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The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics  are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die."

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son" (Iraq War and Venture Capitalism by Norman Solomon )

ZNet

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During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son.”

In recent years, some eminent pundits and top government officials have become brazen about praising war as a good investment.

Thomas Friedman’s 1999 book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” summed up a key function of the USA’s high-tech arsenal. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” he wrote. “McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

On Sept. 12, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this way as he defended the U.S. military occupation of Iraq: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.” He was voicing the terminology and logic of a major capitalist investor.

And so, it was fitting when the New York Times reported days ago that Powell will soon be (in the words of the headline) “Taking a Role in Venture Capitalism.” The article explained that Powell is becoming a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm: “Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.”

Writ large, the balance-sheet outlook of venture capitalism is being widely applied to the current war in Iraq -- even while defenders of the war are apt to indignantly reject any claim that it’s driven by zeal for massive profits. But let’s take the corporate firms at their own words.

Last year, I went through the latest annual reports from some American firms with Pentagon contracts. Those reports acknowledged, as a matter of fact, the basic corporate reliance on the warfare state.

Orbit International Corp., a small business making high-tech products for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines, had increased its net sales by nearly $2.4 million during the previous two years, to about $17.1 million -- and the war future was bright. “Looking ahead,” CEO Dennis Sunshine reported, “Orbit’s Electronics and Power Unit Segments expect to continue to benefit from the expanding military/defense and homeland security marketplace.” In its yearly report to federal regulators, Orbit International acknowledged: “We are heavily dependent upon military spending as a source of revenues and income. Accordingly, any substantial future reductions in overall military spending by the U.S. government could have a material adverse effect on our sales and earnings.”

A much larger corporation, Engineered Support Systems, Inc., had quadrupled its net revenues between 1999 and 2003, when they reached $572.7 million. For the report covering 2003, the firm’s top officers signed a statement that declared: “As we have always said, rapid deployment of our armed forces drives our business.” The company’s president, Jerry Potthoff, assured investors: “Our nation’s military is deployed in over 130 countries, so our products and personnel are deployed, as well. As long as America remains the world’s policeman, our products and services will help them complete their missions.”

The gigantic Northrop Grumman firm, while noting that its revenues totaled $26.2 billion in 2003, boasted: “In terms of the portfolio, Northrop Grumman is situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of U.S. defense and national security spending.”

War. How sweet it can be.

This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For information, go to:


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[Apr 21, 2019] CIA created ISIS and it went out of control

Notable quotes:
"... "I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before. ..."
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall." ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen.

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Apr 21, 2019] Deciphering Trumps Foreign Policy by Oscar Silva-Valladares

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. ..."
"... The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player. ..."
"... Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance. ..."
"... Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline. ..."
"... Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. ..."
"... A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions ..."
"... Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination. ..."
Oct 28, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. Alternative social forces, like the ones behind Trump's presidential triumph, only have a limited impact on domestic and ultimately on foreign policy. A conceptual detour and a brief on history and on Trump's domestic setting when he was elected will help clarifying these theses.

Beyond the different costumes that it wears (dealing with ideology, international law, and even religion), foreign policy follows domestic policy. The domestic policy actors are the social forces at work at a given point of time, mainly the economic agents and their ambitions (in their multiple expressions), including the ruling power elite. Society's aspirations not only relate to material welfare, but also to ideological priorities that population segments may have at a given point of time.

From America's initial days until the mid 1800s, there seems to have been a broad alignment of US foreign policy with the wishes of its power elite and other social forces. America's expansionism, a fundamental bulwark of its foreign policy from early days, reflected the need to fulfill its growing population's ambitions for land and, later on, the need to find foreign markets for its excess production, initially agricultural and later on manufacturing. It can be said that American foreign policy was broadly populist at that time. The power elite was more or less aligned in achieving these expansionist goals and was able to provide convenient ideological justification through the writings of Jefferson and Madison, among others.

As the country expanded, diverging interests became stronger and ultimately differing social forces caused a significant fracture in society. The American Civil War was the climax of the conflicted interests between agricultural and manufacturing led societies. Fifty years later, a revealing manifestation of this divergence (which survived the Civil War), as it relates to foreign policy, is found during the early days of the Russian Revolution when, beyond the ideological revulsion of Bolshevism, the US was paralyzed between the agricultural and farming businesses seeking exports to Russia and the domestic extractive industries interested in stopping exports of natural resources from this country.

The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player.

Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance.

Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline.

Trump won his presidency because he was able to get support from the country's growing frustrated white population. His main social themes (bringing jobs to America by stopping the decline of its manufacturing industry, preventing further US consumer dependence on foreign imports and halting immigration) fitted well with the electors' anger. Traditional populist themes linked to foreign policy (like Russophobia) did not play a big role in the last election. But whether or not the Trump administration can align with the ruling power elite in a manner that addresses the key social and economic needs of the American people is still to be seen.

Back to foreign policy, we need to distinguish between Trump's style of government and his administration's actions. At least until now, focusing excessively on Trump's style has dangerously distracted from his true intentions. One example is the confusion about his initial stance on NATO which was simplistically seen as highly critical to the very existence of this organization. On NATO, all that Trump really cared was to achieve a "fair" sharing of expenditures with other members and to press them to honor their funding commitments.

From immigration to defense spending, there is nothing irrational about Trump's foreign policy initiatives, as they just reflect a different reading on the American people's aspirations and, consequently, they attempt to rely on supporting points within the power elite which are different from the ones used in the past.

Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. A far-reaching lesson, although still being ignored, is that China's economic might is showing that capitalism as understood in the West is not winning, much less in its American format. It also shows that democracy may not be that relevant, as it is not necessarily a corollary or a condition for economic development. Perhaps it even shows the superiority of China's economic model, but this is a different matter.

As Trump becomes more aware about his limitations, he has naturally reversed to the basic imprints of America's traditional foreign policy, particularly concerning defense. His emphasis on a further increase in defense spending is not done for prestigious or national security reasons, but as an attempt to preserve a job generating infrastructure without considering the catastrophic consequences that it may cause.

On Iran, Obama's initiative to seek normalization was an attempt to walk a fine line (and to find a less conflictive path) between supporting the US traditional Middle East allies (mainly the odd combination of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and recognizing Iran's growing aspirations. Deep down, Obama was trying to acknowledge Iran's historical viability as a country and a society that will not disappear from the map, while Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, may not be around in a few years. Trump's Iran policy until now only represents a different weighing of priorities, although it is having far reaching consequences on America's credibility as a reliable contractual party in international affairs.

In the case of Afghanistan, Trump's decision to increase boots on the ground does not break the inertia of US past administrations. Aside from temporary containment, an increasing military presence or a change in tactics will not alter fundamentally this reality.

Concerning Russia, and regardless of what Trump has said, actions speak more than words. A continuous deterioration of relations seems inevitable.

Trump will also learn, if he has not done so already, about the growth of multipolar forces in world's events. Russia has mastered this reality for several years and is quite skillful at using it as a basic tool of its own foreign goals. Our multipolar world will expand, and Trump may even inadvertently exacerbate it through its actions (for instance in connection with the different stands taken by the US and its European allies concerning Iran).

While fulfilling the aspirations of the American people seems more difficult within the existing capitalist framework, there are also growing apprehensions coming from America's power elite as it becomes more frustrated due to its incapacity of being more effective at the world level. America's relative adolescence in world's history will become more and more apparent in the coming years.

A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions. The US has never suffered the consequences of an international conflict in its own backyard. The American Civil War, despite all the suffering that it caused, was primarily a domestic event with no foreign intervention (contrary to the wishes of the Confederation). The deep social and psychological damage caused by war is not part of America's consciousness as it is, for instance in Germany, Russia or Japan. America is insensitive to the lessons of history because it has a very short history itself.

Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination.

Oscar Silva-Valladares is a former investment banker that has lived and worked in North and Latin America, Western & Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Philippines and Western Africa. He currently chairs Davos International Advisory, an advisory firm focused on strategic consulting across emerging markets.


Related

[Apr 20, 2019] Here is an interesting interpretation of Trumps selection of cabinet and advisor positions

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's main problem in this respect is that the diversity of viewpoints within the military, the NSA or other government agencies might already be too narrow and he needs a Republican version of Stephen Cohen who has always advocated for engagement with Russia, along with other people from outside Washington DC but with experience in state legislatures for the various departments. ..."
"... I agree and I suspect Trump regards Putin as a fellow CEO and perhaps the best one on the planet. ..."
"... A more fundamental problem is that the US has not yet reached rock bottom. So, its delusions remain strong. Trump, as said before, may be a false dawn unless the bottom is closer than suspected and he has new allies (perhaps foreign allies). ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , November 19, 2016 at 8:41 am

Here is an interesting interpretation of Trump's selection of cabinet and advisor positions:

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201611191047623363-trump-administration-analysis/

It is not about politics, but Trump's peculiar management style, Timofey Bordachev, Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at Russia's High School of Economics, told RIA Novosti.

"Those who have been studying the business biography of the newly elected president have noted that he has always played off his high-ranking employees against each other. While doing so he remained above the fight," he said.

And

Gevorg Mirzayan, an assistant professor of the Political Science department at the Financial University in Moscow pointed out two purposes for the nominations.

"Trump needs to consolidate the Republican Party, hence he should nominate representatives of different party groups to key positions in his administration to win the support of the whole party," he told RIA Novosti. Surveillance © Photo: Pixabay Trump National Security Team Reportedly Wants to Dismantle Top US Spy Agency The second purpose is to form an administration that doesn't look too "dovish" or too "hawkish" to be able to avoid further accusations of excessive loyalty towards Moscow, he suggested. Thus without an image of a 'dove" who neglects the national interests, he will be able to normalize Russian-American relations, the expert said.

The above brings rationality to the diverse selections made by Trump.

However, the black swan event will be an economic collapse (fast or protracted over several years). That will be the defining event in the Trump presidency. I have no inkling how he or those who may replace him would respond.

Jen , November 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm
I had guessed myself that Trump was going to run the government as a business corporation. Surrounding himself with people of competing viewpoints, and hiring on the basis of experience and skills (and not on the basis of loyalty, as Hillary Clinton might have done) would be two ways Trump can change the government and its culture. Trump's main problem in this respect is that the diversity of viewpoints within the military, the NSA or other government agencies might already be too narrow and he needs a Republican version of Stephen Cohen who has always advocated for engagement with Russia, along with other people from outside Washington DC but with experience in state legislatures for the various departments.

If running the US government as a large mock business enterprise brings a change in its culture so it becomes more open and accountable to the public, less directed by ideology and identity politics, and gets rid of people engaged in building up their own little empires within the different departments, then Trump might just be the President the US needs at this moment in time.

Interesting that Russian academics have noted the outlines of Trump's likely cabinet and what they suggest he plans to do, and no-one else has. Does this imply that Americans and others in the West have lost sight of how large business corporations could be run, or should be run, and everyone is fixated on fake "entrepreneurship" or "self-entrepreneur" (whatever that means) models of running a business where it's every man, woman, child and dog for itself?

Patient Observer , November 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm Patient Observer , November 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm
I agree and I suspect Trump regards Putin as a fellow CEO and perhaps the best one on the planet. Trump may have noted how Putin did an incredible turnaround of Russia and it all started with three objectives: restore the integrity of the borders, rebuild the industrial base and run off the globalists/liberals/kreakles. I am certainly not the first one to say this and I think that there is a lot of basis for that analysis. However, Trump will have a far more difficult challenge and frankly I don't think he has enough allies or smarts to pull it off.

A more fundamental problem is that the US has not yet reached rock bottom. So, its delusions remain strong. Trump, as said before, may be a false dawn unless the bottom is closer than suspected and he has new allies (perhaps foreign allies).

[Apr 19, 2019] Jimmy Carter: US 'Most Warlike Nation in History of the World' by Brett Wilkins

Apr 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The only US president to complete his term without war, military attack or occupation has called the United States "the most warlike nation in the history of the world."

During his regular Sunday school lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, Jimmy Carter revealed that he had recently spoken with President Donald Trump about China. Carter, 94, said Trump was worried about China's growing economy and expressed concern that "China is getting ahead of us."

Carter, who normalized diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing in 1979, said he told Trump that much of China's success was due to its peaceful foreign policy.

"Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody?" Carter asked.
"None, and we have stayed at war." While it is true that China's last major war -- an invasion of Vietnam -- occurred in 1979, its People's Liberation Army pounded border regions of Vietnam with artillery and its navy battled its Vietnamese counterpart in the 1980s. Since then, however, China has been at peace with its neighbors and the world.

Carter then said the US has been at peace for only 16 of its 242 years as a nation. Counting wars, military attacks and military occupations, there have actually only been five years of peace in US history -- 1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford administration and 1977-80, the entirety of Carter's presidency. Carter then referred to the US as "the most warlike nation in the history of the world," a result, he said, of the US forcing other countries to "adopt our American principles."

China's peace dividend has allowed and enhanced its economic growth, Carter said. "How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?" he asked. China has around 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of high speed rail lines while the US has "wasted, I think, $3 trillion" on military spending. According to a November 2018 study by Brown University's Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, the US has spent $5.9 trillion waging war in Iraq,

Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations since 2001.

"It's more than you can imagine," Carter said of US war spending. "China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way."

"And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you'd probably have $2 trillion leftover," Carter told his congregation. "We'd have high-speed railroad. We'd have bridges that aren't collapsing, we'd have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong."

While there is a prevalent belief in the United States that the country almost always wages war for noble purposes and in defense of freedom, global public opinion and facts paint a very different picture. Most countries surveyed in a 2013 WIN/Gallup poll identified the United States as the greatest threat to world peace, and a 2017 Pew Research poll found that a record number of people in 30 surveyed nations viewed US power and influence as a "major threat."

The US has also invaded or bombed dozens of countries and supported nearly every single right wing dictatorship in the world since the end of World War II. It has overthrown or attempted to overthrow dozens of foreign governments since 1949 and has actively sought to crush nearly every single people's liberation movement over that same period. It has also meddled in scores of elections, in countries that are allies and adversaries alike. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace.

[Apr 19, 2019] Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away by Rob Urie

With 240,000 people employed by DHS to find terrorists, terrorists will be found
Apr 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Given that Russia's economy today is smaller than Italy's and its military budget wouldn't buy a toilet seat or hammer in the U.S. military procurement system, the question of why Russia would seem a great mystery outside of history. And left unstated is that the U.S. defense industry needs enemies to survive. 'Radical Islam,' an invention of oil and gas industry flacks that turned out to be serviceable for marketing Tomahawk missiles and stealth fighter jets as well, lost some of its luster when ISIS and Al Qaeda came over to 'our side.' And humanitarian intervention ain't what it used to be with Libya reduced to rubble and open-air slave markets now dotting the landscape.

From 1948 through the early 1990s Russia was Pennywise the evil clown, helping to sell bananas, nuclear weapons and cut-rate underwear around the globe wherever American empire alighted. Costumed 'communists,' locals paid a day-rate to dress up and shout whatever slogans conveyed evil most effectively, were a staple of CIA interventions from Iran to Guatemala to the streets of New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Never mind that the slayer of monsters is more monstrous than an army of evil clowns, as the Koreans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Nicaraguans, El Salvadorans, Chileans, Iraqis, Afghanis, Yemenis and on and on, were to learn.

The big why (?) here would suggest an eternal mystery were it not for the arithmetic we learned as tykes. The U.S. has an annual military budget that is larger than the next seven evil empires combined. Killing people and blowing shit up is what America does. Stated reverse-wise, what is the point of being able to end all human life on earth more than once? Yet the U.S. can do it 3X -- 5X or 30X -- 50X, depending on which analysis is chosen. And while it would be anti-historical to remove mal-intent as motive, an alternative explanation of the militarization of the police is 'overstock,' that there is nothing else to do with the stuff that the Pentagon produces.

This would seem a tremendous waste of resources under any reasonable theory of their efficient use (e.g. capitalism). The explanation of 'national defense' reads as legitimate until history is brought back in. For a few thousand years, the argument against maintaining a standing army was that standing armies tend to get used. Preparations for armed conflict facilitate armed conflict. The mobilizations for WWI and WWII were mobilizations, not drawdowns from existing military inventory. There is something to be said for wars requiring large expenditures of time, effort and resources from everyone for whom they are undertaken. Otherwise, they are likely to be started lightly.

The U.S. has long been the most militaristic nation in the world. This probably doesn't read right to most Americans. 'We' are a peace-loving nation that only sends in the military as a last resort, goes the myth. And 'we' changed the name from the Department of War to the Department of Defense. It was early in the twentieth century that U.S. General Smedley Butler proclaimed that 'war is a racket' (racket = organized crime) as he described his military career as a ' gangster for capitalism .' The business of war in support of capitalism had long been a business in its own right, just ask Wall Street.

When the George W. Bush administration created the Department of Homeland Security following 9/11, the obvious question from people who thought about such things was: what are these people going to do all day? With daily briefings presented to Mr. Bush entitled ' Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S. 'before 9/11, the only intelligence failure, if that is what it was, occurred in the White House. Mr. Bush's entourage had been rumbling about going back to Iraq to 'finish the job' since the end of his father's war. How much of a leap was it then to assume that Mr. Bush's WMD scam was a pretext for re-invading Iraq?

But the question isn't rhetorical. With 240,000 people employed by DHS to find terrorists, terrorists will be found. The basic insight is that justifying one's employment is crucial to keeping it. In this light, the FBI counter-terrorism unit spent its time since 2001 enticing poor and desperate people to claim each other as terrorists. The first person to point out that there are no terrorists would be the first to receive a pink slip. And the same is true of government contracting. Brave entrepreneurs who feed at the trough of military largesse need to justify their existences. If they don't, some other proud patriot will step forward and do so. A logic of necessity becomes a legitimating belief system More broadly, one could argue that manufacturing terrorists has been the strategic goal of U.S. military operations for much of the last century. If you bomb enough villages and wedding parties, people will fight back. Wasn't this the implied storyline of anti-communist agitprop like Red Dawn and anti-Muslim agitprop like Zero Dark Thirty -- if you invade 'our' country and / or bomb 'our' villages and wedding parties, we will fight back. As a business proposition, the more people that are killed, the more legitimate the operation is made to appear. Make the weapons, then employ hundreds of thousands of people to explain why 'we' need to bomb villages. Then make more weapons. page1image256

Graphic: Time Magazine was the voice of post-War liberalism in the 1970s -- it reflected the opinions emanating from American officialdom through a faux-critical lens. This cover featuring Muammar Gaddafi presaged the Obama administration's destruction of Libya by 35 years. The main difference then was relative honesty about U.S. motives -- 'Oil' was the lede in 1973, where 'humanitarian' concerns drove the American propaganda effort in 2011. Note: 'Arab' was replaced by 'Muslim extremist' following the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Source: Time, Inc.

Propaganda theory is relevant here because of the ease with which the Russiagate story was sold -- all evidence, no matter how contradictory, was claimed to point in only one direction. Contrariwise, Russia isn't the Soviet Union. America's political leaders have long supported strongmen and dictators. The biggest threat to free and fair elections in the U.S. is American oligarchs followed by Israel. The Democrat running in the 2016 presidential election openly manipulated the 1996 Russian presidential election. Russia today is a neoliberal petrostate. Vladimir Putin is admired in Russia because he booted out corrupt American 'advisors' who were looting the country. In other words, Russia today isn't Russia!

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and ostensible end of the first Cold War, a ' peace dividend ' of reduced military spending was expected to fund increased domestic spending, the classic 'guns versus butter' formulation shifted in favor of butter. A drop to pre-WWII levels of military spending would have meant 95%+ of the military-industrial complex went away. Following a very brief drop in the rate of growth of military spending in the early 1990s, a recession caused by the looting of Savings & Loans and its aftermath led to the argument that 'the economy' couldn't withstand a reduced military. September 11 th , 2001 was the best day ever for U.S. military contractors. America was back in the business of industrial-scale slaughter.

Early on, the American defense industry tried a few new enemies on for size. The George W. Bush administration's WMD scam targeted an audience that had been primed by several decades of anti-Muslim propaganda (see Time cover above) tied to oil geopolitics. The only WMDs found in Iraq had come from the Reagan administration in its effort to keep Iraq warring with Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. Current American amnesia over the genesis of Islamophobia is quaint. The New York Times has been demonizing Muslims since the 1970s . It was hardly incidental that 'reporting' on the Iraq war contained breathless descriptions of newly created instruments of mass slaughter.

However, there were two tacks that propelled the Iraq War forward. Humanitarian intervention had been the liberal formulation for selling the carpet bombing of civilian populations as in the interest of those being bombed. The term was used for the aerial bombardment of civilian populations in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. And it was the back-up explanation for the American war against Iraq -- to remove an evil dictator in order to liberate the people of Iraq. It was also used to justify the U.S. / NATO bombing of Libya in 2011. To the certain dismay of the defense industry, none of those interventions retained the patina of good intentions once it became known that the target nations had been functionally destroyed.

Russiagate has been a godsend for those who profit from destruction. As the story goes, the wily Russian bear, led by an evil dictator and newly trained in the technologies of modernity, set loose a witch's brew of inter-continental ballistic internet messages to sow dissent amongst the brothers and sisters of die Vaterland united by their common bond of loving America. For younger readers, the claim that foreign 'agitation' motivated the Civil Rights and anti-War movements, and more broadly, the American Left, has been a mainstay of CIA and FBI propaganda since these agencies were created. Old playbooks are good playbooks?

Those with a sense of humor, if humor includes installing a drunken buffoon to head a nuclear armed foreign power, might offer that 'Trump' is the English translation of 'Yeltsin.' In 1996 the American President colluded with people inside the Russian government to overturn the democratic will of the Russian people to install Boris Yeltsin as President of Russia. Yuk, yuk -- an unstable jackass was installed to head a foreign government. The 'payback' narrative no-doubt motivated true belief amongst some American officials after 2016. But alas, as with bombed villages and wedding parties, unless you just will not stop fucking with other people, they generally have other things to do than plot revenge.

None of the propagators of the phony WMD stories suffered from passing off state propaganda as news. The New York Times and Washington Post found themselves on the winning side of the 'fake news' scam to shut down the opposition press. Even Judith Miller, brief heroine of the free press for being 'stove-piped' by Dick Cheney, went on to a well-paid gig at Fox News, wrote an autobiography that more than just her immediate family read and now lives as a 'celebrity.' Heroes of the #Resistance like David Corn, Rachel Maddow and Michael Isikoff have the proceeds from book sales and television appearances to sustain them until their services are needed to sell the next scam-with-a-purpose.

The economic role of American defense spending will lead to endless iterations of WMD and Russiagate scams until the Pentagon is shut down. And that's the good part. The wars that these scams support are the bane of humanity. Their true costs, in terms of lives destroyed, appear to be meaningless to people living in twenty-room houses who want to live in thirty room houses. Winding down the warfare state would be less politically fraught if people had non-murderous ways of paying their bills. But how was this not understood as the warfare state was being built?

Finally, apologists for Russiagate claim that it has been nowhere near as dangerous as WMD lies. Let's see: a cadre of national security officials spent two-and-one-half years claiming that it has secret evidence that the President of the U.S. colluded with the leader of a foreign government to assume power and then use his office for the benefit of that foreign leader. Following, the domestic press claimed that the U.S. 'was under attack' and 'was at war' with this foreign power. Meanwhile, the U.S. went about arming anti-Russian militias on Russia's border while unilaterally abrogating a short-and-intermediate range nuclear weapons treaty after publicly announcing that it was 'modernizing' its stockpile of short-and-intermediate-range nuclear weapons.

Respectfully, this has all been a tad less than constructive.

Join the debate on Facebook

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books. More articles by: Rob Urie

[Apr 19, 2019] Raimondo: So Trump is not just stupid, and crazy he is also a coward.

Jan 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

densa , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:45 pm GMT

Raimondo:

So he's not just stupid, and crazy – he's also a coward. He refuses to confront the War Party head on, despite his campaign trail rhetoric. Just the other day he was telling crowds in Ohio how we were on the way out of Syria because "we have to take care of our own country." The crowd cheered. Would he go back to that same audience and tell them we need to intervene in a country that's been wracked by warfare for years, with no real hope of a peaceful settlement? Of course not.

Coulter:

He is a shallow, lazy ignoramus who just wants Goldman Sachs to like him.

We get words; the neocon banker NY scum, running and ruining this world on the fast track since 9-11, get action. They also own the congressional swamp with its amazingly high approval rating of 15%. They own the former liberal left, now the Resistance, that can turn out half a million bleeding hearts in pussy hats but the same oddly can't be bothered to protest war.

Although I believe the timing of the raid on Trump's lawyer's office to be convenient to help persuade him to ignore his base and appease his owners, at this point I won't be troubled when they throw him away.

[Apr 19, 2019] A child could see through the fake "chemical attack" supposedly launched by Bashar al-Assad just as his troops defeated the jihadists and Trump said he wanted out of Syria

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

FB , says: April 10, 2018 at 3:29 pm GMT

Justin Raimondo has just done a U turn on 'president' Dump

' doesn't this prove I was wrong about Trump and his movement all along?

I was very wrong to discount the role of character, personality, and intelligence: Trump is simply not fit to be President '

Raimondo's reaction to Dump's incredible imbecility re the Syria 'chemical attacks '

' A child could see through the fake "chemical attack" supposedly launched by Bashar al-Assad just as his troops defeated the jihadists and Trump said he wanted out of Syria '

Yes anyone watching that white helmets footage is immediately cringing for those poor kids being abused as props in a macabre stage play

How stupid is Dump anyway ? That's the question

[Apr 18, 2019] Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water

Way to brave predictions, I think... I think he grossly underestimates durability of neoliberal state like the USA. May be in 20 years the USA will really start experiencing huge problems like he described due to the end of cheap oil". But before that only huge exogenous shock can crash such a society.
Notable quotes:
"... It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state. ..."
"... And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters ..."
"... well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well. ..."
"... But he simply does not understand the USA. He’s been predicting collapse for some time and it has not occurred or come close to happening. Washington is filled with smart kleptocrats who understand they cannot afford to destroy the country that keeps on giving them the wealth and power they crave. Trump, can flounce around Washington and the rest of the country and do and say outrageous things and it has no effect on life whatsoever. ..."
"... While, on the surface, people support ideas like higher minimum wage, universal health-care and other aspects of social democracy, it their masters say “no” then they’ll forgo it and take pride in their ability to endure suffering, early death, their children on heroin or meth, and so on. ..."
"... Since I’m fairly “connected” to the lower/working class and its struggles in my part of the world I can assure you people almost enjoy suffering to a degree that foreigners easily miss and seldom ascribe it to the thieves and criminals who run our society. ..."
"... Will there be a civil war in the US, like in the 1861-1865 period ? No, I don’t think so. Will there be severe social disturbances ? Yes, these I do expect, leading to the break up of the US. The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. The US has been kicking the financial can down the road for a long time. This cannot last for ever. ..."
"... with people like Siluanov and Nabiullina in charge of the nation’s money, I am not optimistic… ..."
"... The acceleration of economic collapse in the West will be likely bring (overt) fascism and war–world war. ..."
"... In particular, the AngloNazi sorry Anglosphere nations (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course America) are a clear and present threat that should not be underestimated, discounted, or spin-doctored away. ..."
"... But the Anglos studiously avoid facing the reality that their precious way of life, capitalist system, and Anglo-American world order itself are premised upon their own ruthless exploitation of the Global South and developing nations in general. ..."
"... Trump and the MAGA hordes, as well as similar xenophobic and nationalist movements throughout the Anglosphere and Europe, are only a precursor to what is coming. They represent the grievances of the lower-middle classes within the Anglo American Empire and Europe who want a greater cut of the economic loot of empire for themselves–which necessitates an even more aggressive and militaristic grab for global resources, markets, and geopolitical power. ..."
"... He’s way too negative on the USA’s domestic prospects. Despite its absurdities, the US system is fundamentally robust and unlikely to suffer any major, sudden collapse, at least for many decades. It will certain decline further, plumbing the depths of depravity more than it has to date, but the system will chug along. The US has vacuumed up talent from all over the world, bolstering it’s economic capacity and the rents extracted by oligo. It’s day to day institutions, such as courts, post offices and the like function better now than they did in the 80s or 90s. ..."
"... All the incentives are there to keep the thing together, with little real risk of some sort of succession movement or serious insurrection. The main advantages the US has on this score are it’s mass surveillance system, policing infrastructure and media. The US media can make the great bulk of the people believe absolutely anything, if given enough time. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

The Saker: You recently wrote an article titled " Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water? " in which you discuss the high level of stupidity in modern US politics? I have a simple question for you: do you think the Empire can survive Trump and, if so, for how long?

Dmitry Orlov: I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn't been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case. Some event will come along which will leave the power center utterly humiliated and unable to countenance this humiliation and make adjustments. Things will go downhill from there as everyone in government in media does their best to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. My hope is that the US military personnel currently scattered throughout the planet will not be simply abandoned once the money runs out, but I wouldn't be too surprised if that is what happens.

The Saker: Lastly, a similar but fundamentally different question: can the USA (as opposed to the Empire) survive Trump and, if so, how? Will there be a civil war? A military coup? Insurrection? Strikes? A US version of the Yellow Vests?

Dmitry Orlov: The USA, as some set of institutions that serves the interests of some dwindling number of people, is likely to continue functioning for quite some time. The question is: who is going to be included and who isn't? There is little doubt that retirees, as a category, have nothing to look forward to from the USA: their retirements, whether public or private, have already been spent. There is little doubt that young people, who have already been bled dry by poor job prospects and ridiculous student loans, have nothing to look forward to either.

But, as I've said before, the USA isn't so much a country as a country club. Membership has its privileges, and members don't care at all what life is like for those who are in the country but aren't members of the club. The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed "shithole countries."

It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state.

And once the fracking bubble is over and another third of the population finds that it can no longer afford to drive, that might force through some sort of reset as well. But then the entire system of militarized police is designed to crush any sort of rebellion, and most people know that. Given the choice between certain death and just sitting on the sidewalk doing drugs, most people will choose the latter.

And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters; concerned citizens demanding that migrants be allowed in, then calling the cops as soon as these migrants set up tents on their front lawn or ring their doorbell and ask to use the bathroom; well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well.

At this rate, when the end of the USA finally arrives, most of the people won't be in a position to notice while the rest won't be capable of absorbing that sort of upsetting information and will choose to ignore it. Everybody wants to know how the story ends, but that sort of information probably isn't good for anyone's sanity. The mental climate in the US is already sick enough; why should we want to make it even sicker?


Chris Cosmos on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:23 am EST/EDT

I love Orlov’s wit and general cynical attitude as it mirrors mine (perhaps not the wit). I think he seems to understand the Ukraine and Russia relatively well though I’m not in a position to question him on that but I do know something about the politics of NATO/EU/USA and their intentions and that Orlov gets.

But he simply does not understand the USA. He’s been predicting collapse for some time and it has not occurred or come close to happening. Washington is filled with smart kleptocrats who understand they cannot afford to destroy the country that keeps on giving them the wealth and power they crave. Trump, can flounce around Washington and the rest of the country and do and say outrageous things and it has no effect on life whatsoever.

If anything the economy actually is “better” not as good as the cooked statistics indicate but things have improved for people I know in that area. Americans, despite the obvious propaganda nature of the media still are true-believers in the official Narrative because meaning and myth always trumps reality.

While, on the surface, people support ideas like higher minimum wage, universal health-care and other aspects of social democracy, it their masters say “no” then they’ll forgo it and take pride in their ability to endure suffering, early death, their children on heroin or meth, and so on.

Since I’m fairly “connected” to the lower/working class and its struggles in my part of the world I can assure you people almost enjoy suffering to a degree that foreigners easily miss and seldom ascribe it to the thieves and criminals who run our society. Americans strut around but feel powerless and don’t have a plan or think they can have a plan because they lack the conceptual frameworks to understand that their leadership is thoroughly rotten.

Having said that, I agree with Auslander, Americans don’t need the central government and would do better, initially, in a highly chaotic situation and establish their own order in their communities and rig up a new set of arrangements very quickly.

In some ways the fall of Washington would be the best thing to ever happen in my country.

B.F. on April 17, 2019 , · at 5:29 pm EST/EDT
Chris Cosmos

I am afraid you are wrong. Orlov does understand the US, just like I do, as I have lived in the US. Yes, Orlov has been predicting the collapse of the US, and it will happen. I would like to direct your attention to the following video (the second part is very interesting):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ryA1x6fll34

Will there be a civil war in the US, like in the 1861-1865 period ? No, I don’t think so. Will there be severe social disturbances ? Yes, these I do expect, leading to the break up of the US. The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. The US has been kicking the financial can down the road for a long time. This cannot last for ever.

Anonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 7:08 pm EST/EDT
“The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. ”

Maybe, but actually I would say most regions of the USA have some kind of “old tradition” —and a lot nicer ones than that of the old racist South. I’ll take New England and the Maritimes any day over the steamy South where the kudzu creeps over I mean *everything*, the snakes proliferate, and you can’t survive the summer without AC 24/7.

Check out American Nations, by Colin Woodard.

Katherine

FB on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:45 am EST/EDT
Well…I just started in on this piece and already I have a major beef…Orlov’s notion that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was good for Russia…

China was [and arguably still is] an empire of diverse regions, ethnicities and religions…but how is that holding China back today, or during previous centuries of imperial glory…?

Clearly China doesn’t fit into Orlov’s idea of an empire as a ‘wealth pump’ that sucks from the periphery to enrich the center…this is true of course of exploitation-based imperial projects such as western colonialism…but is clearly not applicable to the Chinese model, which has been both the biggest and most durable empire in human history…so that is a big hole in Orlov’s ‘theory’…

It is true that the USSR was a fundamentally different kind of empire from the exploitative western colonialism…and it is also true that it ultimately did not succeed…although it managed to accomplish almost incomprehensible progress in modernization, science and technology…and industrialization…the foundations of Russian strength today rest squarely on the foundations put in place during the Stalin era…

Elsewhere on this site there is a brilliant series of essays by Ramin Mazaheri about the tumultuous cultural revolution of the 1960s…and why it was necessary…Russia also needed a cultural revolution around this time…the system needed to be rejigged to better serve the people…in living standard…fairness and justice…opportunity for social advance…etc…

But it never happened…instead the system became more sclerotic than ever…and the welfare of the people stagnated…at the very moment in time when the capitalist west, especially the United States, was able to reign in the appetites of its parasite class and provide the people with a decent share of its [largely ill-gotten, by means of global finance colonialism] gains…[during the postwar decades, the share of national wealth of the 0.1 percent fell to an all time low of about 7 percent…about a quarter of historic, and current levels]…

This was the golden age in the US…well paying jobs in industry were plentiful and the company president made perhaps ten times what the shop floor worker took home…a second household income was completely unnecessary…university education at state colleges was practically free…

The life of the Soviet citizen in the1960s was not too far behind…Stalin’s five year plans in the1930s had created an industrial powerhouse…it was Russia’s ability to produce that allowed it to prevail over Germany in the existential war…and despite the devastation of the people, cities and countryside Russia was able to quickly become a technological superpower…as an aerospace engineer I have a deep appreciation of the depth and breadth of Russian technical achievements and the basic scientific advances that made that possible…the US was laughably left in the dust, despite having skimmed the cream of Nazi Germany’s technical scientific talent…and contrary to what US propaganda would have the people believe…

... ... ...

Of course the massive Chinese empire has been adapting like this for centuries, if not millennia…Russia with the Soviet Union only needed to make similar smart adjustments…instead they threw out the baby with the bathwater…let’s see where Russia goes from here, but with people like Siluanov and Nabiullina in charge of the nation’s money, I am not optimistic…

But back to Orlov…let’s see where he goes after starting off very clumsily. .

Anonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 12:52 pm EST/EDT
The acceleration of economic collapse in the West will be likely bring (overt) fascism and war–world war.

In particular, the AngloNazi sorry Anglosphere nations (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course America) are a clear and present threat that should not be underestimated, discounted, or spin-doctored away.

As collapse intensifies, these Anglo American entities led by the USA will surely lash out in even more aggressive wars to maintain their unipolar world order that they have ruled over since the fall of the Soviet Union. The use of tactical nuclear weapons, bio-warfare, and other "exotic" weapons should not be ruled out.

At base, the Anglo Americans possess an inbred sense of economic entitlement. They whine like snowflakes about the foreign outsourcing of jobs or "illegal immigrants stealing our jobs" as a chauvinistic demand for a greater share of the economic spoils of imperialism.

But the Anglos studiously avoid facing the reality that their precious way of life, capitalist system, and Anglo-American world order itself are premised upon their own ruthless exploitation of the Global South and developing nations in general.

And God forbid that the Anglos lose their parasitic way of life and (horror) are compelled to live like the vast majority of humanity in the developing world from Africa to Asia to Latin America to the Middle East.

The disaffected middle classes and labor aristocracy of the Anglosphere will comprise the grassroots basis for 21st-century fascism, similar to how these socio-economic classes were the grassroots support for the German Third Reich or Mussolini's Italy in the 1930s-40s.

Trump and the MAGA hordes, as well as similar xenophobic and nationalist movements throughout the Anglosphere and Europe, are only a precursor to what is coming. They represent the grievances of the lower-middle classes within the Anglo American Empire and Europe who want a greater cut of the economic loot of empire for themselves–which necessitates an even more aggressive and militaristic grab for global resources, markets, and geopolitical power.

As Martin Lee has put it, the Beast reawakens.

Boswald Bollocksworth on April 17, 2019 · at 9:37 pm EST/EDT

He’s way too negative on the USA’s domestic prospects. Despite its absurdities, the US system is fundamentally robust and unlikely to suffer any major, sudden collapse, at least for many decades. It will certain decline further, plumbing the depths of depravity more than it has to date, but the system will chug along. The US has vacuumed up talent from all over the world, bolstering it’s economic capacity and the rents extracted by oligo. It’s day to day institutions, such as courts, post offices and the like function better now than they did in the 80s or 90s.

All the incentives are there to keep the thing together, with little real risk of some sort of succession movement or serious insurrection. The main advantages the US has on this score are it’s mass surveillance system, policing infrastructure and media. The US media can make the great bulk of the people believe absolutely anything, if given enough time.

The US capacity to meddle overseas will wither, after all how well can a submarine filled with drag queens and single mothers operate? And who’d be willing to endure shelling for a monstrosity like contemporary America?

But the domestic system is brilliantly designed, not going anywhere.

[Apr 17, 2019] What Are We to Make of Gina Haspel by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. ..."
"... Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes. ..."
"... Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck. ..."
"... I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men. ..."
"... Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs. ..."
"... just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light. ..."
"... A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?

Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.

That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.

Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.

Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.


Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PM

PT,

I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.

No to her confirmation.

steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.

Steve

tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
Is waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.
BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PM
With all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).

A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.

Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.

And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.

Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).

What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.

Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.

That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.

Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.

At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.

[Apr 17, 2019] Gina Haspel As If Nuremberg Never Happened

Notable quotes:
"... I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. ..."
"... Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power. ..."
"... American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy." ..."
"... Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious. ..."
"... There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government. ..."
"... If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!" ..."
"... I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them. ..."
"... She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect. ..."
"... furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition? ..."
"... Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations -- one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants -- than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.

Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she's worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency's new head.

Haspel's victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say : "We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."

It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. We're just slapping you now, she would have said in that Thai prison, but we control you, and who knows what will happen next, what we're capable of? The torture victim is left to imagine what form the hurt will take and just how severe it will be, creating his own terror.

Haspel won't be asked at her confirmation hearing to explain how torture works, but those who were waterboarded under her stewardship certainly could.

I met my first torture victim in Korea, where I was adjudicating visas for the State Department. Persons with serious criminal records are ineligible to travel to the United States, with an exception for dissidents who have committed political crimes. The man I spoke with said that under the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee he was tortured for writing anti-government verse. He was taken to a small underground cell. Two men arrived and beat him repeatedly on his testicles and sodomized him with one of the tools they had used for the beating. They asked no questions. They barely spoke to him at all.

Though the pain was beyond his ability to describe, he said the subsequent humiliation of being left so utterly helpless was what really affected his life. It destroyed his marriage, sent him to the repeated empty comfort of alcohol, and kept him from ever putting pen to paper again. The men who destroyed him, he told me, did their work, and then departed, as if they had others to visit and needed to get on with things. He was released a few days later and driven back to his apartment by the police. A forward-looking gesture.

The second torture victim I met was while I was stationed in Iraq. The prison that had held him was under the control of shadowy U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Inside, masked men bound him at the wrists and ankles and hung him upside-down. He said they neither asked him questions nor demanded information. They did whip his testicles with a leather strap, then beat the bottoms of his feet and the area around his kidneys. They slapped him. They broke the bones in his right foot with a steel rod, a piece of rebar ordinarily used to reinforce concrete.

It was painful, he told me, but he had felt pain before. What destroyed him was the feeling of utter helplessness, the inability to control things around him as he once had. He showed me the caved-in portion of his foot, which still bore a rod-like indentation with faint signs of metal grooves.

Gina Haspel is the same as those who were in the room with the Korean. She is no different than those who tormented the Iraqi.

As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government's refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah's waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.

Arguing over just how much blood she has in her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.

Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.

Obama ignored the truth that sees former Nazis continue to be hunted some 70 years after the Holocaust: that those who do evil on behalf of a government are individually responsible. "I was only following orders" is not a defense of inhuman acts. The purpose of tracking down the guilty is to punish them, to discourage the next person from doing evil, and to morally immunize a nation-state.

To punish Gina Haspel "more than 15 years later for doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders, would be a travesty and a disgrace," claims one of her supporters. "Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well," said Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA during the height of the Iraq war from 2006-2009.

Influential people in Congress agree. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will soon review Haspel's nomination, said , "I know Gina personally and she has the right skill set, experience, and judgment to lead one of our nation's most critical agencies."

"She'll have to answer for that period of time, but I think she's a highly qualified person," offered Senator Lindsey Graham. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson defended Haspel's actions, saying they were "the accepted practice of the day" and shouldn't disqualify her.

His fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, signaled her likely acceptance, saying , "Since my concerns were raised over the torture situation, I have met with her extensively, talked with her She has been, I believe, a good deputy director." Senator Susan Collins added that Haspel "certainly has the expertise and experience as a 30-year employee of the agency." John McCain, a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, mumbled only that Haspel would have to explain her role.

Nearly alone at present, Republican Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose Haspel's nomination. Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, have told Trump she is unsuitable and will likely also vote no.

Following World War II, the United States could have easily executed those Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, or thrown them into some forever jail on an island military base. It would have been hard to find anyone who wouldn't have supported brutally torturing them at a black site. Instead, they were put on public trial at Nuremberg and made to defend their actions as the evidence against them was laid bare. The point was to demonstrate that We were better than Them.

Today we refuse to understand what Haspel's victims, and the Korean writer, and the Iraqi insurgent, already know on our behalf: unless Congress awakens to confront this nightmare and deny Gina Haspel's nomination as director of the CIA, torture will have transformed us and so it will consume us. Gina Haspel is a torturer. We are torturers. It is as if Nuremberg never happened.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell.


Douglas K. March 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

Covering up torture is quite possibly the worst thing Obama did. (I'd put it neck-and-neck with targeted killing.) This nation desperately needs a president who will expose all of these horrors, and appoint an attorney general who will prosecute these acts as war crimes.
I Don't Matter , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
Trump likes waterboarding. He said so himself. One assumes he meant, being a whimpering coward himself, when someone else does it to someone else. But who knows? Enjoy judge Gorsuch.
Mark Thomason , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
"doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders"

To complete the parallel, we would need to prosecute and punish those who asked her to do it, and those who told her those orders were lawful. Instead, some are doing paintings of their toes, some are promoted to be Federal judges, and some are influential professors at "liberal" law schools. Why punish *only* her?

Peter Hopkins , says: March 19, 2018 at 6:52 am
Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.
Ian , says: March 19, 2018 at 7:10 am
As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them.
Bagby , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:00 am
I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. I am in full support of Mr. Van Buren's thesis. However, Pro Publica, which seems to have been the source of much reporting of Haspel's torture record, has retracted the claim that Haspel had tortured in Thailand. Mr. Van Buren quotes another source from his blog that supports the thesis that Haspel is a torturer. How does one know what to believe? Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power.
Centralist , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:19 am
Its because we lost our sense of what makes us who we are. We are an empire that dances for private interests. In Rome they were called families and led by patricians, they had money private guards, gladiators, and even street people supporting them. In the Modern USA they are called Interest Groups and/or Corporations. They are lead by CEOs and instead of gladiators they have Lawyers. Our being better matters less then their own squabbles which is why a torturer could reach the highest seat in intel. The majority of Americans have lost their sense of being Americans instead they are Republicans, Democrats, etc, etc. Things that once use to be part of an American have come to define us.
Banger , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:09 am
American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."

At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am
CIA has purposefully refused to disclose Haspel's role for a decade+ They have selectively released information last week to discredit those criticizing her. I don't think we should play their game, letting them set the agenda. Instead, I declaim torture itself and any role she played in it, whether she poured the water or kept the books.
Kurt Gayle , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:34 am
Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?

In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):

"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? –
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do – the SAS are absolutely charming – ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."

It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that – in reality – the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.

Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this:

"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.

After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
New information makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners at her black site, but pay it little mind. The confusion is because the government refuses to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction when she indeed has blood on her hands.

The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency. If the Agency wishes to clarify her role, as was done via trial for the various Nazis at Nuremberg, we can deal with her actions more granularly.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
Since we have not had any more successful attacks on the scale of 9-11, it is very easy to be scrupulous regarding rough treatment of terrorists.

But if we had suffered a dozen or more such attacks, of increasing magnitude and maybe involving nuclear weapons, how many of you would still be condemning Mrs Haspel et al.? Or would you then be complaining they had not used water-boarding enough?

The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, was caught weeks before 9-11. Investigators figured out he was up to no good, tried to get permission to search his computer, but were denied. The U.S. Government carefully protected his privacy rights. So are you pleased with the outcome, Mr van Buren?

furbo , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:45 am
I'm sorry – this whole piece is a massive non sequitur. Ms. Haspel has no 'blood' on her hands as US extreme interrogation techniques (sleep deprivation, uncomfortable positions, waterboarding) didn't draw any. They are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones. US techniques might have been bad policy – won't argue – but lets not fall for a false equivalency.

Ms. Haspel was an agent of her government, acting on it's orders under it's policies and guidelines. Which leads to

Nuremberg. The Nuremberg tribunals (they were military tribunals – not trials) were conducted by a victorious military force against a defeated military force. They were widely criticized as vengeance even by such august people as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Stone and associate Justice Douglas. There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government.

And lastly there's this from a comment of the authors: "The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency." Utter nonsense. That was the mission of the Agency at that time. It's like saying a 33yr old Drone Pilot who takes out an ISIS/Al Qaida operative as well as 15 civilians is disqualified to be the Sec Def 2 decades later.

Just stop.

Sid Finster , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!"

We demonize Russia at every opportunity, but I don't see Russia rewarding torturers by appointing them to high office.

Sally Stewart , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
Douglas K. What are you talking about? Covered up? You mean Bush http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/175/end-the-use-of-torture/
Stephen J. , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
A lot of info below on the War criminals at large.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
May 26, 2015 Do We Need Present Day Nuremberg Trials? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/do-we-need-present-day-nuremberg-trials.html

And

March 9, 2018 Are We Seeing Government By Gangsters? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html

connecticut farmer , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:49 am
I didn't know too much about this woman's background until I read that Rand Paul opposes her nomination. I tend to take notice whenever Rand Paul holds forth on any subject. All I can say is that if her actual record even approximates what has been alleged, then this woman is unfit for the post–Nuremberg or no Nuremberg.
Winston , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am
"As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them." Oh, -PLEASE-, spare us the hyperbole! WE burn alive captives held in cages? WE saw off their heads?

Thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs.

Lex Talionis , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
All of the torturers should be brought to justice. So should all of the officials who ordered or authorized torture.

There is no statute of limitations on capital Federal crimes. For a U.S. citizen to kill via torture is a capital Federal crime, no matter where the torture took place. If statutes of limitations make it too late to prosecute some acts of torture, it is not too late to bring about some measure of justice by making torturers pariahs. As many sexual harassers have recently learned, there is no statute of limitations in the court of public opinion.

bob sykes , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
The story linking her to torture has been formally retracted. She had nothing to do with torture anywhere. How about a retraction of this story and an apology.
Youknowho , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm
I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them.

Personally, I prefer that the cruelty should be, as Lincoln once put it, "unalloyed by the base metal of hypocrisy"

Tyrone Slothrop , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm
bob sykes: you should read Pro Publica's retraction ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture ) of the claim that Haspel was in charge of the Thai black site when Abu Zubaydeh was tortured. She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect.

Winston: why do you suppose "thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs"? Is it not to prepare them for the possibility of what we call torture when used by our adversaries?

furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition?

Near Rockaway , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm
"Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence?"

Evil stuff. And we're still paying for it. Keeping Haspel out of the Director's chair is a basic step toward avoiding more such needless, stupid evil.

Chris Mallory , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Wilfred, the problem was not that the Feds protected Zacarias Moussaoui's right to privacy. The problem is that it let any of the 20 Arab Muslims into the US in the first place. Closing our borders and mass deportations would have been the best thing to do in the aftermath of 9/11, not torture and invasions.
b. , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Very well put. Lest we forget: Bush also delivered the stern warning that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'."

Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Chris Mallory (Mar 19 @1:47 p.m.), I agree with you. We shouldn't be letting them in.

But if someone had sneaked-a-peek at Moussaoui's laptop during the 3 weeks they had him before 9-11, we might have been able to thwart the attack altogether. (And the Press has been strangely incurious about investigating whoever it was who issued the injunction protecting Moussie's precious computer). This type of hand-wringing cost us 3,000 lives. Even more, considering the Afghan & 2nd Iraq wars would never have been launched, were it not for 9-11.

[Apr 16, 2019] The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they re angling for war with Iran.

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

You're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.

The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.

It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.

Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”

McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.

And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.

Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.

Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.
Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am
“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.

If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?

Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.

Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.

At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.

We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Thanks, I appreciate this article.
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.

America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.

Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”

The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.

The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.

Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.

“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.html

the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
We are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.
the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am
If our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.

Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.

Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…
JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.

We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.

[Apr 15, 2019] War is the force that gives America its meaning.

Notable quotes:
"... For Christ's sake! The "Deep State"!?! With a well documented pathological liar and a seemingly endless supply of professional sycophants in our government selling our nation to the highest bidder in plain sight why in the world do you folks continue to need grand delusions of demons in the woodwork??? ..."
"... I have no reason to believe Comey, Clapper and Brennen have served this nation with honor and integrity in dealing with more responsibility than that required to sit safely at home and blabber about as the victim of some grand conspiracy ..."
"... Here is a thought; the unprovoked American aggression in Iraq wrecked Iraq! There is no comparison between the millions of dead, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized and radicalized Iraqis and a few thousand PTSD cases with the richest government in the world on their side. ..."
"... It's like a pimp complaining about bruised knuckles on account of hitting a woman too many times! ..."
"... The title of your book sounds like "Invading Iraq was a Good Idea but the Implementation was Bad and I Couldn't Fix It". Did you really think we could invade a sovereign country based on lies and win "hearts and minds" if we just did it the right way? Not possible. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John, says: April 13, 2019 at 3:18 am

With all due respect, Iraq didn't wreck you. The US wrecked Iraq, and the US wrecked you.
Uncle Billy , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:00 am
The invasion of Iraq was a mistake of historic dimensions. The "weapons of mass destruction" excuse was a lie. When I see George W. Bush smiling on TV, I want to puke. Likewise, I cannot view an image of Lyndon Johnson without revulsion. They are both responsible for much death and suffering. I have heard people try to excuse both of them, with the statement that "they meant well." The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
JohnT , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:06 am
@Ken Zaretzke.

For Christ's sake! The "Deep State"!?! With a well documented pathological liar and a seemingly endless supply of professional sycophants in our government selling our nation to the highest bidder in plain sight why in the world do you folks continue to need grand delusions of demons in the woodwork???

I have no reason to believe Comey, Clapper and Brennen have served this nation with honor and integrity in dealing with more responsibility than that required to sit safely at home and blabber about as the victim of some grand conspiracy.

Bob , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:57 am
The war In Afghanistan would have ended 15 years ago if the sons of members of Congress were being drafted. "It's easy to send someone else's sons to war."
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm
@JohnT,

You left out the phrase "anything other than" following the phrase "have served this nation with" in your last sentence.

You forgot to express your confidence in John McCain. Good luck with that. McCain's top aide flew to a foreign city to receive the Steele dossier, gave it to the senator, who then gave it to the FBI–as per Steele's script, I assume. It's another reason why we need a special counsel to look into the FBI's role. A special counsel can hardly omit the McCain piece of the puzzle, whereas a regular prosecutor can easily ignore it and cover McCain's keister.

To the extent that McCain comes out looking bad in a special counsel's report, Trump haters like you will no longer be able to talk about Trump's supposed terrible character in dissing noble John McCain, and holding it up as Exhibit A of why Trump shouldn't be president.

More than anything else concerning the FBI's election shenanigans, the McCain-Steele nexus–specifically the report written about it by a special counsel–could expose the deep state's modus operandi. Not even an inspector general's report can do that as well as a special counsel's report.

Sarto , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:02 pm
Remember, 75% of Americans wanted Bush to invade Iraq. War is the force that gives America its meaning.
Lee Green , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:11 pm
Your book will go out of print. In 10 to 20 years it will be reprinted and sell well. It takes that long for people to remove their heads from their nether regions and be willing to contemplate the errors made.

The real irony is that we know better. There is a vast body of literature on major cognitive errors, and the whole catalog is on display in the debacle described. Our failures of statecraft are quite analogous to the ongoing errors in my field (medicine), well described in "To Err is Human." We've made a lot of progress in medicine in addressing them, mostly though systems engineering. That's because the tendency toward these errors is a result of how human brains are wired, and if you have a human brain, no matter how smart or well educated you are, you have those tendencies. The key is to create systems that catch the errors.

Now we have to figure out how to create systems to constrain politicians, and especially the military-industrial-Congressional complex (Eisenhower's actual original term), from making those errors.

George Hoffman , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:09 pm
I commiserate with your disillusioning journey because I went through a similar odyssey into self-awareness like yours many decades ago. I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam (31 May 1967 – 31 May 1968). It's all been downhill from there. A gradual slide down the slippy slope of history in our decline as a nation. There's not much one can really do. But at my age, I will be long gone when our country hits burns and crashes as it hits bottom.
Talltale , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm
"Iraq wrecked me, even though I somehow didn't expect it to. I was foolish to think that traveling to the other side of the world and spending a year seeing death and poverty, bearing witness to a war, learning how to be mortared at night and deciding it didn't matter that I might die before breakfast, wasn't going to change me. Of the military units I was embedded in, three soldiers did not come home; all died at their own hands."

Enough books and movies about those poor damaged American boys yet?

The navel gazing never stops.

Here is a thought; the unprovoked American aggression in Iraq wrecked Iraq! There is no comparison between the millions of dead, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized and radicalized Iraqis and a few thousand PTSD cases with the richest government in the world on their side.

Get over yourselves! Honestly! It's like a pimp complaining about bruised knuckles on account of hitting a woman too many times!

Craig Morris , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:59 am
The title of your book sounds like "Invading Iraq was a Good Idea but the Implementation was Bad and I Couldn't Fix It". Did you really think we could invade a sovereign country based on lies and win "hearts and minds" if we just did it the right way? Not possible.

[Apr 15, 2019] I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military

Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Adam E, says: April 14, 2019 at 8:50 am

Just a cynical take, but implying that there are lessons to be learned from previous or present wars that should keep us from engaging in future wars presumes that the goal is to, where possible, actually avoid war.

It also suggests a convenient, simplistic narrative that the military/DOD is incompetent and stupid, and unable to learn from previous engagements.

I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military; if it seems as though there is no plan, no objective, no victory for these engagements, maybe that is because the only objectives and victory are to provide practical war training for our troops, test equipment and tactics, keep defense contractors employed and the Pentagon's budget inflated, and to project power and provide a convenient excuse for proximity to our 'real' enemies.

Draping these actions under a pretense of spreading 'peace and democracy' is just a pretense and, as we can see by our track record, has nothing to do with actual victory. "Victory", depending on who you ask, is measured in years of engagement and dollars spent, period.

And because it is primarily taking place in the far away and poorly understood Middle East, it is never going to be enough of an issue with voters for politicians to have to seriously contend with.

WJ , says: April 14, 2019 at 9:13 am
This person is a crybaby. At 49 he went to a war that most rational people knew already, was an immoral, illegal waste of people, time and money. But now he wants to whine about PTSD. I have the same opinion about most soldiers who fought there also. Nobody made them volunteer for that junk war so quit whining when things get a little hard

[Apr 15, 2019] Iraq Wrecked Me for Nothing The American Conservative

Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

I recently spoke to some college students who, I realized, were in fifth grade when I got on a plane to Iraq. They now study that stuff in history classes like "Opportunities and Errors: 21st-Century America in the Middle East." About halfway through our conversation, I realized it's coming up on 10 years since I first went to Iraq. Now that's real history.

I was a Foreign Service Officer then, a diplomat, embedded with the U.S. Army at a series of forward operating bases and in charge of a couple of reconstruction teams, small parts of a complex failure to rebuild the Iraq we wrecked. I ended up writing a book about it all, explaining in tragicomic terms how we failed (those "Errors").

The book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People was -- and wasn't -- well-received. People laughed at the funny parts, but my message -- it didn't work and here's why -- was largely dissipated at the time (2012) by government and media propaganda centered on The Surge. That was David Petraeus's plan to pacify the Sunnis and push al-Qaeda away, while clearing, holding, and building across the country, apparently to make room so ISIS and the Iranians could move in.

Meanwhile, the new American president, elected in part based on his "no" vote on the war in 2003, proclaimed it all a victory and started bringing the troops home even while I was still in Iraq. Meanwhile my employer, the U.S. Department of State, was unhappy with my book. After a year-long process , State pushed me into early retirement. My career was history.

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Iraq wrecked me, even though I somehow didn't expect it to. I was foolish to think that traveling to the other side of the world and spending a year seeing death and poverty, bearing witness to a war, learning how to be mortared at night and deciding it didn't matter that I might die before breakfast, wasn't going to change me. Of the military units I was embedded in, three soldiers did not come home; all died at their own hands. Around us, Iraqis blew themselves up alongside children. Everyone was a potential killer and a potential target. I did this at age 49, on antidepressants and with a good family waiting back home. I cannot imagine what it would have done to 18-year-old me. And I had it easier than most, and much easier than many.

People asked in line at Trader Joe's and in interviews on semi-important TV shows, "Was it all worth it to you?" I always answered yes. I'm not important, I said, but the story is. And now we're making the same mistakes in Afghanistan. The only way to even start to justify it was to think there might be some meaning behind it all. It didn't do anything for me but fill my soul with vodka but maybe somehow it helped?

See, my book wasn't aimed at cataloging the failures in Iraq per se, but in trying to make sure we didn't do the same thing in Afghanistan. The initial title wasn't We Meant Well, but Lessons for Afghanistan from the Reconstruction of Iraq . The early drafts were pretentious scholarly stuff, outlining our mistakes. Harvard Business School-like case studies. Maps. Footnotes. It would have sold maybe five copies, and so my editors encouraged me to add more funny parts. NPR's Fresh Air actually added a laugh track to my interview . I figured I'd get the lessons across with humor more effectively anyway. In such situations, you have to think that way. You can't believe that what you went through didn't matter and keep getting out of bed every morning.

I now know officially that it did not matter. It was pointless. SIGAR shows I accomplished nothing.

Rejecting the Mindset of Iraq, Not Just the Outcome The Army's Iraq War History: Truth-Telling or Mythmaking?

SIGAR is the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, a government oversight body that is supposed to prevent waste, fraud, and mismanagement of the billions of dollars being spent rebuilding Afghanistan but that has its hands full just keeping a CVS receipt-length history of what's wrong. Sound familiar?

SIGAR just released its " 2019 High-Risk List ," which points out especially egregious things that will follow in the wake of any peace agreement in Afghanistan. Here are some quoted highlights:

set the cash ablaze on the streets of Kabul for all the good it will do."

That last line really got me. In my book, I'd written, "While a lot of the money was spent in big bites at high levels through the Embassy, or possibly just thrown into the river when no one could find a match to set it on fire ." Had SIGAR read what I'd written? Or was the joke just so obvious that we'd both come to the same punchline 10 years and two countries apart?

Word for word as in Iraq, and after over 17 years of American effort, the U.S. has failed to establish a viable government in Afghanistan, eliminate the local insurgents/patriots/residents, establish a civil society, tamp down corruption, and ensure some sort of national defense. Afghanistan has almost no chance of survival except as a Taliban narcoland with financial support needed indefinitely to avoid whatever "worse" would be in that calculus.

But there still are semi-believers. One former State Department colleague is on her fourth assignment in Kabul, roughly half her career. Her job is to liaise with the few NATO officials still hanging around. She says it's easy work; they've known each other for years. She's heard we're making progress.

Around the same time as the SIGAR report, the Army War College released its history of the Iraqi Surge, a quagmire of dense prose that I'm only about halfway through, but so far no mention of the impact of reconstruction. The theme seems to be that the Army had some good ideas but the politicians got in the way. Fair enough, but they misspelled Vietnam as I-r-a-q all throughout.

The post-9/11 wars have metastasized across three presidencies so far. Pick the thing you detest most about Bush, Obama, and Trump, and complain about how it was never investigated enough and how there weren't enough hearings. And then I'll disagree, for most everything that happened and continues to happen in Iraq and Afghanistan has gone uninvestigated, unheard of, and unpunished. It's ancient history.

We all want to believe that what we did, what we didn't do, the moral injury, the PTSD, the fights with spouses, the kid at home we smacked too hard when she wouldn't eat her green beans, all of what we saw and heard, mattered. You read that SIGAR report and tell me how. Because basically I'm history now.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan.

[Apr 15, 2019] The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf

Notable quotes:
"... In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military. ..."
"... And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Apr 14, 2019 10:19:30 AM | link

You ask a question about European political class's perception and defence of European interests that is as perplexing here as it is in regard to Libya and Syria, to name just these. There was at least some coherent defence of international law and principle during Bush II's lead up to the Iraq war, but Europe's defence of law and Europe's common interests seem to have ceased at some point since then.

pretzelattack , Apr 14, 2019 10:31:57 AM | link

so many poodles, but there can only be one alpha poodle and that's the uk so far.
Babyl-on , Apr 14, 2019 10:43:53 AM | link
"Why are they playing this game?"

Because, like the US European government is a tool of the Global Power Elite, it is nothing more than pantomime. The West is fully owned and operated by the global elite.

In books going back to C Wright Mills' The Power Elite in 1956 to SUPERCLASS by David Rothkopf, and GIANTS: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips clearly outline just how powerful the Global Elites really are.

In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military.

There is one and only one Western empire - that of the Global Elites.

85% of the valuable assets in the world are controlled by the Global Elites.

There is no offsetting force against them, there simply does not exist today a force capable of challenging their ownership of the world.

And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them.

[Apr 14, 2019] If you think Trump is spineless towards Israel, wait until Israel's next choice for POTUS, Nutty Nikky Haley steals the WH

Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Greg Bacon , Website July 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm GMT

It will be interesting to see if Ocasio-Cortez-if elected–sticks to her principles or succumbs to the shekel storm headed her way.

Radical Jews of the Hasidic type are also acting thuggish on American streets, like in Brooklyn where they committed assault, battery and kidnapping on a bicyclist.

These kind of fanatics are growing in numbers all over the USA.

If you think Trump is spineless towards Israel, wait until Israel's next choice for POTUS, Nutty Nikky Haley steals the WH.

[Apr 14, 2019] On support of Trump administration of Isreal expansionism and colonization of captured from Arabs territories: From the point of view of UN law the state of Israel is an outlaw

The term "Jews" probably should be strictly avoided. Zionists or Likudniks is a better term for Jewish Supremacists.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT

@Anonymouse

let the US give itself back to the Indians, and then ask Israel to act the same way

Give the US back to the amerindians! Give Aus back to the abos! This does not work; it's called 'moral relativism' and/or the 'tu quoque' [appeal to hypocrisy] fallacy.

Then ask Israel to act err, hello? Israel has been 'asked,' over 100 times by some counts, to 'get legal' under UN resolutions. Israel is an outlaw.

Kindly consider the I/J/Z-plex's 10 steps to utter, criminal ignominy:

  1. Herzl; coveting, expropriation (1897+)
  2. Balfour; aid Zs, no consult Ps
  3. Jabotinsky; colonise by force
  4. Ben-Gurion: "we are the attackers and the Arabs own the land" [points 1 - 4 all pre-WW2]
  5. UNGA181: "an area shall be evacuated" (invalid + no UNSC action = not law)
  6. Meir; $US50mio for arms + Plan Dalet&Co = premeditated, murdering to steal aggression
  7. When immigrants (=aliens) attack natives, it's *not* civil war but Nuremberg-class crime
  8. Z-terrorism; down to today; alien invaders' highest-tech vs. besieged & blockaded, basically unarmed natives
  9. US-support incl. UNSC vetoes; also down to 'current moment'
  10. Z-hasbarah = mostly lies, designed and deployed to deceive

More: Post-WW2, Nuremberg trials, hanging perpetrators for murdering invasions for Lebensraum predate King David Hotel bombing, Plan Dalet with outrages like the Deir Yassin massacre, etc.. Similar outrages continue to be perpetrated by the illegitimate entity, into 'the current moment.'

Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt.

Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity,' say.

Also post WW2, we got the post-colonial era; the illegitimate entity fulfils the 'premeditated supreme international crime' criteria. RoR+R*3 NOW! QED

PS Showing 'support' for criminals adopts part guilt for those criminals' crimes via the accessory process; why would anyone in their 'right' = correct mind do that?

anarchyst , August 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
If a nuclear device is "lit off" in an American or European city, it will have Israel's fingerprints all over it. Israel is desperate to keep the American money spigot running, as well as sabotaging the Palestinian "peace process" that the world wants it to take seriously.

In fact, if a nuclear device is "lit off" anywhere in the world, it will have come from Israel's secret nuclear "stockpile".

The "power outage" in Atlanta was a convenient excuse for Israel to perform a logistical "sleight of hand", as an Israeli plane was allowed to land and take off during the "power outage" without receiving customs clearance or inspection. This is one of many Israeli companies that possesses a "special exemption" granted by the U S government that frees it from customs inspections. Just maybe another one of Israel's nukes was just being pre-positioned or nuclear triggers (tritium) were being renewed, getting ready for "the big one". As most Americans are tired of all of the foreign wars being fought for Israel's benefit, another "incident" on American soil would be enough to galvanize the American public, once again, (just like WTC 9-11) to support another war for Israel's benefit. Israel's "samson option" is a real threat to "light one off" in a European or American city, if Israel's interests are not taken seriously.

Israel refuses to abide by IAEA guidelines concerning its nukes as they are already distributed around the world. Israel would not be able to produce all of them as most of them are not in Israel, proper. No delivery systems are needed as Israel's nukes are already "in place". Look for another "false flag" operation with the blame being put on Iran or Syria. You can bet that some Iranian or Syrian passports will be found in the rubble.

Israel also threatens to detonate nuclear devices in several US cities. Talk about total INSANITY; the so-called "Samson Option" is it.

As an aside, American "foreign aid" is prohibited from being given to any country that has not signed the "Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty" or refuses to abide by "International Atomic Energy Agency" (IAEA) guidelines regarding its nuclear devices. Guess what?? Israel does not abide by EITHER and still gets the majority of American "foreign aid". This prohibition also applies to countries that do not register their "agents of a foreign government" with the U S State Department. Guess what?? Israel (again) with its "American Israel Political Action Committee" (AIPAC) still gets "foreign aid" in contravention of American law..

There are forty or so congressmen, senators and thousands of high-level policy "wonks" infecting the U S government who hold "dual citizenship" with Israel. Such dual citizenship must be strictly prohibited. Those holding dual citizenship must be required to renounce said foreign citizenship. Refusal to do so should result in immediate deportation with loss of American citizenship. Present and former holders of dual citizenship should never be allowed to serve in any American governmental capacity.

When Netanyahu addressed both houses of congress, it was sickening to see our politicians slobber all over themselves to PROVE that they were unconditional supporters of Israel just who the hell do they work for? Certainly not for the interests of the American people and the United States they should renounce their United States citizenship and be deported to Israel

Bardon Kaldian , August 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm GMT
Giraldi is here-unlike in most of his regularly anti-Semitic texts- right about one crucial thing: American Gentile cow-towing to (real or imagined) Jewish power in the US, as illustrated by absurd Baron Cohen's episode.

However, I don't blame most of US Jews for that. Jewish ethnocentrists are to be suspect, sure, but the main question for US gentile politicians & public figures remains: why are you such suckers, anyway?

Sam Shama , August 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
Between Jessica at #23, and Anon at #45 lay two paramount pieces of instruction which Phil Giraldi ought to heed.

Ordinary Jews are no more required to register their objections over AIPAC's actions than are Christians over the actions of their top leaders including the POTUS, domestic MIC lobbies, the Gun Lobby and the Oil lobby; no more that is, beyond what each citizen expresses through her vote. Individuals may choose; to go beyond, into political activism; yet choice is the operative notion.

And no, Geokat, Power isn't listening to Phil over the sound of crickets for the simple reason that Power does not read the UR, couldn't care less if they did, as the Review quite rapidly degenerates to the station of an unrelenting hate rag frequented by dubious IQ cultists, antisemites and White Nationalism apologists.

Felicity , August 14, 2018 at 3:14 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

And according to Jimmy Carter Israeli intelligence had advance information of the suicide attack on the US barracks in Beirut in 1983 that killed 243 US servicemen (one of whom was a member of my family). The Israelis decided to not inform US intelligence in the hope that a major attack on US personnel would precipitate a commitment of US troops and arms into the region. So much for our Israeli "ally".

JessicaR , August 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
@Anonymouse

You are, of course, correct that the US committed either genocide or near-genocide (depending on your definition of the term) against Native Americans. However, NOW, in the 21st century, any Native American who is a US citizen is free to buy property in any part of America and live where he chooses. Native Americans are no longer confined to reservations. While poverty is a fact of life for many Native Americans, some tribes have profited substantially from gambling. In Florida, Seminoles may receive upward of 40,000 a year (each man, woman, and child) as their share of the gambling revenues. They can certainly afford to buy property just about anywhere.

(Note that I am not denying that much discrimination and inequality still persist and that most reservations with gambling offer very little to tribal members.)

In Israel, however, Palestinians cannot return to their home towns and buy property. They are not free to live where they choose. Many are still confined to refugee camps. Housing discrimination continues to persist for Israeli Arabs. Yes, the High Court ruled it illegal, but few remedies are in place, which means the practice continues largely unabated.

If you want to use historical analogies, I believe you should use them in full.

utu , August 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm GMT

Cohen's performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says.

It is very telling about the human material on the right in America. Complete morons. Now think about it. It was a prank, right? But I can imagine that real negotiations with Israelis are very similar and produce similar positive outcomes for Israelis. Israelis play Americans anyway they want on all levels of federal and local administrations. They have the same attitude towards Americans as Jack Abramoff had towards his counterparts at Indian reservations. Why shouldn't they? It works.

he called his Indian clients "troglodytes" and "morons" and "monkeys," "the stupidest idiots in the land." In one particularly damning e-mail he counseled Scanlon, "The key thing to remember with all these clients is that they are annoying, but that the annoying losers are the only ones which have this kind of money and part with it so quickly . So, we have to put up with this stuff."

At best American are annoying losers who part with their money quickly.

Mr. Giraldi, why do you bother with your articles? You still have illusions that you can educate the monkeys?

Anon [270] Disclaimer , Website August 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
"special relationship"

It smacks of supremacism, doesn't it? It means the US must favor Zionist occupiers in West Bank over Palestinians, the very people who are being occupied.

It means the US must favor Israel, a nation that stole uranium from US and has 300 nukes, over Iran, a nation that passed all inspections and has no nukes.

This special relationship is a form of worship. It is never discussed rationally WHY Israel is so crucial to us. Instead, politicians and pundits gush about it with fanatical devotion, as if it's a sacred truth. Anyone who questions it even slightly is marginalized or destroyed. Some might Giraldi has been too strident, but even mild criticism of Israel or Zionism can get you banned from media or politics.

I find it odd that Jews always remind us that Old America was 'racist' because it favored Europeans over non-whites, especially in immigration and foreign policy. After all, the US often sided with European imperialists over non-white subjects of colonialism.

In New America, there is supposed to no Special Treatment for any group, but Jews and Israel get it all the time. In asylum(Save Soviet Jews), in immigration, in college admission, in foreign policy -- not just in supporting Israel at every turn but in waging Wars for Israel and hating on any nation hated by Jews, esp Russia, Iran, and Syria.

[Apr 14, 2019] Feeding the Monster, by Philip Giraldi

While secular "cultural nationalism" is probably essential to the survival of the nation, far right nationalism is a cancer.
There is a vicious spiral: Israel actions, which are essentially American-style colonization of the territory, radicalize Palestinians, and their actions in turn radicalize Jews feeling far right nationalism.
The early Zionists were mostly atheist. Zionists quoting the Bible for legitimacy of their land claims I'd take with a pinch of salt regarding their sincerity.
Notable quotes:
"... "No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can't be silent about this anymore. I think I was primarily compelled [to speak out] on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers' strikes. The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me." ..."
"... I personally would have liked to see Ocasio-Cortez go farther, a lot farther. Israel is a place where conventional morality has been replaced by a theocratically and culturally driven sense of entitlement which has meant that anything goes when it comes to the treatment of inferior Christian and Muslim Arabs. It also means that the United States is being played for a patsy by people who believe themselves to be superior in every way to Americans. ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. ..."
"... I personally would have liked to see Ocasio-Cortez go farther, a lot farther. Israel is a place where conventional morality has been replaced by a theocratically and culturally driven sense of entitlement which has meant that anything goes when it comes to the treatment of inferior Christian and Muslim Arabs ..."
"... As Kevin Macdonald would point out Middle Eastern peoples are extreme in their ethnocentricism, explaining the chronic instability in the region, but Jews are at the extreme end of that extremism. The media does a good job of covering up the hypoethnocentricism evident in Jewish life in Israel and the West. ..."
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

One paragraph in particular in the article I read was highly suggestive, the claim that Ocasio-Cortez had been strongly opposed to the Israelis' routine slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, which has by now become of such little import that it is not even reported any more in the U.S. media. She is also allegedly a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), which pressures Israel to end its theft and occupation of Palestinian land. The article expressed some surprise that anyone in New York City would dare to say anything unpleasant about Israel and still expect to get elected.

This is what Ocasio-Cortez, who called the shooting of more than 130 Gazans a "massacre," actually said and wrote :

"No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can't be silent about this anymore. I think I was primarily compelled [to speak out] on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers' strikes. The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me."

Five hours later, when I arrived home in Virginia I went to pull up the article I had read in the morning to possibly use it in a piece of my own and was somewhat surprised to discover that the bit about Israel had been excised from the text. It was clearly yet another example of how the media self-censors when there is anything negative to say about Israel and it underlines the significance of the emergence of recent international media reporting in The Guardian and elsewhere regarding how Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson largely dictates U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. That means that the conspiracy of silence over Israel's manipulation of the United States government is beginning to break down and journalists have become bold enough to challenge what occurs when pro-Israel Jews obtain real power over the political process. Adelson, for what it's worth, wants war with Iran and has even suggested detonating a nuclear device on its soil to "send a message."

I personally would have liked to see Ocasio-Cortez go farther, a lot farther. Israel is a place where conventional morality has been replaced by a theocratically and culturally driven sense of entitlement which has meant that anything goes when it comes to the treatment of inferior Christian and Muslim Arabs. It also means that the United States is being played for a patsy by people who believe themselves to be superior in every way to Americans.

The question of the relationship with Israel comes at a time when everyone in America, so it seems, is concerned about children being separated from their parents who have illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States. The concern is legitimate given the coarse and sometimes violent justifications coming out of the White House, but it's a funny thing that Israeli abuse and even killing of Arab children is not met with the same opprobrium. When a Jewish fanatic/Israel settler kills Palestinian children and is protected by his government in so doing, where is the outrage in the U.S. media? Settlers and soldiers kill Palestinians, young and old, with impunity and are almost never punished. They destroy their orchards and livestock to eliminate their livelihoods to drive them out. They bulldoze their homes and villages. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency does none of that and is yet subject to nonstop abuse in the mainstream media, so what about Israel?

A recent story illustrates just how horrible the Israelis can be without any pushback whatsoever coming from Washington objecting to their behavior. As the United States is the only force that can in any way compel Israel to come to its senses and chooses not to do so, that makes U.S. policymakers and by extension the American people complicit in Israel's crimes.

The particularly horrible recent account that I am referring to describes how fanatical Jewish settlers burned alive a Palestinian family on the West Bank, including a baby, and then celebrated the deaths while taunting the victims' surviving family when they subsequently appeared in court. The story was covered in Israel and Europe but insofar as I could determine did not appear in any detail in the U.S. mainstream media.

Israeli Jewish settlers carried out their shameful deed outside a court in the city of Lod, chanting "'Ali was burned, where is Ali? There is no Ali. Ali is burned. On the fire. Ali is on the grill!" referring to the 18-month old baby Ali Dawabsheh, who was burnt alive in 2015 by Jewish settlers hurling Molotov cocktails into a house in the West Bank town of Duma. Ali's mother Riham and father Saad also died of their burns and were included in the chanting "Where is Ali? Where is Riham? Where is Saad? It's too bad Ahmed didn't burn as well." Five year-old Ahmed, who alone survived the attack with severe burns, will have scars for the rest of his life.

The settlers were taunting Ali's grandfather Hussein Dawabsheh, who accompanied Ahmed, at a preliminary hearing where the court indicted a man who confessed to the murders and a minor who acted as an accomplice. A video of the chanting shows Israeli policemen standing by and doing nothing. The court appearance also revealed that there have been another Molotov cocktail attack by settlers on another Dawabsheh family house in May that may have been an attempt to silence testimony relating to the first attack. Fortunately, the family managed to escape.

And by all accounts this outrage was not the first incident in which the burning of the Palestinian baby was celebrated. A December 15 th wedding video showed settlers engaged in an uproarious party that featured dances with Molotov cocktails and waving knives and guns. A photo of baby Ali was on display and was repeatedly stabbed. A year later, 13 people from what became known as the "murder wedding" were indicted for incitement to terrorism, but as of today no one has actually been punished. Israelis who kill Arabs are rarely indicted or tried. If it is a soldier or policeman that is involved, which occurs all too often, the penalty is frequently either nothing at all a slap on the wrist. Indeed, the snipers who fired on Gazans recently were actually ordered to shoot the unarmed civilians and directed to take out anyone who appeared to be a "leader," which included medical personnel.

The Trump Administration could, of course, stop the Israeli brutality if it chooses to do so, but it does not think Benjamin Netanyahu's crimes against humanity are on the agenda. Nor did Clinton, Bush and Obama dare to confront the power of Israel's lobby, though Obama tried a little pushback in a feeble way.

Someone in Washington should be asking why the United States should be fighting unnecessary wars and becoming an international pariah defending a country and people that believe they are "chosen" by God? One can only hope that the shift in perceptions on the Middle East by liberal Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez has some legs and will lead to some real change in U.S. foreign policy. To succeed the liberal Democrats will need to push against some formidable obstacles within their own party, most notably the Clinton wing and people like Senator Chuck Schumer, Minority leader in the Senate, who describes himself as Israel's "shomer" or defender in the Upper House. Perhaps someone on the New York Times editorial board should publicly suggest to Schumer that he go and run for office in Israel since he seems to prefer it to the country that has made him rich and powerful. But of course, the Times and all the other mainstream media, which is responsible for what we are not allowed to know about Israel and its American mouthpieces, will never entertain that suggestion or anything like it.

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


Someone , July 3, 2018 at 5:12 am GMT

No one should know this better than the Jews- that negativity never ends well.
Tyrion 2 , Website July 3, 2018 at 6:20 am GMT

I personally would have liked to see Ocasio-Cortez go farther, a lot farther. Israel is a place where conventional morality has been replaced by a theocratically and culturally driven sense of entitlement which has meant that anything goes when it comes to the treatment of inferior Christian and Muslim Arabs

Better to be a minority in Israel than any other Middle Eastern country. The two settlers guilty of arson are disgusting zealots. But their type is exponentially more common in Iraq, Syria, Iran and so on.

The criticism of Israel in Western media is disproportionately extremely high given the much higher rates of this type of thing in the majority of the rest of the world.

As for sniping the leaders of a huge mob trying to invade your country/storm your borders, doesn't that seem like the most humane way to deal with it? What does Giraldi suggest they do?

I suppose Western anti-Semites see Western countries going down because they are unable to deal with this type of thing and get jealous and want to drag Israel down with them. I prefer that America follow the example of Matteo Salvini. Giraldi prefers 'abolish borders' Cortez. Indeed, he'd like her to "go a lot farther".

Mishra , July 3, 2018 at 6:30 am GMT

Washington's spinelessness enables Israeli brutality

Why is "Washington" spineless? Why don't the people demand more principled leaders?

Well, where do the people get their ideas anyway? The mass media.

Who owns the mass media? Why can't it even be discussed?

All we get on this topic is lies, some right here on UNZ.

Yet some here now and then dare to speak the truth.

And as a result this site is under assault.

EOLAWKI , July 3, 2018 at 8:22 am GMT
Washington is not spineless. Washington is bought and paid for. In America, the general rule is that money rules, and the people (and their political representatives!) follow.
The Alarmist , July 3, 2018 at 8:35 am GMT

" I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers' strikes."

Only 60? We really have become a nation of p ***** s. If we're going to be an empire that pushes the rest of the world around, we need to act like one. The Byzantine General Belisaurius, under Justinian I, put down the Nika riots by killing as many as 30,000 people, and the Byzantine empire went on for another 900 years. If we dither over 60 people, we won't last another 50 years.

As for the Israelis, they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction, but given the number of nukes they are reputed to have and the global reach they seem to have, they are going to take the rest of us with them if the US simply walks away from them and leaves them on their own.

LondonBob , July 3, 2018 at 9:52 am GMT
@Tyrion 2

As Kevin Macdonald would point out Middle Eastern peoples are extreme in their ethnocentricism, explaining the chronic instability in the region, but Jews are at the extreme end of that extremism. The media does a good job of covering up the hypoethnocentricism evident in Jewish life in Israel and the West.

Z-man , July 3, 2018 at 10:16 am GMT
That crazed looking group of young fanatical Zionists taunting a Palestinian mother and child is a classic. ZOG has got to be defeated!
However , speaking of that 'Latina' who beat a political hack in Queens and the Bronx, she's already started to edit some of her internet posts. She knows who rules and will get in line with the 'mainstream' Zionist party line. She's also an 'open borders' radical which doesn't sit well with the likes of me and most Americans. She's also a 'Bronx girl' by way of suburban Westchester county, lol. As phony as phony gets.
Rogue , July 3, 2018 at 10:24 am GMT
@Echoes of History

The verse in question was specifically regarding the church in Jerusalem. In other words, financial help by gentile believers for Jewish followers of Jesus who were impoverished at that time.

It is not to be interpreted as a general charity for Jews, most of whom are hostile to Christianity both then and today. Bible verses have to be read within the context of the surrounding text.

Zionism is hardly a religious movement.

Tyrion 2 , Website July 3, 2018 at 10:26 am GMT
@LondonBob

Jews are probably the least ethnocentric, other than the 4% of global population that is Western European, in the world.

Echoes of History , July 3, 2018 at 10:32 am GMT
@Tyrion 2

Better to be a minority in Israel than any other Middle Eastern country.

Better yet to be a Jewish minority in any place but Israel.

It's weird how the vast majority of Jews themselves can't be persuaded into moving to Israel, but would rather be a minority elsewhere. Why is that so? Not so great a place as you purport?

The total number of people who hold or are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return is estimated at around 23 million, of which 6.6 million were living in Israel as of 2015. wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_population_by_country

UncommonGround , July 3, 2018 at 11:06 am GMT
@Mishra

Well, where do the people get their ideas anyway? The mass media.

In Germany there was recently a bad case of antisemitism which was reported widely in the media. A large newspaper had a long article telling how a Jewish pupil in an elite school in Berlin was harassed or bullyed for months and that the school didn't do enough to protect him. It's a school to which the sons of ambassators, of diplomatic personal and of the international high class community in Berlin go. The article brought many details about the case: how they told the pupil that Ausschwitz wasn't far away (or something similar) and so on. The case even came in the television news of the main German channel (I only watched the late news, but I think that the case also came in the absolutely main news of German television at 8 o'clock P.M.). The media spoke of "antisemitism in Berlin." A pupil was harassed and told a few unpleasant things in a school in Berlin and this came in the main tv news of the country! The most important weekly magazine had also an article about "antisemitism in Berlin". At the end of the long article they told something that the other midia hadn't told. The pupil had been harassed because he favoured the Palestinians! The colleagues who bullyed him were probably American Jews.

WorkingClass , July 3, 2018 at 11:07 am GMT

but it's a funny thing that Israeli abuse and even killing of Arab children is not met with the same opprobrium.

Also the intentional starving of children in Yemen. And the huge pile of dead babies in Iraq, Libya and Syria. All of them murdered by Imperial Washington.

I much prefer President Trump to any of the candidates he defeated in the primaries and general election. But I regret that he is a Jew.

geokat62 , July 3, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
Here's an interesting tidbit about AOC:

Newly popular Democratic politician hero and nominee for a seat in the U.S. Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used to have these words on her website:

A Peace Economy

"Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States has entangled itself in war and occupation throughout the Middle East and North Africa. As of 2018, we are currently involved in military action in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. According to the Constitution, the right to declare war belongs to the Legislative body, not the President. Yet, most of these acts of aggression have never once been voted on by Congress. Alex believes that