Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Andrew Bacevich on The New American Militarism

News Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Recommended Links The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept American Exceptionalism War is Racket
The Deep State Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocons Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA The Deep State Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
Non-Interventionism Right to protect Bacevich Videos American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Mayberry Machiavellians Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism
American Exceptionalism Brexit revisited: Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as antidote to Neoliberalism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Predator state War is Racket
Propaganda as creation of artificial reality Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Looting pays dividends to empire Co-opting of the Human Rights industry by the US to attack and embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism The Grand Chessboard
 National Security State Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization  Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Big Uncle is Watching You Humor Etc
  “As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the rest of the world combined.”

Ron Paul


New American militarism is connected with the desire to establish global neoliberal empire ruled by the USA (the dream of total world dominance). It became official policy  since the collapse of the USSR  and involves "heliocentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits. The US population is by-and-large-completely brainwashed into this vision.

Opposition to the US militarism is almost non-existent due contemporary US popular culture infused with the language of militarism and American exceptionalism. As Bacevich  noted:

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

The "New American militarism" or as it called "Neocon mentality" is not that different from the early Soviets militarism (of  Trotskyite variety), eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism toward other countries on the tips of bayonets.  Here the role of scientific socialism is played by neoliberal ideology. With the slogan "Transnational elite unite" and Davos style Congresses of the new   "Neoliberal International" of comprador elites. While converting other countries into neoliberal model using color revolution of direct military invasion or combination of both) are disguised as spread of "democracy".

In this new Crusade for world hegemony the key ideas of Trotsky Permanent Revolution remains intact -- a crusade for establishing new social system on all counties on the Earth. This is just Great Neoliberal Crusade, instead of Communist Crusade.  This new justification for Crusades has the same problems as two previous. But it does not matter as the key role of democracy here is the same as in quote "the goal justifies the means" 

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. he avoids the term neoliberalism and did not try to explain new American militarism in terms of the quest for neoliberal empire expansion. But he is a very good observer and the books contain many insights into US elite thinking and blunders. Among them we can note two:

While all three books are excellent and raise important issues,  they overlap. Probably the most original and the most important on them is Washington Rules, were Bacevich attempts to explain "Permanent War for Permanent Peace" that the USA practice since the end of WWII. All three books have the same weaknesses: Bacevich does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism" and regime of permanent wars that the USA pursue since WWII.

He provide sharp critique of neocons, but never ask the question: which political forces brought those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle.

He also mistakenly believe that American people (who were completely estranged from any influence on nation's policies) bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred of the largest US corporations. In other words he does not understand that the USA is yet another occupied country.

Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War; War as a natural state of the USA since 1945

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

The foreign policy of the USA since 1945, but especially, after the dissolution of the USSR was and is "open militarism". Recently  John Quiggin  tried to define militarism is came to the following definition (

100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative. Wikipedia offers a definition of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population in nearly every country in the world.

Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national interests

This new epidemic of the US militarism started after the dissolution of the USSR was called by Professor Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army)  it New American Militarism.

Bacevich's book  Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War  describe the "sacred trinity" of global US-led neoliberal empire:

Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US that is uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq. And that establishing and maintaining the neoliberal empire is worth the price we pay as it will take the USA into the period of unprecedented peace.

Bacevich scored a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive "perpetual war for perpetual peace".

Bacevich scores a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual war. These assumptions take the form of the "credo" -- which holds that the United States has the unique responsibility to intervene wherever it wants, for whatever purpose it wants, by whatever means it wants -- and the supporting "trinity" of requirements for the U.S. to maintain a global military presence, to configure its military forces for global power projection, and to counter threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.

Lessons that President Obama is clearly never able to learn. In this sense his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections that some may find very troubling as it suggest that the USA elite is suicidal and is ready to sacrifice the county for achieving its delusional goal of world domination.

Here is the summary from Bacevich - Washington Rules (2010) - Synopsis by Mark K. Jensen

UFPPC ( Digging Deeper CXXXVII: September 27, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 

Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, August 2010).


The Washington consensus on national security policy that constitutes convention wisdom in American foreign policy began with the Cold War and survived, remarkably, the Vietnam War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, no longer serves American interests, but the failure of the Obama administration to alter it shows that change can only come from the American people.

Introduction: Slow Learner

The author's faith in orthodoxy began to crumble when visiting the BrandenburgGate in Berlin in the winter of 1990-1991(1-4). In October 1990 a visit to Jenarevealed the backwardness of EastGermany (4-6). During his years in the Army, Bacevich had kept down doubts; after the end of the Cold War he retired, and his loss of status freed him to educate himself (6-10).

"George W.Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition" (10). "This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom" (11). The past 60 years of American history shows continuity: a symbiotic "credo" (formulated by Henry Luce in 1941 as the "American Century") and a "sacred trinity" ("the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of  global interventionism") together define "the rules to which Washington adheres" (11-15).

In this book, "Washington" refers to the upper echelons of the three branches of government, the main agencies of the national security state, select think tanks and interest groups, "big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government" (15).

This book aspires to

(1) trace the history of the Washington rules;

(2) show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;

(3) explain how itis perpetuated;

(4) show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;

and (5) re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).

The American Century is ending, and it "has become essential" to devise an "alternative to the reining national security paradigm" (16-18).

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

As president, Barack Obama's efforts to change the U.S.'s exercise of power "have seldom risen above the cosmetic"(20). He made clear he subscribes to the "catechism of American statecraft," viz. that 1) the world must be organized, 2)only the U.S. can do it, 3) this includes dictating principles, and 4) not to accept this is to be a rogue or a recalcitrant (20-21).

It follows that the U.S. need not conform to the norms it sets for others and that it should maintain a worldwide network of bases (22-23).

Imagine if China acted in a comparable manner (23-25). The extraordinary American military posture in the world (25-27). To call this into question puts one beyond the pale(27). James Forrestal called this a permanent condition of semiwar, requiring high levels of military spending(27-28).

American citizens are not supposed to concern themselves with it (29-30). As to how this came about, the "standard story line" presents as the result of the decisions of a "succession of presidential administrations," though this conceals as much as it reveals (30-32).

Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address on the "military-industrial complex" was a rare exception (32-34). More important than presidents were Allen Dulles [1893-1969] and Curtis Lemay [1906-1990] (34-36).

Bacevich attributes the vision for an American-dominated post-World War II world with the CIA playing an active role to the patrician Dulles (36-43). The development of the U.S. military into a force capable of dominating the world, especially in the area of strategic weapons, he attributes to the hard-bitten Curtis LeMay, organizer of the StrategicAir Command (SAC) (43-52). Dulles and LeMay shared devotion to country, ruthlessness, a certain recklessness (52-55). They exploited American anxieties and insecurities in yin (Dulles's CIA) yang(LeMay's SAC) fashion, leaving the mainstay of American military power, the U.S. Army, in a relatively weak position(55-58).

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

Kennedy kept Dulles and LeMay to signal continuity, but there was a behind-the-scenes struggle led by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to reassert the role of the U.S. Army by expanding and modernizing conventional forces that was "simultaneously masked by, and captured in, the phrase flexible response " (60; 59-63).

This agenda purported to aim at "resisting aggression" but really created new options for limited aggressive warfare by the U.S. (63-66).

McNamara engaged in a struggle with LeMay to control U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, but he embraced the need for redundancy based on a land-sea-air attack "triad" and LeMay et al. "got most of what they wanted" (66-72).

In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy instituted the morally and legally "indefensible" Operation Mongoose," in effect, a program of state-sponsored terrorism" against Cuba (80; 72-82 [but Bacevich is silent on its wilder elements, like Operation Northwoods]).

U.S. recklessness caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to his credit Kennedy acknowledged this (albeit privately) and "suspended the tradition" in defusing the crisis (82-87).

Bacevich rejects as a romantic delusion the view that in the aftermath of this crisis Kennedy turned against the military-industrial complex and the incipient Vietnam war and shows no interest in Kennedy's assassination itself (87-92).

He sees a parallel between escalation in Vietnam and post-9/11 aggression as "fought to sustain the Washington consensus" (107; 92-107).

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power (1966) urged a rethinking of the Washington rules (109-15). A radicalized David Shoup, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the MarineCorps, argued in "The New American Militarism" (Atlantic, April 1969) that the U.S. had become "a militaristic and aggressive nation" (120; 115-21). The 1960s Zeitgeist shift made LeMay "an embarrassment, mocked and vilified rather than venerated," which showed that the Washington rules had incurred serious damage in Vietnam; the Army was in dire shape (122; 121-27).

Yet astonishingly, in the subsequent decade the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) was "fully restored" (127). As in post-1918 Germany, élites looked for scapegoats and worked to reverse "the war's apparent verdict" (128). The Council on Foreign Relations 1976 volume entitled The Vietnam Legacy: The War, American Society, and the Future of American Foreign Policy is an expression of élite consensus that the Vietnam war was insignificant, an anomaly (129-34).

By 1980, Democrats and Republicans were again on the same page (134-36).Reagan's election "sealed the triumph of Vietnam revisionism" (136; 136-38). And the end of the Cold War posed no challenge to the Washington rules, as Madeleine Albright's pretentious arrogance exemplifies (138-45).

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

The period from 1980 to 2000 saw "notretrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The new mission was not American defense but facilitation of a new world order (148-50). After 9/11 this pretense was dropped and "[a]ctivism became the watchword" (150, emphasis in original;150-52). Resorting to war became "notably more frequent and less controversial" in 1980-2000, finding "its ultimate expression in the Bush Doctrine of preventive war" (152-53). Americans "passively assented" (154).

Behind the scenes, the shape this took was struggled over by the officer corps and civilian semi-warriors pushing RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs) (154-64).Initially, U.S. élites held that victory in Iraq demonstrated that speed could be substituted for mass in military campaigns (165-75). But the experience of the occupation revealed this to be a fantasy (175-81).

Ch. 5: Counterfeit COIN.

Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, replacing "shock and awe" as "the Long War" replaced the "global war on terror," is the latest doctrinal effort to preserve the Washington rules (182-86). The so-called "surge" implicitly marked a quest for conditions allowing the U.S. to leave Iraq without admitting defeat (186-91).Gen. David Petraeus emerged as an advocate (and as salesman, through FM3-24, the manual he revised and which Bacevich insists is in its emphasis on narrative replete with postmodernism) of counterinsurgency doctrine as "a substitute [for warfare] suited to the exercise of great power politics in the twilight of modernity" (197; 191-97). Implicitly, the manual argues that "war as such . . . no longer worked" (198; 198-202). Petraeus took credit for progress in Iraq that he did not achieve (202-04).

The general with a Princeton Ph.D. was lionized with a view to normalizing war and lowering expectations, a view now embraced by the Obama administration(205-11). Proponents of global counterinsurgency (GCOIN) emerged, like John Nagl and Gen. Benet Sacolick (211-13). Obama embraced the GCOIN version of the Long War with Gen.Stanley McChrystal to carry it out in Afghanistan, forfeiting the opportunity to reassess American policy (213-21).

Ch. 6: Cultivating Our Own Garden.

Time-honored no-nonsense American pragmatism has turned into an absurdity-swallowing herd mentality (222-23). The problem set the U.S. faces has radically changed from the time of the early Cold War, but the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) that proposes to address them remains essentially the same (224-25).Eisenhower would have been appalled(225-26). The size of the Pentagon budget, the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the extent of overseas military presence cannot be justified(226-27).

These persist because of the interests they serve, not the mission the fulfill, and are likely to do so for sometime (228-30). Bacevich invokes George Kennan, William Fulbright, and Martin Luther King Jr. in urging that the U.S. needs a new approach, to model freedom rather than impose it (231-37). First and foremost, America should save not the world but itself (237).

Bacevich proposes a new trinity:

  1. the purpose of the military is to defend the U.S. and its vital interests;
  2. soldiers' primary duty stations are on American soil;
  3. force should be used only as a last resort and in self-defense, in accord with the Just War tradition (238-41).

The American public must shoulder its complicity in what has happened, fostered by an all-volunteer force and debt-financed budgets (241-47). It is tragic that Barack Obama, elected to institute change, has lacked the courage to alter the Washington rules, instead "choosing to conform" (247-49). "If change is to come, it must come from the people"(249). The need for education "has become especially acute" (249; 249-50).

Except from Macmillan

Introduction: Slow Learner Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: He knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination. All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility.

My own education did not commence until I had reached middle age. I can fix its start date with precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. As an officer in the U.S. Army I had spent considerable time in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened. The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted. Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary history. 

Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on. The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date— 1933, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1961, 1989—and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity, tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those parables emerged from the events of 1933 to 1945, an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted, then heroically overthrown.

A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the "long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating events of 1989, with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.

.... ... ...

Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire, East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world.

... ... ...

Briquettes of soft coal used for home heating made the air all but unbreathable and coated everything with soot. In the German cities we knew, pastels predominated—houses and apartment blocks painted pale green, muted salmon, and soft yellow. Here everything was brown and gray

... ... ...

Bit by bit, my worldview started to crumble. That worldview had derived from this conviction: that American power manifested a commitment to global leadership, and that both together expressed and affirmed the nation's enduring devotion to its founding ideals. That American power, policies, and purpose were bound together in a neat, internally consistent package, each element drawing strength from and reinforcing the others, was something I took as a given. That, during my adult life, a penchant for interventionism had become a signature of U.S. policy did not—to me, at least—in any way contradict America's aspirations for peace. Instead, a willingness to expend lives and treasure in distant places testified to the seriousness of those aspirations. That, during this same period, the United States had amassed an arsenal of over thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons, some small number of them assigned to units in which I had served, was not at odds with our belief in the inalienable right to life and liberty; rather, threats to life and liberty had compelled the United States to acquire such an arsenal and maintain it in readiness for instant use.2 I was not so naíve as to believe that the American record had been without flaws. Yet I assured myself that any errors or misjudgments had been committed in good faith. Furthermore, circumstances permitted little real choice. In Southeast Asia as in Western Europe, in the Persian Gulf as in the Western Hemisphere, the United States had simply done what needed doing. Viable alternatives did not exist. To consent to any dilution of American power would be to forfeit global leadership, thereby putting at risk safety, prosperity, and freedom, not only our own but also that of our friends and allies.

The choices seemed clear enough. On one side was the status quo: the commitments, customs, and habits that defined American globalism, implemented by the national security apparatus within which I functioned as a small cog. On the other side was the prospect of appeasement, isolationism, and catastrophe. The only responsible course was the one to which every president since Harry Truman had adhered. For me, the Cold War had played a crucial role in sustaining that worldview.

Given my age, upbringing, and professional background, it could hardly have been otherwise. Although the great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had contained moments of considerable anxiety — I remember my father, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, stocking our basement with water and canned goods — it served primarily to clarify, not to frighten.

The Cold War provided a framework that organized and made sense of contemporary history. It offered a lineup and a scorecard. That there existed bad Germans and good Germans, their Germans and our Germans, totalitarian Germans and Germans who, like Americans, passionately loved freedom was, for example, a proposition I accepted as dogma. Seeing the Cold War as a struggle between good and evil answered many questions, consigned others to the periphery, and rendered still others irrelevant.

Back in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, more than a few members of my generation had rejected the conception of the Cold War as a Manichean struggle. Here too, I was admittedly a slow learner. Yet having kept the faith long after others had lost theirs, the doubts that eventually assailed me were all the more disorienting. Granted, occasional suspicions had appeared long before Jena and Berlin

My own Vietnam experience had generated its share, which I had done my best to suppress. I was, after all, a serving soldier. Except in the narrowest of terms, the military profession, in those days at least, did not look kindly on nonconformity. Climbing the ladder of career success required curbing maverick tendencies. To get ahead, you needed to be a team player. Later, when studying the history of U.S. foreign relations in graduate school, I was pelted with challenges to orthodoxy, which I vigorously deflected. When it came to education, graduate school proved a complete waste of time — a period of intense study devoted to the further accumulation of facts, while I exerted myself to ensuring that they remained inert.

Now, however, my personal circumstances were changing. Shortly after the passing of the Cold War, my military career ended. Education thereby became not only a possibility, but also a necessity. In measured doses, mortification cleanses the soul. It's the perfect antidote for excessive self-regard. After twenty-three years spent inside the U.S. Army seemingly going somewhere, I now found myself on the outside going nowhere in particular. In the self-contained and cloistered universe of regimental life, I had briefly risen to the status of minor spear carrier. The instant I took off my uniform, that status vanished. I soon came to a proper appreciation of my own insignificance, a salutary lesson that I ought to have absorbed many years earlier. As I set out on what eventually became a crablike journey toward a new calling as a teacher and writer—a pilgrimage of sorts—ambition in the commonly accepted meaning of the term ebbed. This did not happen all at once. Yet gradually, trying to grab one of life's shiny brass rings ceased being a major preoccupation.

Wealth, power, and celebrity became not aspirations but subjects for critical analysis.

History—especially the familiar narrative of the Cold War—no longer offered answers; instead, it posed perplexing riddles. Easily the most nagging was this one: How could I have so profoundly misjudged the reality of what lay on the far side of the Iron Curtain? Had I been insufficiently attentive? Or was it possible that I had been snookered all along? Contemplating such questions, while simultaneously witnessing the unfolding of the "long 1990s"— the period bookended by two wars with Iraq when American vainglory reached impressive new heights—prompted the realization that I had grossly misinterpreted the threat posed by America's adversaries. Yet that was the lesser half of the problem. Far worse than misperceiving "them" was the fact that I had misperceived "us." What I thought I knew best I actually understood least. Here, the need for education appeared especially acute.

George W. Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary—above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power— now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended "global war on terror" without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won, and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords. During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely. *

What should stand in the place of such discarded convictions? Simply inverting the conventional wisdom, substituting a new Manichean paradigm for the old discredited version—the United States taking the place of the Soviet Union as the source of the world's evil—would not suffice. Yet arriving at even an approximation of truth would entail subjecting conventional wisdom, both present and past, to sustained and searching scrutiny. Cautiously at first but with growing confidence, this I vowed to do. Doing so meant shedding habits of conformity acquired over decades. All of my adult life I had been a company man, only dimly aware of the extent to which institutional loyalties induce myopia. Asserting independence required first recognizing the extent to which I had been socialized to accept certain things as unimpeachable. Here then were the preliminary steps essential to making education accessible. Over a period of years, a considerable store of debris had piled up. Now, it all had to go. Belatedly, I learned that more often than not what passes for conventional wisdom is simply wrong. Adopting fashionable attitudes to demonstrate one's trustworthiness—the world of politics is flush with such people hoping thereby to qualify for inclusion in some inner circle—is akin to engaging in prostitution in exchange for promissory notes. It's not only demeaning but downright foolhardy. This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II— the era of global dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.

The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American credo. In the simplest terms, the credo summons the United States—and the United States alone—to lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world. In a celebrated manifesto issued at the dawn of what he termed "The American Century," Henry R. Luce made the case for this spacious conception of global leadership. Writing in Life magazine in early 1941, the influential publisher exhorted his fellow citizens to "accept wholeheartedly our duty to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce thereby captured what remains even today the credo's essence.3 Luce's concept of an American Century, an age of unquestioned American global primacy, resonated, especially in Washington. His evocative phrase found a permanent place in the lexicon of national politics. (Recall that the neoconservatives who, in the 1990s, lobbied for more militant U.S. policies named their enterprise the Project for a New American Century.) So, too, did Luce's expansive claim of prerogatives to be exercised by the United States.

Even today, whenever public figures allude to America's responsibility to lead, they signal their fidelity to this creed. Along with respectful allusions to God and "the troops," adherence to Luce's credo has become a de facto prerequisite for high office. Question its claims and your prospects of being heard in the hubbub of national politics become nil. Note, however, that the duty Luce ascribed to Americans has two components. It is not only up to Americans, he wrote, to choose the purposes for which they would bring their influence to bear, but to choose the means as well. Here we confront the second component of the postwar tradition of American statecraft. With regard to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion (often styled "negotiating from a position of strength") over suasion. Above all, the exercise of global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities staggeringly in excess of those required for self-defense. Prior to World War II, Americans by and large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American identity. By the midpoint of the twentieth century, "the Pentagon" had ceased to be merely a gigantic five-sided building.

Like "Wall Street" at the end of the nineteenth century, it had become Leviathan, its actions veiled in secrecy, its reach extending around the world. Yet while the concentration of power in Wall Street had once evoked deep fear and suspicion, Americans by and large saw the concentration of power in the Pentagon as benign. Most found it reassuring. A people who had long seen standing armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper of national debate, unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate to global leadership. Every great military power has its distinctive signature. For Napoleonic France, it was the levée en masse— the people in arms animated by the ideals of the Revolution. For Great Britain in the heyday of empire, it was command of the seas, sustained by a dominant fleet and a network of far-flung outposts from Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore and Hong Kong. Germany from the 1860s to the 1940s (and Israel from 1948 to 1973) took another approach, relying on a potent blend of tactical flexibility and operational audacity to achieve battlefield superiority.

The abiding signature of American military power since World War II has been of a different order altogether. The United States has not specialized in any particular type of war. It has not adhered to a fixed tactical style. No single service or weapon has enjoyed consistent favor. At times, the armed forces have relied on citizen-soldiers to fill their ranks; at other times, long-service professionals. Yet an examination of the past sixty years of U.S. military policy and practice does reveal important elements of continuity. Call them the sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism. Together, credo and trinity—the one defining purpose, the other practice—constitute the essence of the way that Washington has attempted to govern and police the American Century. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. The trinity lends plausibility to the credo's vast claims. For its part, the credo justifies the trinity's vast requirements and exertions.

Together they provide the basis for an enduring consensus that imparts a consistency to U.S. policy regardless of which political party may hold the upper hand or who may be occupying the White House. From the era of Harry Truman to the age of Barack Obama, that consensus has remained intact. It defines the rules to which Washington adheres; it determines the precepts by which Washington rules. As used here, Washington is less a geographic expression than a set of interlocking institutions headed by people who, whether acting officially or unofficially, are able to put a thumb on the helm of state. Washington, in this sense, includes the upper echelons of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. It encompasses the principal components of the national security state— the departments of Defense, State, and, more recently, Homeland Security, along with various agencies comprising the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities. Its ranks extend to select think tanks and interest groups. Lawyers, lobbyists, fixers, former officials, and retired military officers who still enjoy access are members in good standing. Yet Washington also reaches beyond the Beltway to include big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

With rare exceptions, acceptance of the Washington rules forms a prerequisite for entry into this world. My purpose in writing this book is fivefold: first, to trace the origins and evolution of the Washington rules—both the credo that inspires consensus and the trinity in which it finds expression; second, to subject the resulting consensus to critical inspection, showing who wins and who loses and also who foots the bill; third, to explain how the Washington rules are perpetuated, with certain views privileged while others are declared disreputable; fourth, to demonstrate that the rules themselves have lost whatever utility they may once have possessed, with their implications increasingly pernicious and their costs increasingly unaffordable; and finally, to argue for readmitting disreputable (or "radical") views to our national security debate, in effect legitimating alternatives to the status quo. In effect, my aim is to invite readers to share in the process of education on which I embarked two decades ago in Berlin. The Washington rules were forged at a moment when American influence and power were approaching their acme. That moment has now passed. The United States has drawn down the stores of authority and goodwill it had acquired by 1945. Words uttered in Washington command less respect than once was the case. Americans can ill afford to indulge any longer in dreams of saving the world, much less remaking it in our own image. The curtain is now falling on the American Century. Similarly, the United States no longer possesses sufficient wherewithal to sustain a national security strategy that relies on global military presence and global power projection to underwrite a policy of global interventionism. Touted as essential to peace, adherence to that strategy has propelled the United States into a condition approximating perpetual war, as the military misadventures of the past decade have demonstrated.

To anyone with eyes to see, the shortcomings inherent in the Washington rules have become plainly evident. Although those most deeply invested in perpetuating its conventions will insist otherwise, the tradition to which Washington remains devoted has begun to unravel. Attempting to prolong its existence might serve Washington's interests, but it will not serve the interests of the American people.

Devising an alternative to the reigning national security paradigm will pose a daunting challenge—especially if Americans look to "Washington" for fresh thinking. Yet doing so has become essential. In one sense, the national security policies to which Washington so insistently adheres express what has long been the preferred American approach to engaging the world beyond our borders. That approach plays to America's presumed strong suit—since World War II, and especially since the end of the Cold War, thought to be military power. In another sense, this reliance on military might creates excuses for the United States to avoid serious engagement: Confidence in American arms has made it unnecessary to attend to what others might think or to consider how their aspirations might differ from our own.

In this way, the Washington rules reinforce American provincialism—a national trait for which the United States continues to pay dearly. The persistence of these rules has also provided an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America's needs or desires — whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods—has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore problems demanding attention here at home.

Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom. When Americans demonstrate a willingness to engage seriously with others, combined with the courage to engage seriously with themselves, then real education just might begin.

In their article ‘The American Century’ Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?" Conn Hallinan and Leon Wofsy outlined important reasons  of the inevitability of the dominance of chicken hawks and jingoistic foreign policy in the USA political establishment:

June 22, 2015 |

U.S. foreign policy is dangerous, undemocratic, and deeply out of sync with real global challenges. Is continuous war inevitable, or can we change course?

There’s something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

Despite glimmers of hope — a tentative nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba — we’re locked into seemingly irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating cycle that reflects an inability — or unwillingness — to see the world as it actually is?

The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world, but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of “world order.”

While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed “American Century.” The idea that the United States had “won” the Cold War and now — as the world’s lone superpower — had the right or responsibility to order the world’s affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started with President Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W. Bush’s disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration’s own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.

In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions that drive this impulsive interventionism.

It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

So what is it about the world that requires a change in our outlook? A few observations come to mind.

First, our preoccupation with conflicts in the Middle East — and to a significant extent, our tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe and with China in East Asia — distract us from the most compelling crises that threaten the future of humanity. Climate change and environmental perils have to be dealt with now and demand an unprecedented level of international collective action. That also holds for the resurgent danger of nuclear war.

Second, superpower military interventionism and far-flung acts of war have only intensified conflict, terror, and human suffering. There’s no short-term solution — especially by force — to the deep-seated problems that cause chaos, violence, and misery through much of the world.

Third, while any hope of curbing violence and mitigating the most urgent problems depends on international cooperation, old and disastrous intrigues over spheres of influence dominate the behavior of the major powers. Our own relentless pursuit of military advantage on every continent, including through alliances and proxies like NATO, divides the world into “friend” and “foe” according to our perceived interests. That inevitably inflames aggressive imperial rivalries and overrides common interests in the 21st century.

Fourth, while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated global financial structures. Away from Washington, London, and Berlin, alternative centers of economic power are taking hold in Beijing, New Delhi, Cape Town, and Brasilia. Independent formations and alliances are springing up: organizations like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (representing 2.8 billion people); the Union of South American Nations; the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur; and others.

Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

But instead of letting these changing circumstances and our repeated military failures give us pause, our government continues to act as if the United States has the power to dominate and dictate to the rest of the world.

The responsibility of those who set us on this course fades into background. Indeed, in light of the ongoing meltdown in the Middle East, leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz — who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power — for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot’s advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned.

While the Obama administration has sought, with limited success, to end the major wars it inherited, our government makes wide use of killer drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and has put troops back into Iraq to confront the religious fanaticism and brutality of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) — itself a direct consequence of the last U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reluctant to find common ground in the fight against ISIS with designated “foes” like Iran and Syria, Washington clings to allies like Saudi Arabia, whose leaders are fueling the crisis of religious fanaticism and internecine barbarity. Elsewhere, the U.S. also continues to give massive support to the Israeli government, despite its expanding occupation of the West Bank and its horrific recurring assaults on Gaza.

A “war first” policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. Though it’s attempted to distance itself from the neocons, the Obama administration adds to tensions with planned military realignments like the “Asia pivot” aimed at building up U.S. military forces in Asia to confront China. It’s also taken a more aggressive position than even other NATO partners in fostering a new cold war with Russia.

We seem to have missed the point: There is no such thing as an “American Century.” International order cannot be enforced by a superpower alone. But never mind centuries — if we don’t learn to take our common interests more seriously than those that divide nations and breed the chronic danger of war, there may well be no tomorrows.


There’s a powerful ideological delusion that any movement seeking to change U.S. foreign policy must confront: that U.S. culture is superior to anything else on the planet. Generally going by the name of “American exceptionalism,” it’s the deeply held belief that American politics (and medicine, technology, education, and so on) are better than those in other countries. Implicit in the belief is an evangelical urge to impose American ways of doing things on the rest of the world.

Americans, for instance, believe they have the best education system in the world, when in fact they’ve dropped from 1st place to 14th place in the number of college graduates. We’ve made students of higher education the most indebted section of our population, while falling to 17th place in international education ratings. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the average American pays more than twice as much for his or her education than those in the rest of the world.

Health care is an equally compelling example. In the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems in 2000, the United States was ranked 37th. In a more recent Institute of Medicine report in 2013, the U.S. was ranked the lowest among 17 developed nations studied.

The old anti-war slogan, “It will be a good day when schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier” is as appropriate today as it was in the 1960s. We prioritize corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the wealthy, and massive military budgets over education. The result is that Americans are no longer among the most educated in the world.

But challenging the “exceptionalism” myth courts the danger of being labeled “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices.

The fact that Americans consider their culture or ideology “superior” is hardly unique. But no other country in the world has the same level of economic and military power to enforce its worldview on others.

The United States did not simply support Kosovo’s independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders.

The U.S. currently accounts for anywhere from 45 to 50 percent of the world’s military spending. It has hundreds of overseas bases, ranging from huge sprawling affairs like Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo and unsinkable aircraft carriers around the islands of Okinawa, Wake, Diego Garcia, and Guam to tiny bases called “lily pads” of pre-positioned military supplies. The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at its height in 1895.

The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some were quick “smash and grabs” like Panama and Grenada. Others are “shadow wars” waged by Special Forces, armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term “war” as the application of organized violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945.

The Home Front

The coin of empire comes dear, as the old expression goes.

According Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the final butcher bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — including the long-term health problems of veterans — will cost U.S. taxpayers around $6 trillion. One can add to that the over $1 trillion the U.S. spends each year on defense-related items. The “official” defense budget of some half a trillion dollars doesn’t include such items as nuclear weapons, veterans’ benefits or retirement, the CIA and Homeland Security, nor the billions a year in interest we’ll be paying on the debt from the Afghan-Iraq wars. By 2013 the U.S. had already paid out $316 billion in interest.

The domestic collateral damage from that set of priorities is numbing.

We spend more on our “official” military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Since 9/11, we’ve spent $70 million an hour on “security” compared to $62 million an hour on all domestic programs.

As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply racism — the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth — continues to plague our homeland.

The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report, most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised.

Bombs and Business

President Calvin Coolidge was said to have remarked that “the business of America is business.” Unsurprisingly, U.S. corporate interests play a major role in American foreign policy.

Out of the top 10 international arms producers, eight are American. The arms industry spends millions lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and it defends its turf with an efficiency and vigor that its products don’t always emulate on the battlefield. The F-35 fighter-bomber, for example — the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history — will cost $1.5 trillion and doesn’t work. It’s over budget, dangerous to fly, and riddled with defects. And yet few lawmakers dare challenge the powerful corporations who have shoved this lemon down our throats.

Corporate interests are woven into the fabric of long-term U.S. strategic interests and goals. Both combine to try to control energy supplies, command strategic choke points through which oil and gas supplies transit, and ensure access to markets.

Many of these goals can be achieved with standard diplomacy or economic pressure, but the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 “Carter Doctrine” — a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin America — put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:

 “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

It’s no less true in East Asia. The U.S. will certainly engage in peaceful economic competition with China. But if push comes to shove, the Third, Fifth, and Seventh fleets will back up the interests of Washington and its allies — Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Australia.

Trying to change the course of American foreign policy is not only essential for reducing international tensions. It’s critically important to shift the enormous wealth we expend in war and weapons toward alleviating growing inequality and social crises at home.

As long as competition for markets and accumulation of capital characterize modern society, nations will vie for spheres of influence, and antagonistic interests will be a fundamental feature of international relations. Chauvinist reaction to incursions real or imagined — and the impulse to respond by military means — is characteristic to some degree of every significant nation-state. Yet the more that some governments, including our own, become subordinate to oligarchic control, the greater is the peril.

Finding the Common Interest

These, however, are not the only factors that will shape the future.

There is nothing inevitable that rules out a significant change of direction, even if the demise or transformation of a capitalistic system of greed and exploitation is not at hand. The potential for change, especially in U.S. foreign policy, resides in how social movements here and abroad respond to the undeniable reality of: 1) the chronic failure, massive costs, and danger inherent in “American Century” exceptionalism; and 2) the urgency of international efforts to respond to climate change.

There is, as well, the necessity to respond to health and natural disasters aggravated by poverty, to rising messianic violence, and above all, to prevent a descent into war. This includes not only the danger of a clash between the major nuclear powers, but between regional powers. A nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India, for example, would affect the whole world.

Without underestimating the self-interest of forces that thrive on gambling with the future of humanity, historic experience and current reality elevate a powerful common interest in peace and survival. The need to change course is not something that can be recognized on only one side of an ideological divide. Nor does that recognition depend on national, ethnic, or religious identity. Rather, it demands acknowledging the enormous cost of plunging ahead as everything falls apart around us.

After the latest U.S. midterm elections, the political outlook is certainly bleak. But experience shows that elections, important as they are, are not necessarily indicators of when and how significant change can come about in matters of policy. On issues of civil rights and social equality, advances have occurred because a dedicated and persistent minority movement helped change public opinion in a way the political establishment could not defy.

The Vietnam War, for example, came to an end, despite the stubbornness of Democratic and Republican administrations, when a stalemate on the battlefield and growing international and domestic opposition could no longer be denied. Significant changes can come about even as the basic character of society is retained. Massive resistance and rejection of colonialism caused the British Empire and other colonial powers to adjust to a new reality after World War II. McCarthyism was eventually defeated in the United States. President Nixon was forced to resign. The use of landmines and cluster bombs has been greatly restricted because of the opposition of a small band of activists whose initial efforts were labeled “quixotic.”

There are diverse and growing political currents in our country that see the folly and danger of the course we’re on. Many Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians — and much of the public — are beginning to say “enough” to war and military intervention all over the globe, and the folly of basing foreign policy on dividing countries into “friend or foe.”

This is not to be Pollyannaish about anti-war sentiment, or how quickly people can be stampeded into supporting the use of force. In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that “over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism.” Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it.

It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.

Making Space for the Unexpected

Given that there is a need for a new approach, how can American foreign policy be changed?

Foremost, there is the need for a real debate on the thrust of a U.S. foreign policy that chooses negotiation, diplomacy, and international cooperation over the use of force.

However, as we approach another presidential election, there is as yet no strong voice among the candidates to challenge U.S. foreign policy. Fear and questionable political calculation keep even most progressive politicians from daring to dissent as the crisis of foreign policy lurches further into perpetual militarism and war. That silence of political acquiescence has to be broken.

Nor is it a matter of concern only on the left. There are many Americans — right, left, or neither — who sense the futility of the course we’re on. These voices have to be represented or the election process will be even more of a sham than we’ve recently experienced.

One can’t predict just what initiatives may take hold, but the recent U.S.-China climate agreement suggests that necessity can override significant obstacles. That accord is an important step forward, although a limited bilateral pact cannot substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in the U.S.-Russian joint action that removed chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite fierce opposition from U.S. hawks and the Israeli government. More recently, there is Obama’s bold move — long overdue — to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Despite shifts in political fortunes, the unexpected can happen if there is a need and strong enough pressure to create an opportunity.

We do not claim to have ready-made solutions to the worsening crisis in international relations. We are certain that there is much we’ve missed or underestimated. But if readers agree that U.S. foreign policy has a national and global impact, and that it is not carried out in the interests of the majority of the world’s people, including our own, then we ask you to join this conversation.

If we are to expand the ability of the people to influence foreign policy, we need to defend democracy, and encourage dissent and alternative ideas. The threats to the world and to ourselves are so great that finding common ground trumps any particular interest. We also know that we won’t all agree with each other, and we believe that is as it should be. There are multiple paths to the future. No coalition around changing foreign policy will be successful if it tells people to conform to any one pattern of political action.

So how does the call for changing course translate to something politically viable, and how do we consider the problem of power?

The power to make significant changes in policy ranges from the persistence of peace activists to the potential influence of the general public. In some circumstances, it becomes possible — as well as necessary — to make significant changes in the power structure itself.

Greece comes to mind. Greek left organizations came together to form Syriza, the political party that was successfully elected to power on a platform of ending austerity. Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos Party — now the number-two party in the country — came out of massive demonstrations in 2011 and was organized from the grassroots up. We do not argue one approach over the over, but the experiences in both countries demonstrate that there are multiple paths to generating change.

Certainly progressives and leftists grapple with the problems of power. But progress on issues, particularly in matters like war and peace and climate change, shouldn’t be conceived of as dependent on first achieving general solutions to the problems of society, however desirable.

... ... ...

Conn Hallinan is a journalist and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. His writings appear online at Dispatches From the Edge. Leon Wofsy is a retired biology professor and long-time political activist. His comments on current affairs appear online at Leon’s OpEd.

Another useful review is from  Gerard De Groot -- Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules and John Dower's Cultures of War  Here are some highlights:

"...These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended. "
"...One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant. "
"...Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster. "
"...Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed. "
September 12, 2010 |

WASHINGTON RULES: America's Path to Permanent War

This Story

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Metropolitan. 286 pp. $25


Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq

By John W. Dower

Norton. 596 pp. $29.95

"We need some great failures," the muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote in his autobiography. "Especially we ever-successful Americans -- conscious, intelligent, illuminating failures." What Steffens meant was that a people confident in righteousness need occasionally to be reminded of their fallibility. The past 50 years have produced failures aplenty -- the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and Iraq among them. Unfortunately, as Andrew Bacevich and John Dower demonstrate, the light of failure has not penetrated the darkness of delusion. As a result, wars provide a repeating rhythm of folly.

"Washington Rules" and "Cultures of War" are two excellent books made better by the coincidence of their publication. In complementary fashion, they provide a convincing critique of America's conduct of war since 1941. Steffens would have liked these books, specifically for the way they use past failures to explain the provenance of our current predicament.

Read "Cultures of War" first. It's not an easy book, but it is consistently perceptive. Dower examines Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Sept. 11 and the second Iraq War, drawing disconcerting linkages. Pearl Harbor and Iraq, he feels, demonstrate how otherwise intelligent leaders are drawn toward strategic imbecility. Both attacks were brilliantly executed in the short term, but neither paid sufficient attention to the long-term problem of winning a war. More controversially, Dower pairs Hiroshima with Sept. 11, both acts of terror born of moral certitude. Osama bin Laden and Harry Truman justified wanton killing with essentially the same Manichean rhetoric. Motives, context and scale might have been different; methods were not. For both leaders, the ability to separate good from evil made killing easy.

In 1941, Americans drew comfort from the stereotype of the irrational Oriental. They assumed that the Japanese would be easily defeated because they were illogical -- as their attack upon Pearl Harbor proved. That attack was indeed illogical (given the impossibility of defeating the United States in a protracted war), but it was not peculiarly Japanese. As Dower reveals, the wishful thinking, delusion and herd behavior within the court of Emperor Hirohito was a symptom of war, not ethnicity. The same deficiencies, in 2003, convinced those in the Oval Office that invading Iraq was a good idea.

Since the culture of war encourages patterned behavior, folly proliferates. This is the essence of the Washington rules that Bacevich elucidates. The rules dictate that protection of the American way of life necessitates a global military presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere. Power and violence are cleansed by virtue: Because America is "good," her actions are always benign. These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended.

The alternative, according to Bacevich, is not isolationism or appeasement, two politically loaded words frequently used to pummel those who object to Washington's behavior. He advocates, instead, a more level-headed assessment of danger, advice all the more cogent since it comes from a former soldier. Iraq and Afghanistan did not threaten America; in fact, those countries and the world have become more dangerous because of heavy-handed American intervention. Nor does North Korea pose a threat. Nor did Vietnam.

One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant.

The power of virtue is Bacevich's most profound message. Instead of trying to fix Afghanistan's Helmand Province, he insists, Americans should fix Detroit and Cleveland. Instead of attempting to export notions of freedom and democracy to nations that lack experience of either, America should demonstrate, by her actions, that she is still a free, democratic and humane nation. Her real strength lies in her liberal tradition, not in her ability to kill.

Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster.

Those unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions have now pushed the United States into a new quagmire. Despite that predicament, both Dower and Bacevich try to end positively. "If change is to come, it must come from the people," argues Bacevich. Dower agrees. But these feeble attempts at optimism are the least convincing parts of two otherwise brilliant books. Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed.

Gerard De Groot is a professor of history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and author of "The Bomb: A Life."

 Andrew Feldman review (Review Washington Rules - FPIF)

Army-officer-turned professor Andrew Bacevich makes the realist case against American expansionism.

By Andrew Feldman, August 26, 2010.


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

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

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

Bacevich describes two components that define U.S. foreign policy.

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

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

While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.


The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

Here is one Amazon reader review of he first book ( David R. Cook Dave Cook's review of The Limits of Power The End of American E...)

Cliche or not, this is a "Must Read" book

By David R. Cook on August 15, 2008

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since every page "concentrates the mind".

In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed an introduction.

In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized, is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing of government; and the crisis in the military.

What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is undermining both government and citizenry.

This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from climate changes.

American exceptionalism is coming to an end and it will be painful for both individual citizens and our democracy and government to get beyond it. But we have no choice. Things will get worse before they get better. Bacevich suggests some of the basic ways that we need to go to reverse the path to folly. He holds out no illusions that one political party or the other, one presidential candidate or the other, has the will or the leadership qualities to change directions. It is up to American citizens to demand different policies as well as to govern our own appetites.

While this is a sobering book, it is not warning of doomsday. Our worst problems are essentially of our own making and we can begin to unmake them. But we first have to come to terms with our own exceptionalism. We cannot manage history and there are no real global problems that can be solved by military means, or certainly not by military means alone.

Without Exception
By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

This is one of those books you might find yourself sitting down to read chapter and verse over and over again, only because the writing is so intelligent and so profound. "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," by Andrew Bacevich, is one of those works that will enthrall the reader with its insight and analysis.

According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military, all of which are our own making.

The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets, or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.

The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny, and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.

Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might. At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security, but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and security when it was needed most.

The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership, which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that was considered invincible.

Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power, the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.

This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress, as well as the West Wing.

This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference is that Andrew Bacevich does

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

There are several very insightful reviews of Bacevich latest book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005) on Amazon. I strongly recommend to read them.

Bacevich argues that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of several social forces (and as such has significant social base):

For your convenience some of  them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:

Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton. And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.

Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.

His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.

The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.

The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.

One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons and the political power of the Evangelicals.

Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation, The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.

So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great problem.

But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.


===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hotile to republican liberty."

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

Author Andrew Bacevich has superb credentials on military, diplomatic, and historical issues. A Vietnam Veteran, 25+ year career in the Army and now professor of International Relations, Bacevich is one of the few that has the experience *and* knowledge to dissect what has been occurring in American socio-political culture and society for the last several decades. Bacevich notes the current focus on the military to solve the world's problems and to promote America's interests is not the sole work of a President and Congress, but the combination of culture, mentality, political, and now primarily economic, interests. This book has tons of footnoting, which allows you to delve further into these issues on your own.

The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States. Here only some examples out of many:

Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:


The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980. Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).

Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.

Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.


War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport. Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to the civilian public at press conferences.

One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis 'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members. "Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this propaganda.

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and Naval Aviator" (p. 31).

Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the "Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home. Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always wanted to help people."

The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public. To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the world.


Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture, and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public of all ages and socio-economic levels.

It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.

Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center 4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense

"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and outcome of most *political* conflicts.

Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the "troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.

The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental and corporate world who must be held accountable.

General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.

This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.

Highly recommended and relevant to our contemporary times and our future.

Andrew Bacevich did excellent research and writing in this book. I'll think we'll be hearing a lot more of him. Hopefully He'll get more access to the public. If - the mainstream media allows it.

Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today, December 23, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevich's "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War," should be read and considered carefully by every member of the national political leadership in the United States as well as by adult Americans in general. Bacevich brings impeccable credentials to his work in this book--professor of history and international relations at Boston University, West Point graduate, and veteran of the Vietnam conflict. His writing is engaging, insightful, and historically well anchored. Importantly, this work is highly accessible and eminently readable. The level of documentation is very valuable as well. Finally, the book is not about fault-finding and finger-pointing toward any one national figure or group.

What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical "meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions, and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today. Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half of the twentieth century.

Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Brenau University

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

Why is it that some people, including this reviewer, are reluctant to criticize the writings or verbalizations of those Americans that have been or are currently in the military? This is particularly true for those officers and soldiers who have served in combat. To be critical of someone is who has faced such horror would be a sacrilege. Their opinions on subjects, especially those related to war and the military, are given much higher weight than those that have never been in the military. What is the origin of this extreme bias and does it not thwart attempts to get at the truth in matters of war and politics? If a war is illegal or immoral, are not the soldiers who participate in it themselves war criminals, deserving the severest condemnation?

The author of this book sheds light on these questions and gives many more interesting opinions on what he has called the 'new American militarism.' If one examines carefully American history, it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate in it, and have no intention ever to do so.

This book is not a scientific study, but instead is a collection of opinions, mostly supported by anecdotal evidence, to support the author's thesis. On the surface his opinions do seem plausible, but one must still apply to his writings the same level of skepticism applied to other studies of the same kind. It does seem reasonable to believe for example that current attitudes about war are governed by the American failure in Vietnam, Carter's supposed ineptitude in dealing with the resulting loss in "self-esteem" of the American populace, and Reagan's exploitation or correction of this loss. But more evidence is needed to set such a conclusion in stone.

The author though is intellectually honest enough to admit that he has not obtained the "definitive version of the truth" on the new American militarism within the pages of his book. His words are more "suggestive than conclusive" he writes, and he welcomes criticism and alternative interpretations. Vietnam, oil and energy considerations, 9-11, and the media all have a role to play in the current American attitudes about war he argues. Further analysis though is needed, and cognizance must be made that all readers, including this reviewer, are embedded in the same culture as the author, and subjected to the same ideological, historical, and media pressures. We must be extremely cautious in our acceptance of what we find in print and indeed in all information outlets. And we must learn that soldiers, active duty or otherwise, are not infallible and must be subjected to the same criticism as any other citizen. This is again, very difficult to do, and this difficulty is perhaps the best evidence for the author's thesis.

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation, and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public life. He views this militarism as both leading to unecessary and dangerous adventures abroad, epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making. Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.

Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad. Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.

Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals. The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton. Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.

Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some issues which are presented onesidely. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition. The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.

An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward by Leftist critics.

Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to change the nature of the discussion about these issues.

Adam Bahner
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006

In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary. He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war from World War I through Vietnam.

Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War. While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary. The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle. The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations. Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.

To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians, officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling. The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism. As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies like Rambo.

Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced, humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.

M. Ward:

The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February 4, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevichs', The New American Militarism, gives the reader an important glimpse of his background when he wrote that, as a Vietnam veteran, the experience baffled him and he wrote this book in an effort to "sift through the wreckage left by the war." After the Vietnam War, the author stayed in the military because he believed being an American soldier was a "true and honorable" calling. Bacevich states he is a devoted Catholic and a conservative who became disillusioned with mainstream conservatism. He also states that he believes the current political system is corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with genuine democracy.
Bacevich states that he tried to write this book using facts in an unbiased way. However, he cautions the reader that his experiences have shaped his views and that his views are part of this book. This is a way to tell the reader that although he tried to remain unbiased, his background and biases find voice in this book. I believe the authors warning are valid; he draws heavily upon his background and biases to support his thesis.

The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.
Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if necessary.
Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due, in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions for the use of the US military in combat.

Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.

Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.

Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich, they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.
Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.

Bacevich seems to create a mosaic of conspiracy perpetrated by sinister actors aimed at deceiving an unsuspecting public as to the true nature of American militarism. Until the last chapter where Bacevich tells the reader that there is no conspiracy, it is very easy to believe there might be one lurking in the shadows. I was shocked when I reached Bacevich's recommendations. The contrast between his recommendations and the rest of the book is astounding. I was expecting highly provocative recommendations that would match the tone of the rest of the book. However, his recommendations were solid and well thought out...delivered in the calm manner one would expect from a political scientist. Nevertheless, in the end, Bacevich's message leading up to his recommendations were hard to swallow. I believe he wrote this book not to enlighten but to be provocative in order to sell books and build his status in academic circles. If Bacevich's aim was to build a convincing argument on a serious subject, he needed to be less provocative and more clinical.

David Friedman:
What is militarism? What is it, particularly as applied to today's America? West Point educated Andrew Bacevich opens his book with a concise statement: "Today as never before in their history Amercans are enthralled with military power. The global military supremacy that the United States presently enjoys . . . has become central to our national identity." This is the basic premise of The New American Militarism. Anyone who does not accept the accuracy of this statement, or is unconcerned about its implications should probably not read this book--it will only annoy them. For those, however, who are concerned about how militarism is increasingly seeping into our core values and sense of national destiny, or who are disturbed by the current glaring disconnect between what our soldiers endure "over there", and the lack of any sacrifice or inconvenience for the rest of us "over here", this book is a must-read.

Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican, from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame." As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment of the subject.

In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind." Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership as an increasingly attractive policy option.

The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream "just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman", "Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".

Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for "a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America. Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing the current disconnect between er how we might reduce

Patrick Connor

Careful observers will note the abolute claims that lie under the surface of these criticisms. If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.

If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially fatal setbacks to our national cause.

Is it really surprising that the reviews of this book from a neocon mindset are also the reviews giving one star to a book that sytematically critiques and upends neoconservatism?

In actuality, as many have pointed out already, Bacevich is "anti-Bush" only insomuch as he is anti-neoconservative. Bacevich openly states that he throws his full weight behind traditionally conservative issues, like small government and lower taxes. Indeed, he is a devoutly religious social conservative who himself severed twenty years in the Army officer corps. This is why his exposee on America's new militarism has so much credibility.

Since he was in the military, he knows that sometimes the military is necessary to handle situations that develop in the world. However he also understands that the military is often grossly unfit to handle certain situations. This is the main theme of his book. At its core, the story is about how, in response to Vietnam, military leaders worked frightfully hard to rebuild the military and to limit the freedom of starry-eyed civilians to use the armed forces inappropriately.

Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam) would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass, from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence, they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.

However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire, where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions impossible.

This story is about how the military profession emerged from the post-Vietnam wilderness, dazzled the world during the first Gulf War, then once again lost its independent ability to craft related policies with the arrival of Rummie and the neocons.

It's a fascinating story, and Bacevich relates it skillfully.

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004 The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed -- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism" as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."

Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."

In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military in films like "Top Gun."

The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops" has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly] by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.

In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example, someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should be made conditional on military service.

This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.

So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason -- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."

Izaak VanGaalen:
 Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005

According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard" and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.

Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater - by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing uneasy.

The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea, land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.

War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.

The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.

In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military, but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.

But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will. This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this conservative ex-soldier. \

Douglas Doepke:

The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now. This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator. Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival of military glory, contrived though it was.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets, eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.

Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing your part.

Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional military officer. Professor Bacevich argues  that the US new militarism which emerged after the dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see New American Militarism).

Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz, in the current Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be subscribing to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:

But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it, "Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the Brightest].

Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did a much more limited version of this assessment as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from his one-time mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and others.

As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief sample (within fair-use limits):

With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....

Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.

Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?

Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...

What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.

Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at some point rise to it.

For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see John Judis's piece in The New Republic.

Top Visited
Past week
Past month


Old News ;-)

[Aug 13, 2018] Turkey blames Trump for attack on lira, says it won't 'kneel' and has counter-measures ready

Notable quotes:
"... "The currency of our country is targeted directly by the US president," ..."
"... "This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a similar situation in all developing countries." ..."
"... "All of our action plan and measures are ready," ..."
"... "Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector that is affected by the fluctuation the most," ..."
"... "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly." ..."
"... "It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down," ..."
"... "We have seen your play and we challenge you." ..."
Aug 13, 2018 |

Turkey has accused Donald Trump of leading an attack on its national currency. The lira lost about 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year and, to reduce its volatility, Ankara has prepared an urgent action plan. "The currency of our country is targeted directly by the US president," Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told the Hurriyet. "This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a similar situation in all developing countries."

The Turkish lira took a massive hit against the dollar on Friday following Trump's decision to double tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey to 20 percent and 50 percent. Overall, the national currency lost roughly about 40 percent of its value this year.

Read more © Ozan Kose Erdogan urges Turks to dump dollar to support lira

To calm down the markets, the government instructed its institutions to implement a series of actions on Monday. "All of our action plan and measures are ready," Albayrak said, without elaborating.

"Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector that is affected by the fluctuation the most," the minister said . "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile slammed the US decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down," Erdogan said in Trabzon on Sunday. "We have seen your play and we challenge you."

[Aug 10, 2018] Dozens of Yemeni Children Killed in Saudi Coalition Airstrike by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. ..."
Aug 09, 2018 |
There was another Saudi coalition airstrike on a crowded market in northern Yemen today. Dozens of civilians have been killed and dozens more injured. Many of the dead and injured were children whose school bus was hit in the attack:

Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. The U.S. continues to arm and refuel coalition planes despite ample evidence that the coalition has been deliberately attacking civilian targets. At the very least, the coalition hits civilian targets with such regularity that they are ignoring whatever procedures they are supposed to be following to prevent that. The weapons that the U.S., Britain, and other arms suppliers provide them are being used to slaughter wedding-goers, hospital patients, and schoolchildren, and U.S. refueling of coalition planes allows them to carry out more of these attacks than they otherwise could. Today's attack ranks as one of the worst.

Saada has come under some of the most intense attacks from the coalition bombing campaign. The coalition illegally declared the entire area a military target three years ago, and ever since they have been blowing up homes , markets , schools , water treatment systems, and hospitals without any regard for the innocent civilians that are killed and injured.

The official U.S. line on support for the war is that even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition. Our government has never provided any evidence to support this, and the record shows that civilian casualties from Saudi coalition airstrikes have increased over the last year. The Saudis and their allies either don't listen to any of the advice they're receiving, or they know they won't pay any price for ignoring it. As long as the U.S. arms and refuels coalition planes while they slaughter Yemeni civilians in attacks like this one, our government is implicated in the war crimes enabled by our unstinting military assistance. Congress can and must halt that assistance immediately.

Update: CNN reports on the aftermath of the airstrike:

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 dead bodies of "mainly children" under 15 years of age, and 40 injured, including 30 children.

"(The hospital) is very busy. They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning and it is non-stop ," ICRC head of communications and spokesperson Mirella Hodeib told CNN.

Second Update: The Associated Press reports that the death toll stands at 43 with another 63 injured.

Third Update: The death toll has reportedly risen to 50 . 77 were injured.

an older america weeps August 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

School buses?

Good Lord above. School buses.

Of course I have no right to surprise or shock. They've already targeted hospitals, foreign doctors and nurses, first responders, wedding parties, and funerals.

School buses.

We used to make movies about killing people who do things like this. Now we help them do it.

Daniel O'Connor , says: August 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm
The repetitive frequency and intensity of these attacks on hospitals, schools, markets and other civilian gatherings, coupled with the indifference of the guilty national governments and their international enablers, signals that the world and human species is passing through a mass psychosis. This psychosis is playing itself out at all levels. Fascism, which is very current as a national psychology, is generally speaking, a coping strategy for dealing with nasty chaos. This coping strategy is designed around generating even more chaos, since that is a familiar and therefore more comfortable pattern of behavior; and that does provide a delusion of stability. A good example would be the sanctions just declared by the Trump Administration on Iranian commerce. In an intrinsically connected global market, these sanctions are so thorough that they qualify as a blockade, within a contingency plan for greater global conflict. But those who destroy hospitals, schools, school buses and public celebrations are not, otherwise, forward looking nice people. We are descending into a nasty fascist war psychosis. Just shake it. Live. Long and well.
b. , says: August 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm
"even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition"

If we did not hand them satellite images, did not service, repair and refuel their planes, and did not sell them the bombs, then they would . kill more civilians how? They could not even reach their targets, let alone drop explosives they do not have.

What Would Mohammad Do? Buy bombs from the Russians? Who have better quality control and fewer duds, hence more victims?

What Would Mohammad Do? Get the UAE to hire Blackwater to poison the wells across Yemen?

How exactly do the profiteers in our country, that get counted out blood money for every single Yemeni killed, propose that the Saudis and Emiratis would make this worse?

But, good to know that our "smart" and "precise" munitions can still hit a school bus. Made In America!


Hunter C , says: August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm
The coverage in the media has been predictably cowardly and contemptible in the aftermath of this story. I read articles from CNN and MSNBC and they were variations on "school bus bombed", in the passive tense – with no mention of who did it or who is supporting them in the headline, ad if the bombings were natural disasters.

Fox, predictably, was even worse and led with "Biblical relics endangered by war", which speaks volumes about the presumed priorities of their viewership.

This, and not anything to do with red meat domestic politics, is the worst media malpractice of our time. "Stop directly helping the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks drop bombs on school children" should be the absolute easiest possible moral issue for our media to take a stand on and yet they treat it like it's radioactive.

Speaking as someone who considers themselves a liberal I am infuriated by the Democrats response. How can the party leadership not see that if they keep flogging the horse of Russian trolls and shrugging their shoulders over American given (not sold – *given*) bombs being dropped on schools and hospitals, no one is ever going to take the supposed Democratic anti-war platform seriously again. The Republicans can afford to be tarde by association with these atrocities. The Democrats can't.

I wonder how many Democrats are in the same boat as me right now: I may not like Trump or the Christian conservatives but fights over the Supreme Court or coal plants or a healthcare law look terribly petty compared to the apparent decision by Saudi Arabia to kill literally millions. For the first time in my life I'm seriously wishing there was a third-party candidate I could support and the congressional elections just so I could send a message on this.

Erik , says: August 9, 2018 at 10:13 pm
@Hunter C
Vote Libertarian Party. You won't agree with a lot of their domestic agenda, but they're not going to win, so it doesn't matter. The noninterventionist foreign policy is your message.

[Aug 10, 2018] There is also the documented presence of American forces and officers in the operations room of the Saudi coalition

Aug 10, 2018 |

annamaria , August 10, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT


The ZUSA empire in action (for children, you know) on the other side of the globe:

"Following an attack this morning on a bus driving children in Dahyan Market, northern Saada, (an ICRC-supported) hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded," the organisation said on Twitter without giving more details.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the coalition called the strike a "legitimate military action"

The Comment section:

"The US provides the in-flight refueling that makes these bombing sorties possible. The "Five Eyes" provides the surveillance that picks the targets, and the navigation to hit them.

KSA is doing precisely what the AZ Empire requires of it. Just as the British Royals and their banker sponsors dictated over a century ago, so does the Empire direct these heinous crimes today.

If the Saud Royals ever did go "rogue," they'd be taken out just as the AZ [American Zionist] Empire has done time and time again."
"There is also the documented presence of American forces and officers in the operations room of the Saudi coalition."

"Why is it that the Zionist media were up in arms every time White Helmets were digging Syrian children out of rubble or dousing them with hoses? Dozens of children were slaughtered in Yemen, and many more maimed and injured and hundreds of thousands are being subjected to famine but there's only deafening silence on the Zionist-run media."

"Imagine the reaction if the Russians or Syrians had blown up a busload of kids."

-- On the same topic: Israel demanded -- and BBC changed its headline. In a headline, BBC claimed that "Israeli air strikes 'kill pregnant woman and baby.'" After some time, BBC changed its title to "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel:

[Aug 10, 2018] U.S. 'Fine Tuning' Of Saudi Airstrike Target List Creates Results

Aug 10, 2018 |

occidentosis , Aug 9, 2018 3:03:23 PM | 1

I saw one video
there was nothing left of the children but bits
It was surreal
Kalen , Aug 9, 2018 3:17:53 PM | 2
Next Saudi Target: Ottawa.
MbS went beserk like Musk overdosed on juice.
Ian , Aug 9, 2018 3:22:53 PM | 3
One day, the West will reap the Karma it has sowed upon the world.
librul , Aug 9, 2018 3:35:10 PM | 4
Obama spoke about mothers sending their children to school in his acceptance speech for the
Nobel Peace Prize.

He contrasted reality vs hope
and we learned which one he would deliver.

Obama in Oslo, December 10, 2009,:

"Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty
still takes the time to teach her child, scrapes together what
few coins she has to send that child to school
-- because she believes that
a cruel world still
has a place for that child's dreams.

Let us live by their example.
We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us,
and still strive for justice .
We can admit the intractability of deprivation,
and still strive for dignity.
we can understand that there will be war,
and still strive for peace.
We can do that -- for that is the story of human progress; that's the
of all the world; and at this moment of challenge,
that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you very much.

One week later Obama shredded dozens of women and children in Yemen
and covered it up.

Here is ABC's Brian Ross using his most masculine baritone voice to boast about Obama's attack:

Wikileaks cable corroborates evidence of US airstrikes in Yemen

Cable itself:

S , Aug 9, 2018 3:57:13 PM | 5
The comments under the Daily Mail article are disabled, lest someone mentions the U.S. involvement.
Lochearn , Aug 9, 2018 4:06:42 PM | 6
Imagine the reaction if the Russians or Syrians had blown up a busload of kids...
worldblee , Aug 9, 2018 4:08:36 PM | 7
Yes, they are fine tuning their ability to hit children, hospitals, etc.
Circe , Aug 9, 2018 4:16:06 PM | 8

I've written many times Obama was Bush II - BUT F...KING TRUMP IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE NOW! So why are you giving us the ancient history deflection???????????

karlof1 , Aug 9, 2018 4:16:41 PM | 9
The pic provides an example of how the Outlaw US Empire implements its global population control policy--all bombs, no kids. Twitterverse is madder than a wet hen. One went to Trump's twitter to ask where's his outrage over these kid's real deaths, not the staged ones he launched missiles at Syria over. It deserves to be retweeted millions of times. Unfortunately, sadists are incapable of being shamed; they just grin at such pics while congratulating themselves. Betcha the Trump dossier got it backwards--It was Trump who pissed all over the Russian women.
librul , Aug 9, 2018 4:29:31 PM | 10

It isn't about you.

Mark2 , Aug 9, 2018 4:38:58 PM | 11
Almasdarnews. Com. Are reporting a massive Israile army convoy heading for Gaza bigger than enything seen since 2014 ! This looks serious ! The whole dam world picture is looking way beyond serious !!!
james , Aug 9, 2018 4:41:56 PM | 12
kudos the exceptional nation in support of those other exceptional nations - ksa and israel...

everyone else on the planet want to know when this horror will end...

Ahh, thats why. The Saudis are incompetent and vile, but trust the us to be even more incompetent and even more vile and putrid.
This is horrible! I see it and can not really do much. It is a never ending story of innocent people being killed off. But it does nurture a solid and hot hate to those people who are architects of this. They feel safe and secured, but they are sitting on a volcano, and when it goes, they will go too. Maybe a Gadaffi end.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe , Aug 9, 2018 4:42:25 PM | 13

Ahh, thats why. The Saudis are incompetent and vile, but trust the us to be even more incompetent and even more vile and putrid.
This is horrible! I see it and can not really do much. It is a never ending story of innocent people being killed off. But it does nurture a solid and hot hate to those people who are architects of this. They feel safe and secured, but they are sitting on a volcano, and when it goes, they will go too. Maybe a Gadaffi end.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Aug 9, 2018 4:42:25 PM | 13 /div

Den Lille Abe , Aug 9, 2018 5:01:23 PM | 14
Hate is a hefty spice; it can make you blind to reason, it can make you oblivious to truth, and make you inoculated against love. But hate controlled, is also a drug that is powerful and useful, hate nurtured and fed can move mountains and empires. Hate is good in manageable doses and wrecking in large ones. But take it at own risk.
Christian Chuba , Aug 9, 2018 5:17:15 PM | 15
The KSA isn't even trying to hide their evil.

They are claiming these are legitimate military targets, they targeted 'militants', the Houthis use 'child soldiers', and use human shields. I bet Nikki Haley still thinks they are the most wonderful people ever, on the front lines, fighting against the real monsters, Iran.

Guerrero , Aug 9, 2018 5:26:14 PM | 16
This is terrible.
karlof1 , Aug 9, 2018 5:30:35 PM | 17
Here's the Twitter post I mentioned using the same pic b chose.
Circe , Aug 9, 2018 5:30:42 PM | 18

What's that supposed to mean??? Trump is President! Aren't you excusing Trump by dredging up Obama's shet? That excuse not to criticize Trump is getting real old.

Yeah, Right , Aug 9, 2018 5:31:45 PM | 19
@15 Nah, Christian, you are clearly wrong. Nikki would consider KSA to have the 2nd most wonderful people ever, with the USA holding the Bronze Medal position. There is no doubt who she holds as The Chosen People.

Mark2 , Aug 9, 2018 5:52:53 PM | 20
Don't let this stuff get normalised ! That's why they do it in plain site. It desensitises the dumb public
i e trump supporters in u s, torys in uk. We should be feeling outrage and hatered towards the people that
do this . Including our own governments.
ToivoS , Aug 9, 2018 5:59:38 PM | 21
#10 circe

No one is excusing Trump. The point that needs to be emphasized is that the War Party has two wings: repubs and dems. Every last president since WWII has put the interests of imperial conquest over the interests of the American people. Bill Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump (as well as all of their wannabes Gore, Kerry, McCain HRC) were and are war mongers. They are united in their lust for killing children (don't forget Madeline Albright with her "it was worth it" over the 500,000 babies Clinton killed through sanctions).

Mark2 , Aug 9, 2018 6:14:14 PM | 22
This evening #switch off bbc is trending number one on Twitter and number four world wide! Time we all pushback. on the net,on the streets, everywhere we justice no peace !
ToivoS , Aug 9, 2018 6:21:20 PM | 23
Mark2 opines It desensitises the dumb public i e trump supporters

Are you serious? You should listen to my college educated colleagues (more than half with professional degrees) most of whom are democrats and not one who voted for Trump. When it comes to war against Syria, Libya, threats against Russia they are true blooded war mongers. Actually worse than Trump supporters because they in general oppose those wars or war threats.

Bart Hansen , Aug 9, 2018 6:26:32 PM | 24
For more terrorist reading in the Middle East by Number 2 Democracy -

Mark2 , Aug 9, 2018 6:32:10 PM | 25
Toivos @ 23
Dumb is as dumb does! They come in all shapes sizes and political party's . Trumps a greedy pig puts children in cages and is a kkk racist don't make excuses he's a monster full stop!
Don't give me eny of that o but, o but blah blah.!!!
Pft , Aug 9, 2018 6:33:12 PM | 26

It already is normalized. Go look at many of the comments on MSM (left and right) and so called progressive sites. Hopefully those are all astroturfers but I suspect many are real folks. Its luny tunes. They live in the Matrix and are blissfully unaware. Like something out of 1984 during the 2 minute hate but its 24/7 , or maybe walking dead if the WD could type or talk.

Toxik , Aug 9, 2018 6:36:01 PM | 27
as a parent, I feel the loss. as an American, I feel disgusted.
Jen , Aug 9, 2018 6:40:31 PM | 28
Another sterling example of how the US teaches its allies to be incompetent, vicious and cowardly in targeting and killing those least able to fight back.
Piotr Berman , Aug 9, 2018 6:46:23 PM | 29
O Canada! Recently, I praised them as "New Trumpland". But why did they forget that silence can be golden? Apparently, it dawned on PM that his party is called "liberal" and thus it must make "liberal calls"*. But what cause should be selected? Massacres and starvation of cute emaciated children? Conservative predecessor of current PM got ca. 7 G USD contract for "vehicles" (motorized infantly?) for KSA, and Trudeau will not endanger precious Canadian jobs. After leaving the task to the Foreign Minister (Freedland, Feminazi**), the plight of women right activists in KSA with family members in Canada.

Canada cannot yield to Saudi Arabia's deranged overreaction
The regime's reaction to a couple of tweets is more about snuffing out its own country's voices of dissent
Iyad El-Baghdadi, Amarnath Amarasingam · for CBC News · Posted: Aug 09, 2018 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: August 9

If Canada folds, some fear that a line would be drawn in the sand, and behind that line, petty Arab dictators could do what they want with their activist communities, without as much as a complaint from the world. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)


Of course Canada cannot yield. For starters, it is unclear what would appease the irate Crown Prince. Perhaps Trudeau and Friedland coming together to KSA to submit to a public flogging. But judging from the titles I have seen, Canadians cherish "delicate balance", and they though that an occasional complaint that is not 100% aligned with USA and principal customers of Canadian products should be safe.

karlof1 , Aug 9, 2018 6:49:11 PM | 30
ToivoS @23--

Agreed. When it comes to knowing the Truth of the Outlaw US Empire's overseas deeds, most people are illiterate/ignorant. They hang the flag aside their front porch and feel righteous. The only reason we don't have multitudes of people saluting whoever's POTUS and chanting Sieg Heil is because in the back of their tiny minds they somehow know that's incorrect behavior but don't know why. Some provided feedback on Michael Hudson's going autobiographical saying his upbringing seemed unreal--faked--thus showing how little they know of WW2 Home Front US history when people were much more informed and politically savvy.

It seems safe to say that Animal Farm & 1984 have both put down extensive roots within the Outlaw US Empire to the point where digging up and destroying those weeds will cause major social damage. Can't make an omelet without breaking eggs is how the saying goes. But a positive outcome isn't the only possibility.

Mark2 , Aug 9, 2018 6:49:27 PM | 31
We need to remember this' the about left or right ! That's just devide and rule. This about the 1% killing off the 99%
Agend 21.what they are doing to Yemen people now they will do to you next.
karlof1 , Aug 9, 2018 7:01:30 PM | 32
jen @28--

The deliberate targeting of civilians is Outlaw US Empire policy since WW2 despite it being a War Crime. Guernica was an outrage, but Powell had it covered up since spoke directly to US actions since the paint dried in 1937. The School Bus was yet another of all too many Guernicas that have occurred since. Someone mentioned desensitized. Yes, on an International Scale. It was an act of Terror, but how many are describing it as such? BigLie Media? Not a chance if they show/mention it at all.

I know you feel as I do, but I needed to vent.

dh , Aug 9, 2018 7:06:13 PM | 33
@29 '...Canadians cherish "delicate balance",...'

I'm not sure we should generalize about Canadians. Trudeau is trying to satisfy his base and presumably staying true to his own liberal convictions. But I've met Canadians who dislike him intensely. They do not think gender politics, welcoming refugees, settling native land claims, lecturing Saudi Arabia etc. is the best way to maintain a high standard of living.

Peter Schmidt , Aug 9, 2018 7:08:48 PM | 34
Israel demanded - and BBC changed its headline. In a headline, BBC claimed that "Israeli air strikes 'kill pregnant woman and baby.'" After some time, BBC changed its title to "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel
Peter Schmidt , Aug 9, 2018 7:13:26 PM | 35
A good comment from HistoryHacker (Guardian web page), I thought I share it:

"Let's see: in 1913 the British grabbed Iranian oil and made it their property. Six years later, Britain imposed another agreement and took over Iran's treasury and the army. During the Second World War, Britain's requisitioning of food led to famine and widespread disease. Shortly after that war, Iran's own efforts to establish its nascent democracy and nationalize the oil industry were thwarted. And by whom? Eisenhower joined the systematic British looting, and, sadly, by 1953, the blossoming Iranian democracy was completely destroyed by the covert operation of the American CIA and British MI6, known as Operation Ajax. In place of the democracy was installed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a US-British puppet, a despot deeply hated by his own people.
America picked up the baton, and here's Trump going bat crazy!
What could Iranians possibly think?! What do you think?"

Piotr Berman , Aug 9, 2018 7:40:19 PM | 36
@29 '...Canadians cherish "delicate balance",...'
I am not sure we should generalize about Canadians. Posted by: dh | Aug 9, 2018 7:06:13 PM | 33

I tried to make it clear that "Canadians" refer to my observations on titles from Canadian media as reported by Google News.

dh , Aug 9, 2018 7:58:27 PM | 37
@36 I knew that PB. Excuse my inadequate attempt to emulate your tone.

But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. and most prefer not to get involved in Saudi Arabian politics.

Virgile , Aug 9, 2018 8:03:42 PM | 38
I hope that Canada will finally lead heavy public condemnation of the Saudi-UAE coalition murderous actions in Yemen. Canada has nothing to loose anymore, it is high time it take a serious stand on the 3 years human rights abuse of the Yemenis.
It should indirectly send a dissaproval message to the USA on its complicity in these war crimes...
Maybe it is time for Canada, to reinstate diplomatic relation with Iran to snub the Saudis and the USA, but I am dreaming...
TG , Aug 9, 2018 8:04:08 PM | 39
"But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. "

Not quite. It's because of water, oil, minerals, wheat lumber, etc., AND they don't breed like rodents.

India has plenty of resources - adjusting for the cold climate in Canada, probably about as much as Canada, effectively. It's just that these resources don't go that far split up 1.4 billion ways and counting.

And Yemen? With very little water, and one of the highest fertility rates in the world, what do you expect?

CarlD , Aug 9, 2018 8:05:49 PM | 40
out of subject.

What to make of the new sanctions put in place by the State Dept against Russia?

What about those on Iran?

Are these implemented to generate WAR?

Whether it be against Russia, Iran or China, The US attitude is orchestrated by

Why deal with the US when Israel is the culprit?

Wiping out Israel is the solution. Obliterating Israel will certainly ease
the World's woes.

Of course, targeted assassinations should be carried out.

Short of this, Netanyahu should be kept waiting for days whitout being able
to meet Putin. His ambassador should be expelled and the Russian Ambassador to Israel recalled.

Sanction Israel in every way possible. Break the Gaza Siege. Wipe out Israel's
Navy. Down its jets over Lebanon. Kill its Jericho rockets at lift off.

The World will certainly be a better place.

Sasha , Aug 9, 2018 8:05:52 PM | 41
@Posted by: Circe | Aug 9, 2018 4:16:06 PM | 8

I was going to say something in the same vein but you saved me the effort. I am really sick of this.

Is not this woman the spokesperson of the DoS of Trump administration?

There is also the documented presence of American forces and officers in the operations room of the Saudi coalition....These guys have not been sent there by Obama...I guess....

But what most makes me feel sick is not that American commenters out there, well payed or volunteer, insist after two years already on this cantinele, what takes me out of my nerves is that the Russians throwing balls out with certain issues....

Sasha , Aug 9, 2018 8:20:02 PM | 42
@Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 9, 2018 4:38:58 PM | 11

But what could have really happened? Just yesterday or the day before I was reading that Israel and Hamas were in negotiations...From that to this...I wonder what could be the breaking point...

Anyone has any information/ link?

dh , Aug 9, 2018 8:23:24 PM | 43
@39 Well I mean bluster comes Malthus again.
karlof1 , Aug 9, 2018 8:44:37 PM | 44
Sasha @42--

Talks were a ruse as usual . Supposedly, a cease fire was in place but was broken as reported at the link. Ongoing protests against the "Nationality Law" continue and go unreported as usual. The continuing murder of Gazans serves as cover.

spudski , Aug 9, 2018 8:56:04 PM | 45
@37, "But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. and most prefer not to get involved in Saudi Arabian politics."

As a lifelong Canuckistani, my view is that Canada is the world's largest mine - and it is not mine.

dh , Aug 9, 2018 9:09:03 PM | 46
@45 But I understand it's not as easy to get mining permits as it used to be. Lot of environmentalists and first nations lawyers involved. Which is why Canadian mining companies move to Africa.
michaelj72 , Aug 9, 2018 9:12:39 PM | 47
the USA will perhaps suffer blowback, both at home and in many places 'strategic' to its Empire, for generation or two to come, for all the horrible and savage war crimes perpetuated by it and its allies on the poor people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, and especially now Yemen, the poorest of the poor - the sorrows of Empire
Pft , Aug 9, 2018 9:12:47 PM | 48

Spending only 1% of GDP on military helps support your healthcare system too.

Neoliberalism will get you in the end. Trump going to push on NAFTA and our buddy the Saudis giving you a push.

Daniel , Aug 9, 2018 9:18:43 PM | 49
The US provides the in-flight refueling that makes these bombing sorties possible. The "Five Eyes" provides the surveillance that picks the targets, and the navigation to hit them.

KSA is doing precisely what the AZ Empire requires of it. Just as the British Royals and their banker sponsors dictated over a century ago, so does the Empire direct these heinous crimes today.

If the Saud Royals ever did go "rogue," they'd be taken out just as the AZ Empire has done time and time again.

Daniel , Aug 9, 2018 9:25:35 PM | 50
CarlD, the purpose of sanctions is to hurt the citizens of a country enough that they will rise up and revolt against their ruling class.

The AZ Empire has been striving for complete global dominance for a long time, and that means either destroying Russia and China or at least installing "friendly" governments. Hence, sanctions, "trade wars," and infiltration to foment "color revolutions."

CarlD , Aug 9, 2018 9:32:33 PM | 51
50 @ Daniel

And who is behind all of this?

Ian , Aug 9, 2018 9:49:38 PM | 52
Saudi state news agency: "strikes were carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law."


Chipnik , Aug 9, 2018 10:14:45 PM | 53

Pence's new Space Command is a blatant telltale that the twice-hacked and never-audited Pentagon has a massive hemorrhage of funds and Trump will be demanding ANOTHER $40B budget increase for Pentagon to paper over a huge Deep Purple Hole in the Bucket.

Chipnik , Aug 9, 2018 10:23:59 PM | 54

I was just saying something similar about a more direct way to change A-Z politics to a friend on FB today, with anecdotes from the past as examples, but within the hour, FB delinked our pages so we can't correspond. All part of the Perpetual Now© End of History campaign across pan-media towards a totally-scripted CGI-enhanced Marvel-ously fictional non-reality. With lizard people from Niburu, lol.

Pft , Aug 9, 2018 10:27:32 PM | 55
So Saudis sanction Canada but will still let the oil flow to them (2billion a year) and the US sanctions Russia but will still buy space rockets from them , and they will still sell them to us. Trade war with China but they still buy US Treasuries to finance US debt. British owned BBC rents out their studios to RT to help Russia with their propaganda

LOL. Enjoy the show, more to come

Circe , Aug 9, 2018 10:34:32 PM | 56

You expressed it correctly, but @4, 10 I suspect is Trumpgod can do no wrong.

It's a Zionist-rigged system, where Kucinich and Ron Paul didn't stand a chance; to name a mere two of the uncorrupted.

To add to the insanity of this Saudi massacre, Israel's at it again in Gaza. Damn!

It's all Zionist-driven.

Pft , Aug 9, 2018 10:40:02 PM | 57
Carl D@51

Woodrow Wilson : "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."

Today some call them ruling or power elites, global elites for the most part. Elites is an interesting word whose origins come from the french word for chosen and latin word for elect.

Piotr Berman , Aug 9, 2018 10:51:43 PM | 58
Some general remarks about Canada:

1. Wealth from natural resources. This is a bit of mixed blessing, because with some exceptions, mining is very capital intensive, so the profit margins are so-so, and job creation is also so-so. Canada is blessed with nice mix of extracting industries, agriculture, "normal" manufacturing, financial centers etc. They also have somewhat reasonable spending in terms value for money in health and military sectors, saving ca. 10% of GDP between the two compared with the less rational southern neighbor Perhaps this is still short of 10%, but USA also wastes money and human resources on prison complex and other inanities.

2. Liberal Canada. Domestically, I do not know enough, but "harmonizing with USA" could please some conservatives while being too expensive to implement. On foreign policy they stick to the worst of liberalism, not standing much for anything, even for their beloved Vilna Ukrayina, although converting Ukraine to land of milk and honey with capable military and a reasonable level of corruption is beyond capacity of any foreign power. But they implemented what used to be totally unjustifiable insult, "feminazi". That said, conservatives learned from Trump to raise mind boggling issue and gain in polls, lately, how to stop hordes of "deplorables" crossing the border. I guess a cheapish solution would be to create a network of recreational trails with very confusing mapping (even GPS) and totally confusing signage, and plant some smilax = green briar or other thorny plants to impede hiking according to compass directions. A note on GPS maps based on satellite pictures: software has very hard time telling dead ends from actually passable trail connections.

3. Populist-progressive Canada of my dreams. Declare the conflicts with KSA and Trump to be matters of national dignity, punish KSA by stopping delivery of military vehicles per Harper's contract and purchases of oil, replace the latter with Iranian. Would Trump dare to impose secondary sanctions, fine American companies in Canada.

Circe , Aug 9, 2018 11:18:38 PM | 59
Why is it that the Zionist media were up in arms every time White Helmets were digging Syrian children out of rubble or dousing them with hoses?

Dozens of children were slaughtered in Yemen, and many more maimed and injured and hundreds of thousands are being subjected to famine but there's only deafening silence on the Zionist-run media.

Syrian children had propaganda value; Yemeni children have no value at all. Americans, Zionists and Saudis are sick and depraved.

Piotr Berman , Aug 9, 2018 11:38:00 PM | 60
A little correction to Circe, Aug 9 11:18:38 PM. SELECTED Syrian children were newsworthy, a recent massacre by ISIS in Sweida was newsworthy only as an example of a failure by "the regime". An earlier example, when majority of people of Greater Aleppo lived in the western part controlled by Damascus, "Aleppo" meant only the eastern part, controlled by the "moderate" rebels, and victims of moderate massacres and shelling were totally un-newsworthy.
Pft , Aug 10, 2018 12:06:44 AM | 61

Natural resources drive 20 per cent of the economy -- and about 10 per cent of all the jobs in Canada. These natural resources also help Canada attract manufacturing and value added business that utilize domestically produced metals, fuel and timber (as opposed to more expensive imports) Profit motive is overstated, large companies are focused more on income growth and market share. The jobs that are produced are good paying jobs as well

I'd rather have more good paying capital intensive industries than low pay labour intensive service and manufacturing industries that may generate more profits but which end up mostly in CEO and top managements bank accounts

Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last tried in 1812. :>)

dh , Aug 10, 2018 12:10:13 AM | 62
@58 Support in Canada for Ukraine is mainly concentrated in Ukrainian communities in Alberta I believe. They form a quite significant voting block.
ben , Aug 10, 2018 12:21:33 AM | 63
Mark2 @ 31 said:"We need to remember this' the about left or right ! That's just devide and rule. This about the 1% killing off the 99% "

Yep, bottom line statement. From austerity to all neoliberal policies, and the world-wide wars now going on, are basically nothing more than class warfare directed at the 99% to enrich the already rich.

Profits uber alles. Avarice uber alles..

Piotr Berman , Aug 10, 2018 12:46:21 AM | 64
Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last tried in 1812. :>)

Posted by: Pft | Aug 10, 2018 12:06:44 AM | 61

Absorbing Canada could undermine political balance in USA leading to such calamities like socialized medicine, legal marijuana etc. Keeping them on Puerto Rico status is not tenable given the ethnic composition -- too many English speaking whites. If we could just annex Alberta...

Jen , Aug 10, 2018 12:50:16 AM | 65
Bang on cue, TG @ 39 uses a comment about Canada's standard of living (brought about in part by its governments' spending on transport infrastructure - in particular, transcontinental railways - that stimulated job growth and enabled the agricultural and manufactured wealth of the provinces to be spread across the nation and to be exported overseas) to push a racist opinion about how poor countries are at fault for being poor because their people don't have access to birth control measures made in rich countries.
Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 10, 2018 12:51:44 AM | 66
..for all the horrible and savage war crimes perpetuated by it and its allies on the poor people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, and especially now Yemen, the poorest of the poor - the sorrows of Empire.
Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 9, 2018 9:12:39 PM | 47

Kipling summed it up with grim irony in three words:
White Man's Burden

Jen , Aug 10, 2018 12:56:00 AM | 67
Pft @ 61, Piotr Berman & 64:

The British and the Americans signed a treaty in 1819 to respect one another's borders in North America. The treaty was renegotiated in 1846.

Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 10, 2018 1:07:20 AM | 68
White man's burden...
A phrase used to justify European imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; it is the title of a poem by Rudyard Kipling. The phrase implies that imperialism was motivated by a high-minded desire of whites to uplift people of color.
Amir , Aug 10, 2018 1:15:15 AM | 69
Part of the targeting assurance happens by looking at unexpected "gaps" in electronic communication signals. When there is a lot of cellphone communication noise" where is is suddenly absent, despite presence of humans, indicated an interesting anomaly for target acquisitions.
To confuse the enemy, these "silent spots" should be mirrored in different locations. They counter The selectief bias.

During WWII, RAF lost planes to German AAA. They wondered where armor them up?
Counterintuitively, the mathematician Abraham Wald explained that, if a plane makes it back safely despite a bunch of bullet holes in its wings, it means that bullet holes in the wings aren't very dangerous.
Where you really need the armor, are the areas that, on average, don't have any bullet holes.

Why? Because planes with bullet holes in those places never made it back. That's why you don't see any bullet holes there on the ones that do return.

Daniel , Aug 10, 2018 1:17:34 AM | 70
Posted by: CarlD @ 51 "And who is behind all of this?"

Wouldn't you agree that the PTSB are, as Paul Simon wrote, A Loose Affiliation of Billionaires?

The way I see it, the pinnacle of the pyramid are members of the dynasties that have controlled the finance system for centuries. Rothschilds, Warburgs, the Vatican, the European Royal Families and such. They profit off of everything, since all revenues generated by all industries pass through their sticky fingers, in addition to their Central Banking cabal that almost every country on earth is fully beholden to.

They are not a monolith, in that they compete with one another, but they all share interest in keeping this system in place.

Then, at the next level down there are the members of the Nouveau Riche, like the Rockefellers and Carneigies whose wealth was only generated a couple generations ago, and the even newer rich who do not have dynastic power (yet), but do wield enough wealth to influence the actions of the Empire, like the MIC "Daddy Warbucks" and tech industry newcomers.

And of course, there are the upper-level managers of Empire like Kissinger, Brzezenski, Soros, etc.

NemesisCalling , Aug 10, 2018 1:20:53 AM | 71
We have seen images of dead children of warfare before. I am not sure if it helps the antiwar cause. I will have to go read Susan Sontag's "The Pain of Others." In any case, thanks for posting it, b.

Will DJT order a retaliatory strike on KSA after being so moved by these photos like he was when the children of the fake gas attacks in Syria were being paraded around on the msm? I think not. Sad!

Daniel , Aug 10, 2018 1:38:19 AM | 72
Posted by: Pft | Aug 10, 2018 12:06:44 AM | 61:
"Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last tried in 1812. :>)"

Canada and the US are both members of the Five Eyes. Clearly, their roles in the great chessboard are different. But the way I see it, the nation-states are fictions that serve the charade of representative democratic self-rule.

[Aug 10, 2018] Hitler Trump The Great Man Theory Debunked by Gerold

Notable quotes:
"... Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list. [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to home, doesn't it? ..."
"... Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base. ..."
"... I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump. ..."
"... After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'" ..."
"... If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?" [Link] ..."
Aug 10, 2018 |

Authored by Gerold via,

We're told that great leaders make history. Like so much of what we are taught, that's a load of bunk. Yes, great leaders make it into the history books, but they do not make history. You make history. I make history. All we dirt people together make history. Government-run schools don't teach us this because it makes us easier to control.

The "Great Man Theory" [Link] tells us that history can be largely explained by the impact of great leaders. This theory was popularized in the 1800's by the historian and social commentator Thomas Carlyle [Link] The Great Man Theory downplays the importance of economic and practical explanations. It is an appealing theory because its simplicity offers the path of least resistance. That should ring an alarm.

Herbert Spencer [Link] forcefully disagreed with the "Great Man Theory." He believed that great leaders were merely products of their social environment. "Before he can remake his society, his society must make him." Tolstoy went so far as to call great leaders "history's slaves." However, this middle ground still misses the mark.

At the other extreme is "history from below" [Link] aka 'the people's history.' "History from below" takes the perspective of common people rather than leaders. It emphasizes the daily life of ordinary people that develop opinions and trends " as opposed to great people introducing ideas or initiating events." Unfortunately, this too is only half the equation, and it is no surprise that it appeals to Leftist and Marxist agendas.

Having studied politics and history ever since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, I determined that although history is partly the environments and individuals shaping each other reciprocally, it is more than that. It is you and I who make history with every decision we make, every dollar we spend, everything we learn, every vote we cast and every opinion we voice. It's even what we don't do. It is mostly organic and cannot easily be explained in a simple, linear fashion the way the aforementioned political philosophers tried.

Great leaders are merely the right person at the right time and place. However, they do not lead so much as follow from the front. They stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. They may be brutes, bullies or demagogues, but they are sensitive enough to understand the zeitgeist , the spirit of the times and so, they adjust their message accordingly.

That is one reason Jimmy Carter was a failed President. He was a nice guy, but he did not get an accurate reading of the times. Instead, he acted on the wishful thinking that is characteristic of liberals.

One of the significant shortcomings of many political philosophers is their ignorance of human nature. That is why Collectivism in all its forms appeals to the downtrodden. "Share and share alike" is a beautiful ideal so long as you get other people's stuff, but the flip side of the coin is not quite so appealing.

I heard a radio interview with a self-avowed Communist:

"So do you believe in 'share and share alike?"

"Yes, I do."

"And, if you had more than one house, you'd give them away and keep just one for yourself?"

"Yes. I would."

"And, if you had more than one vehicle, you'd give them away and keep just one for yourself?"

"Yes, I would."

"And, if you had more than one shirt "

"Whoa, wait a minute! I have more than one shirt."

I can't remember the rest of the interview as I was laughing too hard.

The Great Man Theory is one extreme, its critics are somewhere in the middle and 'the history of the people' is at the other end of the spectrum. Despite this, we are still fascinated by great leaders. That is human nature. Whether we are slaves at heart, or lack self-confidence or some other explanation is endlessly debatable. However, the fact remains that we are fascinated by great leaders and our inability to understand them further disproves the accepted theories.

Adolph Hitler is the ultimate example of our fascination with a great man. According to Alex Ross's "The Hitler Vortex," [Link] tens of thousands of books have been written about Hitler. "Books have been written about Hitler's youth, his years in Vienna and Munich, his service in the First World War, his assumption of power, his library, his taste in art, his love of film, his relations with women, and his predilections in interior design ('Hitler at Home')."

Tens of thousands of books failed to explain Hitler. Ross, too, does no better when he writes, "What set Hitler apart from most authoritarian figures in history was his conception of himself as an artist-genius who used politics as his métier. It is a mistake to call him a failed artist; for him, politics and war were a continuation of art by other means." WTF? Are we to believe Hitler was simply an artist who used the world as his canvas? Equally pointless is the notion that, "Hitler debased the Romantic cult of genius to incarnate himself as a transcendent leader hovering above the fray."

Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list. [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to home, doesn't it?

Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base.

I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump.

John Feeley is the former U.S. Ambassador to Panama portrayed in The New Yorker magazine article "The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration." [Link] After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'"

Feeley fears that "the country was embracing an attitude that was profoundly inimical to diplomacy 'If we do that we will become weaker and less prosperous.'" He is correct in that regard. China is building a large, new embassy at the mouth of the Panama Canal visible to every ship "as they enter a waterway that once symbolized the global influence of the United States."

Feeley is also correct in warning that the Trump administration's gutting the diplomatic corps will have negative repercussions. Throughout Latin America, leftist leaders are in retreat, and popular movements reject corrupt governance. Yet, America is losing "the greatest opportunity to recoup the moral high ground that we have had in decades." Instead, the U.S. is abandoning the region to China. Feeley calls it "a self-inflicted Pearl Harbor."

China is replacing U.S. influence in Latin America and Chinese banks "provided more than a hundred and fifty billion dollars in loan commitments to the region In less than two decades, trade between China and Latin America has increased twenty-seven-fold." Although that began long before Trump, "We're not just walking off the field. We're taking the ball and throwing a finger at the rest of the world."

Feeley says that he felt betrayed by what he regarded as "the traditional core values of the United States." Sorry, Feeley, but America lost its core values long before Trump was elected. Trump is not the cause; he is the symptom, the result of the declining American Empire.

Hunters know that one of the most dangerous animals is a wounded one. The same is correct about failing empires because they are a danger not only to others but to their own citizens as well. The elites are running out the clock in order to loot as much as they can before it hits the fan.

We dirt people will continue to suffer from stagnant wage growth while the so-called increase in national wealth goes to a tiny minority. [link]

Moreover, nobody wins a trade war that raises consumer prices even if Trump eventually triumphs.

The economy staggers under the weight of phony wars, fake finances, fake GDP, fake CPI, fake employment, fake pensions and fake everything. [Link] The national debt increases $1 trillion every year, consumer debt is at an all-time high [Link] while the tax cuts benefit only the ultra-wealthy. Also, the fake news tells us everything is wonderful. Don't believe it. "If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?" [Link]

It is said that every few generations, money returns to its rightful owners. That is what's happening now.

America emerged relatively unscathed from the Second World War whereas many other countries were bombed back into the Stone Age. The Marshal Plan helped rebuild countries that were to become both America's future customers and its competitors. America's busy factories transformed from war production to consumer goods, the demand for which was created by "the Father of Spin" Edward Bernays' marketing propaganda. [Link]

As well, the U.S. stole the gold that the Nazis had stolen from others, [Link] and that wealth in addition to robust, productive capacity temporarily propelled the U.S. far ahead of other nations. However, it would not last. Eventually, the undeserved prosperity of the 1950's and '60's began to run out of steam as other nations rebuilt and competed with the U.S. President Nixon defaulting on the dollar in 1971 by "closing the gold window" signaled the end of America's good times . The subsequent debt creation now unconstricted by a gold basis helped to cushion the blow for several decades, but wealth was now flowing to Asia along with factory jobs.

For 5,000 years, China was a world superpower with only a short, two-century hiatus that is now ending as China again emerges as an economic superpower. Such a massive shift in wealth cannot be attributed to either leadership or the people below. It is a painful reversion to the mean. All the finger-pointing and wailing and gnashing of teeth not even bombastic Trump and his tariffs can stem the tide and make America great again as money continues to flow back to its rightful owners.

The USA is a declining, bankrupt, warmongering police state and most of its indoctrinated citizens think they live in a free, peaceful country.

China is a corrupt police state, but most of its citizens know it.

We have met the enemy, and he is us. The future awaits.

[Aug 09, 2018] Why They Fail - The Quintessence Of The Korengal Valley Campaign

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
Aug 09, 2018 |

A new excerpt from a book by C.J. Chivers, a former U.S. infantry captain and New York Times war correspondent, tells the story of a young man from New York City who joined the U.S. army and was send to the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. While the man, one Robert Soto, makes it out alive, several of his comrades and many Afghans die during his time in Afghanistan to no avail.

The piece includes remarkably strong words about the strategic (in)abilities of U.S. politicians, high ranking officers and pundits:

On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost as if distant war is a presumed government action.

That description is right but it does not touche the underlying causes. The story of the attempted U.S. occupation of the Korengal valley, which Civers again describes, has been the theme of several books and movies. It demonstrates the futility of fighting a population that does not welcome occupiers. But most of the authors, including Chivers, get one fact wrong. The war with the people of the Korengal valley was started out of shear stupidity and ignorance.

The main military outpost in the valley was build on a former sawmill. Chivers writes:

On a social level, it could not have been much worse. It was an unforced error of occupation, a set of foreign military bunkers built on the grounds of a sawmill and lumber yard formerly operated by Haji Mateen, a local timber baron. The American foothold put some of the valley's toughest men out of work, the same Afghans who knew the mountain trails. Haji Mateen now commanded many of the valley's fighters, under the banner of the Taliban.

Unfortunately Chivers does not explain why the saw mill was closed. Ten years ago a piece by Elizabeth Rubin touched on this:

As the Afghans tell the story, from the moment the Americans arrived in 2001, the Pech Valley timber lords and warlords had their ear. Early on, they led the Americans to drop bombs on the mansion of their biggest rival -- Haji Matin. The air strikes killed several members of his family, according to local residents, and the Americans arrested others and sent them to the prison at Bagram Air Base. The Pech Valley fighters working alongside the Americans then pillaged the mansion. And that was that. Haji Matin, already deeply religious, became ideological and joined with Abu Ikhlas, a local Arab linked to the foreign jihadis.

Years before October 2004, before regular U.S. soldiers came into the Korengal valley, U.S. special forces combed through the region looking for 'al-Qaeda'. They made friends with a timber baron in Pech valley, a Pashtun of the Safi tribe, who claimed that his main competitor in the (illegal) timber trade who lived in the nearby Korengal river valley was a Taliban and 'al-Qaeda'. That was not true. Haji Matin was a member of a Nuristani tribe that spoke Pashai . These were a distinct people with their own language who were and are traditional hostile to any centralized government (pdf), even to the Taliban's Islamic Emirate.

The U.S. special forces lacked any knowledge of the local society. But even worse was that they lacked the curiosity to research and investigate the social terrain. They simply trusted their new 'friend', the smooth talking Pashtun timber baron, and called in jets to destroy his competitor's sawmill and home. This started a local war of attrition which defeated the U.S. military. In 2010 the U.S. military, having achieved nothing, retreated from Korengal. (The sawmill episode was described in detail in a 2005(?) blog post by a former special force soldier who took part in it. It since seems to have been removed from the web.)

Back to Chivers' otherwise well written piece. He looks at the results two recent (and ongoing) U.S. wars:

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military machine.
Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their countries' futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist attacks across much of the world -- exactly the species of crime the global "war on terror" was supposed to prevent.

The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose. They are planned by incompetent people. The most recent Pentagon ideas for the U.S. war on Afghanistan depend on less restricted bombing rules. Yesterday one predictable and self defeating consequence was again visible:

An American airstrike killed at least a dozen Afghan security forces during intense fighting with the Taliban near the Afghan capital, officials said Tuesday.
Shamshad Larawi, a spokesman for the governor, said that American airstrikes had been called in for support, but that because of a misunderstanding, the planes mistakenly targeted an Afghan police outpost.
Haji Abdul Satar, a tribal elder from Azra, said he counted 19 dead, among them 17 Afghan police officers and pro-government militia members and two civilians.
In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across Afghanistan, nearly double the number for the same period last year and more than five times the number for the first half of 2016. ... Civilian casualties from aerial bombardments have increased considerably as a result, the United Nations says.

One argument made by the Pentagon generals when they pushed Trump to allow more airstrikes was that these would cripple the Taliban's alleged opium trade and its financial resources. But, as the Wall Street Journal reports , that plan, like all others before it, did not work at all:

Nine months of targeted airstrikes on opium production sites across Afghanistan have failed to put a significant dent in the illegal drug trade that provides the Taliban with hundreds of millions of dollars, according to figures provided by the U.S. military.
So far, the air campaign has wiped out about $46 million in Taliban revenue, less than a quarter of the money the U.S. estimates the insurgents get from the illegal drug trade. U.S. military officials estimate the drug trade provides the Taliban with 60% of its revenue.
Poppy production hit record highs in Afghanistan last year , where they are the country's largest cash crop, valued at between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.

More than 200 airstrikes on "drug-related targets" have hardly made a dent in the Taliban's war chest. The military war planners again failed.

At the end of the Chivers piece its protagonist, Robert Soto, rightfully vents about the unaccountability of such military 'leaders':

Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising . Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.

Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war. But even that war failed in its larger political aim of dethroning Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. population and its 'leaders' simply know too little about the world to prevail in an international military campaign. They lack curiosity. The origin of the Korengal failure is a good example for that.

U.S. wars are rackets , run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations. They enriche few at the cost of everyone else.

Wars should not be 'a presumed government action', but the last resort to defend ones country. We should do our utmost to end all of them.

bjd , Aug 8, 2018 4:19:05 PM | 1

There is a fundamental misunderstanding in the lament ringing through in this story.

The policy makers and the generals do not care about Afghanistan, nor about American boys being sent and being killed there.

Any bombs spent means more bombs being ordered and manufactured. The Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Complex thus profits.

Those belonging to that complex do not belong to the same class as those boys in body bags.

In spite of these valuable insights like in this story, everything is going just hunky dory.

Mischi , Aug 8, 2018 4:34:28 PM | 2
you know, it is just as easy to influence a foreign society by making movies (Bollywood in this case) with a certain bent, the one you want people to follow. After a few years of seeing the Taliban as villains, there would be no fresh recruits and mass desertion. But, the weapons manufacturers wouldn't be making their enormous profits. This same effect can be seen in American society, where the movies coming out of Hollywood started becoming very aggressive in tone around the time that Ronald Reagan became president. Movies went from The Deer Hunter to Rambo and Wall Street. Is it any wonder that even the progressive Left in the USA thinks it is ok to attack their political adversaries and that violence is justified? This is the power of movies and the media.
Mark2 , Aug 8, 2018 4:45:09 PM | 3
Thank you 'b' this post as always is a true in depth education !
If you run for president of the United States of America enytime soon you'v got my vote !
karlof1 , Aug 8, 2018 5:09:38 PM | 4
bjd @1 highlights an important truth similar to that exposed by Joseph Heller in Cache-22 and by Hudson's Balance-of-Payments revelation he revealed yet again at this link I posted yesterday . Most know the aggressive war against Afghanistan was already planned and on the schedule prior to 911 and would have occurred regardless since after Serbia the Outlaw US Empire felt it could do and get away with anything. 911 simply provided BushCo with Carte-Blache, but it wasn't enough of a window to fulfill their desired destruction of 7 nations in 5 years for their Zionist Patron.

IMO, as part of its plan to control the Heartland, those running the Outlaw US Empire never had any plan to leave Afghanistan; rather once there, they'd stay and occupy it just as the Empire's done everywhere since WW2. The Empire's very much like a leech; its occupations are parasitic as Hudson demonstrated, and work at the behest of corporate interests as Smedly Butler so eloquently illustrated.

As with Vietnam, the only way to get NATO forces to leave is for Afghanis to force them out with their rifles. Hopefully, they will be assisted by SCO nations and Afghanistan will cease being a broken nation by 2030.

jayc , Aug 8, 2018 5:13:05 PM | 5
The Wall Street Journal article on the Taliban's ties to the local drug trade also the reveals deliberate omission practiced by the MSM, which keeps its readers actively misinformed. Estimating illegal drug revenues contribute as much as $200 million to the Taliban, the article fails to put that in proper context: that figure represents merely 7%-13% of total production receipts (estimated at 1.5 to 3 billion dollars). Most informed persons know exactly who reaps the rewards of more than 80% of the Afghan drug products, and why this much larger effort is not the focus of "targeted airstrikes."
Pft , Aug 8, 2018 5:17:07 PM | 6
1. "The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose........
Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war."

2 "U.S. wars are rackets, run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations. They enriche few at the cost of everyone else"

Your points in 1 ignore the reality expressed by 2. The real strategic aims and purposes are not those provided for public consumption. Winning wars is not the objective, the length and cost of wars is far more important than results. Enriching and empowering the few over the many is the entire point of it all

And lets put an end to "US " responsibility for all evils. Its a shared responsibility. None of this is possible without the cooperation of Uk and its commonwealth nations, EU, Japan and the various international organizations that allow the dollar to be weaponized such as IMF/World Bank and BIS not to mention the various tax havens which support covert operations and looting of assets obtained in these wars (military or economic).

Until the rest of the world is prepared to do something about it they are willing accomplices in all of this.

The global elites are globalists, they dont think in national terms. Its a global elitist cabal at work that is hiding behind the cover of US hegemony.

Ash , Aug 8, 2018 6:01:26 PM | 7
b: "Wars should not be 'a presumed government action', but the last resort to defend ones country. We should do our utmost to end all of them."

Well said, sir.

ben , Aug 8, 2018 6:09:27 PM | 8
karlof1 @ 4 said:"The Empire's very much like a leech; its occupations are parasitic as Hudson demonstrated, and work at the behest of corporate interests as Smedly Butler so eloquently illustrated."

You bet.. The operative words being " work at the behest of corporate interests "

And so it goes around the globe. Question is; How to get this information to the herded bovines the general public has become?

Without a major network to disseminate such info, we're all just spinning our wheels. Oh, but, the therapy is good..

fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 6:18:02 PM | 9
Very interesting stories - especially re: the timber mill warlord competition.

Defoliants are still used in warfare - especially "by accident". Carpet bombing is still legal. If NATO wanted to wipe out the poppies, it surely could do so.

Pft at 6, reminded me of this zinger:

The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - The Brzez

Deltaeus , Aug 8, 2018 6:38:00 PM | 10
jayc @5 implies it, and I'll say it more directly: US soldiers guard poppy fields in Afghanistan. I'm also reminded of Alfred C McCoy's famous 1972 work The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.
Why the US grows heroin in Afghanistan, from the movie War Machine

Piotr Berman , Aug 8, 2018 6:51:23 PM | 11
The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - The Brzez

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 8, 2018 6:18:02 PM | 9

This gem hides a deep truth. One has to replace "creative" and "far in advance", instead, we have power relationships. And those power relationships resemble central planning of the Communist states, concept that is attractive in abstraction, but centralization cannot cope with complexities of societies and economies, in part because the central institutions are inevitably beset by negative selection: people rise due to their adroit infighting skills rather than superior understanding of what those institutions are supposed to control. Ultimately, this proces leads to decay and fall. "Nation states" themselves are not immune to such cycles and are at different stages of the cycle creative-decadent-falling. However, international finance lacks observable "refreshing" mechanisms of nation states.

Kalen , Aug 8, 2018 6:54:16 PM | 12
War as always is financial racket, $trillion stolen, MIC thrives, took over with CIA all prerogatives of power and has million agents in US alone in every institution government and corporate.

I call it success of ruling elite. B war would stop tomorrow if it was unsuccessful read unprofitable for those who wage it. Nazi death camps were most profitable enterprises in third Reich.

Curtis , Aug 8, 2018 7:22:43 PM | 13
For some reason, when the US wars are admitted to be civil wars, no one questions whose side did the US take until it is too late and so very few tune in. Incompetence is the excuse. It reminds me of that adage to not blame on malice that which can be explained by stupidity but stupidity has been used to excuse a lot of malice. It's one reason why "military intelligence" resides at the top of oxymorons along with "congressional ethics" and "humanitarian intervention."

It is amazing to think that the US has been in Afghanistan for 17 years and supposedly knows where the opium and its processors are and yet could not take it out. (The pix of soldiers patrolling poppy fields is rich.) The initial excuse years ago was that the US needed to support the warlords who grew/sold it. What is the excuse now? Incompetence, corruption, laziness?

The US likes the idea of opium products going into Iran and Russia ... who have protested to no avail. A bit of indirect subversion.

Ian , Aug 8, 2018 7:27:07 PM | 14

The adage is Hanlon's Razor. There should be a joint air operation to bomb those poppy fields.

goldhoarder , Aug 8, 2018 7:33:26 PM | 15
US wars are rackets. They are very successful in that regard. It doesn't matter what people think about them.
fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 7:50:42 PM | 16
The US likes opium products going into the US. It makes for broken citizens who lack zeal for knowledge, and therefore, comprehension; and the will to organize against the PTB. Importantly, being illegal, opiate use feeds the pigs who own the prison-industrial complex.
par4 , Aug 8, 2018 7:50:56 PM | 17
The Taliban had virtually eradicated opium when they controlled Afghanistan. Try this link or or this one.
fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 7:55:40 PM | 18


In April 2001, 5 months prior to nine elva, $43 million was gifted to the Taliban in Afghanistan for the stated purpose of eradicating opium.

karlof1 , Aug 8, 2018 8:09:38 PM | 19
ben @8--

Given the current, longstanding dynamics within the Outlaw US Empire, I don't see any possibility of the required reforms ever having an opportunity to get enacted. The situation's very similar to Nazi Germany's internal dynamic--the coercive forces of the State and its allies will not allow any diminution of their power. Within the Empire, thousands of Hydra heads would need to be rapidly severed for any revolt to succeed, and that requires a large, easily infiltrated organization to accomplish. Invasion by an allied group of nations invites a nuclear holocaust I can't condone. I think the best the world can do is force the Empire to retreat from its 800+ bases and sequester it behind the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans until it self-destructs or drastically reforms itself--Containment. But for that to work, almost every comprador government would need to be changed and their personages imprisoned, exiled or executed--another close to impossible task. Ideally, the ballot box would work--ideally--but that requires deeply informed voters and highly idealistic, strongly principled, creative, and fearless candidates, along with an honest media.

Yeah, writing can be good therapy. But I'm no more cheery than when I began. Must be time for intoxicants.

b4real , Aug 8, 2018 8:20:04 PM | 20
@6 Pft

"Until the rest of the world is prepared to do something about it..."

What is this 'something' of which you speak?


vk , Aug 8, 2018 8:26:25 PM | 21
More than 200 airstrikes on "drug-related targets" have hardly made a dent in the Taliban's war chest. The military war planners again failed.

Or did they?

Jen , Aug 8, 2018 9:11:48 PM | 22
Karlofi @ 19:

The world does not need to force the Evil Empire to retreat from its 1,000 (and counting) military bases around the planet.

All the world needs to do is trade with Iran, Venezuela or some other outsider nation. The Evil Empire will be so busy trying to punish everyone who trades with these countries by extending sanctions against the outsiders to their trading partners that the Empire effectively ends up having sanctioned everyone away and it becomes the victim of its sanctioning.

The 1,000+ military bases around the globe are then effectively on their own and the soldiers and administrators inside can either stay there and starve, throw in their lot with the host nation's citizenry or beg to be allowed to return home.

james , Aug 8, 2018 9:22:13 PM | 23
thanks b... as long as the americans support the troops, lol - all will be well apparently... jesus.. meanwhile - the support for the 1% bomb makers and etc continues... maybe it is the mutual fund money that folks are concerned about maintaining..

"In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across Afghanistan." what is that? about 17 or 18 bombs a day or something? what about the drones? they have to be put to use too... best to get someone who is involved in their own turf war in afgan to give out the targets.. brilliant... usa war planning is mostly destroy and destroy and honour the troops and wave their stupid american flag and that is about it... sorry, but that is what it looks like to me..

Jason , Aug 8, 2018 9:32:50 PM | 24
its not so much they want to end the war on terror or the war on drugs.........they just want to say one thing to cover their asses and do another thing completely..

no matter what there should of been one general who got it right.....but we see it was never about peace .... it was always about war and its profits. anyone who didn't take orders or even had a hint of the right strategy would be Hung like dirty boots to dry.

what is the right strategy? leave. just as other empires did. before you call on your faces

to be even more frank....its not even about the money as that is not as important than having a nation of 300m regurgitate the news that they are there for 17 years to be the police of the world. because USA are the good ones... that they need to buy the biggest trucks which can't even fit in normal parking spaces because they have land mines(I mean ieds...) to avoid and need to haul 5tons of cargo to their construction job all while watching out for terrorists and trump Hillary divisions. is disorienting and it is deliberate. just as having a war last without a reason is deliberate while they entertain the masses with games..

dh , Aug 8, 2018 9:35:25 PM | 25
@23 "...maybe it is the mutual fund money that folks are concerned about maintaining.."

Definitely a big factor james. Unfortunately a lot more than 1% of the US population depends on the MIC for their livliehood.

james , Aug 8, 2018 9:38:08 PM | 26
@23dh... same deal here in canuckle head ville... people remain ignorant of what there money is ''''invested'''' in... could be saudi arabia for all the canucks think... btw - thanks for the laugh on the other thread... you made a couple of good jokes somewhere the past few days! i don't have much free time to comment at the moment..
pogohere , Aug 8, 2018 9:39:10 PM | 27

McCoy, in "The Politics of Heroin" gives a more complete picture:

In 1996, following four years of civil war among rival resistance factions, the Taliban's victory caused further expansion of opium cultivation. After capturing Kabul in September, the Taliban drove the Uzbek and Tajik warlords into the country's northeast, where they formed the Northern Alliance and clung to some 10 percent of Afghanistan's territory. Over the next three years, a seesaw battle for the Shamali plain north of Kabul raged until the Taliban finally won control in 1999 by destroying the orchards and irrigation in a prime food-producing region, generating over 100,000 refugees and increasing the country's dependence on opium.

Once in power, the Taliban made opium its largest source of taxation. To raise revenues estimated at $20-$25 million in 1997, the Taliban collected a 5 to 10 percent tax in kind on all opium harvested, a share that they then sold to heroin laboratories; a flat tax of $70 per kilogram on heroin refiners; and a transport tax of $250 on every kilogram exported. The head of the regime's anti-drug operations in Kandahar, Abdul Rashid, enforced a rigid ban on hashish "because it is consumed by Afghans, Muslims." But, he explained, "Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs [unbelievers] in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans." A Taliban governor, Mohammed Hassan, added: "Drugs are evil and we would like to substitute poppies with another cash crop, but it's not possible at the moment because we do not have international recognition."

More broadly, the Taliban's policies provided stimulus, both direct and indirect, for a nationwide expansion of opium cultivation. . . Significantly, the regime's ban on the employment and education of women created a vast pool of low-cost labor to sustain an accelerated expansion of opium production. . . . In northern and eastern Afghanistan, women of all ages played " a fundamental role in the cultivation of the opium poppy"---planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking for laborers, and processing by-products such as oil. The Taliban not only taxed and encouraged opium cultivation, they protected and promoted exports to international markets.

In retrospect, however, the Taliban's most important contribution to the illicit traffic was its support for large-scale heroin refining.
. . .
Instead of eradication, the UN's annual opium surveys showed that Taliban rule had doubled Afghanistan's opium production from 2,250 tons in 1996 to 4,600 tons in 1999--equivalent to 75 percent of world illicit production. (508-509)
. . .

War on the Taliban

All this [heroin] traffic across Central Asia depended on high-volume heroin production in politically volatile Afghanistan. In July 2000, as a devastating drought entered its second year and mass starvation spread across Afghanistan, the Taliban's leader Mullah Omar ordered a sudden ban on opium cultivation in a bid for international recognition. (p.517)

dh , Aug 8, 2018 9:53:59 PM | 28
@26 I've been following the Canada/Saudi spat. I guess Justin has his own reasons for what he said but he certainly pissed MBS off.

Doesn't look like Donald wants to mediate. Perhaps Justin will have better luck with Teresa.

Pft , Aug 8, 2018 10:05:34 PM | 29

Dealing with their own elites for a start

james , Aug 8, 2018 10:17:03 PM | 30
@28 dh... usa daily propaganda press briefing had a few things to say -
folktruther , Aug 8, 2018 10:27:00 PM | 31
B's article assumes that the operative purpose of the US military is to win wars. This isn't the case. The US military largely a business enterprise whose objective is to make money for the plutocracy that largely controls them. That being the case, the Afghanistan war has been a great success. If the US 'won' it, it would cease; if the Taliban conquered, it would cease. In this form of military stagnation it continues, and the money roles in making the ammunition, equipment, etc.

The military budget is largely an institution for transferring the tax money of the population from the people to the plutocracy. Military stagnation serves this purpose better than winning or losing.

Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 8, 2018 10:38:55 PM | 32
If there is one standout factor which makes makes all this profitable mayhem possible then it's the successful campaign by the Elites to persuade the Public that Secrecy is a legitimate variation of Privacy.
It is not.

Impregnable Government Secrecy is ALWAYS a cover for erroneous interpretations of an inconvenient Law - or straight-out cover for criminal activity.
It's preposterous to believe that a government elected by The People has a legitimate right to create schemes which must be kept Secret from The People.
This is especially true in the case of Military/Defense. There wouldn't be a CIC on earth who doesn't have up-to-date and regularly updated info on the hardware and capabilities of every ally and every potential foe. The People have a legitimate right to know what the CIC, and the rest of the world, already knows.

And that's just the most glaring example of the childish deception being perpetrated in the name of Secrecy. If governments were to be stripped of the power to conduct Our affairs in Secret then the scrutiny would oblige them to behave more competently. And we could weed out the drones and nitwits before they did too much damage.

dh , Aug 8, 2018 10:41:21 PM | 33
@30 Right. I notice they avoid mentioning the Badawis who are central to the issue. I guess helping Justin out isn't very high on Donald's list of priorities.
the pair , Aug 8, 2018 11:41:17 PM | 34
i forget who said it and the exact phrasing, but the best explanation i've seen is "why is the US there? it answers itself: to be there".

vast opium money for the deep state vermin.

profits for the bomb makers (you know, the respectable corporate ones as opposed to the quaint do-it-yourselfers).

lithium deposits that probably rival those in bolivia as well as other untapped profitable resources (probably, anyway; i could see oil and gas coming out of those ancient valleys).

it's also an occupation as opposed to a "win and get out" war. these military welfare queens think they can win a staring contest with the descendants of people who bitchslapped every would-be conqueror since alexander the great. ask the russians how well that went for them.

the west supports israel's 70+ years of colonizing palestine (plus the 3 or 4 decades of dumbness before it with balfour and such) and still has troops in south goddamn korea. as long as the tap flows they'll keep drinking that sweet tasty tax welfare.

[Aug 08, 2018] Hidden in Plain View in Belgrade Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... A good hypothesis is, that Olof Palme was assassinated by a US stay-behind group, consisting of Nazi military and police. ..."
"... I think VG is quite correct in this: it was a test. And the test was of the neocon/humanitarian intervention marriage. Yes, the USA has doe a lot of this sort of thing in its history, but there has always been some opposition inside the USA. This time, they figured it out and "humanitarian bombing" was born. We have seen a lot more humanitarian bombing since. ..."
"... It was Gore, in consultation with Hillary Clinton, who decided to launch the criminal bombing of Serbia, informing PM Primakov after taking a phone call meant for the president. ..."
"... By launching an illegal attack on Russia's ally, the VP and the future Sec. of State, were offering a foreshadowing of the hawkish and belligerent anti-Russian policy that was to follow for the next 17 years. ..."
"... Western populations for the most part are so thoroughly brainwashed they still cling to the belief they live in civilized countries and their militaries keep them safe from barbarians. ..."
"... Gary I agree whole heartedly with every word you wrote. I would add to how intriguing it would be to learn of the high deception played during the passage of the Federal Reserve back in 1913. Then I'd push out of the way those who blocked Claude Pepper from endorsing Henry Wallace into the 1944 Democratic Convention. This alone may have changed the course of the establishment of the CIA, and avoided the disaster that is happening in Palestine to this day. ..."
"... I do believe the assassination era was the biggest turning point, as it sent a strong message to the would be seekers of sane government policies who would incur such tragedy if explored. Joe ..."
"... I believe there are many questions that need answering about NATO. For instance: July 14, 2018 The Diabolical "Work" of NATO and Its Allies: Why Are These War Criminals Still Free? ..."
Aug 08, 2018 |

By Vladimir Golstein
in Belgrade
Special to Consortium News

Right across the street from my hotel, tucked behind tall office buildings, is the rather large Church of St. Mark. Hidden in St. Mark's shadows is a tiny Russian Orthodox church. The Church of the Holy Trinity, known simply as the Russian Church, is famous for holding the remains of Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel , the Russian Civil War leader of the Whites. It is hard to find, but luckily, a friend took me there.

As we were looking around the church, not particularly interested in Wrangel, a couple of Russians asked me to take their picture in front of his tomb. Trying to find a proper angle for the picture, I noticed a small plaque on a wall nearby. It listed the names of Russians who died fighting for Yugoslav Serbs during the conflict with separatist Albanians in Kosovo and the subsequent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

As we left the church, we took a small path toward the top of the park. There we observed another brutal sign of that war: a destroyed building next to the TV center. It too had a plaque. It screamed, " Zashto " (For What? Why?). Below it were the names of all the TV people NATO killed during that attack. In all, as many as 2,500 civilians may have been killed by NATO, according to the then Yugoslav government, though the real number may never be known.

On the one hand, the question Zashto is both idle and provocative. It implies a laceration of wounds, a refusal to forget and to start anew. On the other, there is an obvious need to find an answer to this question simply to prevent future destruction and senseless murders.

We won't find answers to this question in the official narratives, which tell us that the noble Clinton administration decided to stop flagrant violations of human rights in the extremely complex situation in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo by bombing the Serbs into respecting minorities both on its own and on neighboring territories. (In fact the large exodus of Kosovo Albanians to Albania proper only began after NATO bombs started to fall.)

Testing the Limits

Russians who died fighting for Yugoslavia. (Photo by Vladimir Golstein)

Behind these official stories, a much sadder picture emerges. Why did these people die? Why did this NATO operation go ahead without UN Security Council authorization nor proof of self-defense, requirements of the UN Charter? Was it to satisfy the lust for power of U.S. and NATO leaders, of liberal interventionists like Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, and Susan Rice? To assuage the Clinton administration's guilt over its failure to respond to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda? Was it to set up America's largest military base in Europe since the Vietnam War, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo? For American access to Kosovo's vast mineral wealth and other business opportunities, including for Ms. Albright ? Or was it to finally kill off a rather successful Yugoslav experiment in the "third way" between the West and the Soviet Union?

It seems these people had to die for all those reasons and to put into practice the doctrines of responsibility to protect ( R2P ) and full spectrum dominance , doctrines cooked up by liberal interventionists and neocons in Washington. Those who died were essentially guinea pigs of a New World Order experiment to see how far the world could be pushed to implement R2P, a policy that could be used to mask imperial ambitions.

And it worked. Yugoslavia was unable to stand up to the power of NATO operating outside the mandate of its obsolete charter: namely to defend Western Europe against an alleged Soviet threat. Indeed one could argue that with the Cold War over, another motive for the attack on Yugoslavia was to provide NATO with a justification to exist. (It would later go even further afield outside its legal theater of operation, into Afghanistan and then Libya.)

Russia could do little to help the Serbs. Then the Chinese Embassy was hit as well, as a test it seems, though The New York Times said it was a mistake. The Chinese did nothing.

Thus was R2P implemented -- with no protection for Yugoslav Serbs. They had to die in the experiment to explore the limits of U.S. power and the limits of its resistance.

Vladimir Golstein, a former associate professor at Yale University, manages the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University and is a commentator on Russian affairs.

Noel cowling , August 7, 2018 at 4:16 pm

If my memory serves me correctly, President Bill Clinton had set up a summit meeting with Russian President Yevgeny Primakov here in the USA. Primakov was in flight on his way here for that summit meeting when President of Vice, Al Gore, without Clinton's permission or knowledge, called Primakov, in flight, to tell him NATO had decided to bomb Kosovo. Primakov immediately ordered his plane to turn around and return to Russia, thus cancelling the summit meeting...

Aurora , August 7, 2018 at 8:55 pm

In Russia that is known as "The Primakov Loop."

rosemerry , August 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Thanks Vladimir. The Serbs are demonized by so many, especially the Germans-many believe it was because they fought so valiantly against the Nazis in WW2. Diana Johnstone has written "Fools' Crusade- Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions", and Michel Collon "Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo", but books with this point of view are not readily publicised. Nor is the fact that after his death (no trial had yet taken place) Slobodan Milosovic was finally found nOT to have been responsible for all the murderous acts he was accused/assumed to be responsible for.

We can note now of course the Russian reaction to the "annexation of Crimea" after a referendum, no bloodshed and the referendum also of Russians all over the Federation, while Kosovo was ripped from Serbia by trickery and not consent, and we see how it is now. Russia is sanctioned, the people who overthrew the Ukrainian government are not mentioned, Crimea is not allowed to return to Russia. Slight difference from the "nation" of Kososvo!

Thomas Binder , August 6, 2018 at 6:35 am

The war against #Serbia under #R2P was the #MilitaryIndustrialFinancialMedialComplex'es ruling the #USA/#NATO/#ISR/#SAU empire (#PNAC's) test for eternal war against #AlQaeda outside international law & interference of #USLegislators for getting full-spectrum dominance.

Jackson , August 5, 2018 at 2:21 pm

NATO should have been disbanded after the fall of the Soviets. When you arm people and train them to kill, they will look for an enemy to fight. War becomes inevitable.

jose , August 5, 2018 at 6:00 pm

It is hard to disagree with your post. Nato, disgracefully, has become a terrorist organization that has dedicated itself to be the paw of the western elite. Shamefully, other countries have joined Yugoslavia as victims of Nato criminality. Well done Jackson.

Björn Lindgren , August 5, 2018 at 7:25 am


There might be still more reasons for the destruction of Yugoslavia.

Germany had put its mind into destabilizing Yugoslavia to get a "Hinterland". Added to this, a revenge motive: Nazi Germany occupation of Yugoslavia failed, and this has never been forgotten. And lastly, Yugoslavia was a member of the non-alignment movement, not obeying US-NATO.

And, of course, after the collapse of the Warsaw pact, NATO had no enemy, no purpose. But, it invented one: full US spectrum global dominance.

Sweden has also been punished to obey the US.

During the years of PM Olof Palme, Sweden was also a member of the non-alignment movement. Palme was educated in and friendly to the US, but critized the US war in Vietnam. (Nixon hated Palme, and withdraw the US diplomats from Sweden).

1992 foreign submarines penetrated Swedish waters repeatedly.

The submarine incident at Hårsfjärden, a marine base, was not made by Russia, but was made by US and British submarines. Afterwards, both Caspar Weinberger and Sir Keith Speed confirmed this. Weinberger even thanked Sweden for not blowing up the US mini-sub (which we could have done. (Read, "Hårsfjärden. Det hemliga ubåtskriget mot Sverige," by Ola Tunander).

Purpose: pushing Sweden westward.

Already in the mid 50s, William Colby, later head of the CIA, was in Sweden organizing stay-behind groups, recruting Swedish voluntary ex-soldiers from the Finnish wars against Soviet Union. In the 50-s these people were organized in "Sveaborg", a Nazi group.

A good hypothesis is, that Olof Palme was assassinated by a US stay-behind group, consisting of Nazi military and police.

Which, of course, had to be stonewalled "for reason of state". Today, Sweden is "cooperating" shamelessly with NATO, invite, and have excersices with NATO. This week, the Swedish government annonced that it will purchase US "Patriot" anti-missiles with "ballistic capability" (Hey, hey!).

Supporting the insane belligerent US and UK nuclear armament (for a nuclear first-strike?) against neoliberal, oligarchic Russia, which is planning to keep up in the race towards the abyss. That is, Sweden is now d e f a c t o a member of NATO, without the Swedish people or parliament have had a say. NATO which eventually is falling apart, and with a lunatic US president and his military government in the White House, in a US empire collapsing. The peace aspirations of Sweden are long forgotten. And so, is the Helsinki Conference and agreement (1975-1983) for common security, disarmamanet , and a nuclear-free zone in Europe.

The question is if Germany, France, UK (with Corbyn in 10 Downing) and Russia will organize a new Helsinki Conference and Agreement?

Maybe, "for reasons of interest".


rosemerry , August 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much for this comprehensive addition to the discussion. Sweden indeed has been placed in an invidious position. Pretending that NATO has any purpose even vaguely related to peace is laughable.

David G , August 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Great comment, Björn Lindgren. Many thanks.

The withering away of Swedish neutrality into an empty formality has become so obvious, but never remarked upon in the U.S. I'm sure most cable TV talking heads just assume Sweden is in NATO – indeed, I've heard the error made, albeit corrected after the next commercial break.

I appreciate reading your committed, highly informed perspective. Maybe you could submit an article on this under-reported subject to Consortium News?

Zivadin Jovanovic , August 5, 2018 at 4:54 am

Excellent article in the eve of 20th anniversary of NATO aggression on Yugoslavia which will be marked by Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, March 23, 24rth, 2019.

NATO 1999 aggression was meant to be precedent and turning point in global conduct toward globalization of military interventionism (Avganistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.). Willy Wimmer wrote to Schoerder on May 2nd, 2000, USA position: "The war against Yugoslavia was conducted in order to correct the mistake of General Eisenhower from the 2ndWW. Subsequently, for strategic reasons, USA troops had to be stationed there ". And: "It is clear that it is the precedent to be recalled any time" The Bondstil base in Kosovo was only the first in the ensuing chain of new USA bases in Bulgaria (4), Rumania (4), Albania (2), Baltic states

Patrick Armstrong , August 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

I think VG is quite correct in this: it was a test. And the test was of the neocon/humanitarian intervention marriage. Yes, the USA has doe a lot of this sort of thing in its history, but there has always been some opposition inside the USA. This time, they figured it out and "humanitarian bombing" was born. We have seen a lot more humanitarian bombing since.

Branko Mikasinovich , August 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm

A great and truthful article about Western Policy, NATO and US. A courageous and informative analysis of Mr. Golstein. Thank you.

ToivoS , August 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Goldstein writes Russia could do little to help the Serbs. Then the Chinese Embassy was hit as well, as a test it seems, though The New York Times said it was a mistake. The Chinese did nothing.

Actually the Chinese did do something. They changed their attitude towards the US. I have yet to meet a Chinese national who believes that the embassy hit was a "mistake". They and their government view it as a deliberate attack on their sovereignty. But they realized they were not in a position respond so they then began military planning for possible conflict between China and the US Navy in the Western Pacific. In 2000 they started a 10 plan to achieve the ability to sink any US aircraft carrier within a 1000 km of their shores. We won't know if they have achieved that ability until a real test is conducted. But that is the something they have done.

FB , August 8, 2018 at 9:24 am

Good point Toivos The Chinese have never forgotten the Belgrade embassy bombing and they never will. Ask any Chinese today, even those living in the West the Chinese are an ancient people with a long and proud memory the embassy bombing was a step too far. All of these hubristic missteps will come back to haunt the empire

Theo , August 4, 2018 at 10:51 am

I remember well the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia under the pretext to stop the genocide that was allegedly committed by the Serbs. The saddest thing for me was that Germany was participating in the bombing campaign. My father who was in Yugoslavia as a Wehrmacht soldier was outraged as were many others. After almost sixty years German bombers were over Serbia again. My dad used to say German soldiers on foreign soil had never been good neither for the foreign country nor for Germany. That's why until today the Germans have an aversion to all military and the deployment of German soldiers in foreign countries is not very popular.

David G , August 4, 2018 at 11:16 am

The 1999 air attacks were the coup de grace, but I think Germany had the (dis)honor of leading the vivisection of Yugoslavia from the start.

As Vladimir Golstein rhetorically asks: "Or was it to finally kill off a rather successful Yugoslav experiment in the 'third way' between the West and the Soviet Union?"

Indeed it was, and that surely appealed to all the Western powers. But Germany was particularly interested in removing a possible continental rival, and took the lead in making sure it happened – not at all to absolve the U.S., under whose aegis it was ultimately operating.

Antiwar7 , August 4, 2018 at 11:42 am

The German people and the German government are different. The German government has had an anti-Serb animus for over 150 years: that's clear. But the German people, as Theo's dad shows, can be very nice. My father was a POW in Germany for 4 years during WWII, and most of the German people he encountered were quite nice to him.

Theo , August 4, 2018 at 3:56 pm

You are right. The vivisection of Yugoslavia began when Germany recognized the independence of Slovenia before any other country did. The German government with Genscher as foreign minister didn't consult with any of the European allies. Especially France was not amused at all.

rosemerry , August 6, 2018 at 4:04 pm

It was Germany, 9 days after reunification, which led the removal of Croatia from Yugoslavia and beginning the breakup of a successful multicultural country.

Juan P. Zenter , August 4, 2018 at 7:29 am

Yugoslavia was a federation of states and was, thus, an obstacle to consolidating EU and NATO power in Southeastern Europe. Once the federation was destroyed, the individual states that comprised it could be absorbed by EU/NATO. That was the ultimate outcome of NATO bombing there, despite all denials about that being the intent.

Jessika , August 4, 2018 at 5:30 am

Thanks for the article, the photo of the beautiful church, and the reflection on this horrible chapter from the book of atrocities disguised as "humanitarian" to fool the masses. This also helped Bill and Hillary Clinton distract the American public from the Monica Lewinsky affair.

j. D. D. , August 4, 2018 at 7:59 pm

I don't see it that way. Rather, as President Clinton was hit with the Lewinsky scandal and put on the defensive immediately following his speech to NY's Council on Foreign Relations in which he called for "a new world financial archithitecture," VP Al Gore, who later shunned the president, saw the opportunity to determine policy. It was Gore, in consultation with Hillary Clinton, who decided to launch the criminal bombing of Serbia, informing PM Primakov after taking a phone call meant for the president. Whereupon the PM turned around his flight in mid-air over the Atlantic and returned to Russia. By launching an illegal attack on Russia's ally, the VP and the future Sec. of State, were offering a foreshadowing of the hawkish and belligerent anti-Russian policy that was to follow for the next 17 years.

FB , August 8, 2018 at 9:31 am

Disagree these are minor details that are meaningless. Yugoslavia had already been systematically dismembered starting the very instant after German unification and the fall of the Soviet Union. Coincidence ? Maybe a child could believe it by 1999, the final chapter of the dismemberment, Kosovo, was ready, after several years of laying careful groundwork of subversion, propaganda and agitation

The Nato war of aggression in 1999 would have proceeded no matter what to think that the Lewisnky nonsense had anything to do with anything is ridiculous

nonsense factory , August 3, 2018 at 11:50 pm

One major factor in the NATO bombing and the overall agenda in the region was control of territory for a proposed gas/oil pipeline export route from Central Asia to Europe. The creation of Camp Bondsteel was directly related to that goal, and the chief contractor (KBR-Halliburton) played the same role there that they did in the construction of numerous military bases in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

That's been a dominant theme in U.S. foreign policy and military strategy circles ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Numerous routes have been proposed – trans-Afghanistan pipeline, the Nabucco pipeline, etc., all with the same goal – getting Central Asia fossil fuels (leased to US and British majors like Exxon, Chevron, BP, etc.) to global markets while bypassing Iran and Russia.

Monbiot in the Guardian, 2001 (when it was still a fairly decent paper, rather than a gung-ho enforcer of the Blairite neoliberal agenda), said this:

"For the past few weeks, a freelance researcher called Keith Fisher has been doggedly documenting a project which has, as far as I can discover, has been little-reported in any British, European or American newspaper. It is called the Trans-Balkan pipeline, and it's due for approval at the end of next month. Its purpose is to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian sea. . ."

"In November 1998, Bill Richardson, then US energy secretary, spelt out his policy on the extraction and transport of Caspian oil. "This is about America's energy security," he explained. "It's also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We're trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west. We would like to see them reliant on western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right. . ."

Paul Stuart, in the WSWS, 2002, noted:

"According to leaked comments to the press, European politicians now believe that the US used the bombing of Yugoslavia specifically in order to establish Camp Bondsteel. Before the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the Washington Post insisted, "With the Middle-East increasingly fragile, we will need bases and fly over rights in the Balkans to protect Caspian Sea oil.""

Forward project of American imperial power in the name of control of energy resources and the cash flows arising from them, in a nutshell. Or, "business as usual since the 1950s". Since JFK, it's all been done under the cover of "humanitarian intervention" and "protecting democracy" which is why so many American citizens have no idea what the true aims of these wars have really been

MH , August 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Sadly, Monbiot's column aside, the Guardian's coverage of what most of us here think of as a war against Yugoslav independence was unabashedly pro-NATO and anti-Serb. The outlet did it's best to confuse otherwise war skeptical liberals -- by demonizing the Serbs as bloodthirsty savages purveying late 1930s genocide -- about the true character of "the west's" aggression against the Serbs. Unlike Iraq, where the Graundiad reversed their pro-war stance, the paper only doubled down on its anti-Serb biases, culminating in trumpets and coronets for Hague's prosecutors ludicrously inept (at best) handling of Milosevic's trial.

Bob Van Noy , August 3, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Thank you Vladimir Golstein for this article. I'm sure you know the answers to the questions you ask in the paragraph titled "Testing the Limlts". The answer to each of them is given to us and to the world in F. William Engdahl's devastating book entitled "Manifest Destiny" : Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. I say devastating because Mr. Engdahl thoroughly describes a series of American administrations responsible for all of these crimes and more.

It will be up to us (American Citizens) to educate ourselves as to the real history of our government acting secretly, without broad consensus, and illegally. This article is a good beginning but the discussion needs to be broadened and further documented. Then we can begin to find a resolution.

Jimbobla , August 3, 2018 at 6:55 pm

How one can wonder how the German population stood aside while the Nazis committed their atrocities while at the same time not speaking out at our own apparent daily military excesses is beyond me.

irina , August 4, 2018 at 12:01 am

Not to mention meekly paying for these daily military excesses, with no protest.

christina garcia , August 4, 2018 at 1:02 am

here is an historical answer, My Grandfather and Grandmother were born in Koenigsberg Prussia what is now known as Kaliningrad. The City of Emanuel Kant and not quite in the 1930's fans of National Socialism. My Grandfather owned a brick factory and a saw mill . They were capitalists, not National Socialists. And you JIMBOBLA , fyi, My Opa was caught by the Russian Army 1943, my family was totally disunited. It took the Red Cross 3 years to find my family members and repatriate them .The Nazi organization disliked capitalism . I can prove every single sentence I wrote. Please be careful when you write Nazism

Sam F , August 4, 2018 at 8:48 am

If you disagree, you should really address the issue of "how the German population stood aside while the Nazis committed their atrocities." Are you arguing that Nazi atrocities were justified by the USSR dispersing a family in 1943 Kaliningrad, during a war in which Nazis killed over 20 million Russians? It would be interesting to hear an argument with substance and references.

christina garcia , August 4, 2018 at 1:04 am

it is beyond you because you never experienced these atrocities

Milojkovic , August 5, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Dear Christina, I am very sorry about what happened to your family. They probably didn't have a choice, otherwise the Nazis would have hurt them. Maybe you'd have never been born if they dared to resist actively. Probably good people, unfairly caught in the whirlwind of history and human brutality. They were then retaliated against by other Nazi victims without deserving so, just because of their ethnicity. I am a Serb, living in U.S. Trust me, I can relate. I was here in U.S. during those terrible days of 1999, living through them as if in a daze. Life is now "kinda back to normal", but I try my best not to think just how big a part of me had died in that bombing. My grandfather, who was just a peasant but a very devoted Christian, died in a horrible pain from the terminal stomach cancer because there was no pain medication for him; plus the pharmaceutical factories were bombed after having been accused of being able to produce chemical weapons in a coordinated NATO propaganda just days before. In agony, he was trying to undress himself, and was screaming and running around the garden. Several of our family members were killed by Wehrmacht in WW II. I think that Germany had no business participating in this bombing. Look up Varvarin bridge. It was shameful. And yes, unfortunately, it was a German hand holding the match that lit up the powder keg that was Yugoslavia in early 90's.

Consortium's Fan , August 7, 2018 at 10:28 am

Did YOU, Christina Garcia, experience atrocities? Judging by you comment, I am confidently saying you DIDN'T. You know NOTHING about atrocities. Read and watch films about Nazi doings. And compare them to "dispersing a family" in a wartime. A recent film worth seeing is SOBIBOR, entirely based on archives, – a Nazi concentration camp in Poland's Sobibor – hence the name. Educate yourself.

Lois Gagnon , August 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Western populations for the most part are so thoroughly brainwashed they still cling to the belief they live in civilized countries and their militaries keep them safe from barbarians. Unf*cking believable.

rosemerry , August 6, 2018 at 4:11 pm

The likelihood of damage being caused by the USA NOT intervening anywhere must be vanishingly small!!!!!

Realist , August 3, 2018 at 5:24 pm

To U.S. authorities, foreign lives simply do not matter. No need to conduct any "intelligence assessment" to determine their culpability. They shamelessly commit mass murder right out in the open with impunity.

Jean , August 3, 2018 at 6:14 pm

What makes you think USA lives matter to them. I see no evidence of that either.

Realist , August 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm

Nothing makes me think that. Why do you think I chose the phraseology that I did? It gained currency in reaction to the murderous abuses by American police on our own streets.

LarcoMarco , August 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm

It gained currency when that other Donald (Rumsfeld) essentially said that G.I's were cannon fodder.

REDPILLED , August 4, 2018 at 4:54 pm

That despicable attitude long predates war criminal Rumsfeld: "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."? Henry Kissinger

Drew Hunkins , August 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Michael Parenti's book "To Kill a Nation" is the best book on the criminal NATO war on Yugoslavia. Followed closely by Diana Johnstone's seminal book "Fool's Crusade."

Antiwar7 , August 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

Agreed: those are excellent books, the best English language works on the breakup of Yugoslavia.

dj anderson , August 3, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Thank you for this article. Noam Chomsky also bravely gave a fine accounting.

Jeff Harrison , August 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

One wonders how many times these sorts of things have to happen, and fail before the rest of the world says enough of your bullshit, "West".

REDPILLED , August 4, 2018 at 4:59 pm

The rest of the world has already passed judgment on the imperialistic, war-waging U.S.: Polls: US Is 'the Greatest Threat to Peace in the World Today'

Joe Tedesky , August 3, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Isn't it sad that the most enduring monuments the U.S. is leaving for it's worldly legacy are but artifacts of war and destruction. We could have done much better than this.

Gary Weglarz , August 3, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Joe – Exactly. I sometimes find myself thinking the "what if" to the U.S. mayhem of just my own lifetime. "What if" the CIA hadn't coordinated the assassinations of JFK and Lumumba, as well as of course the murder or overthrow of dozens of elected leaders in former colonies who simply aspired to helping their own people, rather than acting as proxies to the continuing pillage by U.S. & Western capitalism. What if instead those leaders were allowed to lead their nations into a non-aligned world and not forced to be beholden to either the U.S. or Soviet systems by threats of U.S. military and economic violence? What if Malcolm and MLK and RFK had not been murdered by forces connected to the U.S. ruling institutions, and had instead by now had become elder statesmen in a more humane and democratic U.S. system that would stand in stark contrast to the insane neoliberal capitalist freak show which has been forced upon the world, and who's mystical – "invisible hand" – can be found tightly wrapped around the throats of the poor everywhere?

Yes Joe I agree, I think we could have lived in a very different world had not the greed and pathology of U.S. and Western oligarchy quite intentionally and violently destroyed any possibility of a more humane and egalitarian world by routinely murdering those more humane leaders who could have helped us reach it. That possibility of a more humane world was replaced instead with the odious Maggie Thatcher's "there is no alternative" global nightmare of continued neocolonial pillage euphemistically called neoliberal capitalism. Only the fine-tuning of the rational for mass murder has changed. Now we have "duty to protect" – which translated from 'newspeak' means = "we now must bomb and kill you because we care about you so very, very much." Sort of a Western postmodern version of earlier justifications for slaughtering the indigenous in order to – "save their souls" I suppose. We in the West have created this current version of global "reality" through absolutely amoral unrelenting mass violence over 500+ years now, and sadly there does not seem to be any real evidence of a change of heart or direction in our global mayhem.

Joe Tedesky , August 3, 2018 at 9:24 pm

Gary I agree whole heartedly with every word you wrote. I would add to how intriguing it would be to learn of the high deception played during the passage of the Federal Reserve back in 1913. Then I'd push out of the way those who blocked Claude Pepper from endorsing Henry Wallace into the 1944 Democratic Convention. This alone may have changed the course of the establishment of the CIA, and avoided the disaster that is happening in Palestine to this day.

Thatcher & Reagan surly introduced us into this new economy which is often said to be doing so great, and there we are ruined by an overly eager Fed lender along with an out of sight Defense budget. Your job isn't there, and with that you are told to blame the union. Ah, the Union wasn't that what Margaret & Ronny sabotaged eventually . nice work.

I do believe the assassination era was the biggest turning point, as it sent a strong message to the would be seekers of sane government policies who would incur such tragedy if explored. Joe

Gary Weglarz , August 3, 2018 at 11:11 pm

Joe – I quite agree. The assassination era was the huge turning point, but as you point out the corruption and manipulation of democracy by the oligarchy goes way back. Yes, imagine if Wallace had been the VP for FDR? Had Wallace's nomination not been sabotaged, perhaps the Dulles brothers would have spent their remaining time on earth learning woodworking skills in prison workshop after being convicted for the treason of their Nazi dealings – instead of leading the CIA and State Dept. into the corrupt secrecy of multiple regime changes, assassinations, and endless insane cold war posturing. The Dulles CIA era, including it's loving embrace of the Nazi war criminals, seems to have a been in retrospect a very dark prelude leading up to the assassination era to follow. Ike certainly had some foreboding of the evil to come given his parting comments.

REDPILLED , August 4, 2018 at 5:04 pm

A brief recommended reading list:

Bob Van Noy , August 4, 2018 at 8:35 am

Joe and Gary, very nice and well informed thread, thank you. Clearly we all share the history that both of you mentioned and we also see through the now crumbling obfuscation. It will become our new duty to use that past experience and a new hope to help make an official case for correcting the official record and reclaiming Democracy. Actually it's a worthy endeavor and we're uniquely positioned to help

Consortium's Fan , August 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

"Sort of a Western postmodern version of earlier justifications for slaughtering the indigenous in order to – "save their souls" I suppose."

Or even earlier justifications (by the Holy Inquisition in the Middle Ages) to burn people alive to "save their souls".

Realist , August 4, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Excellent point, Joe. I wonder how different the history books will look if this country somehow manages to shed the warmongering hegemonists who have been in control for at least the last 70 years (or, one might argue, from its inception).

I'd also like to see an English translation of the current world history books, used in the schools of China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Cuba, Vietnam or dozens of other countries not part of the American World Empire. I'll bet American actions and motives are not portrayed to be as noble and pure as the driven snow. I'll bet even Mexico has a quite different take. Canada? You stopped our invasion in 1812, aided the slaves sent to you via the Underground Railway and refused to cooperate in the Vietnam fiasco. What happened since then? Now you extradite AWOL GI's who don't want to go back to the numerous "sand boxes" we play in. I'll bet those books, if ever published in English, would not be allowed on public library shelves in the U.S.

Stephen J. , August 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

Interesting article.

I believe there are many questions that need answering about NATO. For instance: July 14, 2018 The Diabolical "Work" of NATO and Its Allies: Why Are These War Criminals Still Free?

NATO's recent meeting or summit in Brussels July 11 – 12, 2018, could be described as a gathering of heinous hypocrites. [1] There are millions of people dead, millions are refugees, their countries have been destroyed and our ruling hypocrites spout the words "rule of law." Has there ever been a gang of human reptiles (are they even human?) so evil, dressed in expensive suits [and dresses] and operating out of houses of power called "parliaments" and other houses of ill repute? These criminals, or gangsters, or bandits, or reprobates (Add your own epithet) are up to their filthy necks in the blood of the victims of their planned carnage.

Yet it was reported: "The summit will also discuss the fight against terrorism." Gee! Does that statement about fighting "terrorism" smack of hypocrisy? There is evidence that NATO and its members have, in fact, been consorting with, and supporting, terrorists. [2]
[much more info at link below]

[Aug 08, 2018] At some point the Western Powers decided the that old Communist Apparachik Milosevic would be the Bad Guy and the Croatian freedom-loving "our bastards" the good guys to be internationally recognized and thus enflamed the passion of secession.

Notable quotes:
"... At some point the Western Powers decided the that old Communist Apparachik Milosevic would be the Bad Guy and the Croatian freedom-loving "our bastards" the good guys to be internationally recognized and thus enflamed the passion of secession. The thing just flew apart. And afterwards we had to bomb the country in order to save it. ..."
Aug 08, 2018 |

Sic Semper , August 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT

I vividly recall the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. I was nine-years-old and we were not wired for cable then. There also was no remote control for the 27″ Zenith color console. I was forced to watch some of the coverage for those reasons. Sarajevo was held up as a utopian city where Serbs, Croats and Muslims all lived in a beautiful city peacefully.

It was so beautiful said the announcers. And in less than a decade that Olympic stadium was turned into a cemetery as those peaceful Croats, Serbs and Muslims slaughtered each other. Once the Soviet Army withdrew from Yugoslavia and the nation disintegrated back into its ethnic lines, the killings started.

Imagine what is coming in the United States where the simmering hatreds are invited and exploited by not three distinct groups, but hundreds. Image what is to come when "historically aggrieved" peoples who have been weaponized for generations to despise their non-homogenous neighbors.

The erasure of common nationhood and the instilling of grievance as a caste system will see the US descend into chaotic slaughter the likes of which have never been seen before.

When Pakistan separated from India after the British pulled out, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus slaughtered each other, stopping trains filled with refugees being repatriated into their new nations and slaughtering every one of them. Americans have been so denuded of historical understanding that these histories are unknown.

The malevolence of humanity seething just under the surface until the opportunity arises for it to burst forth is forgotten by placated propagandized people. What people in world history have been more propagandized and placated than Americans who have been viewing carefully crafted scripts since their eyes were first able to focus on a tv screen and whose desperately poor are morbidly obese?

Stocking a warehouse to the rafters with volatile materials, packing them in so tightly until they near critical mass, now add in some agitation -- and light a match. The most devastating weapon ever devised in not the hydrogen bomb, it is a population bomb. A 100 megaton nuclear weapon destroys cleanly -- one flash and a wind storm -- it's all over aside from lingering sunshine units. In a thousand years the land will forget what had happened.

A population bomb where the very people have been weaponized will prove far more devastating and remain scarring the land for eons and that common memory lives on in the survivors igniting anew every few decades.

El Dato , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
@Sic Semper

Once the Soviet Army withdrew from Yugoslavia and the nation disintegrated back into its ethnic lines, the killings started.

That never happened though because the Soviet Army was never in Yugoslavia in the first place. It was Tito who maintained order with an iron fist.

At some point the Western Powers decided the that old Communist Apparachik Milosevic would be the Bad Guy and the Croatian freedom-loving "our bastards" the good guys to be internationally recognized and thus enflamed the passion of secession. The thing just flew apart. And afterwards we had to bomb the country in order to save it.

I vaguely remember a pretty explanation in First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by David N. Gibbs

[Aug 08, 2018] National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

Aug 08, 2018 |

"It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either unemployed or still very young, into the SA [Sturmangriff, Stormtroopers, "brown shirts"]. To a large extent, however, these workers were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler that he must not betray the cause of the "revolution." One heard SA men say that Hitler was the German Lenin . Those who went over to National Socialism from Social Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary minded masses who were either nonpolitical or politically undecided prior to this. Those who went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party's contradictory political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler's party, it's military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression.

To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for purposes of propaganda."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

[Aug 08, 2018] Wilhelm Reich Quotes

Aug 08, 2018 |

"Mistaking insolence for freedom has always been the hallmark of the slave."
Wilhelm Reich , Listen, Little Man!

"Open avowal of dictatorship is much less dangerous than sham democracy. The first one can fight; sham democracy is insidious."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Even more essential, however, is the identification of the individuals in the masses with the "führer." The more helpless the "mass-individual" has become, owing to his upbringing, the more pronounced is his identification with the führer, and the more the childish need for protection is disguised in the form of a feeling at one with the führer. This inclination to identify is the psychological basis of national narcissism, i.e., of the self-confidence that individual man derives from the "greatness of the nation."

The reactionary lower middle-class man perceives himself in the führer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification he feels himself to be a defender of the "national heritage," of the "nation," which does not prevent him, likewise on the basis of this identification, from simultaneously despising "the masses" and confronting them as an individual. The wretchedness of his material and sexual situation is so overshadowed by the exalting idea of belonging to a master race and having a brilliant führer that, as time goes on, he ceases to realize how completely he has sunk to a position of insignificant, blind allegiance.

The worker who is conscious of his skills -- he, in short, who has rid himself of his submissive structure, who identifies with his work and not with the führer, with the international working masses and not with the national homeland -- represents the opposite of this. He feels himself to be a leader , not on the basis of his identification with the führer, but on the basis of his consciousness of performing work that is vitally necessary for society's existence."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"It was one of the greatest errors in evaluating dictatorship to say that the dictator forces himself on society against its own will. In reality, every dictator in history was nothing but the accentuation of already existing state ideas which he had only to exaggerate in order to gain power"
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Race theorists, who are as old as imperialism itself, want to achieve racial purity in peoples whose interbreeding, as a result of the expansion of world economy, is so far advanced that racial purity can have meaning only to a numbskull." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"One cannot equate "capitalism" and "democracy." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man's fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that "freedom" entails." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"The word fascism is not a word of abuse any more than the word capitalism is. It is a concept denoting a very definite kind of mass leadership and mass influence: authoritarian, one-party system, hence totalitarian, a system in which power takes priority over objective interests, and facts are distorted for political purposes. Hence, there are "fascist Jews," just as there are "fascist Democrats." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Finally, we arrive at the question of the so-called nonpolitical man. Hitler not only established his power from the very beginning with masses of people who were until then essentially nonpolitical; he also accomplished his last step to victory in March of 1933 in a "legal" manner, by mobilizing no less than five million nonvoters, that is to say, nonpolitical people. The Left parties had made every effort to win over the indifferent masses, without posing the question as to what it means "to be indifferent or nonpolitical."

If an industrialist and large estate owner champions a rightist party, this is easily understood in terms of his immediate economic interests. In his case a leftist orientation would be at variance with his social situation and would, for that reason, point to irrational motives. If an industrial worker has a leftist orientation, this too is by all mean rationally consistent -- it derives from his economic and social position in industry. If, however, a worker, an employee, or an official has a rightist orientation, this must be ascribed to a lack of political clarity, i.e., he is ignorant of his social position. The more a man who belongs to the broad working masses is nonpolitical, the more susceptible he is to the ideology of political reaction. To be nonpolitical is not, as one might suppose, evidence of a passive psychic condition, but of a highly active attitude, a defense against the awareness of social responsibility. The analysis of this defense against consciousness of one's social responsibility yields clear insights into a number of dark questions concerning the behavior of the broad nonpolitical strata. In the case of the average intellectual "who wants nothing to do with politics," it can easily be shown that immediate economic interests and fears related to his social position, which is dependent upon public opinion, lie at the basis of his noninvolvement. These fears cause him to make the most grotesque sacrifices with respect to his knowledge and convictions. Those people who are engaged in the production process in one way or another and are nonetheless socially irresponsible can be divided into two major groups. In the case of the one group the concept of politics is unconsciously associated with the idea of violence and physical danger, i.e., with an intense fear, which prevents them from facing life realistically. In the case of the other group, which undoubtedly constitutes the majority, social irresponsibility is based on personal conflicts and anxieties, of which the sexual anxiety is the predominant one. [ ] Until now the revolutionary movement has misunderstood this situation. It attempted to awaken the "nonpolitical" man by making him conscious solely of his unfulfilled economic interests. Experience teaches that the majority of these "nonpolitical" people can hardly be made to listen to anything about their socio-economic situation, whereas they are very accessible to the mystical claptrap of a National Socialist, despite the fact that the latter makes very little mention of economic interests. [This] is explained by the fact that severe sexual conflicts (in the broadest sense of the word), whether conscious or unconscious, inhibit rational thinking and the development of social responsibility. They make a person afraid and force him into a shell. If, now, such a self-encapsulated person meets a propagandist who works with faith and mysticism, meets, in other words, a fascist who works with sexual, libidinous methods, he turns his complete attention to him. This is not because the fascist program makes a greater impression on him than the liberal program, but because in his devotion to the führer and the führer's ideology, he experiences a momentary release from his unrelenting inner tension. Unconsciously, he is able to give his conflicts a different form and in this way to "solve" them." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"When, then, the Social Democrat worker found himself in the economic crisis which degraded him to the status of a coolie, the development of his revolutionary sentiments was severely retarded by the conservative structuralization that had been taking shape in him for decades. Either he remained in the camp of the Social Democrats, notwithstanding his criticism and rejection of their policies, or he went over to the NSDAP [Nazi party] in search of a better replacement. Irresolute and indecisive, owing to the deep contradiction between revolutionary and conservative sentiments, disappointed by his own leadership, he followed the line of least resistance. Whether he would give up his conservative tendencies and arrive at a complete consciousness of his actual responsibility in the production process, i.e., at a revolutionary consciousness, depended solely on the correct or incorrect leadership of the revolutionary party. Thus the communist assertion that it was the Social Democrat policies that put fascism in the saddle was correct from a psychological viewpoint. Disappointment in Social Democracy, accompanied by the contradiction between wretchedness and conservative thinking, must lead to fascism if there are no revolutionary organizations. For example, following the fiasco of the Labor party's policies in England, in 1930–31, fascism began to infiltrate the workers who, then, in the election of 1931, cut away to the Right, instead of going over to communism." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Hence, what he wants -- and it is openly admitted -- is to implement nationalistic imperialism with methods he has borrowed from Marxism , including its technique of mass organization. But the success of this mass organization is to be ascribed to the masses and not to Hitler . It was man's authoritarian freedom-fearing structure that enabled his propaganda to take root. Hence, what is important about Hitler sociologically does not issue from his personality but from the importance attached to him by the masses. And what makes the problem all the more complex is the fact that Hitler held the masses, with whose help he wanted to carry out his imperialism, in complete contempt." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"As bitter as it may be, the fact remains: It is the irresponsibleness of masses of people that lies at the basis of fascism of all countries, nations, and races, etc. Fascism is the result of man's distortion over thousands of years. It could have developed in any country or nation. It is not a character trait that is confined specifically to the Germans or Italians. It is manifest in every single individual of the world. The Austrian saying "Da kann man halt nix machen" expresses this fact just as the American saying "Let George do it." That this situation was brought about by a social development which goes back thousands of years does not alter the fact itself. It is man himself who is responsible and not "historical developments." It was the shifting of the responsibility from living man to "historical developments" that caused the downfall of the socialist freedom movements. However, the events of the past twenty years demand the responsibility of the working masses of people.

If we take "freedom" to mean first and foremost the responsibility of each individual to shape personal, occupational, and social existence in a rational way, then it can be said that there is no greater fear than the fear of the creation of general freedom. Unless this basic problem is given complete priority and solved, there will never be a freedom capable of lasting more than one or two generations."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either unemployed or still very young, into the SA [Sturmangriff, Stormtroopers, "brown shirts"]. To a large extent, however, these workers were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler that he must not betray the cause of the "revolution." One heard SA men say that Hitler was the German Lenin . Those who went over to National Socialism from Social Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary minded masses who were either nonpolitical or politically undecided prior to this. Those who went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party's contradictory political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler's party, it's military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression.

To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for purposes of propaganda." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"National Socialism made use of various means in dealing with various classes, and made various promises depending upon the social class it needed at a particular time. In the spring of 1933, for example, it was the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement that was given particular emphasis in Nazi propaganda in an effort to win over the industrial workers, and the first of May was "celebrated," but only after the aristocracy had been appeased in Potsdam. To ascribe the success solely to political swindle, however, would be to become entangled in a contradiction with the basic idea of freedom, and would practically exclude the possibility of a social revolution. What must be answered is: Why do the masses allow themselves to be politically swindled? The masses had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. Why didn't they see that, while promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would be disappropriated, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected?"
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Yet, it was precisely our failure to differentiate between work and politics, between reality and illusion; it was precisely our mistake of conceiving of politics as a rational human activity comparable to the sowing of seeds or the construction of buildings that was responsible for the fact that a painter who failed to make the grade was able to plunge the whole world into misery. And I have stressed again and again that the main purpose of this book -- which, after all, was not written merely for the fun of it -- was to demonstrate these catastrophic errors in human thinking and to eliminate irrationalism from politics. It is an essential part of our social tragedy that the farmer, the industrial worker, the physician, etc., do not influence social existence solely through their social activities, but also and even predominantly through their political ideologies. For political activity hinders objective and professional activity; it splits every profession into inimical ideologic groups; creates a dichotomy in the body of industrial workers; limits the activity of the medical profession and harms the patients. In short, it is precisely political activity that prevents the realization of that which it pretends to fight for: peace, work, security, international cooperation, free objective speech, freedom of religion, etc."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

[Aug 08, 2018] Ten Bombshell Revelations From Seymour Hersh's New Autobiography

Highly recommended!
Aug 08, 2018 |

Here are ten bombshell revelations and fascinating new details to lately come out of both Sy Hersh's new book, Reporter , as well as interviews he's given since publication...

1) On a leaked Bush-era intelligence memo outlining the neocon plan to remake the Middle East

(Note: though previously alluded to only anecdotally by General Wesley Clark in his memoir and in a 2007 speech , the below passage from Seymour Hersh is to our knowledge the first time this highly classified memo has been quoted . Hersh's account appears to corroborate now retired Gen. Clark's assertion that days after 9/11 a classified memo outlining plans to foster regime change in "7 countries in 5 years" was being circulated among intelligence officials.)

From Reporter: A Memoir pg. 306 -- A few months after the invasion of Iraq, during an interview overseas with a general who was director of a foreign intelligence service, I was provided with a copy of a Republican neocon plan for American dominance in the Middle East. The general was an American ally, but one who was very rattled by the Bush/Cheney aggression. I was told that the document leaked to me initially had been obtained by someone in the local CIA station. There was reason to be rattled: The document declared that the war to reshape the Middle East had to begin "with the assault on Iraq. The fundamental reason for this... is that the war will start making the U.S. the hegemon of the Middle East. The correlative reason is to make the region feel in its bones, as it were, the seriousness of American intent and determination." Victory in Iraq would lead to an ultimatum to Damascus, the "defanging" of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, and other anti-Israeli groups. America's enemies must understand that "they are fighting for their life: Pax Americana is on its way, which implies their annihilation." I and the foreign general agreed that America's neocons were a menace to civilization.

* * *

2) On early regime change plans in Syria

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 306-307 -- Donald Rumsfeld was also infected with neocon fantasy. Turkey had refused to permit America's Fourth Division to join the attack of Iraq from its territory, and the division, with its twenty-five thousand men and women, did not arrive in force inside Iraq until mid-April, when the initial fighting was essentially over. I learned then that Rumsfeld had asked the American military command in Stuttgart, Germany, which had responsibility for monitoring Europe, including Syria and Lebanon, to begin drawing up an operational plan for an invasion of Syria. A young general assigned to the task refused to do so, thereby winning applause from my friends on the inside and risking his career. The plan was seen by those I knew as especially bizarre because Bashar Assad, the ruler of secular Syria, had responded to 9/11 by sharing with the CIA hundreds of his country's most sensitive intelligence files on the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamburg, where much of the planning for 9/11 was carried out... Rumsfeld eventually came to his senses and back down, I was told...

3) On the Neocon deep state which seized power after 9/11

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 305-306 -- I began to comprehend that eight or nine neoconservatives who were political outsiders in the Clinton years had essentially overthrown the government of the United States -- with ease . It was stunning to realize how fragile our Constitution was. The intellectual leaders of that group -- Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle -- had not hidden their ideology and their belief in the power of the executive but depicted themselves in public with a great calmness and a self-assurance that masked their radicalism . I had spent many hours after 9/11 in conversations with Perle that, luckily for me, helped me understand what was coming. (Perle and I had been chatting about policy since the early 1980s, but he broke off relations in 1993 over an article I did for The New Yorker linking him, a fervent supporter of Israel, to a series of meetings with Saudi businessmen in an attempt to land a multibillion-dollar contract from Saudi Arabia . Perle responded by publicly threatening to sue me and characterizing me as a newspaper terrorist. He did not sue.

Meanwhile, Cheney had emerged as a leader of the neocon pack. From 9/11 on he did all he could to undermine congressional oversight. I learned a great deal from the inside about his primacy in the White House , but once again I was limited in what I would write for fear of betraying my sources...

I came to understand that Cheney's goal was to run his most important military and intelligence operations with as little congressional knowledge, and interference, as possible. I was fascinating and important to learn what I did about Cheney's constant accumulation of power and authority as vice president , but it was impossible to even begin to verify the information without running the risk that Cheney would learn of my questioning and have a good idea from whom I was getting the information.

4) On Russian meddling in the US election

From the recent Independent interview based on his autobiography -- Hersh has vociferously strong opinions on the subject and smells a rat. He states that there is "a great deal of animosity towards Russia. All of that stuff about Russia hacking the election appears to be preposterous." He has been researching the subject but is not ready to go public yet.

Hersh quips that the last time he heard the US defense establishment have high confidence, it was regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He points out that the NSA only has moderate confidence in Russian hacking. It is a point that has been made before; there has been no national intelligence estimate in which all 17 US intelligence agencies would have to sign off. "When the intel community wants to say something they say it High confidence effectively means that they don't know."

5) On the Novichok poisoning

From the recent Independent interview -- Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: "The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well. He [Skripal] was most likely talking to British intelligence services about Russian organised crime." The unfortunate turn of events with the contamination of other victims is suggestive, according to Hersh, of organised crime elements rather than state-sponsored actions –though this files in the face of the UK government's position.

Hersh modestly points out that these are just his opinions. Opinions or not, he is scathing on Obama – "a trimmer articulate [but] far from a radical a middleman". During his Goldsmiths talk, he remarks that liberal critics underestimate Trump at their peril.

He ends the Goldsmiths talk with an anecdote about having lunch with his sources in the wake of 9/11 . He vents his anger at the agencies for not sharing information. One of his CIA sources fires back: "Sy you still don't get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks." It is a delicious, if cryptic aphorism.

* * *

6) On the Bush-era 'Redirection' policy of arming Sunni radicals to counter Shia Iran, which in a 2007 New Yorker article Hersh accurately predicted would set off war in Syria

From the Independent interview : [Hersh] tells me it is "amazing how many times that story has been reprinted" . I ask about his argument that US policy was designed to neutralize the Shia sphere extending from Iran to Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and hence redraw the Sykes-Picot boundaries for the 21st century.

He goes on to say that Bush and Cheney "had it in for Iran", although he denies the idea that Iran was heavily involved in Iraq: "They were providing intel, collecting intel The US did many cross-border hunts to kill ops [with] much more aggression than Iran"...

He believes that the Trump administration has no memory of this approach. I'm sure though that the military-industrial complex has a longer memory...

I press him on the RAND and Stratfor reports including one authored by Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in which they envisage deliberate ethno-sectarian partitioning of Iraq . Hersh ruefully states that: "The day after 9/11 we should have gone to Russia. We did the one thing that George Kennan warned us never to do – to expand NATO too far."

* * *

7) On the official 9/11 narrative

From the Independent interview : We end up ruminating about 9/11, perhaps because it is another narrative ripe for deconstruction by sceptics. Polling shows that a significant proportion of the American public believes there is more to the truth. These doubts have been reinforced by the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report last year undermining the version that a group of terrorists acting independently managed to pull off the attacks. The implication is that they may well have been state-sponsored with the Saudis potentially involved.

Hersh tells me: "I don't necessarily buy the story that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. We really don't have an ending to the story. I've known people in the [intelligence] community. We don't know anything empirical about who did what" . He continues: "The guy was living in a cave. He really didn't know much English. He was pretty bright and he had a lot of hatred for the US. We respond by attacking the Taliban. Eighteen years later How's it going guys?"

8) On the media and the morality of the powerful

From a recent The Intercept interview and book review -- If Hersh were a superhero, this would be his origin story. Two hundred and seventy-four pages after the Chicago anecdote, he describes his coverage of a massive slaughter of Iraqi troops and civilians by the U.S. in 1991 after a ceasefire had ended the Persian Gulf War. America's indifference to this massacre was, Hersh writes, "a reminder of the Vietnam War's MGR, for Mere Gook Rule: If it's a murdered or raped gook, there is no crime." It was also, he adds, a reminder of something else: "I had learned a domestic version of that rule decades earlier" in Chicago. "Reporter" demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons from that rule:

  1. The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
  2. The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
  3. The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.

* * *

... ... ...

[Aug 08, 2018] American Pravda Jews and Nazis by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Zionism in the Age of the Dictators ..."
"... 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis ..."
"... Jewish Frontier ..."
"... Times of London ..."
"... Life Magazine ..."
"... Times of London ..."
"... The Transfer Agreement ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Hitler's Jewish Soldiers ..."
"... The American Historical Review ..."
Aug 08, 2018 |

Around 35 years ago, I was sitting in my college dorm-room closely reading the New York Times as I did each and every morning when I noticed an astonishing article about the controversial new Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

Back in those long-gone days, the Gray Lady was strictly a black-and-white print publication, lacking the large color photographs of rap stars and long stories about dieting techniques that fill so much of today's news coverage, and it also seemed to have a far harder edge in its Middle East reporting. A year or so earlier, Shamir's predecessor Menacham Begin had allowed his Defense Minister Ariel Sharon to talk him into invading Lebanon and besieging Beirut, and the subsequent massacre of Palestinian women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps had outraged the world and angered America's government. This eventually led to Begin's resignation, with Shamir, his Foreign Minister, taking his place.

Prior to his surprising 1977 election victory, Begin had spent decades in the political wilderness as an unacceptable right-winger, and Shamir had an even more extreme background, with the American mainstream media freely reporting his long involvement in all sorts of high-profile assassinations and terrorist attacks during the 1940s, painting him as a very bad man indeed.

Given Shamir's notorious activities, few revelations would have shocked me, but this one did. Apparently, during the late 1930s, Shamir and his small Zionist faction had become great admirers of the Italian Fascists and German Nazis, and after World War II broke out, they had made repeated attempts to contact Mussolini and the German leadership in 1940 and 1941, hoping to enlist in the Axis Powers as their Palestine affiliate, and undertake a campaign of attacks and espionage against the local British forces, then share in the political booty after Hitler's inevitable triumph.

Now the Times clearly viewed Shamir in a very negative light, but it seemed extremely unlikely to me that they would have published such a remarkable story without being absolutely sure of their facts. Among other things, there were long excerpts from the official letters sent to Mussolini ferociously denouncing the "decadent" democratic systems of Britain and France that he was opposing, and assuring Il Duce that such ridiculous political notions would have no future place in the totalitarian Jewish client state they hoped to establish under his auspices in Palestine.

As it happens, both Germany and Italy were preoccupied with larger geopolitical issues at the time, and given the small size of Shamir's Zionist faction, not much seems to have ever come of those efforts. But the idea of the sitting Prime Minister of the Jewish State having spent his early wartime years as an unrequited Nazi ally was certainly something that sticks in one's mind, not quite conforming to the traditional narrative of that era which I had always accepted.

Most remarkably, the revelation of Shamir's pro-Axis past seems to have had only a relatively minor impact upon his political standing within Israeli society. I would think that any American political figure found to have supported a military alliance with Nazi Germany during the Second World War would have had a very difficult time surviving the resulting political scandal, and the same would surely be true for politicians in Britain, France, or most other western nations. But although there was certainly some embarrassment in the Israeli press, especially after the shocking story reached the international headlines, apparently most Israelis took the whole matter in stride, and Shamir stayed in office for another year, then later served a second, much longer term as Prime Minister during 1986-1992. The Jews of Israel apparently regarded Nazi Germany quite differently than did most Americans, let alone most American Jews.

... ... ...

Over the years I've occasionally made half-hearted attempts to locate the Times article about Shamir that had long stuck in my memory, but have had no success, either because it was removed from the Times archives or more likely because my mediocre search skills proved inadequate. But I'm almost certain that the piece had been prompted by the 1983 publication of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by Lenni Brenner, an anti-Zionist of the Trotskyite persuasion and Jewish origins. I only very recently discovered that book, which really tells an extremely interesting story.

Brenner, born in 1937, has spent his entire life as an unreconstructed hard-core leftist, with his enthusiasms ranging from Marxist revolution to the Black Panthers, and he is obviously a captive of his views and his ideology. At times, this background impairs the flow of his text, and the periodic allusions to "proletarian," "bourgeoisie," and "capitalist classes" sometimes grow a little wearisome, as does his unthinking acceptance of all the shared beliefs common to his political circle. But surely only someone with that sort of fervent ideological commitment would have been willing to devote so much time and effort to investigating that controversial subject and ignoring the endless denunciations that resulted, which even included physical assaults by Zionist partisans.


In any event, his documentation seems completely airtight, and some years after the original appearance of his book, he published a companion volume entitled 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis , which simply provides English translations of all the raw evidence behind his analytical framework, allowing interested parties to read the material and draw their own conclusions.

Among other things, Brenner provides considerable evidence that the larger and somewhat more mainstream right-wing Zionist faction later led by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was almost invariably regarded as a Fascist movement during the 1930s, even apart from its warm admiration for Mussolini's Italian regime. This was hardly such a dark secret in that period given that its main Palestine newspaper carried a regular column by a top ideological leader entitled "Diary of a Fascist." During one of the major international Zionist conferences, factional leader Vladimir Zabotinsky entered the hall with his brown-shirted followers in full military formation, leading the chair to ban the wearing of uniforms in order to avoid a riot, and his faction was soon defeated politically and eventually expelled from the Zionist umbrella organization. This major setback was largely due to the widespread hostility the group had aroused after two of its members were arrested by British police for the recent assassination of Chaim Arlosoroff, one of the highest-ranking Zionist officials based in Palestine.

Indeed, the inclination of the more right-wing Zionist factions toward assassination, terrorism, and other forms of essentially criminal behavior was really quite remarkable. For example, in 1943 Shamir had arranged the assassination of his factional rival , a year after the two men had escaped together from imprisonment for a bank robbery in which bystanders had been killed, and he claimed he had acted to avert the planned assassination of David Ben-Gurion, the top Zionist leader and Israel's future founding-premier. Shamir and his faction certainly continued this sort of behavior into the 1940s, successfully assassinating Lord Moyne, the British Minister for the Middle East, and Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Peace Negotiator, though they failed in their other attempts to kill American President Harry Truman and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin , and their plans to assassinate Winston Churchill apparently never moved past the discussion stage. His group also pioneered the use of terrorist car-bombs and other explosive attacks against innocent civilian targets, all long before any Arabs or Muslims had ever thought of using similar tactics ; and Begin's larger and more "moderate" Zionist faction did much the same. Given that background, it was hardly surprising that Shamir later served as director of assassinations at the Israeli Mossad during 1955-1965, so if the Mossad did indeed play a major role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy , he was very likely involved.

The cover of the 2014 paperback edition of Brenner's book displays the commemorative medal struck by Nazi Germany to mark its Zionist alliance, with a Star-of-David on the front face and a Swastika on the obverse. But oddly enough, this symbolic medallion actually had absolutely no connection with the unsuccessful attempts by Shamir's small faction to arrange a Nazi military alliance during World War II.

Although the Germans paid little attention to the entreaties of that minor organization, the far larger and more influential mainstream Zionist movement of Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion was something else entirely. And during most of the 1930s, these other Zionists had formed an important economic partnership with Nazi Germany, based upon an obvious commonality of interests. After all, Hitler regarded Germany's one percent Jewish population as a disruptive and potentially dangerous element which he wanted gone, and the Middle East seemed as good a destination for them as any other. Meanwhile, the Zionists had very similar objectives, and the creation of their new national homeland in Palestine obviously required both Jewish immigrants and Jewish financial investment.

... ... ...

The importance of the Nazi-Zionist pact for Israel's establishment is difficult to overstate. According to a 1974 analysis in Jewish Frontier cited by Brenner, between 1933 and 1939 over 60% of all the investment in Jewish Palestine came from Nazi Germany. The worldwide impoverishment of the Great Depression had drastically reduced ongoing Jewish financial support from all other sources, and Brenner reasonably suggests that without Hitler's financial backing, the nascent Jewish colony, so tiny and fragile, might easily have shriveled up and died during that difficult period.

Such a conclusion leads to fascinating hypotheticals. When I first stumbled across references to the Ha'avara Agreement on websites here and there, one of the commenters mentioning the issue half-jokingly suggested that if Hitler had won the war, statues would surely have been built to him throughout Israel and he would today be recognized by Jews everywhere as the heroic Gentile leader who had played the central role in reestablishing a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine after almost 2000 years of bitter exile.

This sort of astonishing counter-factual possibility is not nearly as totally absurd as it might sound to our present-day ears. We must recognize that our historical understanding of reality is shaped by the media, and media organs are controlled by the winners of major wars and their allies, with inconvenient details often excluded to avoid confusing the public. It is undeniably true that in his 1924 book Mein Kampf , Hitler had written all sorts of hostile and nasty things about Jews, especially those who were recent immigrants from Eastern Europe, but when I read the book back in high school, I was a little surprised to discover that these anti-Jewish sentiments hardly seemed central to his text. Furthermore, just a couple of years earlier, a vastly more prominent public figure such as British Minister Winston Churchill had published sentiments nearly as hostile and nasty , focusing on the monstrous crimes being committed by Bolshevik Jews. In Albert Lindemann's Esau's Tears , I was surprised to discover that the author of the famous Balfour Declaration, the foundation of the Zionist project, was apparently also quite hostile to Jews, with an element of his motivation probably being his desire to exclude them from Britain.

Once Hitler consolidated power in Germany, he quickly outlawed all other political organizations for the German people, with only the Nazi Party and Nazi political symbols being legally permitted. But a special exception was made for German Jews, and Germany's local Zionist Party was accorded complete legal status, with Zionist marches, Zionist uniforms, and Zionist flags all fully permitted. Under Hitler, there was strict censorship of all German publications, but the weekly Zionist newspaper was freely sold at all newsstands and street corners. The clear notion seemed to be that a German National Socialist Party was the proper political home for the country's 99% German majority, while Zionist National Socialism would fill the same role for the tiny Jewish minority.

In 1934, Zionist leaders invited an important SS official to spend six months visiting the Jewish settlement in Palestine, and upon his return, his very favorable impressions of the growing Zionist enterprise were published as a massive 12-part-series in Joseph Goebbel's Der Angriff , the flagship media organ of the Nazi Party, bearing the descriptive title "A Nazi Goes to Palestine." In his very angry 1920 critique of Jewish Bolshevik activity, Churchill had argued that Zionism was locked in a fierce battle with Bolshevism for the soul of European Jewry, and only its victory might ensure amicable future relations between Jew and Gentile. Based on available evidence, Hitler and many of the other Nazi leaders seemed to have reached a somewhat similar conclusion by the mid-1930s.

During that era extremely harsh sentiments regarding Diaspora Jewry were sometimes found in rather surprising quarters. After the controversy surrounding Shamir's Nazi ties erupted into the headlines, Brenner's material became the grist for an important article by Edward Mortimer, the longtime Middle East expert at the august Times of London , and the 2014 edition of the book includes some choice extracts from Mortimer's February 11, 1984 Times piece:

Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that "each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn't want disorders in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews"?

No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel.

And where might you find the following assertion, originally composed in 1917 but republished as late as 1936: "The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline"?

Not in Der Sturmer but in the organ of the Zionist youth organization, Hashomer Hatzair.

As the above quoted statement reveals, Zionism itself encouraged and exploited self-hatred in the Diaspora. It started from the assumption that anti-Semitism was inevitable and even in a sense justified so long as Jews were outside the land of Israel.

It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to offer to join the war on Germany's side in 1941, in the hope of establishing "the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich." Unfortunately this was the group which the present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join.

The very uncomfortable truth is that the harsh characterizations of Diaspora Jewry found in the pages of Mein Kampf were not all that different from what was voiced by Zionism's founding fathers and its subsequent leaders, so the cooperation of those two ideological movements was not really so totally surprising.

However, uncomfortable truths do remain uncomfortable. Mortimer had spent nineteen years at the Times , the last dozen of them as the foreign specialist and leader-writer on Middle Eastern affairs. But the year after he wrote that article including those controversial quotations, his career at that newspaper ended , leading to an unusual gap in his employment history, and that development may or may not be purely coincidental.

Also quite ironic was the role of Adolf Eichmann, whose name today probably ranks as one of the most famous half-dozen Nazis in history, due to his postwar 1960 kidnapping by Israeli agents, followed by his public show-trial and execution as a war-criminal. As it happens, Eichmann had been a central Nazi figure in the Zionist alliance, even studying Hebrew and apparently becoming something of a philo-Semite during the years of his close collaboration with top Zionist leaders.

Brenner is a captive of his ideology and his beliefs, accepting without question the historical narrative with which he was raised. He seems to find nothing so strange about Eichmann being a philo-Semitic partner of the Jewish Zionists during the late 1930s and then suddenly being transformed into a mass-murderer of the European Jews in the early 1940s, willingly committing the monstrous crimes for which the Israelis later justly put him to death.

This is certainly possible, but I really wonder. A more cynical observer might find it a very odd coincidence that the first prominent Nazi the Israelis made such an effort to track down and kill had been their closest former political ally and collaborator. After Germany's defeat, Eichmann had fled to Argentina and lived there quietly for a number of years until his name resurfaced in a celebrated mid-1950s controversy surrounding one of his leading Zionist partners, then living in Israel as a respected government official, who was denounced as a Nazi collaborator, eventually ruled innocent after a celebrated trial, but later assassinated by former members of Shamir's faction.

Following that controversy in Israel, Eichmann supposedly gave a long personal interview to a Dutch Nazi journalist, and although it wasn't published at the time, perhaps word of its existence may have gotten into circulation. The new state of Israel was just a few years old at that time, and very politically and economically fragile, desperately dependent upon the goodwill and support of America and Jewish donors worldwide. Their remarkable former Nazi alliance was a deeply-suppressed secret, whose public release might have had absolutely disastrous consequences.

According to the version of the interview later published as a two-part story in Life Magazine , Eichmann's statements seemingly did not touch on the deadly topic of the 1930s Nazi-Zionist partnership. But surely Israeli leaders must have been terrified that they might not be so lucky the next time, so we may speculate that Eichmann's elimination suddenly became a top national priority, and he was tracked down and captured in 1960. Presumably, harsh means were employed to persuade him not to reveal any of these dangerous pre-war secrets at his Jerusalem trial, and one might wonder if the reason he was famously kept in an enclosed glass booth was to ensure that the sound could quickly be cut off if he started to stray from the agreed upon script. All of this analysis is totally speculative, but Eichmann's role as a central figure in the 1930s Nazi-Zionist partnership is undeniable historical fact.

Just as we might imagine, America's overwhelmingly pro-Israel publishing industry was hardly eager to serve as a public conduit for Brenner's shocking revelations of a close Nazi-Zionist economic partnership, and he mentions that his book agent uniformly received rejections from each firm he approached, based on a wide variety of different excuses. However, he finally managed to locate an extremely obscure publisher in Britain willing to take on the project, and his book was released in 1983, initially receiving no reviews other than a couple of harsh and perfunctory denunciations, though Soviet Izvestia took some interest in his findings until they discovered that he was a hated Trotskyite.

His big break came when Shamir suddenly became Israel's Prime Minister, and he brought his evidence of former Nazi ties to the English-language Palestinian press, which put it into general circulation. Various British Marxists, including the notorious "Red Ken" Livingstone of London, organized a speaking tour for him, and when a group of right-wing Zionist militants attacked one of the events and inflicted injuries, the story of the brawl caught the attention of the mainstream newspapers. Soon afterward the discussion of Brenner's astonishing discoveries appeared in the Times of London and entered the international media. Presumably, the New York Times article that had originally caught my eye ran sometime during this period.

Public relations professionals are quite skilled at minimizing the impact of damaging revelations, and pro-Israel organizations have no shortage of such individuals. Just before the 1983 release of his remarkable book, Brenner suddenly discovered that a young pro-Zionist author named Edwin Black was furiously working on a similar project, apparently backed by sufficient financial resources that he was employing an army of fifty researchers to allow him to complete his project in record time.

Since the entire embarrassing subject of a Nazi-Zionist partnership had been kept away from the public eye for almost five decades, this timing surely seems more than merely coincidental. Presumably word of Brenner's numerous unsuccessful efforts at securing a mainstream publisher during 1982 had gotten around, as had as his eventual success in locating a tiny one in Britain. Having failed to prevent publication of such explosive material, pro-Israel groups quietly decided that their next best option was trying to seize control of the topic themselves, allowing disclosure of those parts of the story that could not be concealed but excluding items of greatest danger, while portraying the sordid history in the best possible light.


Black's book, The Transfer Agreement , may have arrived a year later than Brenner's but was clearly backed by vastly greater publicity and resources. It was released by Macmillan, a leading publisher, ran nearly twice the length of Brenner's short book, and carried powerful endorsements by leading figures from the firmament of Jewish activism, including the Simon Weisenthal Center, the Israel Holocaust Memorial, and the American Jewish Archives. As a consequence, it received long if not necessarily favorable reviews in influential publications such as The New Republic and Commentary .

In all fairness, I should mention that in the Foreword to his book, Black claims that his research efforts had been totally discouraged by nearly everyone he approached, and as a consequence, he had been working on the project with solitary intensity for many years. This implies the near-simultaneous release of the two books was purely due to chance. But such a picture is hardly consistent with his glowing testimonials from so many prominent Jewish leaders, and personally I find Brenner's claim that Black was assisted by fifty researchers far more convincing.

Since both Black and Brenner were describing the same basic reality and relying upon many of the same documents, in most respects the stories they tell are generally similar. But Black carefully excludes any mention of offers of Zionist military cooperation with the Nazis, let alone the repeated attempts by Shamir's Zionist faction to officially join the Axis Powers after the war had broken out, as well as numerous other details of a particularly embarrassing nature.

Assuming Black's book was published for the reasons I suggested, I think that the strategy of the pro-Israel groups largely succeeded, with his version of the history seeming to have quickly supplanted Brenner's except perhaps in strongly leftist or anti-Zionist circles. Googling each combination of the title and author, Black's book gets eight times as many hits, and his Amazon sales ranks and numbers of reviews are also larger by roughly that same factor. Most notably, neither the Wikipedia articles on "The Transfer Agreement" and "The Ha'avara Agreement" contain any mention of Brenner's research whatsoever, even though his book was published earlier, was far broader, and only he provided the underlying documentary evidence. As a personal example of the current situation, I was quite unaware of the entire Ha'avara history until just a few years ago when I encountered some website comments mentioning Black's book, leading me to purchase and read it. But even then, Brenner's far more wide-ranging and explosive volume remained totally unknown to me until very recently.

Once World War II began, this Nazi-Zionist partnership quickly lapsed for obvious reasons. Germany was now at war with the British Empire, and financial transfers to British-run Palestine were no longer possible. Furthermore, the Arab Palestinians had grown quite hostile to the Jewish immigrants whom they rightfully feared might eventually displace them, and once the Germans were forced to choose between maintaining their relationship with a relatively small Zionist movement or winning the political sympathy of a vast sea of Middle Eastern Arabs and Muslims, their decision was a natural one. The Zionists faced a similar choice, and especially once wartime propaganda began so heavily blackening the German and Italian governments, their long previous partnership was not something they wanted widely known.

However, at exactly this same moment a somewhat different and equally long-forgotten connection between Jews and Nazi Germany suddenly moved to the fore.

Like most people everywhere, the average German, whether Jewish or Gentile, was probably not all that political, and although Zionism had for years been accorded a privileged place in German society, it is not entirely clear how many ordinary German Jews paid much attention to it. The tens of thousands who emigrated to Palestine during that period were probably motivated as much by economic pressures as by ideological commitment. But wartime changed matters in other ways.


This was even more true for the German government. The outbreak of a world war against a powerful coalition of the British and French empires, later augmented by both Soviet Russia and the United States, imposed the sorts of enormous pressures that could often overcome ideological scruples. A few years ago, I discovered a fascinating 2002 book by Bryan Mark Rigg, Hitler's Jewish Soldiers , a scholarly treatment of exactly what the title implies. The quality of this controversial historical analysis is indicated by the glowing jacket-blurbs from numerous academic experts and an extremely favorable treatment by an eminent scholar in The American Historical Review .

Obviously, Nazi ideology was overwhelmingly centered upon race and considered racial purity a crucial factor in national cohesion. Individuals possessing substantial non-German ancestry were regarded with considerable suspicion, and this concern was greatly amplified if that admixture was Jewish. But in a military struggle against an opposing coalition possessing many times Germany's population and industrial resources, such ideological factors might be overcome by practical considerations, and Rigg persuasively argues that some 150,000 half-Jews or quarter-Jews served in the armed forces of the Third Reich, a percentage probably not much different than their share of the general military-age population.

Germany's long-integrated and assimilated Jewish population had always been disproportionately urban, affluent, and well-educated. As a consequence it is not entirely surprising that a large proportion of these part-Jewish soldiers who served Hitler were actually combat officers rather than merely rank-and-file conscripts, and they included at least 15 half-Jewish generals and admirals, and another dozen quarter-Jews holding those same high ranks. The most notable example was Field Marshal Erhard Milch, Hermann Goering's powerful second-in-command, who played such an important operational role in creating the Luftwaffe. Milch certainly had a Jewish father, and according to some much less substantiated claims, perhaps even a Jewish mother as well, while his sister was married to an SS general.

Admittedly, the racially-elite SS itself generally had far stricter ancestry standards, with even a trace of non-Aryan parentage normally seen as disqualifying an individual from membership. But even here, the situation was sometimes complicated, since there were widespread rumors that Reinhard Heydrich, the second-ranking figure in that very powerful organization, actually had considerable Jewish ancestry. Rigg investigates that claim without coming to any clear conclusions, though he does seem to think that the circumstantial evidence involved may have been used by other high-ranking Nazi figures as a point of leverage or blackmail against Heydrich, who stood as one of the most important figures in the Third Reich.

As a further irony, most of these individuals traced their Jewish ancestry through their father rather than their mother, so although they were not Jewish according to rabbinical law, their family names often reflected their partly Semitic origins, though in many cases Nazi authorities attempted to studiously overlook this glaringly obvious situation. As an extreme example noted by an academic reviewer of the book, a half-Jew bearing the distinctly non-Aryan name of Werner Goldberg actually had his photograph prominently featured in a 1939 Nazi propaganda newspaper, with the caption describing him as the "The Ideal German Soldier."

The author conducted more than 400 personal interviews of the surviving part-Jews and their relatives, and these painted a very mixed picture of the difficulties they had encountered under the Nazi regime, which varied enormously depending upon particular circumstances and the personalities of those in authority over them. One important source of complaint was that because of their status, part-Jews were often denied the military honors or promotions they had rightfully earned. However, under especially favorable conditions, they might also be legally reclassified as being of "German Blood," which officially eliminated any taint on their status.

Even official policy seems to have been quite contradictory and vacillating. For example, when the civilian humiliations sometimes inflicted upon the fully Jewish parents of serving half-Jews were brought to Hitler's attention, he regarded that situation as intolerable, declaring that either such parents must be fully protected against such indignities or all the half-Jews must be discharged, and eventually in April 1940 he issued a decree requiring the latter. However, this order was largely ignored by many commanders, or implemented through a honor-system that almost amounted to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," so a considerable fraction of half-Jews remained in the military if they so wished. And then in July 1941, Hitler somewhat reversed himself, issuing a new decree that allowed "worthy" half-Jews who had been discharged to return to the military as officers, while also announcing that after the war, all quarter-Jews would be reclassified as fully "German Blood" Aryan citizens.

It has been said that after questions were raised about the Jewish ancestry of some of his subordinates, Goring once angrily responded "I will decide who is a Jew!" and that attitude seems to reasonably capture some of the complexity and subjective nature of the social situation.

Interestingly enough, many of part-Jews interviewed by Rigg recalled that prior to Hitler's rise to power, the intermarriage of their parents had often provoked much greater hostility from the Jewish rather than the Gentile side of their families, suggesting that even in heavily-assimilated Germany, the traditional Jewish tendency toward ethnic exclusivity had still remained a powerful factor in that community.

Although the part-Jews in German military service were certainly subject to various forms of mistreatment and discrimination, perhaps we should compare this against the analogous situation in our own military in those same years with regard to America's Japanese or black minorities. During that era, racial intermarriage was legally prohibited across a large portion of the US, so the mixed-race population of those groups was either almost non-existent or very different in origin. But when Japanese-Americans were allowed to leave their wartime concentration camps and enlist in the military, they were entirely restricted to segregated all-Japanese units, but with the officers generally being white. Meanwhile, blacks were almost entirely barred from combat service, though they sometimes served in strictly-segregated support roles. The notion that an American with any appreciable trace of African, Japanese, or for that matter Chinese ancestry might serve as a general or even an officer in the U.S. military and thereby exercise command authority over white American troops would have been almost unthinkable. The contrast with the practice in Hitler's own military is quite different than what Americans might naively assume.

This paradox is not nearly as surprising as one might assume. The non-economic divisions in European societies had almost always been along lines of religion, language, and culture rather than racial ancestry, and the social tradition of more than a millennium could not easily be swept away by merely a half-dozen years of National Socialist ideology. During all those earlier centuries, a sincerely-baptized Jew, whether in Germany or elsewhere, was usually considered just as good a Christian as any other. For example, Tomas de Torquemada, the most fearsome figure of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition, actually came from a family of Jewish co