document to preserve freedom of "property" and commercial transactions, than it is to preserve human liberty, of which free speech is the most fundamental. Historian Staughton Lynd summarized it thus: inherited land replaced inherited government. Recently the highest court of the land ruled the legal fiction that property (money) is a person with free speech rights, as preposterous as the earlier legal fiction that a person (slave) is property.

A fear-laden gun culture originating in violent settler-colonialism and white nationalism-supremacy serve as a basis for the founding ideology and military strategy of the United States. Slave patrols and Indian fighters were our first "special operations," establishing the essential White character of our militarized culture. As the systematic dispossession project continued, the US government signed over 400 treaties with Indigenous nations, violating every one of them, establishing deceit and outright lying as part of our cultural DNA.

The politics of violence based on classism and racism has been incessant throughout our history. Examining the US criminal injustice system housing a quarter of all the world's prisoners reveals brutal truth when comparing extreme disparities in punishments by race, and class. Justice?

I studied the history of the city of my birth – Geneva, New York, which in the 1700s was Kanadesaga, capitol of the Seneca nation. On September 8, 1779, Major General John Sullivan and his forty-five hundred soldiers eradicated these "merciless Indian Savages" in the largest Revolutionary War battle of 1779 – a terrorist, scorched-earth campaign massacring civilians while destroying all forty of the well-established Seneca towns, including Kanadesaga. By 1788, the European settlers renamed it Geneva, as if nothing had happened, a deserved reward for superiors.

All those arrowheads I enjoyed collecting as a child possessed a profound dark secret about the nature and character of my ancestors. However, I would only discover their secret after deep reflections from my Viet Nam awakening.

Official US military interventionism began with the US Marine invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1798 during the undeclared naval war with France. However, hundreds of settler paramilitary units had been killing Indians since the 1620s. But imperialism has been explicit policy since the late 1890s to assure domestic prosperity. In 1907, Woodrow Wilson while president of Princeton University (six years before being elected US president) lectured:

"Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. .Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused."

President McKinley, and various Senators continued to advocate "a foreign market for our surplus products." US meddling, both "soft," and hard, has never stopped.

Traveling to a number of nations in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East have exposed me to details of hundreds of US overt interventions, and thousands of covert destabilization actions. These policies have caused the murders of millions, 20 to 30 million alone since WWII during the so-called "Cold War". Only five of these nearly 600 military interventions have been declared wars as required by the Constitution, clearly indicating our sacred document is not taken seriously. This also tells us the system has no interest in being accountable to its own Constitution, or international law. Speaking with peasants in these victim-countries invariably reveals the horrendous cruelty of US interveners and their surrogates. Does the US possess any intentions to be law-abiding? Does the US possess any feelings for others, or only selfish imperial ambitions? And does anyone care?

Violence against even White citizens has matched violence we have carried out in foreign policy. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1917-18 were enacted to suppress anti-war dissent against US entrance into World War I. Thousands of US Americans were deported and imprisoned following World War I for "radical" anti-war expressions, including labor leaders and socialists. Some were tortured in US prisons. Ironically, free speech dissent is most critical when a government decides to go to war. The original Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 stifled free speech of US citizens, including elected officials, who objected to the undeclared war against France. Free speech? Huh?

While the US was locking up and deporting citizens for opposing World War I, the FBI was ignoring extremely violent KKK supremacist groups whose six million members – nearly 25 percent of the white male population at the time – were lynching with impunity an average of six African-Americans a month. Equal protection?

The first known use of air power against civilians was committed by US Marines in Haiti in 1919. But, the second known use of US air power against civilians occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 31-June 1, 1921, when hundreds of economically successful Black residents living in a 36-square block community were murdered, including from low flying white-piloted planes dropping incendiaries, destroying nearly 1,300 buildings. How many US Americans know about this abomination?

Walter White, a longtime leader in the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), concluded that southerners fear of Negro progress offends the intangible feeling of racial superiority, explaining the intensity of White savagery. The sense of established White superiority (or anyone possessing those feelings) often leads to an insecure character from lack of practicing accountability with others in a world of varied, challenging relationships. Those feelings easily morph into paranoia of others, and delusions of self grandeur – one of the most difficult psychological orders to treat, as the persistent pathology of racism (and classism) so attests.

America's Wars: The Day We Refused To Fight. "War is just Terrorism with a Bigger Budget"

The third known use of US bombing civilians occurred at Blair Mountain, West Virginia, August-September 1921. As many as 15,000 striking coal miners attempting to unionize were attacked by 2,000 armed sheriff's deputies, coal company paramilitaries, US troops, and US Army Martin MB-1 bombers, killing as many as 100 miners, with many more wounded. Before the battles had ended, more than a million ammunition rounds had been fired. Nearly 1,000 miners were ironically indicted for murder of the nearly 30 deaths among the miner's attackers. Over 700 union organizers have been murdered in our history. Is this known by many?

We continue to be obsessed with personal and government guns (police and military) as a guarantor of our security. Those who question easy access to guns, even assault weapons, or the ridiculously wasteful military spending, are thought of as nearly traitorous. US citizens personally own nearly 400 million firearms, or 40 percent of all private guns in the world. On average, three US citizens are killed every day by police, disproportionately African-Americans. So far in 2019, the US has experienced more than one mass shooting (4 or more shot) every day. Our gun death rate is ten times above that of other high income countries. Using violence as a default position historically ends in disaster, as it has been proven over and over that violence spirals out of control into more violence, while distracting from serious discourse. Why the incredible record of violence? Insecurity?

Under its doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance, the US government routinely dispatches military ships to every sea space, military planes to every airspace, hundreds of satellites into outer space, while ordering Special Forces units to operate clandestinely in nearly three-fourths of the world's countries. Additionally, of the 1.4 million US soldiers in the world, nearly 200,000 are positioned in as many as 150 countries, most stationed at 800 major military bases in 80 nations. The US also possesses a large percentage of the world's weapons of mass destruction, and recently has dispensed with any genuine effort at containing the spread of nuclear weapons. The annual military budget, including hidden costs, amounts to an exorbitant $1.25 trillion a year, more money than the next seven countries combined spend on their militaries. If you want to be guaranteed health care and a modest house, join the Army. Otherwise these human rights are "unaffordable." If you want gun control, start at the top.

How to explain the extent and breadth of our violent militarism and global imperialism? Paranoia? It seems that our sense of superiority justifies hurtful dispossession from others to acquire and preserve undeserved privilege.

After exiting the military in 1970, my opinions about the US war against the Vietnamese were affirmed with the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers revealing the more than 20 years of criminal intentions, and deceit, to thwart Vietnamese aspirations for self-determination. Earlier in 1971, January 31-February 2, Vietnam Veterans Against the War conducted the "Winter Soldier Investigation: An Inquiry into American War Crimes" when nearly 120 veterans testified about the war crimes and atrocities they committed or witnessed in Viet Nam. I was aghast when learning about Nixon's intended Huston plan to criminally interrupt antiwar activities, the FBI's sixteen-year COINTELPRO of more than 2,000 illegal actions against innocent US citizens, the CIA's Operation CHAOS keeping tabs on 300,000 citizens opposed to the Viet Nam war, and the National Security Agency's Operation SHAMROCK watch lists of those communicating with people overseas. Respect for the law? Huh? Further research revealed that as early as 1934 President Roosevelt instituted a long-standing joint FBI-military program to conduct domestic intelligence with broad investigative scope. The "American" Kool Aid indeed has sedated us.

Today our freedoms are further curtailed, for example, as the National Security Agency (NSA) spies on every US American, the Authorization of Military Force Act (AUFA) allows warrantless electronic surveillance of anyone suspected of aiding terrorism, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) enables indefinite detention of US citizens, even arrest by the military. Where is the Constitution when we need it? Or was it ever really there for us?

One of the most revealing chapters in our history is the incredible sympathy the US possessed for authoritarian Nazi Germany. Even though the Soviet military was most critical in defeating the Nazis in World War II, deep fear of the Bolsheviks (the emergence of an alternative social-economic system to capitalism) motivated US America's wealthy class, with complicity of the US government, to support the rise of Nazi Germany from the mid-1930s into the war years themselves. The US capitalists supported the Nazi capitalists to defeat the "threat" of socialism. Elite power brokers included leaders of Wall Street and wealthy "barons" such as the Rockefellers and Andrew Mellon, and businesses such as Ford Motor, IBM (tabulating daily location of Jews in the Holocaust), General Motors, General Electric, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, International Harvester, Chase Manhattan Bank, the House of Morgan banking dynasty, DuPont, United Aircraft, etc., who enjoyed huge profits from the war. And following the war, the US's "Operation Gladio" systematically defeated popular anti -Nazi groups throughout Europe, while "Operation Paperclip" secretly brought Nazi scientists and other professionals to the US. Our affinity for fascism has been established.

Psychologically, it is important to note that our national identity has consistently been markedly defined by demonizing others – "merciless savages", "uppity ni**ers", "anarchists", "radicals", "communists", "Russians", "alien filth", "narco-traffickers", "terrorists", "shithole countries", "vermin", etc., echoing psychologist Carl Jung's principle of "shadow projection." Jung described a cowardly trick we play on ourselves: avoid looking in the mirror so as not to take responsibility for seeing our own demons. We "see" the evil in others, perpetuating a nation addicted to war against them, obscenely profiting as we self-righteously deny our own severe pathologies. If we had looked in the mirror we would have learned what Pogo told us, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Eco-psychologist Chellis Glendinning suggests that modern humans suffer from deep insecurity that emerged from collective traumas hundreds of generations ago. A serious disconnect from intimacy with the earth occurred when our ancient ancestors began controlling nature through agriculture and animal domestication. Evolutionary philosopher Gregory Bateson concludes that addictive behavior is consistent with the Western approach to life that pits mind against body, while behaving as if the natural world is a commodity. We seek various distractions to numb our pain from this feeling of aloofness. Technology, not Nature, has become our God.

Recognizing the Lie

Could it be that virtually everything I was taught by my parents, community, school, church, and political leaders in terms of factual history, morality, ethics, and rational thinking about "America" was the opposite of what had been represented? How could that be?

Yes, I have been conditioned by an incredibly comfortable fairy tale, a massive cultural system denying or distorting historic realities, founded on shameful genocides. I had been betrayed. We are told we are the greatest, even as we (s)elect imperial Presidents and Congresspeople in an orgy of fantastic fiction about "democracy." The US Senate is a millionaire's club, with many members of the US House also in that class. Indian author Arundhati Roy describes "democracy" and "pro-democracy" as the "Free World's whores", hollow words satisfying a whole range of tastes, available to be used and abused at will where facts don't matter.

US America loves its myth of being committed to justice for all, but in fact it is a society ruled and funded by a wealthy elite. This is not a government of, by and for the people! It is a ruthless oligarchy sanctioned by a majority of the people believing their vote counts. Money has always mattered, severely rigging the game in many ways toward an upper class (obscenely bribing candidates, corporate personhood power, gerrymandering, proprietary election software, hacking capacity to effect results, Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, etc.). The oligarchy approves "acceptable" candidates, while contrived rhetoric, propaganda, and our education system keep us faithful to our political system comprised of one party with two right wings, the winner ruling by tyranny of its majority. But the bottom line is that (s)elected representatives obey their large donors who thrive on war-making against vulnerable others.

Nonetheless, these facts do not preclude existence of individual conscientious politicians. However, the political economic system itself is fixed, it is not broken, a dilemma every honest politician must face. This delicious Kool Aid has in fact concealed a delusional madness, a Kafkaesque, Orwellian nightmare. Our political leaders have consistently and collectively acted outside the Constitution, while selectively applying laws that preserve the cabal in power. It has always been this way, though the social revolution of the 1960s threatened to overturn the oligopoly. This revolution was unfortunately unsuccessful but the fearful system's repressive reaction is now in its fifth decade. In the end, we are in fact a nation of men, not laws.

So, in effect, our mythological story made me functionally stupid, a "good kid" who became complicit in mindless, mass murder. And I am suggesting that it has created a society comprised of millions of functionally stupid people. This is different from intelligence. This is not idiocy. This is serious non -thinking of intellectually capable people who, in effect, have suspended their autonomous critical thinking, basking in an intoxicated spell of our sense of national invincibility. It has enhanced the Friedman era of neoliberal privatization, worshipping greed, while millions are without health care and homeless. This is mass psychopathy, a dangerous cultural mental illness.

German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer , while a prisoner in one of Hitler's jails, wrote about the role of stupidity in the German people that substantially contributed to the rise of Nazism and worship of savior Hitler. He argued that it is very separate from intellectual capacity but occurs when a cult-like belief system dangerously suspends critical thinking, bringing collective relief to an emotionally anxious population. It is a form of voluntary servitude more dangerous than malice, an entrenched belief system that makes genuine dialogue and education almost impossible. (Bonhoeffer was hung in April 1945).

As US Americans we possess no visceral memory of the two unspeakable genocides our ancestors shamefully committed, forcefully dispossessing Indigenous Africans of their labor, and genuine Americans of their land, murdering millions with impunity. Even though we are superficially taught about slavery and conquering the Indigenous, their egregious suffering has been outsourced outside our feeling fields for 25 generations . Thus, was established our cultural "DNA" of achieving expansion benefitting a few (mostly White males and those who think like them) through any means while escaping any accountability whatsoever. Now nearly 600 overt, and thousands of covert interventions later, US Americans still know little or nothing about our unspeakable imperialism. Why not? Isn't it critically important that we seriously grapple with our diabolical history?

In 2019, the President, US military, CIA, and other "regime change" entities like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and their funders in Congress, continue to intervene almost everywhere, destabilizing with crippling sanctions, sadistically causing suffering, causing chaos, creating kill lists, murdering, bombing, etc. Does any of this criminal insanity even happen? Has it ever? Does it matter to most people? I believe there is a deep shame that burdens us. It is understandable to avoid looking at shame, but the cost is perpetual war for perpetual peace until we are all dead. The era of privilege is over, as we enter the terrifying era of consequences, bringing fear, insecurity and anxiety to many heretofore privileged folks. Denial becomes a lethal seduction.

Our amnesia has precluded emotional intelligence, a depth of character, so necessary for mature development, with little understanding of historical context. We are effectively emotionally retarded, blocking the universal embedded human feeling of empathy, and the collective solidarity that emerges therefrom. Thus, "America" is very insecure having been conveniently wrapped in a fake, pretend narrative, convincing us of our "exceptional" nature, ignoring both our systemic pattern of domestic violence, and global imperialism. The corporate media, and corporate-owned social media platforms, serve as stenographers for our oligarchic policies and values. They create an agenda-driven narrative that inoculates our minds with constant group think untruths of neo-liberal capitalism.

We now live in a post-truth world, where narcissistic life is experienced as virtual, not real. Do we feel the pain of the Afghani, Yemeni, the Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Libyan, Somali, the Russian, the Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican, Palestinian in Gaza, or our neighbor down the street whose cancer left her homeless due to foreclosure? How much do we care? Answering these questions can tell us a lot about our own survival, including yours and mine.

Serious discussion and debate of a broad range and depth of ideas is virtually nonexistent. Mention of "socialism" is considered traitorous to the religion of neoliberal corporatism. In reality, we promote individualism over community, competition over cooperation, and acquisitiveness over inquisitiveness. These capitalist characteristics condition human development in a way that is diametrically opposed to our inherent, genetic nature as a social species requiring for survival cooperation in all our relations.

The economy and political system is now virtually dependent upon what Eisenhower proclaimed as the military/security industrial complex, and that complex thrives on creation of endless "enemies" which produce obscene war profits for a very few. Community and family units have disintegrated, and citizenship is less engaged as life is increasingly defined in terms of commodities. Everything and everybody is for sale to the highest bidder. This leads to anomie, violence and madness. And yet, we continue to enjoy shopping as the government conducts its daily bombing. How can this be? How can we pay taxes and go about our business as usual when so many people in the world are being impoverished or eliminated by US policies facilitating the wealthy getting richer?

The Deep Divide – 1959 – 2019

Having graduated from a rural upstate New York high school in 1959 at the height of post-WWII Cold War euphoria, in the midst of the short historic blip of aspiring consumerism, the "American" Kool Aid I and my 28 fellow graduates drank at that time was delicious. I was raised in a lower middle class home by conservative, religious parents, not dissimilar to the upbringings of many of my classmates. Life seemed great, and simple. However, my Viet Nam experience rudely exposed the poisonous nature of this delicious drink and its true ingredients.

Discovering information about my former classmates finds several still living in the same area we grew up, possessing similar views to that which we believed in 1959 – religiously and politically conservative, but now supporters of MAGA, Trump and Israel. One classmate who had been a basketball cheerleader, still married to her high school sweetheart after 60 years, read my Facebook postings from Nicaragua, then declared me "a fool" admonishing me to "stay there." This same cheerleader chanted for each starter before games, such as "Brian, Brian, he's our man, if he can't do it, nobody can."

Being raised in and conditioned by US America instills a desire to preserve a fantasy of post-WWII euphoria for many, at least until President Reagan. But experiential reality painfully destroys make-believe. I argue that the USA has never been great, but suspect many of my 1959 classmates would vehemently disagree.

Trump Exposes the Pretend Society

The phenomenon of the Presidency of Donald John Trump disturbingly "offers" our culture, and the world, an overdue undisguised photo of our real culture and its politics. Some say Trump brings out the worst in people – hatred, self-centeredness, cruelty, insensitivity, crassness, racism, insulting language, poisonous divisiveness, adolescent delinquency, etc. But is it possible that his language and demeanor are validating expressions of historically suppressed feelings and values which have never been sufficiently addressed or openly acknowledged in our Eurocentric, capitalist, money-oriented, nature-defying, often mean-spirited culture? These censored feelings once unleashed, no matter how adolescent they seem, are capable of manifesting in a vicious authoritarian and neo-fascist state, as they did in Germany nearly 100 years ago. It seems we are at that point again.

The "developed" world, now led by the United States of America, has historically been built on egregious exploitation and violence hidden under fanciful rhetoric. Inevitably, the chickens will come home to roost. As Eurocentrics we have been lying to ourselves and the world with our highly touted economic system and "democracy," fooling ourselves by myths and lies we have long believed about our "superiority" built on the suffering of others. As stated above, we have (s)elected leaders who are to varying degrees corrupted by money who use politically "correct" language and a finessed demeanor to gain approval. In fact, they have consistently been imperial and oligarchic, selfishly stealing to assure an insatiably consumptive lifestyle for under 5 percent of the world's population (but only benefitting a minority of its own people), while gobbling up anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the globe's resources (depending on the resource and era examined). We ad nauseum excuse our interventions using "national security" or "humanitarian justice." We have followed in the footsteps of our imperial teachers in the United Kingdom. Fair? Sustainable? Ever thought about the structural unfairness and gross arrogance that has enabled 500 years of colonization? Trump's Presidency reveals a lot about us that we have not wanted to recognize. Scary? Our historical chronic complicity in this horror story cannot be ignored.

Trump serves as an avatar, or caricature, of a collective, creepy, violent, disgusting, mean-spirited, immature culture, at least as experienced by large numbers of people both in the US and the world. Trump's appeal can largely be attributed to the fact that he has taken the clothes off of Pretend . His childish nature of lying, tweeting and exaggerating, ironically reveals an ugly "truth" about our modern selves that has been drowned under incredible "public relations" – education, the media, Hollywood, sports, the State Department, etc. His extreme personal narcissism matches well our extreme collective exceptionalism. Is it clearer now just how big the LIE has been, protected by our comfortable 500-year myths? Welcome to dystopia, Kafka, and Orwell.

Conclusion

The 400-year history of Western dualistic Cartesian thinking (named after French philosopher Rene Descartes' view of reductionist mind-body dualism) divorcing human beings from study of observable nature, has produced a terribly flawed epistemology. The opposite basis for knowledge is holism, a framework that enables comprehension of multiple interconnections and historical context. Dispensing with any serious concern for consequences, the insatiably consumer-driven materialistic Western Way of Life has ironically and blissfully been destroying life itself by its addiction to burning finite fossil fuels. The harsh truth is that a capitalist system is on a direct collision course with sustainable societies that require conserving healthy interconnected relationships with each other and the earth's eco-system. We have become accustomed to wishful thinking that resources are infinite, and that they belong to us. This theft can only happen, of course, by force or its threat, and deceit, while living in the toxic illusion we are better than others. Does this suggest a kind of arrogant collective stupidity?

Nature bats last, something our cortex apparently chose to fatally ignore. We now face the greatest existential crisis as Nature bats last humbling modern humans into extinction, or near so. We somehow forgot the most critical truth of all – that we all part of the One. If we can now recognize our various levels of "stupidity", we have an adrenaline opportunity to leap out of our heretofore seductive comfortable fantasy, choosing instead to access our buried human characteristic of interconnection with everything and everybody, i.e., mutual respect and accountability. This leap now must be of a revolutionary nature, rocketing us out of our historic arrogant pleasureableness. Our survival foundation: embracing the evolutionary feeling of empathy. Saving ourselves is pretty damn important, and that means saving life for all. Let's do it! We are not worth more; they are not worth less.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Brian Willson, Viet Nam veteran and trained lawyer, has been a lifelong critic of US domestic and foreign policy. His essays and biography are found at his website: brianwillson.com. His recent book, "Don't Thank Me for My Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies" is published by Clarity Press (2018). His psycho-historical memoir, "Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson" was published by PM Press (2011). A documentary, "Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson" was produced in 2016 by Bo Boudart Productions.

[Sep 18, 2019] This B's posting is further proof that the US of A (and it's flunky allies) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant

The dangerous disease that inflict the USA neoliberal elite can be called "supremacism delirium"
As for quality of arms produced, when profit is the main motivation, the quality of design suffer. Still despite recent setbacks the USA remain the leader in new arm technologies.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
GeorgeV , Sep 17 2019 20:09 utc | 8
B's posting is further proof that the US of A (and it's flunky allies) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant.

While Russia and Iran are taking rational routes to protect themselves, the US and it's allies are pouring billions, if not trillions, of dollars (and thousands of lives) into a foreign policy that can only be described as the foreign policy of God, for it passes all human understanding.


karlof1 , Sep 17 2019 20:12 utc | 9

Thanks b! One way looking radar is so Pre-Second World War! The Patriot's MPQ-53 radar has a search sector of 90° and track capability of 120°--an amazingly inferior capability I wasn't aware of, nor is the vast majority of the public, which is why that twitter gif I linked to on the previous thread is humorous. In that comment, it was said that the radar's were reoriented to aim at Houthiland which is the given excuse as to why the Iranian attack wasn't detected. I don't buy that for an instant.

Houthi media's gone silent for now as it awaits a response from Saudis before launching there next attack in under 48 hours--yes, they did place an actual time, but were very general about the types of targets, although the top threat remains hydrocarbon infrastructure. RT reports :

"Saudi Arabia's energy minister said that its oil supplies had resumed and that its oil market would be 'fully back online' by the end of September following attacks which Washington blames on Iran while Riyadh is still probing.

"Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the media that oil production in October would reach 9.89 million barrels per day and 12 million bpd by the end of November."

We shall see if the output equals the boast, particularly if Houthis continue their attacks. No questions about providing better defenses reminds me of the Death Star Commandeer's famous last words about his weapon's invincibility.

Meanwhile, Nuttyahoo's coalition's narrowly losing the election.

Christian J Chuba , Sep 17 2019 20:18 utc | 11
Fighting Dirty w/Aysymmetric Warfare

I love how the warmongers on FOX / CNN make Iran / Russia sound nefarious that they call their strategy A2D2 or asymmetric warfare (aka actual defense of their country instead of power projection). How is using short / medium range missiles or a green water navy 'asymmetric'?

If we do go to war w/Iran the only way we win is by committing war crimes by bombing population centers until they surrender, we can't beat them in a straight up fight. I'm not a military wonk but I can see the relative competence levels. We can't even get a decent photo of a boat with a bomb on it after it's been sitting in broad daylight for 10hrs.

[Sep 18, 2019] F-35 Fighter as the ritual construction similar to Egyptian pyramids, the Cathedral for MIC.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The Egyptians had pyramids. The Romans had roads, aqueducts, and coliseums. The medieval Europeans had castles and cathedrals. These days, America's pyramids, aqueducts, and cathedrals are those warplanes, among other deadly weapons programs , including a $1.7 trillion one to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

... ... ...

As ephemeral as the F-35 stealth fighter may prove in historical terms, it's already a classic symbol of America's ever more fruitless forever wars . Like them , the F-35 program has proven staggeringly expensive, incredibly wasteful, and impossible to stop, no matter the woeful results . It has come to symbolize the too-big-to-fail, too-sacrosanct-to-reject part of America's militarized culture of technological violence.

... ... ...

Harper's Andrew Cockburn recently used it to illustrate what he termed "the Pentagon Syndrome ," the practice of expending enormous sums on weapons of marginal utility.

[Sep 17, 2019] Locked-And-Loaded For War With Iran Is Bolton's Soul Living On by Patrick Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, ..."
"... "Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," ..."
"... "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." ..."
"... The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

09/17/2019

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

"Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," declared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Putting America's credibility on the line, Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out the devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities that halted half of the kingdom's oil production, 5.7 million barrels a day.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump did not identify Iran as the attacking nation, but did appear, in a tweet, to back up the secretary of state:

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) as to who they believe was the cause of this attack and under what terms we would proceed!"

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been fighting Saudi Arabia for four years and have used drones to strike Saudi airport and oil facilities, claim they fired 10 drones from 500 kilometers away to carry out the strikes in retaliation for Saudi air and missile attacks.

Pompeo dismissed their claim, "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

But while the Houthis claim credit, Iran denies all responsibility.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says of Pompeo's charge, that the U.S. has simply replaced a policy of "maximum pressure" with a policy of "maximum deceit." Tehran is calling us liars.

And, indeed, a direct assault on Saudi Arabia by Iran, a Pearl Harbor-type surprise attack on the Saudis' crucial oil production facility, would be an act of war requiring Saudi retaliation, leading to a Persian Gulf war in which the United States could be forced to participate.

Tehran being behind Saturday's strike would contradict Iranian policy since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal. That policy has been to avoid a military clash with the United States and pursue a measured response to tightening American sanctions.

U.S. and Saudi officials are investigating the sites of the attacks, the oil production facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field.

According to U.S. sources, 17 missiles or drones were fired, not the 10 the Houthis claim, and cruise missiles may have been used. Some targets were hit on the west-northwest facing sides, which suggests they were fired from the north, from Iran or Iraq.

But according to The New York Times, some targets were hit on the west side, pointing away from Iraq or Iraq as the source. But as some projectiles did not explode and fragments of those that did explode are identifiable, establishing the likely source of the attacks should be only a matter of time. It is here that the rubber meets the road.

Given Pompeo's public accusation that Iran was behind the attack, a Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly's annual gathering next week may be a dead letter.

The real question now is what do the Americans do when the source of the attack is known and the call for a commensurate response is put directly to our "locked-and-loaded" president.

If the perpetrators were the Houthis, how would Trump respond?

For the Houthis, who are native to Yemen and whose country has been attacked by the Saudis for four years, would, under the rules of war, seem to be entitled to launch attacks on the country attacking them.

Indeed, Congress has repeatedly sought to have Trump terminate U.S. support of the Saudi war in Yemen.

If the attack on the Saudi oil field and oil facility at Abqaiq proves to be the work of Shiite militia from inside Iraq, would the United States attack that militia whose numbers in Iraq have been estimated as high as 150,000 fighters, as compared with our 5,000 troops in-country?

What about Iran itself?

If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday -- shutting down about 6% of world oil production -- imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy.

In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?

Before Trump orders any strike on Iran, would he go to Congress for authorization for his act of war?

Sen. Lindsey Graham is already urging an attack on Iran's oil refineries to "break the regime's back," while Sen. Rand Paul contends that "there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran."

Divided again: The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war.

How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see.

John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.

[Sep 16, 2019] President Trump Called Former President Carter To Talk About China

Sep 16, 2019 | www.wabe.org

- WABE , Apr 14, 2019

Carter suggested that instead of war, China has been investing in its own infrastructure, mentioning that China has 18,000 miles of high-speed railroad.

"How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?"

Zero, the congregation answered.

"We have wasted I think $3 trillion," Carter said of American military spending. " It's more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way."

[Sep 15, 2019] Trump's new world disorder: competitive, chaotic, conflicted by

The key to understanding the c
The collapse of neoliberalism naturally lead to the collapse of the US influence over the globe. and to the treats to the dollar as the world reserve currency. That's why the US foreign policy became so aggressive and violent. Neocons want to fight for the world hegemony to the last American.
Notable quotes:
"... US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational ..."
"... Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel. ..."
"... Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. ..."
"... The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched. ..."
"... driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university. ..."
"... "The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy." ..."
"... This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible. ..."
"... The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along. ..."
"... With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely. ..."
"... "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

With John Bolton dismissed, Taliban peace talks a fiasco and a trade war with China, US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational

It was by all accounts, a furious row. Donald Trump was talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran and holding a summit with its president, Hassan Rouhani, at this month's UN general assembly in New York. John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, was dead against it and forcefully rejected Trump's ideas during a tense meeting in the Oval Office on Monday.

...Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel.

The US president is now saying he is also open to a repeat meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to reboot stalled nuclear disarmament talks. On another front, he has offered an olive branch to China, delaying a planned tariff increase on $250bn of Chinese goods pending renewed trade negotiations next month. Meanwhile, he says, new tariffs on European car imports could be dropped, too.

Is a genuine dove-ish shift under way? It seems improbable. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. He has cosied up to autocrats, attacked old friends and blundered into sensitive conflicts he does not fully comprehend.

The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched.

The suggestion that Trump will make nice and back off as election time nears thus elicits considerable scepticism. US analysts and commentators say the president's erratic, impulsive and egotistic personality means any shift towards conciliation may be short-lived and could quickly be reversed, Bolton or no Bolton.

Trump wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taliban, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute

Trump is notorious for blowing hot and cold, performing policy zigzags and suddenly changing his mind. "Regardless of who has advised Mr Trump on foreign affairs all have proved powerless before [his] zest for chaos," the New York Times noted last week .

Lacking experienced diplomatic and military advisers (he has sacked most of the good ones), surrounded by an inner circle of cynical sycophants such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university.

"The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy."

This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible.

As a result, the US today finds itself at odds with much of the world to an unprecedented and dangerous degree. America, the postwar global saviour, has been widely recast as villain. Nor is this a passing phase. Trump seems to have permanently changed the way the US views the world and vice versa. Whatever follows, it will never be quite the same again.

Clues as to what he does next may be found in what he has done so far. His is a truly calamitous record, as exemplified by Afghanistan. Having vowed in 2016 to end America's longest war, he began with a troop surge, lost interest and sued for peace. A withdrawal deal proved elusive. Meanwhile, US-led forces inflicted record civilian casualties .

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The US and Israeli flags are projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in May, marking the anniversary of the US embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/Getty

The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along.

All sides are now vowing to step up the violence, with the insurgents aiming to disrupt this month's presidential election in Afghanistan. In short, Trump's self-glorifying Afghan reality show, of which he was the Nobel-winning star, has made matters worse. Much the same is true of his North Korea summitry, where expectations were raised, then dashed when he got cold feet in Hanoi , provoking a backlash from Pyongyang.

The current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is almost entirely of Trump's making, sparked by his decision last year to renege on the 2015 UN-endorsed deal with Tehran. His subsequent "maximum pressure" campaign of punitive sanctions has failed to cow Iranians while alienating European allies. And it has led Iran to resume banned nuclear activities – a seriously counterproductive, entirely predictable outcome.

Trump's unconditional, unthinking support for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's aggressively rightwing prime minister – including tacit US backing for his proposed annexation of swathes of the occupied territories – is pushing the Palestinians back to the brink, energising Hamas and Hezbollah, and raising tensions across the region .

With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely.

The bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived

Stephen Wertheim, historian

Yet Trump, oblivious to the point of recklessness, remains determined to unveil his absurdly unbalanced Israel-Palestine "deal of the century" after Tuesday's Israeli elections. He and his gormless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may be the only people who don't realise their plan has a shorter life expectancy than a snowball on a hot day in Gaza.

... ... ...

...he is consistently out of line, out on his own – and out of control. This, broadly, is Trump world as it has come to exist since January 2017. And this, in a nutshell, is the intensifying foreign policy crisis of which Professor Cohen warned. The days when responsible, trustworthy, principled US international leadership could be taken for granted are gone. No vague change of tone on North Korea or Iran will by itself halt the Trump-led slide into expanding global conflict and division.

Historians such as Stephen Wertheim say change had to come. US politicians of left and right mostly agreed that "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", Wertheim wrote earlier this year . "But agreement ends there " he continued: "One camp holds that the US erred by coddling China and Russia, and urges a new competition against these great power rivals. The other camp, which says the US has been too belligerent and ambitious around the world, counsels restraint, not another crusade against grand enemies."

This debate among grownups over America's future place in the world will form part of next year's election contest. But before any fundamental change of direction can occur, the international community – and the US itself – must first survive another 16 months of Trump world and the wayward child-president's poll-fixated, ego-driven destructive tendencies.

Survival is not guaranteed. The immediate choice facing US friends and foes alike is stark and urgent: ignore, bypass and marginalise Trump – or actively, openly, resist him.

Here are some of the key flashpoints around the globe

United Nations

Trump is deeply hostile to the UN. It embodies the multilateralist, globalist policy approaches he most abhors – because they supposedly infringe America's sovereignty and inhibit its freedom of action. Under him, self-interested US behaviour has undermined the authority of the UN security council's authority. The US has rejected a series of international treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The UN-backed international criminal court is beyond the pale. Trump's attitude fits with his "America First" isolationism, which questions traditional ideas about America's essential global leadership role.

Germany

Trump rarely misses a chance to bash Germany, perhaps because it is Europe's most successful economy and represents the EU, which he detests. He is obsessed by German car imports, on which protectionist US tariffs will be levied this autumn. He accuses Berlin – and Europe– of piggy-backing on America by failing to pay its fair share of Nato defence costs. Special venom is reserved for Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, most likely because she is a woman who stands up to him . Trump recently insulted another female European leader, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen, after she refused to sell him Greenland .

Israel

Trump has made a great show of unconditional friendship towards Israel and its rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has skilfully maximised his White House influence. But by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, officially condoning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, and withdrawing funding and other support from the Palestinians, the president has abandoned the long-standing US policy of playing honest broker in the peace process. Trump has also tried to exploit antisemitism for political advantage, accusing US Democrat Jews who oppose Netanyahu's policies of "disloyalty" to Israel.

... ... ...

[Sep 12, 2019] The stars-and-stripes-wavers you meet in comment forums are usually blissfully ignorant, happy in their fool's paradise where everyone wants to be an American, and resistance to Uncle Sam's ruthless bullying is inspired by jealousy and inadequacy.

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 10, 2019 at 8:42 am

One reaction Americans are unaccustomed to is pity. When I meet them on the boats, traveling, I am always extra nice to them, because I feel sorry for them. They have to go back. They're nice people, mostly, they've never done anything to me personally. But sooner or later, they have to go back to where those license plates were issued. They can't stay here. And I'm sorry for them. But I would imagine most of them feel they are envied, and their citizenship is coveted by the less-fortunate. That might be true in some third-world hellholes where people would go anywhere to get out, but it certainly isn't so here.

The stars-and-stripes-wavers you meet in comment forums are usually blissfully ignorant, happy in their fool's paradise where everyone wants to be an American, and resistance to Uncle Sam's ruthless bullying is inspired by jealousy and inadequacy. For them, simply acknowledging that Washington sometimes makes mistakes – which it's allowed to do, because it's exceptional – is the essence of responsibility and fairness. There, I said we aren't always right – what could be more fair? But when America invades a country that did nothing to provoke it except refuse when it was ordered to do this or that, sometimes things it couldn't do, like abandon the nuclear weapons program it didn't have well, that was a mistake, but it was an honest mistake because no end of smart people the world over agreed they did indeed have a nuclear weapons program. I mean, if you don't do something quick, the consequences could be a mushroom cloud, ya know. And when it orders the democratically-elected president of a country to stand down and make way for a hand-picked replacement, it's not being arrogant. No; it's taking necessary on behalf of that leader's benighted people, who suffer awful oppression at his hands, and America only wants them to be free to make good choices.

A lot of those comments go unanswered; some because many of those forums now insist you sign in with Facebook so they can go behind the scenes and see who and where you are and gain all sorts of personal information about you, because dimwits love to blabber their entire personal lives on Facebook. But some go unanswered simply because there is no real use in trying to change such made-up minds. You will never dent the my-country-right-or-wrong blathering of ignorant people who know nothing beyond what they see on CNN.

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 11, 2019] Andrew Bacevich, Ending War, American-Style

Sep 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

September 11, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. Note that for all of Trump's considerable faults, including hiring John Bolton in the first place and taking too long to get rid of him, Bolton's opposition to finding a way for the US to extricate itself from the war in Afghanistan was reportedly the last straw.

By Andrew Bacevich, who serves as president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory will be published in January. Originally published at TomDispatch

When the conflict that the Vietnamese refer to as the American War ended in April 1975, I was a U.S. Army captain attending a course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In those days, the student body at any of our Army's myriad schools typically included officers from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Since ARVN's founding two decades earlier, the United States had assigned itself the task of professionalizing that fledgling military establishment. Based on a conviction that the standards, methods, and ethos of our armed forces were universally applicable and readily exportable, the attendance of ARVN personnel at such Army schools was believed to contribute to the professionalizing of the South Vietnamese military.

Evidence that the U.S. military's own professional standards had recently taken a hit -- memories of the My Lai massacre were then still fresh -- elicited no second thoughts on our part. Association with American officers like me was sure to rub off on our South Vietnamese counterparts in ways that would make them better soldiers. So we professed to believe, even while subjecting that claim to no more scrutiny than we did the question of why most of us had spent a year or more of our lives participating in an obviously misbegotten and misguided war in Indochina.

For serving officers at that time one question in particular remained off-limits (though it had been posed incessantly for years by antiwar protestors in the streets of America): Why Vietnam? Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

On the day that Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam, fell and that country ceased to exist, I approached one of my ARVN classmates, also a captain, wanting at least to acknowledge the magnitude of the disaster that had occurred. "I'm sorry about what happened to your country," I told him.

I did not know that officer well and no longer recall his name. Let's call him Captain Nguyen. In my dim recollection, he didn't even bother to reply. He simply looked at me with an expression both distressed and mournful. Our encounter lasted no more than a handful of seconds. I then went on with my life and Captain Nguyen presumably with his. Although I have no inkling of his fate, I like to think that he is now retired in Southern California after a successful career in real estate. But who knows?

All I do know is that today I recall our exchange with a profound sense of embarrassment and even shame. My pathetic effort to console Captain Nguyen had been both presumptuous and inadequate. Far worse was my failure -- inability? refusal? -- to acknowledge the context within which that catastrophe was occurring: the United States and its armed forces had, over years, inflicted horrendous harm on the people of South Vietnam.

In reality, their defeat was our defeat. Yet while we had decided that we were done paying, they were going to pay and pay for a long time to come.

Rather than offering a fatuous expression of regret for the collapse of his country, I ought to have apologized for having played even a miniscule role in what was, by any measure, a catastrophe of epic proportions. It's a wonder Captain Nguyen didn't spit in my eye.

I genuinely empathized with Captain Nguyen. Yet the truth is that, along with most other Americans, soldiers and civilians alike, I was only too happy to be done with South Vietnam and all its troubles. Dating back to the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the United States and its armed forces had made a gargantuan effort to impart legitimacy to the Republic of Vietnam and to coerce the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to its north into giving up its determination to exercise sovereignty over the entirety of the country. In that, we had failed spectacularly and at a staggering cost.

"Our" war in Indochina -- the conflict we chose to call the Vietnam War -- officially ended in January 1973 with the signing in Paris of an "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam." Under the terms of that fraudulent pact, American prisoners of war were freed from captivity in North Vietnam and the last U.S. combat troops in the south left for home, completing a withdrawal begun several years earlier. Primary responsibility for securing the Republic of Vietnam thereby fell to ARVN, long deemed by U.S. commanders incapable of accomplishing that mission.

Meanwhile, despite a nominal cessation of hostilities, approximately 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars still occupied a large swathe of South Vietnamese territory -- more or less the equivalent to agreeing to end World War II when there were still several German panzer tank divisions lurking in Belgium's Ardennes Forest. In effect, our message to our enemy and our ally was this: We're outta here; you guys sort this out . In a bit more than two years, that sorting-out process would extinguish the Republic of Vietnam.

Been There, Done That

The course Captain Nguyen and I were attending in the spring of 1975 paid little attention to fighting wars like the one that, for years, had occupied the attention of my army and his. Our Army, in fact, was already moving on. Having had their fill of triple-canopy jungles in Indochina, America's officer corps now turned to defending the Fulda Gap, the region in West Germany deemed most hospitable to a future Soviet invasion. As if by fiat, gearing up to fight those Soviet forces and their Warsaw Pact allies, should they (however improbably) decide to take on NATO and lunge toward the English Channel, suddenly emerged as priority number one. At Fort Knox and throughout the Army's ranks, we were suddenly focused on "high-intensity combined arms operations" -- essentially, a replay of World War II-style combat with fancier weaponry. In short, the armed forces of the United States had reverted to "real soldiering."

And so it is again today. At the end of the 17th year of what Americans commonly call the Afghanistan War -- one wonders what name Afghans will eventually assign it -- U.S. military forces are moving on. Pentagon planners are shifting their attention back to Russia and China. Great power competition has become the name of the game. However we might define Washington's evolving purposes in its Afghanistan War -- "nation building," "democratization," "pacification" -- the likelihood of mission accomplishment is nil. As in the early 1970s, so in 2019, rather than admitting failure, the Pentagon has chosen to change the subject and is once again turning its attention to "real soldiering."

Remember the infatuation with counterinsurgency (commonly known by its acronym COIN) that gripped the national security establishment around 2007 when the Iraq "surge" overseen by General David Petraeus briefly ranked alongside Gettysburg as a historic victory? Well, these days promoting COIN as the new American way of war has become, to put it mildly, a tough sell. Given that few in Washington will openly acknowledge the magnitude of the military failure in Afghanistan, the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible.

Only one thing is required to validate this reshuffling of military priorities. Washington needs to create the appearance, as in 1973, that it's exiting Afghanistan on its own terms. What's needed, in short, is an updated equivalent of that "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam."

Until last weekend, the signing of such an agreement seemed imminent. Donald Trump and his envoy, former ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, appeared poised to repeat the trick that President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger pulled off in 1973 in Paris: pause the war and call it peace. Should fighting subsequently resume after a "decent interval," it would no longer be America's problem. Now, however, to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy -- the proposed deal has been postponed, or perhaps shelved, or even abandoned altogether. If National Security Advisor John Bolton has his way , U.S. forces might just withdraw in any case, without an agreement of any sort being signed.

Based on what we can divine from press reports, the terms of that prospective Afghan deal would mirror those of the 1973 Paris Accords in one important respect. It would, in effect, serve as a ticket home for the remaining U.S. and NATO troops still in that country (though for the present only the first 5,000 of them would immediately depart). Beyond that, the Taliban was to promise not to provide sanctuary to anti-American terrorist groups, even though the Afghan branch of ISIS is already firmly lodged there. Still, this proviso would allow the Trump administration to claim that it had averted any possible recurrence of the 9/11 terror attacks that were, of course, planned by Osama bin Laden while residing in Afghanistan in 2001 as a guest of the Taliban-controlled government. Mission accomplished , as it were.

Back in 1973, North Vietnamese forces occupying parts of South Vietnam neither disarmed nor withdrew. Should this new agreement be finalized, Taliban forces currently controlling or influencing significant swaths of Afghan territory will neither disarm nor withdraw. Indeed, their declared intention is to continue fighting.

In 1973, policymakers in Washington were counting on ARVN to hold off Communist forces. In 2019, almost no one expects Afghan security forces to hold off a threat consisting of both the Taliban and ISIS. In a final insult, just as the Saigon government was excluded from U.S. negotiations with the North Vietnamese, so, too, has the Western-installed government in Kabul been excluded from U.S. negotiations with its sworn enemy, the Taliban.

A host of uncertainties remain. As with the olive branches that President Trump has ostentatiously offered to Russia, China, and North Koea, this particular peace initiative may come to naught -- or, given the approach of the 2020 elections, he may decide that Afghanistan offers his last best hope of claiming at least one foreign policy success. One way or another, in all likelihood, the deathwatch for the U.S.-backed Afghan government has now begun. One thing only is for sure. Having had their fill of Afghanistan, when the Americans finally leave, they won't look back. In that sense, it will be Vietnam all over again.

What Price Peace?

However great my distaste for President Trump, I support his administration's efforts to extricate the United States from Afghanistan. I do so for the same reason I supported the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. Prolonging this folly any longer does not serve U.S. interests. Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake.

In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing. In Afghanistan, we have lost more than 2,300 troops , with another 20,000 wounded, again for next to nothing. Last month, two American Special Forces soldiers were killed in a firefight in Faryab Province. For what?

That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy.

As to what will follow if Washington does succeed in cutting a deal with the Taliban, well, don't count on President Trump (or his successor for that matter) welcoming anything like 1.3 million Afghan refugees to the United States once a "decent interval" has passed. Yet again, our position will be: we're outta here; you guys sort this out.

Near the end of his famed novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald described two of his privileged characters, Tom and Daisy, as "careless people" who "smashed up things and creatures" and then "retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness" to "let other people clean up the mess they had made." That description applies to the United States as a whole, especially when Americans tire of a misguided war. We are a careless people. In Vietnam, we smashed up things and human beings with abandon, only to retreat into our money, leaving others to clean up the mess in a distinctly bloody fashion.

Count on us, probably sooner rather than later, doing precisely the same thing in Afghanistan.


RBHoughton , September 11, 2019 at 1:05 am

Bacevich is right. Vietnam was a tragedy. Here we are at Ground Hog Day in Afghanistan.

I was touched by the author's recollection of Capt Nguyen. I well know that awful moment when , reflecting on some past event, I have recognised my own actions as insensitive, crass and unfeeling. How do we get so wrapped-up in ourselves that the feelings of others hardly impinge on our sensitivities? What happened to society? Is that where the West has gone wrong?

Btw, quote "to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy" unquote. I hope those owning the Twitter Nest note the future use of their archive.

VietnamVet , September 11, 2019 at 3:42 am

Andrew Bacevich is right. However, there is an amazing human disinclination to face facts but live with delusions which risk extinction for immediate gratification. The lessons from Vietnam were never learned. The Bush/Cheney fateful decision to occupy Afghanistan at the same time as invading Iraq ultimately led to the current predatory corporate military rule that will never voluntarily withdraw from overseas. The intent of the media/intelligence coup against the President is to prevent peace from breaking out. Executives and wealthy shareholders would lose their taxpayer gravy train. The troops and contractors now in Eastern Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are expendable. They will not have two years to get out. No planning, deep-sixing science, and profits over safety all assure that sooner or later there will be another black swan event. Be it Brexit, closure of Strait of Hormuz, subprime auto loans, WWIII, or climate change, assuredly something will give the final push and the American Empire will collapse.

Mattski , September 11, 2019 at 7:43 am

"Après moi, le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society."

No Pasaran , September 11, 2019 at 5:05 am

Prof. Bacevich is very perceptive and he writes well; his essays are always worth reading. Nevertheless, he is a retired US Army officer after all and there is that thing about leopards and spots. There is a tell in this article, when he speaks of the day that Saigon 'fell'. I too remember well that day in April of '75. I was studying in Madison, on the GI Bill. My friends and I all rejoiced on that day, as Saigon had finally been 'liberated'.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:13 am

I was at high school in the UK, and my friends and I also rejoiced on that day.

Donald , September 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Why rejoice? The point should be that the US had no business in Vietnam, not that one group finally succeeded in uniting the country under the rule of one dictatorial party. Not all Vietnamese welcomed the "liberation" and many died fleeing the country.

I am sure this will be misunderstood, so I'll add that I think that the US role was one massive war crime and we never should have been there at all, that Ho Chi Minh probably would have won a fair election in the 1950's etc

Being antiwar has nothing necessarily to do with favoring the side our government opposes. It simply means that there is no moral justification for the US invading Vietnam or Iraq, supporting jihadists in Syria, helping the Saudis and the Israelis bomb civilians, and so on.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Prof. Bacevich has an personal stake in what he writes about. His son, Lt. Andrew John Bacevich, was killed in action by an IED during the occupation back in 2007. He was already a severe critic of the war at the time but I am guessing that this underlined the futility of it tall.

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 6:01 am

Although it is true that the willing of Trump to put an end to the Afghan occupation must be seen as a positive, his policy of ever increasing military budgets make this affirmation from Bacevich "the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible" truer that ever. These expenditures must be justified in practical terms and It worries me what the new enemies in Trump's brain are.

fajensen , September 11, 2019 at 8:17 am

One was hoping that the Space Marines would focus The Decider's attention firmly on those pesky Centaurians .

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

Ha, ha hah!
Yes, Hollywood has made a big effort to explain us, the common people, that US's military expenses will protect us from Centaurians, Klingons, meteorites and some other rogue invaders. I cannot imagine any other reason.

Steve H. , September 11, 2019 at 6:37 am

> Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

John Boyd: "And you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go." He raised his hand and pointed. "If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments." Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. "Or you can go that way and you can do something -- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?" [Robert Coram]

Jesper , September 11, 2019 at 7:42 am

Which is worse? Living in a cave in Afghanistan or living in a prison in Europe/US?
If the invasion of Afghanistan was about capturing some people and then imprisoning them then that question might possibly be relevant.
If the invasion was about prestige then sometimes the best revenge and biggest insult is to treat that someone as irrelevant and insignificant. If the opportunity presents itself to do something then by all means do something, do what prestige demands but if that does not happen then what?
Sometimes the measure of someone is had by the measure of his/her enemies. Giving someone the significance of being the enemy might provide that someone with a better life. There are people with money who'd be willing to fund the enemy of their enemy. But how do those financiers know if they are funding some chancers/charlatans or the real thing? Spread some uncertainty about who are charlatans/chancers and see what happens to the funding . Maybe the guilty ones might feel it necessary to publicly provide the necessary proof of their guilt, doubtful but & if the location of them is found then threaten closure of the diplomatic missions of the nation where they are unless they are handed over. The diplomatic missions are cushy positions and closing them will only hurt the 'elite', the general population is left unharmed.

Afghanistan is unlikely to change anytime soon. As with all predictions of the future that one might be very wrong. However, the ones predicting that Afghanistan can and will change due to military occupation are in my opinion the ones who need to somehow provide support for their prediction.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 9:11 am

A few predictions here. After the US and the rest of the Coalition leaves Afghanistan, not much happens for awhile. But then the government starts to lose ground. Slowly at first, and then quickly. Eventually Kabul falls. Long before then the US and other countries would have had evacuated their embassies so that there is no repeat of the frantic helicopter evacuations like happened in Saigon. There is a swell of refugees, particularly those who worked with the Coalition but Trump refuses all entry of them into the US saying that there are "very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers" in Afghanistan.
Five years after the last troops are out of Afghanistan the war is all but forgotten in the same way that the vets of the Korean War were forgotten. Not for nothing did they call Korea the "Forgotten War.' By then the US is immersed in another campaign – probably in Africa – and news about what is happening in Afghanistan is relegated to the back pages. The vets will remember, but the nation will ignore them in the same way that Vietnam vets were forgotten after that war ended until the striking Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built in Washington by the vets themselves. In West Point text books, the war is relegated to the back pages as the cadets will instead study peer warfare with Russia and China.

Alex Cox , September 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

One very important question remains.
By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero. Every year since the US/NATO invasion, opium production has increased.
What will the Afghans do when the US and British are no longer around to facilitate the heroin trade? Perhaps that's why negotiations are proving so difficult.

ewmayer , September 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

"By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero."

You need to update things past 2001 :

The Taliban banned the cultivation of opium in 2001, shortly before being ousted by the US-led NATO coalition. However, after 2005, the Taliban began to regroup, and encouraged opium production to finance its insurgency by forcing locals to grow opium and punishing those who refused. Besides, major opium traffickers annually pay vast amounts to the Taliban in exchange for safe transport routes secured by the group.

The Taliban uses the money it collects from the opium trade to pay fighters' salaries, buy fuel, food, weapons and explosives. Based on some reports, around 40% of the Taliban's funding comes from opium production, while the rest of its expenditure is borne by foreign patrons and tax collections. The group's annual income from the opium trade was estimated to be $400 million in 2011, but it is believed to have significantly increased in recent years.

The Taliban collect two types of taxes from opium businesses: a transportation tax from drug trafficking and a 10% tax from opium cultivation. In exchange, the group provides security for the drug convoys and carries out attacks on government institutions like checkpoints in order to allow drug convoys to pass. The group has also launched attacks on government forces to safeguard drug labs and factories.

The Taliban don't need US/UK to facilitate things. In fact, getting the US out of the country might eliminate one of their major Heroin-related business rivals, the CIA.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:10 am

Bacevich states, "Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake. In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing."
Why does he find his rule especially applicable to the paltry number of US dead, given that at least fifty times as many Indochinese died?
This attitude is surely one reason for the loathing felt by much of the world toward the USA. People are justifiably sick of hearing how US lives are inherently more valuable than their own.

juliania , September 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I guess you missed this part of the article:

" That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy ."

Note in particular the phrase "the people of Vietnam" in the last sentence. I find your criticism to be unwarranted.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I neither missed nor ignored Bacevich's caveat.
I was focusing on his 'rule number one', which seems to make the lives of a few US soldiers more sacred than those of the many people – civilians as well as soldiers – they kill.
I am not trying to say that Bacevich is as evil and abhorrent as say Bolton. I don't think he is, though I suspect he's on the same side when it comes down to it.
I am suggesting that the USA will fail to win the hearts and minds of the world's people while killing them and belittling their deaths.

(and you might note the phrase "can hardly be said to make up for" in the last sentence!)

John Wright , September 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm

As I remember the movie Dr. Strangelove, as the USA nuclear weapon was launched toward Russia, Russia was given an option to destroy some USA cities as a way of the USA doing fair and suitable penance.

I don't imagine the USA's military is viewed in the world as other than operating in the USA elites' interests, despite any media (Cable, internet, print,Hollywood films) verbiage about "bringing democracy" or "bringing freedom" to other nations.

I believe the Peace Corps was established as a way to make the world a better place with USA's expertise and as a way to win "hearts and minds of the world's people".

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Corps , the Peace Corps budget in 2018 was 398 million.

The USA defense budget for 2019 is shown as 686 billion putting the Peace Corps budget as 0.058% of the, perhaps understated, defense budget.

I believe winning the world's hearts and minds via USA military action is very unlikely at best.

The small Peace Corps budget is evidence that concern about winning hearts and minds in foreign countries is a very small priority in Washington D.C.

Ford Prefect , September 11, 2019 at 11:44 am

If you fund, arm, and train an army for a decade and it still can't defend itself against insurgents, then you have to wonder whose side is right? If it actually had the backing of the people on the ground and dedicated troops and government, then it should be able to hold its ground well.

The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies.

In Iraq, it is largely coherent tribal entities of Kurds and Shiites that have been providing the backbone of relatively successful military organizations (not the same one despite being in the same country). Both groups have their own independent goals. The US forefeited its abiltiy to create a true national army in Iraq when they disbanded the former Iraqi Army shortly after invading. That resulted in a well-trained insurgency.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

"The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies."
Hardly. From 1979 the US funded, armed and trained the Mujaheddin, who won. I'm not aware of them funding, arming or training the Viet Cong or Viet Minh.
They didn't win when they backed the losing sides, that's true. But it isn't saying much beyond the obvious.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:12 pm

I like Bacevich but he really demurred from making his underlying point. He asked "Why Vietnam" and then he proceeded to fluff through that question. But the analogy to Afghanistan remains at a much deeper level. That level (imo) is this: Why Vietnam? Because, at that hysterical cold war turning point, Vietnam was the gateway to Southern China (Gore Vidal). Our main objective was to position ourselves to invade Southern China and protect the old imperialist interests of the UK and France (aka Nato). But we dithered and hesitated. Thank god. It could have been a much worse debacle. So here it is: We invaded Afghanistan and sent a zillion dollars worth of materiel to Iraq in order to take over the Middle East. And that meant invading Iran. But just like China, Iran was a dangerous plan. Too many things could go wrong, so everyone knew they would go wrong. Duh. And so we dithered and hesitated. And made up for it by blatant propaganda for 15 years. We're "outta there" because we should never have been in there. And one of the tragedies is our abandonment of the Kurds. Just like the South Vietnamese. Bacevich didn't mention the Kurds. He implied our abandonment would upset the poor Afghans. But, they won't care at all. They'll be flipping all of our departing helicopters the bird. Still there was a point to be made about our fecklessness. Interesting aside here that Bacevich, a well thought-out moral person, is the new President of the Quincy Institute. It will probably become famous for deep, murky contradictions. And pompous rationalizations without ever really making the point. Just to the taste of Soros and the Kochs.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

I suspect, re Afghanistan, there is an upside that will never be made into a finer point. That is, we have worn out the appetite for a wider war for all concerned and managed to come to agreement with all parties of interest in Middle East oil. Including Russia. And Israel. And nobody will make much fuss about it, but we will still leave a very high-tech military contingent in Afghanistan because Eurasia is a vast opportunity.

barrisj , September 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Vietnam War strictly motivated by the "Domino Theory" and "monolithic Asian communism", per Dean Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, et al. Kennedy was said to be having "second thoughts" about expanded US presence at the time of his assassination; however, LBJ went all-in, urged on by McNamara and the generals 11 years later it all went tits-up, Nixon ended the draft, all relatively quiet on the war front, then Carter and Brzezinski funded Islamic militants in Afghanistan to harry the Russkies and ca. 20yrs later, Cheney-Bush repeat the Russian quagmire plus ça change etc" .

stan6565 , September 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm

The author is too limited in his appraisals of USA wars, and the commentariat here too polite to expand on the list of the criminal wars waged by the USA since Vietnam.

Iraq and Afghanistan were mentioned, yes, but there were also open wars of aggression against Yugoslavia, then Serbia, Grenada and Libya as well as clandestine wars against a good chunk of the globe, Israel/Palestine, Russian backyard countries, China, Venezuela, a swathe of Central American countries, and so on ad infinitum.

USA's holy grail of subjugating all oil producing countries in the world, except for those that can fight back, and purported payment to those unable to fight back, with readily printable papers of questionable value, is not a long term strategy. Not long term as in 10 or 20 more years. Then what? John Bolton or his clone on a cocktail of steroids and amphetamine, lobbing nuclear weapons indiscriminately all over the place?

The Indispensable Nation.

[Sep 10, 2019] The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden)

Sep 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder | Sep 5 2019 19:04 utc | 18

The American military is advanced over both Russia and China in one sense - they have access to endless taxpayers' dollars to fund their programs, many of which are complete failures.

Ike , Sep 5 2019 19:45 utc | 23
Putin can offer Trump hyper-sonic missiles knowing he cannot accept. To accept these would display the USA's technical military inferiority for all to see. The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden).

Just like Reagan's star-wars program public perception is everything

[Sep 10, 2019] If bombing is/was punishment for use chemical weapons, US would have to keep bombing itself to this day , as punishments for what they did to Vietnam

Sep 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Paw , says: September 10, 2019 at 3:26 am GMT

If bombing is/was punishment for use chemical weapons , US would have to keep bombing itself to this day , as punishments for what they did to Vietnam ..And elsewhere.

On its own population as well..

[Sep 10, 2019] Behaving like a normal country

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Martin , Sep 10 2019 4:56 utc | 24

As newly appointed US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, was reported to have claimed about wanting for Russia to ''behave like a normal country'', Sergey Lavrov urged for him to clarify what he means by ''normality'' during a press conference in the Russian capital; if Russia was to behave like the US, it would have had to bomb Iraq, Libya, supporting an armed, anti-constitutional coup in Kiev, and allocating millions in the interference in the affairs of other countries, as in the ''promotion of democracy'' in Russia.

Sergey Shoygu did not have much to add, but what he did add could not be clearer: Russia will probably have to remain being ''not normal''.

[Sep 10, 2019]