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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

MIC Bulletin, 2015

Index 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000

[Dec 24, 2015] Obama's foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices

[Dec 23, 2015] Jewish neocons and the romance of nationalist armageddon

[Dec 23, 2015] The Neocons - Masters of Chaos

[Dec 17, 2015] US militarism is Alice in Wonderland

[Dec 13, 2015] US military spending is currently $738.3 billion

[Dec 12, 2015] Guyenot Who are the Neocons

[Dec 06, 2015] The USA is number one small arms manufacturer in the world

[Dec 04, 2015] The Neoconservative Movement is Trotskyism

[Dec 03, 2015] On That Video Where Some Egyptians Allegedly Say Obama Is Insane And On Drugs And Should Be Removed From Office

[Dec 01, 2015] US Intervention Before And After

[Nov 28, 2015] Remaking the Middle East: How the US Grew Tired and Less Relevant

[Nov 28, 2015] The Perils of Endless War -

[Nov 25, 2015] The shooting down of a Russian jet tangles the diplomatic web still further

[Nov 25, 2015] Turkish military releases recording of warning to Russian jet

[Nov 23, 2015] This Is The Most Dangerous Time Ever Ex-CIA Boss Says US To Blame For Scourge Without Parallel ISIS

[Nov 23, 2015] Tell me how Trump doesn't win the Republican nomination

[Nov 23, 2015] The Crisis of World Order

[Nov 21, 2015] US Congresswoman Introduces Bill To Stop Illegal War On Assad; Says CIA Ops Must Stop

[Nov 20, 2015] Hillarys Heavy Obligations to Wall Street Money and The Banks Favorite Candidates

[Nov 15, 2015] Paris attacks Andrew J. Bacevich A war the West cannot win

[Nov 14, 2015] Iraqi warmonger Ahmad Chalabi dies

[Nov 14, 2015] Why The Neocons Hate The Donald

[Nov 08, 2015] Legendary US Army Commander Says Russia Would Annihilate US In Head-To-Head Battle

[Nov 06, 2015] Obama Cracked Jokes While the Rest of the World Mourned

[Nov 05, 2015] History That Makes Us Stupid

[Oct 30, 2015] The Deciders

[Oct 29, 2015] President Carter Rips Cheney Over Iraq: 'His Batting Average Is Abysmally Low'

[Oct 22, 2015] Russia ready to use military intervention to defend Iran and Syria from Israeli, US and Nato attacks

[Oct 22, 2015] The Secret History of U.S.-Iranian Relations

[Oct 21, 2015] Andrew Bacevich A Decade of War

[Oct 21, 2015] The End of American Exceptionalism with Andrew J. Bacevich - November 7, 2013

[Oct 19, 2015] The Banksters and American Foreign Policy by Justin Raimondo

[Oct 18, 2015] Mainstream Media Finally Admits Syrian Conflict Is US-Russia Proxy War

Government Warmongering Criminals Where Are They Now

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status makes them untouchable, giving them license to steal and even to kill. The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies.

Why is accountability important? After the Second World War, the victorious allies believed it was important to establish responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by officials of the Axis powers. The judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it inevitably unleashed so many other evils. Ten leading Nazis were executed at Nuremberg and ninety-three Japanese officials at similar trials staged in Asia, including several guilty of waterboarding. Those who were not executed for being complicit in the actual launching of war were tried for torture of both military personnel and civilians and crimes against humanity, including the mass killing of civilians as well as of soldiers who had surrendered or been captured.

No matter how one tries to avoid making comparisons between 1939 and 2015, the American invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, precisely the type of conflict that the framework of accountability provided by Nuremberg was supposed to prevent in the years after 1946. High level US government officials knew that Iraq represented no threat to the United States but they nevertheless described an imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein in the most graphic terms, replete with weapons of mass destruction, armed drones flying across the Atlantic, terrorists being unleashed against the homeland, and mushroom clouds on the horizon. The precedent of Iraq, even though it was an abject failure, has led to further military action against Libya and Syria to bring about “regime change” as well as a continuing conflict in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the US has been waging a largely secret “long war” against terrorists employing torture and secret prisons. The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths because they wanted to believe the fiction they were being spoon fed by the White House, but is there a whole lot of difference between what the US government did against Iraq in 2003 and what Hitler’s government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was subsequent torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for Washington?

Many Americans would now consider the leading figures in the Bush Administration aided and abetted by many enablers in congress from both political parties to be unindicted war criminals. Together they ignited a global conflict that is still running strong fourteen years later with a tally of more than 7,000 dead Americans and a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis and Syrians.

War breeds more war, due largely to the fact that guilty parties in Washington who piggyback on the prevailing narrative move onward and upward, rewarded in this life even if not necessarily so in the hereafter. A friend of mine recently commented that honest men who were formerly part of the United States government do not subsequently get hired by lobbying firms or obtain television contracts and “teaching” positions at prestigious universities. Though not 100% accurate as I know at least a couple of honorable former senior officials who wound up teaching, it would seem to be a generalization that has considerable validity. The implication is that many senior government officials ascend to their positions based on being accommodating and “political” rather than being honest and they continue to do the same when they switch over to corporate America or the equally corrupted world of academia.

I thought of my friend’s comment when I turned on the television a week ago to be confronted by the serious, somewhat intense gaze of Michael Morell, warning about the danger that ISIS will strike the US over the Fourth of July weekend. Morell, a former senior CIA official, is in the terror business. He had no evidence whatsoever that terrorists were planning an attack and should have realized that maneuvering the United States into constantly going on alert based on empty threats is precisely what militant groups tend to do.

When not fronting as a handsomely paid national security consultant for the CBS television network Morell is employed by Beacon Global Strategies as a Senior Counselor, presumably warning well-heeled clients to watch out for terrorists. His lifestyle and substantial emoluments depend on people being afraid of terrorism so they will turn to an expert like him and ask serious questions that he will answer in a serious way suggesting that Islamic militants could potentially bring about some kind of global apocalypse.

Morell, a torture apologist, also has a book out that he wants to sell, positing somewhat ridiculously that he and his former employer had been fighting The Great War of Our Time against Islamic terrorists, something comparable to the World Wars of the past century, hence the title. Morell needs to take some valium and relax. He would also benefit from a little introspection regarding the bad guys versus good guys narrative that he is peddling. His credentials as a warrior are somewhat suspect in any event as he never did any military service and his combat in the world of intelligence consisted largely of sitting behind a desk in Washington and providing briefings to George W. Bush and Barack Obama in which he presumably told them what they wanted to hear.

Morell is one of a host of pundits who are successful in selling the military-industrial-lobbyist-congressional-intelligence community line of BS on the war on terror. Throw in the neocons as the in-your-face agents provocateurs who provide instant intellectual and media credibility for developments and you have large groups of engaged individuals with good access who are on the receiving end of the seemingly unending cash pipeline that began with 9/11. Frances Townsend, who was the Bush Homeland Security adviser and who is now a consultant with CNN, is another such creature as is Michael Chertoff, formerly Director of the Department of Homeland Security, who has successfully marketed his defective airport scanners to his former employer.

But the guys and gals who are out feathering their own nests are at least comprehensible given our predatory capitalist system of government. More to the point, the gang that ordered or carried out torture and assassination are the ones who should be doing some hard time in the slammer but instead they too are riding the gravy train and cashing in. To name only a few of those who knew about the torture and ordered it carried out I would cite George Tenet, James Pavitt, Cofer Black and Jose Rodriguez from the intelligence community. The assassination program meanwhile is accredited to John Brennan, currently CIA Director, during his tenure as Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor. And then there are Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon together with John Yoo at Justice and Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice at the White House, all of whom outright lied, dissimulated and conspired their way to bring about a war of aggression against Iraq.

There are plenty of nameless others who were “only carrying out orders” and who should be included in any reckoning of America’s crimes over the past fifteen years, particularly if one also considers the illegal NSA spying program headed by Michael Hayden, who defended the practice and has also referred to those who oppose enhanced interrogation torture as “interrogation deniers.” And then there are Presidents Bush and Obama who certainly knew what was going on in the name of the American people as well as John Brennan, who was involved in both the torture and renditions programs as well as the more recent assassinations by drone.

So where are they now? Living in obscurity ashamed of what they did? Hardly. Not only have they not been vilified or marginalized, they have, in most cases, been rewarded. George W. Bush lives in Dallas near his Presidential Library and eponymous Think (sic) Tank. Cheney lives in semi-retirement in McLean Virginia with a multi-million dollar waterfront weekend retreat in St. Michaels Maryland, not too far from Donald Rumsfeld’s similar digs.

George Tenet, the CIA Director notorious for his “slam-dunk” comment, a man who cooked the intelligence to make the Iraq war possible to curry favor with the White House, has generously remunerated positions on the boards of Allen & Company merchant bank, QinetiQ, and L-1 Identity Solutions. He sold his memoir At the Center of the Storm, which has been described as a “self-justifying apologia,” in 2007 for a reported advance of $4 million. His book, ironically, admits that the US invaded Iraq for no good reason.

James Pavitt, who was the point man responsible for the “enhanced interrogation” program as Tenet’s Deputy Director for Operations, is currently a principal with The Scowcroft Group and also serves on several boards. Cofer Black, who headed the Counter-Terrorism Center, which actually carried out renditions and “enhanced interrogations,” was vice chairman of Blackwater Worldwide (now called Xe) and chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions, a Blackwater spin-off. He is now vice president of Blackbird Technologies, a defense and intelligence contractor. Rodriguez, who succeeded Black and in 2005 illegally destroyed video tapes made of Agency interrogations to avoid possible repercussions, is a senior vice president with Edge Consulting, a defense contractor currently owned by IBM that is located in Virginia.

John Yoo is a Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley while Condoleezza Rice, who spoke of mushroom clouds and is widely regarded as the worst National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in history, has returned to Stanford University. She is a professor at the Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy as well as a fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is occasionally spoken of as either a possible GOP presidential candidate or as a future Commissioner of the National Football League. Her interaction with students is limited, but when challenged on her record she has responded that it was a difficult situation post 9/11, something that everyone understands, though few would have come to her conclusion that attacking Iraq might be a good way to destroy al-Qaeda.

Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush Deputy Secretary of Defense, is seen by many as the “intellectual” driving force behind the invasion of Iraq. He is currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and advises Jeb Bush on foreign policy. A bid to reward Wolfie for his zeal by giving him a huge golden parachute as President of the World Bank at a salary of $391,000 tax free failed when, after 23 months in the position, he was ousted over promoting a subordinate with whom he was having an affair. His chief deputy at the Pentagon Doug Feith left the Defense Department to take up a visiting professorship at the school of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, which was subsequently not renewed. He is reported to be again practicing law and thinking deep thoughts about his hero Edmund Burke, who no doubt would have been appalled to make Feith’s acquaintance. Feith is a senior fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute and the Director of the Center for National Security Strategies. His memoir War and Decision did not make the best seller list and is now available used on Amazon for $.01 plus shipping. If the marketplace is anything to go by Feith and Tenet are running neck-and-neck on secondary book exchanges as George also can be had for $.01.

The over-rewarding of former officials who have in reality done great harm to the United States and its interests might well seem inexplicable, but it is all part of a style of bureaucracy that cannot admit failure and truly believes that all its actions are ipso facto legitimate because the executive and its minions can do no wrong. It is also a symptom of the classic American character flaw that all things are of necessity measured by money. Does anyone remember the ancient Roman symbol of republican virtue Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his farm after being named Dictator in order to defeat Rome’s enemies? He then handed power back to the Senate before returning to his plowing after the job was done. The historian Livy summed up the significance of his act, writing “It is worthwhile for those who disdain all human things for money, and who suppose that there is no room either for great honor or virtue, except where wealth is found, to listen to his story.” George Washington was America’s Cincinnatus and it is not a coincidence that officers of the continental army founded the Cincinnati Society, the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, in 1783. It is also reported that Edward Snowden used the alias “Cincinnatus.”

Lord Acton once observed that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” More recently essayist Edward Abbey put it in an American context, noting “Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” That senior government officials and politicians routinely expect to be generously rewarded for their service and never held accountable for their failures and misdeeds is a fault that is perhaps not unique to the United States but it is nevertheless unacceptable. Handing out a couple of exemplary prison sentences for the caste that believes itself untouchable would be a good place to start. An opportunity was missed with David Petraeus, who was fined and avoided jail time, and it will be interesting to see how the Dennis Hastert case develops. Hastert will no doubt be slapped on the wrist for the crime of moving around his own money while the corruption that was the source of that money, both as a legislator and lobbyist, will be ignored. As will his molestation of at least one and possibly several young boys. One thing for sure about the Washington elite, you never have to say you’re sorry.

Reprinted with permission from Unz Review.

Review Washington Rules


For his first 40 years, Andrew Bacevich lived the conventional life of an army officer. In the military world where success depended on conformity, he followed the rules and “took comfort in orthodoxy…[finding] assurance in conventional wisdom.” Comfort, that is, until he had a chance to peer behind the Iron Curtain, and was shocked to find East Germany more third-world shambles than first-rate threat.

That experience, combined with the introspection that followed his subsequent retirement from the army, led Bacevich to reevaluate the relationship between truth and power. After having taken his superiors at their word for decades, he slowly came to understand “that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high…is inherently suspect. The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.”

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War is Bacevich’s fourth book on the subject of American exercise of power. This time, he takes up the question of the political calculations that have produced the basic tenets of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War, examining how and why they came to exist and to survive all challenges to their supremacy.

Bacevich describes two components that define U.S. foreign policy. The first is what he dubs the “American credo,” which calls on “the United States — and the United States alone — to lead save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world.” Second is what he calls the “sacred trinity,” which requires that the United States “maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projections, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”

These rules, Bacevich argues, are no longer vital to the existence of the United States, and have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury. Rather, they are kept in place by individuals who derive personal benefit from their continuance. Bacevich does not hesitate to blame a Washington class that “clings to its credo and trinity not out of necessity, but out of parochial self-interest laced with inertia.”

This is a theme that runs throughout the book: that those who make the rules also benefit from them, and thus their demands should always be regarded skeptically.

While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country: General Curtis LeMay, who built a massive nuclear arsenal as head of Strategic Air Command; Allen Dulles, who backed coups across the globe as CIA director; and General Maxwell Taylor, who rode the idea of “flexible response” from retirement to the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The story of foreign policy, then, is not so much different than any government bureaucracy through which vast sums of money flow, and is driven as much by officials jockeying for status than by genuine concern for policy outcomes. Whether in disputes between the Army and the Air Force or the Pentagon and the White House, and whether over money or over purpose, different sectors of the national security establishment propose and promote new doctrines that necessitate increasing their budgets and enhancing their importance.

But Bacevich is not content to only blame leaders. In contrast to George Washington’s ideal of the citizen who would consider it his duty to actively serve his country, Bacevich finds today’s Americans “greedy and gullible,” pursuing personal gain in the stead of collective benefit. Any solution, he argues, must come from an awakened people who demand change from the people they put in office.

As for what that change should look like, Bacevich proposes a new credo and trinity. As a new mission statement, he offers: “America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as reinterpreted with the passage of time and in light of hard-earned experience.”

As a new trinity, he suggests that “the purpose of the U.S, military is not to combat evil or remake the world but to defend the United States and its most vital interests…the primary duty station of the American soldier is in America…consistent with the Just War tradition, the United States should employ force only as a last resort and only in self defense.”

Bacevich writes in the short, clipped style with which he also speaks, presumably a legacy of his West Point education and decades in the military. His style allows for easy comprehension and neat packaging of his ideas, and readers will not get bogged down in flowery language.

Parts of Bacevich’s thinking require further scrutiny and remind readers of his self-identification as a conservative (lowercase “c”). Economically, he is no fan of stimulus spending, and socially he places blame on individual failings and personal flaws, choosing not to mention an unequal economic system that leaves tens of millions of Americans with barely the resources to take care of their families, much less have time to be informed and active citizens.

In fact, the emphasis throughout the book is on the fact that expansionism, at this particular moment, is not wrong but impossible. Bacevich is, after all, a realist when it comes to international relations theory, and though he happens to agree with liberal anti-imperials on many issues, it is often for different reasons.

However, debates over theory can wait for when the republic is in less immediate peril. This is the second work Bacevich has published under the auspices of the American Empire Project, a book series documenting America’s imperial adventures and their disastrous consequences. The contribution of conservative authors to this task is vital. They remind us that opposition to imperialism is hardly just a liberal cause, and in fact for much of American history was actually a rallying point for conservatives across the country.

Washington Rules is valuable for putting in print what those inside the military establishment don’t dare admit: that, even aside from moral concerns, U.S. international strategy is neither successful nor sustainable and maintained more by lies than by actual results. Bacevich can truly be said to be a realist in that he understand that leaders, when faced with the choice of admitting failure or lying, will almost always choose the latter.

Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.

The Miami Herald, the CIA, and the Bay of Pigs scoop that didn’t run Miami Herald

Miami Herald

The tale of the Herald’s Bay of Pigs scoop and its subsequent capitulation to the CIA has mostly been shrouded in mystery for the past five decades. It was explored briefly in Anything but the Truth, a book by Washington reporters William McGaffin and Erwin Knoll that was published in 1968 and quickly disappeared.


It all started with some kids throwing firecrackers over a fence in Homestead.

On the sultry night of Aug. 26, 1960, 16-year-old John Keogh had called some of his teenaged buddies over to the family poultry farm in Homestead to help him wrangle a bunch of chickens that were scheduled to be shipped off to customers. But the delivery truck never showed, and the bored kids at last gave up and drove off to a little store where they could buy some Cokes and talk about girls.

On the way there, though, one of the guys mentioned seeing a camp for migrant farmworkers nearby. “He said they danced around the fire at night and acted weird,” says Keogh, now 70 and working in the auto wholesale business in Land O’ Lakes. “So we thought we’d like to see that. And later, that got us called ‘thrill-seeking youths’ in the newspapers.”

When they reached the camp, one of the guys suggested it would be funny to toss a few firecrackers over the fence. A lot of thoughts would flash through Keogh’s mind in the moments after the firecrackers went off, and one of them was, these are not your average immigrant farmworkers. A host of weapons, including .30-caliber machine guns, opened up from inside the camp. One of the bullets came through the window of Keogh’s pickup truck, hit him in the back of the head and left him blind. Over the next 72 hours, he underwent three surgeries.

When police arrived, the men in the camp said they were members of a Cuban counterrevolutionary army training to overthrow Castro. The cops, unimpressed, arrested 15 of them, mostly for vagrancy. But two faced charges of attempted murder.

Oddly, though, the charges didn’t seem to be leading to actual trials. Even the most routine legal proceedings were unscheduled, and all the Cubans seemed to have been released from jail. Finally a cop whispered to a reporter that the State Department had asked for the cases to be tossed.

That’s when editors on the Herald’s city desk called David Kraslow.

... ... ...

Finally, Kraslow was told to seek an appointment with CIA chief Dulles. With Knight Newspapers Washington bureau chief Ed Lahey, he drove over to the agency’s headquarters.

“I didn’t show Dulles the story, but I told him, in detail, everything that was in it,” Kraslow recalls. “He was stoic, poker-faced. Was he surprised? I don’t know, directors of the CIA never, ever look surprised. And he never commented on the accuracy of the story. At the end of it, he said: ‘If you publish that kind of information, you’ll seriously damage national security.’”

That was the end of the interview. Kraslow called Beebe and Hills back in Miami to tell them what Dulles had said. They in turned discussed it with Herald publisher John S. Knight. “I can’t prove it, I’m just guessing, but I’ve always suspected that the minute I left his office, Dulles called Knight and said, ‘Don’t publish that story,’” Kraslow says. “Knight was a big Republican and a very patriotic guy, and I think Dulles probably believed a direct appeal to him would work.”

Whatever exactly happened in Miami, Kraslow got word from Beebe a couple of days later: The story was dead. The Herald wouldn’t run it. Kraslow was disappointed, but not angry. “It was a tough call,” he said. “Those guys — Beebe, Hills, Knight — were all great men and great bosses. It’s very hard to run a story when the director of the CIA tells you it will harm national security. I think the Herald was wrong, I think the Herald made a mistake, but it was a mistake born of good intentions.”

Even though the story wasn’t published, Kraslow believes it affected government policy in at least one way: Training of the Cuban exiles was moved out the United States to Guatemala. Meanwhile, other publications — from The Nation magazine to the York Gazette and Daily in York, Pennsylvania — got a whiff of the Bay of Pigs and began nibbling at the story.

So did The New York Times, which on Jan. 10, 1961, published a story on the exile training base in Guatemala. The day after that, the Herald published its own story about the base and the recruiting of exiles in Miami, including some details from Kraslow’s spiked story — though it stopped well short of saying the United States was planning a major attack on Cuba.

... ... ...

Kraslow is not certain that publication of his story would have forestalled the invasion. “Maybe, maybe not,” he says. “The CIA was very gung-ho to get this thing done.”

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David Rothkopf’s recent article, The Myth of the Innovation Nation” makes for somber reading. But while questioning the alleged American monopoly on creativity, it is of note that he somehow avoids a single mention of American Exceptionalism. It seems hard to avoid questioning what has been one of the central tenets of American foreign policy, while simultaneously raising doubts over a notion that American’s have for so long taken for granted: “We are exceptional, and will therefore remain the most powerful, prosperous and influential nation for eternity, so help us God.” Yet Rothkopf manages to dance around this phrase, perhaps for fear of repeating those contentious words: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism”. But are Americans and America exceptional or aren’t they?

The truth behind American exceptionalism, I think, is not in the DNA of its people as opposed to that of the Brits and the Greeks per se, but in the DNA of the nation itself. The beauty and wisdom of the constitution, the system of government and it’s separation of powers, protection of freedom and the solid foundation that system has laid for economic progress over the last couple of hundred years. That the U.S’s exceptional status, which was once a given, is now being brought into question as in Rothkopf’s article (whether in terms of creativity and innovation or educational standards) says wonders about the kinds of changes that have been taking place over the last few decades. Many of these are changes which the founding fathers warned against.

... ... ...

Rothkopf’s article does not make for cheerful morning reading. But it should send some alarm bells ringing, as it ends with this message of warning:

Our Condolences How the U.S. Paid For Death and Damage in Afghanistan

An armored vehicle ran over a six-year-old boy’s legs: $11,000. A jingle truck was “blown up by mistake”: $15,000. A controlled detonation broke eight windows in a mosque: $106. A boy drowned in an anti-tank ditch: $1,916. A 10-ton truck ran over a cucumber crop: $180. A helicopter “shot bullets hitting and killing seven cows”: $2,253. Destruction of 200 grape vines, 30 mulberry trees and one well: $1,317. A wheelbarrow full of broken mirrors: $4,057.

A child who died in a combat operation: $2,414.

These are among the payments that the United States has made to ordinary Afghans over the course of American military operations in the country, according to databases covering thousands of such transactions obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the payments are for mundane incidents such as traffic accidents or property damage, while others, in flat bureaucratic language, tell of “death of his wife and 2 minor daughters,” “injuries to son’s head, arms, and legs,” “death of husband,” father, uncle, niece.

The databases are incomplete, reflecting fragmented record keeping in Afghanistan, particularly on the issue of harm to civilians. The payments The Intercept has analyzed and presented in the graphic accompanying this story are not a complete accounting, but they do offer a small window into the thousands of fractured lives and personal tragedies that take place during more than a decade of war.

The Price of Life

The data that The Intercept obtained comes from two different systems that the U.S. military uses to make amends.

The Foreign Claims Act, passed in 1942, gives foreign citizens the ability to request payment for damages caused by U.S. military personnel. But the law only covers incidents that happen outside of combat situations — meaning that civilians caught up in battles have no recourse.

Since the Korean War, however, the U.S. military has realized that it’s often in its best interest to make symbolic payments for civilian harm, even when it occurs in combat. Over the years, the Pentagon authorized “condolence payments” where the military decided it was culturally appropriate.

Such condolence payments were approved in Iraq a few months into the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. They soon became part of the “hearts and minds” approach to counterinsurgency. To put it another way, in the words of an Army handbook, this was “money as a weapons system.”

Click to view interactive graphic.

While it might seem cynical to offer token compensation for a human life, humanitarian organizations embraced the policy as a way to acknowledge deaths and the hard economic realities of war zones.

Condolence payments are meant to be symbolic gestures, and today in Afghanistan, they are generally capped at $5,000, though greater amounts can be approved.

Payments under the Foreign Claims Act take into account any negligence on the part of the claimant, as well as local law. Douglas Dribben, an attorney with the Army Claims Service in Fort Meade, Maryland, said that officers in the field do research, sometimes consulting with USAID or the State Department, to determine the cost of replacing damaged property — “What’s a chicken worth in my area versus what it’s worth in downtown Kabul?”

Claims for injuries incorporate the cost of medical care, and in the case of wrongful death, the deceased’s earning potential and circumstances. “If I have a case of a 28-year old doctor, they are going to be paid more than we’d pay for a child of four,” Dribben said. “In Afghanistan, unfortunately, a young female child would likely be much less than a young boy.”

The system is imperfect, however. Residents of remote areas often can’t access the places where the U.S. military hands out cash. The amounts given out, or whether they are paid at all, often depend on the initiative of individual soldiers — usually the judge advocates who handle claims, or commanders who can authorize condolence payments.

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents detailing about 500 claims made under the Foreign Claims Act, mainly in Iraq. These were the original, often hand-written records of incidents, their investigations, and the military’s ultimate decision to pay or deny the claim. Jonathan Tracy, a former judge advocate who handled thousands of claims in Iraq and then devoted years to studying the system, analyzed the entire dataset and found that the decisions often relied on over-broad or arbitrary definitions of combat situations, and that people who were denied claims were only sometimes awarded condolence payment. Yale law professor John Fabian Witt also noted that “relatively minor property awards for damages to automobiles and other personal property often rivaled the death payments in dollar value.”

“They present it as if it’s very black and white, as though there’s the circle of things we can pay for, and you decide if the incident is in or out of that circle, but that’s not the way it happens,” Tracy told The Intercept. “You’d have two different attorneys doing two different things and [civilians] who’d had much the same thing happen to them would get very different compensation.”

Last year the annual defense appropriations bill included a provision, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., which instructs the Pentagon to set up a permanent process for administering condolence payments. The measure is intended to prevent the delay and inconsistencies that marred the system in the early years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to improve record keeping, so that the Pentagon doesn’t start from scratch in each new conflict.

A defense official told The Intercept in an emailed statement that the Pentagon has not yet implemented the provision, but is “reviewing the processes related to ex-gratia payments to determine if there are areas where improvements can be made.”

Marla Keenan, managing director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict, believes that “as the conflict in Iraq and Syria has escalated, they are starting to see a reason for this type of policy to exist. It’s unfortunate how a new context where this could be used is the impetus.”

Finding the Data

The United States and its allies do not tally civilian deaths in Afghanistan. The United Nations only began keeping track of civilian casualties in 2009; using a conservative count that requires three sources for each incident, the U.N. now reports that more than 17,700 innocent Afghans have died in the past five years of fighting, the majority of them killed by the Taliban or other groups fighting the Afghan government and coalition forces.

Looking at compensation paid out under the Foreign Claims Act or in condolence payments is one way to get a window into the damage caused by the U.S. presence. Yet it’s difficult to draw conclusions from the military’s records, which are muddled and incomplete, by their own admission.

Sample Afghan claim form

Every cache of documents released comes with caveats. For example, The Nation obtained thousands of pages’ worth of records for payments for condolences and other “battle damage” in 2013. Asked for total figures, a military spokesman told the magazine, “I could wade through the numbers to the best of my ability but my numbers would be a guess and most likely inaccurate.”

The Intercept received several years’ worth of recent data on condolence payments from the military through a Freedom of Information Act request. These records come from a military database keeping track of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, a special pot of spending money for “goodwill” projects.

The database entries are sparse, giving only the basics of who was killed or injured, with no detail on when or how the incident occurred. Location is given only at the province level. Nonetheless, the data represent the Pentagon’s clearest accounting of how much money it spends on condolence payments. (This data does not include “solatia,” which, just like condolence payments, are compensation for death and injury. But they are paid out of a unit’s operating funds, and the Pentagon has said previously it does not have overall figures for solatia.)

According to the data we received, in fiscal years 2011 through 2013, the military made 953 condolence payments totaling $2.7 million. $1.8 million of those were for deaths, and the average payment for a death was $3,426. Payments for injuries averaged $1,557.

Some payments are for multiple people harmed in one incident. For instance, the largest single payment, from 2012, offers $70,000 for “death of a mother and six children.” The largest payment for a single death occurred in 2011, when the father of “a local national” who was killed was given more than $15,000. Some family members received as little as $100 for the death of a relative.

Traffic accidents were among the most common claims under the Foreign Claims Act.

Asked about records for payments made before 2011, the Pentagon directed questions to the press office for coalition forces in Afghanistan, which did not reply to repeated inquiries from The Intercept.

Also through the Freedom of Information Act, The Intercept received Foreign Claims Act data from the Army, which handles Afghanistan for the entire U.S. military. As with the condolence payments, the database doesn’t include the documentation behind each claim. Rather, it shows a quick synopsis, date and amount for each claim filed.

In all, the Army released 5,766 claims marked for Afghanistan, filed between Feb. 2003 and Aug. 2011, of which 1,671 were paid, for a total of about $3.1 million. Of those claims, 753 were denied completely, and the rest are in various kinds of accounting limbo.

This is only a portion of the claims that were actually made and paid. Douglas Dribben, the attorney with the Army office, described the database as “G.I.G.O. — Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

Judge advocates in the field are supposed to regularly update the database with claims received and paid, but spotty Internet access and erratic schedules often made that impossible. Tracy, the former Army attorney, said that in Iraq, he had to enter all the claims he received weekly. In practice, “that never really happened,” he said.

A 2010 guidance for claims officers takes a pleading tone: “We know [claims] payments are not your only mission and the last thing you really want is another report but in all honesty the last thing any of us want is an unauthorized expenditure of funds.”

A more reliable estimate, Dribben said, comes from Army budget data, which reflects the amount of money transferred out to the field to pay claims. The Army Claims Service did not provide that information, but a training guide from 2009 states that for that fiscal year, the Army had paid $1.35 million in 516 claims in Afghanistan, with 202 denied.

The total for Iraq that year was over $18 million; overall, Afghanistan saw fewer and smaller claims than Iraq, because of remote geography and fewer U.S. troops deployed. Prices for replacement goods or lost wages were generally lower, Dribben said.

The claims synopses typically contain missing words, garbled grammar or obvious errors in the various entry fields. Most refer to a “claimant.” Some are entered in the first person. A few dozen have no synopsis at all. Many are completely enigmatic: what happened when “claimant feared soldiers would open fire and panicked?” The claimant was paid more than $3,200.

“Each one took maybe 30 seconds to enter,” Tracy said. “There wasn’t really room or time to put in a narrative.”

The database categorized just 18 payments as wrongful deaths between 2003 and 2011 — very likely an undercounting, Dribben said. The average of those payments was about $11,000; the highest was $50,000, paid to someone in eastern Afghanistan, because “coalition forces killed his father.”

The Intercept’s Margot Williams and Josh Begley contributed research to this report. Eric Sagara, formerly of ProPublica, also contributed.

Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP; Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

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Menendez and the demise of liberalism Jeffrey Herf

Menendez has been swimming against the main current of liberalism in the Obama era, one that finds little or no room for the traditions of liberal anti-fascism that were once one of American liberalism’s defining features.
The Times of Israel

The current controversy over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposed speech to a Joint Session of Congress obscures a deeper issue about American politicians and U.S. policy toward Iran, namely that they are not lining up conveniently along party lines. It is true that Netanyahu as well as most Republicans in the Congress do not agree with President Obama’s approach to negotiations with Iran. I think they are right to do so. Yet the President’s life is complicated even more by a Senator from his own party, Robert Menendez of New Jersey. He too disagrees with Obama’s approach to Iran and has done so since Obama became President. From 2013 to last month, he did so as the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Menendez, more than any other political figure in Washington, has prevented the Iran issue from displaying the familiar and convenient divide between Republican “hawks” from Democratic “doves.” In numerous speeches on the floor of the Senate and in comments in many hearings in the Committee on Foreign Relations, he has criticized and carefully documented what he views as the steady erosion of the American negotiation position in the talks with Iran. He has led the push for deeper sanctions in the perhaps futile hope that economic pressure would lead the Iranians to turn away from the bomb without the need to resort to force.

The Senator has done so with tact, deep knowledge of the subject and by holding numerous hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the subject. In the process he has earned the respect of Senators in both parties because he is formidably well informed and has command of the broad strategic issues as well as the of the daunting technical details of the negotiations. It is precisely because the President cannot dismiss him as a member of the political opposition that he has been a thorn in the side of the Administration. Yet Menendez has been swimming against the main current of liberalism in the Obama era, one that finds little or no room for the traditions of liberal anti-fascism that were once one of American liberalism’s defining features.

Menendez’ has proposed support for legislation in Congress to impose new sanctions if the Iranians insist on terms that he believes will allow them to move towards the bomb. At a meeting between the President and Democratic Senators several weeks ago, that legislative proposal drew the President’s ire. He told Menendez and other Democratic Senators that new sanctions would lead the Iranians to leave the negotiations and undermine the administration’s effort to arrive at a deal. According to the report in The New York Times, the President added that “such a provocative action could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.”

People, of course, can differ about what impact stiffer sanctions would have on the Iranians. But the President went further. According to the Times, with Menendez’s proposals for stiffer sanctions in mind, he said that “he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain.” In other words, the President told Menendez in front of a gathering of the other Democratic Senators, that the Senator had taken his positions on Iran because “donors and others” had pressured him to do so. In a room filled with experienced politicians, the President, in effect, said that the Senator had been bought by unnamed persons and groups. The President did not refer to the “Israel lobby” but Menendez understood what the President was implying.

The Times report continues as follows: “Mr. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took ‘personal offense.’ Mr. Menendez told the President that he had worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and had always been focused on the long-term implications.” Imagine the scene of Menendez standing up to say to the President’s face that he took “personal offense” at what he had just said. Menendez knew very well that Barack Obama had just questioned his integrity in front of his colleagues. He was having none of it. The Times quoted one of Menendez’ unnamed senatorial colleagues as saying that “it was a forceful exchange between two strong personalities. It was not an angry exchange. It was clear, forceful, vigorous.” Yet the chances are good that Robert Menendez was indeed quite angry when he rose to tell the President of the United States that he took personal offense at his suggestion that money, not conviction and judgment, were responsible for his views on Iran. All hundred Senators are likely now aware that the President called into question the integrity of one of their colleagues, the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now its ranking Democratic member.

To repeat, the problem that Senator Menendez poses for President Obama and for many of his fellow Democrats is that he makes it more difficult for the President and liberals generally to make the Iran issue divide along the conventional left-right divide. It is the same problem currently being posed by the editorial page of the Washington Post or by the New Republic when it was owned by Martin Peretz. It was the problem posed for liberal intellectuals and journalists when Elie Wiesel raised his voice to warn about the Iranian bomb and when Paul Berman published Terror and Liberalism in 2003 and connected the writings of Sayyid Qutb to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. As I pointed out in this blog several weeks ago, it is the same problem that was created by Euston Manifesto and American Liberalism and the Euston Manifesto both of which sought to urge liberals to focus on the threats of Islamism, the new anti-Semitism and the Iranian nuclear threat. As the realists in the Iraq Study Group were calling for engaging Iran, these various voices urged liberals to focus on the enormous danger a nuclear Iran posed to the world.

The truth is that these efforts to revive the traditions of liberal anti-fascism applied to Islamist movements and to the Iranian regime have remained marginal in liberal politics in the United States. They remain a minority within the Democratic Party and have not set the tone and substance of policy in the Obama White House. The ascendency of Barack Obama to the Presidency was about opposing the Iraq war, not about discussing affinities between the ideology of the Iranian regime and the radical anti-Semitism of Europe’s 20th century.

The now absurd refusal by the Obama administration to connect Islamism as an ideology to the practice of the Islamic state or recently to acknowledge that the murder of Jews is Paris is due to anti-Semitism is part of the irony of the above mentioned liberal silences since 9/11. Those who call themselves liberals have been unable or unwilling to name and recognize the affinities between Islamism in its Sunni and Shia variations to the deeply reactionary forms of totalitarianism of the twentieth century. Liberalism, which was historically the home of anti-fascism, has, in its predominant currents, ceded that position to centrists and conservatives. This is the deeper historical significance of Barack Obama’s comment about donors’ influence on Robert Menendez. Both Netanyahu and Menendez are right in their implicit assertion that the question of whether or not Iran should get the bomb is not an issue of liberalism or conservatism but one of whether we are going to take the Iranian’s intentions seriously or fool ourselves with illusions.

In history, events rarely arrive at times that are convenient for everyone’s calendar. If, as may be the case, the United States is about to sign a deal that the Israeli prime minister thinks is a dangerous one, he should use every forum he can find to speak against it. Those Democrats who are unhappy about his proposed speech should be asked how they propose to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and what answers they have to the many good and critical questions that Netanyahu, Menendez and many others have posed about the Administration’s approach to the Iran negotiations. Rather than focus their anger on the leader of Israel, a small country that is threatened with destruction should Iran get the bomb, they could spend their time more productively by reading or rereading the speeches and comments of Senator Menendez as well as the text of the many hearings he held in recent years by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about American policy towards the Iranian nuclear issue.

Daniel Sieradski · Top Commenter · Syracuse, New York

Menendez has taken ~$700,000 in pro-Israel contributions. Truly this is about principles.

Reply · · 2 · 12 hours ago

Poll Netanyahu Should be Investigated for Nuclear Weapons Tech Smuggling Before US Visit by Grant Smith

That's pretty brazen behavior from the client-state.
January 29, 2015 | Blog

A majority of Americans believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be investigated by the FBI for nuclear weapons technology smuggling before being allowed to enter the United States according to a new poll.

In 2012 the FBI declassified and released files (PDF archive) of its investigation into how 800 nuclear weapons triggers were illegally smuggled from the U.S. to Israel. According to the FBI, the Israeli Ministry of Defense ordered nuclear triggers (krytrons), encrypted radios, ballistic missile propellants and other export-prohibited items through a network of front companies. Smuggling ring operations leader Richard Kelly Smyth alleged that Netanyahu worked at one of the fronts – Heli Trading owned by confessed spy and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan – and met with him frequently to execute smuggling operations.

The poll was commissioned by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). When informed of the incident, most Americans (54.9 percent) indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be investigated by the FBI before an upcoming U.S. visit.

Israel officially designated the smuggling operation "Project Pinto." Smyth was captured, prosecuted and incarcerated in 2002 after years on the run as an international fugitive. The krytrons were believed to be destined for Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Only 25.8 percent of Americans polled believe Netanyahu should be allowed to freely visit the U.S. while 15.9 percent say said he should neither be investigated nor allowed to enter the U.S.

... ... ...

Grant F. Smith is the author of America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government. He currently serves as director of research at the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington (IRmep), D.C. Read other articles by Grant, or visit Grant’s website.

The Tragedy of the American Military

Now the USA has contract army almost completely disengaged with public. This way going to war became way too simple, as politicians do not have to feel a backlash.

The Atlantic

Now the American military is exotic territory to most of the American public... As a country, America has been at war nonstop for the past 13 years. As a public, it has not

... ... ...

Robert Altman’s 1970 movie M*A*S*H was clearly “about” the Vietnam War, then well into its bloodiest and most bitterly divisive period. (As I point out whenever discussing this topic, I was eligible for the draft at the time, was one of those protesting the war, and at age 20 legally but intentionally failed my draft medical exam. I told this story in a 1975 Washington Monthly article, “What Did You Do in the Class War, Daddy?”)

But M*A*S*H’s ostensible placement in the Korean War of the early 1950s somewhat distanced its darkly mocking attitude about military competence and authority from fierce disagreements about Vietnam. (The one big Vietnam movie to precede it was John Wayne’s doughily prowar The Green Berets, in 1968. What we think of as the classic run of Vietnam films did not begin until the end of the 1970s, with The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now.) The TV spin-off of Altman’s film, which ran from 1972 through 1983, was a simpler and more straightforward sitcom on the Sgt. Bilko model, again suggesting a culture close enough to its military to put up with, and enjoy, jokes about it.

Let’s skip to today’s Iraq-Afghanistan era, in which everyone “supports” the troops but few know very much about them. The pop-culture references to the people fighting our ongoing wars emphasize their suffering and stoicism, or the long-term personal damage they may endure. The Hurt Locker is the clearest example, but also Lone Survivor; Restrepo; the short-lived 2005 FX series set in Iraq, Over There; and Showtime’s current series Homeland. Some emphasize high-stakes action, from the fictionalized 24 to the meant-to-be-true Zero Dark Thirty. Often they portray military and intelligence officials as brave and daring. But while cumulatively these dramas highlight the damage that open-ended warfare has done—on the battlefield and elsewhere, to warriors and civilians alike, in the short term but also through long-term blowback—they lack the comfortable closeness with the military that would allow them to question its competence as they would any other institution’s.

The battlefield is of course a separate realm, as the literature of warfare from Homer’s time onward has emphasized. But the distance between today’s stateside America and its always-at-war expeditionary troops is extraordinary. Last year, the writer Rebecca Frankel published War Dogs, a study of the dog-and-handler teams that had played a large part in the U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of the reason she chose the topic, she told me, was that dogs were one of the few common points of reference between the military and the larger public. “When we cannot make that human connection over war, when we cannot empathize or imagine the far-off world of a combat zone … these military working dogs are a bridge over the divide,” Frankel wrote in the introduction to her book.

It’s a wonderful book, and dogs are a better connection than nothing. But … dogs! When the country fought its previous wars, its common points of reference were human rather than canine: fathers and sons in harm’s way, mothers and daughters working in defense plants and in uniform as well. For two decades after World War II, the standing force remained so large, and the Depression-era birth cohorts were so small, that most Americans had a direct military connection. Among older Baby Boomers, those born before 1955, at least three-quarters have had an immediate family member—sibling, parent, spouse, child—who served in uniform. Of Americans born since 1980, the Millennials, about one in three is closely related to anyone with military experience.

The most biting satirical novel to come from the Iraq-Afghanistan era, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain, is a takedown of our empty modern “thank you for your service” rituals. It is the story of an Army squad that is badly shot up in Iraq; is brought back to be honored at halftime during a nationally televised Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game; while there, is slapped on the back and toasted by owner’s-box moguls and flirted with by cheerleaders, “passed around like everyone’s favorite bong,” as platoon member Billy Lynn thinks of it; and is then shipped right back to the front.

The people at the stadium feel good about what they’ve done to show their support for the troops. From the troops’ point of view, the spectacle looks different. “There’s something harsh in his fellow Americans, avid, ecstatic, a burning that comes of the deepest need,” the narrator says of Billy Lynn’s thoughts. “That’s his sense of it, they all need something from him, this pack of half-rich lawyers, dentists, soccer moms, and corporate VPs, they’re all gnashing for a piece of a barely grown grunt making $14,800 a year.” Fountain’s novel won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2012, but it did not dent mainstream awareness enough to make anyone self-conscious about continuing the “salute to the heroes” gestures that do more for the civilian public’s self-esteem than for the troops’. As I listened to Obama that day in the airport, and remembered Ben Fountain’s book, and observed the hum of preoccupied America around me, I thought that the parts of the presidential speech few Americans were listening to were the ones historians might someday seize upon to explain the temper of our times.

America's Big Challenge: Finding the Off-Ramp in Iraq by Paul Pillar

The National Interest

Americans are not very good at ending their involvement in wars. No, that's not a pacifist statement about a need to stop fighting wars in general. It is instead an observation about how the United States, once it gets involved—for good or for ill—in any one war, has difficulty determining when and how to call it a day and go home. A major reason for this difficulty is that Americans are not Clausewitzians at heart. They tend not to see warfare as a continuation of policy by other means, but instead to think of war and peace as two very different conditions with clear dividing lines between them.

Americans thus are fine with wars that have as clear an ending as the surrenders of the Axis powers in World War II, which continues to be for many Americans the prototype of how a war should be begun, conceived, and concluded. But America's wars since then have not offered conclusions this satisfying. The one that came closest to doing so was Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which swiftly and decisively achieved its declared objective of reversing the Iraqi swallowing of Kuwait. Even that victory, however, left an unsatisfying aftertaste in some (mostly neocon) mouths, because Saddam Hussein remained in power in Baghdad.

It thus is difficult for U.S. leaders, even if they are capable of thinking in disciplined Clausewitzian terms, to explain and to justify to the American public, and to the political class that makes appeals to that public, the wrapping up of an overseas military involvement without a clear-cut, World War II-style victory. This is a problem no matter how well-founded and justified was the original decision to enter a war.

Other dynamics are commonly involved in such situations, including the one usually called mission creep—the tendency in an overseas military expedition for one thing to lead to another and for one's military forces gradually to take on jobs beyond the one that was the original reason for sending them overseas. Any nation can get sucked into mission creep, but Americans are especially vulnerable to it. The yearning for clear-cut and victorious conclusions to foreign military adventures is one reason. Others are the American tendencies to see any problem overseas as a problem for the superpower to deal with, and to expect that if the United States puts its minds and resources to the task it can solve any problem overseas.

Some insights about this subject can be gleaned from comparing two big recent U.S. military expeditions: the one in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 and the one in Afghanistan that began in 2001 and continues today. There is no comparison between the two regarding the original reasons for initiating them, and in that sense it is unfortunate how much the two came to be lumped together in subsequent discussion. One was a a war of aggression with a contrived and trumped-up rationale; the other was a direct and justified response to a lethal attack on the United States. Iraq really was the bad war and Afghanistan the good one. But as time and costs dragged on and Afghanistan became America's longest war ever, it gradually lost support among Americans and Afghans alike.

The failure in Afghanistan was in not finding, and taking, a suitable off-ramp. The off-ramp that should have been taken was reached within the first few months of the U.S. intervention, after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack that was the reason for the intervention had been rousted from their home and their sometime allies, the Afghan Taliban, had been ousted from power. Regardless of what would have happened in Afghanistan after that, there would not have been a return to the pre-September 2001 situation there, both because the Taliban would have no reason to ally again with a bunch of Arab transnational terrorists who had brought about such a result, and because the United States's own rules of engagement changed so much that no such return would be allowed to occur whether or not U.S. troops were on the ground.

No good off-ramp was found with the Iraq War, and there never was going to be a really good one, given how ill-conceived the war was in the first place and how little thought the makers of the war had given to the post-invasion consequences. The U.S. administration that perpetrated the war did a political finesse of the problem, using a surge of force to reduce the violence in the civil war enough to be able to say that they did not leave Iraq falling apart, and then setting with the Iraqi government a schedule for U.S. withdrawal that would have to be implemented by the next administration. That set the stage, of course, for promoting the myth that the war had been “won” by the time power was handed over in the United States and for blaming the subsequent administration, when it duly implemented the withdrawal schedule it had been given, for all the later indications that the war clearly had not been “won.”

It also set the stage, now that the United States has troops back in Iraq, for talk about the need for a "long-term American presence" to avoid repeating the supposed mistake of cutting and running. How long is “long-term” does not get specified. In other words, no off-ramp is identified. In other words, it's again the familiar problem of not knowing how and when to wind up involvement in a foreign war. The error committed in Afghanistan, of missing the ramp and turning what had been a justified response to an attack on the U.S. homeland into an endless attempt at nation-building in a country thousands of miles away, risks being repeated in Iraq.

The Moral Argument for American Restraint—in Iraq and Beyond Noah Berlatsky

Jun 17 2014 |

Whenever there’s a conflict anywhere in the world, a gaggle of American pundits and politicians insists that the United States fix it. Whether it's Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham pushing weapons shipments to Ukraine, former ambassador Robert Ford urging Washington to arm Syrian rebels, or The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol calling for troops to be sent to Iraq, the assumption is always that every problem is America's problem, and that the best way to solve America's problems is with force.

Barry Posen, a professor of political science at MIT and a foreign-policy realist, advocates a different approach. The title of his new book, Restraint, succinctly expresses his policy recommendation. The U.S., he argues, needs to stop trying to do more and more. Instead, it needs to do less. Or, as he puts it, "Efforts to defend everything leave one defending not much of anything."

Posen rests his discussion on two basic arguments. The first is that the United States is, by any reasonable metric, an incredibly secure nation. It is geographically isolated from other great powers—a position that makes invading or even attacking the U.S. mainland prohibitively difficult. U.S. conventional forces are by far the most powerful in the world. Posen notes that the U.S. "accounted for a little more than a third of all the military spending in the world during the 1990s," and has increased the percentage to about 41 percent of all military spending in the world today. On top of that, the U.S. has a massive nuclear deterrent. It is simply not credible to argue that Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, or even Russia or China have the combination of dangerous capabilities and malign intentions to pose a serious existential threat to the United States in anything but the most paranoid neocon fantasies.

Second, enforcing “liberal hegemony”—a grand strategy of promoting global democracy and peace underwritten by U.S. military power—is simply beyond America’s capabilities. As the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, earlier, Vietnam showed, the United States does not have the military resources and political will necessary to impose friendly democratic regimes upon distant peoples. Nor, as all three of those wars also demonstrate, does it have the ability to utterly destroy its enemies forever. Nor, finally, can the U.S. ensure, militarily or otherwise, that no one anywhere gets nuclear weapons—after all, if it could, presumably Pakistan and North Korea wouldn't have them.

The effort to control and police the world through force of arms makes the United States less secure in numerous ways, Posen argues. It bleeds U.S. resources, both military and economic, while leaving the country less prepared to face immediate threats. The belief that America will act as the world’s policeman encourages some of its allies to skimp on their own defense spending, forcing the U.S. to undertake further costly investments it cannot afford in the long term. In its role as Liberal Hegemon, it also encourages aggression and risky behavior in states like Israel, which can put off peace deals and engage in provocative actions like settlement construction because of the elaborate pledges of support it has received from America.

Rather than imposing American will by force, Posen suggests that we could more fruitfully and practically engage the world in other ways. For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.) If we want to save people, we could honor our commitments under international treaties and open our borders to refugees; as Posen says, we are “rich enough to receive many individuals in such dire straits.” We could also send aid to poorer countries to encourage them to receive refugees.

Posen makes a compelling argument. But he makes it almost entirely on realist grounds. He advocates a policy of restraint because it will make the U.S. stronger and more secure, not—or at least not primarily—because a policy of restraint is more ethical than the alternative. His humanitarian suggestionsjoining the ICC, opening borders—are addendums to, rather than the essence of, his reasoning.

But liberal hegemony, the argument Posen is rebutting, isn’t just based on security interests. It’s also predicated on morality. For instance, the rationale for invading Iraq was not only that the United States needed to crush Saddam Hussein for its own safety. It was also that Saddam was uniquely evil and that it would be good for the people of Iraq, and for people around the world, if he were destroyed. Similarly, the continuing presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is justified not only on the basis of protecting America from al-Qaeda, but also on the grounds that the Taliban are hideously oppressive, especially to women, and that it is America’s responsibility to stop them from returning to power.

Responding to the argument for liberal hegemony, then, requires consideration of the moral as well as the practical arguments for restraint. Fortunately for Posen, the “just war” tradition of ethics yields a very strong argument for the morality of restraint—indeed, in many ways just-war doctrine is based on the restraint principle. As summarized by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The principles of the justice of war are commonly held to be: having just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used.

The just-war doctrine is not equivalent to pacifism, which holds that there is no justification for war at all. But it shares with pacifism, as political ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain has written, the belief that "violence must never be celebrated, and that violence must always be put on trial." Though Elshtain herself supported the Iraq war, the reasoning here suggests, on the contrary, that preventive wars aimed at warding off the eventual emergence of a threat should be anathema. Wars are by their nature bloody, destructive, and impossible to control (as the spiraling and ongoing violence in Iraq demonstrates all too clearly.) It is simply not tenable to argue that starting a war will preserve peace, because war by its nature breeds chaos and more war. That's why war must be a last resort, and why it should solely be used in self-defense; the only time it's reasonable to think that war might reduce war is when you're already at war.

The essence of just war can be summarized generally as follows: first, try to limit harm, and second, treat war with respect and fear. Dropping bombs on Libya or Iran to prevent evil is illegitimate because war itself is evil—and it is an evil not easily contained. Treating war as a convenient tool of policy, rather than as a last resort, sows more death and hardship, not less. Similarly, building up massive stockpiles of weapons that are not immediately necessary creates a temptation to use those weapons—the succinct moral of Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." Outsized military expenditures can themselves be seen as a violation of the principles that inform the just-war doctrine.

From the just-war perspective, Posen's realist arguments have an ethical force. Even from the perspective of the World War II-era realist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who rejected pacifism and just war alike as overly idealistic, Posen's position has moral consequences. Niebuhr saw war as moral when it advanced best outcomes. The case Posen outlines suggests what those best outcomes are.

When Posen says, for example, that the U.S. cannot, in the long run, defend Taiwan, that's not just a practical statement, but an ethical one. That’s because engaging in an unwinnable conflict over Taiwan—possibly unleashing nuclear war in a lost cause without a self-defense rationale—is, on just-war grounds, or even on Neibuhrian grounds, morally wrong. Similarly, there is plentiful evidence that the U.S. cannot impose its preferred form of government on the peoples of the Middle East. Intervening in Middle Eastern civil wars when there is no realistic chance of success is an ethical failure as well as a tactical one. It is evil to bomb people purely in the hope, against all the evidence, that bombing will make things better.

Restraint is also preferable to liberal hegemony from the standpoint of American ideals. Proponents of liberal hegemony often argue that the United States has an ethical duty to spread its values across the globe. But this argument overlooks the fact that one of the most basic foundational values of America is self-determination. The American Revolution was fought for the principle that people have a right to make decisions about their own fate through their own institutions. When the U.S. sets itself up as a global policeman, it is saying, on the contrary, that U.S. policymakers have the right to decide who should rule in Iraq, or how Iran should conduct its nuclear program. Perhaps, in certain cases, for the security of its own citizens, the U.S. may need to take steps to curtail the actions of other states and other people. But as a wholesale philosophy, "the United States should run the world" contradicts America’s most basic value: that people have the right to rule themselves.

Restraint, then, is not merely a practical necessity for the United States to improve its security. It's also an ethical duty, and a specifically American ideal. Rather than fearing America's "decline" because we’re not able to undertake a land war in Ukraine or a third invasion of Iraq, we should welcome a world in which the U.S. does not try to solve other people's problems by force. Liberal hegemony hasn't worked, and won't work. The United States will be more secure—and more moral—if it can give up its dreams of empire, and restrain its impulse to war.

Terri_in_LA • a day ago

"For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.)"

US Foreign Policy = Follow the Money.

The US Federal Gov't is not primarily concerned about things like genocide when developing its foreign policy. It is concerned about chaotic situations that can disrupt our economy. Concerns for security almost always come back to economic security not physical security. That's why we make the same mistakes over and over. We want to control things that we just don't have much ability to control in attempts to eliminate economic risk. We live in fear that we'll lose access to raw materials, markets, etc. It is why we go head long into the Middle East while we allow wars to rage without intervention in parts of Africa. It's why we are freaked about the Ukraine. We're not worried that Russia is going to wage an actual war, but that it might be in a position to impact our economy or that of our allies. It's why we fear China, when they've shown no interest in meddling in the affairs of countries outside its own region. China has growing economic clout around the world
Until we start to discuss foreign policy in more concrete terms (What are our interests exactly? What are we willing or unwilling to sacrifice to protect them?) rather than as if its all high minded ideology or how these are bad guys that need to be taken out for humanitarian reasons, we'll never stop doing things that damage our interests and are damaging to the rest of the world.

A look in the long distance: who will have to pay for "Ukraine v2"?

I just wanted to mention here a topic which is not often discussed in the western press but which does pop-up with some regularity in the Russian press. Let's set aside the current events and ask ourselves the following question:

Sooner or later there will be some kind of state in what used to be the Ukraine until 2014. The Crimea is gone forever to Russia, that is certain. A "People's Republic of Donetsk" all alone like some kind of Lichtenstein but stuck between Russia and Banderastan is most unlikely. Even a "People's Republic of the Donbass" or a "Novorossia" composed of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would have a very hard time surviving as an independent state. I think that we can assume that the Donbass will either have to join Russia or, at the very least, the Eurasian Union (Rus, Kaz, Bel, Arm, etc.) or some kind of loose Ukrainian confederation. The latter is, of course, only possible if the USA gives up on its delusion of maintaining a neo-Nazi and russophobic Banderastan and accepts some kind of sovereign but civilized "Ukraine" in its place. Right now there are no signs that anybody in Washington is ready to accept that. But whatever the USA does or does not want, there is one thing which is sure: all the successor states of the original Ukraine will need HUGE amounts of foreign financial aid. We are not talking just about providing a few billions in loan guarantees to a clique of corrupt oligarchs, but about fully re-building a more or less modern country almost from scratch. This is a huge program which will take at least a decade and will require immense resources. It will have to be implemented in an highly volatile environment, with massive poverty and corruption, with violence prevalent and possibly with a serious terrorism problem. The political instability of such a environment is guaranteed. So in the light of this - if you were the EU or Russia - would you want to be responsible for more or less of that territory?

Think about it: whoever will end up "owning" (if not de-jure then de-facto) most of this new "Ukraine v2" will also own most of its problems. The EU plan in this regard is crystal clear: the EU wants to own it all and let Russia pay for it all. Unsurprisingly Russia does not agree. The Americans have it even better: they simply don't ask this question, don't think about this issue and have no plans to own anything if by "owning" we mean "paying for". This is completely immature and plain silly. Denying this problem will not make it magically disappear.

Now here is the beauty of it all, at least seen from the Russian point of view:

Russia has already reunited the only part of the Ukraine it really "wanted": Crimea. From a purely egoistic and self-centered point of view, Russia could built a huge wall all along its border with the Ukraine and declare "to hell with it all" and let all the other actors (Ukrainians, EU, US) deal with that. I am kidding, of course, but as a thought-experiment, this is a useful one. Ask yourself: what would happen if Russia did exactly that. Let's assume that Russian public opinion would not be up in arms against such a decision (in reality it would!) and let's just also assume that the (imaginary) "United People's Republic of Donetsk and Luganks" would be fine with that (it's only a though experiment - so indulge me in some unrealistic speculations here, okay?). Let's even assume that Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhie, Nikolaev and other cities and regions stop protesting or resisting. All Russia would do is turn off the gas spigot (unless it is paid for in advance), get out the popcorn and beer and watch the reports from the Ukraine. What do you think would happen?


Absolute and total chaos. It's either that or the US/EU would have to come up with a way to not only put a semi-legitimate AND very effective regime in power, but also to pay a bill ranging anywhere form 30 to 100 billion dollars (depending on how much of the problem you want to address immediately). Now look at the same problem from the Russian point of view:

Either the US/EU agree incur huge costs which will severely damage their economies (and they cannot afford that) or

The EU and US begin an ugly fight over "who pays what and under what terms", and

The EU is hit by a series of shocks as a result of the Ukrainian chaos (illegal immigration, crime, political disputes), and

NATO will be seen as either ineffective/incompetent/useless at best, and as reckless and irresponsible at worst.

So no matter what, the AngloZionist Empire will suffer massive consequences for is crazy notion of letting a huge country like the Ukraine explode right in the middle of the European continent.

To be honest, I am quite certain that Russia does not want that outcome at all. First, the Russian public opinion is extremely worked-up about having fellow Russians attacked by a mix of neo-Nazis and Jewish oligarchs and it would never accept putting up any kind of wall or abandon the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Second, as I mentioned before, Donetsk and Lugansk along cannot be viable in isolation. Finally, I am not at all so sure that only these two regions will decide to hold a referendum, especially after the economic crisis really hits.

Ideally Russia wants a lose Ukrainian Confederation. This confederation would have to be thoroughly de-Nazified and would probably have to join the economic union with Russia and its partners (if only to benefit from Russian financial aid). Russia would also want the US and EU to pitch in its "fair share" of financial and technical support to gradually re-built "Ukraine v2", especially considering that these two entities are responsible for breaking up "Ukraine v1" in the first place. Needless to say, "Ukraine v2" would not be Banderastan and it would not join NATO.

As a side note, it would be really smart for the new Ukrainian leadership of this "Ukraine v2" to declare itself not only neutral but also totally demilitarized. Seriously, what is the point of having a military when stuck right in between NATO and Russia? Provide more targets?

As a (former and "recovering") military analyst I can tell you that by far the best defense against foreign agression for Ukraine would be:

1) the size of its territory (geographical defense)
2) being completely demilitarized (political defense)
3) being officially neutral (legal defense)
4) being in between two rival blocks (military defense by means of "other side")

That does not require a single Hrivna of financing, looks extremely progressive, would get a standing ovation from all its neighbors and would provide the perfect "buffer" to reassure both NATO and Russia. And just imagine the amount of money saved which the "Ukraine v2" could use for far more urgent and contructive needs!

Alas, that would also require a vision which is far beyond what the current freaks in power can even begin to contemplate.

As I have mentioned it in the past, the USA's entire Ukrainian policy is based on a fallacy cooked up by Zbigniew Brzezinski and parroted by Hillary Clinton: Brzezinski believes that Russia cannot be a superpower without the Ukraine and Hillary believes that Putin wants to rebuild the USSR. They are both completely wrong, of course: Russia is already a superpower (it has now defeated the US/EU/NATO alliance in both Syria and the Ukraine) and Putin does not want to rebuild the USSR at all. I wonder if there is anybody in the US polity which understands who much these conceptual mistakes will end up costing the USA. By listening to these two hateful maniacs (this is really what Zbig and Hillary are!) the USA has completely mismanaged every step of its crucial relationship with both the EU and Russia.

In the case of rump-Ukraine more is not better, more is worse; less is better. The less Russia will have to manage and pay for the reconstruction of the Ukraine the better off Russia will be. From the EU's point of view, however, the more Russia takes over of the Ukraine, the better for the EU. This is even better from the US point of view because from the US point of view the more the US/EU "own" the Ukraine, the more they will have to pay for it and the more the transatlantic alliance will come under stress. So, paradoxically, it would be in the best interests of the USA to have Russia take over all of the Ukraine. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but that is still a fact.

So here is the truth: the Ukraine is not a prize at all - it is a huge burden.

That is a truth which no politician can openly state, of course.

Checkmate on all boards
But we can, and should. Because if we keep that truism clear in our minds, we can then see why Russia's victory in this massive confrontation with the united powers of the US/EU/NATO is so total. Can you guess?

Because no matter what, Russia will have the option to chose how much of the Ukrainian burden it is willing to shoulder whereas the West will have to take whatever Russia does not want. Yep, that's right. Just remember the thought experiment we just did above. Russia could, in theory, refuse to take up any further burden and declare "ain't my problem, sorry" and there is nothing the US/EU/NATO could do about it (not to mention that such a Russians stance would completely deflate the stupid canard about Russia being ready to invade the Baltics, Poland or any other EU country).

In a sane world ruled by non-delusional people the real priority of western politicians would be to cuddle, beg, plead, threaten and trick Russia into taking over as much of the Ukraine as possible - the whole thing if possible. Let Russia deal with the neo-Nazis, let Russia pay Ukrainian pensions and salaries, let Russia rebuilt the entire economy, let Russia waste its energy and resources on this ungrateful and truly Herculean task. If Russia agreed to take over the full Ukraine NATO could even re-heat its "Russian threat" canard and justify its existence.

Luckily, however, as long as Putin is in power Russia will never agree to anything like it. Time is on Russia's side and the worst the situation of the Ukraine becomes, the weaker the US/EU/NATO block is, the stronger the Russian bargaining position becomes.

So while Russia cannot remain indifferent and while Russians cannot cynically get some popcorn and beer and watch it all go to hell, Russia will continue to play a very low-key game: Russia will stick to its principled position, it will refuse to be a party to any ludicrous solution, and it will condemn the crazy and neo-Nazi policies of the freaks currently in power in Kiev.

Other than that, Russia will simply wait for western leaders to wake up from their current delusional hallucinations and get serious about solving a problem which is first and foremost their problem which they created and they will have to pay for solving.

The Saker

NY Times Finally Wants Someone Impeached Jay Bybee War Is A Crime .org

The Torturers’ Manifesto
By NY Times

To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.

Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.

In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions.

But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.

Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.

The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about President Bush’s decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans — a program that has since been given legal cover by the Congress.

Last week, The Times reported that the nation’s intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance program that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.

That is the heart of the matter: nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted.

The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government’s powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.

We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules.

In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured C.I.A. operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the “only following orders” excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders.

After all, as far as Mr. Bush’s lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behavior should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.

At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.

That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.

Conflicts Forum’s Weekly Comment 25 April – 2 May 2014 Conflicts Forum by Alastair Crooke

Hat tip to Mood of Alabama. Quote: "Alastair Crooke, a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, is just back from Moscow and has some interesting thoughts on the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine."
May 2, 2014 | Conflicts Forum

Following five days in Moscow, a few thoughts on Russian perspectives: Firstly, we are beyond the Crimea. That is over. We too are beyond ‘loose’ federalism for Ukraine (no longer thought politically viable). Indeed, we are most likely beyond Ukraine as a single entity. Also, we are beyond either Kiev or Moscow having the capacity to ‘control’ events (in the wider sense of the word): both are hostage to events (as well as are Europe and America), and to any provocations mounted by a multitude of uncontrollable and violent activists.

In gist, the dynamics towards some sort of secession of East Ukraine (either in part, or in successive increments) is thought to be the almost inevitable outcome. The question most informed commentators in Moscow ask themselves is whether this will occur with relatively less or relatively more violence – and whether that violence will reach such a level (massacres of ethnic Russians or of the pro-Russian community) that President Putin will feel that he has no option but to intervene. We are nowhere near that point at the time of writing: Kiev’s ‘security initiatives’ have been strikingly ineffective, and casualties surprisingly small (given the tensions). It seems that the Ukrainian military is unwilling, or unable (or both of these), to crush a rebellion composed only of a few hundred armed men backed by a few thousand unarmed civilians — but that of course may change at any moment. (One explanation circulating on Russian internet circles is that pro-Russian insurgents and the Ukrainian servicemen simply will not shoot at each other - even when given the order to do so. Furthermore, they appear to be in direct and regular contact with each other and there is an informal understanding that neither side will fire at the other. Note — we have witnessed similar understandings in Afghanistan in the 1980s between the Soviet armed forces and the Mujahidin.)

And this the point, most of those with whom we spoke suspect that it is the interest of certain components of the American foreign policy establishment (but not necessarily that of the US President) to provoke just such a situation: a forced Russian intervention in East Ukraine (in order to protect its nationals there from violence or disorder or both). It is also thought that Russian intervention could be seen to hold political advantage to the beleaguered and fading acting government in Kiev. And further, it is believed that some former Soviet Republics, now lying at the frontline of the EU’s interface with Russia, will see poking Moscow in the eye as a settling of past scores, as well as underscoring their standing in Brussels and Washington for having brought ‘democracy’ to eastern Europe.

There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine (and this is common to all shades of political opinion). Everyone understands Ukraine to be a vipers’ nest, and additionally knows it to be a vast economic ‘black hole’. But … you can scarcely meet anyone in Moscow who does not have relatives in Ukraine. This is not Libya; East Ukraine is family. Beyond some certain point, if the dynamic for separation persists, and if the situation on the ground gets very messy, some sort of Russian intervention may become unavoidable (just as Mrs Thatcher found it impossible to resist pressures to intervene in support of British ‘kith and kin’ in the Falklands). Moscow well understands that such a move will unleash another western outpouring of outrage.

More broadly then, we are moving too beyond the post-Cold War global dispensation, or unipolar moment. We are not heading – at least from the Russian perspective, as far as can be judged – towards a new Cold War, but to a period of increased Russian antagonism towards any western move that it judges hostile to its key interests – and especially to those that are seen to threaten its security interests. In this sense, a Cold War is not inevitable. Russia has made, for example, no antagonistic moves in Iran, in Syria or in Afghanistan. Putin has been at some pains to underline that whereas – from now – Russia will pursue its vital interests unhesitatingly, and in the face of any western pressures, on other non-existential issues, it is still open to diplomatic business as usual.

That said, and to just to be clear, there is deep disillusion with European (and American) diplomacy in Moscow. No one holds out any real prospect for diplomacy – given the recent history of breaches of faith (broken agreements) in Ukraine. No doubt these sentiments are mirrored in western capitals, but the atmosphere in Moscow is hardening, and hardening visibly. Even the ‘pro-Atlanticist’ component in Russia senses that Europe will not prove able to de-escalate the situation. They are both disappointed, and bitter at their political eclipse in the new mood that is contemporary Russia, where the ‘recovery of sovergnty’ current prevails.

Thus, the era of Gorbachevian hope of some sort of parity of esteem (even partnership) emerging between Russia and the western powers, in the wake of the conclusion to the Cold War, has imploded – with finality. To understand this is to reflect on the way the Cold War was brought to and end; and how that ending, and its aftermath, was managed. In retrospect, the post-war era was not well handled by the US, and there existirreconcilable narratives on the subject of the nature of the so-called ‘defeat’ itself, and whether it was a defeat for Russia at all.

Be that as it may, the Russian people have been treated as if they were psychologically-seared and defeated in the Cold War – as were the Japanese in the wake of the dropping of the nuclear bombs by the US in 1945. Russia was granted a bare paucity of esteem in the Cold War’s wake; instead Russians experienced rather the disdain of victors for the defeated visited upon them. There was little or any attempt at including Russia in a company of the nations of equals – as many Russians had hoped. Few too would contest that the economic measures forced on Russia in the war’s aftermath brought anything other than misery to most Russians. However unlike 1945, most Russians never felt defeated, and some felt then – and still feel – just betrayed. Whatever the verdict of history on how much the Cold War truly was a defeat, the aftermath of it has given rise to a Versailles Treaty-type of popular resentment at the consequences of the post-Cold War settlement, and at the (unwarranted) unipolar triumphalism (from the Russian perspective).

In this sense, it is the end of an era: it marks the end of the post-Cold War settlement that brought into being the American unipolar era. It is the rise of a Russian challenge to that unipolar order which seems so unsettling to many living in the West. Just as Versailles was psychologically rejected by Germans, so Russia is abdicating out of the present dispensation (at least in respect to its key interests). The big question must be whether the wider triangulation (US-Russia-China) that saw merit in its complementary touching at each of its three apexes is over too — a triangulation on which the US depends heavily for its foreign policy. We have to wait on China. The answer to this question may well hinge on how far the antagonism between Russia and the West is allowed – or even encouraged – to escalate. Only then, might it become more apparent how many, and who, is thinking of seceding from the global order (including from the Federal Reserve controlled financial system).

In the interim, time and dynamics require Russia to do little in Ukraine at this point but to watch and wait. The mood in Russia, however, is to expect provocations in Ukraine, by any one of the assorted interested parties, with the aim of forcing a Russian intervention — and thus a politically useful ‘limited’ war that will do many things: restore US ‘leadership’ in Europe, give NATO a new mission and purpose, and provide the same (and greater prominence) to certain newer EU member states (such as Poland). Russia will have concluded that the second round of economic sanctions has revealed more about a certain lack of political (and financial) will – or perhaps vulnerability – on the part of America’s European allies. Russia no doubt sees the US to be gripped by the logic of escalation (as Administration talk centres on a new containment strategy, and the demonization of Russia as a pariah state), whatever President Obama may be hinting through the columns of David Ignatius. It is a dangerous moment, as all in Moscow acknowledge, with positions hardening on both sides.

Russia is not frightened by sanctions (which some, with influence in Moscow, would welcome as a chance to push-back against the US use of the global interbank payment systems for its own ends). Nor is Russia concerned that, as occurred with the USSR, the US – in today’s changed circumstances – can contrive a drop in the price of oil in order to weaken the state. But Russia is somewhat more vulnerable to the West’s teaming up with Sunni radicals as its new geo-strategic weapon of choice. Concept of MIC makes it easy to

We have therefore seen a Russian outreach both to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (President Putin recently extolled King Abdallah’s “wisdom”). There is a feeling too that US policy is not fully controlled by the US President; and that Gulf States, smelling that US ift, and open to manipulation by interests within the US, will take advantage (perhaps in coordination with certain Americans opposed to President Obama’s policies) to escalate the jihadist war against President Assad and to target Obama’s Iran policy. Russia may be expected to try to circumscribe this danger to its own Muslim population and to that of its neighbouring former Soviet Republics. But for now, Russia will be likely to play it cool: to wait-and-see how events unfold, before recalibrating any main components of its Middle East policy.

For the longer term however, Russia’s effective divorce out of the unipolar international order will impact powerfully on the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia (not to say Syria and Iran) have already virtually done the same.

Yet another totally crazy idea from Banderastan

The Vineyard of the Saker

Unknown said...

The US MIC is salivating at the prospect another tax-payer funded hardware (and a lot of training contracts for both uniformed services and mercenary outfits) give-away program. I have no doubt that the coup gov was urged by the US to do this.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is:

1. US wedge between Germany and Russia (Eurasian Economic Union) aka return of the US into Eastern Europe.

2. Naming Russia enemy of NATO.

3. Reviving NATO power

4. Transatlantic and Transpacific Unions (economic slavery to the US).

5. Ukraine: will "the little green men" emerge in the pro-Russian defensive positions without radio communication activity on the Russian side which made CIA and other US military intelligence fools for themselves?

6. Ukraine: why the Kiev thugs cry through every media bullhorn/outlet they will start military hostilities against civilians tomorrow morning? Did Hitler published in press in advance the blueprints of Barbarossa Plan?

7. Ukraine: how many death will make Russians to press the button "go ahead" for their armed forces?

Gareth said...

Here is an excellent and up to date source of information on the activities on NATO

Stop NATO…Opposition to global militarism

Anonymous said...

Espina said

The military and the monetary


Mulga Mumblebrain said...

I think that the latest economic statistics from The Real Evil Empire of Eternal Exceptionalism may, in large part, explain the reckless aggression of the psychopaths at present. The date at which China surpasses the USA as the world's largest economy (and without the gigantic incubus of the USA's massive engine of self-destruction, the financial kleptocracy)grows closer every day. I've noticed that the local ruling Rightwing psychos are growing more frantic here in Oz.

They constantly speak of China being in trouble (they have predicted that for forty years)because its growth is 'only' 7.4%, whereas growth in the REEEE of 0.1% (minus 1% without Obamacare's contribution)is another sign of our Imperial Master's 'resilience'. And the current hard Right Federal regime has just had a hand-picked cabal of psychopaths present an economic blue-print to privatise the country and turn it into a fully-fledged neo-feudal Hell of inequality and privilege. Social solidarity zero, greedy, atomised, hyper-individualism, infinite.

As if the last forty years of neo-liberal class warfare and stagnation, boom and bust and rising inequality was a very good thing, indeed, and we need more of it. This is where Putin is winning, I would say. The rulers of the West are now so plainly revealing themselves as evil, endlessly mendacious psychopaths who fear and hate all others (including one another-as they say, 'If you want a friend on Wall Street, buy a dog'), that someone like Putin, merely by standing up to them makes himself attractive to the remaining fraction capable of independent thought. Which is why brainwashing sewers like the odious 'The Guardian' are screeching that RT must be banned, and the MSM is united in hysteria in denouncing the evil Putin.

The plebs are waking up, and the Bosses are worried.

Anonymous said...

Dear saker- I agree with paul craig-there is no point of Russia thinking of anglosphere world anything but as permanent enemy and deal with the situation if Russia wants to survive.


quote "Washington Drives The World To War — Paul Craig Roberts

April 14, 2014
Quote “

The danger for Russia is that the Russian government will rely on diplomacy, international organizations, international cooperation, and on the common sense and self-interest of German politicians and politicians in other of Washington’s European puppet states.

For Russia this could be a fatal mistake. There is no good will in Washington, only mendacity. Russian delay provides Washington with time to build up forces on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea and to demonize Russia with propaganda and whip up the US population into a war frenzy. The latter is already occurring.

In my opinion, Washington does not want the Ukraine matters settled in a diplomatic and reasonable way. It might be the case that Russia’s best move is immediately to occupy the Russian territories of Ukraine and re-absorb the territories into Russia from whence they came. This should be done before the US and its NATO puppets are prepared for war. It is more difficult for Washington to start a war when the objects of the war have already been lost. Russia will be demonized with endless propaganda from Washington whether or not Russia re-absorbs its traditional territories. If Russia allows these territories to be suppressed by Washington, the prestige and authority of the Russian government will collapse. Perhaps that is what Washington is counting on.

In my opinion, the Russian and Chinese governments have made serious strategic mistakes by remaining within the US dollar-based international payments system. The BRICS and any others with a brain should instantly desert the dollar system, which is a mechanism for US imperialism. The countries of the BRICS should immediately create their own separate payments system and their own exclusive communications/Internet system.

Russia and China have stupidly made these strategic mistakes,
By Paul Craig Roberts

Hat hip to The Vineyard of the Saker blog. Picked up from comments

Fool on the Hill said...

My money is on McCain. Here's why:

Make-Believe Maverick
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

October 16, 2008
At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.

There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."

"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.

"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.

"Why? Where are you going to, John?"

"Oh, I'm going to Rio."

"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

"I got a better chance of getting laid."

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

Eisenhower's Farewell Speech Now More Prescient Than Ever by Stephen C. Webster

Three letter agencies are an important part of military industrial complex. May be the most influential taking into account that they control the coverage of foreign events in MSM media. Quote: "The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed."
Jan. 17, 2014 | The Progressive

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell speech, given 53 years ago this day, shook a nation still struggling to move past the horrors we witnessed in World War II. He warned of a new power that had risen up in the wake of that war -- the power of America’s military industrial complex -- telling us in no uncertain terms that it holds the potential to destroy our democracy.

“We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific, technological elite,” Eisenhower said. “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

It would seem that his speech is more prescient now than ever before. Please, take a few minutes to watch it in full:

President Barack Obama picked today to announce a series of patheticly meager reforms to the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s embattled electronic spying apparatus that has seemingly permeated every layer of our technologically driven society. The White House told reporters that the date was not selected as a nod to Eisenhower. Coincidence, however, is a funny thing.

The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed.

"The NSA is collecting enormous amounts of information," Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in a prepared statement this week. "They know about the phone calls made by every person in this country, where they're calling, who they're calling and how long they're on the phone. Let us not forget that a mere 40 years ago we had a president of the United States who completely disregarded the law in an effort to destroy his political opponents. In my view, the information collected by the NSA has the potential to give an unscrupulous administration enormous power over elected officials."

Sanders has been a leading voice for NSA reform in the halls of Congress, and recently demanded to know if the agency was spying on elected officials. In a letter, NSA Director Keith Alexander denied that the agency is spying on Congress, but he added that communications data generated by our elected representatives likely does get swept up by their massive phone and Internet dragnet.

The NSA insists that their dragnet is only intended to be used for fighting terrorism, and does not identify specific communications or even the identity of those who are swept up in it. This claim has been shown to be false. As national security reporter Marcy Wheeler recently pointed out in a piece published by The Progressive, the NSA itself published a training manual which tells its analysts that merely looking at the so-called “metadata” the agency collects can reveal the identity of their targets.

As such, not only can the NSA spy on elected officials, it can also create incredibly detailed dossiers on every single citizen of every modern country in the world. Its massive server farms vacuum up nearly everything on the Internet. Its sensors can peer within computers that are not even connected to the Internet. For a recent spy satellite launch that deployed tech which the NSA will most certainly make use of, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence selected as its mission logo an octopus with tentacles wrapping around the globe. “Nothing is beyond our reach,” it boasts.

Despite all of this, a White House review and an outside analysis have both found that the NSA’s dragnet does nothing to make Americans safer.

Knowing all of this, listening to Eisenhower’s speech in our modern age is like hearing the words of a prophet. Here is the President whose Federal investments gave us highways and satellites, telling us that one day our military and technological elite will come to own our elected officials and eventually dominate us all.

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect,” he said. “Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength.”

What he described is nothing short of a road map to a more harmonious world, but that path is blocked, completely and irreversibly, by the very existence of the NSA. This agency, which overlooks the globe and peers across the horizon of human thought in search of national security threats, is now among the greatest threat to world peace.

The JFK Assassination Marked the End of the American Republic By Lars Schall

August 21, 2013

On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d’etat that was never rolled back.

Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’Etat in America“), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a “conspiracy theorist” who engages in “conspiracy theories.” May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics – consciously or unconsciously – are acting exactly according to the “playbook” of the CIA?

Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term “conspiracy theorists” for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term “assassination theories” when it came to alternative views of the “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon “conspiracy theories” became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.

LS: What do you see as the prime motive(s) to get Kennedy killed?

MB: To make a long story, which I elaborate in the book, short: JFK had made definitive steps to end the cold war. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration.

LS: If one looks at the crime from the perspective of “motive, means, opportunity,” which groups are the most likely culprits? Some of the usual suspects may have had a motive, but neither the means nor the opportunity, right?

MB: Yes. This is a crucial point with many JFK theories. A lot of people had motives, be it the hardcore commies in Russia, China, Cuba, be it the Israelis because of JFKs dismissal of nukes in Israel, be it the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, the mob because of his dismissal to invade Cuba to get their casinos and brothels back, the racist Southerners because of his engagement for civil rights… but no one of them had the means and opportunity for the murder and above all the means to cover it up over the years.

LS: Which party had the necessary components of “means and opportunity” available?

MB: Only the CIA and the military – and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up. A moment after the shootings, a policeman ran up to the grassy knoll, his gun pulled out, and stopped a man there, asking for his ID. The man showed a Secret Service card and the cop let him go. Several other men on Dealey Plaza also showed genuine looking Secret Service IDs when asked by cops – but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the knoll and the plaza this day.

These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of “MK Ultra” fame. This fact alone rules out that the mob or the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or some other autonomous killers did this on their own bill. And even if these groups would have been able to fake genuine looking Secret Service IDs – the fact that this deception was not investigated, immediately brings Hoover’s FBI into a top-position of suspects.

LS: One crucial point regarding the cover up of the crime is the false autopsy report – also in connection to “means and opportunity”. Please elaborate.

MB: The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and x-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored. No mobster, bankster or Cuban would have been able to do this. These fakes were done at the Bethseda military hospital, where JFKs autopsy was supervised by Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force Chíef and one of JFKs keenest enemies. He was at a fishing vacation when the Dallas shooting happened and flew to Washington immediately – not for any military emergency but to sit in the autopsy room – and smoking a cigar! The faked pictures and x-rays, which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and x-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.

LS: Another important point is the tampering with the so called “Zapruder film”. Why so?

MB: Also thanks to the ARRB there is a lot of evidence that the film was tampered with on the day after the assassination. However, even the existing “original” seems to show clearly a shot from the front, the grassy knoll – so the fake wasn’t perfect. That the Warren Commission was shown only a bad black/white copy indicates that the perpetrators were aware of that. That the Zapruder film was bought by the Time/Life publishers – and kept secret to the public for years; as the Nix-film bought by UPI and disappeared – indicates the guiltiness of the media in the cover-up.

LS: Coming back to the CIA, do you think that the CIA had separated itself from governmental oversight during the 1950s and 1960s, or would it be more correct to suggest that the Agency actually was a ploy of financial interests from the outset? Or more bluntly spoken: was democratic oversight ever intended?

MB: In general, democracy and intelligence services are antagonists; democracy depends on transparency and intelligence services on the opposite. So the democratic / congressional / governmental oversight is always a quite rotten compromise. The CIA’s camouflage from the beginning was that it is a service to gather intelligence – and centralize the intelligence gathering of the different other services – to keep the president informed. The main job of the CIA were and are covert operations, and because such operations depend on “plausible deniability,” it was usual from the beginning to inform the president – if at all – only minimally. Since the CIA’s “father” Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles-Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.

LS: You´re citing investigative journalist Joseph Trento, saying about former CIA director Allen Dulles: “Dulles had decided not to leave the future of the Agency to Congress or the President.” What made Dulles powerful enough to risk such a decision?

MB: Dulles’ clients were bankers and big corporations, who were in big business with Nazi-Germany in the 30s and even during the war. Some of them, like Prescott Bush – George W.’s grandfather – were indicted for “dealing with the enemy”, and Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland during the war, arranged a lot of these dealings. He arranged the secret integration of Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and some hundreds of his SS officers into the US army and the building-up of the CIA apparatus. Between 1945 when the OSS was dismantled and 1947 when the CIA was founded he did this privately – without any official position – from his office at the “Council on Foreign Relations.”

LS: Would it have been more appropriate if Dulles would have been interrogated with regard to Kennedy’s death, instead of having been the mastermind behind the Warren Commission?

MB: It’s a perfect irony, or better: huge cynism, by the puppet of Texas-oilmen, Lyndon B. Johnson, to have Dulles masterminding the Commission. But since it worked out so well they tried it again, this time unsuccessful, to have “Bloody Henry” Kissinger masterminding the 9/11 Commission. In my opinion Dulles is one of the main suspects in the Kennedy murder and should have been prosecuted immediately.

LS: How did both the CIA and the FBI mislead the Warren Commission in various ways?

MB: The result of the Commission was clear from the beginning, the Commission didn’t do any investigations at all, and it depended on the data given by the FBI. Hoover knew about the many fingerprints of the CIA in the case, he knew that they had brought up fake evidence of Oswald’s visits in Mexico to blame him as a communist – and concluded only two days after the shooting that there was only the lone shooter LHO.

Hoover hated the Kennedys, especially his boss Robert F Kennedy, and was the main evildoer in the framing of Oswald and the cover-up of the case. The CIA arranged the false evidence for what Peter Dale Scott (“Deep Politics and the Death of JFK”) called Phase 1 of the cover-up – the “communist”-connection, which enabled Johnson – screaming of the dangers of a nuclear war – to press the commission members to take part, and to make sure Phase 2 of the cover-up and the result of their pseudo-investigation: the deranged lone nut Oswald.

LS: One usual suspect in the “JFK conspiracy literature” is the mob. In your book you’re writing that it doesn’t always make sense to distinguish between organized crime and the CIA. How did you come to this conclusion?

MB: From the “Luciano Project” in 1943 – the help of the imprisoned mob-boss Lucky Luciano with the invasion of Sicily – the mob became the tool of choice for covert CIA-operations and generating black money from the drug business. Where ever the US-military set their boots in or the CIA is doing “regime changes,” drug money is essential for financing these operations, from South East Asia in the 60s till today in Afghanistan. And since Langley can’t sell the stuff directly over their counter, they need the mobsters to do this – and get its share to finance warlords / freedom fighters / terrorists…

LS: May I ask you to talk a bit in that regard about Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exposition), please?

MB: Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad and a straw for their money-laundering and weapons-business. They worked together with Meyer Lansky’s bank in Switzerland, which was run by Tibor Rosenbaum, who did most of the weapons-business of the Mossad.

LS: Was Jim Garrison in general heading into the right direction?

MB: He was, because Clay Shaw, the owner of the New Orleans International Trade Mart and one of the directors of Permindex, was clearly working with the CIA. That’s why Garrison’s case was sabotaged by the Washington Establishment right from the beginning.

LS: Why is it remarkable that CIA had a 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald?

MB: John Newman (“Oswald and the CIA”) has done remarkable research on how the CIA manipulated its files on Oswald and faked a 201 personal file to present it to the Warren Commission, showing that they had virtually nothing on him before 1962. This is clearly impossible after Oswald’s defection to the USSR in 1959. The most likely cause for this manipulation is that Oswald was part of the false defector program headed by JJ Angelton, the counterintelligence chief.

LS: You are arguing if Lee Harvey Oswald would have been indeed solely responsible for Kennedy’s death that the case would have been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. Why so?

MB: From all crimes, murder is the one with the most cases solved by courts. There would have been no need for all the cover-ups since 50 years, if LHO indeed was a lone nut.

LS: Moreover, you’re arguing that Oswald would have been acquitted of the charge of having killed Kennedy, if he would have survived. Why so?

MB: Even Gerald Posener, the author of “Case Closed” – the apology of the Warren Commission’s findings -, meanwhile is saying that. There is no hard evidence that Oswald was on the 5th floor when the shooting took place; there is no evidence that the “Mannlicher”-gun, that he had mail-ordered, was fired that day; there is no hard evidence that he killed Officer Tippit, because witnesses saw two men shooting at him… and so on. Oswald would have left the court room as a free man.

LS: Why was it necessary that Jack Ruby killed Oswald? And furthermore, did they know each other?

MB: They knew each other well, and since Oswald was an asset of FBI and CIA, he had to be silenced before he could talk.

LS: There was not just one plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas, but there was at least one more planned for a visit of Kennedy to Chicago, right?

MB: Yes, there was a plot planned in Chicago with clear parallels to what happened in Dallas – with an ex-Marine as the prepared patsy, who got a job on a high rise building on the route that the motorcade was planned to take some weeks before, and who had trained with exile-Cubans like Oswald. By chance the sharp-shooters were detected by an hotelier and the Chicago visit was cancelled.

LS: Why did JFK die on November 22, 1963?

MB: JFK had made a radical change while president, from a classic cold warrior to a policy of reconciliation and peace. He had made angry enemies in the military and the CIA and when he announced to end the cold war in his speech on June 10th 1963 he finally was marked to death.

LS: Can you tell us something about the role of the Secret Service and the U.S. military in the assassination?

MB: The Secret Service men were mostly Southerners, who deeply dismissed JFKs civil rights politics. They did a very lax security in Dallas and there is a probability that some of these men were sweetened to do so. The memories of Abraham Bolden, the first Afro-American brought to the Secret Service by JFK in 1961, tells that when he tried to contact the Warren Commission to talk about the supremacist, racist attitude of his colleagues, he was indicted by corrupted false witnesses and brought to prison.

The military played a crucial role in the false autopsy & x-ray-pictures made at the Bethseda hospital in Washington DC and the testimony of the doctors. General Curtis LeMay, Joint Chief of the Air Force and one of the harshest opponents of JFKs peace politics, was present in the autopsy room in Bethseda, smoking a cigar! I think his presence was not by chance.

The military intelligence also played a crucial role in Dallas – the first interviews of Marina Oswald was not by Dallas Police but by officers of the military intelligence, which also arranged a dubious translator for her testimonies, which helped to frame Oswald in the first place.

LS: Where did the funding for the coup come from?

MB: The Texas oilmen and billionaires H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison are the most probable financiers, even if there is no hard evidence for it. They paid for the ad in the Dallas paper the day before the visit, naming Kennedy a communist and a traitor. They hated JFK to the bones and they had LBJ in their pocket, their insurance that everything would be covered up properly.

LS: How many people lost their lives over the years related to the Kennedy assassination?

MB: A well-researched new book by Richard Belzer (“Hit List”) lists 1.400 persons with a connection to the murder and in the first three years after the assassination 33 of them came to death on unnatural causes. The probability that this happened by chance is 1: 137 billion.

LS: Was it basically the right-wing / fascist and racist mindset in the U.S. that won the coup d’etat on November 22, 1963?

MB: Yes. And in Dallas, Texas these right-wing fascists, who called themselves “patriots,” had a home game.

LS: What would the history of the “Cold War” have been if the nuclear arms race had ended in Kennedy’s second term? Would the Berlin Wall have come down sooner?

MB: After the nuclear test stop, JFK announced to his confidants that he would go to Moscow after the re-election to negotiate a peace treaty. In public he had already announced to stop the arms race in order to end the cold war. In a National Action Security Memorandum he had called for a co-operation with the Russians in space. After the exchange of secret letters with Khrushchev, which ended the missile crisis, he was on good terms with the Soviet leader, who in the Kremlin also had called for disarmament. The death of JFK encouraged the Soviet hardliners to get rid of him. With Kennedy alive, Khrushchev would have stood in power and the cold war could have been ended in the 60s.

LS: Why does the death of JFK still matter?

MB: It’s the most important crime in the second half of the 20th century, it is still unsolved and it marked in a way the end of the American Republic. Since then the financial-military-industrial complex rules and no president after JFK had the balls to challenge that. There is, in the words of Gore Vidal, “a one-party-system with two right-wings”; there are corporate media brainwashing the population 24/7 and propagating wars for global imperial dominance; there are covert operations all over the world to ensure this dominance – and this will go on and on as long the truth about the covert operation, the coup d’ état, against JFKs presidency is kept hidden.

LS: Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Broeckers!

Reprinted with permission from

School of Assassins Guns, Greed, and Globalization by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Roy Bourgeois

A Customer

SOA/WHISC- not an issue of the past December 20, 2001

Jack Neslon-Pallmeyer's new book, School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization, brings the history and development of the School of the Americas, including its recent name change to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, into perspective along with the developments of the global and national economies and militaries.

In a time when the role of the SOA/WHISC is being seriously and persistently challenged, the name change and other cosmetic alterations represent a need to continue to build and strengthen the thoughtfulness and articulation of the movement and voices that are calling for the school's closure. This book ties together many of the critical issues at play in the debate over the SOA/WHISC and puts it in the context of the role it has in the world today, as well as how it has developed and changed with the changing world and economy in which we all live. One of the key points stressed in this book is that the SOA/WHISC's role has never been stagnant or unaltered, but rather that it has and continues to change along with the goals of the United States foreign policy. The purpose and role that the SOA/WHISC fulfilled at its inception is not the same as the purpose it is serving today. The US foreign policy, beginning around the time the SOA was opened in Panama, has evolved throughout different stages, each trying to maintain a different balance between military and economic strategies and tactics to enforce and implement its goals:

  1. Beginning in a period of major military domination, the SOA was created at a time when military repression and power was the main way of enforcing and achieving the US foreign policy goals.
  2. However, economic tools and leverage, such as those achieved by the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, began to gain momentum and strength as efficient ways of implementing foreign policy. The second stage of US foreign policy was thus a balance between the growing use of economic leverage and the lessening of the need for military repression.
  3. During the third stage that the SOA/WHISC functioned in, economic power implemented through the afore mentioned institutions and their programs (such as Structural Adjustment Programs), took the front line in US foreign policy. The decreasing role of the need for military and violent repression in this stage had a great impact. It threatened and concerned those in the military to seek ways to maintain the immense budget and importance of the military at a time when it was not really being used or was as necessary.
  4. This "military industrial complex" is another key issues at stake in Nelson-Pallmeyer's book, and plays a large role in the remilitarization that characterizes the fourth stage of US foreign policy. The SOA/WHISC's role in the present day is greatly founded on this remilitarization as an important tool in order to achieve the goals and stability desired by the US foreign policy.

The new name given to the SOA represents a face lift, as many refer to it, which attempts to make the goals of the SOA/WHISC seem worthy of the absurd amount of money the US government budget allots the military.

Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a point that the

" `any means necessary' foreign policy is possible when advocates are convinced that the means they employ, whether the torturer's hand or the banker's rules, are justified because they promote the common good or protect particular interests they represent" (98).

Changing the name of the SOA to WHISC, along with the other cosmetic curriculum changes, is attempting to do just this; to create a new image of the school that is one promoting `security cooperation' and human rights. As this book states, however, these changes do not represent any sense of remorse, accountability, or separation from the past policies and deeds that a truly new institution would need to be based on.

The impact of corporate-led globalization is another key issue in The School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization; and likewise, is a factor that plays into the remilitarization that characterizes stage four of US foreign policy. Although globalization, as stated by Nelson-Pallmeyer, is a reality, corporate-led globalization is not inevitable and is furthermore, undesirable. Corporate-led globalization undermines democracy, aggravates problems rooted in inequality, and is altogether destabilizing. This destabilization in turn becomes a reason for remilitarization, and a problem to be handled through military repression rather than systematic, economic, and global changes. Corporate-led globalization is not the beneficial development or progress that the myths make it out to be.

Finally, the debate and struggle around the SOA/WHISC is but a glimpse at the greater picture, the tip of an immense iceberg. Nelson-Pallmeyer states that "the SOA is a window through which US foreign policy can be seen clearly" (xvii). The struggle and movement to close the SOA/WHISC is also fighting against many of the greater issues at stake in our foreign policy and international involvement and is only one of many battles to be fought. Closure of the SOA/WHISC will not appease or end the movement, just allow it to move on to the next battle. Many of the aspects of the US foreign policy that break down the false image of the benevolent superpower are brought in to focus through connections and impacts on the SOA/WHISC. The SOA/WHISC is like a case study of the many components and factors of US foreign policy and its goals. In exposing oneself to the SOA/WHISC debate, history, and struggle, it is inevitable to come to some greater understanding of the US's involvement and true goals in its foreign policy and international affairs. This book is atriculate, thought provoking, and worth reading.

A Little 2nd Amendment Night Humor

01/22/2013 | Tyler Durden

On occasion, truth is stranger than fiction; and in the somewhat surreal world in which we now inhabit, The Onion's perfect parody of where we are headed could have been lifted from any mainstream media front-page with little questioning from the majority of Americans. For your reading pleasure, the 62-year-old with a gun that is the last man standing between the American people and full-scale totalitarian government takeover.

Russia Accuses West Of Arming Mali "Al-Qaeda" Rebels

Tyler Durden on 01/23/2013 - 13:04

Define irony? Here is one, or rather two, tries. Back in the 1970s, it was none other than the US that armed the Taliban "freedom fighters" fighting against the USSR in the Soviet-Afghanistan war, only to see these same freedom fighters eventually and furiously turn against the same US that provided them with arms and money, with what ended up being very catastrophic consequences, culminating with September 11. Fast forward some 30 years and it is again the US which, under the guise of dreams and hopes of democracy and the end of a "dictatorial reign of terror", armed local insurgents in the Libyan war of "liberation" to overthrow the existing regime (and in the process liberate just a bit of Libya's oil) - the same Libya where shortly thereafter these same insurgents rose against their former sponsor, and killed the US ambassador in what has now become an epic foreign policy Snafu. But it doesn't end there as according to Russia, it is the same US weapons that were provided to these Libyan "freedom fighters" that are now being used in what is rapidly becoming a war in Mali, involving not only assorted French regiments, but extensive US flip flops and boots on the ground. "This will be a time bomb for decades ahead."

2013/01/29 | nytimes

Senator Hagel, you have said that no president in 20 years – since George H. W. Bush – has fully exercised his powers over the military in his role as commander in chief. Why is that? How can civilian commanders reassert their constitutional authority over the uniformed military?

You call yourself an Eisenhower Republican. Ike famously warned Americans about the political and economic costs of “the military-industrial complex.” Do you see that threat today? If so, how do you define it? Is there a single major weapons system in the American arsenal that you would eliminate on the basis of its cost and effectiveness?

Can you rein in the generals and their spending? Is the future to be feared or seized in Afghanistan and Iran?

President Obama has said: “War is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.” By that standard, how do you judge the American military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade?


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[Oct 02, 2015] Showdown at the UN Corral

[Sep 30, 2015] Obama, Putin need steady nerves stout hearts in Syria

[Sep 30, 2015] Obama Re-Defines Democracy – A Country that Supports U.S. Policy naked capitalism

[Sep 28, 2015] Assange on 'US Empire', Assad govt overthrow plans & new book 'The WikiLeaks Files' (EXCLUSIVE) - YouTube

Afshin Rattansi goes underground with the world's most wanted publisher - the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. He has just co-authored a book - the WikiLeaks Files, and it paints a picture of systemic US torture and killing as well as the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of billions of people right around the world.

[Sep 28, 2015] Origins of ISIS – Special Coverage

Mar 5, 2015 | YouTube

In a special report, RT America examines the origins, power and expansion of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS). RT’s Ben Swann delves into the roots of the organization while Ameera David explains how the group amasses the millions of dollars it requires to operate. Finally, Manuel Rapalo explores how the Iraqi army fell apart despite benefiting from billions of dollars of US money – and military hardware – meant to ensure security.

Camilo Garcia Benitez

ISIS Mercenaries were pay to fight in Libia to overthrown Gadhafi.
The weapons from Libia, were taken in NATO Ships to Turkey and in to Syria and Iraq.
ISIS were heavily armed, plus many Mercenaries officers from UK and USA controlling it all.
ISIS is a Needed Evil to the USA and NATO, to create and maintain tensions in the areaThe owner of the dog, is responsible of the Dogs doings.


George W. Bush and Dick Cheney created ISIS... and some reports suggest their profits came close to forty billion dollars. This is why Jeb Bush must never become President.


Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, US, UK, France, Sweden, Canada, fund support ISIS to destroy Russia's allies in the Middle East. Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad's Shia Alawites in Syria, Southern Iraq's Shia majority and the Shia government of Iran.

Ansar al-salami

Origins of ISIS? Sunnis that got their asses kicked in Iraq by the Americans, with nowhere to go until Assad started bombing his own people. Then al-Baghdadi found Raqqa, a place that the Assads didn't want to defend. So the Iraqi Sunnis found a home. The rest is history...........


How do the most technologically, advanced military and intelligence apparatus on the planet get stumped by untrained (or little trained) militia forces in 3rd world countries?!?!?!? THEY DON'T!!!!!!! All the world's a stage and the general population is stupid beyond belief! This is an orchestrated crock of shit!

Follow The Sun

The whole mess is a god dam direct result of US military backing the Corporations like Exxon and BP. If the profits of corporations were to be affected then the US would go back and clean up the mess but since the Corps are not affected the war will rage on and refugees will be pouring into Europe and wrecking havoc there. It's a mess alright, one created by greed and it will continue until the state is separated from the corporation.

John Byrne

What has happened in Iraq was very predictable, so predictable in fact even I saw it coming. Sectarian violence was always going to be the long term outcome of unseating Hussein, and the Americans knew that. Maybe the American people didn't and the soldiers didn't, but the strategists did, because that was the strategy.

If you have the temerity to assert your nation's right to self determination in the face of the hegemon, the hegemon will crush you and turn your country to shit. It's not a mistake or an error of judgement. It's quite deliberate. The Military Industrial Complex lap it up. The banksters love it most of all because the United States hegemony is above all a banking one. Why? Because power equals wealth. If you're not a client state, a vassal, you're a potential rival in the making, just as Saddam and Ghaddafi were.

The marine interviewed is wrong to characterise the last 12 years of US foreign policy as a mistake or error of judgement. Chaos and perpetual war were but two of the goals.

Khalid Kana'an 10 hours ago (edited)

The USA can end those mofos in 10 days and they don't even need to put the life of any soldier in danger, they can use satellites and drones to Determines their location, then target them with stealth jets.

But why would they do such a thing, why would they destroy the Israeli secret intelligence service --> (I.S.I.S) that's serving them, they don't need drones, satellites or stealth jets they don't even need to worry about this war, they can just let those retard fucks kill and end one another then make Israel expand it's territory and invade more land.

Brane Storm

Man, this ISIS is a pretty organized group for appearing to be nothing more than a rag tag outfit at best. They can make elaborate blue screened video's and now they can fill up tanker trucks with Oil and ship them to some "mystery buyer" for cash? What would ISIS do with "cash" in desert warfare? Go to the local "Bombs 'R Us, or "Warmart" for a fun day of shopping?

Almost every surrounding Country are against ISIS, so who is "buying" this Oil? I wonder where those trucks are going...probably North into the Oil Fields controlled by Exxon or BP in exchange for weapons to fight Assad. Those weapons are then classified as the "weaponry left behind" so they can cover up more lies on who really funds ISIS.

Robert Dahlgren

It is important to understand that the so called "american war machine" is not run by some idiots who keeps making the same "misstakes"... All this is done on purpose! They have a plan with all this. They want to destabilize the middle east, and with that follows mass immigration to Europe (mainly) which in time will profoundly change european society.

Out of chaos comes order, THEIR order, the New World Order... and that's a whole new chapter, but I tell you, it's not pretty. What we see now in the middle east is just the beginning, if you are not happy with this, stop voting for ANYONE! It doesn't matter who you vote for, anyone who comes to power in Europe and US will push the NWO agenda. Wake up!!!


This RT story is inaccurate about the origin of ISIS. It started with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (later Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad) in 1999. Al-Zarqawi and his group's first goal was to overthrow the kingdom of Jordan and may have assassinated the American ambassador to Jordan in 2002. He also planned (along with bin Laden and Al Qaeda) the Millenium plots of January 1, 2000, where he planned to bomb four sites in Jordan, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and the USS The Sullivans. Their plan failed.

He apparently moved to Iraq in 2001, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. In 2003 his group became officially affiliated with Al-Qaeda (although Al-Zarqawi met with Osama bin-Laden in 1999 and told him how he wanted to kill all Jews and Shiites) and moved to northern Iraq where it started doing what it does best, atrocities. Al-Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in 2006 and it got new leadership and renamed itself Islamic State in Iraq.

In 2011 it moved into Syria to take part in its civil war against Assad and renamed itself again, as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant then Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Syria), later it just became the Islamic State and named Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as its caliph. So it started before Bush invaded Iraq, and started its bomb attacks there in August 2003, five months after the invasion.

Juan Olivier

ISIS is a USA puppet to take down Assad.

The Terminator

ISIS is a Saudi Arabian invention. The Saudis hate the Assad government and are funding ISIS with oil and money.

Oliver Green

So America is all about "maintaining stability" yet its their unwavering support for Saudi Arabia and its refusal to condemn any of its attacks and policies on its neighbours in the Arab world that allows these atrocities -like most recently the 27 day non stop bombing of Yemen killing 2500 + and surpassing Israels most recent war on Gazas ( also supported by USA) deaths of civilians -to happen. One of our original guises of intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was most notably weapons of mass destruction and retaliation for "911" but also more morally important was our humanitarian intervention against taliban / all quaeda ( created by USA to fight Russia's Afghanistan invasion) in Afghan and against Saddam's treatment of non shias and other minorities.

how hypocritical is it for us to not just stand by and fund sunni extemist rebels in Syria to topple Assad but also to stand by for 13 days of bombardment on mostly shia- civilians consisting of ancient tribes by Saudi Arabia and on top of that " topping" the Saudi regimes military capabilities in Yemen with radar and satellite over guidance and technical support, why are we supporting sectarian warfare in the middle east when it was our publicly identified motivation of going over there in the first place? Something is wrong with USA moral compass.

John Somebody

Who trained ISIS fighters in the use of those vast supplies of U.S. weapons ?

Luigi Capoti

power always have use regular and iregular armys to achieve its ends.

before hitler, SS; before ISIS Al Qaeda in afganistan Yugoslavia libia,.. even narco can be included (remember Iran-Contras)

Guardias blancas or Autodefensas in Colombia, etc they acomplish with justification to aid or attack governments. maybe the term mercenary fit in general, but the difference is that they don't need to be conscious who create and uses them.

Larry-three “Larry-3”

Summary: ISIL was created in 2003 in Iraq, but at that time they were nobodies. They eventually moved into Syria to recruit and steal weapons. As soon as that happened, they became a worldwide threat.

ISIL has murdered Christians and caused pain to many souls. I want the U.S. to strangle them until their whole faction destabilizes and ceases to exist.

Bruce Campbell

Great show. US imperialism is like all bullying, it has consequences. Isis is a good distraction to take attention from the war crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Why isn't Israel afraid? Maybe because ISIS arose out of the concerted effort to destabilize President Assad.. Syria has the misfortune of being next door to expansionist Israel. Zionism is so served by the power vacuum and chaos.

Currently the USA is also allied with Saudi interests. Saudi Arabia, the bombers of 9/11 are currently waging an aggressive campaign in Yemen. Imperialism and Zionism are cults of death. Wahhabi Islam is little different. I pray for the dead and those who will die. Likely ISIS is the authority in that religion of the world we will have to deal with them in the future. Or we can keep supporting our military and intelligence infrastructure which took us from surplus to debt and created other Frankenstein monsters

[Sep 27, 2015] US On The Ropes China To Join Russian Military In Syria While Iraq Strikes Intel Deal With Moscow, Tehran

[Sep 27, 2015] Putin's deceptive pause What are Russia's n4ext steps in Ukraine

[Sep 27, 2015] Is it too late to get the civil engineers in to change the plate on Yatsenyuk's door to "Saakashvili"?

[Sep 27, 2015] Analysis – EU 'ring of friends' turns into ring of fire

[Sep 27, 2015] Yay for Irredentism! Victoria Nuland Promises Yaltas Return to Ukraine

[Sep 26, 2015] Standing Before Congress, Pope Francis Calls Out the Industry of Death

[Sep 24, 2015] Corbyn Says ISIS Partly Created by Western Interven4tion

[Sep 21, 2015] Blame America No, Blame Neocons!

[Sep 19, 2015] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

[Sep 19, 2015] Clock Ticks On US Syria Strategy As Assad Pounds ISIS Targets, Russia Sends Fighter Jets

[Sep 18, 2015] They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars: The Untold Story

At 73, having spent years focusing on the civilian toll from Washington’s Afghan War, Ann Jones embedded on an American forward operating base to experience what that war was like for the U.S. troops in the field. The next year, she began following grievously wounded American soldiers from the moment they came off the battlefield all the way back home. Her journey proved to be nothing short of an odyssey. Despite all the talk in this country about our “wounded warriors,” no other book gives us a more powerful sense of the genuine cost of war to Americans.

[Sep 18, 2015] The Russians are Coming!

[Sep 16, 2015] U.S. Rejected Offers by Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to Surrender … and Proceeded to Wage War

[Sep 14, 2015] Putin shifts fronts in Syria and Ukraine

[Sep 14, 2015] US War Theories Target Dissenters

[Sep 13, 2015] The workings of the Bush administration

[Sep 09, 2015] They don't call it the Empire of Chaos for nothing

[Sep 08, 2015] Empire Files with Abby Martin Launches First Show

In teleSUR's new show, Abby Martin traces the history of the U.S. empire and the growing presence of military bases around the globe - September 5, 2015


General Butler's " War is a Racket " is available free online. A great read which should be mandatory reading in high school.

Bruce DeLaney > markodochartaigh

Count on it, no school teacher is going to bring up Butler's name in a classroom. Hell, most high school teachers don't even know who he was.

markodochartaigh > Bruce DeLaney

If an instructor did assign the book in class almost certainly some brainwashed little student would report it to his equally brainwashed parents and the instructor would never work again.

[Sep 04, 2015] Narrative And Reality Of The U.S. War On Syria

[Sep 03, 2015] Sorry, General, but the title greatest "purveyors of radical Islam" does not belong to the Iranians. Not even close. That belongs to our putative ally Saudi Arabia. ...

[Sep 03, 2015] The Inevitability of a War President by Lucy Steigerwald

[Sep 03, 2015] Who Is Listening to Dick Cheney by Lucy Steigerwald

[Aug 29, 2015] So Wrong for So Long

[Aug 23, 2015] Carter, Reagan, and Machiavelli - The New York Times

[Aug 23, 2015] Netanyahu pressed for Iran attacks, but was denied: ex-defense chief

[Aug 22, 2015] How Complex Systems Fail

[Aug 22, 2015] The Riddle of Obama's Foreign Policy

[Aug 21, 2015] Redneck Engineering at its finest

TM31-200-1 Department of the Army Technical Manual, Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques, References

Redneck Engineering at its finest.


It's available for free at these links:


[Aug 16, 2015] Lawrence Wilkerson Travails of Empire - Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar

[Aug 16, 2015] The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Republicans Cant Face the Truth About Iraq

[Aug 10, 2015] Naryshkin: the US wants to grab the natural resources of other countries

[Aug 08, 2015] About the value of top secret documents

[Aug 08, 2015] Tyler Drumheller, CIA officer who exposed U.S. reliance on discredited Iraq source 'Curveball,' dies at 63

[Aug 08, 2015] Keeping Ukraine whole

[Aug 08, 2015] What language are these people speaking?

[Aug 08, 2015] Can the United States Stop a War With Russia?

[Aug 07, 2015] What Lindsey Graham Fails to Understand About a War Against Iran

[Aug 01, 2015] Ron Paul: All Wars Are Paid For Thr ough Debasing The Currency

[Jul 24, 2015] Ron Paul Iran Agreement Boosts Peace, Defeats Neocons

[Jul 23, 2015] First Thoughts About The Iran Deal

[Jul 23, 2015] Iran Deal Heads Toward Showdown With Adelson's GOP

[Jul 20, 2015] The Dangerously Vague Romance of War

[Jul 13, 2015] International Court Judge Dick Cheney Will Face Trial for War Crimes

[Jul 12, 2015] 'One of the largest human experiments in history' was conducted on unsuspecting residents of San Francisco by Kevin Loria

Jul. 9, 2015 | Business Insider

San Francisco's fog is famous, especially in the summer, when weather conditions combine to create the characteristic cooling blanket that sits over the Bay Area.

But one fact many may not know about San Francisco's fog is that in 1950, the US military conducted a test to see whether it could be used to help spread a biological weapon in a "simulated germ-warfare attack." This was just the start of many such tests around the country that would go on in secret for years.

The test was a success, as Rebecca Kreston explains over at Discover Magazine, and "one of the largest human experiments in history."

But, as she writes, it was also "one of the largest offenses of the Nuremberg Code since its inception."

The code stipulates that "voluntary, informed consent" is required for research participants, and that experiments that might lead to death or disabling injury are unacceptable.

The unsuspecting residents of San Francisco certainly could not consent to the military's germ-warfare test, and there's good evidence that it could have caused the death of at least one resident of the city, Edward Nevin, and hospitalized 10 others.

This is a crazy story; one that seems like it must be a conspiracy theory. An internet search will reveal plenty of misinformation and unbelievable conjecture about these experiments. But the core of this incredible tale is documented and true.

'A successful biological warfare attack'

It all began in late September 1950, when over a few days, a Navy vessel used giant hoses to spray a fog of two kinds of bacteria, Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii — both believed at the time to be harmless — out into the fog, where they disappeared and spread over the city.

"It was noted that a successful BW [biological warfare] attack on this area can be launched from the sea, and that effective dosages can be produced over relatively large areas," concluded a later-declassified military report, cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Successful indeed, according to Leonard Cole, the director of the Terror Medicine and Security Program at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. His book, "Clouds of Secrecy," documents the military's secret bioweapon tests over populated areas. Cole wrote:

Nearly all of San Francisco received 500 particle minutes per liter. In other words, nearly every one of the 800,000 people in San Francisco exposed to the cloud at normal breathing rate (10 liters per minute) inhaled 5,000 or more particles per minute during the several hours that they remained airborne.

This was among the first but far from the last of these sorts of tests.

Tests included the large-scale releases of bacteria in the New York City subway system, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and in National Airport.

Over the next 20 years, the military would conduct 239 "germ-warfare" tests over populated areas, according to news reports from the 1970s (after the secret tests had been revealed) in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press, and other publications (via Lexis-Nexis), and also detailed in congressional testimony from the 1970s.

These tests included the large-scale releases of bacteria in the New York City subway system, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and in National Airport just outside Washington, DC.

In a 1994 congressional testimony, Cole said that none of this had been revealed to the public until a 1976 newspaper story revealed the story of a few of the first experiments — though at least a Senate subcommittee had heard testimony about experiments in New York City in 1975, according to a 1995 Newsday report.

[Jul 10, 2015] US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 collusion

[Jul 08, 2015] Are we the fascists now?

[Jul 05, 2015] Patriotism Begins With Localism

[Jul 03, 2015] Throughout history, debt and war have been constant partners

[Jul 03, 2015] Europe's leaders must end this reckless standoff with Greece

[Jul 02, 2015] Global Deaths in Conflict Since the Year 1400

[Jul 01, 2015] A Short History: The Neocon Clean Break Grand Design The Regime Change Disasters It Has Fostered

[Jun 29, 2015] Could Armenia Be The Next Ukraine

[Jun 28, 2015] US Department of Imperial Expansion

[Jun 28, 2015] John McCain The Russia-Ukraine cease-fire is a fiction

[Jun 28, 2015] Fuck the US Imperialism -- Top German Politician Blasts Nuland Carter

[Jun 28, 2015] Tactless courtship—NSA's espionage in France

[Jun 28, 2015] Thousands in Armenia protest steep hikes in electricity rates

[Jun 28, 2015] Signs of color revolution observed in Armenia's unrest

[Jun 28, 2015] Is a "color revolution" underway in Armenia

[Jun 28, 2015] The USA tries to stage a color revolution in Armenia

[Jun 25, 2015] Russia experience in 1991 and armenian color revolution

[Jun 25, 2015] Europe's Enlightened Order

[Jun 25, 2015] The American Century' Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?

[Jun 24, 2015] So The Spy Services Are The Real Internet Trolls

[Jun 24, 2015] M of A - So The Spy Services Are The Real Internet Trolls

[Jun 22, 2015] The Boomerang Effect: Sanctions on Russia Hit German Economy Hard

[Jun 22, 2015] Pope Francis says those in weapons industry cant call themselves Christian

[Jun 20, 2015] Andrew Bacevich Washington in Wonderland, Down the Iraq Rabbit Hole(Again)

[Jun 20, 2015] Jeb Bush - Profile

[Jun 20, 2015] Charleston and the National-Security State

[Jun 19, 2015] The Undiplomatic Diplomat

[Jun 18, 2015] Torture is a war crime the government treats like a policy debate

[Jun 17, 2015] Washington Prepares to Fight for Donetsk

[Jun 16, 2015] Hillary Clinton ducks questions on trade deals during New Hampshire visit

[Jun 16, 2015] Jeb Bush's campaign debut: protester showdown met with chants of 'USA'

[Jun 14, 2015] Bush and Hawkish Magical Thinking

[Jun 14, 2015] An Inconvenient Truth The Bush Administration Was a Disaster

[Jun 09, 2015] Looking for Robots That Will Cooperate, Not Terminate By John Markoff

June 8, 2015 |

That is the world imagined by government officials and technologists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the American military organization that is charged with the mission of avoiding a Sputnik-style technology threat to national security. Last weekend at the sprawling Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, Darpa concluded the Robotics Challenge, a two-year-long effort to jump start this next generation of smart and presumably helpful robots by offering a cash prize for the designers of a machine that could work in concert with human controllers in a hazardous environment.

The $3.5 million competition was won by a South Korean team from KAIST, formerly the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

The technology may still seem far-fetched, but betting against the agency that has had a remarkably far-reaching effect on the modern world — from funding the work that led to both the personal computer and the Internet, to setting expectations that self-driving vehicles are only a matter of years away — might be a mistake.

Darpa officials have taken pains to assure anyone who would listen that it was not primarily interested in designing Terminators, or killer robots. The agency is an arm of the Pentagon, and its futuristic robots are an example of what is described as a “dual use” technology that will have both military and civilian uses.

Darpa, which is also known for pioneering the Internet surveillance system that was exposed last year by Edward J. Snowden, has, under its current director, Arati Prabhakar, expanded its watchfulness over the potential effect of the technologies it helps foster.

In introducing a workshop for discussion on the effect of robotics held at the end of the challenge competition on Sunday, Dr. Prabhakar described the agency as being committed to a broader mission: “We work together to build the future of robots that can help extend the capabilities that we have and build the technologies that will aid humanity in the future.

That has been become something of a personal cause for Gill Pratt, the roboticist who has overseen the Robotics Challenge. A former Massachusetts Inst itute of Technology and Olin College engineering professor, Dr. Pratt gave an impassioned speech about the positive potential for humanoid robots.

“You would assume that all the people who watched these machines would be filled with fear and anxiety because after all, all we hear about in the news is people saying robots are going to take over the world, they are going to kill all of us, we should run away,” he said. “There is a new discovery that we made here besides all the technology. That discovery is that there is some new untapped affinity between people and robots that we saw really for the first time today.”

Under Tony Tether, who was Darpa’s director from June 2001 to February 2009, there was less concern at the agency about questions of societal impact. Dr. Tether oversaw the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2004, which had a narrower goal of helping meet a congressional mandate that one-third of the military’s land vehicles would become autonomous by 2015.

While that goal remains far off, the earlier contest has had an effect on the world’s automakers after Google hired Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford professor who led the original winning team in 2005, to begin a self-driving car research project. Since then, virtually all of the world’s major automobile makers have set up research laboratories in Silicon Valley.

In a similar fashion, it now appears that the new Robotics Challenge may have a direct role in jump starting an imaginative new commercial industry making mobile humanoid and even more flexible robots.

“You won’t go in and replace all these people all at once with robots,” said Rodney Brooks, who has founded several robotics companies including iRobot and Rethink Robotics. “We’ll see robots creep into our lives, getting the robots to do a few of the tasks at a time.”

[Jun 09, 2015] Ex-US Intelligence Officials Confirm Secret Pentagon Report Proves US Complicity In Creation Of ISIS

"...declassified Pentagon report confirms that the West accelerated support to extremist rebels in Syria, despite knowing full well the strategy would pave the way for the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS)."
"...“They were not only as they claimed supporting moderate groups, who were losing members to the more extremist groups, but that they were directly supporting the extremist groups. And they were predicting that this support would result in an Islamic State organization, an ISIS or ISIL… "
"...“It’s kind of a deal that the Saudis will support various Islamic extremists, all around the world, and the deal is that they [extremists] will not try to overthrow the corrupt, alcohol-drinking clique in Saudi Arabia.”"
The RAND report even confirmed (p. 113) that its “divide and rule” strategy was already being executed in Iraq at the time: "Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used a tactical level, as the United States now forms temporary alliances with nationalist insurgent groups that it had been fighting for four years… providing carrots in the form of weapons and cash. In the past, these nationalists have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces."
Jun 09, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Two weeks ago, courtesy of the investigative work of Nafeez Ahmed whose deep dig through a recently declassified and formertly Pentagon documents released earlier by Judicial Watch FOIA, we learned that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad. In his words:

"According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.

Now, in a follow up piece to his stunning original investigative report titled "Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion", Nafeez Ahmed reveals that according to leading American and British intelligence experts, the previously declassified Pentagon report confirms that the West accelerated support to extremist rebels in Syria, despite knowing full well the strategy would pave the way for the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS).

The experts who have spoken out include renowned government whistleblowers such as the Pentagon’s Daniel Ellsberg, the NSA’s Thomas Drake, and the FBI’s Coleen Rowley, among others.

Their remarks demonstrate the fraudulent nature of claims by two other former officials, the CIA’s Michael Morell and the NSA’s John Schindler, both of whom attempt to absolve the Obama administration of responsibility for the policy failures exposed by the DIA documents.

This is Nafeez Ahmed's follow up story, originally posted in Medium

Ex-intel officials: Pentagon report proves US complicity in ISIS

Renowned government whistleblowers weigh in on debate over controversial declassified documen

Foreseeing ISIS

As I reported on May 22nd, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document obtained by Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information confirms that the US intelligence community foresaw the rise of ISIS three years ago, as a direct consequence of the support to extremist rebels in Syria.

The August 2012 ‘Information Intelligence Report’ (IIR) reveals that the overwhelming core of the Syrian insurgency at that time was dominated by a range of Islamist militant groups, including al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It warned that the “supporting powers” to the insurgency?—?identified in the document as the West, Gulf states, and Turkey —?wanted to see the emergence of a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria to “isolate” the Assad regime.

The document also provided an extraordinarily prescient prediction that such an Islamist quasi-statelet, backed by the region’s Sunni states, would amplify the risk of the declaration of an “Islamic State” across Iraq and Syria. The DIA report even anticipated the fall of Mosul and Ramadi.

Divide and rule

Last week, legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the former career Pentagon officer and US military analyst who leaked Pentagon papers exposing White House lies about the Vietnam War, described my Insurge report on the DIA document as “a very important story.”

In an extensive podcast interview, he said that the DIA document provided compelling evidence that the West’s Syria strategy created ISIS. The DIA, he said, “in 2012, was asserting that Western powers were supporting extremist Islamic groups in Syria that were opposing Assad…

“They were not only as they claimed supporting moderate groups, who were losing members to the more extremist groups, but that they were directly supporting the extremist groups. And they were predicting that this support would result in an Islamic State organization, an ISIS or ISIL… They were encouraging it, regarding it as a positive development, because it was anti-Assad, Assad being supported by Russia, but also interestingly China… and Iran… So we have China, Russia and Iran backing Assad, and the US, starting out saying Assad must go… What he [Nafeez Ahmed] is talking about, the DIA report, is extremely significant. It fits into a general framework that I’m aware of, and sounds plausible to me.”

Ellsberg also noted that “it’s pretty well known” in the intelligence community that Saudi Arabia sponsors Islamist terrorists to this day:

“It’s kind of a deal that the Saudis will support various Islamic extremists, all around the world, and the deal is that they [extremists] will not try to overthrow the corrupt, alcohol-drinking clique in Saudi Arabia.”

Ellsberg, who was a former senior analyst at RAND Corp, also agreed with the relevance of a 2008 US Army-commissioned RAND report, quoted in my Insurge story, and also examined in-depth for Middle East Eye.

The US Army-funded RAND report advocated a range of policy scenarios for the Middle East, including a “divide and rule” strategy to play off Sunni and Shi’a factions against each other, which Ellsberg describes as “standard imperial policy” for the US.

The RAND report even confirmed (p. 113) that its “divide and rule” strategy was already being executed in Iraq at the time:

“Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used a tactical level, as the United States now forms temporary alliances with nationalist insurgent groups that it had been fighting for four years… providing carrots in the form of weapons and cash. In the past, these nationalists have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces.”

The confirmed activation of this divide-and-rule strategy perhaps explains why the self-defeating US approach in Syria is fanning the flames of both sides: simultaneously allying with states like Turkey who have continued to covertly sponsor ISIS, while working with Assad through the Russians to fight ISIS. Ellsberg added:

“As Assad is the main opponent of ISIS, we are covertly coordinating our airstrikes against ISIS with Assad. So are we against Assad, or not? It’s ambivalent… I think that Obama and everybody around him is clear that they do not any longer as they’ve been saying want Assad to leave power. I don’t believe that that is their intention anymore, as they believe anyone who succeeds Assad would be far worse.”

If true, Ellsberg’s analysis exposes the deep-rooted hypocrisy of the previous campaign against Assad, the current campaign against ISIS, and why both appear destined for failure.

Frankenstein script

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Special Agent described my report on the DIA document as “excellent.”

Rowley, who was selected as TIME ‘Person of the Year’ in 2002 after revealing how pre-9/11 intelligence was ignored by superiors at the FBI, said of the document:

“It’s like the mad power-hungry doctor who created Frankenstein, only to have his monster turn against him. It’s hard to feel sorry when the insane doctor gets his due. But in our case, that script is constantly repeating. The quest for ‘full spectrum dominance’ and blindness of exceptionalism seems to mean we are doomed to keep repeating the ‘Charlie Wilson’s Frankenstein War’ script… The various neocon warmongers and military industrial complex, most of them inept Peter Principles, just don’t care.”

Also commenting on the declassified Pentagon report, former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake?—?the whistleblower who inspired Edward Snowden?—?condemned “the West’s role in ISIS and threat of ‘violent extremists’, justifying surveillance and libercide at home.”

Wedge strategy

Alastair Crooke, a former senior MI6 officer who spent three decades at the agency, said yesterday that the DIA document provides clear corroboration that the US was covertly pursuing a strategy to drive an extremist Salafi “wedge” between Iran and its Arab allies.

The strategy was, Crooke confirms, standard thinking in the Western intelligence establishment for about a decade.

“The idea of breaking up the large Arab states into ethnic or sectarian enclaves is an old Ben Gurion ‘canard,’ and splitting Iraq along sectarian lines has been Vice President Biden’s recipe since the Iraq war,” wrote Crooke, who had coordinated British assistance to the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s. After his long MI6 stint, he became Middle East advisor to the European Union’s foreign policy chief (1997–2003).

“But the idea of driving a Sunni ‘wedge’ into the landline linking Iran to Syria and to Hezbollah in Lebanon became established Western group think in the wake of the 2006 war, in which Israel failed to de-fang Hezbollah,” continued Crooke. “The response to 2006, it seemed to Western powers, was to cut off Hezbollah from its sources of weapons supply from Iran…

“… In short, the DIA assessment indicates that the ‘wedge’ concept was being given new life by the desire to pressure Assad in the wake of the 2011 insurgency launched against the Syrian state. ‘Supporting powers’ effectively wanted to inject hydraulic fracturing fluid into eastern Syria (radical Salafists) in order to fracture the bridge between Iran and its Arab allies, even at the cost of this ‘fracking’ opening fissures right down inside Iraq to Ramadi. (Intelligence assessments purpose is to provide ‘a view’?—?not to describe or prescribe policy. But it is clear that the DIA reports’ ‘warnings’ were widely circulated and would have been meshed into the policy consideration.)

“But this ‘view’ has exactly come about. It is fact. One might conclude then that in the policy debate, the notion of isolating Hezbollah from Iran, and of weakening and pressurizing President Assad, simply trumped the common sense judgment that when you pump highly toxic and dangerous fracturing substances into geological formations, you can never entirely know or control the consequences… So, when the GCC demanded a ‘price’ for any Iran deal (i.e. massing ‘fracking’ forces close to Aleppo), the pass had been already partially been sold by the US by 2012, when it did not object to what the ‘supporting powers’ wanted.”

Intel shills

Crooke’s analysis of the DIA report shows that it is irrelevant whether or not “the West” should be included in the “supporting powers” described by the report as specifically wanting a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria. Either way, the report groups “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey” as supporting the Syrian insurgency together?—?highlighting that the Gulf states and Turkey operated in alliance with the US, Britain, and other Western powers.

The observations of intelligence experts Ellsberg, Rowley, and Drake add further weight to Crooke’s analysis. They come in addition to comments I had previously received on the DIA document from former MI5 counter-terrorism officer, Annie Machon, and former counter-terrorism intelligence officer, Charles Shoebridge.

The comments undermine the recent claims of disgraced US national security commentator, John Schindler, a retired NSA intelligence officer, to the effect that the August 2012 DIA report is “almost incomprehensible,” “so heavily redacted that its difficult to say much meaningful about it,” “Nothing special here, not one bit,” “routine,” “a single data point,” and so on.

Schindler cites the DIA’s use of ‘Curveball’?—?the Iraqi informant who fabricated claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD)?—?as evidence of the agency’s “less than stellar reputation.” But this misrepresents the fact noted by the CIA’s Valerie Plame Wilson that “it was widely known [in the intelligence community] that CURVEBALL was not a credible source and that there were serious problems with his reporting.”

As I’ve documented elsewhere, the WMD threat mythology was not the outcome of an ‘intelligence failure’, as Schindler and his ilk like to claim, but a consequence of the corruption and politicization of intelligence under the influence of dubious vested interests.

Also contrary to Schindler’s misinformation, an IIR provides raw intelligence data from human sources (HUMINT), not simply rumour, gossip or opinion. Before wider distribution, the IIR is vetted to determine whether it is worthy of dissemination to the intelligence community. IIRs then provide a source basis for evaluation, interpretation, analysis and integration with other information.

Far from justifying the dismissal of the relevance of the declassified DIA documents, this shows that urgent questions must be asked:

What happened to this raw intelligence data, described by six US UK intelligence experts as providing damning confirmation of how Western strategy led to the rise of ISIS?

And why did it not lead to a change in policy, despite DIA analysts’ clear warning of the outgrowth of an ISIS-entity from Western allies’ desire to see a ‘Salafist Principality’ in the region?—?a warning which was, in hindsight, quite accurate?

Are intel critics traitors?

Schindler previously characterized NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a traitor and “pawn… of America’s adversaries.”

He now declares that those who cite the DIA report as proof the intelligence community “knew more about the rise of the Islamic State than they let on” are at best “fools; at worst, they’re deceivers who have lied to the American people.”

On the contrary, six decorated former senior US and British intelligence officials, many with direct experience of IIRs and their function, agree that the DIA report provides significant insight into the kind of intelligence available to the US intelligence community at the time.

Yet for Schindler, it seems, Ellsberg, Drake, Rowley, Crooke, Machon and Shoebridge are all, effectively, traitors simply for lending their expertise to public understanding of the newly declassified documents.

As Marcy Wheeler points out in Salon, the large corpus of secret DIA documents obtained by Judicial Watch demonstrates, at the least, that:

“The Intelligence Community (IC) knew that AQI had ties to the rebels in Syria; they knew our Gulf and Turkish allies were happy to strengthen Islamic extremists in a bid to oust Assad; and CIA officers in Benghazi (at a minimum) watched as our allies armed rebels using weapons from Libya. And the IC knew that a surging AQI might lead to the collapse of Iraq. That’s not the same thing as creating ISIS. But it does amount to doing little or nothing while our allies had a hand in creating ISIS. All of which ought to raise real questions about why we’re still allied with countries willfully empowering terrorist groups then, and how seriously they plan to fight those terrorist groups now. Because while the CIA may not have deliberately created ISIS, it sure seems to have watched impassively as our allies helped to do so.”

However, Wheeler overlooks that the reliance on foreign allies is a standard proxy war strategy?—?as Ellsberg explained in his interview?—?used by the covert operations arm of the US government to guarantee ‘plausible deniability.’

As I noted in my Middle East Eye analysis of the DIA document, there is extensive evidence against which to contextualize the DIA report’s assertions. This evidence shows that the CIA did not merely watch “impassively” as the Gulf states and Turkey supported violent extremists in Syria, but actively supervised, facilitated and accelerated this policy.

The August 2012 DIA document further corroborates this by repeatedly pointing out that the support to the Syrian insurgency from its allies was itself backed by “the West”?—?despite awareness of their intent to establish an extremist Salafi political entity.

While the DIA document was, indeed, just one data-point, analyzing it in context with the other DIA reports along with incontrovertible facts in the public record, establishes that the Pentagon was complicit in its allies’ support of Islamist terrorists, despite recognizing this could create an “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria.

These revelations show that the real traitors are not the courageous whistleblowers who sacrifice everything to speak out on behalf of the public interest, but shameless shills like Schindler and Morell who willfully sanitize a dysfunctional and dangerous ‘national security’ system from legitimate public scrutiny.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award, known as the ‘Alternative Pulitzer Prize’, for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT, among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

Captain Debtcrash

With all the so called conspiracy theories that have become conspiracy fact,, you’d think that the term conspiracy theory wouldn’t carry such a stigma.

[Jun 05, 2015] What to Be Afraid Of

[Jun 05, 2015] Edward Snowden The World Says No to Surveillance

[Jun 05, 2015] A story from the past shows why neocons are dangerous for the global peace and security

[Jun 04, 2015] March of the Imperial Senators

[Jun 04, 2015] How to succeed in Iran: lessons from Russia and China

[Jun 03, 2015] US Congress passes surveillance reform in vindication for Edward Snowden

[Jun 02, 2015] The Current Overproduction Crisis And War

[Jun 02, 2015] The Delusional World Of Imperial Washington

[Jun 02, 2015] A constructive ban-the-bomb movement

Whether we like it or not but current nuclear weapon provide the only guarantee against the US attack on the country...
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nelson Betancourt

The nuclear weapons states have for far too long put the survival of humanity in danger. They have not lived up to their agreement to abolish these weapons. Therefore, it is now imperative and necessary to ban these weapons--whether the US likes it or not. I think it's been way too long that non-weapons states have stood by and let this happen, but now it's time and it must be done with great energy, decisiveness and moral aplumb. Stop all this wishy-washy talk about accomodating the US, we must shame and hold accountable nuclear weapons states for holding the world hostage to potential genocide.

"Necessarily such a weapon goes far beyond any military objective and enters the range of very great natural catastrophes. By its very nature it cannot be confined to a military objective but becomes a weapon which in practical effects is almost one of genocide...A desirable peace cannot come from such an inhuman application of force...It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light." --Enrico Fermi and I.I. Rabi (From a report by two leading scientists of the Manhattan Project rejecting the development of hydrogen bombs and what it would mean to humanity)

Greg Mello

This strange article confuses U.S. propaganda with actual U.S. policies and paternally advises "the movement" to do likewise. To be "constructive" the authors should first start from facts. Of course this confusion is so common in U.S. arms controllers one suspects it is required.

These authors confuse feelings with facts more broadly, as in advising "the movement" to "help more activist states channel their frustrations in a constructive manner," which is defined as keeping them "involved in the NPT process." This sounds more like advice about teenagers, not states with their own interests. The real problem for these authors is that not all states are subservient to U.S. interests.

Asking the movement against nuclear weapons to become pawns in the U.S. hybrid and proxy war against Russia is a true dumb idea and needs to be seen for what it is.

What does come across quite clearly in the article is fear of a nuclear weapons ban. The authors evidently do not think such a ban would be constructive unless it can be created in a discriminatory manner, and specifically in a way which protects U.S. nuclear policies and broader geopolitical interests, which are vast.

"The NPT" as it is used in this article refers to more than just a treaty (to which the nuclear weapon states are not adhering). These authors refer to the treaty regime and its processes as a euphemism for the present ordering of international nuclear affairs as a whole, in which the U.S., like the other four NPT nuclear states, has a veto over any and all binding actions (Article VIII).

This article can be read as a cry against changing this present ordering. Indeed it will change. The hope expressed here is that these changes can be controlled and guided toward U.S. interests. This is the core of this fundamentally chauvinistic, indeed imperial, article.

Alex Cox

The authors are living in another world from the one I inhabit. Only one nation has used nuclear weapons in war and threatened repeatedly to use them again. That nation is the United States.

There is no need to "put pressure" on Russia -- Russia is already feeling intense pressure from the US and NATO, with nuclear war a more-than-possible outcome. For non-nuclear nations to pursue a total ban on nuclear weapons, and to declare the possession of nukes an international crime, would be beneficial.

It would not persuade the US or Russia to disarm, but it would point out the totally irresponsible nature of US policy, and might encourage the tag-along nuke states - Britain, France, Israel, China, India, Pakistan and N. Korea - to draw back from the abyss.

[Jun 02, 2015] Britain’s Trident, and the need to support nuclear personnel

"...All of the reports, both official and unofficial, suggest a lack of morale and vigilance within the nuclear weapons infrastructure"
"...While the weapons themselves garner a great deal of attention, the people working on them are neglected and deprived of the tools they need to succeed—“tools” being quite literal in some cases..."
"...Nuclear weapons will never be safe. They aren't supposed to be safe."
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear weapons have a people problem. In May a 25-year-old submariner in Great Britain’s Royal Navy, able seaman William McNeilly, published an 18-page statement online that listed dozens of safety and security risks he observed in his time working on the HMS Victorious from January to April 2015.

His allegations have caused a great stir among politicians and the press. In fact, though, the kind of nuclear security breaches he cites are neither new nor surprising. In 2009, British and French nuclear submarines collided with one another in the course of conducting routine patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2011, Britain’s Ministry of Defence issued a report saying that submarines’ nuclear reactors were “potentially vulnerable.” In 2013, a crew member committed suicide on board a nuclear submarine, and in 2014, a government watchdog found that the Atomic Weapons Establishment had mishandled nuclear waste. And that’s just in the United Kingdom.

McNeilly’s anecdotes also recall a series of recent personnel issues in the US Air Force, including cheating on exams, misconduct by senior leadership, and a 2007 incident in which active nuclear weapons were flown across the United States. These events prompted a 2014 independent review of the US nuclear establishment, which found serious workload issues due to mismanagement and lack of staff. The report also suggested a distrust of leadership for having promised investments but never delivered. And investigative journalist Eric Schlosser detailed a long list of dangerous near-misses within the US nuclear complex in his 2013 book Command and Control.

McNeilly’s report covered topics as mundane as food hygiene, a flooded toilet, and enforcement of minor restrictions, such as those on e-cigarettes and personal shavers. He also cited breaches as serious as officers cheating on exams, failure to check security passes, alarms being muted, and fires in missile compartments. He said that he acquired much of his information by violating security regulations himself.

Most of the problems cited in these accounts have one thing in common, and it has nothing to do with nuclear technology itself. Rather, they are all personnel issues. All of the reports, both official and unofficial, suggest a lack of morale and vigilance within the nuclear weapons infrastructure. They also highlight some underlying reasons for this state of affairs, specifically, a lack of political and financial support; micromanagement that actually results in heightened risk; and a lack of advancement opportunities and incentives. While the weapons themselves garner a great deal of attention, the people working on them are neglected and deprived of the tools they need to succeed—“tools” being quite literal in some cases...

... ... ...

The answer to this paradox is multi-faceted. It will require fostering a culture of responsibility and trust. It will require the military establishment to improve working conditions and provide people with the resources necessary to do their jobs, by rethinking the wisdom of 24-hour shifts, repairing security fences and cameras, and buying more wrenches, for a start. The armed services should also provide more incentives to work on nuclear weapons, such as opportunities for professional development and career progression. While making these kinds of investments, governments also need to make tangible shifts in nuclear policy and posture, for example by taking nuclear weapons off of high alert and quick-launch status, and pursuing further arms control or perhaps even unilateral reductions. To be sure, this is not an easy balance to strike.

Greg Mello

What the author proposes is mostly what has been done for decades. The prescription boils down to "do what you have been doing, only do it more successfully."

There is an assumption that there is not enough money. Our experience in the US is that there is too much money. Idle hands and all that. Thousands of weapons scientists make twice what top federal employees make each year; overhead accounts siphon most of the money from programs and construction projects and spin it around the labs like clothes in a laundromat dryer.

The author notes a "puzzle" between safety investments and "working toward disarmament." The puzzle is solved by dropping the stylistically problematic "working toward" phrase. That was also the problem in the Four Horseman essays. Anyone can "work toward" something without doing anything at all. I think the phrase "working toward disarmament" has no meaning. It works best as propaganda that way of course.

There is no special "need to invest in the people behind the nuclear weapons in order to reduce those risks." That's yesterday's cliche. They are being trained, being paid, and so on. My friends who work in nuclear weapons production tell me a major problem is that nobody ever gets fired, no matter what they do. How do you suppose that affects morale?

How to you "foster a culture of responsibility and trust" when it is your job to blow up the world on demand? I mean, we need some logic here.

There are easily a half dozen other statements in this article which make no sense or are just theoretical.

But above all, the prescriptions are contradictory. Disarmament will occur when nuclear weapons are devalued. Devaluing nuclear weapons means devaluing modernization and deployment and therefore the careers involved in them. You can't have it both ways.

Nuclear weapons will never be safe. They aren't supposed to be safe.

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group

[May 30, 2015] Why is Obama Goading China

[May 30, 2015] Dare to say NATO no

[May 29, 2015] Michael Klare Delusional Thinking in Washington, The Desperate Plight of a Declining Superpower naked capitalism

[May 27, 2015] Ukraine is now problem for both Russian and West, but West managed to score several points against Russia and do it relatively cheaply

[May 27, 2015] American Militarism And Its Short- And Long-Term Implications by Taj Hashmi

The author predicted the current war in Middle East. Quote: "Rising Saudi defense budget, $46 billion in 2011, is likely to further polarize the Middle East between pro-Saudi and pro-Iranian forces. American client states in the Arab World are likely to join the fray. Direct confrontation and even a prolonged war between Sunni Gulf states and Iran under Saudi leadership with American support and instigation is another most likely scenario in the coming years.
August 23 , 2012 |

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies …. There is an alternative to national bankruptcy, a bigger police state, trillion-dollar wars, and a government that draws ever more parasitically on the productive energies of the American people.”

Ron Paul, US Presidential Candidate (2008 & 2012)

“Washington's empire extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agri-business and the Israel Lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power…. That is how the American Empire functions.”

-- Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of Treasury (1981-82)

American duplicities, arm-twisting diplomacy and overpowering influence of the Military-Industrial Complex have already undermine American values leading us to decades of devastating warfare in almost every continent. Meanwhile, as an Iranian “insider” Hossein Mousavian believes, if attacked by Israel or the US, the already nervous and estranged Iran would definitely go for the nuclear option by withdrawing from the NPT. Now, in view of the growing nuclear buildup in Pakistan and Iran's potential to become a nuclear power, how the US is likely to react to these developments is anybody's guess. Since America is fast moving towards “The Golden Age of Special Operations”, drone operations or “wars by remote” on a massive scale by abandoning the “boots-on-the-ground” policy, will be the new way of fighting America's new wars in the coming years, and mostly in the Muslim World.

It appears that by the 2020s the “unipolar world” having America, as the global superpower will nearly disappear. The newly emerging democracies in the Arab World, including Egypt and Iraq; and possibly, an assertively pro-Muslim Turkey with very loose to non-existent ties with NATO and Israel; and possibly a nuclear-armed Iran in league with avowedly anti-American Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the long run will challenge American hegemony in the greater Middle East, South and Central Asia. By then the centers of economic development will further drift from the West to Asia, mainly to China and India. China is most likely to emerge as the main patron of this conglomerate of oil-rich and nuclear-armed nations. On the other hand, in view of the growing Russian influence in the region – as reflected in its veto against any UN-led invasion of Syria in early 2012 (China also vetoed against the proposal) – Russia is also expected to join the anti-American / anti-NATO conglomerate. As losing face or losing global hegemony is least desirable to American hawks and imperialists, they will try to reverse the process through major wars, first against some “manageable foes” like Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and then possibly against Pakistan and others. Rising Saudi defense budget, $46 billion in 2011, is likely to further polarize the Middle East between pro-Saudi and pro-Iranian forces. American client states in the Arab World are likely to join the fray. Direct confrontation and even a prolonged war between Sunni Gulf states and Iran under Saudi leadership with American support and instigation is another most likely scenario in the coming years.

Meanwhile, America has made total mess of Iraq and Afghanistan, albeit to the advantage of the Military-Industrial Complex who made most of the “trillion-dollar-profit” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As we know, America started messing up with Iraq since the 1950s. Saddam Hussein was in CIA's payroll up to the early 1960s and later he was in the best of terms with Reagan and Bush Sr. until he was duped into invading Kuwait in 1990 by the US Ambassador. During the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988), America provided intelligence and logistics to Saddam Hussein against Iran. The whole world watched Donald Rumsfeld meeting Saddam Hussein in Baghdad during the War. However, soon after the end of the Iraq-Iran war in a stalemate, America clipped the wing of Saddam Hussein after he had become “menacingly powerful” to the detriment of its allies in the Middle East. American Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie on purpose misled Saddam Hussein, and sort of, gave him the green signal. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 led to the American-led invasion of Iraq, the “Operation Desert Storm”, in early 1991, which Saddam Hussein classified as the “Mother of All Battles”. The US ambassador is said to have told Saddam Hussein, it appears, only to encourage him to invade Kuwait:

But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 1960s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi (Chedli Klibi, Secretary General of the Arab League) or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.

We all know how preposterous was the American argument in favor of the second US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although many Americans still believe that there was an “intelligence failure” on part of the CIA – it misread and thought Saddam Hussein had the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and was building nuclear bombs – from Bush Jr. to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and almost every big wig in the US administration deliberately lied to the Americans and the whole world about the so-called WMD. We also know the real motive behind the invasion, giving the most powerful lobbies in America, Britain, Italy, Spain, Australia and other allied powers the opportunity to make billions as “profits” or “dividends” of the war. We also know that directly or indirectly the invaders killed more than a million Iraqis and the country is in total mess. It is, however, an irony that the “liberated” Iraq (and Afghanistan) is very close to Iran, America's main nemesis in the Middle East. It is only a question of time when Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Afghan, Pakistani, Arab and Central Asian Shiites will come closer to each other to threaten American interests in the Middle East, South and Central Asia.

Finally, one may re-iterate the following positions in the light of the foregoing discussion on the nature and extent of American imperialism; if the Empire is likely to hit again on a massive scale to prolong the ongoing conflicts; and if there is a way out of a devastatingly destabilizing future in the coming decades. We know nothing in particular has all of a sudden gone wrong with Islam, and so many things seem to be going wrong with America (since 1492), we need an understanding of the factors –people, events and ideas – that have turned the richest country into the most hated empire in our times. Thanks to Reagan's Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts's succinct definition of the American Empire, we already know that the Empire “ extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agri-business and the Israel Lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power ”. He also tells us that the empire-builders have modified the US Constitution in the name of national security in such a manner that “Americans' incomes have been redirected to the pockets of the 1 percent”. Craig Roberts' appraisal is a good follow up of what President Eisenhower singled out in 1961 as the main perpetrator of all modern wars that America participated in after the Second World War, America's Military-Industrial-Congressional Lobby.

The foregoing discussion leads us to the conclusion that we are fast entering the post-terrorist phase of history where state-terrorism and state-sponsored violence in the name of global peace, freedom, democracy, religion and sovereignty have been destabilizing the world. Several millions have already fell victims to state-sponsored violence, from Hiroshima to Vietnam, Rwanda-Burundi to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And many more are likely to follow them in the coming decades, mostly from the Muslim World. Now, one may raise the question: Is there a way out of the foreseeable mega wars in the names of the “War on Terror” or “Islam-in-Danger”? We know the answer, which might sound very sophomoric, that is the American people should force their government to restrain the Military-Industrial Complex from promoting wars and conflicts; make the Israeli Lobby accountable to US laws and regulations; and America should help resolve inter-state conflicts, especially over disputed territories (such as the Palestine, Taiwan and Kashmir problems) by simply not exercising its veto power in the UN and by not supporting either of the parties with money, arms or troops. America should also withdraw support from autocracies, especially in the Muslim World, as lack of democracy and freedom proliferates extremism and terrorism. Last but not least, there is no reason to assume that the ongoing Hundred-Year-War will remain confined to the asymmetric wars between the Empire and smaller states and non-state actors in the Muslim World. If not addressed, the conflicts would proliferate to engulf many more countries, including superpowers like China and Russia. One must always keep in mind that apparently insignificant event, such as the Sarajevo Incident, led to World War I and Hitler's invasion of Poland to World War II. Unfortunately, we have already crossed the threshold of many more similar events, including 9/11 and unlawful invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. How America behaves with regard to Iran and Syria will be the most important catalysts in this regard.

It is time American civil societies, veterans and their family members, and common people take pro-active measures to demilitarize the American psyche for the sake of global peace and justice. They should know – as Eisenhower pointed out – American Military Industrial Complex is at the roots of all major wars America has fought since 1945. They should all take General Wesley Clark (ret) seriously, who revealed the US secret plan to invade seven countries, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Iran even before it invaded Afghanistan. The plan was revealed to the General ten days after 9/11 by some top brasses at the Pentagon. As General Clark reveals, what is most worrisome is that the US loves to use the hammer (its military) to fix whatever it thinks has gone wrong anywhere in the world. The US loves to invade countries because its military is great “to take down governments”. The American Congress (Eisenhower's “Congressional Lobby”) and policy makers at the State Department (Senator Fulbright's “Voodoo Magicians”) are too powerful and manipulative to be restrained by half-hearted peace initiatives by Americans. Last but not least, the bulk of Americans are so naïve, politically inert and indifferent that they hardly raise any question about their country's foreign policy and invasions of one country after another (America wages a major war almost after every ten years) in the name of freedom and security of America. Again, Americans are too “patriotic” to question the justifications for the wars their country initiates in distant lands, or the ones their leaders are contemplating to wage in the near future.

Taj Hashmi teaches at Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee

[May 23, 2015] Ukraines Bloody Civil War No End in Sight

[May 23, 2015] George W. Bush didnt just lie about the Iraq War. What he did was much worse.

[May 23, 2015] The Failures of Putin's Ukraine Strategy

[May 21, 2015] Militarization Is More Than Tanks Rifles It's a Cultural Disease, Acclimating Citizens To Life In A Police State

[May 21, 2015] Making the World Less Safe

[May 19, 2015] The New Lie About Iraq

[May 19, 2015] Why Soldiers Lie

[May 19, 2015] Why this Ukrainian 'revolution' may be doomed, too

[May 19, 2015] US Taxpayer On The Hook As Ukraine Prepares Moratorium On Debt Repayments, Increases Military Spending

[May 19, 2015] The Worrying Rise of Anti-China Discourse in the US

[May 19, 2015] Military Bureaucracy

[May 19, 2015] Americas Warfare State Revolution

[May 19, 2015] Paul Krugman Errors and Lies

[May 18, 2015] Dueck's "Conservative Realism" and The Obama Doctrine

[May 18, 2015] New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War

[May 18, 2015] Open thread for night owls The empire strikes back

[May 17, 2015] US Empire: American Exceptionalism Is No Shining City On a Hill

[May 17, 2015] The Emperor Lies

[May 17, 2015] U.S. Wakes Up to New (Silk) World Order

[May 16, 2015] William J. Astore The American Military Uncontained, Chaos Spread, Casualties Inflicted, Missions Unaccomplished

[May 15, 2015] Our Next Mideast War — Syria by Patrick J. Buchanan

15th May 2015 | The Burning Platform | 1 comment | Economy |Social Issues | Iran, Pat Buchanan, Syria, war
Our Next Mideast War — Syria

Guest Post by Patrick J. Buchanan

Jeb Bush has spent the week debating with himself over whether he would have started the war his brother launched on Iraq.

When he figures it out, hopefully, our would-be president will focus in on the campaign to drag us into yet another Mideast war — this time to bring down Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

While few would mourn the passing of the Assad dynasty, there is a problem: If Assad falls, a slaughter of Christians will follow and the battle for control of Damascus will be between the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, the Nusra Front, and the crazed terrorists of the Islamic State.

Victory for either would be a disaster for America.

Where is the evidence of an unholy alliance to bring this about?

Turkey, which turned a blind eye to ISIS volunteers slipping into Syria, has aided the Nusra Front in setting up its own capital in Idlib, near the Turkish border, to rival the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

In the fall of Idlib, said Bashar Assad, “the main factor was the huge support that came through Turkey; logistic support, and military support, and of course financial support that came through Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

Why would Turks, Saudis and Qataris collude with Sunni jihadists?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan detests Assad. The Saudis and Gulf Arabs are terrified of Shiite Iran and see any ally of Tehran, such as Assad, as their mortal enemy.

This also explains the seven weeks of savage Saudi bombing of the Houthi rebels, who dumped over a U.S.-Saudi puppet in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, then seized the second and third cities of Taiz and Aden.

But while the Houthis bear no love for us, they have been fighting al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, the Saudi bombing has given AQAP, the most dangerous terrorist foe we face, freedom to create sanctuaries and liberate hundreds of fellow terrorists from prison.

The Israelis seem to be in on the game as well. While they have taken in rebels wounded on the Golan Heights and returned them to their units, there are reports of Israel aiding the Nusra Front with intelligence and even air strikes.

This week, an Israeli official bluntly warned that Hezbollah has amassed 100,000 short-range rockets capable of striking northern Israel, thousands of which could hit Tel Aviv. The rockets are said to be hidden in Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.

Israel is preparing, writes The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner, “for what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle with Hezbollah.”

As Hezbollah has been the most effective fighting ally of Assad, an Israeli war on Hezbollah could help bring Assad down.

But, again, who rises if Assad falls? And who else, besides Christians and Alawites, starts digging their graves?

As one might expect, Sen. Lindsey Graham is all in. Late in April, he declared, “Assad has to go. … We’re going to have to send some of our soldiers back into the Middle East.”

Graham is willing to commit 10,000 U.S. ground troops.

“I would integrate our forces within a regional army. There is no other way to defend this nation than some of us being on the ground over there doing the fighting.”

Wednesday, The Washington Post laid out the game plan for war on Syria. While we cannot create a NATO with kings, emirs, sheiks, and sultans, says the Post,

“[T]here is a way that Mr. Obama could serve both the U.S. interests and those of the Gulf allies: by attacking the Middle East’s most toxic, and destabilizing force, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Syria’s dictatorship is Iran’s closest ally in the region, and its barbarity opened the way for the rise of the Islamic State. Recently, it has suffered battlefield reverses, in part because of increased Gulf aid to rebel forces.

“If Mr. Obama were to … create safe zones in northern and southern Syria for the rebels, the balance could be tipped against Damascus and Tehran — and U.S. allies would have tangible reason to recommit to U.S. leadership.”

Consider what is being recommended here.

The Post wants Obama to bomb a Syrian nation that has not attacked us, without congressional authorization — to aid rebels whose most effective fighters are al-Qaida and ISIS terrorists.

And we’re to fight this war — to nullify ultra-rich but unhappy Gulf Arabs?

Obama must also “do more about Iranian aggression,” says the Post.

But against whom is Iran committing aggression?

In Syria, Iran is backing a regime we recognized until a few years ago, that is under attack by terrorist rebels we detest. In Iraq, Iran is backing the government we support, against ISIS rebels we detest.

Bottom line: A U.S. attack on Syria is being pushed by the War Party to propel us into a confrontation with Iran, and thereby torpedo any U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.

Cui bono? For whose benefit?

[May 15, 2015] JEB & JR.

The Burning Platform

[May 14, 2015] War-Crazed Western Propaganda Machine Rages at Its Growing Insignificance

[May 13, 2015] How Russias opposition united to finish Nemtsovs report on Ukraine

[May 12, 2015] Merkel-Ferkel yesterday in the Kremlin:

[May 12, 2015] Kerry set to meet Putin in first visit to Russia since start of Ukraine crisis

[May 11, 2015] Why Ukraine Still Cant Break Ties With Russian Aggressor State

[May 11, 2015] Anglo-American Bankers Organized World War II

[May 11, 2015] The Choice Before Europe

[May 11, 2015] CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for Espionage Act violations

[May 10, 2015] After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians

[May 10, 2015] The New York Times does its government's bidding Here's what you're not being told about U.S. troops in Ukraine

[May 10, 2015] Obama's Petulant WWII Snub of Russia

[May 10, 2015] Neocon 'Chaos Promotion' in the Mideast

[May 10, 2015] Putin voices grievances as huge parade marks 70th anniversary of victory

[May 08, 2015] Obamas Real Motive Behind The Iran Deal A Backdoor Channel To Sell Weapons To Saudi Arabia

[May 08, 2015] When Hillary Clinton Pitched the Iraq War to CodePink

[May 08, 2015] - Its Official The U.S. Collaborates With Al Qaeda

[May 06, 2015] Clinton Cash: errors dog Bill and Hillary exposé – but is there any there there? by Ed Pilkington

[May 03, 2015] US Goes Ballistic Over Ukraine as Both Sides There Wage Peace

[May 03, 2015] Hillary Clinton The International Neocon Warmonger, by Webster G. Tarpley

[May 02, 2015] radio C-SPAN

Mar 10, 2015 | annbeaker
Listened on the way to work the record of the meeting of the Senate Committee on Ukraine and anti-Russia. First, the names of speakers and respondents. Kornblum, Kantor, Nudelman and joined them boy Bobby Corker and others have wives from Ukraine, they said. Second, Putin is such a chronic incarnation of Satan that he looks larger them even the whole country. Now there are even concepts in his name, for example - "Putin's economy", what a beast it is unclear, but in the minds of American senators it's definitely evil. And just a bad person who alone lives in seven rooms and actively that fact that the members of the Congress did not like one bit and expressed strong desire to move him to something with less rooms. the third is that those gentlemen with the German-Yiddish surnames discussed the entire countries and territories as if they were just deserts, forests and steppes. As if there no population on this territories, who may have their own views on the subject, distinct from opinion by Committee members. Fourth, in some moments of the meeting, reminded the congregation in the local synagogue, and sometimes the PTA meeting which analyzed the behavior of poor students.

Main memes and beliefs expressed at the meeting:

  1. Russia backward and unable to progress and development of the country.
  2. In Russia there is no infrastructure.
  3. Russia lives from the sale of oil and only.
  4. Russia is financing all and with all the oil revenue.
  5. Russia is very aggressive.
  6. She attacked Ukraine. The existence of civil war not only not denied, this concept is just not even considered by Committee members. That completely changes everything, not war within one nation, when brother rose up against brother, and external invasion of a neighbor!
  7. Russia is aggressive towards the Baltic States and the Baltic States should be armed.
  8. Tomorrow Russia will attack Estonia.
  9. America has vital interests in Ukraine.
  10. To return the Crimea to Ukraine is America's vital interests.
  11. Putin is enemy No. 1.

There were suggestions from the field. For example, start to give Ukraine the money for one billion dollars a year for three consecutive years. This money, Ukraine will buy weapons from the USA and defend against Putin. We must begin to arm Estonia and to send battalions because there is a lot of Russians and Putin's aggression will be the first thing sent to Estonia. This was repeated several times and in different ways. I.e. looks like you have already decided to arrange provocations in Estonia. As this is done, he starts revealing to cut Russian compactly living in Narva or Estonia will satisfy the invasion by type Saakashvilis, only where? In Narva? He then tried to attack South Ossetia which was legally in Georgia, but not inhabited by the same nationality as the rest of the country and there was revolt. In Estonia like no no revolt. But it is clear that the next for some expensive and stupid military supplies is Estonia. Funny, Yes?

[May 01, 2015] A Return to the Peace Party by Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.

"President Eisenhower, one of our greatest military leaders, was another “Peacenik” Republican. He knew the horrors of war, unlike many modern-day chickenhawks."

The American Conservative

A few weeks ago, I spoke to about 200 people at the famous Willard Hotel in Washington in a program put on by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. I had been told that this was a group of CEOs and owners of major companies in Southern California, obviously a very upper-income group.

I got to a point in my speech where I said: “It is long past the time when we need to stop trying to run the whole world and start putting our own people and our own Country first once again.”

Much to my surprise, the audience broke into applause. Middle- and lower-income groups have applauded when I have said similar things in my district and around the country. But many upper-income people claim to be moderates, and, contrary to popular belief, conservatives lose most very wealthy areas two-to-one or worse.

I have spoken to a very wide variety of groups in Washington, around the country, and in my district, and I have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response every time I have said that it has been a horrible mistake to spend trillions on unnecessary wars in the Middle East.

When I was a teenager, I remember reading a publication from the Republican National Committee that said, “Democrats start wars, Republicans end them.”

There was a time, until recent years, that the Republican Party could make a legitimate claim to being the Peace Party.

I sent my first paycheck as a bag boy at the A & P—$19 and some cents—as a contribution to the Barry Goldwater campaign. I have worked in Republican campaigns at the national state and local levels for over 50 years. And it saddens me to hear almost all the Republican candidates for President try to outdo each other in their hawkishness.

Based on the response I have gotten, I think it is a recipe for defeat if my Republican party becomes known as a party favoring permanent, forever wars—war without end.

All of our candidates try to convince people that they are like Ronald Reagan. President Reagan once wrote that we should follow these four principles:

(1) The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest;

(2) If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win … and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives;

(3) Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress, and

(4) Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available.

Reagan was certainly no warmonger Republican, or a man eager to go to war.

President Eisenhower, one of our greatest military leaders, was another “Peacenik” Republican. He knew the horrors of war, unlike many modern-day chickenhawks.

He famously warned us at the end of his Presidency about the dangers of being controlled by a very powerful military-industrial complex. I think he would be shocked at how far we have gone down the road that he warned us against.

In his book Ike’s Bluff, Evan Thomas shared this story:

When Defense Secretary Neil McElroy warned him that further budget cuts could harm national security, Eisenhower acerbically replied, ‘If you go to any military installation in the world where the American flag is flying and tell the commander that Ike says he’ll give him an extra star for his shoulder if he cuts his budget, there’ll be such a rush to cut costs that you’ll have to get out of the way.’

Thomas added that Eisenhower “would periodically sigh to Andy Goodpaster, ‘God help the Nation when it has a President who doesn’t know as much about the military as I do.’”

Pat Buchanan wrote in these pages on March 20, “In November 1956, President Eisenhower, enraged he had not been forewarned of their invasion of Egypt, ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Suez and Sinai. They did as told. How far we have fallen from the America of Ike…”

Sen. Robert Taft, who was sometimes referred to as Mr. Republican in the 1940s and ‘50s, once said, “No foreign policy can be justified except a policy devoted… to the protection of the liberty of the American people, with war only as the last resort and only to preserve that liberty.”

Most of the Republican presidential candidates have attacked President Obama for acting in some ways that are unconstitutional, and he has. But where in our constitution does it give us the authority to run other countries as we have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, even making small business loans and training local police forces?

My Republican party was always the party of fiscal conservatism. Yet with a national debt of over $18 trillion, how can we justify continually spending mega-billions in religious civil wars between Shia and Sunni?

Some people and companies that make money off an interventionist foreign policy always very quickly fall back on the slur of isolationism.

But I and probably almost all readers of The American Conservative believe in trade and tourism and cultural and educational exchange with other countries, and in helping out during humanitarian crises. We just don’t believe in endless war.

We are told that if we don’t support an interventionist foreign policy, that this means we don’t believe in American exceptionalism. But this nation did not become exceptional because we got involved in every little war around the globe. It became exceptional because of our great system of free enterprise and because we gave our people more individual freedom than any other country.

I have said in thousands of speeches that we are blessed beyond belief to live in this country, and that the United States is without question the greatest country in the history of the world.

But there was much less anti-Americanism around the world when we tried to mind our own business and take care of our own people. And this nation had more friends when we followed a policy of peace through strength, not one of peace through endless war.

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. represents the 2nd District of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

[May 01, 2015] Anatol Lieven reviews ‘The New American Militarism’ by Andrew Bacevich · LRB 20 October 2005

Amazingly insightful review !!!
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew Bacevich
Oxford, 270 pp, £16.99, August 2005, ISBN 0 19 517338 4

A key justification of the Bush administration’s purported strategy of ‘democratising’ the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. Yet, as Andrew Bacevich points out in one of the most acute analyses of America to have appeared in recent years, the United States itself is in many ways a militaristic country, and becoming more so:

at the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The scepticism about arms and armies that informed the original Wilsonian vision, indeed, that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamoured with military might.

The ensuing affair had, and continues to have, a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue.

The president’s title of ‘commander-in-chief’ is used by administration propagandists to suggest, in a way reminiscent of German militarists before 1914 attempting to defend their half-witted kaiser, that any criticism of his record in external affairs comes close to a betrayal of the military and the country. Compared to German and other past militarisms, however, the contemporary American variant is extremely complex, and the forces that have generated it have very diverse origins and widely differing motives:

The new American militarism is the handiwork of several disparate groups that shared little in common apart from being intent on undoing the purportedly nefarious effects of the 1960s. Military officers intent on rehabilitating their profession; intellectuals fearing that the loss of confidence at home was paving the way for the triumph of totalitarianism abroad; religious leaders dismayed by the collapse of traditional moral standards; strategists wrestling with the implications of a humiliating defeat that had undermined their credibility; politicians on the make; purveyors of pop culture looking to make a buck: as early as 1980, each saw military power as the apparent answer to any number of problems.

Two other factors have also been critical: the dependence on imported oil is seen as requiring American hegemony over the Middle East; and the Israel lobby has worked assiduously and with extraordinary success to make sure that Israel’s enemies are seen by Americans as also being those of the US. And let’s not forget the role played by the entrenched interests of the military itself and what Dwight Eisenhower once denounced as the ‘military-industrial-academic complex’.

The security elites are obviously interested in the maintenance and expansion of US global military power, if only because their own jobs and profits depend on it. Jobs and patronage also ensure the support of much of the Congress, which often authorises defence spending on weapons systems the Pentagon doesn’t want and hasn’t asked for, in order to help some group of senators and congressmen in whose home states these systems are manufactured. To achieve wider support in the media and among the public, it is also necessary to keep up the illusion that certain foreign nations constitute a threat to the US, and to maintain a permanent level of international tension.

That’s not the same, however, as having an actual desire for war, least of all for a major conflict which might ruin the international economy. US ground forces have bitter memories of Vietnam, and no wish to wage an aggressive war: Rumsfeld and his political appointees had to override the objections of the senior generals, in particular those of the army chief of staff, General Eric Shinseki, before the attack on Iraq. The navy and air force do not have to fight insurgents in hell-holes like Fallujah, and so naturally have a more relaxed attitude.

To understand how the Bush administration was able to manipulate the public into supporting the Iraq war one has to look for deeper explanations. They would include the element of messianism embodied in American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world. This leads to a genuine belief that American soldiers can do no real wrong because they are spreading ‘freedom’. Also of great importance – at least until the Iraqi insurgency rubbed American noses in the horrors of war – has been the development of an aesthetic that sees war as waged by the US as technological, clean and antiseptic; and thanks to its supremacy in weaponry, painlessly victorious. Victory over the Iraqi army in 2003 led to a new flowering of megalomania in militarist quarters. The amazing Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal – an armchair commentator, not a frontline journalist – declared that the US victory had made ‘fabled generals such as Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison’. Nor was this kind of talk restricted to Republicans. More than two years into the Iraq quagmire, strategic thinkers from the Democratic establishment were still declaring that ‘American military power in today’s world is practically unlimited.’

Important sections of contemporary US popular culture are suffused with the language of militarism. Take Bacevich on the popular novelist Tom Clancy:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America’s uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honour, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation’s defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of ‘virtuous men and perfect weapons’, as one reviewer noted. ‘All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.’ Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

Such attitudes go beyond simply glorying in violence, military might and technological prowess. They reflect a belief – genuine or assumed – in what the Germans used to call Soldatentum: the pre-eminent value of the military virtues of courage, discipline and sacrifice, and explicitly or implicitly the superiority of these virtues to those of a hedonistic, contemptible and untrustworthy civilian society and political class. In the words of Thomas Friedman, the ostensibly liberal foreign affairs commentator of the ostensibly liberal New York Times, ‘we do not deserve these people. They are so much better than the country … they are fighting for.’ Such sentiments have a sinister pedigree in modern history.

In the run-up to the last election, even a general as undistinguished as Wesley Clark could see his past generalship alone as qualifying him for the presidency – and gain the support of leading liberal intellectuals. Not that this was new: the first president was a general and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries both generals and more junior officers ran for the presidency on the strength of their military records. And yet, as Bacevich points out, this does not mean that the uniformed military have real power over policy-making, even in matters of war. General Tommy Franks may have regarded Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, as ‘the stupidest fucking guy on the planet’, but he took Feith’s orders, and those of the civilians standing behind him: Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the president himself. Their combination of militarism and contempt for military advice recalls Clemenceau and Churchill – or Hitler and Stalin.

Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. Among most non-Americans, and among many American realists and progressives, the collocation seems inherently ludicrous. But, as Bacevich brings out, it has deep roots in American history. Indeed, the combination is historically coterminous with Western imperialism. Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching ‘freedom’ at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than ‘voluntary’ conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus.

Its symbols may be often childish and its methods brutish, but American belief in ‘freedom’ is a real and living force. This cuts two ways. On the one hand, the adherence of many leading intellectuals in the Democratic Party to a belief in muscular democratisation has had a disastrous effect on the party’s ability to put up a strong resistance to the policies of the administration. Bush’s messianic language of ‘freedom’ – supported by the specifically Israeli agenda of Natan Sharansky and his allies in the US – has been all too successful in winning over much of the opposition. On the other hand, the fact that a belief in freedom and democracy lies at the heart of civic nationalism places certain limits on American imperialism – weak no doubt, but nonetheless real. It is not possible for the US, unlike previous empires, to pursue a strategy of absolutely unconstrained Machtpolitik. This has been demonstrated recently in the breach between the Bush administration and the Karimov tyranny in Uzbekistan.

The most important contradiction, however, is between the near worship of the military in much of American culture and the equally widespread unwillingness of most Americans – elites and masses alike – to serve in the armed forces. If people like Friedman accompanied their stated admiration for the military with a real desire to abandon their contemptible civilian lives and join the armed services, then American power in the world really might be practically unlimited. But as Bacevich notes,

having thus made plain his personal disdain for crass vulgarity and support for moral rectitude, Friedman in the course of a single paragraph drops the military and moves on to other pursuits. His many readers, meanwhile, having availed themselves of the opportunity to indulge, ever so briefly, in self-loathing, put down their newspapers and themselves move on to other things. Nothing has changed, but columnist and readers alike feel better for the cathartic effect of this oblique, reassuring encounter with an alien world.

Today, having dissolved any connection between claims to citizenship and obligation to serve, Americans entrust their security to a class of military professionals who see themselves in many respects as culturally and politically set apart from the rest of society.

This combination of a theoretical adulation with a profound desire not to serve is not of course new. It characterised most of British society in the 19th century, when, just as with the US today, the overwhelming rejection of conscription – until 1916 – meant that, appearances to the contrary, British power was far from unlimited. The British Empire could use its technological superiority, small numbers of professional troops and local auxiliaries to conquer backward and impoverished countries in Asia and Africa, but it would not have dreamed of intervening unilaterally in Europe or North America.

Despite spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and despite enjoying overwhelming technological superiority, American military power is actually quite limited. As Iraq – and to a lesser extent Afghanistan – has demonstrated, the US can knock over states, but it cannot suppress the resulting insurgencies, even one based in such a comparatively small population as the Sunni Arabs of Iraq. As for invading and occupying a country the size of Iran, this is coming to seem as unlikely as an invasion of mainland China.

In other words, when it comes to actually applying military power the US is pretty much where it has been for several decades. Another war of occupation like Iraq would necessitate the restoration of conscription: an idea which, with Vietnam in mind, the military detests, and which politicians are well aware would probably make them unelectable. It is just possible that another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 might lead to a new draft, but that would bring the end of the US military empire several steps closer. Recognising this, the army is beginning to imitate ancient Rome in offering citizenship to foreign mercenaries in return for military service – something that the amazing Boot approves, on the grounds that while it helped destroy the Roman Empire, it took four hundred years to do so.

Facing these dangers squarely, Bacevich proposes refocusing American strategy away from empire and towards genuine national security. It is a measure of the degree to which imperial thinking now dominates US politics that these moderate and commonsensical proposals would seem nothing short of revolutionary to the average member of the Washington establishment.

They include a renunciation of messianic dreams of improving the world through military force, except where a solid international consensus exists in support of US action; a recovery by Congress of its power over peace and war, as laid down in the constitution but shamefully surrendered in recent years; the adoption of a strategic doctrine explicitly making war a matter of last resort; and a decision that the military should focus on the defence of the nation, not the projection of US power. As a means of keeping military expenditure in some relationship to actual needs, Bacevich suggests pegging it to the combined annual expenditure of the next ten countries, just as in the 19th century the size of the British navy was pegged to that of the next two largest fleets – it is an index of the budgetary elephantiasis of recent years that this would lead to very considerable spending reductions.

This book is important not only for the acuteness of its perceptions, but also for the identity of its author. Colonel Bacevich’s views on the military, on US strategy and on world affairs were profoundly shaped by his service in Vietnam. His year there ‘fell in the conflict’s bleak latter stages … long after an odour of failure had begun to envelop the entire enterprise’. The book is dedicated to his brother-in-law, ‘a casualty of a misbegotten war’.

Just as Vietnam shaped his view of how the US and the US military should not intervene in the outside world, so the Cold War in Europe helped define his beliefs about the proper role of the military. For Bacevich and his fellow officers in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, defending the West from possible Soviet aggression, ‘not conquest, regime change, preventive war or imperial policing’, was ‘the American soldier’s true and honourable calling’.

In terms of cultural and political background, this former soldier remains a self-described Catholic conservative, and intensely patriotic. During the 1990s Bacevich wrote for right-wing journals, and still situates himself culturally on the right:

As long as we shared in the common cause of denouncing the foolishness and hypocrisies of the Clinton years, my relationship with modern American conservatism remained a mutually agreeable one … But my disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute. Fiscal irresponsibility, a buccaneering foreign policy, a disregard for the constitution, the barest lip service as a response to profound moral controversies: these do not qualify as authentically conservative values.

On this score my views have come to coincide with the critique long offered by the radical left: it is the mainstream itself, the professional liberals as well as the professional conservatives, who define the problem … The Republican and Democratic Parties may not be identical, but they produce nearly identical results.

Bacevich, in other words, is sceptical of the naive belief that replacing the present administration with a Democrat one would lead to serious changes in the US approach to the world. Formal party allegiances are becoming increasingly irrelevant as far as thinking about foreign and security policy is concerned.

Bacevich also makes plain the private anger of much of the US uniformed military at the way in which it has been sacrificed, and its institutions damaged, by chickenhawk civilian chauvinists who have taken good care never to see action themselves; and the deep private concern of senior officers that they might be ordered into further wars that would wreck the army altogether. Now, as never before, American progressives have the chance to overcome the knee-jerk hostility to the uniformed military that has characterised the left since Vietnam, and to reach out not only to the soldiers in uniform but also to the social, cultural and regional worlds from which they are drawn. For if the American left is once again to become an effective political force, it must return to some of its own military traditions, founded on the distinguished service of men like George McGovern, on the old idea of the citizen soldier, and on a real identification with that soldier’s interests and values. With this in mind, Bacevich calls for moves to bind the military more closely into American society, including compulsory education for all officers at a civilian university, not only at the start of their careers but at intervals throughout them.

Or to put it another way, the left must fight imperialism in the name of patriotism. Barring a revolutionary and highly unlikely transformation of American mass culture, any political party that wishes to win majority support will have to demonstrate its commitment to the defence of the country. The Bush administration has used the accusation of weakness in security policy to undermine its opponents, and then used this advantage to pursue reckless strategies that have themselves drastically weakened the US. The left needs to heed Bacevich and draw up a tough, realistic and convincing alternative. It will also have to demonstrate its identification with the respectable aspects of military culture. The Bush administration and the US establishment in general may have grossly mismanaged the threats facing us, but the threats are real, and some at least may well need at some stage to be addressed by military force. And any effective military force also requires the backing of a distinctive military ethic embracing loyalty, discipline and a capacity for both sacrifice and ruthlessness.

In the terrible story of the Bush administration and the Iraq war, one of the most morally disgusting moments took place at a Senate Committee hearing on 29 April 2004, when Paul Wolfowitz – another warmonger who has never served himself – mistook, by a margin of hundreds, how many US soldiers had died in a war for which he was largely responsible. If an official in a Democratic administration had made a public mistake like that, the Republican opposition would have exploited it ruthlessly, unceasingly, to win the next election. The fact that the Democrats completely failed to do this says a great deal about their lack of political will, leadership and capacity to employ a focused strategy.

Because they are the ones who pay the price for reckless warmongering and geopolitical megalomania, soldiers and veterans of the army and marine corps could become valuable allies in the struggle to curb American imperialism, and return America’s relationship with its military to the old limited, rational form. For this to happen, however, the soldiers have to believe that campaigns against the Iraq war, and against current US strategy, are anti-militarist, but not anti-military. We have needed the military desperately on occasions in the past; we will definitely need them again.

Vol. 27 No. 20 · 20 October 2005 » Anatol Lieven » We do not deserve these people
pages 11-12 | 3337 words

[Apr 29, 2015] Book Review - Washington Rules - America’s Path to Permanent War - By Andrew J. Bacevich

According to MIC theorists, prolonged international conflict after World War II produced high levels of military expenditure, creating powerful domestic interest groups that required a Cold War ideology to safeguard their power and prestige with in the state's political and economic structure. These interest groups, which arose among the military services, corporations, high government officials, members of Congress, labor unions, scientists and scholars, and defense societies (private organizations that combine industrialists, financiers, and business people involved in weapons production, acquisition, and the like and members of the armed forces), came to occupy powerful positions with in the state. They became mutually supportive, and, on defense-related matters, their influence exceeded that of any existing countervailing coalitions or interests. Theorists differed over whether civilians or the military dominated a MIC or whether they shared power. But most agreed that civilians could match and even surpass those in uniform in their dedication to military creeds. Most scholars pointed out that MIC operations constituted military Keynesianism, a means of stimulating the economy; others went further, proposing defense spending as an industrial policy, albeit a limited and economically distorting one. Some critics of vast and continued spending on the armed forces worried that military professionalism was under-mined by focusing inordinate attention on institutional growth and the advancement of careers instead of defending the nation.

Since most MIC theorists regarded Cold War ideology as either false or exaggerated, they maintained that its adherents either deliberately engaged in deception in order to further their own interests or falsely believed themselves to be acting in broader public or national interests—or some combination of the two. Whatever the case, proponents of arms without end, so-called hawks, served to perpetuate Cold War ideological strains. The close connection between the MIC and U.S. Cold War ideology not with standing, some MIC theorists maintained that capitalism had no monopoly on defense and war complexes. The former Soviet Union, they argued, had its own complex, and the U.S. and Soviet MICs interacted to perpetuate a mutually advantageous but in fact enormously dangerous and ultimately destructive state of heightened competition.

Opponents of MIC

In 1947, Hanson W. Baldwin, the hawkish military correspondent of this newspaper, warned that the demands of preparing America for a possible war would “wrench and distort and twist the body politic and the body economic . . . prior to war.” He wondered whether America could confront the Soviet Union “without becoming a ‘garrison state’ and destroying the very qualities and virtues and principles we originally set about to save.”

It is that same dread of a martial America that drives Andrew J. Bacevich today. Bacevich forcefully denounces the militarization that he says has already become a routine, unremarked-upon part of our daily lives — and will only get worse as America fights on in Afghanistan and beyond. He rips into what he calls a postwar American dogma “so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.” “Washington Rules” is a tough-minded, bracing and intelligent polemic against some 60 years of American militarism.

This outrage at a warlike America has special bite coming from Bacevich. No critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could have brighter conservative credentials. He is a blunt-talking Midwesterner, a West Point graduate who served for 23 years in the United States Army, a Vietnam veteran who retired as a colonel, and a sometime contributor to National Review. “By temperament and upbringing, I had always taken comfort in orthodoxy,” he writes. But George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Bacevich says, “pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary — above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power — now appeared preposterous.”

From Harry S. Truman’s presidency to today, Bacevich argues, Americans have trumpeted the credo that they alone must “lead, save, liberate and ultimately transform the world.” That crusading mission is implemented by what Bacevich caustically calls “the sacred trinity”: “U.S. military power, the Pentagon’s global footprint and an American penchant for intervention.” This threatening posture might have made some sense in 1945, he says, but it is catastrophic today. It relegates America to “a condition of permanent national security crisis.”

Bacevich has two main targets in his sights.

Bacevich is singularly withering on American public willingness to ignore those who do their fighting for them. He warns of “the evisceration of civic culture that results when a small praetorian guard shoulders the burden of waging perpetual war, while the great majority of citizens purport to revere its members, even as they ignore or profit from their service.” Here he has a particular right to be heard: on May 13, 2007, his son Andrew J. Bacevich Jr., an Army first lieutenant, was killed on combat patrol in Iraq. Bacevich does not discuss his tragic loss here, but wrote devastatingly about it at the time in The Washington Post: “Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.’s life is priceless. Don’t believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier’s life: I’ve been handed the check.”

Bacevich is less interested in foreign policy here (he offers only cursory remarks about the objectives and capabilities of countries like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran) than in the way he thinks militarism has corrupted America. In his acid account of the inexorable growth of the national security state, he emphasizes not presidents, who come and go, but the architects of the system that envelops them: Allen W. Dulles, who built up the C.I.A., and Curtis E. LeMay, who did the same for the Strategic Air Command. Both of them, Bacevich says, would get memorials on the Mall in Washington if we were honest about how the capital really works.

The mandarins thrived under John F. Kennedy, whose administration “was fixating on Fidel Castro with the same feverish intensity as the Bush administration exactly 40 years later was to fixate on Saddam Hussein — and with as little strategic logic.” The Washington consensualists were thrown badly off balance by defeat in Vietnam but, Bacevich says, soon regained their stride under Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — setting the stage for George W. Bush. Barack Obama campaigned on change and getting out of Iraq, but when it comes to the war in Afghanistan or military budgets, he is, Bacevich insists, just another cat’s-paw for the Washington establishment: “Obama would not challenge the tradition that Curtis LeMay and Allen Dulles had done so much to erect.”

Bacevich sometimes overdoes the high dudgeon. He writes, “The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended ‘global war on terror’ without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords.” Which slightly mad German warlords exactly? Bacevich, an erudite historian, could mean some princelings or perhaps Kaiser Wilhelm II, but the standard reading will be Hitler.

And he underplays some of the ways in which Americans have resisted militarism. The all-volunteer force, for all its deep inequities, is a testament to American horror at conscription. He never mentions Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the great New York senator who fought government secrecy and quixotically tried to abolish the C.I.A. after the end of the cold war. Although Bacevich admires Dwight D. Eisenhower for his farewell address warning against the forces of the ­“military-industrial complex,” he slams Eisenhower for enabling those same forces as president. Yet the political scientist Aaron L. Friedberg and other scholars credit Eisenhower for resisting demands for huge boosts in defense spending.

Bacevich, in his own populist way, sees himself as updating a tradition — from George Washington and John Quincy Adams to J. William Fulbright and Martin Luther King Jr. — that calls on America to exemplify freedom but not actively to spread it. It isn’t every American’s tradition (and it offers pretty cold comfort to Poles, Rwandans and Congolese), but it’s one that’s necessary to keep the country from going off the rails. As foreign policy debates in the run-up to the November elections degenerate into Muslim-bashing bombast, the country is lucky to have a fierce, smart peacemonger like ­Bacevich.

WASHINGTON RULES, America’s Path to Permanent War By Andrew J. Bacevich 286 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $25

[Apr 28, 2015] Military-Industrial Complex Facts, information

According to MIC theorists, prolonged international conflict after World War II produced high levels of military expenditure, creating powerful domestic interest groups that required a Cold War ideology to safeguard their power and prestige with in the state's political and economic structure. These interest groups, which arose among the military services, corporations, high government officials, members of Congress, labor unions, scientists and scholars, and defense societies (private organizations that combine industrialists, financiers, and business people involved in weapons production, acquisition, and the like and members of the armed forces), came to occupy powerful positions with in the state. They became mutually supportive, and, on defense-related matters, their influence exceeded that of any existing countervailing coalitions or interests. Theorists differed over whether civilians or the military dominated a MIC or whether they shared power. But most agreed that civilians could match and even surpass those in uniform in their dedication to military creeds. Most scholars pointed out that MIC operations constituted military Keynesianism, a means of stimulating the economy; others went further, proposing defense spending as an industrial policy, albeit a limited and economically distorting one. Some critics of vast and continued spending on the armed forces worried that military professionalism was under-mined by focusing inordinate attention on institutional growth and the advancement of careers instead of defending the nation.

Since most MIC theorists regarded Cold War ideology as either false or exaggerated, they maintained that its adherents either deliberately engaged in deception in order to further their own interests or falsely believed themselves to be acting in broader public or national interests—or some combination of the two. Whatever the case, proponents of arms without end, so-called hawks, served to perpetuate Cold War ideological strains. The close connection between the MIC and U.S. Cold War ideology not with standing, some MIC theorists maintained that capitalism had no monopoly on defense and war complexes. The former Soviet Union, they argued, had its own complex, and the U.S. and Soviet MICs interacted to perpetuate a mutually advantageous but in fact enormously dangerous and ultimately destructive state of heightened competition.

Opponents of MIC theory insisted that arms spending genuinely reflected, rather than in any way created, national security threats. The armed services and their weapons were essential, they argued, for deterring formidable and aggressive foes. Most analysts, however, believed that an accurate assessment of a MIC rests somewhere between the assessments of proponents and critics of MIC theory. Such a viewpoint asserted that, while national defense spending and the industrial and political interests associated with it can exacerbate tensions between the United States and its adversaries, they do not themselves cause these tensions, nor do they prevent their resolution. It is likely that much of the general population subscribed to this more measured view.

Historical Background

Cold War–era debate over a MIC actually obscured understanding of a critical subject by removing it from its proper historical context. Military spending has created special problems since the nation's origins. Vested interests made it exceptionally difficult to close down, consolidate, or move military and naval bases. Too often, national defense and armed forces' welfare were subordinated to economic and political purposes. These corrupting forces were kept under control principally by limiting—often drastically so—military expenditures during peacetime. Special circumstances began to alter that pattern at the end of the nineteenth century. As the United States began expanding abroad, it built a new navy starting in the 1880s of steel, steam, propeller, armor, and modern ordnance. To build this navy required assembling a production team of political leaders, naval officers, and industrialists. Here are to be found the origins of a MIC. Such teams, which continued to exist at the beginning of the twenty-first century, grew out of the need to apply modern science and technology to weaponry on a continuing basis. Private and public production teams were particularly important in the development and growth of aircraft between the two world wars and aerospace in the post–World War II period. And scientists, of course, were indispensable in nearly all nuclear developments.

During World War I, the United States had to plan its economy to meet the massive and increasingly sophisticated supply demands of the armed services. That reality revealed the country's unique and complicated civil–military relations. Emergency conditions led private interests to combine their power with that of the military in order to influence, and even shape, national defense and war policies. In the absence of a higher civil service system, it fell upon business people, professionals, and others to devise methods of harnessing the economy for war. The ultimate result was the creation of the War Industries Board (WIB) in 1917. The board was staffed and directed largely by private industrialists serving the public for a token salary, while remaining on the payroll of their private firms. Organizing the supply side of economic mobilization, WIB could function properly only after the demand side, and especially the armed services, were integrated into it. Fearful of and unwilling to accept their dependence upon civilian institutions for the fulfillment of the military mission, the armed services resisted joining WIB. They did so only when threatened with losing control of supply operations entirely. Once industrial and military elements joined their operations in WIB, the board was able to maintain stable economic conditions in a planned wartime economy.

Concerned about the military disruption of future economics of warfare, Congress in 1920 authorized the War Department to plan for procurement and economic mobilization. Carrying out these responsibilities with the Navy Department and under the guidance of industry, business, and finance, the army wrote and submitted for public review a series of industrial mobilization plans, the last and most important of which was published in 1939. Based principally on WIB, this plan outlined how the economy would be organized for World War II.

The economics of World War II, however, became intensely controversial. Interwar developments had anticipated this controversy over the formalized alliance between the military and industrial interests. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and culminating in the Senate Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry (Nye Committee) in 1934–1936, antiwar critics insisted that modern warfare was creating an "unhealthy alliance" between economic and military groups that threatened both the peace and the country's economic future. During World War II, New Dealers, organized labor, small businesses, consumer advocates, and others constantly challenged the War Production Board (WPB), which, like its predecessors, was dominated by a conservative coalition made up principally of corporations and the military. These challenges met with little success, although they managed to make war mobilization exceptionally tumultuous. Overall, however, conservative mobilization patterns and wartime prosperity severely weakened New Deal reform instincts.

MIC in Operation

Except in the aircraft, shipbuilding, and machine tool industries, businessmen after World War II favored a return to the familiar American pattern of reducing military spending to minimal levels. Only after the administration of Harry Truman (1945–1953) developed its Cold War containment polices did Department of Defense (DOD) budgets, which had been declining steadily since 1945, begin dramatically rising in 1950. In the context of military expenditures running into the hundreds of billions of dollars, there emerged patterns associated with a full-blown MIC: defense firms such as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation wholly or significantly dependent upon DOD contracts; armed services committed to weapons systems in which military careers are at stake; states like California heavily tied to military spending; "think tanks" such as the Rand Corporation and university research projects funded by the DOD; a high percentage of scientific and engineering talent and research and development dollars devoted to weaponry; industrial executives and military officers circulating among government posts, defense contractors, and related institutions; charges of massive waste, duplication, cost overruns, useless and malfunctioning weapons, some so far as to be dangerous to their users; all while funding for health, education, welfare, and other civilian needs suffered by comparison. Nuclear weapons capable of destroying civilization and creating enormous problems of waste disposal and pollution greatly complicated all MIC problems. So, too, did the fact that the United States emerged as the world's principal exporter of arms, ranging from the simplest to the most sophisticated, and extended its reach throughout the globe. All of these trends raised grave problems for and led to intense disputes about the free flow of scientific information, academic freedom, and matters of loyalty, security, and secrecy in a democratic society.

Although the Cold War ended, numerous experts insisted that the United States did not realistically adjust its defense mission accordingly; strong and entrenched interests tenaciously resist change. Hence, a relatively large military establishment and a vast nuclear arsenal continued to exist to cover the remote possibility of fighting two major regional wars simultaneously, while also engaging in peacemaking. At the same time, the United States pursued highly questionable antimissile defense systems that could end up costing trillions of dollars. Although the issue is no longer headline news, many contended that a military-industrial complex still existed, even thrived, despite the much less hospitable circumstances.


Paul A. C.Koistinen

See also Arms Race and Disarmament ; Defense, National ;

[Apr 28, 2015] Masters of War Militarism and Blowback in the Era of American Empire

Masters of War is a wide-ranging, coherent, and critical account of the 'war on terrorism' and post-9/11 foreign policy. It gives you the whole picture -- you get the war on Afghanistan, the weaponization of space, the quest for oil dominance, and the patriarchal militarization of culture, all placed in a larger imperial context. If you want to go beyond the headlines and the sound-bites, buy this book..

–Rahul Mahajan, author of Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond and The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism

This is an excellent collection of articles on the crucial question of U.S. militarism, its impact abroad and within the US itself, and its relationship to imperialism. Over the last several years it has become clear that the threat to peace and social justice lies not only in corporate globalization, but in the vastly disproportionate military and economic power of the U.S., and the willingness of a political elite to use that power ruthlessly. Despite the urgency of this question, little has been written on it. This collection begins to fill this gap. These articles address many facets of U.S. expansionism and militarism, and show how both undermine democracy here and abroad..

–Barbara Epstein, History of Consciousness Department, UC-Santa Cruz and co-editor of Striking Terror: America's New War

The main value of this book lies in its articulating a perspective on post September 11th America that is an important counter-weight to the usual views we get from the mainstream publications and pundits in this country.

Journal of Psychohistory

About the Author

Carl Boggs is Professor of Social Sciences at National University in Los Angeles. He is the author of numerous publications including The End of Politics: Corporate Power and the Decline of the Public Sphere.

[Apr 26, 2015] State Crime Current Perspectives by Dawn Rothe & Christopher W. Mullins

This is pretty interesting collection of articles. Some are available from Googlebooks preview...
Google Books

Pages: 368 , ISBN: 978-0813549019

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While the end of the cold war produced demands for a "peace dividend," economic and political elites linked to the military industrial-petroleum complex did not acquiesce to the reduction of their power that would have resulted from a realignment of American goals. Instead they were soon searching for new "enemies," and with them new justifications for continued imperial expansion. A sharp struggle soon emerged between rival factions over how to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the fall of the Soviet Union while deflecting threats presented by the possibility of a new isolationism. One group supported a globalist and internationalist approach typical of the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The other, which included hard-core nationalists and neoconservatives, argued for a more nationalist, unilaterist, and militarist revision of America's open door imperialism. In was this latter group that would, unsurprisingly, find itself in a position to shape America's imperial project for the twenty-first century.

[Apr 26, 2015] The New American Exceptionalism - Donald E. Pease

Google Books

[Apr 25, 2015] The Military Industrial Complex At 50 - David Swanson

Unfortunately all trump cards are in the hands of MIC and Wall Street and chances to change is are pretty remote, despite impoverishment of middle class in recent years...
Google Books

My major thing that I want to talk about this afternoon is the need for us all to, as American citizens, challenge our fellow citizens to reconsider this whole ideology of American exceptionalism which is one of the things that keeps the military industrial complex in power, that keeps us fearful that we might lose our special place in the world, and that we as five percent of humanity need to find a way to deal with the other ninety-fie percent on the basis of the equality of all human persons,

[Apr 25, 2015] American Exceptionalism Revisited: The Military-Industrial Complex, Racial Tension, and the Underdeveloped Welfare State

April 02, 2010 | American Sociological Review 75(2):185-204

ABSTRACT We examine Democrats’ decline in the House of Representatives from the mid-1930s to the late 1940s. Debates over American exceptionalism in the realm of social policy pay surprisingly little attention to a profound transformation that occurred during and after World War II: on the international stage, the United States emerged as the hegemon; at home, the Pentagon became the largest and most powerful agency in the federal bureaucracy. In modeling electoral losses suffered by Democrats, we show that World War II mobilization played an important role. First, Democrats lost ground in congressional districts where the nascent military-industrial complex was created, specifically in aircraft manufacturing centers. Second, the impact of aircraft manufacturing intersected with wartime in-migration of non-whites. Democrats suffered significantly greater losses where both non-white population and aircraft manufacturing employment increased. Our findings corroborate accounts of the social welfare state that stress partisan control and path dependence. Conservative congresses of the immediate postwar years left an imposing legacy, making it difficult to establish social welfare reforms for decades to come. Whereas most accounts of the rise and fall of the New Deal emphasize different aspects of domestic processes, we demonstrate that militarism and expansion of national security agencies undermined congressional support at a critical juncture. This intersection of wartime mobilization and social policy—and not an inherent and enduring institutional impediment to social welfare—contributed to under-development of the welfare state and abandonment of universal social welfare programs in the United States.

[Apr 25, 2015] International relations expert to lecture on the end of American exceptionalism

For more about Andrew Bacevich views on the subject see Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism
October 03, 2014 | ASU News

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Bacevich sees the political, military and economic issues that face America as deeply interconnected. He suggests we can address these issues by respecting power and its limits, suppressing claims of American exceptionalism and by being skeptical of easy solutions, especially those involving force.

In this lecture, Bacevich will discuss how various presidential administrations have led America on an increasingly unsustainable path, as well as the long term effects of the United States involvement in recent conflicts around the globe.

“The Iraq War didn’t end when the last U.S. troops departed in 2011. It just continued without American participation.” Says Bacevich. “Now, the U.S. has resumed its role in this ongoing struggle. The question is why we have learned so little from our experience thus far.”

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Bacevich received his doctorate in American diplomatic history from Princeton University. With the U.S. Army, he served during the Vietnam War, held posts in Germany and the Persian Gulf, and retired with the rank of Colonel. Since retiring, Bacevich has taught at both West Point and Johns Hopkins, and he was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He has also held fellowships at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

His books include "Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War" and "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism." He is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, among many other news outlets. His latest book, "Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country," is a critique of the gulf between America’s soldiers and the society that sends them off to war.

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is an interdisciplinary research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.

The lecture is part of the center’s “Alternative Visions” lecture series. The series brings nationally and internationally recognized experts such as Peter Bergen, Elaine Pagels and Reza Aslan to campus to address the sources of conflict and strategies for resolution.

The series is supported by a grant from philanthropist John Whiteman. For more information or to register for the lecture, see the event page.

Matt Correa, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict

[Apr 25, 2015] LA REVUE GAUCHE - Left Comment Military Industrial Complex

The War Business

And so, for the private contractors that increasingly make up the infrastructure of our armed forces, fortune has arisen from tragedy. During the first Iraq war, in 1991, one in a hundred American personnel was employed by a private contractor. In the second Iraq war, that ratio is closer to one in ten. The Washing ton Post reports that as much as one third of the rapidly expanding cost of the Iraq war is going into private U.S. bank accounts.

The original point of this massive outflow of federal dollars was to save money. In Donald Rumsfeld's vision, privatization would bring the unbending discipline of the marketplace to bear on war itself. In 1995, well before his return to Washington, Rumsfeld presented to America his "Thoughts from the Business World on Downsizing Government," a monograph informed by his experience as both a White House chief of staff and defense secretary (under Gerald Ford) and a CEO of two large American corporations (General Instrument Corp. and G. D. Searle). "Government programs are effectively insulated from the rigors of the marketplace, and therefore are denied the possibility of failure," he wrote. "Sometimes, nothing short of outright privatization can restore the discipline of a bottom line."

Eisenhower's Farewell Warning Was Meant For Our Time

To be sure, there isn't really such a corporation: the Omnivore Group, as it might be called. But if there were such a company—and, mind you, there isn't—it might look a lot like the largest government contractor you've never heard of: a company known simply by the nondescript initials SAIC (for Science Applications International Corporation), initials that are always spoken letter by letter rather than formed into a pronounceable acronym. SAIC maintains its headquarters in San Diego, but its center of gravity is in Washington, D.C. With a workforce of 44,000, it is the size of a full-fledged government agency—in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Its anonymous glass-and-steel Washington office—a gleaming corporate box like any other—lies in northern Virginia, not far from the headquarters of the C.I.A., whose byways it knows quite well. (More than half of SAIC's employees have security clearances.) SAIC has been awarded more individual government contracts than any other private company in America. The contracts number not in the dozens or scores or hundreds but in the thousands: SAIC currently holds some 9,000 active federal contracts in all. More than a hundred of them are worth upwards of $10 million apiece. Two of them are worth more than $1 billion. The company's annual revenues, almost all of which come from the federal government, approached $8 billion in the 2006 fiscal year, and they are continuing to climb. SAIC's goal is to reach as much as $12 billion in revenues by 2008. As for the financial yardstick that really gets Wall Street's attention—profitability—SAIC beats the S&P 500 average. Last year ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, posted a return on revenue of 11 percent. For SAIC the figure was 11.9 percent. If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.

It is a simple fact of life these days that, owing to a deliberate decision to downsize government, Washington can operate only by paying private companies to perform a wide range of functions. To get some idea of the scale: contractors absorb the taxes paid by everyone in America with incomes under $100,000. In other words, more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well remit everything they owe directly to SAIC or some other contractor rather than to the IRS. In Washington these companies go by the generic name "body shops"—they supply flesh-and-blood human beings to do the specialized work that government agencies no longer can. Often they do this work outside the public eye, and with little official oversight—even if it involves the most sensitive matters of national security. The Founding Fathers may have argued eloquently for a government of laws, not of men, but what we've got instead is a government of body shops.

Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962

The Military-Industrial Complex. The most spectacular and important creation of the authoritarian and oligopolistic structure of economic decision-making in America is the institution called "the military industrial complex" by former President Eisenhower, the powerful congruence of interest and structure among military and business elites which affects so much of our development and destiny. Not only is ours the first generation to live with the possibility of world-wide cataclysm -- it is the first to experience the actual social preparation for cataclysm, the general militarization of American society. In 1948 Congress established Universal Military Training, the first peacetime conscription. The military became a permanent institution. Four years earlier, General Motor's Charles E. Wilson had heralded the creation of what he called the "permanent war economy," the continuous use of military spending as a solution to economic problems unsolved before the post-war boom, most notably the problem of the seventeen million jobless after eight years of the New Deal. This has left a "hidden crisis" in the allocation of resources by the American economy.

Since our childhood these two trends -- the rise of the military and the installation of a defense-based economy -- have grown fantastically. The Department of Defense, ironically the world's largest single organization, is worth $160 billion, owns 32 million acres of America and employs half the 7.5 million persons directly dependent on the military for subsistence, has an $11 billion payroll which is larger than the net annual income of all American corporations. Defense spending in the Eisenhower era totaled $350 billions and President Kennedy entered office pledged to go even beyond the present defense allocation of sixty cents from every public dollar spent. Except for a war-induced boom immediately after "our side" bombed Hiroshima, American economic prosperity has coincided with a growing dependence on military outlay -- from 1941 to 1959 America's Gross National Product of $5.25 trillion included $700 billion in goods and services purchased for the defense effort, about one-seventh of the accumulated GNP. This pattern has included the steady concentration of military spending among a few corporations. In 1961, 86 percent of Defense Department contracts were awarded without competition. The ordnance industry of 100,000 people is completely engaged in military work; in the aircraft industry, 94 percent of 750,000 workers are linked to the war economy; shipbuilding, radio and communications equipment industries commit forty percent of their work to defense; iron and steel, petroleum, metal-stamping and machine shop products, motors and generators, tools and hardware, copper, aluminum and machine tools industries all devote at least 10 percent of their work to the same cause.

The intermingling of Big Military and Big Industry is evidenced in the 1,400 former officers working for the 100 corporations who received nearly all the $21 billion spent in procurement by the Defense Department in 1961. The overlap is most poignantly clear in the case of General Dynamics, the company which received the best 1961 contracts, employed the most retired officers (187), and is directed by a former Secretary of the Army. A Fortune magazine profile of General Dynamics said: "The unique group of men who run Dynamics are only incidentally in rivalry with other U.S. manufacturers, with many of whom they actually act in concert. Their chief competitor is the USSR. The core of General Dynamics corporate philosophy is the conviction that national defense is a more or less permanent business." Little has changed since Wilson's proud declaration of the Permanent War Economy back in the 1944 days when the top 200 corporations possessed 80 percent of all active prime war-supply contracts.

[Apr 24, 2015] American Exceptionalism and the Politics of Foreign Policy

The Globalist
Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that America’s number one national security threat is debt. Rasmussen polls show that eight out of ten Americans believe that economic threats are greater than military ones. Two out of three voters want a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes. Four out of five voters think Americans are overtaxed.

Only a third of Americans share the Republican view of exempting the military from budget reductions. The public only supports a dozen of the United States’ standing commitments to defend 56 nations.

Only 11% of Americans want to be “global policeman,” 75% think no troops should be stationed overseas except for “vital national security interests,” and only 28% want to keep troops in Europe. Most Americans favor “Protect America First” — rather than “Send Americans First.”

The Democratic and Republican parties serve different constituencies and identity groups, yet both are beholden to Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, AIPAC and other major special interests.

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street protest the corruption of the two-party system. Campaign finance reform isn’t popular with politicians whose job is raising money. The left feels betrayed by the Democratic Party. The right feels betrayed by the Republican Party. And the American people are betrayed by both parties.

Democratic and Republican exceptionalism has failed the country. We are in the midst of the greatest constitutional crisis the nation has faced in 225 years. The imperial Presidency must be ended and the executive brought back into balance with Congress and the courts.

Political competition has become a destructive zero-sum game for the nation. Democrats pay taxes for the welfare state, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for the warfare state. Republicans pay taxes for the warfare state, but refuse to pay more taxes for the welfare state. Trillion dollar annual deficits are covered through unsustainable borrowing. Republicans and Democrats compete to be fiscally irresponsible.

With trillion-dollar annual deficits, the time is approaching fast when credit downgrades will force significant reductions in government expenditures. By not cutting spending, Republican and Democratic inaction sets the country on a path where annual borrowing costs will be the largest individual cost in the federal budget.

In 2011, annual interest payments climbed to $400 billion. When all-time low interest rates (currently about 3%) move up, interest payments on cumulative federal debt will exceed the Pentagon’s budget.

America’s financial crisis will redefine the meaning of “strong defense.” The Founders were very clear on this subject. The Constitution doesn’t require a large military to protect the nation. In fact, the Founders were afraid of the military. They believed that liberty and war were incompatible. They established constitutional government to make the state work for the individual. War, however, makes the individual subservient to the state.

Since the Cold War ended, the United States has been at war two out of every three years. None of these wars were declared by Congress as required by the Constitution. Consequently, few Americans can name every war the President is fighting.

The United States is currently engaged in many clandestine military operations around the globe. There is no end in sight, with war aims not clearly stated or understood. President Obama, as a war president, is no longer under the law, he is the law.

A plague on both political houses! The glory of empire is taking false communal pride in telling other countries what to do. The glory of the Republic is each individual’s opportunity to do what you want to do and become what you want to be.

The price of the Republic is accepting personal risk and failure. The price of empire is the loss of personal freedom and the collective failure of the nation.

The Founders believed that “strong defense” meant defending our borders and active diplomacy. America must not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy and must avoid entangling alliances. Global military dominance destroys constitutional government.

So what can be done? A place to start is heeding the words of John Quincy Adams, in his famous address to Congress on July 4, 1821. Adams explained why the preservation of American individualism — the essence of American exceptionalism — demands a noninterventionist foreign policy:

[America] has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart… Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit… [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty.

This is the fourth and final part of The Globalist’s “Thomas Paine” series “Death of American Exceptionalism.” Previous parts can be found here:
Part I: The Idea of American Exceptionalism
Part II: Democratic and Republican Exceptionalism
Part III: How We Lost American Exceptionalism

[Apr 24, 2015] “American Exceptionalism” is the Marketing Slogan of the Military Industrial Complex

It looks like our conquest of Iraq didn’t take. So, will we spend another trillion dollars, and thousands of lives to secure Iraq’s oil fields for Big Oil? One way to tell if such a plan is in the works is if media shills start shrieking about “American Exceptionalism” which is the marketing slogan of the military industrial complex.

Small wars, such as in Yemen, can be conducted with informing the American people. But larger wars still need to be sold, and as Eric Bernays taught us, wars are sold just like corn flakes or deodorant.

“American Exceptionalism” ranks right up there with Tony The Tiger’s “They’re G-r-r-r-eat!” and “By Mennen.”

[Apr 19, 2015] ‘We're not interested in a fair fight’ – US army commander urges NATO to confront Russia

Apr 19, 2015 | RT News

US army commander in Europe says Russia is a “real threat” urging NATO to stay united. The alliance is not interested in a “fair fight with anyone” and wants to have “overmatch in all systems,” Lieutenant-General Frederick "Ben" Hodges believes.

“There is a Russian threat," Hodges told the Telegraph, maintaining that Russia is involved in ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A key objective for NATO is not to let Russia outreach it in terms of capabilities, the general said.

"We're not interested in a fair fight with anyone," General Hodges stated. "We want to have overmatch in all systems. I don't think that we've fallen behind but Russia has closed the gap in certain capabilities. We don't want them to close that gap,” he revealed.

[Apr 19, 2015] Iraq 2.0 The REAL Reason Hawks Oppose the Iran Deal

Apr 19, 2015 | The National Interest
Let’s be honest for a second: 90-plus percent of supporters of the Iran framework would have supported any framework the Obama administration produced (this author included). Close to 100 percent of the opponents of the framework would have opposed any framework it produced.

What’s going on here? Why are we having this kabuki debate about a deal whose battle lines were established before it even existed? At Brookings, Jeremy Shapiro suggests that “the Iranian nuclear program is not really what opponents and proponents of the recent deal are arguing about.”

Shapiro says the bigger question is about what to do regarding “Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership” in the countries surrounding Iran and whether to “integrate Iran into the regional order.”

Those terms are fuzzy enough to make me uncomfortable, especially if what we’re trying to do is clarify the debate. In Shapiro’s telling, deal proponents think it will help transform Iran’s intentions, while opponents simply want to squeeze Iran as hard as possible as soon as possible. I think Shapiro is basically right about opponents, but misses something regarding supporters.

First, consider the hawks. At the outset of the JPOA, they were pounding the table about imminent calamity. In 2013, former IAEA chief Olli Heinonen warned an Israel Project conference call that Iran was two weeks away from a bomb (Two weeks!). Lindsey Graham criticized the interim agreement, calling it a giveaway to Iran. Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “the deal of the century” for Iran.

Now, those same people who were frantic about the ticking clock couldn’t care less that it’s been wound backward. Ten years with no Iranian bomb is treated like a dirty penny. For his part, Graham now says that the JPOA should be extended because it’s preferable to the P5+1’s framework agreement.

In unguarded moments, many hawks concede they are against an agreement in principle. As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz admitted recently, “we are against a deal in general.” Similarly, Senator Tom Cotton, author of the embarrassing letter imploring Iran’s Supreme Leader to scuttle the deal, admitted to an audience at the Heritage Foundation before writing the letter:

The end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak.

So, despite their protests that what they’re really after is a “better deal,” their own words betray the truth: They oppose any deal. Vox’s Max Fisher suggests that the reason is because their real desire is to change the Iranian regime by force, and a diplomatic deal makes that less likely. It’s as plausible an explanation as I’ve heard.

So what about us doves? Most of us would have supported any deal the Obama administration deemed good enough to get past Congress. Why? Because we recognize that international politics, and in particular dealing with Iran on this issue in 2015, is the realm of least-worst alternatives, not slam dunks.

Jeffrey Lewis explains the logic of supporting the framework agreement:

The thing is, there is no “good” deal. Any deal will be a compromise that leaves in place many dangers to Israel, as well as Iran’s neighbors and the United States. The essential thing is to delay as long as possible an Iranian nuclear bomb. Almost any deal will buy more time than if talks were to collapse… [T]here is no good reason to believe that walking away from a deal now puts the United States in position to get a better one in a few years.

The brutal fact is that there is no “good” solution to the Iranian nuclear program. As Lewis notes, we’re not going to get to zero enrichment. The Iranians are going to be left with capabilities that cause us concern. The nature of negotiations is not getting everything that you want, and there seems to be little question that Dick Cheney and Co.’s “we don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it” posture was counterproductive to getting a better deal. To take one example, the Iranian bargaining chip went from a few hundred centrifuges to nearly 20,000 in the intervening decade.

[Apr 17, 2015] Will Ukraine Push the U.S. Into War

[Apr 17, 2015] The Ultimate Game of Chicken The West vs. Russia The National Interest

[Apr 17, 2015] Graham Allison on World War I, Ukraine and Realism

[Apr 16, 2015] Chaos And Hegemony - How US Dollar Imperialism Dominates The World

[Apr 16, 2015] Putin Live Talks US, Nukes, Ukraine, Iran, Hitler, And Cloning In Town Hall Meeting — Full VIdeo

[Apr 14, 2015] Western ISIS adventurism, Israel behind Hamas - new Assange revelations

[Apr 14, 2015] Nuland Ensconced in Neocon Camp Who Believes in Noble Lie

[Apr 14, 2015] The New Militarism: Who Profits?

[Apr 10, 2015] Mission Accomplished? ISIS Leaders Are All Ex-Saddam Hussein Army Officers

[Apr 04, 2015] The majority of Maidan supporters are experiencing severe impoverishment instead of welfare bonanza from EU they expected

[Apr 03, 2015] Were not cattle Kiev protesters throw manure at US embassy

[Apr 03, 2015] Drones, Baby, Drones! The Rise of Americas High-Tech Assassins

[Mar 28, 2015] Pentagon paid accused Chilean killer for years despite revoked visa National Security & Defense

March 27, 2015 | McClatchy DC

The Pentagon rebuffed efforts to remove a Chilean professor accused of torturing and murdering political prisoners, keeping him on the payroll of a prestigious U.S. military school for almost three years after the State Department revoked his visa because of the alleged human rights violations.

Exploiting legal loopholes and inaction across several government agencies, the accused torturer was able to remain in the United States, renew his work contract twice and even travel widely despite his visa revocation, a McClatchy investigation reveals.

The Pentagon now promises changes to its vetting process for foreign nationals working throughout its National Defense University, with an emphasis on accusations of human rights violations.

Officials with the U.S. military school – the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies – knew by at least 2008 that Jaime Garcia Covarrubias had been accused of being part of Chile’s brutal secret police and stood accused of torture and murder.

Yet after the State Department revoked his Defense Department-sponsored visa on June 18, 2011, and a special U.S. human rights violator unit notified defense officials afterward, Garcia Covarrubias was paid sick leave and collected an annual salary in excess of $100,000 until February 2014.

The compensation was paid despite recommendations from the U.S. Embassy in Chile that Garcia Covarrubias face deportation proceedings and potential removal from the United States because of the allegations.

The handling of the matter, some critics say, casts doubt on the U.S. commitment to human rights. Multiple government sources, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed that once the State Department revoked his visa, no one else moved aggressively against Garcia Covarrubias, partly in deference to the Defense Department.

Garcia Covarrubias was not called in for a hearing by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which reached out to the Defense Department. Pentagon lawyers shrugged off the visa revocation and said the school had no grounds to fire Garcia Covarrubias, even renewing his contract to teach after he took advantage of immigration laws to remain in the country.

“This is extremely troubling. Someone has to be held accountable within the Obama administration and in the Defense Department,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group. “It’s really hard to believe that it was just a lack of oversight by the Pentagon.”

The allegations against Garcia Covarrubias, reported in detail by McClatchy on March 12, sparked disagreement between the U.S. military and the diplomatic corps over how to deal with the case.

U.S. immigration laws allow revocation of visas or expulsion from the United States over the accusation of being a human rights violator. The State Department usually makes this determination but the Department of Homeland Security has ultimate say.

In Garcia Covarrubias’ case, U.S. Embassy officials in Chile were struck by a compelling account from one of the alleged victims and early on recommended that the professor be subjected to deportation proceedings.

“It was a very troubling, poignant and compelling rendition,” said a former U.S. official with close knowledge of the case, having never discussed the accuser’s account before with the media. The former official demanded anonymity because the Garcia Covarrubias affair remains an open legal matter in Chile.

Despite the accusations, Defense Department lawyers repeatedly concluded that the school, part of the National Defense University, was not compelled to fire Garcia Covarrubias because he had not been convicted of a crime. And school officials thought highly of his teaching abilities and expertise in the transition from military to civilian rule in Latin America. Garcia Covarrubias was a military leader during Chile’s dictatorship and in subsequent elected governments.

“Termination of a faculty member for misconduct must be based on a determination that the allegations are substantiated, after the employee is provided due process,” said a written response from the Pentagon to McClatchy’s questions about the case, adding that “Dr. Garcia had not been found guilty in any case brought against him in the Chilean justice system.”

In a separate followup statement, the Pentagon noted human rights accusations sometimes occur decades after the fact, and an internal review underscored the need for a “stringent new process to scrutinize the background of new hires.” This would include input from human rights groups.

“To further support these checks, (the Pentagon) has developed formal guidance that specifically states all future foreign hires will undergo ongoing human rights vetting for the duration of their employment,” the statement said.

The burden of proof cited by the Defense Department for its inaction isn’t necessary for the State Department, because many countries have weak justice systems that allow violators to escape any real consequences for their actions.

In the Chilean professor’s case, former school officials said he was hit by the State Department with a “provisional revocation.” This type of action was ushered in following the 9/11 terror attacks and makes it easier for the government to quickly bar the holder of a revoked visa from re-entering the United States without a new visa.

So how did an accused murderer and torturer remain in the United States with a revoked visa and was even permitted to travel abroad?

Even though his visa was revoked, there were no deportation proceedings or even a notice to appear before an immigration judge. Garcia Covarrubias was actually entitled to remain in the United States until this revoked visa would have expired, on Jan. 30, 2012, current and former government officials confirmed.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had little room to move. His visa was sponsored by the Defense Department, limiting the ability to pursue criminal or immigration fraud charges. Defense officials were put on notice about the revocation and chose not to terminate his contract, even renewing it later.

As a result, Garcia Covarrubias was able to apply on Nov. 14, 2011, for lawful permanent residency. He was granted what’s called “advance parole,” and he acquired related permission to work and to travel. Those actions trumped the visa revocation when, according to one former school official, Garcia Covarrubias returned to the United States on separate occasions from the Dominican Republic and Mexico and was screened and permitted back into the country by Customs and Border Protection supervisors.

Read more here:

[Mar 27, 2015] Obama's Drone Policy Crashes and Burns

[Mar 25, 2015] Congress Demands War in Ukraine!

[Mar 24, 2015] The Deep State

[Mar 24, 2015] Regime Change Americas Failing Weapon Of International Deception

[Mar 21, 2015] The Anatomy of Fascism

[Mar 21, 2015] Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror

[Mar 21, 2015] Germany riot targets new ECB headquarters in Frankfurt

[Mar 18, 2015] Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty

[Mar 18, 2015]

[Mar 14, 2015] A Review of Frontline Ukraine by Richard Sakwa

[Mar 10, 2015] The 17 Elements Of Martial Law

[Mar 07, 2015] Meet the Big Wallets Pushing Obama Towards a New Cold War

[Mar 04, 2015] Russia's actions in Ukraine conflict an 'invasion', says US official

[Mar 01, 2015] US Pushes For Escalation, Arms Kiev By Laundering Weapons Through Abu Dhabi

On the way to war on Russia By Brian Cloughley, Atimes, Feb 18, 2015

[Feb 18, 2015] CrossTalk: Cold-shoulder War (ft. Graham Allison)

Feb 18, 2015 |
Warren , February 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Published on 18 Feb 2015

Is the West and Russia face off over Ukraine, it is fair to ask whether this conflict represents a much larger struggle. Are we actually witnessing the Third World War being played out? If this is in fact true, what kind of war is it and who is winning?

CrossTalking with George Szamuely, John Laughland, and Graham Allison.

[Feb 17, 2015] A Blackwater World Order By Kelley Vlahos

February 6, 2015 |The American Conservative

The privatization of America's wars swells the ranks of armies for hire across the globe.

After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s most profound legacy could be that it set the world order back to the Middle Ages.

While this is a slight exaggeration, a recent examination by Sean McFate, a former Army paratrooper who later served in Africa working for Dyncorp International and is now an associate professor at the National Defense University, suggests that the Pentagon’s dependence on contractors to help wage its wars has unleashed a new era of warfare in which a multitude of freshly founded private military companies are meeting the demand of an exploding global market for conflict.

“Now that the United States has opened the Pandora’s Box of mercenarianism,” McFate writes in The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What they Mean for World Order, “private warriors of all stripes are coming out of the shadows to engage in for-profit warfare.”

It is a menacing thought. McFate said this coincides with what he and others have called a current shift from global dominance by nation-state power to a “polycentric” environment in which state authority competes with transnational corporations, global governing bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), regional and ethnic interests, and terror organizations in the chess game of international relations. New access to professional private arms, McFate further argues, has cut into the traditional states’ monopoly on force, and hastened the dawn of this new era.

McFate calls it neomedievalism, the “non-state-centric and multipolar world order characterized by overlapping authorities and allegiances.” States will not disappear, “but they will matter less than they did a century ago.” He compares this coming environment to the order that prevailed in Europe before the domination of nation-states with their requisite standing armies.

In this period, before the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 ended decades of war and established for the first time territorially defined sovereign states, political authority in Europe was split among competing power brokers that rendered the monarchs equal players, if not weaker ones. The Holy Roman Emperor, the papacy, bishoprics, city-states, dukedoms, principalities, chivalric orders–all fought for their piece with hired free companies, or mercenary enterprises of knights-turned profiteers.

As progenitors of today’s private military companies (PMCs), free companies were “organized as legal corporations, selling their services to the highest or most powerful bidder for profit,” McFate writes. Their ranks “swelled with men from every corner of Europe” and beyond, going where the fighting was until it wasn’t clear whether these private armies were simply meeting the demand or creating it.

In an interview with TAC, McFate said the parallels between that period in history and today’s global proliferation of PMCs cannot be ignored. He traces their modern origins to the post-Cold War embrace of privatization in both Washington and London, both pioneers in military outsourcing, which began in earnest in the 1980s.

By the time the U.S. decided to invade Iraq and stay there in 2003, its smaller peacetime military force structure could not withstand the burden. The Pentagon increasingly relied on contractors to support and wage the war.

“Policy makers, when they started the war in Iraq, they didn’t think it would last beyond a few weeks. They had three terrible choices – they could withdraw prematurely, they could institute a Vietnam-era draft … or they could contract out. So they chose to contract it out,” McFate said. “That is why you have it now and why it is not regulated.”

The U.S. used contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan more than it had in any war in its history: in 2010 there were more contractors deployed to war zones (207,000) than U.S. servicemembers (175,000). In World War II, contractors only made up 10 percent of the military workforce, according to McFate.

From 1999 to 2008, at the peak of the wars, Pentagon spending on outsourcing alone increased from $165 billion to $466 billion a year. Attempts at oversight have been pathetic, as documented by the government’s own inspectors general time and again. Success at regulating or imposing codes of conduct on contractors has proven elusive, too. The industry remains as opaque as it has been unassailable where it really counts—the pocketbook.

“The industry is here to stay; it’s not going anywhere,” said McFate a former employee of Dyncorp, which cut its teeth in Bosnia. Dyncorp thrived as one of Washington’s primary contractors for both security and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq despite intermittent accusations of overbilling and underperformance on the job.

Perhaps the most infamous of all contractors was Blackwater, which deflected charges of fraud, violence against civilians and murder for years before it was forced to “rebrand.” Four of its former guards were convicted of murder in October, however, in connection with the massacre of 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square in 2007.

Blackwater’s founder Erik Prince has dipped and dodged his way through several incarnations of his company (no longer “Blackwater,” it was renamed “Xe” and is now “Academi”), and has been successful at running a number of other so-called shell companies and international security operations inside and outside of the U.S. government trough, including anti-piracy enterprises in North Africa.

In his post-American days (Prince left the U.S. for Abu Dhabi in 2010 amid a series of federal charges and lawsuits dogging Blackwater), Prince perched himself “at the top of the management chain” at Saracen International, a security group made up of hard-core mercenary veterans hired in 2009 to train indigenous forces in Puntland, Somalia, and to serve as a security detail for the embattled president of the fragile central government in Mogadishu.

Saracen was officially kicked out of Somalia in 2011 after accusations were made that it was violating the country’s arms embargo. According to Jeremy Scahill’s seminal “Dirty Wars”, however, by 2013 it was not clear that Saracen had ever left, and it was likely still operating in Somalia at the time with a handful of other international PMCs, including Dyncorp.

This is the world that Prince has both made and has thrived in. According to McFate, “‘irregular’ warfare is more regular than the ‘regular’ warfare,” as the number of internal conflicts have tripled while interstate wars have dwindled in number since a peak in 1965. As a result, PMCs have been used increasingly over the last 15 years by countries, NGOs, and corporations alike to protect ships on the high seas and oil fields in the deserts, to secure humanitarian missions, to raise armies against insurgencies, and to serve as security details at embassies, military bases, and palaces across the Middle East and beyond.

On the darker side, many of the multinationals once on the U.S. dole as PMCs in places like Iraq have since started their own enterprises and taken their skills to clients no matter the mission. They are hard to track, and impossible to rein in.

For example, before Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi was killed, he hired mercenaries from across Africa, “to brutally suppress the popular revolt against him,” McFate points out. Likewise, papers reported in 2011 that one of Prince’s companies, Reflex Responses, was hired to raise a force of several hundred guards for the emir of Abu Dhabi, to “assist the UAE government with intelligence gathering, security, counterterrorism and suppression of any revolts.”

By no means has the U.S. stopped using PMCs—they are protecting diplomats in Afghanistan and Iraq, training foreign militaries, and conducting intelligence. At this point they are more agile and better equipped to do this work overseas than even their military paymasters, McFate argues, and their use prevents the public angst—and scrutiny—that accompanies putting American soldiers into harms way.

“The argument about private militaries being here to stay – that is the truth or unfortunate truth depending on your position,” said Peter Singer, senior fellow for the Future War project at the New America Foundation and author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.

“For those who thought this would all be over with the end of Iraq 2.0 or Obama’s presidential victory, the facts just don’t bear that out,” he told TAC in an interview. Singer agrees with McFate’s assessments in Modern Mercenary, which he said
“mixes the analytic and academic side with his own personal experiences working for one of the firms; that combination is rare in this space.”

McFate details for the first time in public how he was hired by Dyncorp on behalf of a secret U.S. contract to help prevent a group of Hutu rebels, the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL), from sparking another genocide of the Tutsis during the ongoing civil war in Burundi. McFate was tasked at one point with guarding the president of Burundi from impending assassination. The president remained safe, and the civil war was brought to an end by 2005.

McFate said he wrote about this, and Dyncorp’s training of the Liberian army in 2011, to show in part that PMCs can be used to positive ends. But he is not naïve. He is clear about where they can fail, invite mission creep, or seize power for clients through violence. By their very nature, PMCs profit from conflict and are always at risk of creating and expanding it for their own benefit. McFate cites numerous examples throughout history in which mercenaries have played both sides, only to come out with full pockets.

In addition, private armies live by no rules of war or international conventions; here, Erik Prince is the best example. PMCs can hide in countries with the lowest standards and norms. They have access to a global arms trade and the latest military technology, including drones. They are a risk to civilian populations, and their operations are never transparent. “You can FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) the CIA, you can’t FOIA this industry,” said McFate.

So what to do? McFate suggests that banning PMCs or trying to regulate them into submission won’t work because it would only drive them underground and into the realm of rogues. He suggests letting the market work to “incentivize desirable practices by making them profitable” might be the best course. He notes, however, that when the U.S. military had “market power” and was in the best position to set price and practices at the beginning of its wars, it “failed to do so.”

Whether the cons of private contracting outweigh the pros is a debate McFate chooses not engage, and his background as both soldier and contractor figure heavily in the tenor of his book. “I leave it deliberately up to the reader,” he said. “The book is not an argument; it’s more about exploration. There is a big global trend happening right under our feet. I think we are in the precipice of a big decision.” That decision is how to deal with the privatization of war effectively, if at all.

It will not be easy. U.S. agencies knowingly hired companies with spotty records. They used private contractors for controversial secret operations, including the detainee interrogations at Abu Ghraib, and a covert CIA assassination program involving Blackwater. It will take a lot more trust in Washington to believe that “best practices” in this industry can genuinely come from government itself.

“In an idealized world the companies with the best practices and best performance records would end up with all the contracts, and the bad actors would be eliminated from the field,” said Singer. “That hasn’t happened in regular business, much less when you cross regular business with what you call politics.”

Or war. Get your seat belt on, because if McFate is right, it is “back to the future,” and any choice we might have had in the matter is long gone.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance reporter and TAC contributing editor. Follow her on Twitter.

[Feb 15, 2015] Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned By Nato And EU

Ron Paul: "The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU... The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out." Quote from comments: "That is where anyone who does not believe that USA, EU and NATO are totally responsible for the violent mess Ukraine has become."
Feb 15, 2015 |

As Ron Paul recently exclaimed, the war propagandists are very active and are winning over the support of many unsuspecting American citizens. So we thought the followingg 90 seconds of 'pure Paul' would provide a refreshingly different perspective as he explains, "I'm not pro-Russia, I'm not pro-Putin, I'm pro-facts."

"The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU... The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out."

As Ron Paul previously concluded:

Our government has no more credibility in telling us the truth about the facts that require us to expand our military presence in this region than Brian Williams.

Constant war propaganda has proven too often to be our nemesis in supporting constant war promoted by the neoconservatives and the military industrial complex.

... ... ...

The only way that Congress can be persuaded to back off with our dangerous interventionism, whether it’s in the Middle East or Ukraine, is for the American people to speak out clearly in opposition.


Where are the facts Mr Ron Paul?

Ron Paul is making up stuff in order to sell products to disciples.

Coup in Ukraine was staged by Putin via Yanukovych. Yanuk did not campaign on joing Eurasian union.

Joining Eurasian union was a coup d'etat by Putin and Yanukovych.

What happened was the counter coup, which yes, was urged by USA and nato.


EKM1, how is the air conditioning at US Misinformation Warfare Headquarters? Do you get paid weekly or bi-weekly? Then again, at $15/hr, who cares, right...


Lying for a living. Don't he know that politics pays better? Maybe he's just packin' his resume.

Winston Churchill

EKM just graduated to my do not bother to read comment list.

Maybe PPT really stands for Piss Poor Trolls.


British Battalion 77 peter puffers have arrived.. EKM, which barracks you out of? I am sure you will tell us next multiculturism is strengthing Britain..

Jack Burton

Winston, I don't know if you have noticed, but over the last few months the State Department Internet posters have moved away from ZH. Perhaps they consider us a lost cause. But some months back they were still very active here, posting sometimes dozens of State Department talking points, but winning no converts. As of late, they have withdrawn to troll more mainstream blogs and News Paper comments sections.

The one benefit of the Ukraine Coup and civil war has been the western media exposing it'self like never before as one channel propaganda. Never before has media told so many demonstrable lies in so short a time. The transparent lies have begun to catch many people's attention. The script they read from is not at all clever or well thought out. The script is terribly transparent, and so easily proved to be lies.

So, will this new war propaganda win? So far I say it's 75 yes, 25% no. So many Americans just lap up the lies without trying to get the real story. Fools have been


"The one benefit of the Ukraine Coup and civil war has been the western media exposing it'self like never before as one channel propaganda."

I agree 100% with this; more and more people are seeing the US state sponsored propaganda for what it is.

In regards to "So, will this new war propaganda win?":

I stated here before that the secondary objective of modern state sponsored propaganda in the west is to gain popular support, but the main objective is to send out the "offical accepted version of world events", meaning that it does not matter if 99% of Americans do not believe it. So long as America does not erupt in a civil war, what the state sponsored media says stands and nothing else matters and will be ignored. Anyone asking questions or causing trouble will be pointed to or judged based on that propaganda as if it was truth. Pretty much 1984.


He's from Toronto... the navel of the Universe (in their own opinion). Their view of the world is somewhat distorted, and "potted"...


The state-sponsored anti-russian propaganda in Canada is in overdrive. Harper has gone full retard and traitor to appease to certain foreign interests.

Most people don't believe the nonsense whatsoever. EKM, I don't get why he is so special as to actually believe it. He speaks for no-one.

Jack Burton

Canada just happened to be where the allies shipped the Ukrainian Nazis and SS veterans after World War II. The allies knew their strong anti communist and anti Russia bent, so figured to save as many as possible to form the useful agents they and their families now are. Harper is feeding those Western Ukrainian trolls and they in turn help ramp up public opinion into fever pitch.

I am sick of this shit. My response to every person who repeats the lies, I will tell them that it is "their duty to go to this war in person, I will not accpet bullshit lies and then people asking others to due the fighting!" Put up or shut up assholes!

Why does the west feed this war fever, and why the coup in the first place? War allows the public to be stripped of tax revenues, it allows national security to trump privacy and freedom, and it allows politicians to claim a patriotic mandate to rule us. Plus corporate profits and stocks are off the charts money makers.


This is true. They are scattered all over alberta and Sk. I met one recently that was bragging about cross burnings in Provost. Provost is a nazi ukranian KKK town

Latina Lover

Quoting Jack Burton:

"I am sick of this shit. My response to every person who repeats the lies, I will tell them that it is "their duty to go to this war in person, I will not accpet bullshit lies and then people asking others to due the fighting!" Put up or shut up assholes!"

I couldn't have said better myself. As a former grunt who saw some action when I was young and very stupid, any idiot advocating violence against others should put their money where their mouth is and lead by example.

Instead we have this hypocrite drone army, spewing endless BS to induce others to die for their shabby causes, cowards hiding behind keyboards. To hell with all of them!


This is from Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung a NOG from Germany. So this mght be propaganda or not. In fact there never were real elections Ukraine ever. Lawful was not one government there.


Konrad-Adenauer-Siftung is anything but an unbiased organisation. Actually it is a transatlantic networking group in the business to spread neocon messages in Germany. The page you refer to does not contain ANY actual, proven issue but just the general out-of-the-air claim that the elections didn't meet demoratic standards.

Try harder, Neocon troll.

El Vaquero

Are you claiming that Ron Paul was wrong when he said that we had a recording of the assistant US secretary of state and the US ambassador to Ukraine discussing who is going to take power in Ukraine BEFORE the coup in Ukraine?


Nuland did the right thing. It prepared the counter coup against Putin's coup

El Vaquero

Yes, Nuland took part in starting a civil war that has killed innocent people. That is obviously the right thing. Civil war is good for the people, or didn't people realize that?


EU-Ukraine-Russia trade deals are NONE OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS!


so the Nazi Ukies could have gone about their protests by peaceful means but Nazis gonna Nazi and tortured, burned, raped and stole their merry way across the countryside. Even the Ukies have had enough of their shit and have tried to pull them back at various times just to see the Nazis flex and storm the buildings of their own gov.

As I write this I am wondering what ahit are you trying to pull? You don't seem to be a satire artist like MDB. Paid troll? Maybe. I don't see how anyone can objectively read the news and come to the same conclusions as you.

El Vaquero

That is some seriously fucked up reasoning. The US did the right thing by kicking off something that was inevetable and accomplished nothing except putting the US and Russia closer to war, which, BTW would go nuclear. You call that the right thing?

You're fucking nuts. This should be none of the US's fucking business. I'm sick of sending our soldiers over to die for somebody else's cause. Why don't you Eastern Europeans solve your own fucking problems?


USA is now the business of world police. Becoming a soldier is the safest way of employment.

World security is USA's export now. There is no other way, for now.

Soldiers know very well they will end up in interventions, but they like the money and the thrill of it.

Nobody forces young people to enroll. The money and the thrill entice them to

El Vaquero

So you want the USA to solve your problems? Being globo-cop is proving to be an unethical gig for the US, and should stop.

And have you ever heard a US soldier talk about how they were defending the US in our interventionist wars? I have. They actually believe it. Young people don't know what they are signing up for, and often they fail to realize what they have done after they are finished.

So, again, why can't you Eastern Euroopeans solve your own fucking problems? You know that the US is not going to be able to backstop you forever. What then?


Yes. I've spoken with many. Most love it being in the military, absolutely love it

El Vaquero

Gee, that must explain the excessively high suicide rate amongst US vets.


"Most love it being in the military, absolutely love it "

I believe it. Oh, the gory glory. Oh, the rush of being tough and exerting power.

...& dumb women love a douche with a paycheck in a tidy uniform.


That love generally stops suddenly when they come to suffer the consequences of their choice (i.e. the possibility of getting maimed or dying in combat).

The military is a wonderful (state supported and encouraged) vehicle for crass freeloading, until a war happens. Then, a soldier's personal ROI becomes dramatically (even terminally, for many) NEGATIVE !


Course they do. They're sociopaths like you to whom only personal gain, even at the cost of murdering others whom just want to live their lives is justified.

g speed

A lot of these kids just do what their parents want them to do---very sad---kids come home with no legs and look at dad and ask why?


Dispute resolution ? Kill someone is your only way- look at your films, entertainment; there is a bad guy and then the "good guy" kills him. It has all become part of your psyche, as ultimately any of your disputes has to be resolved in this way; but the resentment you leave behind has a price.

If you complain about others, you should go home and conduct a self examination.



You want to know what your masters think of the military?

POS Kissinger actually told the truth for once when he explained how "“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”


Somebody seems to have hacked the ekm1 account. He was always sort of necon, but never this blatantly wacko before.

El Vaquero

He's Eastern European. I suspect that some deep cultural hatred of the Russians going back a century or 5 has something to do with it. I want nothing to do with that tribal mentality bullshit when it comes to a potential US-Russia confrontation because I don't want to see mushroom clouds over Kirtland AFB with my own eyes. Call me crazy for that.


He's Albanian, which makes him half Latvian, half Polack, and half Bulgoslovenakian.


WTF you fascist, the world does not want or need American storm troopers telling them how to run their lives for the benefit of America. History is a story of lesser powers uniting to oppose tyranny and eventually winning, this will be no different. Get the fuck back in your cave deep in exceptionalist Anglo-American fantasy land and leave the rest of the world the fuck alone.



'world security'

Right: let's have a little stock take shall we of those recent lucky nations receiving the security export.

Notice the trend? All places of great insecurity due to US led attempts to insert or maintain puppet client governments whose purpose is to loot their host countries.

You used to make sense on some issues, even when you were needlessly cryptic you were thought provoking. Hell, you even called for oil to trade with a $40 handle even though your reasoning was off, it Has happened.

You have lost the plot tonight.


because... Putin wants to rule a basket case? that's why he started a civil war?

I haven't heard any logical arguments for why Putin would want to take over the Ukraine. Next I'll hear he wants to take over Greece. For what purpose? Cos he wants their monuments? Or does he like their national debt and 30 hour workweek?

The Russians are saying they are intervening to protect Russian people. The West claims Russia is trying to rebuild the Soviet Union.

On the other hand the west is trying to expand NATO up to Russia's border (think of it as a 'western union').

So even if Putin wants to recreate the USSR, why is it 'bad' when he wants to do it, but 'OK' when the west wants to do it? What is the distinction? Let me guess... human rights? Well the USA with a population of 330 million has MORE people incarcerated than CHINA with 1.2 BILLION people. (4x). Where's the 'human rights'?

How many countries has Russia invaded. I'll even give you Crimea, so Crimea and Georgia.. that's 2.

How many countries has the USA invaded... Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia.

I can't follow the logic.


NATO / IMF controlling Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, is instant suicide for Russia.
Their choice was give in or fight. War became inevitable when NATO expanded toward Russia -

It is well known that Russia will not give up Sevastopol, will not give up Ukraine to a foreign military alliance.


'Nuland did the right thing'...sure...unless you believe in that whole 'democracy' thingy.

An elected government was overthrown in violent protests that it appears the US organized and aided.

This was done because NATO was displeased that the Ukes were not willing to move closer to the EU.

NATO has shamelessly disregarded the agreements made way back when Gorby was in charge. They have place missiles in Poland fer-cryin-out loud.

I think if I were Putin (and Russia) I'd be worried.


That's a bingo!!

will ling

ah, nuland, mccrazy, kristol, et al , are "just soft" war criminals.


Oh ekm 1, puhleease! Yanukovych was elected by the people of Ukraine.

How is an elected leader ousted by pro a EU Maidan which is supported by: the EU, NATO, our State Department, and meddling U.S. Senators - a coup by Putin?

What is it you are smoking to make you believe such a thing?

El Vaquero

Observable facts do not matter to the narrative. Most will not look at them anyway. Putin could be the most evil sonofabitch the world has ever seen, and that still would not justify our destabilizing Ukraine.


You realize Ukraine was totally broke well before any of this? Deeply in debt, big bills to pay, pooched economy? That sound stable to you?

The reason Yanukovych was trying to obtain an association with the EU at all was because Ukraine was so broke and desperate for a new sugar daddy.

And Yanukovych definitely would have gone that way too, if the IMF had not tried to fuck Ukraine so badly that Yanukovych was forced to walk away as it was national financial suicide to accept the terms Legarde wanted to inflict.

The real source of the instability was Ukraine's own mess.

What came next was just the rush to get the best bits of the carcass.

So who was doing, or rather had already done, the destabilizing of the country?

El Vaquero

Yes, Ukraine was a corrupt broke mess. Why the fuck were our politicians over there? Why were they acting as though they knew that "Yats" was going to be the new PM? Why the fuck was John Brennan over there? What fucking business is it of ours?

Miffed Microbio...

The time will end for us as Global Cop as it always has in history. This is assured. However, only after millions have died during the posturing. And those who have played this role have never risen to that status again.

This country will pay, including the innocents who were against the whole thing in the first place. We just get to watch while others distract themselves with amusements and trinkets.

It is not our business now nor ever was. Why Ron Paul wasnt elected just blows my mind. That was our last hope for redemption.



It's not global cop. It's global robbery.

El Vaquero

Haven't you been paying attention to policing in the US lately? Civil asset forefitures plus shooting people because they dared to turn their back on the police while holding a plastic spoon means that cops and robbers are often one in the same.


The term you're looking for is protection racket.


Nicely said, I see you have no trouble coming to terms with it, must be trauma ward experience kicking in.

Miffed Microbiologist

I accept the reality of it but this is no means a personal relief of my own responcibilities as a participant nor is it an escape into futility of action. Yes, if omnipotent, I would end this fast but since I am woefully lacking in such power I must content myself to personal and local rebellion. I hope others will join me at some point but it is always unwise to count on others.

Americans have become slothful and content in their status in the world. It is ending now but few truly perceive it being subtle at this stage. When one is unconcerned about the atrocities this country is perpetuating on its own citizens or those in other nations, be it overt attacks or political maneuvering, then ones humanity is lost. I am not sure if it can be truly recovered. We brand our leaders as psychopathic but we should examine our own hearts as well.

Yes, the inward trauma ward is not very pleasant. ;-)



You don't really need a lesson on how geopolitics is played do you? I'll give you credit and presume you don't. But you better start to get real about this ElV, it isn't going to go away via wishes and idealism.

It is real, and it is ugly, and it is about survival, or else not, and you do have to accept that it's happening and face it as it is, not how you would wish it to be.

And that's all the slack I'm ever cut you on this topic.

El Vaquero

Serious question: Do you support a war with Russia? Because that is a very real danger with the kind of geopolitics being played today.


Of course not.

That said, it appears one key Russian does support war with NATO, given actions speak louder than words. It won't take long to find out if Putin is effectively suicidal. I think he's certainly become erratic over the past year, and made unexpectedly bad choices and extraordinary mistakes. I've been amazed by how badly he's done. So if this goes pear-shaped his recent judgement and decision-making under pressure doesn't inspire confidence.

There's a moderate to reasonably good chance we're stuffed.


That's very magnanimous of you.

You must have patience with us peons. Not all of us went to Duntroon and had the honor of serving the Empire.

Thanks again, milord.


Yanukovych pivoted to Russia for a saving loan and then what happened when he did not take money from EU bankers to prolong their party, that's right Nuland showed up to kick his ass out.. Get with the everlasting gobstopper of debt program or get "destabilized"


Yanuk was only thief, not open murderer... He also Ukrainian, not outsider alien passport gang

Hefar lesser heavy handed than the "Red" mafia now in Kiev..who prove themselves killers.


With all the propaganda dished out to the people it's difficult to know who staged what. But at least there are some facts, where eyerybody can draw conclusions.


Let's also not forget Criminal Psychopath / Sociopath Nuland's 5 Billion Dollar Fascist investment

Victoria Nuland - Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs

US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Nuland said: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government - all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine’s European. We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. ” Nuland said the United States will continue to “promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.”


Not to mention the repeated strange coincidence that the Nazi violence ramps up after visits from major US/CIA gov actors.


Nuland has admitted publicaly that State Dept has spent $ 5 Billion influencing Kiev regime change over last several years. Granted much of this was in form of encouraging ex-patriots here in States, propaganda directed towards Ukrainian citizens and aide money. Only people in government know how much was allocated for actual arms but everyone knows the activities of Neocons in Washington.

The point is the US encourages regime change and recently has had a dismal record of failure and huge wasteful spending.

Just look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Georgia, Yeman and now Ukraine. Ron Paul is correct.


Joining eurasian union was a coup d'etat by Putin and Yanukovych.

I think coup d'état is a little strong here, which American talking head has you recycling this verbal diarrhoea? Only a war-mongering murrican would say establishing a better trade deal for your country is a coup d'état.

Yanuk did not camapaign on joing eurasian union.

So, in your bubble, a country's leader can only establish trade deals/policies/legislature et cetera that he campaigned on, and anything else he did not take to a previous election is a coup d'état even if it is a simple trade deal benefitting the people?

You're not this stupid, please stop.

Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned By Nato And EU

Of course. Maidan terrorists were trained months before in Poland:

Ukraine: Poland trained putchists two months in advance

And now USA and Ukraine are destroying the new ceasefire:

US and Ukrainian officials seek to torpedo Minsk cease-fire agreement


If the NWO is successful in killing Ukranian's it won't be long before they start killing Americans. Globalists are traitors against all nations.


Great sentiments and rhetoric, not much else, as what he's calling for is the end of US involvement in NATO. OK, what then?

US forces have to leave Europe ... completely, the lot. But Europe is most definitely not going to butt-out of the changing of borders in Ukraine using Russian force and support.

He seems to want to ignore that Russia is in fact attacking Ukraine, has stolen its navy, has taken Crimea, and has tried to carve off more and more of Eastern Ukraine, even in the past couple of days.

"I'm pro-facts."

OK, but are you also prepared to accept the implications and imperatives that those facts, Ron?


OK, what then?



Peace since WWII involved the "balance of terror" of MAD. It is a BALANCE of forces and strategy and position.

Change the balance radically and the strategic game changes radically, i.e. not-peace. And it happens in multiple locations.


Fact: Crimea was 'gifted' to Ukraine in the 1950's by crazy Khrushchev without a plebiscite.

Fact: Crimea voted for reunification when given the chance.

Fact: Ukraine only owned the Sevastopol Navel base by the graciousness of Russia.Russia even paid for a lease.

Fact: The Ukrainian Navy was allowed to exit Sevastopol after the reunification vote. Why would Russia want their junk?

Fact: Sevastopol would never have been given up by Russia regardless of the reunification vote just as the USSA refuses to leave Guantanamo.

Fact: Russia has given Ukraine control of all the borders including the break away provinces with the new Minsk agreement.

Fact: You are full of shit.


Fact: Crimea is the UN recognized Sovereign territory of Ukraine in law.

Fact: Crimea being Ukrainian territory is recognized by the overwhelming majority of countries on Earth.

Deal with it.


UN does not recognize the Kosovo entity, but it still exists. UN din't sanction the entire war against Serbia, but it still took place.

Reality is different than UN's view of the world, and the realities on the ground in Ukraine are changing as we speak. Deal with it !


Fact: The UN is not a sovereign state.

Fact: The UN is funded mainly by the U.S

Fact: The UN has no authority to recognize any state.

Fact: The UN 'supposedly' supports self determination by it's very charter.

Fact: You are still full of shit.


Chancellor Merkel: (a few days ago)
"One particular priority was given to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia this morning. We stand up for the same principles of inviolability of territorial integrity. For somebody who comes from Europe, I can only say if we give up this principle of territorial integrity of countries, then we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe that we’ve been able to achieve. This is not just any old point, it’s an essential, a crucial point, and we have to stand by it. And Russia has violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine in two respects: in Crimea, and also in Donetsk and Luhansk.

So we are called upon now to come up with solutions, but not in the sense of a mediator, but we also stand up for the interests of the European peaceful order. And this is what the French President and I have been trying to do over the past few days. We’re going to continue those efforts.

And I’m very grateful that throughout the Ukraine crisis, we have been in very, very close contact with the United States of America and Europe on sanctions, on diplomatic initiatives. And this is going to be continued. And I think that’s, indeed, one of the most important messages we can send to Russia, and need to send to Russia.

We continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, although we have suffered a lot of setbacks. These days we will see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to a negotiated settlement. I’ve always said I don’t see a military solution to this conflict, but we have to put all our efforts in bringing about a diplomatic solution. ..."

i.e. Europe doesn't want the US to leave, and Washington does not want the US to leave either.


Get it?

Both consider this to be in their vital interests.

So these also are the facts of the situation, and you can try to ignore these facts, because you do not like them, you do not like the ugliness of geopolitics, but that changes nothing about geopolitics.

All I'm doing here is pointing that out.

So cry a river of tears if you think it changes anything, or that if merely I changed my mind, it would make you less pissy and aggrieved.

But those facts of this situation, will remain.

That's where Ron Paul, and people like you, have your heads rammed firmly up your butts, screaming to mother to make it all go away.

And I understand (perfectly) why you would want the world to be different than it is, but it simply isn't going to be.

Now seriously, grow up and try to cope with that, rhetorical fantasies don't help.


bored. Chancellor Merkel sang differently about Kosovo.


"Both consider this to be in their vital interests."

Good sir, who's interests? Certainly you do not refer to the average American.

From this heart, how does the extreme waste of manpower and money and MIC profit pumping for moar bankster profits become a "vital interest" to we, the average Americans? How is that "in their vital interest" to the rest of the world? All the warmongering for profits, world domination, and population elimination is NOT interesting, or in the better "interests" of America and the world's people at all.

How can you justify the out right blatant murder of innocents, women, and children for the moneygod? Whose really vitally interested in that? Constant never ending warmongering in foreign lands is NOT the choice of real truth following Americans at all, nor in their best interests. It is ONLY for evil zionist/luciferian/sataninc interests and NO covering up that FACT will change this truth.

Darn, never thought about disagree with you before, for your truth really lit the Way for many here once ago.

From this perspective, if they were to go after the evil bankster empire of chaotic dust in Europe, THAT would be of "vital interest" to the freedom loving American people. In fact, the world would rejoice if ALL these evil things were rounded up and placed on an island in the middle of the ocean to do what they will. Good riddance say we all! War is of NO vital interest to anyone. It just does not work.



Yes, but in Ukraine, things are going Putin's way, not yours. He will play his long game and he will prevail.

It could mean the end of your beloved NATO, which will have no viable purpose if it cannot dragoon Ukraine into its ranks so as to encircle and ultimately destroy Russia.

It could also mean the end of the the EU, but that appears to be coming apart at the seams anyway.

You say Europe is dead keen on having the US remain in Europe. That's true of the elite -- largely because Paris and Berlin are terrified of the vacuum that would be created by US withdrawal. Paris knows Germany would have the whip hand; Germany is afraid of being alone at the top.

Nevertheless, our murderous and immoral Ukraine policy is earning us lots of new enemies among European populations. We are playing with fire. Not sure if we don't know that, or just don't care.


Yes, but in Ukraine, things are going Putin's way, not yours.

Partisans usually do not like how things will develop to be stated plainly, as it often goes against the way they want things to develop.

So partisans then shoot the messenger, rather than take the warning, on its face value.

Miffed Microbiologist

Element, I happen to agree with you though it does bother me personally. Sometimes hard facts are unpleasant to truly face and hopes of alternative choices are seductive though not likely relevant in these games of power.

My only grief is this is being played with a participant that is rotting from within. Given up its manufacturing base. Economically in the crapper and showering many with money just to live day to day. An aging sick population. We see this farce play out everyday. We are being drained dry internally and will soon be unable to fill this role losing our strong foundation. And when it ends, another will assume the role as it always has been throughout history. Can you blame us for wanting an end to this?

As a small player in this, one who will be likely swept away when the power shifts, I can only watch it unfold. And this gives me no pleasure to admit such a thing.



Mrs.M, if you examine his post it's quite easy to see that he is suffering from a condition called, "Fatalism".

"Fatalism is a philosophical doctrine stressing the subjugation of all events or actions to fate. Fatalism generally refers to any of the following ideas: The view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do."

His argument that the convolutions of geopolitics are a natural result of survival and therefore beyond the scope of our control or wishful thinking is both wrong and indifferent to the real crimes being committed in our name.

What else could they do but fight against the nutjobs in Kiev and ask for help from Russia? Be burnt alive or become refugees?

Yet to brush all this aside with glib remarks about geopolitics and national survival with quite insane philosophies on death lacking in any depth of analysis or empathy for the victims of these horrendous crimes is, I think, quite revolting. Yes, control of our fate is an illusion, but we are also the cumulative sum of all of our decisions.

So, Mrs.M, you keep your compassion alive. Your empathy and reason do you credit in a world full of cold sociopaths. Without such sweet and bitter experiences to guide our moral values in life, life would be very dull and useless indeed.


"I am not taking a side.
I am totally non-partisan."

For a guy who believes he is non-partisan you sure do have a LOT to say about it for one side.

"I am pointing out what is going to happen."

For a guy who thinks he is a realist or pragmatist, you sure are delusional about being able to tell what is going to happen. Newsflash: NOBODY knows the future. Not even you.

What's wrong with you? There's nothing coherent in your "message" at all - perhaps that's why you're getting junked.


Americans shouldn't leave, but stay there and keep paying for (and subsidizing with manpower and equipment) the European "security".

That would be a sure way toward self-destruction of contemporary US, which is already practically bankrupt (and not only from a moral point of view...).


Ukraine's government was functioning under a Constitution. Within the Constitution was allowances for Crimea to remain autonomous. The Ukrainian Constitution was trashed when the overthrow occurred allowing Crimea to vote for independence.

How can you argue rule of law when the existing government is outside the rule of law while Crimea is within the law ?

Good point about stealing your Navy - and the fact is there is very little that CAN be done about it. Russia took it and nothing will change that. Destroying Russia to give Crimea back to an illegitimate government will not fly - its all about price discovery. What price CAN be forced on far very little.

What price has the US already paid

Red Lenin

Fact: Crimea is the UN recognized Sovereign territory of Ukraine in law.

Fact: Yugoslavia was recognized by the UN as a sovereign country. It no longer exists.


UN is worthless except for fill pockets with US taxpayer $.

same as your opinion:


Now you're fronting. Next thing you'll say Israel is legitimate

Urban Roman

"... and has tried to carve off more and more .."

Really? The Russian Army has been fighting a random bunch of warmed-over nazi skinheads for almost a whole year, and can't manage to take a couple of oblasts west of the Don?

Whatchoo smokin' over dere? Login or register to post comments


There was no Ukraine prior to 1991. Contemporary Ukraine is an artificially induced state, created in a moment of maximum weakness of the Russian state. As a result, it has no future, and no amount of US propping will change the facts on the ground. Crimea is populated by Russians in vast majority, who decided they don't want to be rulled by Kiev after the US led coup. More so, the Ukrainian "fleet" was built during USSR so it represents a Russian asset too. Your narrative is as dumb as this entire war... which will end badly for US.


Ukraine has never been a sovereign nation.


Darn Element, what happened to you?

In the past, you were so spot on about all the fuckyoushima tragedy and offered much light for many who listened intently to your truth. We are grateful for all that light.

Now, it seems as if you have been co-opted, or banned and someone else is using your handle to put out the same trash the organized criminal lame stream media propagandists are putting out for public consumption. It's ONLY regurgitation of the filthiest yukkity-muck ever.

We all miss the truth bearing Element and wonder, are you really another dis-informationist? It would be a shame and big loss to find this out, as your great intelligence is needed to combat the evil that has run rampant over the planet for centuries. Is it money or love you quest after, dear One?

Ask, would you rather have a Ron Paul for president, or the evil illegal usurping alien bushonian bankster puppet we have now? Truly, the puppet soterobama is absolutely the most vile evil and destructive worst president America has ever had.. History will reflect this fact. We may not see another righteous president ever again in America's coming to an end history. Sad to ponder that, eh!


(Side-swiping truth, God is Love. Period!)

new game

hmmm, then silence...


You are correct. All germans I spoke to said, that they should leave Russia with Crimea and the Donbass region.

You are incorrect, that Ukraine is Russia. It is not. After WWII Stalin made the deal that he could enlarge Russia to the West. So he deported the polish to what was once Germany. This artificial enlargement divides Ukraine and is a rated break point that runs through the country. So both sides have a legitimate claim.


The latest rant on the GW story.

Ron Paul WAS America's last chance to remain free from the horridness of the banksteronian evil that runs rampant over the land like diarrhea running out of a goose’s arse.


NATO was created to force the USSR to target two widely separated entities (Europe and continental US) before the time of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This was to keep the USSR focused on Europe. In any envisioned war, Europe and USSR would be destroyed or severely weakened, strengthening the US position.


There is but one thing in all of this that is perfectly clear to me. The situation is quite confusing, lying is rampant, and unnecessarily provoking the Russian Bear is about the most dangerous thing anyone could do.

My preference for U.S. policy is neither isolationism nor militarism. It's diplomacy. Further, the U.S. should abandon its use of economic sanctions against the Bear for his annexation of Crimea because Putin would never leave Crimea, meaning this economic cattle prod will continue to annoy the Bear.

Instead, the U.S. and NATO should be willing to trade some form of recognition of Russian presence in Crimea for ending the war in eastern Ukraine. I would also hope that Kiev and Washington would be willing to see an autonomous region, perhaps more aligned with Moscow than Kiev and agreement not to place NATO troops or materiel in Ukraine.

But of course, none of this is likely - everyone is lying and the trust needed for real diplomacy is nil.


I guess that the CIA Director,Stephen Harper, Victoria Wench Nuland were only in Ukraine for a nice vacation?

It shows anyone with a grade 2 education how the world still works.

Bunga Bunga

We couped some folks.


RP gives me the impression he a form of controlled opposition, almost like a pressure release valve, giving people false hope and at same giving people false conclusions on key issues such as 9/11.


You can't take on too many issues. Paul knows 911 was an inside job. His supporters know. Someday he will go public. I don't agree with the way he handles this, just as I don't like the politics of rand paul on many issues. TPTB would have loved RP to come out as a Truther - they would have detroyed him and his credibility as the sheeple just have no idea what is really going on.


Ross Kemp Extreme World. Ukraine


Watched it. The nazi's are taking over west ukraine. Porkoshenko better watch his back.


Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the far right Pravy Sektor group (financed by Kolomoisky) has brought together the remnants of the Nazi volunteer battalions as one entity, under his control. He has also stated that they (again) will not comply with the ceasefire. These will be the shock troops in the next stage of this saga.



(use subtitles)


This is how they do business in Ukraine parliament, whichever government is in


If the US were isolationist, a lot of Dead Ukrainians would likely be alive right now.

With that said, there are plenty of intrigues to go around even the US were somehow frozen.

There are many powerful entities who have their fingers in the Ukraine. Not the least of them are the Ukrainians themselves, both Eastern and Western variety.

Neither the West's position, that everyone should account all Ukrainians both East and West to be homogenous, nor the East's position, that the East Ukraine is Russia, and the West Ukraine is an illegitimate province of Poland or LIthuania and therefore unworthy of self rule, is workable.

Both of those positions lead to dead ends. The Ukrainians are Ukrainians because they are the descendants of those who followed the Kiev 'Rus' (Russians). The Russians are those who followed the Prince of Moscow. All of Russia and part of Ukraine was conquered by the Mongols. The part not conquered are the West Ukrainians. The part conquered are the East many soviet era Russian imports.

Russia's stake is control of the Black Sea Basin...which will cement Russia as mandatory near monopoly energy supplier to Europe. Europe's stake is to have access to non-Russian energy. The US's and NATO's stake is to prevent the re-arming of Europe by ensuring they have no REASON to re-arm.

Pick your outcome:

If Russia gets both Crimea and East Ukrainian land routes to Ukraine, then they decisively control energy to Europe. Europe's choices are then to EITHER a) Trust the US to ensure their economies and access to energy b) Ensure European access to energy themselves - militarily c) Become Russian colonies.

Russia's choices are: a) Commit Russia to militarily conquering Ukraine and then use the economic benefit of that position to arm themselves for the inevitable world war that will result b) Resign itself to open competition for energy by surrendering either East Ukraine or Crimea.

The US's choices are: a) Incrementally increase pressure on Russia via economic and/or military means until they allow Europe to have access to non-Russian energy b) Ignore Ukraine with the cost of later involvement in a world war in europe c) Ignore Ukraine and then withdraw from the transatlantic alliance.

The fact is that the US is over-extended and should not have given Putin a reason for overt involvement. The fact is that Europe is un-prepared to militarily deter Russia from turning them into energy-plantation slaves. The fact is that EUrope is too proud and powerful for Russia as currently composed to force into energy submission simultaneously detering Europe from contesting the matter militarily.

In the next 20 years there will be a major war in Europe, on the scale of WWII. Russia will be facing all of Western Europe.

Russia propaganda seems confused about the organization of Power in the West, presenting it as a US-led top-down organization. In fact it is led by powerful European interests who act through governments. This is all highly observable. What did you think the eminence of the CFR was all about? What did you think Bilderberg was for??? When the European governments were decimated after WWII those interests acted through the US government.

Europe is no longer decimated, and the shift of power from US to European entities has been historic and EASILY observable. What do you think the Eurozone and EU are all about??

There's a lot of high-time preference going on - on every side of this, as each side too heavily weights the desirability of the fruit they see before them, and overly discounts the later costs of that fruit - both Europe and Russia wanting the Ukrainian fruit for the energy power it gives them, and the US in underestimating the costs of their chosen course to placate Europe via meddling in Ukraine.

This is not going to end well for anyone in Europe no matter how it plays out. The stakes are too big for too many big powers.

The US would be better off isolationist, and preparing to re-open ellis island. A lot of war refugees will need a home soon.

China need only wait to inherit Eurasia from those who plan to foolishly decimate themselves.


So that would be a US/NATO/EU coup on a US/NATO/EU coup?

Isn't one coup normally enough for a few years? The first one lasted 12 months and obviously the backstops weren't placed carefully enough, me thinks the bribery money is running out (has run out)!


Here's Ron Paul in 2002 asking why the US was meddling with Ukrainian elections...

Armed Resistance

Here you go: Victoria Nuland admitting that the US spent $5B to have regime change..


Off the wall? That is where anyone who does not believe that USA, EU and NATO are totally responsible for the violent mess Ukraine has become.

[Feb 14, 2015] Don't Arm Ukraine by John J. Mearsheimer

Feb 8, 2015 |

...Going down that road would be a huge mistake for the United States, NATO and Ukraine itself. Sending weapons to Ukraine will not rescue its army and will instead lead to an escalation in the fighting. Such a step is especially dangerous because Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and is seeking to defend a vital strategic interest.

...the conflict will not end there. Russia would counter-escalate, taking away any temporary benefit Kiev might get from American arms. The authors of the think tank study concede this, noting that “even with enormous support from the West, the Ukrainian Army will not be able to defeat a determined attack by the Russian military.” In short, the United States cannot win an arms race with Russia over Ukraine and thereby ensure Russia’s defeat on the battlefield.

... ... ...

This coercive strategy is also unlikely to work, no matter how much punishment the West inflicts. What advocates of arming Ukraine fail to understand is that Russian leaders believe their country’s core strategic interests are at stake in Ukraine; they are unlikely to give ground, even if it means absorbing huge costs.

Great powers react harshly when distant rivals project military power into their neighborhood, much less attempt to make a country on their border an ally. This is why the United States has the Monroe Doctrine, and today no American leader would ever tolerate Canada or Mexico joining a military alliance headed by another great power.

... ... ...

Upping the ante in Ukraine also risks unwanted escalation. Not only would the fighting in eastern Ukraine be sure to intensify, but it could also spread to other areas. The consequences for Ukraine, which already faces profound economic and social problems, would be disastrous.

... ... ...

Our understanding of the mechanisms of escalation in crises and war is limited at best, although we know the risks are considerable. Pushing a nuclear-armed Russia into a corner would be playing with fire.

Advocates of arming Ukraine recognize the escalation problem, which is why they stress giving Kiev “defensive,” not “offensive,” weapons. Unfortunately, there is no useful distinction between these categories: All weapons can be used for attacking and defending. The West can be sure, though, that Moscow will not see those American weapons as “defensive,” given that Washington is determined to reverse the status quo in eastern Ukraine.

...Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, seems to recognize that fact, as she has said Germany will not ship arms to Kiev. Her problem, however, is that she does not know how to bring the crisis to an end.

She and other European leaders still labor under the delusion that Ukraine can be pulled out of Russia’s orbit and incorporated into the West, and that Russian leaders must accept that outcome. They will not.

To save Ukraine and eventually restore a working relationship with Moscow, the West should seek to make Ukraine a neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO. It should look like Austria during the Cold War. Toward that end, the West should explicitly take European Union and NATO expansion off the table, and emphasize that its goal is a nonaligned Ukraine that does not threaten Russia. The United States and its allies should also work with Mr. Putin to rescue Ukraine’s economy, a goal that is clearly in everyone’s interest.

It is essential that Russia help end the fighting in eastern Ukraine and that Kiev regain control over that region. Still, the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk should be given substantial autonomy, and protection for Russian language rights should be a top priority.

Crimea, a casualty of the West’s attempt to march NATO and the European Union up to Russia’s doorstep, is surely lost for good. It is time to end that imprudent policy before more damage is done — to Ukraine and to relations between Russia and the West.

John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, is the author of “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.”

[Feb 11, 2015] Poroshenko: Ukraine conflict risks spiralling out of control

Quote: Ironically (and rather disingenuously), US talking heads, media parrots and politicians in Washington – are still recycling their worn-out sound bites: “Russia is invading the Ukraine”, “Moscow is responsible for the destabilization of the Ukraine”, and it goes on.

Military industrial lobbyists like US State Dept. Euro Secretary Victoria Nuland, and US Senator John McCain have played a key role in the Kiev’s Nazi renaissance from the beginning – a new low point in international racketeering…

Feb 11, 2015 |


War by media and the triumph of propaganda by John Pilger

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what's called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war - with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an "invisible government". It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media - a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

This power to create a new "reality" has building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: "There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual."

I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only "culture" and introspection could change the world.

Within a few years, driven by the forces of profit, the cult of "me-ism" had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, our sense of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message.

Read more at :-


The Minsk talks are about to enter their tenth hour, with the delegations of Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine still trying to reach a final compromise and come up with a joint resolution. Journalists have been covering the event for almost 12 hours now.

Pity the guardian doesn't have any journalists.

Nickel07 -> centerline

They rely on the arduous task of watching FOX (and it is incredibly arduous) or repeating whatever dribble comes out of the BBC


Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove by John Pilger


The genius of Stanley Kubrick's film is that it accurately represents the cold war's lunacy and dangers. Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs. There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same "invisible government", as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda.

In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, "the missile gap" was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, President John F Kennedy approved the CIA's propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This filled front pages as the "Russian threat". In fact, the Americans were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. Reneging on a US promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand "one inch to the east", Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato's military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.

In February, the US mounted one of its proxy "colour" coups against the elected government of Ukraine; the shock troops were fascists. For the first time since 1945, a pro-Nazi, openly antisemitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism on the border of Russia. Some 30 million Russians died in the invasion of their country by Hitler's Nazis, who were supported by the infamous Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the UPA) which was responsible for numerous Jewish and Polish massacres. The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, of which the UPA was the military wing, inspires today's Svoboda party.

Since Washington's putsch in Kiev – and Moscow's inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet – the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the "Russian threat". This is fossilised propaganda. The US air force general who runs Nato forces in Europe – General Philip Breedlove, no less – claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops "massing" on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Barack Obama's rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.

Following a 13-year rampage that began in stricken Afghanistan well after Osama bin Laden had fled, then destroyed Iraq beneath a false flag, invented a "nuclear rogue" in Iran, dispatched Libya to a Hobbesian anarchy and backed jihadists in Syria, the US finally has a new cold war to supplement its worldwide campaign of murder and terror by drone.

Read more at:-


Lets be clear. Kiev must answer for their crimes when this is settled:

On June 2nd 2014 a Ukraine jet fighter attacked the central administrative building in Lugansk city killing seven civilians. It was a gross act of state terrorism It was not a military target.

Immediately the US and the Ukraine UN Representative lied, saying it was a misfiring rebel anti-aircraft manpad device that struck the buildings air con.

Yet, when the osce investigation pronounced it had been a jet fighter attack, Kiev and Washington still denied it.

They have still not answered to this war crime - the first terrorist act of this crisis incidentally.

Lets not forget WHO is responsible for the appalling, criminal deaths in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk and who started the "terror".



'The one constant here is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the leader of the free and thinking world who has not changed from the beginning and is to the people of Earth as the North star has been to sailors on the oceans for centuries.'

This has to be the funniest thing ever posted on here (and saddest for those trapped in the PutinSSR)

Ian56789 -> GreatMountainEagle

Why do you get off on being a Goldman Sachs / Neocon troll?

Ian56789 -> GreatMountainEagle

Putin currently has an 86% approval rating in Russia. Primarily this is because they were ruled by Goldman Sachs and the US under Yeltsin in the 1990's. Yeltsin caused the collapse of the Russian economy and a 40% drop in people's living standards. Russia was a total mess by the late 1990's.

Putin enjoys a very high approval rating because they do NOT want to be ruled by Goldman Sachs again and they see Putin as the only guy that can stop it from happening.

Americans and Europeans haven't done so well living under Goldman Sachs rule for the last circa 15 years either. People's real standards of living in the developed countries has declined significantly.


Forgetting all the name calling, who started it etc. what I don't get is how anyone can think this will work.

The only premise where this will be possible is if the West will reign in Kiev's wish to obliterate the East of Ukraine and Russia can persuade the rebels that this is true.

Without at least some assurances from the West about the safety of the East, the rebels will fight on, even if Putin removed his support (which he won't do if he thinks there will be a bloodbath, it would be political suicide for him).

You can't ask Russia to get out of the situation if they think the Lunatics in charge of Kiev will do what they want to do.


The US always attacking Putin. Russia has a functioning, united government of which Putin is one part. When the US decides to attack, the first thing they create is an evil dictator. They can bring freedom to the masses. US freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.

Obama having a hissy fit with Putin is childish. Obama got a start working for Henry Kissinger and rumored to work for the CIA.
If he wants to do something useful he could send Mrs Nuland back to Kiev with some of her delicious cookies

Goodthanx -> NormVan

To gain a nomination of Presidency, you are prescreened by the Cia. Meaning, are you willing to be a lacky for the Cia, and the Military industrialists?
No president has a long future without the support of both. JFK case in point.


Once the peace agreement is signed...what are you lot on the dark side going to do just come here and try to push back the tide of the investigations that will surely follow? What are you going to do try to scream Putin is a Nazi like kindergarten kids?

I think you are about to lose big time and not just in Ukraine, but also by losing the little credibility you still have with some countries as demonstrated by the approach taken by Hollande and Merkel.
And, to compound it all:

"the reality of “American leadership” at times entails “twisting the arms” of states which “don’t do what we need them to do,” and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals."

Translation : We coerce some folk.


Why tell us what Poro thinks, Guardian; he always lies, wasting our time and Guardian outdated reporters ink.

Why tell us what Obama thinks, mass murderer. evil, inadequate, coward, fool, and the cause of all this. He is out of his depth; this is not any of his business; he should butt out He will have to.

Merkel is just finding her voice and her brains and cutting loose the Yankee Nazi twits.

The one constant here is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the leader of the free and thinking world who has not changed from the beginning and is to the people of Earth as the North star has been to sailors on the oceans for centuries.


NATO’s Nazis: Ethnic Cleansing Their Opposition in East Ukraine
November 17, 2014

Nearly one year on from the US-backed faux ‘colour revolution’ in Maidan Square, the Ukraine has been violently ripped into pieces by the new CIA-backed government in Kiev.

What began with pro-EU colour mobs and far right-wing neo-Nazi gangs in Kiev, has escalated to ethnic cleansing in the eastern half of the country. The horrors are unspeakable, as detailed in the report below (with video). NATO, led by the US and Britain, are actively backing Kiev’s military brutal campaign of collective punishment and ethnic cleansing against Russian-speaking people in the east of that country.

Ironically (and rather disingenuously), US talking heads, media parrots and politicians in Washington – are still recycling their worn-out sound bites: “Russia is invading the Ukraine”, “Moscow is responsible for the destabilization of the Ukraine”, and it goes on.

Military industrial lobbyists like US State Dept. Euro Secretary Victoria Nuland, and US Senator John McCain have played a key role in the Kiev’s Nazi renaissance from the beginning – a new low point in international racketeering…

Read more at:-


Interesting Newsnight on the Maidan shootings, perhaps it wasn't so black and white.

The much more devastating ARD (German TV) report (from about a year ago) seems to have been removed from the Internet. It used to be on YouTube.

The only place I can find it is

But don't bother ARD has removed the right to broadcast it for 'licencing' reasons.

For a textual analysis of ARD's report try this, it about two pages down

Ian56789 richiep40

The sniper shootings in Maidan

The sniper fire came from the upper floors and roofs of buildings controlled by the protestors
(Other pictures show the Berkut Police firing - but they are firing downwards in front of the protestors to try and stop their advance NOT firing at them.)

The sniper's massacre in Maidan Feb 18th to 20th, that directly led to the Coup in Ukraine:-
An academic analysis by a Canadian

Kiev snipers were hired by Maidan leaders - the leaked EU's Ashton phone tape

Full Videoproof of Maidan snipers killing Ukraine Civilians Shooting From Behind! warning GRAPHIC 18+

​‘No evidence of Berkut police behind mass killing in Kiev’ – probe head
There is no forensic evidence linking the victims of mass killings in Kiev on February 20 with officers from the Berkut police unit, the head of the parliamentary commission investigating the murders told journalists.

"This will be yet another case, like the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, which is still being investigated today,” Gennady Moskal reported.

The MP made the statements at a media conference on Tuesday gathered to announce preliminary results of his commission’s probe. He assured that despite the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office having arrested 12 Berkut officers on allegations of committing the mass killings, forensic evidence suggests their innocence.

He said the bullets that killed people in Kiev on the bloodies day of confrontation between protesters seeking to oust President Viktor Yanukovich and riot police didn’t match any of the firearms issued to Berkut’s special unit, which, unlike the majority of riot police, was allowed to carry lethal weapons.

The man in charge of those controlling the buildings from which the snipers fired was Andrey Parubiy who after the Coup was appointed head of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

Read more at:-

Mulefish -> Ian56789

This was all reported on R.T.V. at the time.

They had reporters on the ground when this was happening. They showed us the remarkable restraint shown by the Berkut in the face of being in the face of being viciously assailed by infused, probably drug fuelled, certainly Yankee pie and five billion fuelled, Nazi thugs, and the illogical directions from which the sniper bullets came. (~This type of third party sniping is typical Yank false flag trickery. They probably provided the snipers too.)

They also broadcast the transcript of the Ashton phone call and her goofy, coward, reaction, not taken up, indeed studiously ignored, by the Western so-called press.

In like vein, Putin offered up his radar records for the downing of MH17, including records of the presence of Ukrainian fighter planes present at the time, an offer not matched by the Kiev Junta or the mouthy U.S. deep in the throes of lying about the incident , all the same, with typical foul mouthedness.

So easy to fool the common denizens of the West, especially the "exceptional" Yankees and their British government ass lickers.

richiep40 -> Ian56789

Thanks for all the info, I wouldn't say I knew all about all the research, but I definitely got the drift.

I was really just commenting that the BBC Newsnight report was the first time that any of the British Media have come even slightly off message.

For instance there were some reports from Donetsk on the horrible conditions there and the civilian casualties on BBC Radio this morning, but not once did they mention these were all in the City Centre held by the rebels and the only conceivable people launching the attacks were the Ukrainian forces.

Now to anyone who takes an interest it is obvious, but for the casual listener who doesn't have an interest, I doubt it.


Every government can use the full employment equation:
Full Employment (FE) = Pension (P) X 1.2 X Money Velocity (MV) X 0.001
That equation is for all Nations and States.

A Ukraine Government can immediately tax Murdoch-type tax evaders, etc at 0.001% of money velocity and pay a new 20% State Pension.

There is absolutely no valid excuse for unemployment in Ukraine. The State Pension can be adjusted lower and the tax rate can be adjusted higher. The pension is to spread the money around to create more small businesses and more jobs. The tiny rate of tax is for High Frequency Traders, Gamblers, Murdoch-types etc. Everyday people will not notice it.

When Governments and people learn how good this modern tax is, we will be able to use it to replace Income Tax etc. War is obsolete.

centerline coober

One small hitch. It is the Murdoch type that make the taxes. They put people in power who will tax the poor so the government can subside the Murdochs.

Murdoch moved his Australian accounting office offshore a few years ago so the Australian tax office paid Murdoch three quarters of a billion dollars.

Bud Peart

"Obama rounded unusually personally on Putin. “He has a foot very much in the Soviet past. That’s how he came of age. He ran the KGB,”

He ran the FSB, is he stupid or was this a planned lie to ratchet up cold war hysteria?

[Feb 08, 2015] Ukraine crisis Do not try to scare Putin, warns Merkel By Tom Parfitt, Moscow and Justin Huggler in Berlin

Another terrible and extremely brutal created by West civil war in the name of neo-colonial domination of the territory, resources and markets is in full swing. And that's after Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afganistan, Libya... Already probably over 50K of dead and several times more wounded. More then a million of refuges (mostly in Russia)...
Feb 07, 2015 | Telegraph

Sending arms to Ukraine will not scare Vladimir Putin, warns Angela Merkel while Francois Hollande warns it could lead to war

It was a day of bluster and speeches but also paralysis over how to bring the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine to an end.

On one side, hawks in Washington favour supplying “advanced weapons” to Ukraine’s government in Kiev. On the other, cautious European leaders warned it is easier to provoke Vladimir Putin than to scare him.

“I am firmly convinced this conflict cannot be solved with military means,” said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor at the Munich Security Conference.

Mrs Merkel, who is the only major Western leader to have a working relationship with Mr Putin, said a flow of American arms to Ukraine would not intimidate the Russian leader.

“I cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily,” she said. “I have to put it that bluntly.”

She added that force had not proved to be the solution in the past when dealing with Russia. “I grew up in East Germany, I have seen the Wall,” she said. “The Americans did not intervene in the Wall, but in the end we won.”

More than 5,300 people have died in the conflict so far, many in devastating artillery barrages, and Kiev warned yesterday that rebel troops were massing for a fresh offensive.

An increasing number of US politicians and senior officials have suggested countering the rebel troops by supplying “defensive weapons” such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, small arms and ammunition to allow Ukraine to strike back at the tanks, artillery and troops that Russia appears to be sending to the east of the country.

General Philip Breedlove, Nato’s top military commander, insisted on Saturday that the option should remain on the table. “I don’t think we should preclude out of hand the possibility of the military option,” he said, adding: “There is no conversation about boots on the ground.”

President Barack Obama has remained silent so far, but Ashton Carter, his nominee for defence secretary, told a Senate committee last week that he is “very much inclined” to provide arms to Petro Poroshenko’s government.

A day after five hours of talks in Moscow between Mrs Merkel, François Hollande and Mr Putin yielded no public agreement beyond a commitment to a further phone call, all the major players in the crisis met at the Munich Security Conference, electrifying what is usually a dry affair.

There was no mistaking where the sympathies of the audience, made up of international leaders including 20 heads of state, lay. When Mrs Merkel mentioned in her speech that she was glad to see Petro Poroshenko present, the Ukrainian President stood up and took a bow, to rapturous applause. Brandishing the passports of several Russian soldiers allegedly seized on Ukrainian territory, he said they were the “best evidence for the aggression and for the presence of Russian troops”.

Mr Hollande has said he is against arming Ukraine and Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, said the UK also supports a diplomatic solution while he denounced Mr Putin’s “bully-boy” tactics.

“At the moment we do not feel that the supply of arms would be a helpful contribution,” said Mr Hammond. “And so long as there is something approximating a military stalemate, the focus must be on finding a political solution to resolve it.”

He also rejected accusations that the UK had become a “diplomatic irrelevance”, saying: “We will decide, together, what is the best way to go forward. The United States and the United Kingdom will be at that table with France and Germany.”

But Malcolm Rifkind, the former Defence and Foreign Secretary, was one of several delegates who pressed Mrs Merkel on how Mr Putin could be tackled without bolstering Ukraine’s army. “Frederick the Great said that diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments,” the Tory MP pointed out.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, appeared to leave a route open for weapons supplies to Kiev, saying: “We do not believe in a military solution to the conflict, but we do not believe that Putin has the right to do whatever he wants.” He added: “Too many times, President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks.”

On Sunday, Mrs Merkel, Mr Hollande, Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko will resume the debate and are expected to thrash out a blueprint on a conference call. But it remains unclear what incentive, or threat, Moscow requires in order to scale back its support for the thousands of heavily armed militiamen in east Ukraine.

On Saturday Mr Putin insisted that his country was innocent, saying during a visit to Sochi on the Black Sea: “We are not going to wage war on anyone, we plan to cooperate with everybody.”

“There clearly is an attempt to restrain our development with different means,” he told trade union activists. “There is an attempt to perturb the existing world order... with one incontestable leader who wants to remain as such thinking he is allowed everything while others are only allowed what he allows and only in his interests. This world order will never suit Russia.”

In Munich, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, took the West to task for allegedly escalating the conflict but expressed hope the renewed peace talks would bear fruit. “We believe there is every possibility that we will reach a result and agree the recommendations that will allow the sides to really untie this knot of a conflict,” he said.

Representatives of the rebels, Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe signed a peace deal in Minsk, Belarus, in September. That deal agreed a ceasefire, a withdrawal of artillery, prisoner exchanges and other concessions but was never implemented in full. Despite some lulls, fighting and shelling continued and last month the rebels announced they were abandoning talks over a ceasefire and going on the offensive.

French and German officials have said the current peace talks are seeking a way to implement the original Minsk agreement, possibly conceding more land to the rebels to reflect their recent advances.

But Mr Poroshenko said any new deal should not expand the territory given over to rebel control, and its signatories could not pick and choose which points to fulfil.

“The Minsk protocol is not a buffet in the Bayerischer Hof hotel,” he said, referring to the location of the Munich conference.

[Feb 06, 2015] Recognition by Obama and Americals as "players" in Ukranian conflict

Feb 3, 2015 |

American political and economic language has the notion of "player". It is beyond morality (as well as U.S. foreign policy in General). The player in the financial market or political player in the middle East, etc. Well, if you play chess or a shoot-and-kill videogame game of some kind, the murder of a pawn, knight, or military unit is not subject to moral evaluation. That's what game requires.

Recognition made by Obama that the USA has prepared a coup in Ukraine, is the recognition of a smug "player". Which slightly opened the card for psychological pressure signaling something to rebels or political opponents, or voters within the US.

Classic moral definitions have been substituted by the USA neoliberal elite with the concepts, which they call "legitimacy". On this planet they now reserved for themselves that right to define what is "legitimate" and what is not.

The problem is that directly or indirectly Americans kill not pawns and not units in videogame. But human beings. After ww2 toll of Americans victims is already on millions. Collapse of indigenous cultures, of the states, of established international contacts and relations, etc.. And they propose nothing in return for destroyed lives, cultures and states other then neoliberal order. Which is not a worthy replacement. Or offer of Washington consensus which was applied to several states-victims and destroyed all of them. All those IMF reforms does not work, because they were designed not to work and benefit countries in question but the USA and international corporations. Now those "gamers" face certain difficulties. Because the whole world is not the USA. Which remembers who caused suffering to many millions of people.

But I digress. We are discussion Obama admission of the organization of year another coup d'état in another banana revolution (in this case - European county called Ukraine) and he provided some interesting details. Now about details.

For example, I am sure that the group thugs in masks on the Maidan which brutally attacked f law-enforcement officers, which threw burning petrol at police and hit police with chains were iether of non-Ukrainian origin or specially brainwashed and trained by West units. Where they were trained? Who are these people? Who financed and built-up racist, anti-Russian hysteria in the media and on the Internet, in social networks? Who on the American side was negotiating with Putin and Yanukovich, how they cheated and they had expected? Give us names !

Well, since Obama opened the card, then I wonder - what's next? And it would be nice to know the details of this dirty operation not after 50 years, but now. Were those methods, using which the USA essentially started civil war in Ukraine, legitimate? Are similar dirty method of overthrowing legitimate government now OK to everybody?

[Feb 04, 2015] DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA: War Is the new normal By William J Astore

The U.S. military's recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well
February 1, 2015 |

It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it "the long war," an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent. It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well.

Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a "Groundhog Day" kind of repetition. Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.

Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition. Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can't stop making war.

More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here's a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I'm planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).

1. The privatization of war: The U.S. military’s recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well. Unlike the citizen-soldiers of past eras, the mobilized warrior corporations of America’s new mercenary moment -- the Halliburton/KBRs (nearly $40 billion in contracts for the Iraq War alone), the DynCorps ($4.1 billion to train 150,000 Iraqi police), and the Blackwater/Xe/Academis ($1.3 billion in Iraq, along with boatloads of controversy) -- have no incentive to demobilize. Like most corporations, their business model is based on profit through growth, and growth is most rapid when wars and preparations for more of them are the favored options in Washington.

"Freedom isn’t free," as a popular conservative bumper sticker puts it, and neither is war. My father liked the saying, “He who pays the piper calls the tune,” and today’s mercenary corporations have been calling for a lot of military marches piping in $138 billion in contracts for Iraq alone, according to the Financial Times. And if you think that the privatization of war must at least reduce government waste, think again: the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated in 2011 that fraud, waste, and abuse accounted for up to $60 billion of the money spent in Iraq alone.

To corral American-style war, the mercenaries must be defanged or deflated. European rulers learned this the hard way during the Thirty Years’ War of the seventeenth century. At that time, powerful mercenary captains like Albrecht von Wallenstein ran amok. Only Wallenstein’s assassination and the assertion of near absolutist powers by monarchs bent on curbing war before they went bankrupt finally brought the mercenaries to heel, a victory as hard won as it was essential to Europe’s survival and eventual expansion. (Europeans then exported their wars to foreign shores, but that’s another story.)

2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties: Jimmy Carter was the last president to attempt to exercise any kind of control over the national security state. A former Navy nuclear engineer who had served under the demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover, Carter cancelled the B-1 bomber and fought for a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights. Widely pilloried for talking about nuclear war with his young daughter Amy, Carter was further attacked for being “weak” on defense. His defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 inaugurated 12 years of dominance by Republican presidents that opened the financial floodgates for the Department of Defense. That taught Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council a lesson when it came to the wisdom of wrapping the national security state in a welcoming embrace, which they did, however uncomfortably. This expedient turn to the right by the Democrats in the Clinton years served as a temporary booster shot when it came to charges of being “soft” on defense -- until Republicans upped the ante by going “all-in” on military crusades in the aftermath of 9/11.

Since his election in 2008, Barack Obama has done little to alter the course set by his predecessors. He, too, has chosen not to challenge Washington’s prevailing catechism of war. Republicans have responded, however, not by muting their criticism, but by upping the ante yet again. How else to explain House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in March? That address promises to be a pep talk for the Republicans, as well as a smack down of the Obama administration and its “appeasenik” policies toward Iran and Islamic radicalism.

Serious oversight, let alone opposition to the national security state by Congress or a mainstream political party, has been missing in action for years and must now, in the wake of the Senate Torture Report fiasco (from which the CIA emerged stronger, not weaker), be presumed dead. The recent midterm election triumph of Republican war hawks and the prospective lineup of candidates for president in 2016 does not bode well when it comes to reining in the national security state in any foreseeable future.

3. “Support Our Troops” as a substitute for thought. You’ve seen them everywhere: “Support Our Troops” stickers. In fact, the “support” in that slogan generally means acquiescence when it comes to American-style war. The truth is that we’ve turned the all-volunteer military into something like a foreign legion, deploying it again and again to our distant battle zones and driving it into the ground in wars that amount to strategic folly. Instead of admitting their mistakes, America’s leaders have worked to obscure them by endlessly overpraising our “warriors” as so many universal heroes. This may salve our collective national conscience, but it’s a form of cheap grace that saves no lives -- and wins no wars.

Instead, this country needs to listen more carefully to its troops, especially the war critics who have risked their lives while fighting overseas. Organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace are good places to start.

4. Fighting a redacted war. War, like the recent Senate torture report, is redacted in America. Its horrors and mistakes are suppressed, its patriotic whistleblowers punished, even as the American people are kept in a demobilized state. The act of going to war no longer represents the will of the people, as represented by formal Congressional declarations of war as the U.S. Constitution demands. Instead, in these years, Americans were told to go to Disney World (as George W. Bush suggested in the wake of 9/11) and keep shopping. They’re encouraged not to pay too much attention to war’s casualties and costs, especially when those costs involve foreigners with funny-sounding names (after all, they are, as American sniper Chris Kyle so indelicately put it in his book, just “savages”).

Redacted war hides the true cost of a permanent state of killing from the American people, if not from foreign observers. Ignorance and apathy reign, even as a national security state that is essentially a shadow government equates its growth with your safety.

5. Threat inflation: There’s nothing new about threat inflation. We saw plenty of it during the Cold War (nonexistent missile and bomber gaps, for example). Fear sells and we’ve had quite a dose of it in the twenty-first century, from ISIS to Ebola. But a more important truth is that fear is a mind-killer, a debate-stifler.

Back in September, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that ISIS and its radical Islamic army was coming to America to kill us all. ISIS, of course, is a regional power with no ability to mount significant operations against the United States. But fear is so commonplace, so effectively stoked in this country that Americans routinely and wildly exaggerate the threat posed by al-Qaeda or ISIS or the bogeyman du jour.

Decades ago, as a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I was hunkered down in Cheyenne Mountain during the Cold War. It was the ultimate citadel-cum-bomb-shelter, and those in it were believed to have a 70% likelihood of surviving a five-megaton nuclear blast. There, not surprisingly, I found myself contemplating the very real possibility of a thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, a war that would have annihilated life as we knew it, indeed much of life on our planet thanks to the phenomenon of nuclear winter. You’ll excuse me for not shaking in my boots at the threat of ISIS coming to get me. Or of Sharia Law coming to my local town hall. With respect to such fears, America needs, as Hillary Clinton said in an admittedly different context, to “grow a pair.”

6. Defining the world as a global battlefield: In fortress America, all realms have by now become battle spheres. Not only much of the planet, the seas, air, and space, as well as the country’s borders and its increasingly up-armored police forces, but the world of thought, the insides of our minds. Think of the 17 intertwined intelligence outfits in “the U.S. Intelligence Community” and their ongoing “surge” for information dominance across every mode of human communication, as well as the surveillance of everything. And don’t forget the national security state’s leading role in making cyberwar a reality. (Indeed, Washington launched the first cyberwar in history by deploying the Stuxnet computer worm against Iran.)

Think of all this as a global matrix that rests on war, empowering disaster capitalism and the corporate complexes that have formed around the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and that intelligence community. A militarized matrix doesn’t blink at $1.45 trillion dollars devoted to the F-35, a single under-performing jet fighter, nor at projections of $355 billion over the next decade for “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal, weapons that Barack Obama vowed to abolish in 2009.

7. The new "normal" in America is war: The 9/11 attacks happened more than 13 years ago, which means that no teenagers in America can truly remember a time when the country was at peace. "War time" is their normal; peace, a fairy tale.

What’s truly “exceptional” in twenty-first-century America is any articulated vision of what a land at peace with itself and other nations might be like. Instead, war, backed by a diet of fear, is the backdrop against which the young have grown to adulthood. It’s the background noise of their world, so much a part of their lives that they hardly recognize it for what it is. And that’s the most insidious danger of them all.

How do we inoculate our children against such a permanent state of war and the war state itself? I have one simple suggestion: just stop it. All of it. Stop making war a never-ending part of our lives and stop celebrating it, too. War should be the realm of the extreme, of the abnormal. It should be the death of normalcy, not the dreary norm.

It’s never too soon, America, to enlist in that good fight!

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), is a TomDispatch regular. His D.Phil. is in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He’s just plain tired of war and would like to see the next politician braying for it be deployed with a rifle to the front lines of battle. He edits the blog The Contrary Perspective.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 William J. Astore

More …

[Feb 03, 2015] The Golden Age Of Black Ops: US Special Forces Have Already Deployed To 105 Nations This Year

Feb 03, 2015 |

During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries - roughly 70% of the nations on the planet - according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). And this year could be a record-breaker, just 66 days into fiscal 2015 - America’s most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80% of 2014’s total. Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans…”We want to be everywhere,” said Votel at Geolnt...

[Feb 02, 2015] ‘US wanted Sgt Bergdahl back from captivity, but silenced’

Feb 02, 2015 | RT Op-Edge

The US made an exception for Bowe Bergdahl, swapping him for five Gitmo prisoners as the Pentagon could not afford to have him in captivity forever, former US marine Ross Caputi told RT.But the military did not want Bergdahl to speak, either.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. He was released last May after being swapped for five detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Bergdahl was rather critical in his statements about the US Army. In his e-mails to the parents sergeant wrote:

“I’m ashamed to be an American. The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies.”

Now the US government wants to charge Bergdahl with desertion.

RT: Is the US Army simply out for revenge here?

Ross Caputi: There are probably some individuals that are. I don’t know if that is the policy of more higher-up people within the command. It does look like they are making a consolidated effort to keep everything quiet about Bowe Bergdahl case.

RT: Sergeant Bergdahl was highly critical about the US Army in Afghanistan. Is there any truth in what he says, what do you think?

RC: I think that he definitely had some legitimate criticism, especially in the letters that he wrote to his parents before he deserted. He was very upset about the abuses that were going on within the military, particularly within the rank structure. And he was also very upset about how their operations were harming civilians in Afghanistan. Those were totally valid criticisms. I’m not sure that he went about voicing his objections in a right way.

RT: The US normally refuses to do prisoner swaps. So why was an exception made for Bergdahl?

RC: I can only speculate. I just know that veterans themselves have a lot of propaganda value. Everybody wants to use veterans for propaganda purposes. The left does it as well as the right. They always want to have veterans supporting their politics to give the certain amount of the legitimacy to what their platform is. The US military saw the propaganda value in Bergdahl’s case, saw it has been very sensitive.

[Jan 10, 2015] If Credibility Is Fragile, Then Commitments Should Be Rare By Noah Millman

January 7, 2015 | The American Conservative

Daniel Larison on how hawks use credibility as a bludgeon:

The “credibility” argument is almost exclusively used by foreign policy hawks, and they pay no attention to negative international reactions to U.S. behavior that contradict their assumptions about “credibility.” If other states react to provocative and confrontational policies by becoming more assertive in their respective regions, hawks interpret that as proof of the other states’ inherent aggressiveness and “expansionist” tendencies.

Hawks usually don’t accept that adverse responses that directly follow U.S. actions have any connection to U.S. policies, but any development that happens to take place after the U.S. “fails” to “act” somewhere is preposterously traced back to the moment of “inaction.” Thus the U.S. is blamed for somehow “causing” unrelated events in one part of the world by choosing not to do something in an entirely different part, but it is excused from responsibility for the direct negative consequences of whatever it has actually done.

That’s because the only thing that jeopardizes “credibility” in their eyes is “inaction” (i.e., not attacking or threatening to attack someone), and adverse consequences of “action” (e.g., expanding alliances, invading/bombing/occupying other countries) are ignored or spun as the result of later “weakness.”

This is all correct, but the funny thing to me is that credibility arguments should be the almost exclusive preserve of advocates of restraint. Why? Because if credibility is an important asset that allows America to achieve some objectives without deploying resources (by simply making a commitment to respond if some other actor takes some other action), then we shouldn’t squander that asset by making commitments we don’t intend – or cannot – make good on.

[Jan 07, 2015] $14 Million An Hour War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9-11, Say Congressional Researchers by David Sirota

December 22 2014 |

American taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm. That’s roughly $337 million a day -- or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute -- every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

In its report, which was released earlier this month, CRS finds that the 92 percent of the war-related expenditures since 9/11 have flowed into the Pentagon. Just 6 percent has been spent on foreign assistance and diplomacy, and 1 percent on medical services for veterans.

The report, which was posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, breaks down the war-related expenditures by different military operations. It finds that a little more than half the $1.6 trillion has gone toward operations in Iraq. Another $686 billion has been spent on military operations in Afghanistan.

CRS notes that the Obama administration is requesting nearly $6 billion in new funding to finance military operations against the Islamic State group, but researchers note that predicting "future costs of the new U.S. role in countering the Islamic State is difficult because of the nature of the air campaign and uncertainties about whether the U.S. mission may expand.”

Last week, a Defense Department official disclosed that since August, U.S. taxpayers have already spent more than $1 billion -- or $8 million a day -- on air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Additionally, the Obama administration announced it is deploying 1,300 troops to Iraq in January.

John Hudak · University of Rochester

What's the big deal? I mean, what else could we have done with the money? Research, infrastructure, education, space exploration, etc?

Juliet Richardson

i've posted elsewhere that the USA seems to be the only industrialized country that appears to be on a permanent war footing. at 54, i have a hard time recalling a time when we weren't either getting out of war, preparing for war or fighting a war.

those 'terrible socialist countries' we look down on have a whole slew of things that the so-called 'greatest country in the world' SHOULD have but --don't--, all because of this idea of unending war, yet another great idea borrowed from '1984'. high speed rail, infrastructure, single payer health care, unemployment benefits you can actually live on and sometimes they include complete retraining[!!], free or heavily subsidized college tuition...... that's a short list!

we, on the other hand can kill a bunch of people anytime we want to. yee. haw.

Jim Starowicz

Fact: Bob Herbert 'Losing Our Way' : "And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we're at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you're going to war is just crazy. I mean, it's madness." Bill 'Moyers and Company': 'Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way' 10 Oct. 2014

Fact: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: "We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country." "And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we're committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we've incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars." 26 September 2014

Fact: "If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**


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