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From Military-Industrial Complex to Media-Military-Industrial Complex: Review of literature

Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America

News Neo-fascism Recommended Links The Deep State The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoconservatism National Socialism and Military Keysianism American Exceptionalism Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Nation under attack meme
Corporatism War is racket Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few US and British media are servants of security apparatus War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Economics of Peak Energy
National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Is Google evil ? Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis  Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Humor Etc

Introduction

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiteering from it every step of the way."

- Bob Herbert, "Spoils of War," The New York Times, April 10, 2003

"Militarism means a domination of the military man over the civilian, an undue emphasis on military needs, policies, spirit, values and ideals. . . a readiness to defend one's country's interests by force of arms, the acceptance of the military profession as honourable and necessary.

Peter Phillips. The Tragedy of Nazi Germany

If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower is the greatest president of the XX century.  He was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

At the same time Dwight D. Eisenhower was an architect of the USA "deep state" and subverting by deep state of constitutional republic. Because the backbone of military industrial complex is not Pentagon (although it is definitely a part of it), it is three letter agencies such as CIA, FBI, NSA and DOE.  David Talbot's book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government fingers CIA director Allen Dulles as the person who plotted and directed the JFK assassination, and portrays him as a psychopath who managed to rise to the high echelons of power. Unfortunately, the book is rather deficient as history, as explained by David M. Barrett in this review

And it was  Dwight D. Eisenhower who appointed Dulles brothers to CIA and State Department creating the most dangerous and reckless tandem the USA history ever known and putting the last nail into the coffin of constitutional republic.  It was his administration that organized coupe on Iran deposing legitimate government and installing a puppet regime, the prolog of many color revolutions accomplished the USA ever since (including Chile, and many other Latin American republics, and later the xUSSR space). See The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Stephen Kinzer. Here is one  enlightening Amazon review of the book

Jacob G. Hornberger  on October 8, 2013
 A Fantastic Book!

The book is fascinating and gripping. I couldn't put it down. It goes a long way in explaining the plight in which the United States finds itself today.

The book's general focus is on the actions of the CIA and the State Department during the early period of the Cold War, specifically 1947 through the late 1960s and the role that the Dulles brothers played during that period of time. John Foster Dulles was serving as Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was serving as director of the CIA. The book specifically focuses on six regime-change operations during the Dulles brothers' tenure: Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cuba, and the Congo, including the first presidentially authorized assassinations of foreign leaders in American history.

We live in a time today when many Americans exalt the national-security state. They honestly believe that if it weren't for the big standing army, the overseas military empire, the CIA, and the NSA, the United States wouldn't exist for very long. Without the national-security state, these Americans honestly believe, America would quickly fall to the communists, the terrorists, the illegal aliens, the drug dealers, or some combination thereof.

They sing the praises of the troops and automatically assume that the more people they kill over there, they safer we are here at home. They glorify the CIA, even while not knowing exactly what it's doing--and, more important, not wanting to know. They like the fact that the NSA is spying on them but would prefer not knowing that it's spying on them. They simply cannot imagine living the life that our American ancestors lived for more than a century and a half before World War II --a life without a national security state.

Such Americans block out of their minds the fact that a free society and a national-security state are irreconcilable. In fact, they've convinced themselves that they're free because of the national security state.

Books like Kinzer's help to pierce through the falsehoods and misconceptions about the military and the CIA that grip the minds of so many Americans. The book shows how the United States veered off into a different direction after World War II, a direction involving much dark-side activity that the national-security state kept secret from the American people and which the American people, for their part, simply didn't want to know about.

It was all justified under fighting the communists or, more specifically, keeping America safe and secure from America's World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, which supposedly was orchestrating a worldwide communist movement designed to conquer and control the entire world.

There was the CIA's coup in Iran, which ousted the popular Mohammad Mossadegh from power and reinstalled the brutal dictatorial regime of the Shah. There was the CIA's ouster of the democratically elected president of Guatemala and his replacement by a brutal military dictatorship. There was the CIA's instigation of a horrific civil war in Indonesia. There was the CIA's plan to assassinate the leader of the Congo. There was the CIA's coup and the assassination of the U.S.-appointed leader of South Vietnam. There was the CIA's invasion of Cuba and repeated assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

Never mind that there were other factors involved, such as the nationalization of British oil interests in Iran or the nationalization of land in Guatemala belonging to a U.S. corporation with which the Dulles brothers had close ties. And never mind that Third World rulers simply wanted to stay out of Cold War politics. What mattered was that whenever any foreign ruler didn't do what U.S. officials wanted him to do, that made his regime a Cold War enemy and, therefore, subject to regime-change, including through assassination. The mindset was "If you're not with us, then you're against us." Neutrality was out of the question.

And never mind that Americans and others around the world are still suffering the horrific results of these regime-change operations. Just look at the state of U.S.-Iran relations. Or the hundreds of thousands of graves in Guatemala as a result of the civil war that the CIA's coup brought about. Or the continuous brutal U.S. embargo against Cuba. Or the families who still grieve the loss of loved ones in Vietnam and here in the United States.

It was all a new direction for America, a dark direction, one that the American people had never before engaged in. And it was all justified under the rubric of "the communist threat," specifically the supposed danger that the communists were everywhere and were coming to get us and take over our country, much like we hear about the terrorists today.

Why is this early period of the Cold War so relevant to today? Because the foreign policy-civil liberties woes that America faces today are rooted in that period. That's why that an understanding of that period is so critically important to understanding what we need to do to extricate ourselves from the morass in which we find ourselves. Restoring the right direction for our nation, a direction based on sound moral, economic, and legal principles, necessarily entails an examination of where American went wrong after World War II.

Another great book about this period is The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson. That book provides the best summary of the military component of the national-security state during the Cold War. If you read both books--The War State and The Brothers -- you will have an almost perfect understanding of how we got into this mess, what the mess has done to our nation, and what we need to do to get out.--Jacob Hornberger, president, The Future of Freedom Foundation

But paradoxically Dwight Eisenhower's presidency is probably better remembered less for what he did than for what he said while heading for the exit. In a nationally televised address on January 17, 1961, only four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural and three years from the event which might well be considered to be coup d'etat which brought military-industrial complex in full control of all branches of the government (JFK assassination).

Eisenhower warned of the dangers of "undue influence" exerted by the "military-industrial complex." In other word appearance on the scene a new and formidable political force represented by arm manufactures, intelligence agencies, Army brass and selected supplies industries (oil industry comes to mind) and financial oligarchy.

But the term is more then undue influences, it's actually about a gradual, but inevitable transition of power to MIC either by stealth coup or open coup d'etat. And as soon as MIC came on political scene, it inevitably transforms the state into some variant of totalitarian state, such an "inverted totalitarism" or National Security State. It's not exactly "WAR IS PEACE. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength", but close enough.

This warning represents the historical importance of Eisenhower's farewell address. Here is the video of the address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY

Eisenhower cautioned that maintaining a large, permanent military establishment was "new in the American experience," and suggested that an "engaged citizenry" offered the only effective defense against the "misplaced power" of the military-industrial lobby. But there are two problems with his warning:

We can state, that the key result of the second World War was the establishment of the rule of military industrial complex in all major countries, but first of all in the USA. Here is a relevant quote from his famous speech:

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

What we have today is nothing but a full spectrum dominance of military-intelligence-industrial-academic-banking complex (and please note that Wall Street is closely interconnected with CIA and State Department;

Via revolving door mechanisms the US foreign policy is dictated not by US national interests but by interests of top 100 or so largest US corporations). In 2013 the private equity firm KKR named the retired general and CIA director David Petraueus as the chairman of its global institute. Earlier the same year, Sir John Sawers, The former head of Britain MI6 became Chairman of Macro Advisory Partners, a firm that advices business and government on geopolitics (Christina Freeland, Atlantic, May 2015, p 82) Those two examples are just tip of the iceberg, of a much larger trend of intermarriage of intelligence community and Wall Street.

From The Sorrows of Empire:

The 725 U.S. military bases acknowledged by the Department of Defense do not include the many used for communications espionage, control of the world's oil supply, or those that are simply too embarrassing for the government to speak about openly (such as the fourteen permanent bases being built in Iraq). - The United States maintains about 347,000 soldiers, airmen, and marines at military bases in 140 of 189 member states of the United Nations. - The American military budget is so large that the next-highest military budget in the world- Russia's-is only fourteen percent of our own. - Ninety-three percent of the American budget dedicated to international affairs is allocated to the military and only seven percent to the State Department. - The Congressional Budget Office projects federal deficits over the next five years of more than $1 trillion, on top of an already existing government debt in February 2003 of $6.4 trillion. Military operations in Iraq so far have cost $143 billion; reconstruction will run from between $50 and $100 billion.

We can view MIC as consisting of three parts: federal institutions,  academia (military or intelligence oriented research labs and individual researchers in universities), and private contractors. The latter is the fastest growing segment   (The Military-Industrial Complex is Real, And It’s Bigger Than Ever - The Daily Beast):

As the iconic Washington Post investigation detailed, there are 1,931 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence. Throughout the D.C. area, 33 buildings containing 17 million square feet of office space have been built since 9/11—the equivalent of 22 Capitol buildings. But despite the growth of government national-security workers, some 500,000 private contractors also have top security clearances.

This might be defensible if private contractors actually saved taxpayer dollars, but they don’t. According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, contractors made up 29 percent of intelligence agency workforce but cost the equivalent of 49 percent of personnel budgets. Consider the fact that Snowden made $122,000 a year in his brief Hawaii-based gig for Booz Allen Hamilton, offering evident tech savvy but only a GED. The average annual salary for a person with a GED is only $37,200. This isn’t an industry interested in belt-tightening.0

The proliferation of military-industrial complex contractors has helped propel the D.C. metro area to include seven of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the United States. Contra Snowden’s formal education, five of the top six counties for college-educated workers are in the D.C. metro area. The overlap between the two is not surprising: Loudoun, Arlington, and Fairfax counties in Virginia are particularly plush places to be in 2013.

If you want to find out what’s really happening in politics and government, follow the money. When it comes to national security, civic concerns compete with financial self-interest—and guess which often wins the tug of war?

The problem, of course, is not just a matter of money. It is the amount of overlap and inevitable turf battles that occur when multiple organizations—both private and public—all strive to prove their relevance to protect their self-interest. To use another example from the Post’s “Top Secret America” series, there are 51 federal organizations and military commands tracking the flow of money in terrorist networks. This just can’t be the most effective way to accomplish the mission.

But the military-industrial complex has a trump card to play with members of Congress and the public: nobody wants to argue with national security, especially when the very real threat of terrorism exists. This ain’t no phantom menace: more than 45 jihadist terror plots had been stopped before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. But the combination of real threat and opaque multibillion-dollar budgets leads inevitably to a lack of transparency and accountability. That’s where the risk of not just information-dragnet overreach but also the risk of leakers like Ed Snowden comes in. With this level of complexity in the system, security is ironically almost impossible to maintain.

Abstracting from the ideological bent, totalitarian regimes like USSR (or China) can also be viewed as examples of MIC dominance in the form of merger arms manufacturers, military contractors and the state institutions including top brass of Communist Party, the merger that creates a variant of National Security State depicted in his novel "1984".  Moreover the dissolution of the USSR as the result of the bankruptcy of its overcentralized economic model ("state socialism" -- not that different from state capitalism) is directly related to the destruction of the USSR economy imposed by Soviet  militarily industrial complex (see Are We Going Down Like the Soviets World). Although arm race with USA played significant role, Soviet military establishment willingly overplayed its hand and killed the host. Collapse of communist ideology and emergence of Neoliberalism was just a final strew that broke the camel back as KGB brass realized that they will be better off under capitalism and changed sides (with gentle encouragements via multimillion bribes from CIA). Still, China, which uses the same bankrupt ideological doctrine with political life dominated by the same Communist Party, managed to survive and even economically prosper using strange mix of communist ideology in governing the state with Neoliberalism in economics in selected economic zones of the country. Extremes meet and while Marxism was highly collectivist, while Neoliberalism is highly individualists "Homo homini lupus est" style ideology it  reuses one of core components of Trotskyism -- the idea of Permanent Revolution, which was creatively transformed into Permanent Export of Democracy.   The latter is just a  smoke screen for forced export of neoliberalism into other countries, via color revolution (Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), or armed invasions (Iraq, Libya) )

In other words MIC dominance means inevitable transformation of modern states into National Security State fighting typical for such a state "Perpetual war for perpetual peace."

There are  other important factors/tendencies that contributed to the dominance media-military-industrial complex in the USA

  1. Relentless war mongering propaganda of corporate-controlled media. Like in Third Reich MIC dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

    Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

  2. American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism, a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy, Germany and Spain.  The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in "cultural nationalism"), imperial point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, with the brainwashed lemmings believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others. This often produces prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric neo-fascist ways, and to strive for unilateral rule of the world.
  3. Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain which in case of "winner takes all" more of assigning elected officials inevitably leads to the dominance of a single party -- party of large capital.  Clinton sell-out of Democratic party and Blair sell out of labor party are not exception in this case, they are the rule. "Winner takes all" system proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism as it naturally lead to two party system in which both party represent capital.  
  4. Conversion of system of governance to "Deep state" which essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form with disenfranchised, brainwashed voters, a highly malleable mass that can be pushed for any real rulers bidding.  Mainly as a facade, Potemkin village to provide the legitimacy for ruling elite.
Those factors are covered in more detail in special pages:

Military Industrial Complex as another, more politically correct name for Corporatism


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.

The term MIC ("Military-Industrial Complex") is also closely related to the phenomena that is defined by the term corporatism and the term National Security State. In a way,  it is just a more politically correct way to describe corporatism as a social system. The term corporatism is taunted by the link to Mussolini Italy and quite often is associated with the term "Italian fascism". As such this association instantly makes the discussion more emotional and defensive.

Like the term corporatism, the term "Military-Industrial Complex" is used to denote a mutation of state in which the dominant power belong to the large corporations and banks allied with the government (with officials  moving freely between private industry and government via revolving doors) including, but not limited to, a political block between the military and the industrial producers of military equipment and their lobbyists in Congress. In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won. Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won.  Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

 Eisenhower initially wrote "military-industrial-congressional complex" (the term, which is of course is more precise as corporatism is a marriage of state and large corporations, but also more divisive), but changed it moved by strong advice to omit "congressional." We can see his political abilities and instincts of this great president in action in his final speech. It became a hit and people sited it, without understanding the depth and the real meaning of the warning, as well as the nature of the danger: mutation of the state into corporatist national security state which completely excludes public from the political process.

The term is easily extended to any group of corporations for which a significant part of revenue comes from the government contracts or in other way is guaranteed by government, or which depend from the expansion of market by government force (especially foreign expansion). In this sense we can talk about financial complex as another candidate for close and dangerous alliance with government .

No matter what set of industries are the key members of the alliance with the government, the press is controlled by the same players. The net result is a super-aggressive (we are the dominant player and you suckers should not stand on our way), jingoistic foreign policy oriented on acquiring new and protecting old markets. In this sense one of the defining features of such a regime is seeking/protecting/opening foreign markets using direct military power (aka invasions) or threat of thereof. That's why, the USA foreign policy seems unchanged the last 60 years, regardless of who controls the executive, and or, the legislative branches of government.

On the other hand it can be viewed as an implementation of Military Keynesianism: a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth and the speed of technological advancement (via dual use technologies). Many fundamental technologies such as computers, large scale integral circuits, Internet, GPS, etc are the net results of adoption and enhancement of former military-oriented technologies by the civilian sector.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's seven characteristics of a National Security State

  "Four sorrows are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.
  1. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.
  2. Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co- equal `executive branch' of government into a military junta.
  3. Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.
  4. Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens."

Chalmers A. Johnson

National security state is the most common form of corporatism that exist in XX and XXI century. In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identified seven characteristics of a National Security State [4]:

All those features were also typical for Bolsheviks regime in the USSR, so the term "neo-bolshevism" is also applicable. Here is a pretty telling  Amazon review of The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)

 'War is a Racket' - General Smedley Butler USMC, April 1, 2004

Am I the only one who thinks the the rest of his countryman are nuts? For the past 60 years and three generations, Americans have been led to believe that that spending billions for the Defense of the country is not only necessary but patriotic.

Forget conspiracy theories and ideological agendas, just contemplate one fact: The USA spends more on military and intelligence funding in 2004 than it has spent at any one time in history. Fourteen carrier groups to defeat the two remaining countries of the axis of evil, N. Korea and Iran? 750 and counting military bases outside the USA? However, the government tells us it is powerless to defend the country against an attack from a terrorist group with WMD???

So, the next time you watch television and the commentator tells you why we need another aircraft carrier, more tanks, more F-16's, etc., ask yourself: Who are we defending ourselves against? And, as Chalmers Johnson points out, follow the money!

This book is an excellent primer on how our beloved country is being led down the road to ruin by a group of people who are lining the pockets of themselves and their friends and supporters. All of this is being done in the name of Democracy, Freedom and Globalization. But, why do we want to liberate people who sit on oil while those countries being ruthlessly exploited and practically enslaved are ignored since they can contribute little or nothing to the "world economy" (pick any poor third world country)?

This review is written by a conservative American, cold war supporter and US Navy veteran (like Chalmers Johnson) who believes in the old Republic (when is the last time you heard that word mentioned in the era of the imperial presidency). Forget whether you are democrat or republican, take the blinders off and seek the truth, excellently told by Chalmers Johnson.

Origins and history

 "The CIA is Wall Street. Wall Street is the CIA"

 Michael Ruppert

As US phenomenon  military industrial complex was the result of confluence of several powerful forces which has no countervailing forces to check them::

And those process were not limited to the USA. The concept of "deep state" actually originated in Turkey. And MIC suckling resources out of the economy has been one of the factors of collapse of the USSR with elements of the same that can be observed in such different  countries as Israel, Pakistan, China, Brazil and France.

The most important fact is the presence of intelligence agencies in this combination of forces and close alignment of intelligence agencies with Wall Street (the first head of CIA came directly from a leading Wall Street Law firm).  This hypertrophied role of intelligence agencies in military part of media-military-industrial complex essentially guarantied that it will soon escape civilian control and turn into "state within a state". Or as they call it now the Deep State.

Essentially Dwight Eisenhower correctly predicted inevitable collapse of American democracy, which actually happened in 1963 and gradual but inevitable transformation of the state into National Security State, the conversion which actually started with signing by Truman National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA) and was in full force during Eisenhower administration. Despite his understanding of the danger and some attempt to reverse the process Dwight Eisenhower was unable even to slow down this process during his administration, although it did cut military. 

We can distinguish several phases of conversion of the USA into National Security State:

JFK assassination as a coup detat of MIC against the "old state"

50th anniversary of JFK assassination and the key cue bono question about assassination:

Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.

Numerous books about the assassination suggest that in case actions of government represent a threat to their interests, elements of military industrial complex can overthrow the United States government by force of arms and that's can well be one interpretation of events which happened on November 22, 1963. HSCA had found that there were at least 2 shooters. The circumstances of JFK assassination are so troubling and confusing that they create an impression of CIA coup d'etat. This impression is strengthened by the fact that the US intelligence communities actively deceived the public and stonewalled the JFK murder investigation. This possibility is explored in several books such as Coup d'Etat in America The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Alan J. Weberman, Michael Canfield and German book JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika. The reading of the former book suggests that some of the same forces the did Kennedy in also brought about the downfall of Nixon. Here is one Amazon review of the book:

The authors believe that two of the tramps arrested in Dealey Plaza that day were Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, and that JFK was killed by the CIA and Cuban exiles angry over the Bay of Pigs. The assassination was then made to look like the work of Castro. "Members of a specially trained assassination squad called Operation Forty were briefed on their roles in the conspiracy. A CIA agent named Lee Harvey Oswald, who had a high 'expendability rating,' was chosen to play the role of 'patsy' in the killing...Oswald was led to believe he was part of a plot to assassinate Castro when in reality he was being set up as a pro-Castro scapegoat...But the officials of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City refused to issue Oswald a visa. If they had acted differently, and the visa had been found on Oswald's person after the assassination, most Americans would have been convinced that [he] was an agent of Fidel Castro...His CIA case officer ordered him to bring a rifle to the depository on the same day Kennedy was visiting Dallas and told him that there would be a message waiting for him somewhere in the building around 12:30 that day."

There were two men behind the grassy knoll and two phony SS men behind the TSBD. "Meanwhile, the killers, disguised as tramps, hid in some nearby boxcars..." Tippit was supposed to silence Oswald but Oswald shot him first; he then went to the Texas Theater so he would be arrested in front of lots of people to guarantee that he would be taken alive. Ruby was ordered by the mob to kill him.

Bertrand Russell's famous question about the Warren Commission's conclusions, "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?" was never answered.

That creates a distinct impression that intelligence services ("Big Intelligence") play a very important role in what is called MIC and are the core component of the modern National Security State. To the extent that instead of the term "media military industrial complex" we probably should use "media military intelligence industrial complex". As John Chuckman noted in his Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD

The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.

Among other things by access to "dirt" on politicians they provide powerful political filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:

America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.

If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.

Snowden revelations of NSA activities in the USA

New round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exert over civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA (see Big Uncle is Watching You).

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet.  And it is a mistake to assume that such activities started with September 11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready long before September 11 and what is available is always used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being in a pervert way "early adopters" of any communication technology. And this happens not only in the USA although the USA as technological leader was the most profoundly affected.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the C.I.A. pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

Recording of all email envelopes (which was also done for snail mail) started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII. It just a new name now -- collection of metadata. Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.

We don't know then it was extended on domestic calls, this this was trivial extension of already existing capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. That means around 1958. Even in early 1960 three letter agencies were already semi-autonomous entities, a state within the state. And as assassination on President Kennedy had shown they were audacious enough to bypass Congress.

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far bask as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history systematic network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States".

After 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume) did the right thin thing, when he with risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border, we need to understand that the abuse of this function and extension of it into domestic communications started nor after 9/11, but in 1950th. But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real state within the state and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

In other words expansionism is an immanent quality, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force it can be deadly for the society at large, as we observe in case with three letter agencies, which tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful thre-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it class itself a democracy. and that fact was already known to everybody in 1975. Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.

But that also means that most of those efforts are highly politicized, inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies which are not so far technological but political bodies (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition).

We can admire the immortal foresight of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the U.S. of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed. In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in Internet society it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can ;-)

MIC and dynamics of malignant growth of bureaucratic organizations

The idea that US foreign policy is affected by pressures imposed on US president  and his administration by the "national security oligarchy" interested mainly in self-preservation and expansion of their power in not new.

While major factors were conversion of the USA into empire and attempt to secure the world dominance, there was some internal dynamic connected with perverting of goals for which organization was created by any large bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is an organizational model rationally designed to perform complex tasks efficiently. Military and intelligence communities are classic examples of large bureaucratic organizations, and they are characterized by formalized rules and regulations, systematic record-keeping and archiving of past decisions, formalized planning for the future, hierarchies of status, defined career paths (within the organization and across organizations), a concern for organizational identity, and other features. Establish culture is "sticky" and is a very hard thing for any large bureaucratic organization to change. Reforms that run against a long-standing ethos -- especially chose that emphasize restraint and cut the power of the organization -- are very difficult to achieve

But most large bureaucracies, especially government, military and security  organizations (CIA, NSA FBI) quickly pervert the gols for which organization was created and start to pursue agenda of their own substituting official goal with the  goals of organization growth, and growth of power of top brass. In short that are subject to the same The Iron Law of Oligarchy as political parties.

So they have immanent propensity to become states with a state. For example the goal of army brass became to increase state engagement in any military conflict (aka "surge"). So despite the fact that bureaucracies are governed by rules make them something like staffed with human robots, where rules serve as a program governing the robot behavior. But as in sci-fi such robots very soon start to demonstrate behavior that was not designed by the original programmers ;-).

Once the bureaucracy commits itself to a course of action, it rarely adjusts its path. Bureaucracies prize continuity over innovation and cling to the prevailing orthodoxy even if that means moving strait till everybody start to fall from the cliff.  With the notable exception of the top layer of hierarchy ;-)

While each bureaucracy is created with particular mandate, like Frankenstein it very soon it escape the control of its creators and start living the life of its own, pursuing goals that might nothing to do, or worse completely opposite to those to achieve which it was created. At some point a new phenomenon called organizational culture emerge. the latter comprises an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. The elements fit together as a self-reinforcing system and are resistant to any attempt to change it. Hierarchy, with its attendant multiple layers of goals, roles, accountabilities, values and communication channels became entrenched.

Principal agent problem and growth of national security oligarchy

Any bureaucracy is a political coalition that is designed to protect and enrich its members and first of all top brass (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). And that goal explicitly conflict with the goal of efficient and dispassionate service that they theoretically should provide. That means that there is inherent contradiction within any large bureaucratic organization. that also means that one of the most central problem of bureaucracies is Principal-agent problem  which is essentially another side of  The Iron Law of Oligarchy. This problem recently (in 2008) get some attention in respect to financial sector:

In political science and economics, the principal-agent problem or agency dilemma treats the difficulties that arise under conditions of incomplete and asymmetric information when a principal hires an agent, such as the problem that the two may not have the same interests, while the principal is, presumably, hiring the agent to pursue the interests of the former. The “agency problem” is an inherent dysfunction in all principal/agent relationships, a dysfunction so powerful that such relationships can never fully achieve their stated objectives.

. Here is how Wikipedia defines this relationship

The principal–agent problem or agency dilemma occurs when one person or entity (the "agent") is able to make decisions that impact, or on behalf of, another person or entity: the "principal". The dilemma exists because sometimes the agent is motivated to act in his own best interests rather than those of the principal. The agent-principal relationships is a useful analytic tool in political science and economics, but may also apply to other areas.

Common examples of this relationship include corporate management (agent) and shareholders (principal), or politicians (agent) and voters (principal).[1] For another example, consider a dental patient (the principal) wondering whether his dentist (the agent) is recommending expensive treatment because it is truly necessary for the patient's dental health, or because it will generate income for the dentist. In fact the problem potentially arises in almost any context where one party is being paid by another to do something, whether in formal employment or a negotiated deal such as paying for household jobs or car repairs.

The problem arises where the two parties have different interests and asymmetric information (the agent having more information), such that the principal cannot directly ensure that the agent is always acting in its (the principal's) best interests,[2] particularly when activities that are useful to the principal are costly to the agent, and where elements of what the agent does are costly for the principal to observe. Moral hazard and conflict of interest may arise. Indeed, the principal may be sufficiently concerned at the possibility of being exploited by the agent that he chooses not to enter into a transaction at all, when that deal would have actually been in both parties' best interests: a suboptimal outcome that lowers welfare overall. The deviation from the principal's interest by the agent is called "agency costs".[2]

But this problem is no less acute in intelligence organizations. By their statute it is very difficult to control them and check action of their brass. Which means intelligence brass became a new type of players within the elite with its own agenda, which they fiercely defend.   Scaremongering is one typical demonstration of "Principal-agent problem" with intelligence organization and military. That's why any attempt to downsize those organization usually are doomed to be a failure.  Inflating security threats is the way of preservation and growth for those organization.

“Looting” is a reasonably violent word that conveys with some degree of accuracy the essence of principal-agent problem. Perverse incentives is more politically correct work meaning essentially the same.  Attempts to constrain  looting by large government organizations such as CIA, NSA and FBI using laws and regulation, or at the individual level by replacing top brass, proved inefficient.

Criminal prosecution is difficult to launch against top officers of such organization and RICO status is inapplicable despite the fact that in many way they demonstrate behavior typical of organized crime. At the same time Stalinism-style purges, while definitely effective contradict norms of the modern societies.  Changing situation via regulation is difficult as "national security oligarchy" controls lawmakers and, as Obama elections had shown, also might well controls the nomination of presidential candidates from both parties. 

There are three laws that govern this process of corruption:

Even in cases of indoctrination with ideology which inhibits those impulses, corruption of the organizational elite of security services is a serious problem as collapse of the USSR demonstrated to the surprised world. Only an idiot (or PR prostitute ;-) would say that it was angry Russians who overthrow the Communist regime; in reality it was Communist elite, and first of all KGB elite which changed flags and privatized the state resources.

This is the key to understanding complex dynamics in large organization, where bureaucracies that often engage in actions that look close to absurd (or are absurd) to the uninitiated, but are always directed on preservation and enhancement of power of top bureaucrats.  One of the most important features of bureaucracies is that along with "functional side" it also necessarily becomes a political coalition which relentless, consistently and skillfully fights for self-preservation and growth of its influence, often sacrificing "functional" part like pawns in the chess game.  As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

Tendency of mature bureaucracies to pervert their organizational, functional goals necessitates periodic purges and reorganizations. One of the first political party which understood this complex dynamic were Bolsheviks, who under Stalin instituted periodic purges of  State-employed bureaucrats ("apparatchiks"), so that the fear for their well-being (and often life) served as a powerful countervailing force to the natural tendency of bureaucracy to pervert its goals. Which of course have had only temporary effect. 

In the USA similar mechanisms of appointing as head of government agencies by political appointees (who are often, unfortunately, are completely incompetent in the area of activity they were made responsible for) is much less effective, but also has its positive sides.  The US Congress looks more stagnant then the USSR Politburo with the average serving term of senators probably exceeding twice of more the term of a typical Politburo member.

Limitation of term of the President along with natural change of  political objectives  serves as a periodic, but very mild reorganizing force. This effect is watered down by the short term assigned to the presidency as in such short  period it is impossible to institute substantial changes in top departments such as Department of State and Department of Defense (which actually has budget larger then GDP of the USSR and is probably less efficient in spending those money that the socialist economy of the USSR). 

Intelligence community is another part that tend quickly escape the control and pervert the goal for which particular organization was created. Here natural tendency of any large bureaucracy to try to enlarge their sphere of influence and minimize the control from  above looks really menacing to the very existence of democratic government in the country as Church Committee discovered long ago. To members of the commission CIA looked more like a tail which wags the dog, then as a regular part of the government, and as Assassination of President Kennedy had shown this is really the case. And it was the chief of FBI J. Edgar Hoover   who convincingly proved that that idea of rotation of high level executives in the US government has well defined exceptions. None of presidents dared to touch him until he died in the office occupying it for almost 40 years (1935-1972).

In large corporation the role similar to Stalin purges can play periodic changing of location of headquarters, as election of president of the corporation and its board are typically formal and are run by the same clique that runs the organization.

Security and intelligence bureaucracies as perfect environment for authoritarians and sociopaths

Another negative side of bureaucracies is that they serve as perfect environment for Authoritarians (especially Double High Authoritarians)  as well as sociopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office and Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior

So it is interesting that the term psychopathic is applicable to bureaucracies too, not only to individuals. Bureaucracies can demonstrate several of typical psychopathic traits. Like psychopathic managers, bureaucracies often prevent subordinates doing their jobs and prevent employees fulfilling their duties. The term Psychopathic corporation is often used to highlight the connection between corporate psychopaths and modern government organizations and mega-corporations. Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected « Another Voice

1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.

2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another.

3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do.

4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.

5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.

6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.

7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..

The key feature of such companies is  that do not treat employees as humans, they treat them as animals to be culled when appropriate. 

Andrew Bacevich analysis of "New American Militarism" and its connection with American Exceptionalism, neocons and evangelicals

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. Among them we can note two:

While both books are excellent the weakness of Bacevich approach is that he does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism". 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,

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

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

David R. Cook, August 15, 2008

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

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.

... ... ...

Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

... ... ...

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 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.

READ THIS BOOK

===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

... ... ...

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:

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 AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

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.

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

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.

... ... ...

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

... 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

...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.

... ... ...

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 unnecessary 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 one-sidedly. 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

...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.

... ... ...

David Friedman:

...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

... 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.

... ... ...

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...

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.

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental . It was a natural development of previous trends. But this was the first time when the USA foreign policy decisions were dominated by a small clique of mostly Jewish "defense intellectuals". James Mann called this new breed of super aggressive and reckless  "defense intellectuals" "Vulcans" and allied with them figures like Colin Power and Condoleezza Rice by deceit dragged the USA into Iraq war which brought a disastrous consequences for the USA. Consequences that we are feeling right now.

Neocon's worldview can be summed up as the following four themes (Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books)

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

 Here is a short overview of the book Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books that covers the same theme as Bacevich's books:

Realize: When George W. Bush was elected as President he had no prior foreign policy experience and frequently bumbled on naming other foreign leaders.  Not only did Bush have no experience, he also did not have a basic rudimentary conception about America’s role in the world or specific foreign policy other than his campaign platitudes against “nation building.”  To strengthen that weakness, Bush sought to surround himself with a cabinet team of experienced and trusted members that he could ultimately rely on to help him forge a path.  Enter the Vulcans.  Author James Mann puts together an enthralling account of the rise of the Bush cabinet and their place in the last 30 to 40 years in contemporary history with his book Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet.

Broadly, the book is the mini biographies of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, and Condoleeza Rice.  However, by detailing the careers of these people Mann also gives the reader great insight into modern foreign policy, from the Nixon era to Bush II.  The book was published in 2004 so it lacks the hindsight that we now have 6 years later with regards to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet this detracts not at all from the book.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, I have no doubt, will become a central reference point to any future inquisitor looking into American policy from the 1970’s on.

Many may be tempted to classify all of the subjects as neoconservatives, however one of the driving themes of the book is the role of the foreign policy realists versus the idealists (neo-cons).  Yet this was not just a battle that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union as some may have asserted.  Even in the midst of the Cold War, there was definite conservative in-fighting between the pragmatists, led by the Kissinger camp, and the neo-cons, who believed that America’s military might must be unchallenged.  Rumsfeld opposed Kissinger’s policy of détente and played an active role in the Ford Administration in decreasing the power and influence that Kissinger once had.

While Rumsfeld and Cheney believed mightily in American military might and hegemony, it might be hard to classify them as idealists of spreading democracy throughout the world.  However, Paul Wolfowitz meets the classic definition of neoconservative which spread from the Dixie Democrats who left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans in the Reagan Revolution.  Wolfowitz was an academic greatly admired for his intelligence.  He was highly influenced by the ideology of Leo Strauss and was also mentored by Scoop Jackson, US Senator from Washington.  Wolfowitz spent his whole career in the Defense Department and focused on policies that opposed the ideas of moral relativity or balance of power.  Instead Wolfowitz operated from a stance that Democracy and justice were grand ideas that should be spread throughout the world through the might and force of the US military.  It should also be noted that Wolfowitz had been focused on Iraq as a threat to Middle East stability long before the Middle East was on anybody’s map.

Powell and Armitage were often the counter balance to the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Cheney forces, not only in Bush II but also Bush I.  Powell was also a dynamic political figure who ascended Washington’s power structure with amazing speed and was always an admired figure.  Both Powell and Armitage believed in a strong American military and were proponents of a hefty defense budget.  However, where they differed from the other cabinet members was in how the use of force should be applied.  Powell believed that if force was to be applied it must be done with the support of the public, with overwhelming force, and with a clear, communicable goal in mind.  This mindset, shared by Armitage, became known as the Powell Doctrine and was shaped by the experience of Vietnam.  The Vietnam experience made Powell and Armitage suspicious of the civilian leaders like Rumsfeld and Cheney who may recklessly damage the military and American power by engaging long term commitments with no exit plans.

Condoleeza Rice was mentored in the camp of Brent Scowcroft who was a realist.  Rice, a specialist in Russia, came to government in the first Bush Administration and made a lasting impression on everyone she worked for.  When George W. Bush was putting together a foreign policy team during his campaign, he instantly connected with Rice on a personal level and made her a central part of putting together his foreign policy.  Mann portrays Rice as somewhat amorphous, her ideas and beliefs are seemingly tied to the politics and she oftens acts as a sounding board to Bush II.  Instead of becoming a proponent of her realist background, she instead starts to reflect the President and his beliefs which were largely shaped by the dominant members of his cabinet.  In other words, Rice aimed to please, it seems, more than to persuade.

The book culminates with the decision to invade Iraq and Mann sums up that decision as a reflection of the Vulcan’s world view with four themes:

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

Mann makes an understated point that most historians make a clear distinction, a line in the sand, marking the end of the Cold War as the distinctive point where American foreign policy changed.  Yet, it started to occur much earlier than that with the rise of these Vulcan’s and their world view.  The end of the Cold War was merely a middle point in the chapter.  The fact that the US has mostly had Republican Presidents in the last 40 years the Vulcans have remained in power and shaped the events of modern history and to understand that story you have to understand their story.  James Mann gives a clearly written and highly detailed account of some of the most influential actors in American politics.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet is an utterly fascinating account and should be read by anyone seeking answers on the role of America in the world today.

Militarization of science

The militarization of science, particularly at physics, biology and medicine (anthrax research, experiments on humans in Guatemala, etc)  is widespread trend at the University level. Unfortunately it should be called not an aberration, but a a feature of US academic science. Recently social sciences such as psychology and anthropology were also put into service of MIC (The Militarization of Social Science CIFAS)

One of the most notable was COIN system:

 Human Terrain System, a COIN application, was conceived as a means to employ social science as a force multiplier in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq: embedded with combat patrols, anthropologists would map the human terrain across the full spectrum of conflict, and recommend to commanders methods by which they could more effectively achieve strategic goals by engaging “the people” as “the center of gravity” in their operations. The “social science” evolved into a major focus on “social networks,” which, once described, could be analyzed to reveal such critical features as “key informants,” “influencers,” and “centers of influence,” and how, for example, information may travel among participants in the network. It was believed that such analyses could offer important insights on how insurgent sympathies originate, are diffused, mobilize adherents, and are then translated into the organization and commission of hostile actions that threaten ISAF forces; or conversely, how they could be prevented or stopped. More specifically, individuals could be targeted, and then either rewarded or eliminated. Pioneered by anthropologists, such as Julian Barnes, Elizabeth Bott, Clyde Mitchell, Jeremy Boissevain, Fredrik Barth, Joan Vincent, and others, who used them to study kinship, ethnic and political organization, and agricultural production, trade, and markets, among other topics, the study of social networks and social networks analysis have become a staple of ethnographic fieldwork.

For example, I made extensive use of them studying the production, distribution, use, and misuse of illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, in low-income neighborhoods of New York City and several Caribbean islands, which I reported in The Ganja Complex: Rastafari and Marijuana (Lexington Books 2000). Let me tell you about them, as you may then appreciate how valuable a tool they have been in traditional, or academic, anthropology and social science.

Armed with Expertise, The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon launched a controversial counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System. The program embedded social scientists within military units to provide commanders with information about the cultures and grievances of local populations. Yet the controversy it inspired was not new. Decades earlier, similar national security concerns brought the Department of Defense and American social scientists together in the search for intellectual weapons that could combat the spread of communism during the Cold War. In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde traces the optimistic rise, anguished fall, and surprising rebirth of Cold War–era military-sponsored social research.

Seeking expert knowledge that would enable the United States to contain communism, the Pentagon turned to social scientists. Beginning in the 1950s, political scientists, social psychologists, and anthropologists optimistically applied their expertise to military problems, convinced that their work would enhance democracy around the world. As Rohde shows, by the late 1960s, a growing number of scholars and activists condemned Pentagon-funded social scientists as handmaidens of a technocratic warfare state and sought to eliminate military-sponsored research from American intellectual life.

But the Pentagon's social research projects had remarkable institutional momentum and intellectual flexibility. Instead of severing their ties to the military, the Pentagon’s experts relocated to a burgeoning network of private consulting agencies and for-profit research offices. Now shielded from public scrutiny, they continued to influence national security affairs. They also diversified their portfolios to include the study of domestic problems, including urban violence and racial conflict. In examining the controversies over Cold War social science, Rohde reveals the persistent militarization of American political and intellectual life, a phenomenon that continues to raise grave questions about the relationship between expert knowledge and American democracy.

In his article The Militarization of American Life  Justin Raimondo notes

March 27, 2013 | Antiwar.com

It isn’t just them, however: militarism is a disease that spreads without effort, once it’s implanted in the body politic. It quite naturally infects the sciences, what with the diversion of scientific and technical talent that might have gone into productive civilian projects, and I’m not just talking about the hard sciences. Witness the co-opting of the "soft" science of anthropology by the same people who brought us the war in Afghanistan and the "COIN" strategy that was supposed to give us victory. These folks have created the so-called Human Terrain System, which seeks to utilize anthropology as a weapon in counterinsurgency warfare. Billions are being poured into "scientific research" on how best to subdue recalcitrant natives out in the colonies: when you’re talking about the military-industrial complex, it isn’t just Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.

The marriage of science and militarism is nothing new, but there are some resistors. As Inside Higher Education reports:

"The eminent University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences on Friday, citing his objections to its military partnerships and to its electing as a member Napoleon Chagnon, a long-controversial anthropologist who is back in the news thanks to the publication of his new book, Noble Savages." [Hat tip: Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative]

You don’t have to be an anthropologist to get in on the action: yes, you too can access via live webcast the April 3 Pentagon/NAS "workshop," "New Directions in Assessing Individuals and Groups,"and hear the keynote address by Frederick Vollrath, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. I’ll bet those anthropologists are making out like bandits!

As for Napoleon Chagnon – could a novelist have gotten away with such a name? – he is an extremely dubious character who apparently believes violence is not only genetically encoded in humans, but that there is an evolutionary bias in favor of homicidal homo sapiens. Instead of an atavistic trait surviving from pre-civilized man, wars of aggression – according to the Chagnonite version of biological determinism – are the mark of high civilization. It is a Bizarro World perspective on the nature of human progress, one that owes much to that great anthropologist, the Marquis de Sade.

Chagnon dismisses his critics as "left-wing anthropologists" and "anti-Darwinian romantics": he and his claque present themselves as true "scientists," and treat the study of anthropology – that is, of human nature – as if it were one of the "hard" sciences, like chemistry. Armed with "scientific" certitude, their one-dimensional view of life – "impoverished," as one critic remarked – is the perfect instrument of the modern Warfare State: bloodless, dogmatic, and cruel. Chagnon’s elevation to the NAS – which used to be a prestigious organization – is an absolute disgrace, and Prof. Sahlins was right to render his resignation in protest.

Citing his own objections to Chagnon’s research methods – see here – Sahlins went on to explain the core reason for his resignation. Because of "the toll" that military action overseas "has taken on the blood, treasure, and happiness of American people, and the suffering it has imposed on other peoples,” Sahlins said, “the NAS, if it involves itself at all in related research, should be studying how to promote peace, not how to make war."

In this age of Empire, militarism pervades American culture like a poisonous fog, hypnotizing a complacent population with narratives that valorize and justify a foreign policy of perpetual war. It reaches into every corner of everyday life, from the war propaganda spewed forth by the "mainstream" media to the movies we watch and what we learn in "science" class. Once this kind of cultural rot sets in, it is hard to root out: this is the true meaning of decadence, of a society suffering the latter stages of a fatal hubris.

Yet root it out we must. The battle for peace must be waged on the cultural and scientific front, as well as in the day to day world of the pundits and the Washington policy wonks. Indeed, victory on the battlefield of the culture necessarily precedes success on the political front, as we should have learned back in the 1960s.

In best traditions of Third Reich psychologists participated in the design of torture methods in Guatanamo.

Militarization of cyberspace


"In 1990, only a quarter of a million people used the Internet; today a third of the world population is connected and the growth is exponential. Our understanding of the implications for international relations struggles to keep up." -- Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University; author of The Future of Power

Innovative weapons were always in the focus of military and intelligence agencies planners. And Cyberspace is not an exception. First of all it proved to be a tremendous resource for SIGINT. Not accidentally, on June 23, 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a memorandum  which established the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). The order specifies that the new office will be a "subordinate unified command" under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). According to the memorandum, CYBERCOM "will reach initial operating capability not later than October 2009 and full operating capability not later than October 2010." Lt. General Keith Alexander, the  Director of National Security Agency (NSA) was assigned to lead this new intelligence unit that reside at Fort Meade, Maryland, the NSA headquarters.

But even earlier that that, around 1996, the US military became interesting in usage of malware and established research programs which at the end of the day proceed several weaponazed malware packages used to attack Iranian uranium enrichment facilities and collect intelligence information from computer of researchers involved in this project.

During the occupation on Iraq the USA (which first established full control over Iraq cellular networks) launched comprehensive metadata collection which allow them to identify "suspicious persons" without analyzing content of the communication, just based on pattern of connection of their cell phones.  Those efforts were later transferred and implemented within the USA and were subject of so called "Snowden revelations" in which it became clear the NSA blatantly overstepped all legal boundaries and essentially treated the US population as "enemy combatants". 

Technological supremacy of the USA allow not only dominate cyberspace intelligence activities, but also created preconditions for future attacks via set of backdoor in equipment and software produced by US companies. After Stixnet, the equipment from leading US companies such as Dell, Cisco and HP as well as software companies such as Microsoft is now reasonably suspected of having backdoor that allow NSA access to the data/traffic. Even if there is no such backdoors US produced equipment is now tainted from the security standpoint and there will be conscious efforts to limit its use in government and military of other countries. That especially badly hurt CISCO and Microsoft.  

And it is now government not some hacker groups who use sophisticated malicious code and hacking platforms to compromise computer networks worldwide. Private companies, government entities, critical infrastructure and citizens are all potential targets.

The overall activities of government entities in cyberspace are generally described as the “militarization of the cyberspace.” Governments are investing significant resources to improve their cyber capabilities, creating ‘cyberarmies’ to defend attacks from cyber space.

Smart phones, which initially were productivity enhancing device, now more and more are viewed by individuals as "eyes and ears" of the government. With predictable results on more security conscious individuals withdrawing from this market (which does not ends interception of all their call and collection of metadata as those activities does not depend on the type of the phone used (although geo-location is more difficult with regular phone -- you need to record the tower with which the phone is communicating)   

See also:

Establishment of regime of total survellance:
Against whom total surveillance is directed

The basic principle underlying Neoliberalism, which is a dominant social system in the USA and most other countries  is “to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened.” The MIC has used a succession of bogeymen—the Soviets, Communist insurgents around the world, and now global terrorism—to scare taxpayers into supporting core defense programs whose technologies ultimately spin off into private hands

Total surveillance is not about terrorism. It's about population control. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany. it's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous STASI). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in US-speak "regime change".   In other words total surveillance is part and parcel of the totalitarian state even if it more reserved as for violence form called inverted totalitarism.

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to clack. that have access to technology and know how. that means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden. But for "open" traffic the situation is completely different. Here they are king of the hill.  Of cause correlation of open traffic can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking.

The term "Deep state" as synonym of MIC dominance with a special emphasis on the role of intelligence agencies

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. Assassination of JFK was probably a pivotal moment in the US history, the historical moment when "deep state" really came to power. In this sense Patriot Act was just an icing on the cake: like "nomenklatura"  rule in the USSR the system actually stands above the law.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

As for aggressive foreign policy there is one important difference between "predator states" and fascist regimes: extreme, rabid nationalism is typical only for fascist regimes, but is not a defining feature of "predator states". But aggressive foreign policy is and that's why the term invented by Jamie Galbraith ( “the predator state”) in his book bearing that title aptly reflect the defining feature of such states. In other words aggressive foreign policy is an immanent feature of the regime -- such regimes are almost always are engaged in some kind of war. Related, but more narrow term is "disaster capitalism" introduced by Naomi Klein which explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Her Shock Doctrine book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies were pushed through the throat of states in trouble, and prevailed through the brutal exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

US armament industry implementation of the slogan War is peace, freedom is slavery

Since WWII there were very few years when the USA was not fighting some local war or two or even three. This is a powerful testament of MIC dominance in society and, especially, the power of lobby of major arms manufactures.

Of course, both the American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower made his farewell speech. See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It is spending more on armed equipment and research than all other nations combined -- while converting all American citizens into "debt slaves" to do so.

It also stations over 500,000 troops, and untold number of spies, contractors, consultants, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, we have almost hundred thousand people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The explicit purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Funny, but among other items Pentagon also maintains 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals (to make it more convenient to fly there), and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which directly resulted in the creation of a democracy. These included Iran (1953, 1979), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959-present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s), Iraq (1991-present), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983). (The Korean War is a notable positive exception.)

Per Johnson, Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Gates made it clear that U.S. aid to the mujaheddin began six months prior to the Soviet invasion, and helped to provoke it (with the direct goal of seeking Vietnam for Soviet troops). So the USA by-and-large created, organized and financed global Islamic fundamentalist forces, which at some point became less controllable from the former center.

A recent 'Newsweek' article also pointed out waste in the Pentagon - Secretary Gates estimates there are 30 levels between himself and line officers, and expects by 2020 for the U.S. to have 'only' 20X China's number of advanced stealth fighters; other researchers recently found 530 deputy assistant secretaries of defense, compared to 78 in 1960. See also Dismantling the Empire .

Despite the economic decline, of may be because of it, New Militarism is now pandemic, supported by both parties and aggressively used by Republican Party to maintain the unity of fragile coalition of rag tag groups (see Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians). Neo-conservative ideology still dominates foreign policy and its essence (spread of "liberal democracy" with a shadow goal of defending/promoting own geo-strategical interests and first of all access to cheap oil) is not that different from the old Soviets militarism, eager to spread or "defend" the blessings of "Scientific Socialism (Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles remember those attempts all too well).

While far from historic high (reached during World War II, when it represented 20% of the civilian workforce) US military still employs 2.2 million people, or about 2% of the civilian workforce. So they represent a society within a society. If we add Department of Energy and military contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies. L-3 Communications, etc as well as servicing firms such as Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater/DynCorp we can add to this figure another million people. That means that all-in all at least three million US citizen directly or indirectly works for military-industrial complex.

There are also around five million (five million !!!) people in the USA with security clearance. Of them about three million has top security clearance.

But what is more important that military-industrial complex spends up to 50% of all taxes:

In Fiscal Year 1999 the Department of Defense awarded $118 billion to contractors for goods and services. The "Big Three" in the defense industry -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon -- alone accounted for 26% of all defense contracts in FY'99.

In fiscal year 2003 the United States Government will spend on the military more than all the rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm.This figure doesn't even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003. -- Mark Elsis Lovearth, Jan. 8, 2002

Pentagon's Anual Top Ten Defense Contractors

Lockheed Martin Corp. $17.0 billion
Boeing Co. $16.6 billion
Northrop Grumman Corp. $8.7 billion
Raytheon Co. $7.0 billion
General Dynamics Corp. $7.0 billion
United Technologies Corp. $3.6 billion
Science Applications International Corp. $2.1 billion
TRW Inc. $2.0 billion
Health Net, Inc. $1.7 billion
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. $1.7 billion

Sheldon Wolin's  concept of "inverted totalitarism" as the USA specific form of MIC dominance

Arrival on political scene of military industrial complex inevitably lead to its political dominance and establishing of some variant of National Security State with managed democracy which is promoted by subservient, corrupt and totally controlled media. But this new regime, called by Sheldon Wolin "Inverted totalitalism"  is different from such classic "National Security State" as Third Reich.

Sheldon Wolin, who taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present in Berkeley and Princeton, introduced the term "inverted totalitarism", which probably can be better called neo-bolshevism. This is an interesting, uniquely American variant of National Security State. He thinks that the latter is based on two forces:

See an excellent review of his book at AlterNet:

"Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.

Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation.

Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq."

It a way it is so similar to the brand of totalitarism practiced in the late USSR that some call the USA USSA. It has the same strong "total surveillance" tendencies. It looks exactly like Bolshevism minus:

As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant quote:

Wolin writes, "Our thesis is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos -- "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.

"No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution." He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.

To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."

Uniqueness of the "power agencies" elite and militarism as the business model of this part of the USA elite

MIC elite is uniquw in a sense that it closely resembled the Politburo of CPSU. What distinguishes the “power agencies elite” (Russians use the term "siloviki" when talking about those agencies and their elite)  from other elite groups in American society such as closely related to them financial oligarchy, is that this is thier elite position is not based solely on the ownership of property. Like CEO of large corporation they are in a position to rip benefits from advancement of thier corporation. And that, unfortunately, means that for them militarism is a way of advancement of thier own business interests.  The MIC elite’s goal is not to protect the nation from emerging threats, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment”  If necessary by creation of new threats (like Islamic fundamentalism which was organized, financed and molded into formidable political force by the USA MIC). In other words like financial oligarchy they are predatory/parasitic in relation to the "host nation" and as such they represent serious threat for the civil society. 

... the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending.

 This line of thinking is well illustrated by the paper of Aminata M. Kone The Military-Industrial Complex in the United States Evolution and Expansion from World War II to the War on Terror   which we will reproduce  in full: 

Student Pulse 2013, Vol. 5 No. 08

After World War II, the United States military gradually came into a position of overwhelming dominance in the world. Military spending in the United States far outpaces that of other countries, with their world share of military expenditures at 41% in 2011, followed by Russia and China with only eight and four percent respectively (SIPRI 2012). This has been the case since the Second World War and has been justified in different ways over time. The arguments for continued military dominance have ranged from “long-term economic gains” at the start of the war (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45) to Soviet containment during the Cold War, “a broader responsibility of global militarism” since the 1980s (Ryan 1991, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 73), and most recently the need to protect citizens against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there has been consistent concern that powerful groups in military, political, and corporate positions, profiteering from conflict and sharing interests in intensifying defense expenditure, have become the primary actors for making and administering U.S. foreign policy. Today the scope of the defense industry is now much bigger than legitimate security needs justify (see, for example, Moskos 1974, Mintz 1985, Waddell 2001 and Hossein-zadeh 2006).

This analysis argues that expansion of the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending. This essay is divided into two sections: the first focuses on the origins of America’s military-industrial complex, beginning with a definition of the elite group that the complex comprises. Next, by focusing on the period in which the foundation for the complex was laid – the Second World War – it is argued that the complex arose unintentionally in some ways, although important characteristics of it were visible from the start. Third, military Keynesianism, often used to defend high military budgets once the complex was in place, will be discussed and refuted. The second section focuses on the most important argument in favor of high military budgets today: the need to protect American citizens from the global threat of terrorism. It is argued that public perceptions of the causes of terrorism are incorrect, yet have been gladly utilized and fostered by the American military-industrial complex to justify an ineffective global war.

The Evolving Military-Industrial Complex in the United States

What distinguishes the “power elite” that constitutes the military-industrial complex from other powerful groups in American society who also seek advancement of their own interests, is that this is not a ruling class based solely on the ownership of property (Mills 1956, cited in Moskos 1974: 499-500). Rather, it is a coalition of civilian agencies that formally shape military policy (such as the Senate and the CIA), military institutions, private firms, research institutions and think tanks – all centered on and linked to the Pentagon (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 13). As a result of power arising from the occupancy in top bureaucratic positions as well as from capital ownership, the interests of the ruling elite go beyond the mere accumulation of wealth and include desires to maintain themselves in power and to press for specific forms of public policy. Their most important common interest is intensifying defense expenditure. War profiteering in itself is not new – wars have always been fought at least in part for economic gains. Today’s military-industrial complex is different in that it treats war as a business: the ruling elite’s goal of having a large military establishment is not to expand the nation’s wealth, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 90). As a consequence, decisions on defense allocation, arms production and military operations are motivated by desires for profit and personal power, not necessarily by security requirements.

This is not to say that expansion of the military budget has always been an ‘end’ for a powerful group of elites, but in fact was initially a means to serve other ends. The first big expansion of the military establishment took place in the early years of the Second World War, when the U.S. had legitimate concerns for its own national security due to such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, and feared the war would negatively impact foreign trade. Military expansion is a logical result of the former concern, as it is a means to preserve physical security. However, it is closely linked to the latter concern, too. The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the nation’s most influential think foreign policy think-tanks, advised the U.S. government that it needed free access to markets and raw materials in all regions outside of continental Europe for economic self-sufficiency. To this end, the U.S. advocated globalization and open economic cooperation through multilateralism. At the time, the crisis of the ‘30s and the war had made the concept of the free market highly unpopular. This made “military supremacy for the U.S. within the non-German world” a complementary requirement to ensure all countries within the “U.S.-led, non-German Grand Area,” including Japan, would accept American conditions (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45). In short, military spending was not yet an end in itself, it was the combined result of needing to increase power in the face of security challenges and wanting to restore trust in and stabilize the global capitalist system.

Key characteristics of the current military-industrial complex, however, were already present when the objectives of U.S. foreign policy during World War II were drafted. As Hossein-zadeh points out, a brief look at the social status and class composition of the Council on Foreign Relations, which consisted of wealthy, influential people with ties to major industrial corporations and politicians, shows that a ruling class shaped major government policies “operating through the institutional umbrella of the Council, and providing intellectual justification for major foreign policy overhauls” (2006: 41). The military-industrial complex in its present form might not have been in place then or have been created intentionally, but clearly there already was a power elite based on more than capital ownership, and strong ties between the military, political, and corporate spheres.

After World War II, the Cold War stabilized U.S. foreign policy for over forty years1. With its demise, a “vacuum in the organizing principles of national government” had emerged (Waddell 2001: 133). Even if unintended, the military-industrial complex was well in place by now, and suggestions to curtail the military budget were met with fierce opposition. However, cutting back on non-military public expenditures while an expensive military establishment is preserved proved harder to justify with the loss of the perceived Soviet threat. An argument in favor of military spending that has been used consistently is that it boosts economic growth (Dreze 2000: 180). Mintz, for instance, notes that the military-industrial complex is seen by many to have “considerable influence on levels of employment, … the profitability of arms manufacture and the scope of exports” (1983: 124).

The view that large military spending is an effective means of demand stimulation and job creation, and hence of economic growth, is called military Keynesianism. Keynes’ (non-military) theory holds that in times of inadequate purchasing power, the (non-military) private sector becomes wary of expansion, and so the government should spend money in order to boost the stagnant economy by stimulating demand. Since expansion of the military industry is a government investment, it could have the desired economic effects in times of recession. However, it is important to keep in mind that Keynes argues for little government spending in times of high employment and sufficient demand. Military Keynesianists seem to ignore this fact completely and have argued for high government expenditures even during the Golden Age after World War II – and in no other sector than the military-industrial one. This can only be explained by the fact that it is a constantly shrinking number of people experiencing the economic benefits of high military spending (Waddell 2001: 135). The same people tend to switch positions between the Pentagon, its prime contractors and lobbying think tanks supporting those contractors, meaning that military spending is no longer an economic stimulus for the entire nation. Instead, it has become a redistributive mechanism of national resources in favor of the wealthy (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 226).

Cashing In on the War on Terror

What gets lots in the debate over the economic consequences of military spending is the effect it has on international stability. An old principle asserts that military threats are essential in preventing wars from occurring (Dreze 2000: 1178), but an overly extended military establishment means actual military operations are necessary from time to time to ‘prove’ the necessity of the army. And indeed, militarists have found that the most effective manner of convincing the American public of the need of a large military establishment is the constant ‘discovery’ of external threats. The threat currently most emphasized by the U.S. is global terrorism. We argue that while some fears of Islamic fundamentalism are justified, most are not; and that the threat of terrorism is not logically followed by higher military investment.

The U.S. is not being fair in its assessment of the Arab threat. Public discourse today implies that Islam is inherently more rigid and anti-modern than other religions. Huntington famously predicted that most major conflicts would be between Muslims and non-Muslims, as “Islam has bloody borders” (1993: 12). In 1990, historian Bernard Lewis described a “surge of hatred” rising from the Islamic world that “becomes a rejection of Western civilisation as such” (cited in Coll 2012). Richard Perle, American neoconservative militarist and advisor to Israel’s Likud Party, proposes a strategy of “de-contextualization” to explain acts of terrorism and violent resistance to occupation, arguing that we must stop trying to understand the territorial, geopolitical and historical reasons that some groups turn to fundamentalism; instead, reasons for the violence of such groups must be sought in the Islamic way of thinking (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101).

Religious fundamentalism, however, is universal: it arises in response to modernity and secularism, both of which tend to weaken or threaten religious traditions. John Voll points out that by the early 1990s, “violent militancy was clearly manifest among Hindu fundamentalists, Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Jewish fundamentalists in Israel and others elsewhere” (1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 110-11). As one scholar points out, if the Bosnians, the Palestinians and the Kashmiris are asked about their borders they would say that, respectively, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are the ones that have bloody borders (Ahmed 2002: 29). Yet statements like the ones by Huntington, Lewis and Perle cited above single out Islam as the most dangerous potential enemy of the West. They all interpret the militancy of Islamic fundamentalism as being somehow directly caused by distinctive Islamic doctrines and traditions (Voll 1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 111) and attribute terrorist attacks to “pathological problems of the Muslim mind” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101). In doing so, they posit a characteristic supposedly shared by Muslims from Indonesia through Iran to Senegal, that makes conflict with the West inevitable.

An incorrect assessment of the roots of terrorism does not justify the extent to which the U.S. expanded its military activity after 2001; nor does it explain why it continues to fight an ineffective war. As Peña points out, a larger military would not have prevented the tragedy of 9/11, and it will not prevent future terrorist actions (2001, cited in Snider 2004). Terrorism, much like the war that is fought against it, is a means of pursuing objectives, not an actor. It cannot be stopped by military action as fighting does nothing to address the issues that terrorists feel can only be resolved violently; if anything, this is more likely to lead to a vicious cycle of constantly growing military budgets and an ever higher number of terrorist attacks. As one author put it: “the moral crusade to end terrorism can only begin with a realistic assessment of its cause” (Snider 2004). So far, the global war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism.

On the contrary, it seems the threat of an attack is now bigger: the number of terrorist attacks worldwide has increased from just over 1800 in 2001, to a staggering five-thousand ten years later (START 2012). The question that arises, then, is why successive U.S. administrations have found it so difficult to accept that perhaps their assessment of the causes of terrorism is incorrect; that perhaps, the policies built on their premises are not effective, but rather a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to a vicious cycle of constantly expanding military activities and an increasing number of individuals who believe their grievances cannot be settled non-violently. This has everything to do with the never-ending need for militarism: 9/11 was approached by the U.S. as an opportunity for aggression. The attacks, however heinous, were approached by the government not as crimes (which would require criminal prosecution and law enforcement), but as a personal attack against Americans (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 91). With the views expressed by Huntington, Lewis and Perle widespread among the American public already, pre-emptive war and military expansion was easily justifiable to Americans. After all, how would dialogue help if the Muslim mind is pathologically troubled? An American citizen might cringe at the idea, but it is true: the 9/11 tragedy “came from heaven to an administration determined to ramp up military budgets” (Johnson 2004: 64).

Conclusion

This essay has sought to argue that the U.S. military-industrial complex was the unintentional result of both a desire to stabilize the global capitalist system and to protect national security interests, but that military spending is now closely linked to the personal interests of a small, influential group of elites. In the first section, it was illustrated that the context of the Second World War made increased military expenditures a necessary means to other ends, although the power elite that would eventually come to benefit from these expenditures was already in place. Once in place, this power elite has constantly needed to justify the disproportionate allocation of national resources to the military establishment. Emphasizing the economic benefits of military investment by drawing on Keynesian theory is a way of doing so, but military Keynesianists seem to give a one-sided account of the theory, one that suits their interests.

The second section focused on the global war on terror, arguing that the U.S. is capitalizing on public fears which are based on an incorrect assessment of the causes of terrorism. The war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism, but as long as the public continues believing it is a necessary war, the U.S. military-industrial complex will continue using it as an opportunity to keep military budgets high.

References


1.) The U.S. did have to rethink the expenses of their policies during the crisis of the ‘70s, when expanding on both warfare and welfare became too expensive. Allocating taxpayers’ money to the military had become harder to justify for several reasons; by this time, however, the military-industrial complex was well in place. Beneficiaries of militarism succeeded in maintaining high military budgets, mainly by exaggerating the ‘Soviet threat’ (such as in the now-discredited Team B report by the Committee on the Present Danger). This was clearly a way of defining the elite group’s interests in terms of national interests and is relevant to the topic, but it is not within the scope of the essay to discuss this in detail.


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"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Nov 20, 2016] Obama and Clinton Are Complicit in Creating ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts. ..."
"... The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors. ..."
"... The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. ..."
"... The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft. ..."
"... Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare. ..."
Jun 16, 2016 | breitbart.com

The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts.

With the recent release of an August 2012 classified intelligence memo to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton detailing the presence of the organization that became ISIS among the Syrian oppositional forces supported by the West, it's important to remember the history of exactly how the Islamic State arose from the ashes of a failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy.

The Syrian "Arab Spring" agitations that began in March 2011, where majority Sunnis rebelled against an Assad run Alawite Shia Ba'th Party, quickly dissolved into a multi sided proxy war. Clinton State Department policy grew into helping these Sunni rebels under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army (FSA)" with weapons, money and diplomatic support.

However, the reality is that the FSA existed only in the minds of the State Department leadership. The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors.

The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. All the while the Assad regime's traditional allies of Russia and Iran provided weapons, training, and even thousands of fighters themselves to combat the U.S. supported Sunni rebels. The Obama/Clinton team couldn't even do a proxy war correctly.

The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft.

... ... ...

Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare.

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL, founder of Blackwater, and currently a frontier market investor and concerned parent.

[Jul 30, 2016] Is Russia our enemy?

Notable quotes:
"... Once the FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers were removed from power, Russia began to recover. The birth rate started to improve immediately, and Russia's death rate started to decline in 2006. By 2009, the gap between Russia's births and deaths closed sufficiently that immigration could fill it, and so the Russian population was growing. By 2012, births in the Russian Federation exceeded deaths, for the first time since 1991. ..."
"... In the mid-2000s, Putin proposed measures to support families having children. Western politicians and demographers poured scorn on the very idea that Russian demographics might improve. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau's population projections had Russia's population declining by 500,000/year as recently as 2015. Now Western politicians and demographers are reduced to claiming that "Putin had nuthin' to do with it!" ..."
"... Putin inherited a helpless, bankrupt, dying Russia. ..."
"... Russia, for all the Borg media grandstanding, seems to only be concerned with Russian related interests. There is no indication of greater plan for global domination. They are upgrading and preparing for a future war, sure. Any country would be smart to prepare accordingly to defend itself (and their interests). ..."
"... Russia became the enemy of United States in early 2000's after Putin started cracking down on the oligarchs that had taken over Russia's economy during Yeltsin's privatization efforts. It is estimated that seven individuals were controlling as much as 50% of Russia's economy at its peak during the late 90's: ..."
"... The ruling ideology of the West is the free movement of capital and people together with the dismantling of sovereign states and replacing them with global institutions and corporate trade pacts. Donald Trump's "America First" threatens this so he is subject to full throated attacks by the media and the connected. Vladimir Putin stands in the way of the global hegemony and the return of Russia to the 1990s. Thus, the western hybrid war for a Kremlin regime change. ..."
"... If Clinton takes over for Obama it will only mean continued escalation by the US against any country resisting a unipolar world. There are a lot more than Russia and China resisting US hegemony and that attacks, subtle as they are, continue unabated. If Trump dials that back this can only be a good thing for world peace. The neocons apparently are betting the farm on Hillary. Good, I pray they lose and are cleansed permanently from the US political landscape. Personally, I see a win by Clinton as the end of mankind. ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com
The Democratic Party convention and the media are full of the assumption that Russia is the enemy of the United States. What is the basis for that assumption?

The Obama Administration is apparently committed to a pre-emptive assertion that Russia is a world class committed enemy of the United States. The Borgist media fully support that.

We should all sober up. pl

Valissa

"In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Not to mention the financial advantages to the Military-Industrial-Thinktank complex (I'm including NATO in this) and all the politicians that benefit from the lobbying monies from that complex.

Plus there's the psychological advantage of having some country/countries to blame for the lack of US success, or to distract attention away from US problems that need it.

Grizziz -> Ghostship...

I've always thought the US inherited the hatred of Russia from the Brits and the Brits hated Russia at least back as far as the Crimean War in 1853. Not saying this as fact and am happy to get updated.

rkka said in reply to Grizziz...

Official Brit hatred of Russia got started right after the Napoleonic Wars. About 4 centuries of Brit hatred of France got transferred, lock, stock, and barrel, to Russia, since Russia then became the most powerful land power in the world.

Maritime empires hate, with undying passion, the most powerful land power in the world.

And its a funny thing, the U.S. hatred of Russia dates from the early 1880s, right when the U.S. began laying down a new steel navy to replace the rotting wooden navy built for the Civil War, started with the explicit intention of making the U.S. a global power.

Tel said in reply to Valissa...

Quote: "Plus there's the psychological advantage of having some country/countries to blame for the lack of US success, or to distract attention away from US problems that need it."

Clinton and Obama are busy campaigning that the USA has been completely successful, nothing is going wrong, everyone has jobs, etc.

I dunno who would believe this, but that's their story and for the time being they are sticking to it. You have never had it so good.

Dave Schuler

Russia's primary offense is that it has dared to have its own national interests.


SmoothieX12 -> kooshy ...

Today, all those "freedom-loving" people of former USSR, even including all those scores of West Ukrainians who hate Russian guts and Middle Asian "nationalists" flock to Russia "in pursuit of happiness". I am not saying that all those people are bad, but the question I do ask sometimes is this: you hated us, you evicted (sometimes with bloodshed) us, Russians, from your places. You got what you asked for, why then, do you come to Russia in millions (I am not exaggerating, in fact, most likely underestimating)? What happened? Of course, we all know what happened.


NotTimothyGeithner said...

Moscow is large enough to be a mommy figure for a small country with an interest in dealing with China which doesn't want to be swamped by Beijing's sheer size. Moscow is a threat to U.S. financial and military domination without firing a shot, engaging in a trade war, or leading a diplomatic revolt.

The average American doesn't care about a loss of hegemony. We naturally want cooperation and hippie peace, love, dope. The Western industries with effective monopolies abroad would see immense profits under threat because the Chinese and Russian competitors would drive prices down in finance, defense, pharmaceuticals, tech, and so forth. So they are turning to the Goering play book to keep the Russians out of the world stage. The professional Risk players in the neoconservatives would see their plans fall apart if the Erdogan-Putin meeting is a positive one.

Also, Putin embarrassed Obama over Syria in 2013 and then was magnanimous. Obama hasn't forgotten that perceived slight.


SmoothieX12 said in reply to NotTimothyGeithner...

Moscow is large enough to be

A medium-size European country herself. It is also a very peculiar economic entity. I do, however, have a question on what do you mean by a "mommy for a small country"? No matter how small the country is, in my understanding, it still will have a fair degree of freedom when building trade relations with any entity, even of such mammoth size as China.

Cee:

Col. Lang,

I read before that Obama was pushing back against this lunacy. Now the HRC-NEOCON camp are in full attack mode. I honestly think I'll be voting for Trump because I feel he can't do all of the things that I would hate for him to do. I KNOW that Hillary would get away with murder. I'm quite serious.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/27/hillary-the-hawk-a-history-clinton-2016-military-intervention-libya-iraq-syria/

Thomas -> Cee...

"I KNOW that Hillary would get away with murder. I'm quite serious."

It has already happened on this watch, see the case of MH-17.
Reply 28 July 2016 at 02:59 PM
Erik said...

The American talking point about the Crimea is a laughable piece of High School Debating Team rhetoric.The people in charge know full well the truth about Ukraine's claim to the Crimea. The thing that hurts is that the whole point of the
"Nuland Putsch" ,and the rise of a western aligned govt., was to provide the crown jewel in Nato's (read America) crown: Eliminating Russia's naval base at Sevastopol completing the encirclement of Russia in the west (except for the always vulnerable Kaliningrad).
All the rest about Russia's alleged expansionism is similar debating team poppycock.

Looking at the history of empire building and aggressive wars, one is well served to think in terms of the 3 legged stool of criminology (for aggressive wars are simply, as Jackson said at Nurnberg, the supreme international crime) and consider means, opportunity, and motive.
We have motive, the Russians do not. The motive in this case is theft, plain and simple. Russia with its small population and vast real estate holdings is already provided with more resources than she knows what to do with. We, on the other hand are not, and have not been since at least the seventies. Russia has its work cut out for it to develop what it owns already and why would they want to conquer populous resource poor neighbor states?

Not only has Putin snatched away the score of the century by re-asserting Russian control over Crimea, but he had since 2000 or so been forestalling the western feeding frenzy on the carcass of the Soviet Union that had Americans creaming their jeans. Re assertion of Russian true sovereignty was his real offense.

What's so poignant is the long standing western ambition to be able to steal what Russia has. 2 centuries of western aggression against Russia, and all dedicated to theft. Same now, and the drumbeat of warmongering rhetoric now directed at Russia is hilarious in a dangerous way. We really are using the Goering argument to drag our unwilling population towards war.


James said...

If I might be permitted to express some thoughts about why Russians feel the way they do about Putin ...

Median income in Russia increased 260% (in inflation adjusted terms) during the first 10 years that Putin was in power. That is a staggering increase in people's financial well being. The Economist and its brethren like to dismiss this achievement as being "solely due to the increased price of oil" - but if you look at Canada, its oil production per capita was and is equal to that of Russia yet Canada's median income only increased 9% during the same time period.

I think a good way to get a better sense of how the Russian's feel about Putin is to watch the Russian film "Bimmer" (if you can get access to a copy with English subtitles):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimmer_(film)

I took a trip in Africa where our white South African guides favorite catch phrase was "In Africa, anything is possible." Dystopias are terribly messed up and most people living in them suffer greatly - but there is something really sexy about them, about the feeling that anything is possible.

Russia was dystopic like this before Putin came to power - utter anarchy, crime, poverty, worse corruption than now despite what you hear from the Borg ... but at the same time, anything was possible. Bimmer depicts the transition from the anarchy of the Yeltsin years to the greater prosperity and rule of law that Russia now enjoys - while at the same time communicating the fact that many Russians can't help but feel some nostalgia for the time when anything was possible.

(I visited Russia before, during, and after this transition. I have friends who live there.)

kao_hsien_chih said in reply to James...

The 260% increase in the Russian median income (an important point--the middle Russian became financial secure under Putin) under Putin's watch underscores the other point: before Putin, Russia was a total and complete economic wreck. People who saw economic ruin firsthand don't cavalierly dismiss hard won economic security.

rkka -> Ulenspiegel...

While Russia was being run by FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers, Russians were dying off at the rate of nearly a million/year.

Once the FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers were removed from power, Russia began to recover. The birth rate started to improve immediately, and Russia's death rate started to decline in 2006. By 2009, the gap between Russia's births and deaths closed sufficiently that immigration could fill it, and so the Russian population was growing. By 2012, births in the Russian Federation exceeded deaths, for the first time since 1991.

In the mid-2000s, Putin proposed measures to support families having children. Western politicians and demographers poured scorn on the very idea that Russian demographics might improve. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau's population projections had Russia's population declining by 500,000/year as recently as 2015. Now Western politicians and demographers are reduced to claiming that "Putin had nuthin' to do with it!"

Putin inherited a helpless, bankrupt, dying Russia.

Russia now has a future. That's what Putin did, and he is rightly popular with Russians, Russians who pine for the days of the drunken incompetent comprador buffoon Yeltsin excepted.


SmoothieX12 -> Ulenspiegel...

Putin is judged by his ability to transform the Russian economy from an exporter of oil, gas and academics to something more sustainable.

It seems like you are one of those thinkers who thinks that repeating popular BS will create new reality. FYI, Russia now is #1 exporter of grain in the world. If you didn't catch real news from Russia, Rosatom's portfolio of contracts exceeds 100 billion USD. Evidently you also missed the fact that Russia is #2 exporter of many #1 weapon systems in the world, some of which are beyond the expertise (industrial and scientific) of Europe (I assume you are from that part of the world). Do you know what it takes and what host of real hi-tech goes into production of a top fighter jet or modern SSK? Russia is an active and a dominant player at the commercial space launch business, in fact whole US Atlas program flies on Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. I will repeat again, learn facts on the ground, which is relatively easy to do in the world of global IT. And finally, Russia will never live as well as US or Canada, for starters--there is a colossal difference in consumer patterns between Russians and North Americans (albeit there are many similarities too) but there is very little doubt that standard of living in Russia grew tremendously and a lot of it has very little to do with gas or oil prices. It has, however, a lot to do with retooling and re-industrialization of the country, which was ongoing since circa 2008. It is a very significant year. Last, but not least--Russia is huge own consumer market (and then some due to markets of former USSR) and that is a key. German MTU followed sanctions, well, guess what--it will never appear again on Russian markets. Thales loved to sell IR matrices to Russia, well, guess what.....you may fill in the blanks.

SmoothieX12 said in reply to different clue...

In terms of pork and poultry Russia produces 100% of that and, which did surprise me, even exports turkey. Beef--about 80% covered. Most of what Russia consumes in food stuff is home grown or made. Exceptions are some luxury food items and things like well-aged cheeses. Russian food stores can give any best US or European grocery chain a run for their money. Variety is excellent and most of it affordable. Per salmon, as far as I know it is both farm-raised and wild. What are the proportions, I don't know. I can, however, testify to the fact that, say, in Troitsky supermarket you can buy alive strelyad' (sturgeon). ...

SmoothieX12,

This is good to hear. When the "sanction Russia" crowd began embargoing various food-items being sold to Russia, they unintentionally began without realizing it an economic experiment in Protectionism. The food embargo against food going into Russia amounts to a kind of Protectionism for Russian food production within a protectionized and defended Russian market.

If it ends up allowing more monetizable food-as-wealth to be produced withIN Russia, that will allow all sorts of sectors and people to buy and sell more monetizable non-food goods and non-food services FROM withIN Russia TO withIN Russia as well. If that allows Russia to become more all-sectors-in-balance wealthier, that fact would be hard to hide eventually. And various farm-sector advocates in America could seize upon it and point to it as evidence that Protectionism WORKS to allow a country to increase its own net production and enjoyment of overall wealth withIN its own borders. And it might inspire more people to suggest we try it here within America as well. And through the abolition of NAFTA, allow Mexico to revive Protectionism for its agricultural sector as well. It might allow for enough broad-based ground-up revival of economic activity withIN Mexico that some of the millions of NAFTAstinian exiles in America might decide they have a Mexican economy to go back to again. And some of them might go back.

IF! NAFTA can be abolished and Mexico set free to re-protectionize its own agricultural economy. Perhaps if enough Mexican political-economic analysts look at events in Russia and see the ongoing success there, they too might agitate for the abolition of NAFTA and the re-protectionization of farm-country Mexico.


SmoothieX12 -> different clue...

Protectionism WORKS to allow a country to increase its own net production and enjoyment of overall wealth withIN its own borders

Free Trade fundamentalism (which is a first derivative of liberalism) is what killing USA and, I assume, Mexico. Most "academic" so called economists and bankers (monetarists) are clueless but it is them who set the framework of discussion on economy. It is a long discussion but let me put it this way--all their "theories" are crap. As for Russia--she is largely self-sustainable for years now.

kao_hsien_chih -> Ulenspiegel...

That Russia before Putin provides for better explanation of his support than even the 260%. Yes, Russia is still a relatively poor country, but only a decade before, it was a total and complete basketcase and people remember that Putin is responsible for putting things back to a semblance of normalcy.


Daniel Nicolas

In another thread, it was mentioned that countries have no friends, only interests.

Russia, for all the Borg media grandstanding, seems to only be concerned with Russian related interests. There is no indication of greater plan for global domination. They are upgrading and preparing for a future war, sure. Any country would be smart to prepare accordingly to defend itself (and their interests).

Obama's USA has been far too hostile to Russia without apparent cause. A Clinton administration would likely swing even further. While Russia has openly declared that it not want a new hot war, they are preparing accordingly because they have no choice but to prepare for the possible future USA being even more hostile.

LondonBob -> Daniel Nicolas...

https://theintercept.com/2016/07/25/robert-kagan-and-other-neocons-back-hillary-clinton/

Not likely, will be.

JohnsonR

Interesting Spiegel piece about some of Breedlove's email exchanges regarding the Ukraine from two years ago:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/breedlove-network-sought-weapons-deliveries-for-ukraine-a-1104837.html

The Germans are obviously still sore about it all.

EricB

Russia became the enemy of United States in early 2000's after Putin started cracking down on the oligarchs that had taken over Russia's economy during Yeltsin's privatization efforts. It is estimated that seven individuals were controlling as much as 50% of Russia's economy at its peak during the late 90's:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/02/russia.lukeharding1

... ... ...

VietnamVet :

Colonel,

The ruling ideology of the West is the free movement of capital and people together with the dismantling of sovereign states and replacing them with global institutions and corporate trade pacts. Donald Trump's "America First" threatens this so he is subject to full throated attacks by the media and the connected. Vladimir Putin stands in the way of the global hegemony and the return of Russia to the 1990s. Thus, the western hybrid war for a Kremlin regime change.

Hillary Clinton is supremely qualified to maintain the status quo. If Donald Trump wins, it has to be due to the perfidious Russians hacking the election; not Globalism's Losers voting against their exploitation by the insanely wealthy and the enabling technocrats. Meanwhile, the "War of Russian Aggression" heats up, Turkey turns Islamist and the EU splinters due to the war refugees and austerity.

Old Microbiologist -> Bill Herschel...

Bill,
I am with you all the way. It, of course, goes much further. There are ongoing US-manufactured destabilization events unfolding all around Russia. Then you have the economic attacks via sanctions and trade which have arguably crippled Russia. On top of that you have these insipid attacks via things like SWIFT bank transfers, IMF, World Bank and idiocy such as attempting to ban the entire Russian Olympic team from the Olympics. Russia senses these attacks on all fronts and was unfortunately caught early being unprepared. During the Soviet Union Russia was 100% self sufficient but as mentioned in other comments under Yeltsin's "privatization" programs an awful lot of that industry was sold or closed. Now Russia has had to start from scratch replacements for things not available in Russia and yet still has a budget surplus (unlike the US with a near $20 trillion deficit). They have created alternates to SWIFT, VISA/Mastercard, the IMF and even the G8.

The Crimea debacle was a clear attempt to kick Russia out of their base in Sevastopol which was brilliantly countered. However, the cost has been enormous. Little commented on is that Ukraine under US leadership has cut off water, gas, and electricity to the peninsula and blocked all traffic to the mainland. Russia is nearing the completion of the bridge to Crimea from Russia and water/power are already being delivered. This is a huge effort which shows the dedication to their control of Crimea.

Then they have undertaken to directly thwart the anti-Assad US-led coalition in Syria and have hoisted the US on its own petard. It hasn't been easy nor cheap and all of this has been happening simultaneously. On top of all of this we have buildups on the Russian borders so Putin also has to upgrade his military to counter any potential EU/NATO/US invasion of Russia. The aggression has all been one sided but delusional citizens in the US see our aggression as defensive as bizarre as that is. Outside the US people see US aggression for what it is and are not fooled into believing that we are trying to help anyone except the rich plutocrats. The immigrant invasion of Europe is seen as a US caused problem for these continuous insane wars that never end nor apparently have any actual purpose.

If Clinton takes over for Obama it will only mean continued escalation by the US against any country resisting a unipolar world. There are a lot more than Russia and China resisting US hegemony and that attacks, subtle as they are, continue unabated. If Trump dials that back this can only be a good thing for world peace. The neocons apparently are betting the farm on Hillary. Good, I pray they lose and are cleansed permanently from the US political landscape. Personally, I see a win by Clinton as the end of mankind.

[Jul 26, 2016] Trump Obama and Hillary Created ISIS Alex Jones Infowars Theres a war on for your mind!

www.infowars.com

Allen Highsmith 7 months ago

We have been saying that for years that Isis was created and funded by the US ( Obama) he should have been impeached years ago and to this day he needs to impeached and locked up for life for all the lives he has killed and for all the crooked deals he has done behind our backs! He is not even a citizen of the US! Please God help us all!

ISIS is al-Qaeda re-branded and is supported by Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the Western military alliance. Obama didn't technically 'create' them. Nor did he do anything to stop them. When ISIS first emerged, the US State Department said they were caught completely "flat -footed". ISIS emerged like a mirage in the Iraq desert, fully equipped, fully armed and driving a convoy of matching Toyota trucks!

At least Trump is telling part of the truth.

Two of a Kind Turds 7 months ago
We all know why Hillary and Obama get away with literally murder and treason. The reason is that it is leverage over them by their puppet masters to ensure they stay on course with the New World Order agenda. When it is feared that they are getting a bit off script leaks occur of their heinous crimes and they get back on script. Both of these pathetic scum bags know what awaits them if they turn away from their puppet master's wishes. At the least prison for life and the worse is death in so many possible ways that it would be a replay of Kennedy with different patsies. This is why Hillary has a Cheshire cat grin and Obama plays more golf than any other president. They know they have a get out of jail free pass.
Mahboob Khan 7 months ago
I would like to say that Obama and Hillary Clinton were too weak or complacent to stop the Neoconservatives/Zionists/Establishment from creating ISIS. It was their way of toppling the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and helping Israel to tighten the grip over stolen land.
Elapoides Mahboob Khan 7 months ago
I would like to say watch the "Yuri Bezmenov" interviews, and realize there is no difference between the democrats and establishment GOP, they are the same thing. The cancer of the democrat party bled into the GOP, hence the establishment, and organ of the democrat party. I was able to see through GW Bush, other establishment RINOs, and was honest enough to see the fraud. I used my intellect, my brains, to see what was going on, and left the republican party many years ago. YOU are still defending the democrat party, Obama, and Hillary. Pathetic.

[Jul 26, 2016] Huge See, I Told You So Hillary Admits We Backed ISIS in Syria

Notable quotes:
"... MCINERNEY: I happen to agree with her. I'm not sure why it's just coming out now. I was pushing for the Free Syrian Army. They were a huge ally. We ended up arming the wrong people over there, and, remember, ISIS was formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and so look at what we have now create -- we didn't create it. By doing nothing, we let it create itself. And if we don't stop it now and stop it and protect the Kurds, we have a huge problem not only in the Middle East, but globally. ..."
"... I said, "I'm not defending Assad. As always, I'm interested in the truth, and I just don't believe --" I had to work hard to get to a point where I automatically reject everything I hear coming out of the news media in Washington when the Democrats are in power because, by and large, when it comes to foreign policy, every story is made to cover up for their inadequacies, their incompetence, and the fact that they're wrong about everything. But here's McInerney again because there's a little hidden gem in this sound bite that I want to see, if by some chance, some of you picked up. ..."
August 11, 2014 | The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: Now, I mentioned this, I think, in first hour, previously on the program. Obama has been refusing to help Iraq for at least a year. A year ago, it would have been easy, comparatively, to wipe out ISIS. They were still gathering tightly together in their staging zones.

Had you heard of ISIS a year ago? I venture to say that most people heard of ISIS for the first time in the past couple months. So Obama had plenty of chances. In fact, ladies and gentlemen, if Obama had wanted to take out ISIS, he would not have formed a supportive relationship with them in Syria! ISIS is who is "the rebels" in Syria opposing Bashar al-Assad. Before I get to Syria, I just want to put the exclamation point on this thought.

Barack Obama, the Democrat Party, and the media (their willing accomplices) need Iraq to be always seen as a Bush miserable failure, a Bush war, a Bush failure. Just as Vietnam was supposed to be seen as a failure for Nixon. Now, you may be learning for the first time that the rebels in Syria were ISIS. Over the weekend, it was reported that Hillary Clinton ripped into Obama for his failure to help the Syrian rebels and that this failure to help the Syrian rebels led to the rise of ISIS.

It's in The Atlantic in a story by Jeffrey Goldberg. It's a long interview. But there is this knife-in-the-back criticism that Hillary directs at Obama, a comment that he made while Hillary was his secretary of state. Do you remember he praised her, "best secretary of state ever"? She might be, he said. On the day she resigned or the day they announced of her resignation, there was a joint presser.

Obama is praising Hillary to the nines and talking about how she may be one of the best secretaries of state ever, and now here comes Hillary back-stabbing Obama by claiming that his failure to help the Syrian rebels led to the rise of ISIS. Right here it is, Jeffrey Goldberg: "The former secretary of state, and probable candidate for president, outlines her foreign-policy doctrine.

"She says this about President Obama's: 'Great nations need organizing principles, and "Don't do stupid stuff" is not an organizing principle.'" It's a slam, but I wonder: Are reset buttons organizing principles? Because, let's not forget that Mrs. Clinton actually showed up with a Soviet leader... (pfft, slap myself) a Russian leader with a plastic and red toy that said, in crudely spelled words, "reset button." I kid you not!

... ... ...

The conventional wisdom was that Assad was gassing his own people. Remember, Obama, in the previous summer of 2013, issued this red line and dared Assad not to cross it. (imitating Obama) "You cross that red line, pal, you're gonna have me to deal with," and we never did anything. But the word was out that Assad was gassing and harming his own people. And I remember saying on this program -- Koko, go back to that era and just for the website today, go find what I said on those days and relink it, 'cause I made the point, I asked the question, "What if it isn't Assad? What if the people creating mayhem in Syria are actually Assad's enemies disguising themselves as protesters of Assad and trying to make it appear as though he's doing this, when in fact he's not?"

And after I'd mentioned that, I got an e-mail from a friend who is somewhat aware of the circumstances in Iraq and I was told that I was more right than I knew. And Hillary is now coming along and essentially saying the same thing. She's not suggesting that ISIS was there. She is suggesting that our lack of doing anything about it led to ISIS taking over the anti-Assad movement, when in fact it was ISIS all along. ISIS was doing it and they were making it look like Assad did it. And just like the media was biased toward Hamas, so was the media biased toward the same type of people in Syria who are trying to make it look like Assad was doing this.

I had never seen any evidence that Bashar Assad -- his father was different. His father, Hafez al-Assad, was a brutal guy and did commit atrocities to keep people in line. But there's no evidence that Bashar had really done it. I knew that Al-Qaeda's on the march and they're trying to gain control. The Muslim Brotherhood's trying to gain control, that whole area. It was a lot of Christians in Syria that were being beaten up, killed, assaulted, what have you, and it was made to look like it was Assad, and now we've learned that it wasn't.

The point is I called it. I was right, and that's what Hillary is now claiming that Obama missed and that she was right about, but she never said it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay. Here's me, folks, from this program on September 11th, 2013. By the way, Koko, if you want to find the website history to link to what I originally said about this, find September 2nd, 3rd, 4th, somewhere in there, my memory is. But this was September 11th of last year.

RUSH ARCHIVE: Here we are 12 years later after 9/11, and think about it. Twelve years later we are supporting Muslim terrorists in Syria. Muslim terrorists who are threatening to kill Syrian Christians if they don't convert to Islam. That's who our allies are. Those are the rebels that Bashar Assad is supposedly gassing. So we're aligned with 'em because we're aligned against Assad. They're threatening to kill Syrian Christians if they don't convert to Islam.

RUSH: This was ISIS, folks, and we were anti-Assad. It was made to look like Assad was doing the gassing. He wasn't, as it turns out. This morning on Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade spoke to retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney about Clinton's remarks criticizing Obama's handling of ISIS and here's what the general said about Hillary's remarks.

MCINERNEY: I happen to agree with her. I'm not sure why it's just coming out now. I was pushing for the Free Syrian Army. They were a huge ally. We ended up arming the wrong people over there, and, remember, ISIS was formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and so look at what we have now create -- we didn't create it. By doing nothing, we let it create itself. And if we don't stop it now and stop it and protect the Kurds, we have a huge problem not only in the Middle East, but globally.

RUSH: Well, that's General McInerney. I've got 15 seconds before the break. It turns out that my sources on this way back a year ago were absolutely right, that Assad was not the bad guy.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, I tell you what's funny about this is Hillary Clinton. It's clear to me that Hillary Clinton obviously thinks that foreign policy is still gonna be her strong pantsuit, as she heads into the campaign. She really does. That's why she's doing all of this. But I want to play this audio sound bite again from General McInerney, because there's a gem in this that is another example of how Obama and the left, the Democrats, the media lied for five years, 2004 to 2009. Actually, 2003 to 2008 would be the specific time period, bashing Iraq every day, every night, every day of the year.

One other thing. Koko has found exactly what I was talking about. There was a post at RushLimbaugh.com on September 3rd, "What if Assad Didn't Do It?" And my memory has now been refreshed. I had a couple of sources and an e-mail from a friend confirm, so three different confirmations here from people, that what we were getting in the news every day that Assad was gassing his people probably wasn't true. That it was, it turns out ISIS, at the time known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq that was doing it, and making it look like it was Assad, and that's who our allies were. We were anti-Assad and we actually had an alliance, loose though it was, formed with the very people we're now bombing in Iraq.

I remember I took my fair share of heat, and I always do when I'm not part of the conventional wisdom. Assad's easy to hate. Assad's a dictator. Assad has a typical bad image and when somebody says he's gassing his own people, it's automatically believed. And here I came, all of Washington supports the idea that Assad was doing it, and I said, "I'm not so sure. What if."

"Rush, you didn't have to say anything. Why are you going out on a limb? Why do you want to sound like you're defending Assad?"

I said, "I'm not defending Assad. As always, I'm interested in the truth, and I just don't believe --" I had to work hard to get to a point where I automatically reject everything I hear coming out of the news media in Washington when the Democrats are in power because, by and large, when it comes to foreign policy, every story is made to cover up for their inadequacies, their incompetence, and the fact that they're wrong about everything. But here's McInerney again because there's a little hidden gem in this sound bite that I want to see, if by some chance, some of you picked up.

MCINERNEY: I happen to agree with her. I'm not sure why it's just coming out now. I was pushing for the Free Syrian Army. They were a huge ally. We ended up arming the wrong people over there, and, remember, ISIS was formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and so look at what we have now create -- we didn't create it. By doing nothing, we let it create itself. And if we don't stop it now and stop it and protect the Kurds, we have a huge problem not only in the Middle East, but globally.

RUSH: In the early days of 2002 when Bush was traveling the country making the case for invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein, I remember a couple of instances pointing out that Al-Qaeda, prior to 9/11, had done some training in Iraq. And one of the things that had been found was a hollowed-out shell of an airliner fuselage.

Now, the conventional wisdom was that Al-Qaeda had never been in Iraq, that Bush was making this up, or that the intel was all wrong, but likely it was just Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld lying to make their case, because Al-Qaeda was clearly the enemy after 9/11. Al-Qaeda had hijacked the planes at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Al-Qaeda was the evil, Osama bin Laden, and Bush was going after them in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq.

The Democrats and the media, led by Obama starting in 2002, and other Democrats, Teddy Kennedy, they were all -- I mean, John Kerry, they were all making fun and mocking the idea that Al-Qaeda had anything to do with Iraq. Al-Qaeda was never in Iraq and nobody can prove it, they said. Saddam had nothing to do with 911. Now, the Bush people at the time were saying, "We can't afford --" 9/11 had just happened. "What happened here is real. And any time there is anybody in the world vowing to do that or more, we are going to take it seriously."

They were making the case for preemptive military strikes. That's what all this was called, because the left and the Democrats were arguing that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, therefore it was not moral or strategically wise to hit Iraq. They had nothing to do with it. The Bush people were saying, whether they did or didn't, it doesn't matter, they're threatening to do the same thing. And after it's happened once, we are in charge of protecting this country and defending the people, and we can't sit here and take these threats lightly.

Saddam at the time was lying to the UN inspectors about his weapons of mass destruction. It turned out that he was big timing and he was trying to look like the most powerful Arab in the region by being the most feared. So he was lying about at least the size of his weapons of mass destruction stock. And part of the lie, part of the illusion was to not let the inspectors in. He wanted everybody to conclude that he had a boatload of the stuff. And the Bush administration was trying to tell everybody we can't afford to wait to be hit again to take action. We've got to hit preemptively.

I'll never forget any of this, folks. Because I'll never forget the Democrats arguing about it. Because the Democrats, even after 9/11, after a week of solidarity went by, the Democrats conceived a political strategy, the purpose of which was to make sure Bush did not secure any long-lasting credit for any policy he instituted following 9/11.

Also remember this, along those same lines. Bill Clinton, it was reported -- he later denied it -- but Clinton, according to some famous well-known Democrats, was lamenting that 9/11 didn't happen on his watch, because it prevented him an opportunity to show greatness and leadership. He was upset that it had happened with Bush. If it was gonna happen, why couldn't it have happened during his time? We reported that and all hell broke loose. A string of denials were forthcoming.

But the point is they politicize everything. There was unity for a week and after that the Democrats devised a political strategy, the purpose of which was to make sure Bush did not secure one positive achievement in the aftermath of 911. So these guys began opposing everything Bush wanted to do when it came to Iraq. At first they even opposed the use of force in Afghanistan. That's when they asked for the vote a second time.

Remember, there was a memo uncovered, a memo that was written by Jay Rockefeller, Democrat senator from West Virginia, in which it was stated that as a strategy -- and this had come from James Carville and Stan Greenberg in a memo. It was then written up by Rockefeller, who was the Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat in the Senate. He said that they had to make Bush out to be a liar.

And it said if they were to succeed with this, that their strategy depended on convincing people that Bush was lying about all of this in order to depress and lower his high approval numbers. So, as I say, here's the gem that was in McInerney's piece ('cause I'm running out of time here). Throughout all of this in the run-up to invading Iraq, whenever the possibility that Al-Qaeda might have been in Iraq came up, the Democrats said, "No way!

"Al-Qaeda never found its way to Iraq! They wouldn't know how to get to Iraq if you gave 'em a map. They haven't been to Iraq. They don't have anything to do with Saddam! They were helpless." Now listen to what we just heard here. ISIS was originally known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Now, some of you might be saying, "Well, maybe so, Rush, but Al-Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist before we attacked."

It did!

We were able to confirm that elements of Al-Qaeda did connect with Saddam for training exercises and so forth. But the point is, in hindsight, look at what we're learning here. ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Iraq are all over the Middle East, just like the Muslim Brotherhood. And in Syria, we were actually, stupidity and maybe unknowingly (given this bunch, I could believe it was unknowingly) supporting them

Because we had concluded that Bashar Assad was the one gassing his own people. I had never seen any evidence that Assad treated his own people that way. I knew he treated political enemies that way, which is why it was not a very long leap to making people believe that he might gas his own people if he's gassed others. Ditto, Saddam and the Kurds. But there hadn't been any evidence that Bashar Assad gassed his own people.

So, anyway, that's that, and it's just... Some of it's ancient history, but some of it's just last year and some of it's just yesterday, and so much of it is lies. And so many of these lies are why we're even here today. So all of these lies about all of this stuff is one of the very large reasons why Obama was elected in the first place. It's just dispiriting in a way -- and in another way, surely frustrating, and that's why I've been so ticked off all day.

END TRANSCRIPT

[Jul 25, 2016] The New American Century was announced at the UN in November, 1991 by George Herbert Walker Bush

Notable quotes:
"... "it's been 15 years now since the dawn of the criminal 'New American Century'," You must be young. The New American Century was announced at the UN in November, 1991 by George Herbert Walker Bush. ..."
"... Bush lost the election twelve months later, but the criminal who won was even more effective in establishing this new world order than Bush could have ever been. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org

Macon Richardson | Jul 23, 2016 6:09:36 PM | 36

jfl @ 2, you note that "it's been 15 years now since the dawn of the criminal 'New American Century'," You must be young. The New American Century was announced at the UN in November, 1991 by George Herbert Walker Bush. I watched him on television that evening announcing a "new world order" and my blood ran cold. I knew that evening where all this was leading to. It was leading to where we are right now.

Bush lost the election twelve months later, but the criminal who won was even more effective in establishing this new world order than Bush could have ever been.

The New American Century was announced in November, 1991. Internationally, the policy began with Bush senior urging Sadaam to invade Kuwait, thereby creating a cassus belli for everything that has happened since.

Domestically, it began with the wanton siege of the Waco religious sect and the murder of Randy Weaver's wife and baby.

[Jul 25, 2016] Columns Hillary Clinton Admits U.S. Created Al Qaeda, ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... If destroying Syria is the way we "help" Israel, how many other nations must the U.S. destroy to "help" Israel? And before John Hagee's braindead disciples start shouting "Destroy them all!" I remind you that Syria and other parts of the Middle East is the historic home of millions of Christians going back to the time of the Apostle Paul. ..."
"... On the whole, Neocons and Neolibs are people without conscience. At their core, they have no allegiance to the United States or any other country. They are globalists. The only god they serve is the god of power and wealth, and they don't care how many people--including Americans--they kill to achieve it. The blood of millions of dead victims around the world is already dripping from their murderous hands. ..."
chuckbaldwinlive.com
May 26, 2016

Why isn't the Mainstream Media (MSM) in America reporting the fact that Hillary Clinton admitted in public that the U.S. government created Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al Nusra, etc.? Why does the MSM refuse to tell the American people that the United States has not ever actually fought ISIS but instead has surreptitiously and very actively supported ISIS and the other radical Muslim terrorists in the Middle East? Why has the media refused to reveal the fact that ever since Russia started to fight a true offensive war against ISIS the terrorist organization has been reduced to almost half?

I'll tell you why: the MSM is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the U.S. government--no matter which party is in power. The MSM doesn't work for the U.S. citizenry. It doesn't even work for its corporate sponsors. It works for the Washington Power Elite permanently ensconced in D.C. (and yes, those same Power Elite control most of those media corporate sponsors).

It is a sad reality that if one wants to get accurate news reporting, one must mostly bypass the U.S. propaganda media and look to sources outside the U.S. Here is a Canadian publication that covered the Hillary admission:

"The following video features Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledging that America created and funded Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

"'Let's remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago.

"'Let's go recruit these mujahideen.

"'And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.'"

"What she does not mention is that at no time in the course of the last 35 years has the US ceased to support and finance Al Qaeda as a means to destabilizing sovereign countries. It was 'a pretty good idea', says Hillary, and it remains a good idea today:

"Amply documented, the ISIS and Al Nusrah Mujahideen are recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command, with the support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

"The more fundamental question:

"Should a presidential candidate who candidly acknowledges that 'We created Al Qaeda' without a word of caution or regret become president of the US, not to mention Hillary's commitment to waging nuclear war on Russia if and when she becomes president of the United States of America."

The report continues:

"The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is led by the United States. It is not directed against Al Qaeda.

"Quite the opposite: The 'Global War on Terrorism' uses Al Qaeda terrorist operatives as their foot soldiers.

"'Political Islam' and the imposition of an 'Islamic State' (modeled on Qatar or Saudi Arabia) is an integral part of US foreign policy."

The report further states:

"It is a means to destabilizing sovereign countries and imposing 'regime change'.

"Clinton's successor at the State Department, John Kerry is in direct liaison with Al Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliated organization in Syria, integrated by terrorists and funded by the US and its allies.

"In a bitter irony, John Kerry is not only complicit in the killings committed by Al Nusra, he is also in blatant violation of US anti-terrorist legislation. If the latter were to be applied to politicians in high office, John Kerry would be considered as a 'Terror Suspect'".

See the report here:

Hillary Clinton: "We Created Al Qaeda". The Protagonists Of The "Global War On Terrorism" Are The Terrorists

Think it through, folks: the U.S. government creates the radical Islamic terror networks that justify America's "Global War On Terror" which directly results in millions of refugees (and no doubt plants terrorists among them) flooding Europe. At the same time, it purposely refuses to protect our own borders and even forces states and local communities to accept hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees (but the government is not sending any Christian refugees to America, even though a sizable percentage of the refugees include Christians also) and pushes NATO to the doorstep of Russia, which to any objective observer could only be regarded as an overt incitement to war.

Furthermore, why doesn't the MSM report the words of Hillary saying that the "best way to help Israel" is to destroy Syria? Why doesn't the media acknowledge that official U.S. foreign policy is to foment perpetual war, not in the name of the safety and security of the United States, but in the name of "helping" Israel?

Here is how the same Canadian publication covers this part of the story:

"A newly-released Hillary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the 'best way to help Israel.'

"In an indication of her murderous and psychopathic nature, Clinton also wrote that it was the 'right thing' to personally threaten Bashar Assad's family with death.

"In the email, released by Wikileaks, then Secretary of State Clinton says that the 'best way to help Israel' is to 'use force' in Syria to overthrow the government."

It continues:

"Even though all US intelligence reports had long dismissed Iran's 'atomic bomb' program as a hoax, (a conclusion supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency), Clinton continues to use these lies to 'justify' destroying Syria in the name of Israel."

And again:

"The email proves--as if any more proof was needed--that the US government has been the main sponsor of the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, and all in order to 'protect' Israel.

"It is also a sobering thought to consider that the 'refugee' crisis which currently threatens to destroy Europe, was directly sparked off by this US government action as well, insofar as there are any genuine refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.

"In addition, over 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which has spread to Iraq--all thanks to Clinton and the Obama administration backing the 'rebels' and stoking the fires of war in Syria."

See the report here:

Hillary Clinton: Destroy Syria For Israel: "The Best Way To Help Israel"

If destroying Syria is the way we "help" Israel, how many other nations must the U.S. destroy to "help" Israel? And before John Hagee's braindead disciples start shouting "Destroy them all!" I remind you that Syria and other parts of the Middle East is the historic home of millions of Christians going back to the time of the Apostle Paul.

The truth is, Hillary (and the rest of the grubby gaggle of Neocons) doesn't give a tinker's dam about Israel. Neocons such as Hillary Clinton simply use Israel (and the misguided passions of Christians and conservatives who blindly support Israel) as cover to accomplish their real agenda: manipulating world governments to the enrichment and empowerment of themselves.

Donald Trump is untested. But if Hillary should be elected, I'm confident she would not make it through her first term without taking us into another G.W. Bush-type war (or worse)--except she will also add the attempted disarmament of the American people to her nefarious agenda.

That's what Neocons do: they foment war. To their very soul, they are warmongers. And never forget that Hillary Clinton is a true-blue Neocon. Or if the word "Neoliberal" sounds better to you in describing Hillary, so be it. They both mean the same thing: WAR.

Here is a good explanation of how both Neocons and Neolibs are working from the same script:

Neocons And Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill

On the whole, Neocons and Neolibs are people without conscience. At their core, they have no allegiance to the United States or any other country. They are globalists. The only god they serve is the god of power and wealth, and they don't care how many people--including Americans--they kill to achieve it. The blood of millions of dead victims around the world is already dripping from their murderous hands.

And if you think my indictment against the Neocons is an exaggeration, Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan) was even more scathing in his condemnation of them:

"The remaining danger is the crazed American neoconservatives. I know many of them. They are completely insane ideologues. This inhuman filth has controlled the foreign policy of every US government since Clinton's second term. They are a danger to all life on earth. Look at the destruction they have wreaked in the former Yugoslavia, in Ukraine, in Georgia and South Ossetia, in Africa, in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The American people were too brainwashed by lies and by political impotence to do anything about it, and Washington's vassals in Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan had to pretend that this policy of international murder was 'bringing freedom and democracy.'

"The crazed filth that controls US foreign policy is capable of defending US hegemony with nuclear weapons. The neoconservatives must be removed from power, arrested, and put on international trial for their horrendous war crimes before they defend their hegemony with Armageddon.

"Neoconservatives and their allies in the military/security complex make audacious use of false flag attacks. These evil people are capable of orchestrating a false flag attack that propels the US and Russia to war."

See Roberts' column here:

The Fall Of The Unipower

And make no mistake about it: the national news media is a deliberate and willing facilitator of these international crimes against humanity.

© Chuck Baldwin

[Jul 24, 2016] Prominent neocons chickenhawks jump the ship and join Hillary camp

Notable quotes:
"... ...if you are a hard-core promoter of wars like Robert Kagan, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Jamie Weinstein, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Richard Perle, George Shultz, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and many others, you have either endorsed or said very positive things about Hillary Clinton. How to explain this? ..."
"... But if you believe that the U.S. military is a force for good that hardly ever kills anyone worthy of redemption, that the chief role of the military is to rescue poor innocents from evil by overthrowing tyrants and spreading democracy by drone missile, if you believe air wars are more humane because in air wars nobody gets hurt, if you think presidents checking off kill lists on Tuesdays is ideal as long as it's the right presidents doing it, if you cheer for diversity in the U.S. military and want the Selective Service expanded to force every 18-year-old woman to register for the draft, if you believe Honduras and Ukraine and Libya had it coming or you have no idea what I'm referring to, if you think suggesting the abolition of NATO or a halt to overthrowing governments is crazy talk, and if you believe a good heavy bombing campaign of Syria would be the perfect way to demonstrate that we care about Syrians and value them as human beings, you just might be a Democrat. ..."
www.informationclearinghouse.info

RNC War Party, DNC War Makers by David Swanson

...if you are a hard-core promoter of wars like Robert Kagan, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Jamie Weinstein, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Richard Perle, George Shultz, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and many others, you have either endorsed or said very positive things about Hillary Clinton. How to explain this? Are the most rabid war supporters on one side and the most dependable war makers getting nominated by the other? Well, maybe.

But if you believe that the U.S. military is a force for good that hardly ever kills anyone worthy of redemption, that the chief role of the military is to rescue poor innocents from evil by overthrowing tyrants and spreading democracy by drone missile, if you believe air wars are more humane because in air wars nobody gets hurt, if you think presidents checking off kill lists on Tuesdays is ideal as long as it's the right presidents doing it, if you cheer for diversity in the U.S. military and want the Selective Service expanded to force every 18-year-old woman to register for the draft, if you believe Honduras and Ukraine and Libya had it coming or you have no idea what I'm referring to, if you think suggesting the abolition of NATO or a halt to overthrowing governments is crazy talk, and if you believe a good heavy bombing campaign of Syria would be the perfect way to demonstrate that we care about Syrians and value them as human beings, you just might be a Democrat.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is the most dependable war monger nominated by a major party in the United States in many years. She has the most consistent and lengthy record of doing what she's paid to do, of marketing U.S. weaponry abroad, of manufacturing justifications for wars, of lobbying branches of the U.S. government and foreign governments to support wars. And she'll do so while keeping up a pretense of abiding by some selection of laws.

... ... ...

I've studied the marketing of wars , and the most successful war marketing campaigns in the United States include, in order from most to least necessary:

1) The pretense of a threat to anyone in the United States, most powerfully if it is a threat of torture or rape or death by hand or knife. It need not be the least bit realistic.
2) The demonization of an entire foreign population.
3) The demonization of a particular foreign person.
4) Revenge.
5) The pretense of urgency, inevitability, and ideally of the state of being already underway.
6) The pretense of upholding the rule of law.
7) The pretense of humanitarianism.

Point #7 will pick up a section of the population's support, even among people opposed to some of the other justifications. But alone it won't work. Points #1 and #2 can do well without #7. Any of these points can be strengthened or undone by partisanship if the war is labeled the possession of one political party or the other. And once the war is really up and rolling, a new justification slides into the #1 spot, namely the need to "support the troops" by killing more of them.

[Jul 24, 2016] Vote for Hillary is a vote for military industrial complex

I knew that Hillary would pick a neo-liberal corporate tool. I still think Trump might be worth voting for - if only to throw sand in the gears of the system - but his picking neo-liberal corporate tool Mike Pence as VP was disappointing. Business as usual? Mike Pence might be viewed as Jeb Bush copycat. Apparently the Pence in the ticket is not "America first" but " Israel First". Trump picked a neocon who voted twice for the Iraq war and also for invasion and regime-change in Libya. This is in contrast to Trump's own non-interventionist policy. See "Trump's VP Choice a Betrayal: Open Letter to the Campaign Team": https://quemadoinstitute.org/2016/07/16/trumps-vp-choice-a-betrayal-open-letter-to-the-campaign-team/
Notable quotes:
"... As a Senator since 2013, Kaine has regularly called for increased US involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He has consistently supported the Obama administration's reckless brinkmanship against Russia and China, two nuclear-armed powers. He has repeatedly pushed for a Congressional resolution officially declaring war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to clear the way for stepped-up US intervention. ..."
"... Like Clinton, Kaine has also supported the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, an action that would quickly provoke a confrontation with Russia. ..."
www.informationclearinghouse.info

In selecting Kaine, Clinton is making clear that she plans on running a right-wing, pro-war campaign targeted at winning over the military and sections of the Republican Party dissatisfied with Trump, and particularly with the Republican candidate's attitude toward Russia. Clinton also wanted to repudiate any association with the issues of social inequality that motivated the widespread support for her main rival in the primaries, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Kaine is among the most hawkish figures among Senate Democrats. As governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, Kaine oversaw billions of dollars in cuts to the state budget. The state of Virginia is a major center for the military and defense industry, and is home to the Pentagon and the headquarters of the CIA.

Between 2009 and 2011, Kaine served as the head of the Democratic National Committee, the leadership body of the Democratic Party. He is close to Wall Street, having recently backed measures to deregulate banks.

As a Senator since 2013, Kaine has regularly called for increased US involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He has consistently supported the Obama administration's reckless brinkmanship against Russia and China, two nuclear-armed powers. He has repeatedly pushed for a Congressional resolution officially declaring war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to clear the way for stepped-up US intervention.

Like Clinton, Kaine has also supported the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, an action that would quickly provoke a confrontation with Russia.

[Jul 24, 2016] Hillary Clinton Didnt Create ISIS, But America Can Still Blame Itself

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Sleeping With the Devil ..."
blackbag.gawker.com

Wise Men of Foreign Affairs have jumped at the chance to debunk a wild rumor that Hillary Clinton bragged about creating ISIS in her new memoir-truly an easy layup in the annals of punditry. The rumor even got the name of Clinton's memoir wrong. But, that's OK: The remaining facts still allow America to feel guilty.

According to at least one Egyptian blogger, the conspiracy theory-complete with fake quotes from a fantasy version of Clinton's memoir entitled Plan 360-emerged from the hothouse of Egypt's Pro-Mubarak/Pro-Military Facebook pages: a social circle in which it is already de rigueur to suggest that the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood secretly conspired to orchestrate the Arab Spring. This screenshot of a Facebook page for the Egyptian military's counter-terrorism and special operations unit, Task Force 777, and its reconnaissance special operations unit, Task Force 999, depicts one of the earliest appearances of the fake Clinton quotes:

Leaving aside for the moment the question of why Clinton would brag about this covert operation, in progress, in her memoir, what foreign policy objectives could possibly be achieved by America manufacturing ISIS? Like: Why do that? To what ends?

One version involves Israel (obviously), and something about balkanizing Israel's Mid-East neighbors to both justify their nefarious Zionist expansion, or whatever, and remove opposition to it. Another version, as The Week pointed out Tuesday, claims that the U.S. would plan to recognize an ISIS caliphate and that this caliphate would turn out to be (somehow) very amenable to America's strategic and economic interests.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Embassy in Beirut felt compelled to publicly debunk all this on their Facebook page, it's unclear how many people in the region actually believed it.

The hashtag #HilaryClintonsMemoirs ( #مذكرات_هيلاري_كلينتون) quickly started trending across social media in the region, Huffington Post UK reported, "with satirical tweets mocking the theory with outlandish claims about what else the Secretary of State might have written-like a secret CIA plot to close all the restaurants in Cairo and replace them with McDonalds."

Good one, the Middle East. I'm lovin' it.

Not everyone appreciated the Middle East's jokes, however. Writing in his "Open Source" column for the New York Times, Robert Mackey would like you to know that many in the Arab-speaking world are doing some genuine soul-searching about their culture's own role in the emergence of ISIS and that these conspiracy theories have simply been a haven for the obstinate and the self-deluded; Muslims who are too afraid to look themselves and their societies in the mirror.

For instance, the Lebanese scholar Ziad Majed wrote on his blog that at least six factors from the recent history of the Middle East helped give birth to the militant movement, including "despotism in the most heinous form that has plagued the region," as well as "the American invasion of Iraq in 2003," and "a profound crisis, deeply rooted in the thinking of some Islamist groups seeking to escape from their terrible failure to confront the challenges of the present toward a delusional model ostensibly taken from the seventh century."

That sort of introspection is not for everyone, of course, so a popular conspiracy theory has spread online that offers an easier answer to the riddle of where ISIS came from: Washington.

Ha, ha. "Washington." What buffoons!

Let's learn a valuable lesson from the psychological projections of these weak-willed Third World plebes: desert Archie Bunkers and izaar-clad Tony Sopranos too parochial in their worldview and too much in denial of their own culpability to face this present danger.

America is better than that.

Let us examine with clear eyes all the ways in which our own democratically elected government-in Washington-is responsible for where ISIS came from.

U.S. Policy in Chechnya

In a report this week on the blistering efficiency and military prowess of ISIS, ABC News reporter James Gordon Meek got an incredibly great, short answer as to where the Islamic State gained its technical expertise:

"Probably the Chechens," a U.S. official said.

ISIS, or ISIL, or the Islamic State-whatever you want to call it-was nearly dead in 2007, after U.S. forces in Iraq and local Sunni tribes successfully joined forces against the group. It wasn't until the Syrian uprisings that it reemerged as a potent force, after a failed merger with the al-Qaida-affiliated Syrian rebel group al-Nusra, lead most of al-Nusra's foreign-born jihadis to defect to ISIS.

"Foreign-born jihadis" here meaning career Islamists like the Chechen groups, which have been conducting terror campaigns, kidnappings, and suicide bombings in Russia, with a reasonable degree of success, for over 15 years now. Some of the most prominent leaders now fighting with ISIS are Chechens: the ginger-bearded "rising star" Omar al-Shishani and the group's Che Guevara, Muslem al-Shishani (the unnervingly studly viking face pictured above). In addition to Saudi and Pakistani assistance, many of the Chechens were led and supported by the CIA-trained Afghan mujahideen, up-to-and-including Osama bin Laden: ace mentors, in other words, with proven experience in a professional terror setting.

When not actively defending the Chechen extremists with weirdly bipartisan neocon-neoliberal advocacy groups, policy makers and government officials in Washington have turned a proactively blind eye to Chechen Islamist activities in Russia and here in the United States with infamously fatal consequences. Both the 9/11 Commission Report and FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley have shown that senior-level officials refused to classify Islamic terrorists in Chechnya-like their then-leader Ibn al Khattab who had direct contact with bin Laden-as actual terrorists, thus preventing the FBI from properly investigating "20th hijacker" Zaccarias Moussaoui before 9/11. Another pre-9/11 FBI investigation, this time into a Florida summer camp run by the Saudi-funded World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), discovered that the group was showing children videos praising Chechen bombers, only to be pulled off the case according to an FBI memo, ID 1991-WF-213589, uncovered by Greg Palast for the BBC and Vice. Upon further digging by Palast:

Several insiders repeated the same story: U.S. agencies ended the investigation of the bin Laden-terrorist-Chechen-jihad connection out of fear of exposing uncomfortable facts. U.S. intelligence had turned a blind eye to the Abdullah bin Laden organisation [yes, WAMY was run by a bin Laden brother] because our own government was more than happy that our Saudi allies were sending jihadis to Afghanistan, then, via WAMY, helping Muslims to fight in Bosnia then, later, giving the Russians grief in Chechnya. The problem is that terrorists are like homing pigeons – they come home to roost.

As Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, who helped me on the investigation, said, "It would be unseemly if [someone] were arrested by the FBI and word got back that he'd once been on the payroll of the CIA… What we're talking about is blow-back. What we're talking about is embarrassing, career-destroying blow-back for intelligence officials."

The agency has gone to great lengths to paper over this. When former CIA agent Robert Baer-whose writing served as the factual basis for that weird George Clooney movie Syriana-wanted to cite Russian sources about the Saudi-Chechen connection in his book Sleeping With the Devil, the agency pressured him not to. This despite the fact that it was publicly available information he'd acquired after retiring from government service.

A big part of the reason for this sensitivity is that covertly letting the Saudis and their Islamic radicals chip away at the oil-rich rubble on the fringes of the collapsed Soviet empire has been America's favored strategy for collecting the spoils of the Cold War.

"The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army," a former CIA analyst told Swiss journalist Richard Labévière back in the late 1990s. "The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia."

Granted: The events of September 11th made this grand strategy a little tricky, domestically, but as you may have noticed over the past few years, particularly in Russian-allied Syria, it's mostly back on track.

[Jul 23, 2016] President Killary Would the World Survive President Hillary

Notable quotes:
"... Despite Hillary's blatant willingness to be bribed in public, her opponent, Bernie Sanders, has not succeeded in making an issue of Hillary's shamelessness. Both of the main establishment newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times have come to Hillary's defense. ..."
"... Hillary is a warmonger. She pushed the Obama regime into the destruction of a stable and largely cooperative government in Libya where the "Arab Spring" was a CIA-backed group of jihadists who were used to dislodge China from its oil investments in eastern Libya. She urged her husband to bomb Yugoslavia. ..."
"... She has pushed for "regime change" in Syria. She oversaw the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. She brought neoconservative Victoria Nuland, who arranged the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, into the State Department. Hillary has called President Vladimir Putin of Russia the "new Hitler." Hillary as president guarantees war and more war . ..."
"... For the Clintons government means using public office to be rewarded for doing favors for private interests. The Wall Street Journal reported that "at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her [Hillary Clinton's] tenure as Secretary of State donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation . ..."
sputniknews.com

This is an English translation of an article that I wrote for the German magazine, Compact. I was encouraged by the high level of intelligent discourse that Compact brings to its readers. If only the US had more people capable of reaching beyond entertainment to comprehending the forces that affect them, there might be some hope for America.

Compact brings hope to Germany. The German people are beginning to understand that their country is not sovereign but a vassal of Washington and that their chancellor serves Washington's hegemony and American financial interests, and not the German people.

Hillary Clinton is proving to be the "teflon candidate." In her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she has escaped damage from major scandals, any one of which would destroy a politician.

Hillary has accepted massive bribes in the form of speaking fees from financial organizations and corporations.

She is under investigation for misuse of classified data, an offense for which a number of whistleblowers are in prison. Hillary has survived the bombing of Libya, her creation of a failed Libyan state that is today a major source of terrorist jihadists, and the Benghazi controversy. She has survived charges that as Secretary of State she arranged favors for foreign interests in exchange for donations to the Clintons' foundation.

And, of course, there is a long list of previous scandals: Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate. Diana Johnstone's book, Queen of Chaos, describes Hillary Clinton as "the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy."

'I Pray for Sanders' - Oliver Stone Condemns Clinton's 'Corrupt' Policy
Hillary Clinton is a bought-and-paid-for representative of the big banks, the military-security complex, and the Israel Lobby. She will represent these interests, not those of the American people or America's European allies.

The Clintons' purchase by interest groups is public knowledge. For example, CNN reports that between February 2001 and May 2015 Bill and Hillary Clinton were paid $153 million in speaking fees for 729 speeches, an average price of $210,000.

As it became evident that Hillary Clinton would emerge as the likely Democratic presidential candidate, she was paid more. Deutsche Bank paid her $485,000 for one speech, and Goldman Sachs paid her $675,000 for three speeches. Bank of American Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Fidelity Investments each paid $225,000.

Despite Hillary's blatant willingness to be bribed in public, her opponent, Bernie Sanders, has not succeeded in making an issue of Hillary's shamelessness. Both of the main establishment newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times have come to Hillary's defense.

Hillary is a warmonger. She pushed the Obama regime into the destruction of a stable and largely cooperative government in Libya where the "Arab Spring" was a CIA-backed group of jihadists who were used to dislodge China from its oil investments in eastern Libya. She urged her husband to bomb Yugoslavia.

She has pushed for "regime change" in Syria. She oversaw the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. She brought neoconservative Victoria Nuland, who arranged the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, into the State Department. Hillary has called President Vladimir Putin of Russia the "new Hitler." Hillary as president guarantees war and more war.

In the United States government has been privatized. Office holders use their positions in order to make themselves wealthy, not in order to serve the public interest. Bill and Hillary Clinton epitomize the use of public office in behalf of the office holder's interest.

For the Clintons government means using public office to be rewarded for doing favors for private interests. The Wall Street Journal reported that "at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her [Hillary Clinton's] tenure as Secretary of State donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation."

[Jul 23, 2016] Donald Trump's United States of #MAGA

theintercept.com

Maisie July 23 2016, 10:07 p.m.

Trump may not know or care to know that Barack Obama has spent eight years pounding on al Qaeda, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also through the use of drones and other covert campaigns in Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. In his two terms, George W. Bush ordered 49 drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban-associated targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Obama, during his first two years of office, ordered 174. These are facts, but to Trump and Giuliani, they may not matter. After all, what good does killing radical Islamic terrorists do if Obama refuses to call the enemy by its name?

1). You uncritically express the establishment line that "Obama is killing radical terrorists," when the most accurate description is "Obama is killing people suspected of something, and also killing those near them."

2). 90% of drone strike victims are not the intended target.

3). Obama's militarism is founded on Full Spectrum Dominance for corporate America and allied interests, not "fighting terrorism."

4). Chest-pounding to boast Obama is a violent bastard like the Republicans is – while true – obscene.

W0X0F July 23 2016, 9:57 p.m.
Giuliani is one of the bad guys. He has helped cover up the 9/11 deception. Bldg 7 contained his emergency HQ. We all know it was "pulled"!

Orville, July 23 2016, 9:05 p.m.

Alas, Guliani is still around. I remember how the media announced him as the winner of a presidential debate, solely for going against Ron Paul's factual statement that we are hated for our overseas meddling. (Never mind that various intelligence figures backed Paul- including Michael Scheuer, who endorsed Paul the next day, or that the voters themselves backed Paul in the polls and primaries.

George C, July 23 2016, 8:40 p.m.

"Man has an intense need for certainty; he wants to believe that there is no need to doubt that the method by which he makes his decisions is right. In fact, he would rather make the "wrong" decision and be sure about it than the "right" decision and be tormented with doubt about its validity. This is one of the psychological reasons for man's belief in idols and political leaders. They all take out doubt and risk from his decision making; this does not mean that there is not a risk for his life, freedom, etc., after the decision has been made, but that there is no risk that the method of his decision making was wrong. For many centuries certainty

Fromm, Erich. The Revolution of Hope: Toward a Humanized Technology

photosymbiosis -> rrheard, July 23 2016, 8:45 p.m.

I don't know, I appreciate the focus on Giuliani who is an utter slimeball in the same mold as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the Clintons.

However, a more careful analysis of Giuliani's background in the second section ('Altar Boys') would have had a more devastating impact. Giuliani is the perfect example of a corrupt prosecutor; his claim to fame was prosecuting a Italian mafia drug ring – and then he went to work for the Purdue Pharma oxycontin drug ring. He's also a close long-time associate of FBI Director Louis Freeh, who notably went to work for the Wall Street credit giant MBNA (#2 Bush donor after Enron) after his FBI term ended. MBNA was later bought by Bank of America, who wrote off $60 billion in shady MBNA credit loans from 2008-2010, probably got a taxpayer bailout for that too. Who are the crooks, again?

See David Vise's "The Bureau and the Mole" about FBI agent / Soviet mole (and Opus Dei member) Robert Hannsen, about the Giuliani-Freeh connection.
http://blogcritics.org/spy-vs-spy-the-bureau-and/

Really, all of Giuliani's talk about "law and order" is utter BS; the guy is a crook as his lobbying the DEA to get Purdue Pharma off criminal charges for illegal oxycontin distribution shows. This was all done through a shady firm he set up after leaving office called "Giuliani Partners" c.2002

Crooked Rudy Giuliani, Lyin' Rudy Giuliani – basically a con artist in the same mold as the Clintons, cashing in with the corporate crooks every chance they can get. (Giuliani pulled in $11 million in speaking fees in 2006 alone, outdoing Clinton I think).

Fellow Citizen, July 23 2016, 7:29 p.m.

How are Republicans going to make America great again when the problem is Democrats becoming Republicans by destroying the American middle class, and placeing our poor in what now has become a state of abject poverty?


[Jul 20, 2016] This despicable king of bait and switch Obama wants to join venture capital

Notable quotes:
"... I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying. ..."
"... I am not aiming to infuriate because the man we elected in 2008 to get tough with high finance and shut the revolving door was now talking about taking his own walk through that door and getting a job in finance. ..."
"... My object here is to describe the confident, complacent mood of the country's ruling class in the middle of last month ..."
"... It's easy to see the problems presented by a cliquish elite when they happen elsewhere. ..."
"... when an "idealistic" American president announces that he wants to seek a career in venture capital, we have trouble saying much of anything. ..."
"... This panic about so called elites is really a reaction to the notion that economics is a science and that those who 'run' the economy are 'technocrats'. The fact that economists differ so radically among themselves about their discipline is clear evidence that their ideas are not scientific in the properly accepted sense of the word. The world's economy is much too large and complex to be modeled by demonstrable theories. So what we have instead is not science, but politics. And a person's political views are are function of personality, background and worldly experience. ..."
"... To all this must be added the effect of the near-universal adoption of neo-liberal economic dogma to the globalized economy, with the consequent severity of inequality and its inevitable discontents. ..."
The Guardian

And so President Barack Obama did an interview with Business Week in which he was congratulated for his stewardship of the economy and asked "what industries" he might choose to join upon his retirement from the White House. The president replied as follows:

… what I will say is that – just to bring things full circle about innovation – the conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying.

In relating this anecdote, I am not aiming to infuriate because the man we elected in 2008 to get tough with high finance and shut the revolving door was now talking about taking his own walk through that door and getting a job in finance. No.

My object here is to describe the confident, complacent mood of the country's ruling class in the middle of last month

... ... ...

It's easy to see the problems presented by a cliquish elite when they happen elsewhere. In the countries of Old Europe, maybe, powerful politicians sell out grotesquely to Goldman Sachs; but when an "idealistic" American president announces that he wants to seek a career in venture capital, we have trouble saying much of anything.

MrSleary

I suppose that before voting for any candidate these days we would need him/her to be able to demonstrate complete ignorance in every field.

This panic about so called elites is really a reaction to the notion that economics is a science and that those who 'run' the economy are 'technocrats'. The fact that economists differ so radically among themselves about their discipline is clear evidence that their ideas are not scientific in the properly accepted sense of the word. The world's economy is much too large and complex to be modeled by demonstrable theories. So what we have instead is not science, but politics. And a person's political views are are function of personality, background and worldly experience.

The other aspect of this is the effect that developments in technology have had on previously industrialized societies. In most of the countries of Western Europe industrialization created a situation in which organized labour had real power and a distinctive voice. De-industrialization has largely eliminated this from our political landscape with the result that people previously represented by the unions no longer have either power or a voice. The alienating effect of this can be seen in both Europe and the USA.

To all this must be added the effect of the near-universal adoption of neo-liberal economic dogma to the globalized economy, with the consequent severity of inequality and its inevitable discontents.

The radical, and in many instance, violent responses to various local circumstances in widely different parts of the world - USA, France, Britain, Turkey, Syria, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia - one could go on - may seem to be quite distinct, but they surely have a common root; at a time of rapid and radical change in the very texture of human life, growing inequality within is an explosive factor.

[Jul 20, 2016] Ron Paul on the Turkey Coup – Is It Over

Antiwar.com

Three days after the mysterious Turkish coup that was put down almost instantly, Turkish president Erdogan has conducted massive purges of the judiciary and the military. He even referred to the coup as a "godsend" that would allow him to rid the government of those who are disloyal. The purges have focused attention in Washington and Brussels, where he is being warned that talks for EU membership - and even existing NATO membership - may be at risk if the government crackdown gets more serious. Is the US and EU bluffing? After all, Erdogan currently has nearly three million Syrian refugees on Turkish soil that he could send to Europe at any time. And closing the US base at Incirlik would create havoc for US "power projection" in the region. We examine these and more in today's Ron Paul Liberty Report:

[Jul 20, 2016] The Saudis Did 9-11

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it's just circumstantial evidence, and there's no "smoking gun." Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it's hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

To begin with, let's start with what's not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words "CIA" or "FBI," instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it's reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it's contained in the portions we're not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

In any case, what we have access to makes more than just a substantial case: it shows that the Saudi government – including top officials, such as then Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and other members of the royal family – financed and actively aided the hijackers prior to September 11, 2001.

[Jul 19, 2016] US releases Saudi documents 9-11 coverup exposed

Notable quotes:
"... The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, maintained this secrecy for several reasons. First, it was concerned that the documents would jeopardize its relations with Saudi Arabia, which, after Israel, is Washington's closest ally in the Middle East, a partner in bloody operations from Afghanistan to Syria to Yemen, and the world's biggest buyer of American arms. ..."
"... Even more importantly, it was concerned that the 28 pages would further expose the abject criminality of the US government's role in facilitating the attacks of 9/11 and then lying about their source and exploiting them to justify savage wars of aggression, first against Afghanistan and then against Iraq. These wars have claimed over a million lives. The false narrative created around the September 11 attacks remains the ideological pillar of the US campaign of global militarism conducted in the name of a "war on terror." ..."
"... The report focuses in part on the role of one Omar al-Bayoumi, who was described to the FBI as a Saudi intelligence officer, and, according to FBI files, "provided substantial assistance to hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000." ..."
"... According to the report, al-Bayoumi had previously worked for the Saudi Civil Aviation Association and, in the period leading up to 9/11, was "in frequent contact with the Emir at the Saudi Defense Ministry responsible for air traffic control." Phone records showed him calling Saudi government agencies 100 times between January and May of 2000. ..."
"... Bassnan's wife also received a monthly stipend from Princess Haifa, the Saudi ambassador's wife, to the tune of $2,000 a month. As well, the FBI found one $15,000 check written by Bandar himself in 1998 to Bassnan. The report states that FBI information indicated that Bassnan was "an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Ladin," who spoke of the Al Qaeda leader "as if he were god." ..."
"... The obvious anomalies in the Pentagon incident and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash merely add to the mountain of evidence that exists pointing to some cabal that ran a MIHOP operation that day. This is not new information and has been made available by the many independent investigators who have been diligently digging into this signal event for nearly 15 years now. ..."
"... Much more likely suspects would be those Americans named by Kevin Ryan in his book "Another Nineteen", and/or the Israeli Mossad and military agents (5 of whom were arrested in New Jersey while making a video record of "the event" and who were noticed by an outraged citizen who called local police who arrested them and the spent 2 months in U.S. jails, finally released by dual Israeli / U.S. citizen Michael Chertoff, 3 of them appeared later on Israeli TV and bragged about the operation in plain Hebrew). ..."
"... My father was a structural design engineer who designed heavy steel structures like the WTC and also nuclear power plants and wind tunnels for NASA. He was an expert on types of steel, how it was made and what its properties were. The moment he saw the first tower collapse into it own footprint, he said 'That's a controlled demolition." He knew that fire alone would not have been enough to even dent the steel in the WTC, let alone pulverize it. Everything in the building could have burned and the steel would have remained standing, slightly scorched, but largely intact. To believe otherwise is not to believe in the laws of physics or the science of metallurgy. ..."
"... 9/11 was/is a criminally managed event involving some of America's highest officials. ..."
"... Ahhhh yes, and no less a group of people than members of the NYFD who charged up into those buildings were not concerned about them collapsing. In fact one team of firefighters who made it up to the impact zone in one of the towers reported the fire there as "no big deal" and "easily controlled". Other firefighters and various police did, however, report many explosions, most of them deep in the buildings far below the impact zones. ..."
"... Dutch controlled demolition expert Danny Jowenko, upon seeing a video of the collapse of Tower 7 immediately said (I think this comment was made in 2007) "This is controlled demolition"; of course he died in a suspicious one car accident, in which his car hit a tree head on on July 16th, 2011 (similar to how some of the JFK assassination witnesses were eliminated). A couple of videos of his comments can be seen in a "Veteran's Today" article found at < http://www.veteranstoday.com/2... >. ..."
"... One should ask why the Mossad and the extremely powerful Israel lobby have seen fit to participate in the cover-up for so long. They certainly would have ignored the U.S. government's desire for secrecy and gotten this information out (which they surely knew from their own sources) if they didn't have something to hide. But that cover-up continues. ..."
"... The true "smoking gun" of the 9/11 atrocities is the eight-second symmetrical free-fall collapse of WTC #7. The claim that this occurred because of office fires is ludicrous, entirely impossible. It was a conventional implosion, carried off in one of the most secure buildings in NYC, sheltering the CIA, FBI and the mayor's emergency bunker and would have taken weeks to prepare. ..."
"... I saw the video on TV and was surprised that it went unquestioned on why it collapsed. Even the clean symmetrical fall of the second tower to collapse, was neat and symmetric. ..."
"... In my educated opinion, supported by facts of the case conveniently omitted, the release of the small section of the Congressional report kept secret for 13 years is what they call in the CIA a "limited hangout", which is contains a mix of both truth and omissions or outright lies, and exposes the audience to a falsity more dangerous and misleading than an outright lie. ..."
"... The best evidence if this were ever taken to court, would be the stand down by the military that morning in the intercepting of these "hijackers" as they made their way to their targets. And Cheneys barking orders to a subordinate in the crisis control room beneath the white house that yes the orders still stand, as flight 175? made its way toward the Pentagon ..."
"... Excuse me, but the towers of the WTC WERE very heavy structurally. Particularly the central cores, which contained heavily redundant layers of steel, and special steel at that. ..."
July 16, 2016 | World Socialist Web Site
The Obama White House, the CIA, the Saudi monarchy and the corporate media have all tried to portray the documents-released on a Friday afternoon to assure minimal exposure-as somehow exonerating the Saudi regime of any culpability in the 9/11 attacks.

"This information does not change the assessment of the US government that there's no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi individuals funded al-Qaeda," Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary said Friday, boasting that the main significance of their release was its proof of the Obama administration's commitment to "transparency."

In reality, the 28 pages have been kept under lock and key since 2002, with only members of Congress allowed to read them, in a Capitol Hill basement vault, while prohibited from taking notes, bringing members of their staff or breathing a word of their content.

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, maintained this secrecy for several reasons. First, it was concerned that the documents would jeopardize its relations with Saudi Arabia, which, after Israel, is Washington's closest ally in the Middle East, a partner in bloody operations from Afghanistan to Syria to Yemen, and the world's biggest buyer of American arms.

Even more importantly, it was concerned that the 28 pages would further expose the abject criminality of the US government's role in facilitating the attacks of 9/11 and then lying about their source and exploiting them to justify savage wars of aggression, first against Afghanistan and then against Iraq. These wars have claimed over a million lives. The false narrative created around the September 11 attacks remains the ideological pillar of the US campaign of global militarism conducted in the name of a "war on terror."

Media reports on the 28 pages invariably refer to the absence of a "smoking gun," which presumably would be tantamount to an order signed by the Saudi king to attack New York and Washington. The evidence is described as "inconclusive." One can only imagine what would have been the response if, in place of the word "Saudi," the documents referred to Iraqi, Syrian or Iranian actions. The same evidence would have been proclaimed an airtight case for war.

Among those who were involved in preparing the report, John Lehman, the former secretary of the navy, directly contradicted the official response to the release of the previously censored section. "There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government," he said. "Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia."

... ... ...

The report focuses in part on the role of one Omar al-Bayoumi, who was described to the FBI as a Saudi intelligence officer, and, according to FBI files, "provided substantial assistance to hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000."

The inquiry report deals with al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar only from after they arrived in California, and says nothing about the circumstances under which they were allowed to enter the country in the first place. Both were under CIA surveillance while attending an Al Qaeda planning meeting in 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and placed on a "watch list" for FBI monitoring if they came to the United States. Nonetheless, the two men were allowed to enter the United States on January 15, 2000, landing at Los Angeles International Airport, eventually going to San Diego. From then on, they were permitted to operate freely, attending flight training school in preparation for their role as pilots of hijacked planes on September 11, 2001.

Al-Bayoumi, the report establishes, "received support from a Saudi company affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of Defense," drawing a paycheck for a no-show job. The report states that the company also had ties to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

According to the report, al-Bayoumi had previously worked for the Saudi Civil Aviation Association and, in the period leading up to 9/11, was "in frequent contact with the Emir at the Saudi Defense Ministry responsible for air traffic control." Phone records showed him calling Saudi government agencies 100 times between January and May of 2000.

FBI documents also established that the $465 in "allowances" that al-Bayoumi received through the Saudi military contractor, jumped to over $3,700 shortly after the arrival of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. During this period, al-Bayoumi initially allowed the two future hijackers to stay in his apartment before finding them their own place-with an informant of the San Diego FBI-cosigning their lease and advancing them a deposit and the first month's rent.

The report states that FBI investigations following 9/11 indicated that al-Bayoumi had "some ties to terrorist elements." His wife, meanwhile, was receiving a $1,200 a month stipend from Princess Haifa Bint Sultan, the wife of Prince Bandar, then the Saudi ambassador to the US and later head of Saudi intelligence.

Also named in the document as a likely Saudi intelligence agent is one Osama Bassnan, who lived across the street from the two hijackers in San Diego and was in telephone contact with al-Bayoumi several times a day during this period. He apparently placed the two in contact with a Saudi commercial airline pilot for discussions on "learning to fly Boeing jet aircraft," according to an FBI report. Bassnan's wife also received a monthly stipend from Princess Haifa, the Saudi ambassador's wife, to the tune of $2,000 a month. As well, the FBI found one $15,000 check written by Bandar himself in 1998 to Bassnan. The report states that FBI information indicated that Bassnan was "an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Ladin," who spoke of the Al Qaeda leader "as if he were god."

Appearing before the Congressional inquiry in October 2002, FBI Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Pasquale D'Amuro reacted with undisguised cynicism and contempt when asked about the payments from the Saudi ambassador's wife to the wives of the two reputed intelligence agents involved with the 9/11 hijackers.

"She gives money to a lot of different groups and people from around the world," he said. "We've been able to uncover a number of these… but maybe if we can discover that she gives to 20 different radical groups, well, gee, maybe there's a pattern here." Spoken like a man who believes he is above the law in defense of a figure that he clearly sees as untouchable.

dmorista 2 days ago

Mr Van Auken presents a Let It Happen on Purpose (LIHOP) position in this article. Clearly it is better to have arrived at that level of awareness than to just swallow the absurd "official story" that is, unfortunately, the position of much of the so-called Left in the U.S., e.g. Noam Chomsky and his ilk. The LIHOP position suffers from a fatal flaw, the 3 towers that collapsed in Lower Manhattan that could not conceivably have done so due to just the plane impacts (on Towers 1 & 2, which were specifically designed to withstand impacts by one or more Boeing 707s full of fuel, a plane similar in size to the 767s that did hit the towers) and/or the fairly insignificant office fires the occurred in all three towers (this includes Tower 7 that collapsed after some minor office fires and was never hit by a plane). Tower 7 was an absolutely classic example of a controlled demolition / implosion, while Towers 1 & 2 are modified controlled demolitions meant to make it look like the planes had caused the collapses. The implications of controlled demolitions are that only a Make it Happen on Purpose (MIHOP) process can actually explain what happened in New York on that day.

The obvious anomalies in the Pentagon incident and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash merely add to the mountain of evidence that exists pointing to some cabal that ran a MIHOP operation that day. This is not new information and has been made available by the many independent investigators who have been diligently digging into this signal event for nearly 15 years now.

Certainly Bin Laden (dying from kidney failure and reportedly in his cave in Afghanistan) and his team of largely dim-witted plotters (some of whom spent a lot of time at titty bars snorting cocaine and drinking whisky) did not have the wherewithal to 1). place the explosives in the 3 towers and the Pentagon, 2). run the 45 or more related drills, over 15 of which were in operation on that very day, including such actions as sending the bulk of the fighter aircraft to northern Canada or the Caribbean, placing fake radar images on military and FAA radar sets, 3). order the flight in Pennsylvania to be shot down and leave an 8 mile long debris field with absolutely no debris where it supposedly crashed, 4). supposedly make the impossible approach to the Pentagon, hitting the area where various accountants and Naval investigators were working on some issues, including the trillions of dollars missing from Pentagon accounts, rather than make the easy crash into the roof in the area where the high command offices were located, 5). ensure that the FBI immediately confiscated all 85+ video recordings that had some view of the Pentagon crash site, and so on and so on.

Much more likely suspects would be those Americans named by Kevin Ryan in his book "Another Nineteen", and/or the Israeli Mossad and military agents (5 of whom were arrested in New Jersey while making a video record of "the event" and who were noticed by an outraged citizen who called local police who arrested them and the spent 2 months in U.S. jails, finally released by dual Israeli / U.S. citizen Michael Chertoff, 3 of them appeared later on Israeli TV and bragged about the operation in plain Hebrew).

The Left Forum, held at John Jay College, had several worthwhile sessions about the Deep State and 9-11, the sessions are archived at NoLiesRadio < http://noliesradio.org/archive... > and are well worth a watch. The evidence for MIHOP orchestrated by the U.S. Deep State and its Zionist faction/allies is overwhelming, no doubt the Saudis played a role in all this, but a secondary one.

Carolyn Zaremba -> dmorista 2 days ago
My father was a structural design engineer who designed heavy steel structures like the WTC and also nuclear power plants and wind tunnels for NASA. He was an expert on types of steel, how it was made and what its properties were. The moment he saw the first tower collapse into it own footprint, he said 'That's a controlled demolition." He knew that fire alone would not have been enough to even dent the steel in the WTC, let alone pulverize it. Everything in the building could have burned and the steel would have remained standing, slightly scorched, but largely intact. To believe otherwise is not to believe in the laws of physics or the science of metallurgy.
Robert B. Livingston Carolyn Zaremba a day ago
To brutally manipulate public opinion, 9/11 was/is a criminally managed event involving some of America's highest officials.

Too many characters in the 9/11 truth movement, and their observations have often engrossed me -- until I got weary of discovering the inevitable snake oils always up for sale.

That said, some people might find this contribution of my own interesting/amusing/puerile:

https://archive.org/details/oz...

In general, I've found that the WSWS has taken the proper perspective with regard to 9/11: to take a broad perspective as events unfold.

dmorista -> Carolyn Zaremba a day ago
Ahhhh yes, and no less a group of people than members of the NYFD who charged up into those buildings were not concerned about them collapsing. In fact one team of firefighters who made it up to the impact zone in one of the towers reported the fire there as "no big deal" and "easily controlled". Other firefighters and various police did, however, report many explosions, most of them deep in the buildings far below the impact zones.

Dutch controlled demolition expert Danny Jowenko, upon seeing a video of the collapse of Tower 7 immediately said (I think this comment was made in 2007) "This is controlled demolition"; of course he died in a suspicious one car accident, in which his car hit a tree head on on July 16th, 2011 (similar to how some of the JFK assassination witnesses were eliminated). A couple of videos of his comments can be seen in a "Veteran's Today" article found at < http://www.veteranstoday.com/2... >.

This does not change my extremely high opinion of WSWS and Bill Van Auken in particular, it was just a bit disappointing to see them still hewing to a fairly standard line on this critical issue. The whole bottom falls out of the Global War on Terror argument if the average person realizes who really attacked the U.S. on that day.

Aaron Aarons 3 days ago
One should ask why the Mossad and the extremely powerful Israel lobby have seen fit to participate in the cover-up for so long. They certainly would have ignored the U.S. government's desire for secrecy and gotten this information out (which they surely knew from their own sources) if they didn't have something to hide. But that cover-up continues.
TonyVodvarka -> Aaron Aarons 2 days ago
We might ask the several Israeli Mossad agents (they were later interviewed on Israeli TV as such) who were filming the atrocity from across the river in New Jersey, dancing about and high-fiving in celebration as the towers came down. They were arrested, held for a few weeks and released without comment.
TonyVodvarka 3 days ago
The true "smoking gun" of the 9/11 atrocities is the eight-second symmetrical free-fall collapse of WTC #7. The claim that this occurred because of office fires is ludicrous, entirely impossible. It was a conventional implosion, carried off in one of the most secure buildings in NYC, sheltering the CIA, FBI and the mayor's emergency bunker and would have taken weeks to prepare.
Carolyn Zaremba -> TonyVodvarka 2 days ago
See my comment above regarding my father, an engineer and an expert on steel. He recognized instantly that the building was "blown" -- i.e., controlled demolition.
Vijay Kumar -> TonyVodvarka 2 days ago
I saw the video on TV and was surprised that it went unquestioned on why it collapsed. Even the clean symmetrical fall of the second tower to collapse, was neat and symmetric.
Gordon 3 days ago
In my educated opinion, supported by facts of the case conveniently omitted, the release of the small section of the Congressional report kept secret for 13 years is what they call in the CIA a "limited hangout", which is contains a mix of both truth and omissions or outright lies, and exposes the audience to a falsity more dangerous and misleading than an outright lie.

Of course the Saudis were involved, but if you research exactly what they did, it was simply to escort a handful of patsies around the country on behalf of the CIA and give them money to spend, creating a story to be later used as a diversion. The fact is, half the supposed hijackers within a week of the buildings exploding made their presence known to authorities, saying yoo-hoo, here we are, what's all this news regarding our deaths aboard airplanes?

Second point is that airplanes loaded with fuel don't cause buildings like the Trade Towers to collapse from heat, this is an engineering impossibility and has been proven dozens of times. In addition, a plane constructed of a thin aluminum skin stretched on an aluminum frame with a hollow nose can't penetrate a steel curtain wall like the ones the towers were built with. But the YouTube videos show the planes being absorbed into the buildings as though the craft were made of liquid.

To assume that the release of this is significant, is to be fooled by the tricks of the intelligence agencies who were responsible for the massacres in the first place.

Jim Gordon 2 days ago
My friend, you are mistaken, 120 ton airliners at a speed of 500 miles an hour can and have penetrated building facades before (Empire State Bldg). This theory by some that these planes were holograms or some sort of visual trickery is absurd and of course a distraction.

The world trade centers towers 1 and 2 were a combination of steel curtain and precast spandrels at spans between several floors of approx. 30'. They are not that strong. The edges of the concrete floors consist of angle iron between the floor joists which span from 4' to 6' on centers. If buildings were constructed strong enough to stop or substantially slow a commercial airliner, they would 1. be too heavy structurally and 2. thus be prohibitively costly.

The best evidence if this were ever taken to court, would be the stand down by the military that morning in the intercepting of these "hijackers" as they made their way to their targets. And Cheneys barking orders to a subordinate in the crisis control room beneath the white house that yes the orders still stand, as flight 175? made its way toward the Pentagon

Carolyn Zaremba -> Jim 2 days ago
Excuse me, but the towers of the WTC WERE very heavy structurally. Particularly the central cores, which contained heavily redundant layers of steel, and special steel at that.

[Jul 19, 2016] What Republican Foreign Policy Reform Requires

Notable quotes:
"... Admitting that the Iraq war was a grievous, horrible error is necessary but not sufficient to reform Republican foreign policy. ..."
"... The trouble with the rest of the 2016 field wasn't just that many of the candidates were Iraq war dead-enders, but that they were so obsessed with the idea of American "leadership" that almost all of them thought that the U.S. needed to be involved in multiple conflicts in different parts of the world in one way or another. ..."
"... Almost none of the declared 2016 candidates opposed the Libyan war at the time, and very few concluded that the problem with intervening in Libya was the intervention itself. The standard hawkish line on Libya for years has been that the U.S. should have committed itself to another open-ended exercise in stabilizing a country we helped to destabilize. ..."
"... Until Republican politicians and their advisers start to understand that reflexive support for "action" (and some kind of military action at that) is normally the wrong response, we can't expect much to change. Most Republican foreign policy professionals seem to hold the same shoddy assumptions that led them to endorse all of the interventions of the last 15 years without exception, and nothing that has happened during that time has caused most of them to reexamine those assumptions. ..."
"... Until they stop fetishizing American "leadership" and invoking "American exceptionalism" as an excuse to meddle in every new crisis, Republicans will end up in the same cul-de-sac of self-defeating belligerence. ..."
"... Opposition to the deal reflects so many of the flaws in current Republican foreign policy views: automatic opposition to any diplomatic compromise that might actually work, grossly exaggerating the potential threat from another state, conflating U.S. interests with those of unreliable client states, continually moving goalposts to judge a negotiated deal by unreasonable standards, insisting on maximalist concessions from the other side while refusing to agree to minimal concessions from ours, and making spurious and unfounded allegations of "appeasement" at every turn to score points against political adversaries at home. ..."
July 19, 2016 | The American Conservative

It would be a good start if all future presidential candidates could acknowledge the disastrous and costly folly of the Iraq war, but it would only be a start. Admitting that the Iraq war was a grievous, horrible error is necessary but not sufficient to reform Republican foreign policy.

The trouble with the rest of the 2016 field wasn't just that many of the candidates were Iraq war dead-enders, but that they were so obsessed with the idea of American "leadership" that almost all of them thought that the U.S. needed to be involved in multiple conflicts in different parts of the world in one way or another.

Almost none of the declared 2016 candidates opposed the Libyan war at the time, and very few concluded that the problem with intervening in Libya was the intervention itself. The standard hawkish line on Libya for years has been that the U.S. should have committed itself to another open-ended exercise in stabilizing a country we helped to destabilize. Most Republican politicians are so wedded to a belief in the efficacy of using hard power that they refuse to admit that there are many problems that the U.S. can't and shouldn't try to solve with it.

Until Republican politicians and their advisers start to understand that reflexive support for "action" (and some kind of military action at that) is normally the wrong response, we can't expect much to change. Most Republican foreign policy professionals seem to hold the same shoddy assumptions that led them to endorse all of the interventions of the last 15 years without exception, and nothing that has happened during that time has caused most of them to reexamine those assumptions.

Until they stop fetishizing American "leadership" and invoking "American exceptionalism" as an excuse to meddle in every new crisis, Republicans will end up in the same cul-de-sac of self-defeating belligerence. Unless Republicans adopt a much less expansive definition of "vital interests," they will routinely end up on the wrong side of most major foreign policy debates.

Finally, unless most Republican politicians and their advisers overcome their aversion to diplomatic engagement they will end up supporting costlier, less effective, and more destructive policies for lack of practical alternatives. The virtually unanimous opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran is a good example of the sort of thing that a reformed Republican Party wouldn't do.

Opposition to the deal reflects so many of the flaws in current Republican foreign policy views: automatic opposition to any diplomatic compromise that might actually work, grossly exaggerating the potential threat from another state, conflating U.S. interests with those of unreliable client states, continually moving goalposts to judge a negotiated deal by unreasonable standards, insisting on maximalist concessions from the other side while refusing to agree to minimal concessions from ours, and making spurious and unfounded allegations of "appeasement" at every turn to score points against political adversaries at home.

Obviously these are habits cultivated over decades and are not going to be fixed quickly or easily, but if the next Republican administration (whenever that may be) doesn't want to conduct foreign policy as disastrously as the last one did they are habits that need to be broken.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter.

[Jul 19, 2016] The Hawks Are Still in Charge

Notable quotes:
"... Nonetheless, the Platform Committee's debates last week were interesting to watch and a good barometer of where the Republican Party stands on certain issues. The interactions on foreign policy and national security were especially revealing, and they all led to the same conclusion: neoconservatives are still very much the leaders of the GOP's foreign-policy machinery. ..."
"... If they were driven by public opinion, then, the delegates would have brought the platform's national-security proposals in a less hawkish and more realist direction. But every single amendment from libertarian-esque and anti-interventionist delegate Eric Brakey was defeated by voice vote without much debate. ..."
The American Conservative

In the grand scheme of things, a political party's platform is an insignificant document. The Republican Party's platform this year doesn't change this; despite the media's fascination with the fact that Donald Trump's border wall made its way into the platform, the document is still a non-binding, ideological missive, more of a goodie bag for conservative activists than an operational plan.

Nonetheless, the Platform Committee's debates last week were interesting to watch and a good barometer of where the Republican Party stands on certain issues. The interactions on foreign policy and national security were especially revealing, and they all led to the same conclusion: neoconservatives are still very much the leaders of the GOP's foreign-policy machinery.

According to a May 2016 Pew Research Center survey, a majority of Americans would rather let other countries deal with their own affairs (57 percent) than plunge manpower and money overseas to help other countries confront their challenges (37 percent). 62 percent of Republicans surveyed want the United States to start taking its own domestic problems more seriously, and Pew reports that "roughly 55 percent of Republicans view global economic engagement negatively." In addition, the single most consequential foreign-policy decision that neoconservatives have made-the invasion and occupation of Iraq-has been labeled a failure by a majority of Americans.

If they were driven by public opinion, then, the delegates would have brought the platform's national-security proposals in a less hawkish and more realist direction. But every single amendment from libertarian-esque and anti-interventionist delegate Eric Brakey was defeated by voice vote without much debate. International diplomacy, the life-blood of U.S. foreign policy and the option of first resort, was largely overshadowed by provisions that resemble the doomsday scenarios you would find in an apocalyptic Hollywood thriller.

... ... ...

Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm, and a freelance researcher. He has also written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal, and the Diplomat.

[Jul 19, 2016] Turkish variant of Brexit?

peakoilbarrel.com
Ves , 07/16/2016 at 1:15 pm
Caelan,

It is pre-emptive coup :-) (fake coupe in order to clear the military deck)

It looks to me that this time Turkish political elite pulled pre-emptive coup on Turkish military so it can purge her from the elements that are influenced by remote control from outside the country.
In one word this is Turkish version of Brexit. Basically financial, political, and military international structures that were established after II world war are crumbling because the interests of individual countries are so diametrical.

Fred Magyar , 07/16/2016 at 2:08 pm
In one word this is Turkish version of Brexit. Basically financial, political, and military international structures that were established after II world war are crumbling because the interests of individual countries are so diametrical.

Oh Shit! Get ready for a new, old style caliphate and the ushering in of another couple hundred years of dark ages… The Ottomans are coming!

Ves , 07/16/2016 at 3:01 pm
Fred, Ottomans are not coming.. Chinese are coming with trade deals on Orient express train from Beijing…via Istanbul…you guys are so misinformed about what's going in the world that you will be in state of shock when IMF, EU, NATO close the shop all in one day.

[Jul 16, 2016] the fight is between Islamists and secular elements of the state.

Notable quotes:
"... It appears the Army has the MIT Headquarters under siege right now with scattered reports that Army helicopters are firing on it. Too soon to tell but we might be looking at a Turkish civil war. ..."
"... The Turkish military is quite good at fulfilling it's role as the protector of the country and arbiter of the Constitution. Which usually means overthrowing Islamist governments that brazenly cross over legal lines. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Kurt Sperry , July 15, 2016 at 5:05 pm

From a friend in Ankara minutes ago, "Oh shit, this has all the hallmarks of a fight between two fractions within the state. It's said that Fethullah Gulen and his supporters in the military tried this because of the imminent purge. There was a armed clash in Ankara between the military forces (Gulen movement) and tgr police/intelligence agency (Tayyip). It's been going for a while, this feud. Now it seems like it's grown a full blown war. Airports are also closed. "

Andrew Watts , July 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

Good observation by your friend. Broadly speaking I'd say the fight is between Islamists and secular elements of the state. The Islamists have purged the police and MIT (intelligence) of any secular influence under Erdogan. With the secular crowd maintaining it's traditional hold over the military.

It appears the Army has the MIT Headquarters under siege right now with scattered reports that Army helicopters are firing on it. Too soon to tell but we might be looking at a Turkish civil war.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , July 15, 2016 at 9:01 pm

I'll just be the first with the conspiracy theory about the usual suspects: US, regime change, Obama, and the Clinton Foundation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BClen_movement
They would like a much more compliant government in place than Erdogan.
Also interesting that Germany refused Erdogan asylum after his plane was turned away in Istanbul.
Very bad move for Erdogan to head out of town at a time like this as lots of Roman emperors could attest.

Andrew Watts , July 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

I'm skeptical that the Gulen movement is behind this. The Turkish military is quite good at fulfilling it's role as the protector of the country and arbiter of the Constitution. Which usually means overthrowing Islamist governments that brazenly cross over legal lines. Furthermore Colonel Muharrem Kose ( wiki ) might've been purged for being associated with Gulen but it doesn't make the allegations true.

As a matter of principle I'm not in favor of military coups but for Erdogan I can make an exception.

Buttinsky , July 15, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim broadcast a statement that the situation is being dealt with by "security forces" from an apparently privately owned TV channel, while soldiers have been reported at the state broadcaster TRT in Ankara.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/jul/15/turkey-coup-attempt-military-gunfire-ankara

allan , July 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Irony died tonight:

Erdogan: I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. There is no power higher than the power of the people.

#TheocratLivesMatter

Steve C , July 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Let's see if Obama's reaction is the same as it was with the Thai and Honduran coups. Talk of looking forward not backward. Calling for new elections.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , July 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

I'm wondering if the Turkish military wants more or less war than Erdogan, could be like the generals at the Pentagon, telling the White House they didn't think a Libya war was a wise idea while Hilary was shrieking for more blood.

(We came…we saw…he died).

Or maybe the military wants more secularism than Erdogan?

different clue , July 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

If the military still has enough left-over Kemalists inside it to be bitter at the Erdogist degradation of secular republican Turkey into an Islamic Emirate in-the-making; those Kemalists may indeed be making one last try to purge and erase Erdogism from all positions of power and re-Kemalize the State.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

The politics are different. This isn't the Cold War. Any coup government done without street support (outside Istanbul, this might be tough and even then…a military coup isn't good precedence) is going to have problems.

The issue isn't the Kemalists, but the Kemalists are too far removed from Attaturk. An Attaturk aide will simply have more legitimacy than some, random preening general. Well, the aides are dead by now. The successors of the aides have no legitimacy without an election.

I don't think the coup will fly without serious repercussions.

craazyboy , July 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm

"Vote for The Sultan – it's important!"

Lambert Strether Post author , July 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm

+100.

(Not making a comment on Turkish politics, about which I know nothing, nothing, but it's a splendid snowclone.)

NotTimothyGeithner , July 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

The Kemalists traditionally tend to lavish attention on Istanbul and the coastal elites while dealing with the Kurds and their role in NATO.

The heartland (Anatolia. What's that about Constantinople?) has traditionally been ignored by the Kemalists. The Kemalists would say they took important small steps and not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the mean time, the religious nuts took power and used private charity to do poorly what the government wasn't doing and found sympathy with the majority. I know it sounds familiar.

External pressure especially from the EU forced electoral reforms which gave power to the majority of the country in the heartland instead of being controlled by coastal elites.

Erdogan's policies have provoked anger, but his actions against the old guard have never seemed to irritate even the coastal population, partially because the old guard wasn't that great. They just received good press. Better dead than Red.

My sense is young coastal Turks are more or less like their counterparts in other European cities, so I imagine the army making decisions won't go over too well.

Erdogan is popular in the heartland, largely because he delivered on promises to improve infrastructure, jobs, and so forth even though he skims. For rural Turkey, everything of nothing is still nothing, so who cares if Erdogan skims?

abynormal , July 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

scrolled right past ya allan…any idea what set it all off?

NotTimothyGeithner , July 15, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Erdogan. ..more like Erdo well he's not going to be there anymore.

Let's see:

-Merkels refugee plan
-NATO dealing with a coup after the fall of the USSR
-Syria
-ISIS
-Kurds
-collapse of Turkish tourism
-Erdogan was popular in the Anatolian heartland

Ottawan , July 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Whatever anyone thinks of Erdogan, its hard to imagine how to keep a lid on the pot in Turkey these days.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 15, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Erdogan's Sultan project wasn't an effort to keep a lid on Turkey's problems. Many of the problems are of his direct action.

That Which Sees , July 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm


TURKEY: The at least 4 sided coup attempt

Words of caution to everyone. There are at least four [4] armed sides participating in tonight's chaos:

1) Military (obviously)
2) Armed National Police (pro-Erdogan)
3) Criminals (who are exploiting the situation as cover to settle scores) - Cannot prove this, but it is consistent with prior civil unrest history in other nations.
4) Terrorists - IS / Daesh. Probably not organized, but shooting unarmed civilians on camera would exacerbate the situation as both major sides blame each other.
______________

The RUSSIAN Reaction?

Not advocating a conspiracy theory, but ex-KGB Putin has a jet downed by Erdogan's government. There may be Russian involvement.

Even if the Russians were surprised, the Russian Black Sea Fleet needs to be able to transit the Bosphorus to support Syrian operations. Expect Putin to quickly make favorable offers to the new military leadership if Erdogan falls.

Andrew Watts , July 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

You forgot Kurds as a potential player. I have no clue what PKK or TAK will do under these circumstances but I imagine it wouldn't necessarily involve doing nothing.

Eureka Springs , July 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm

In the game of U.S. neolibralcons, If Erdo or Gulen prevail… don't 'we' win either way?

I mean Gulen sure sucks up a lot of U.S. education dollars.

http://turkishinvitations.weebly.com/list-of-us-schools.html

Andrew Watts , July 15, 2016 at 8:46 pm

I don't think Gulen is primarily behind the coup. I mean I know that's what Erdogan said but when the military released it's first letter to the public it had Kemalist written all over it.

don't 'we' win either way?

Uhh, it's complicated. Secretary of State Kerry is in Moscow today negotiating an anti-jihadi pact/alliance in Syria. While a few days ago Kerry publicly labeled the Saudi-back Jaish al-Islam as no different from Al Qaeda and the neocon crowd had a hissyfit over it. The gap between how the US and Russian governments perceive the rebel-jihadi alliance is closer than it's ever been.

Meanwhile it just so happens that the 28 pages from the 9/11 report implicating Saudi involvement and a military coup in Turkey is overthrowing the Islamist government of Erdogan. Both governments have supported the rebel-jihad alliance in Syria so this could just be a huge coincidence… except I don't believe in coincidences that strain my gullibility.

Any speculation beyond that point is tin foil hat territory.

Alex morfesis , July 15, 2016 at 10:25 pm

German fingerprints on turkish coup…not foily…ribbi gulan is in a very historic german german bund part of Pennsylvania…not by my laptop to scrape reports but there have been continued reports of sultan erdo asking for and receiving asylum from Germany…

of all the places to go hang out…

schaeubleland is not one of them…

my other thought was the sah-oodz since that little 28 page thingee was distributed on a friday, just a few hours before the parade in istanbul…

I call it a parade as the new coup position information is there was a grand total of less than 150 gulanis involved…

which made sense since the same photos of hardly 50 soldiers kept getting played over and over…

the saud argument is technically more foily…

but my money would be on field marshall schaeuble…

would put money down that he "resigns/retires" for health reasons in 90 dayz if sultan erdo "holds" as he now appears to have landed his plane at the airport in istanbul…

On a technical side, two weeks from now there is the annual kiss the sultans ring moment in the military and it has been suggested erdo was going to ax in a very publicly some gulanis…

and some colonel that has been named as a top coup boy had recently been bounced due to his ties to the gulanis….

So much for the boris jokes…

What a week…

[Jul 15, 2016] The 28 pages regarding the Saudi involvement in 9/11 were finally released today:

www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

    1. Vatch

      Thanks. A quick visual inspection suggests that they "only" blacked out about 10% of the document. Some pages almost everything is visible, and on a few, almost half of the text is obscured.

      A couple of days ago there was a discussion of infantilization by politicians via the use of emojis. I think that preventing people from reading the full report is a far more serious form of infantilization. Only the elite philosopher kings are allowed access to information. The rest of us children might be traumatized if we could read the full report.

      Reply
    2. WJ

      The information about the dry-run of 1999 on America West flight from Phx to DC Saudi Embassy party was especially interesting to me. I suspect that Saudi Arabia played both sides (al-quaeda and the US) in order to bring about the Sunni alliance we are currently being worked out in Libya and Syria. Iraq was on this analysis definitely an expected casualty of the events of 9/11, which suggests that the Saudis had good reason to believe that US officials were already waiting for any excuse to take over that country.

      Reply
    3. sd

      Sober reading.

      There's this sort of hole prior to 9-11-2001 where it sounds like no one knows anything but actually, the Joint Forces intelligence group knew quite a bit. The Joint Inquiry never interviewed anyone from DO-5.

      Reply
      1. Alex morfesis

        While saudis offer big bux to turkish military to stage a coup to distract the audience…???

        a coup..???

        in turkey in the 21st century ??

        How silly is that ?…

        Reply
        1. Barmitt O'Bamney

          So strange! Why it seems just yesterday Chancellor Merkel and other wise EU leaders were trying to get Turkey admitted to the European Union, enabling Turks to move freely about the Continent, and they were pressing that nice Mr. Erdogan to accept billions of Euros to handle Muslim refugees for them. How could a stable European society like Turkey still be experiencing things like military coups? There must be a more polite explanation for what's really going on over there.

[Jul 10, 2016] Anti-militarism

This thread is interesting by presence of complete lunatics like Brett Dunbar , who claims tha capitalism leads to peace.
Notable quotes:
"... 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 ..."
"... Bringing Bush, Blair, and Aznar to justice would be the greatest deterrent for further war. I like the part about economic crimes. Justice brings peace. ..."
"... War is a tool of competition for resources. Think Iraq. ..."
"... the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal hanged Nazis for doing exactly what Bush 2 and company did ..."
"... The Labour leader said last year Blair could face trial if the report found he was guilty of launching an illegal war. ..."
"... John Quiggin, I think your definition of militarism is flawed. I think that cultural attitudes and the social status of the military are very important as well. To paraphrase Andrew Bacevich, Militarism is the idea that military solutions to a country's problems are more effective than they really are. Militarism assumes that the military's way of running things is inherently correct. A militaristic society glorifies violence and the people who carry it out in the name of the state. ..."
"... They chose force first and dealt with the consequences later. So militarism can exist and flourish on a tight budget. Its all about mentality. ..."
"... The notion that capitalism is peaceful is preposterous, even if you accept the bizarre notion that only wars between the capitalist Great Powers really count as wars. It's true that it's tacitly presumed by many, perhaps most, learned authorities. But that is an indictment of the authorities, not a justification for the claim. The closely related claim that capitalism is responsible for technological advancement on inspection suggests that the real story is that technological progress enabled the European states to begin empires that funded capitalist development. ..."
"... Russia and China had achieved success in Central Asia, unlike the United States, by pursuing a respectful [sic] foreign policy based on mutual interest. ..."
"... Although the term 'global policeman' (or 'cops of the world') is mostly used ironically (in my experience), 'policeman' does have a straight meaning, denoting a person who operates under the authority of law, whereas the supreme Mafia capo is a law and authority unto himself, at least until someone assassinates him. I think this second metaphor more closely approximates the position and behavior of the present United States. ..."
"... ..."
crookedtimber.org

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

Wikipedia isn't as satisfactory (to me) on anti-militarism, so I'll essentially reverse the definition above, and offer the following provisional definition

Anti-militarism is the belief or desire that a military expenditure should held to the minimum required to protect a country against armed attack and that, with the exception of self-defense, military power should not be used to promote national interests

I'd want to qualify this a bit, but it seems like a good starting point.

... ... ...

My case for anti-militarism has two main elements.

  1. First, the consequentialist case against the discretionary use of military force is overwhelming. Wars cause huge damage and destruction and preparation for war is immensely costly. Yet it is just about impossible to find examples where a discretionary decision to go to war has produced a clear benefit for the country concerned, or even for its ruling class. Even in cases where war is initially defensive, attempts to secure war aims beyond the status quo ante have commonly led to disaster.
  2. Second, war is (almost) inevitably criminal since it involves killing and maiming people who have done nothing personally to justify this; not only civilians, but soldiers (commonly including conscripts) obeying the lawful orders of their governments.

Having made the strong case, I'll admit a couple of exceptions. First, although most of the above has been posed in terms of national military power, there's nothing special in the argument that requires this. Collective self-defense by a group of nations is justified (or not) on the same grounds as national self-defense.

... ... ...

[^1]: The deleted word "aggressive" is doing a lot of work here. Almost no government ever admits to being aggressive. Territorial expansion is invariable represented as the restoration of historically justified borders while the overthrow of a rival government is the liberation of its oppressed people. So, no one ever has to admit to being a militarist.

Dylan 07.04.16 at 6:20 am 2

Is it obvious that limiting use of military force to self-defense entails a minimal capability for force projection?

If the cost of entirely securing a nation's territory (Prof Q, you will recognise the phrase "Fortress Australia") is very high relative to the cost of being able to threaten an adversary's territorial interests in a way that is credible and meaningful – would it not then be unavoidably tempting to appeal to an expanded notion of self-defence and buy a force-projection capability, even if your intent is genuinely peaceful?

To speculate a little further – I would worry that so many people would need to be committed to "national defence" on a purely defensive model that it would have the unintended side effect of promoting a martial culture that normalises the use of armed force.

Of course, none of this applies if everyone abandons their force-projection capability – but is that a stable equilibrium, even if it could be achieved?

Lowhim 07.04.16 at 6:24 am 3

Well, you'll be pleased to know that they're working hard on WWI's perception [1]. Many of us working against militarism. Not easy. And the linked NYtimes piece is worth reading.

[1] http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/about.html

Ze K 07.04.16 at 7:21 am 4

I think it'd make sense to talk about imperialism, rather than militarism. Military is just a tool. One could, for example, bribe another country's military leaders, or finance a paramilitary force in the targeted state, or just organize a violence-inciting mass-media campaign to produce the same result.

bad Jim 07.04.16 at 7:54 am 5

We'd need an alternative history of the Cold War to work through the ramifications of a less aggressive Western military. Russia would have developed nuclear weapons even if there hadn't been an army at its borders, and the borders of the Eastern bloc were arguably more the result of opportunity than necessity. The colonial wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan and everywhere else could be similarly described.

After World War I, the chastened combatants sheepishly disarmed, cognizant of their insanity. World War II taught a different lesson, perhaps because, in contrast to the previous kerfuffle, both the Russian and American behemoths became fully engaged and unleashed their full industrial and demographic might, sweeping their common foes from the field, and found themselves confronting each other in dubious peace.

Both sides armed for the apocalypse with as many ways to bring about the end of civilization as they could devise, all the while mindlessly meddling with each other around the globe. Eventually the Russians gave up; their system really was as bad as we thought, and Moore's law is pitiless: the gap expands exponentially. They've shrunk, and so has their military.

So why is America such a pre-eminent bully, able to defeat the rest of the world combined in combat? Habit, pride, domestic politics, sure; but blame our allies as well. Britain and France asked us to to kick ass in Libya, and Syria is not that different. We've got this huge death-dealing machine and everyone tells us how to use it.

Ridiculous as it is, it's not nearly as bad as it was a hundred years ago, or seventy, or forty. We may still be on course to extinguish human civilization, but warfare no longer looks like its likely cause.

david 07.04.16 at 8:14 am

As you point out in fn1, nobody seems to ever fight "aggressive" wars. By the same token, there's no agreed status quo ante. For France in 1913, the status quo ante bellum has Lorraine restored to France. Also, Germany fractures into Prussia and everyone else, and the Germans should go back to putting out local regionalist fires (as Austria-Hungary is busy doing) rather than challenging French supremacy in Europe and Africa please.

The position advanced in the essay is one for an era where ships do not hop from coaling station to coaling station, where the supremacy of the Most Favoured Nation system means that powerful countries do not find their domestic politics held hostage for access to raw materials controlled by other countries, where shipping lanes are neutral as a matter of course, and where the Green Revolution has let rival countries be content to bid, not kill, for limited resources. We can argue over whether this state of affairs is contingent on the tiger-repelling rock or actual, angry tigers, but I don't think we disagree that this is the state of affairs, at least for the countries powerful enough to matter.

But, you know, that's not advice that 1913 would find appealing, which is a little odd given the conceit that this is about the Somme. The Concert of Europe bounced from war to war to war. Every flag that permits war in this 'anti-militarist' position is met and then some. It was unending crisis after crisis that miraculously never escalated to total war, but no country today would regard crises of those nature as acceptable today – hundreds of thousands of Germans were besieging Paris in 1870! Hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen were dead! If Napoleon III had the Bomb he would have used it. But he did not. There was no three score years of postwar consumer economy under the peaceful shadow of nuclear armageddon.

Anderson 07.04.16 at 9:07 am
3: "After World War I, the chastened combatants sheepishly disarmed, cognizant of their insanity."
One could only wish this were true. Germany was disarmed by force and promptly schemed for the day it would rearm; Russia's civil war continued for some years; France and Britain disarmed because they were broke, not because they'd recognized any folly.
… Quiggin, I don't know if you read Daniel Larison at The American Conservative; his domestic politics would likely horrify us both, but happily


jake the antisoshul sohulist 07.04.16 at 1:32 pm

Other than the reference to "the redempive power of war", the mythification of the military is not mentioned in the definition of militarism. I don't think a definition of militarism can focus only on the political/policy aspects and ignore the cultural aspects.
Militarism is as much cultural as it is political, and likely even more so.

Theophylact 07.04.16 at 2:17 pm

Tacitus:

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace).


LFC 07.04.16 at 4:55 pm

from the OP:

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

The counterargument to this statement is that the world's 'great powers' did indeed learn something from the Great War: namely, they learned that great-power war is a pointless endeavor. Hitler of course didn't learn that, which is, basically, why WW2 happened. But there hasn't been a great-power war - i.e., a sustained conflict directly between two or more 'great' or major powers - since WW2 (or some wd say the Korean War qualifies as a great-power war, in which case 1953 wd be the date of the end of the last great-power war).

The next step is to extend the learned lesson about great-power war to other kinds of war. That extension has proven difficult, but there's no reason to assume it's forever impossible.

-–

p.s. There are various extant definitions of 'great power', some of which emphasize factors other than military power. For purposes of this comment, though, one can go with Mearsheimer's definition: "To qualify as a great power, a state [i.e., country] must have sufficient military assets to put up a serious fight in an all-out conventional war against the most [militarily] powerful state in the world" (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), p.5). Using this definition of 'great power', the last war in which two or more great powers directly fought each other in any kind of sustained fashion (i.e. more than a short conflict of roughly a week or two [or less]) was, as stated above, either WW2 or Korea (depending on one's view of whether China qualified as a great power at the time of the Korean War).


Lupita 07.04.16 at 7:06 pm

ZM @ 7 quoting Mary Kaldor:

An emphasis on justice and accountability for war crimes, human rights violations and economic crimes, is something that is demanded by civil society in all these conflicts. Justice is probably the most significant policy that makes a human security approach different from current stabilisation approaches.

Bringing Bush, Blair, and Aznar to justice would be the greatest deterrent for further war. I like the part about economic crimes. Justice brings peace.


Kevin Cox 07.04.16 at 9:19 pm

The place to start is with the Efficient Market Hypothesis as the mechanism to allocate resources. This hypothesis says that entities compete for markets. War is a tool of competition for resources. Think Iraq.

Instead of allocating resources via markets let us allocate resources cooperatively via the ideas of the Commons. Start with "Think like a Commoner: A short introduction to the Life of the Commons" by David Bollier.

A country that uses this approach to the allocation of resources will not want to go to war and will try to persuade other countries to use the same approach.

The place to start is with renewable energy. Find a way to "distribute renewable energy" based on the commons and anti militarism will likely follow.


Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 12:31 am

Lupita 07.04.16 at 10:22 pm @ 46 -

While the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal hanged Nazis for doing exactly what Bush 2 and company did, I doubt if starting a war of aggression is against U.S. law in an enforceable way. However, since the war was completely unjustified, I suppose Bush could be charged with murder (and many other crimes). This sort of question is now rising in the UK with regard to Blair because of the Chilcot inquiry.


Ze K 07.05.16 at 1:29 pm

Not in internal national politics, but in international law. There's something called 'crimes againt peace', for example. Obviously it's not there to prosecute leaders of boss-countries, but theoretically it could. And, in fact, the fact that it's accepted that the leaders of powerful countries are not to be procesuted is exactly a case of perversion of justice you are talking about… no?


Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 1:56 pm

Watson Ladd 07.05.16 at 3:57 am @ 56 -
According to what I read at the time the US, or at least some of its leadership, encouraged the Georgian leadership to believe that if they tried to knock off a few pieces of Russia, the US would somehow back them up if the project didn't turn out as well as hoped. Now, I get this from the same media that called the Georgian invasion of Russia 'Russian aggression' so it may not be very reliable, but that's what was said, and the invasion of a state the size of Russia by a state the size of Georgia doesn't make much sense unless the latter thought they were going to get some kind of help if things turned out badly. I guess the model was supposed to be the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, but bombing the hell out of Serbia is one thing and bombing the hell out of Russia quite another.

It is interesting in regard to Georgia 2008 to trace the related career of Mr. Saakashvili, who was then the president of Georgia, having replaced Mr. Shevardnadze in one of those color revolutions, and was reported to have said that he wanted Georgia to become America's Israel in central Asia. The Georgians apparently did not relish this proposed role once they found out what it entailed and kicked him out. He subsequently popped up in Ukraine, where according to Wikipedia he is the governor of the Odessa Oblast, whatever that means. Again, I get this from our media, so it may all be lies; but it does seem to make a kind of sense which I probably don't need to spell out.


Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:10 pm

No, south Ossetia was a part of Georgia. They were fighting for autonomy (Georgia is a bit of an empire itself), and Russian peacekeeping troops were placed there to prevent farther infighting. One day, Georgian military, encouraged by US neocons, started shelling South Ossetian capital, killing, among other people, some of the Russian peacekeeprs, and this is how the 2008 war started.


Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:31 pm

…a lot of these ethnic issues in Georgia are really the legacy of stalinism, when in many places (Abkhazia, for sure) local populations suffered mass-repressions with ethnic Georgians migrating there and becaming majorities (not to mention, bosses). Fasil Iskander, great Abkhaz writer, described that. Once the USSR collapsed, it all started to unwind, and Georgia got screwed. Oh well.


Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 4:34 pm

Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:38 pm @ 80 -
The Russian ruling class experimented with being the US ruling class's buddy in the 1990s, sort of. It didn't work well for them. The destruction of Yugoslavia, the business in Abkhazia and Ossetia, the coup in Ukraine, the American intervention in Syria which must seem (heh) as if aimed at the Russian naval base at Tartus, the extensions of NATO, the ABMs, and so on, these cannot have been reassuring. Reassurance then had to come from taking up bordering territory, building weapons, and the like. Let us hope the Russian leadership do not also come to the conclusion that the best defense is a good offense.


Lupita 07.05.16 at 5:52 pm

We're a nation of killers.

Justice can ameliorate that problem. For example, Pinochet being indicted, charged, and placed under house arrest until his death (though never convicted) for crimes against humanity, murder, torture, embezzlement, arms trafficking, drugs trafficking, tax fraud, and passport forgery and, in Argentina, Videla getting a life sentence plus another 500 being convicted with many cases still in progress, at the very least may give pause to those who would kill and torture as a career enhancement move in these countries and, hopefully, throughout Latin America. Maybe one of these countries can at least indict Kissinger for Operación Cóndor and give American presidents something extra to plan for when planning their covert operations.

For heads of state to stop behaving as if they were untouchable and people believing that they are, we need more convictions, more accountability, more laws, more justice.

Asteele 07.05.16 at 7:42 pm

In a capitalist system if you can make money by impoverishing others you do it. There are individual capitalists and firms that make money off of war, the fact that the public at large sees no aggregate benefit in not a problem for them.


Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 8:35 pm

LFC 07.05.16 at 5:28 pm @ 85 -
I think that, on the evidence, one must doubt (to put it mildly) that either the Russian or the American leadership care whether Mr. Assad is a nice person or not. They have not worried much about a lot of other not-nice people over recent decades as long as the not-nice people seemed to serve their purposes. Hence I can only conclude that the business in Syria, which goes back well before the appearance of the Islamic State, is dependent on some other variable, like maybe the existence of a Russian naval base in mare nostrum. I'm just guessing, of course; more advanced conspiratists see Israeli, Iranian, Saudi, and Turkish connections. Note as well that the business in Ukraine involved a big Russian naval base. And I used to heard it said that navies were obsolete!


ZM 07.06.16 at 7:06 am

There has been coverage in The Guardian about the Chilcot report into the UK military interventions in Iraq.

"The former civil servant promised that the report would answer some of the questions raised by families of the dead British soldiers. "The conversations we've had with the families were invaluable in shaping some of the report," Chilcot said.

Some of the families will be at the launch of the report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, at Westminster. Others will join anti-war protesters outside who are calling for Blair to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes at the international criminal court in The Hague.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday, Karen Thornton, whose son Lee was killed in Iraq in 2006, said she was convinced that Blair had exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's capabilities.

"If it is proved that he lied then obviously he should be held accountable for it," she said, adding that meant a trial for war crimes. "He shouldn't be allowed to just get away with it," she said. But she did not express confidence that Chilcot's report would provide the accountability that she was hoping for. "Nobody's going to be held to account and that's so wrong," she said. "We just want the truth."

Chilcot insisted that any criticism would be supported by careful examination of the evidence. "We are not a court – not a judge or jury at work – but we've tried to apply the highest possible standards of rigorous analysis to the evidence where we make a criticism."

Jeremy Corbyn, who will respond to the report in parliament on Wednesday, is understood to have concluded that international laws are neither strong nor clear enough to make any war crimes prosecution a reality. The Labour leader said last year Blair could face trial if the report found he was guilty of launching an illegal war.

Corbyn is expected to fulfil a promise he made during his leadership campaign to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. He will speak in the House of Commons after David Cameron, who is scheduled to make a statement shortly after 12.30pm. "

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/05/john-chilcot-says-iraq-war-inquiry-will-not-shy-away-from-criticisms


Layman 07.06.16 at 11:45 am

Only Tony Blair could read the Chilcot report and claim it vindicates his conduct.


LFC 07.06.16 at 5:48 pm

B. Dunbar @123
Interstate wars have declined, and the 'logic' you identify might be one of various reasons for that.

The wars dominating the headlines today - e.g. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine/Donetsk/Russia - are not, however, classic interstate wars. They are either civil wars or 'internationalized' civil wars or have a civil-war aspect. Thus the 'logic' of business-wants-peace-and-trade doesn't really apply there. Apple doesn't want war w China but Apple doesn't care that much whether there is a prolonged civil war in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, etc.

So even if one accepted the argument that 'capitalism' leads to peace, we'd be left w a set of wars to which the argument doesn't apply. I don't have, obvs., the answer to the current conflicts. I think (as already mentioned) that there are some steps that might prove helpful in general if not nec. w.r.t. specific conflict x or y.

The Kaldor remark about reversing the predatory economy - by which I take it she means, inter alia, black-market-driven, underground, in some cases criminal commerce connected to war - is suggestive. Easier said than done, I'm sure. Plus strengthening peacekeeping. And one cd come up w other things, no doubt.


Ze K 07.06.16 at 6:35 pm

@120, 121, yes, Georgians living in minority areas did suffer. But ethnic cleansing/genocides that would've most likely taken place should the Georgian government have had its way were prevented. Same as Crimea and Eastern Ukraine two years ago. This is not too difficult to understand – if you try – is it? Similarly (to Georgians in Abkhasia) millions of ethnic Russians suffered in the new central Asian republics, in Chechnya (all 100% were cleansed, many killed), and, in a slightly softer manner, in the Baltic republics… But that's okay with you, right? Well deserved? It's only when Abkhazs attack Georgians, then it's the outrage, and only because Russia was defending the Abkhazs, correct?

Lupita 07.07.16 at 3:23 pm

My impression since yesterday is that, while Brits are making a very big deal out of the Chilcot report, with much commentary about how momentous it is and the huge impact it will have, coverage of this event by the US media is notoriously subdued, particularly compared with the hysterical coverage Brexit got just some days ago. This leads me to believe that it is indeed justice that is feared the most by western imperialists such as Bush, Blair, Howard, Aznar, and Kwaśniewski and the elites that supported them and continue to cover up for them. I take this cowardly and creepy silence in the US media as an indicator that Pax Americana is so weakened that it cannot withstand the light of justice being shined upon it and that the end is near.


Anarcissie 07.07.16 at 3:46 pm

Lupita 07.07.16 at 3:23 pm @ 147 - For the kind of people in the US who pay attention to such things, the Chilcot Report is not really news. And the majority don't care, as witness the fortunes of the Clintons.


Anarcissie 07.08.16 at 12:25 am

Brett Dunbar 07.07.16 at 11:47 pm @ 160 -

If capitalist types are so totally against war, it's hard to understand why the grand poster child of capitalism, the plutocratic United States, is so addicted to war. It is hard to consider it an aberration when the US has attacked dozens of countries not threatening it over the last fifty or sixty years, killed or injured or beggared or terrorized millions of noncombatants, and maintains hundreds of overseas bases and a world-destroying nuclear stockpile. What could the explanation possibly be?

As human powers of production increase, at least in potential, existing scarcities of basic goods such as food, medicine, and housing are overcome. If people now become satisfied with their standard of living - not totally satisfied, but satisfied enough not to sweat and strain all the time for more - sales, profits, and employment will fall, and capitalists will become less important. In order to retain their ruling-class role, there needs to be a constant crisis of production-consumption which only the capitalist masters of industry can solve. Hence new scarcities must be produced. The major traditional methods of doing this have been imperialism, war, waste, and consumerism (including advertising). Conceded, major processes of environmental destruction such as climate change and the vitiating of antibiotics may lead to powerful new self-reinforcing scarcities which will take their place next to their traditional relatives, so that producing new scarcities would be less of a problem.


Anarcissie 07.08.16 at 2:30 am

LFC 07.08.16 at 1:30 am @ 163:
'OTOH, I don't think capitalism esp. needs war to create this kind of scarcity….'

But then one must explain why the major capitalist powers have engaged in so much of it, since it is so dirty and risky. I suppose one possible explanation is that whoever has the power to do so engages in it, capitalist or not; it is hardly a recent invention. However, I am mindful of the position of the US at the end of World War 2, with 50% of the worlds total productive capacity. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive! So war turned out to be pretty handy for some people. And now we have lots of them.


Matt_L 07.08.16 at 3:32 am

John Quiggin, I think your definition of militarism is flawed. I think that cultural attitudes and the social status of the military are very important as well. To paraphrase Andrew Bacevich, Militarism is the idea that military solutions to a country's problems are more effective than they really are. Militarism assumes that the military's way of running things is inherently correct. A militaristic society glorifies violence and the people who carry it out in the name of the state.

I also think that just reducing military spending or the capacity for military action is not enough to counter serious militarism. Austria-Hungary was a very militaristic society, but it spent the less on armaments than the other European Powers in the years leading up to 1914. The leaders of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy caused World War One by invading Serbia for a crime committed by a Bosnian Serb subject of the Monarchy. They had some good guesses that the Serbian military intelligence was involved, but not a lot of proof.

Franz Joseph and the other leaders chose to solve a foreign policy problem by placing armed force before diplomacy and a complete criminal investigation. Their capacity to wage war relative to the other great powers of Europe did not enter into their calculations. They chose force first and dealt with the consequences later. So militarism can exist and flourish on a tight budget. Its all about mentality.


stevenjohnson 07.08.16 at 9:29 pm

"Great Power warfare became a lot less common after 1815, at the same point that the most advanced of the great powers developed capitalism."

In Europe, locus of the alleged Long Peace, there were the Greek Rebellion; the First and Second Italian Wars of Independence; the First and Second Schleswig Wars; the Seven Weeks War; the Crimean War; the Franco-Prussian War; the First and Second Balkan Wars. Wars between a major capitalist state and another well established modern state included the Opium Wars; the Mexican War; the French invasion of Mexico; the War of the Triple Alliance; the War of the Pacific; the Spanish-American War; the Russo-Japanese War. Assaults by the allegedly peaceful capitalist nations against non-state societies or weak traditional states are too numerous to remember, but the death toll was enormous, on a scale matching the slaughter of the World Wars.

Further the tensions between the Great Powers threatened war on numerous occasions, such as conflict over the Oregon territory; the Aroostook "war;" the Trent Affair; two Moroccan crises; the Fashoda Incident…again, these are too numerous to remember.

The notion that capitalism is peaceful is preposterous, even if you accept the bizarre notion that only wars between the capitalist Great Powers really count as wars. It's true that it's tacitly presumed by many, perhaps most, learned authorities. But that is an indictment of the authorities, not a justification for the claim. The closely related claim that capitalism is responsible for technological advancement on inspection suggests that the real story is that technological progress enabled the European states to begin empires that funded capitalist development.


Hidari 07.09.16 at 11:13 am

' Capitalist states tend to avoid war with their trading partners.'

This has an element of truth in it, but it can be parsed in a number of ways. For example, 'Rich, powerful countries tend to avoid war with other rich, powerful countries'. After all, in the 2nd half of the 20th century, the US avoided going to war with Russia, despite having clear economic interests in doing so (access to natural resources, markets) mainly because Russia was strong (not least militarily) and the cost-benefit matrix never made sense (i.e. from the Americans' point of view).

A much stronger case can be made that self-proclaimed Socialist states tend not to go to war with each other. After all, there were big fallings out between the socialist (or 'socialist', depending on your point of view) countries in the 20th century but they rarely turned to war, and when they did (Vietnam-Cambodia, Vietnam-China) they were short term and relatively limited in scope. The Sino-Soviet split was a split, not a war.

But again this is probably not the best way to look at it. A much stronger case can be made that the basic reason for the non-appearance of a Chinese-Russian war was simply the size and population of those countries. The risks outweighed any potential benefits.

Of course, between 1914 and 1945, lots of capitalist states went to war with each other.


Anarcissie 07.09.16 at 3:22 pm

Layman 07.09.16 at 2:59 pm @ 188 -
One explanation, I think already given, is that the capitalist powers were too busy with imperial seizures in what we now call the Third World to fight one another. In the New World, the United States and some South American states were busy annihilating the natives, speaking of ethnic cleansing. If capitalism is a pacific influence, the behavior of the British and American ruling classes since 1815 seems incomprehensible, right down to the present: the plutocrat Clinton ought to be the peace candidate, not the scary war freak.


Hidari 07.09.16 at 5:44 pm

Surely (assuming that it's real) the decline in wars in some parts of the world since 1945 is because of the Pax Americana?

Most countries are too frightened to attack (at least directly) the United States. There is a sense in which the US really is the 'Global Policeman'.

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

Anarcissie 07.09.16 at 11:55 pm

Or the global Mafia capo di tutti capi.


Ze K 07.10.16 at 6:39 am

WaPo: Trump, Adviser Carter Page are 'Broadly Non-Interventionist'

…WaPo continues that Trump is "broadly noninterventionist, questioning the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and calling for Europe to play a larger role in ensuring its security." Page, too, "has regularly criticized U.S. intervention":


In one article for Global Policy Journal, he wrote, "From U.S. policies toward Russia to Iran to China, sanctimonious expressions of moral superiority stand at the root of many problems seen worldwide today."

Page wrote that the war in eastern Ukraine was "precipitated by U.S. meddling in the Maidan revolution…

And so, here we are: Trump is the lesser evil in this cycle. Vote Trump, save the world.


LFC 07.10.16 at 2:40 pm

Hidari @192

Surely (assuming that it's real) the decline in wars in some parts of the world since 1945 is because of the Pax Americana?

Started to write a long reply but decided no point. Shorter version: reasons for no WW2-style-war in Europe from '45 to '90 are multiple; 'pax Americana' only one factor of many.

End of CW was destabilizing in various ways (e.g., wars in ex-Yugoslavia) but so far not enough to reverse the overall trend in Europe. Decline in destructiveness of conflict in some (not all) other parts of the world has to do in large part w change in nature/type of conflict (sustained interstate wars have traditionally been the most destructive and they don't happen much or at all anymore, for reasons that are somewhat debatable, but, again, pax Americana wd be only one of multiple reasons, if that).


LFC 07.10.16 at 2:54 pm

Re Carter Page (see Ze K @194)

Page refused [speaking in Moscow] refused to comment specifically on the U.S. presidential election, his relationship with Trump or U.S. sanctions against Russia, saying he was in Russia as a "private citizen." He gave a lecture, titled "The Evolution of the World Economy: Trends and Potential," in which he noted that Russia and China had achieved success in Central Asia, unlike the United States, by pursuing a respectful [sic] foreign policy based on mutual interest.

He generally avoided questions on U.S. foreign policy, but when one attendee asked him whether he really believed the United States was a "liberal, democratic society," Page told him to "read between the lines."

"If I'm understanding the direction you're coming from, I tend to agree with you that it's not always as liberal as it may seem," he said. "I'm with you."

In a meeting with The Washington Post editorial board in March, Trump named Page, a former Merrill Lynch executive in Moscow who later advised the Russian state energy giant Gazprom on major oil and gas deals, as one of his foreign policy advisers. Page refused to say whether his Moscow trip included a meeting with Russian officials. He is scheduled to deliver a graduation address Friday at the New Economic School, a speech that some officials are expected to attend.

Above quote is from the Stars & Stripes piece, evidently republished from WaPo, linked at the 'Washington's Blog' that Ze K linked to.

If you want to put for. policy in the hands of the likes of Carter Page (former Merrill Lynch exec., Gazprom adviser), vote Trump all right.

HRC's for. policy advisers may not be great, but I don't think this guy Page is better. He does have connections to the Russian govt as a past consultant, apparently, which is no doubt why Ze K is so high on him.

Ze K 07.10.16 at 3:16 pm

You bet this guy Page is better. Anyone is better.

And why would I care at all (let alone "no doubt") if he was a Gazprom consultant? What the fuck was that supposed to mean? Asshole much?

LFC 07.10.16 at 5:25 pm

And why would I care at all (let alone "no doubt") if he was a Gazprom consultant?

B.c Gazprom is a Russian state-owned company and a fair inference from your many comments on this blog (not just this thread but others) is that you are, in general, favorably disposed to the present Russian govt. and its activities. Not Gazprom in particular necessarily, but the govt in general. You make all these comments and then get upset when they are read to say what they say.

You consistently attack HRC as a war-monger, as corrupt etc. You consistently say anyone wd be better. "Vote Trump save the world." You said there was no Poland in existence in '39 when the USSR invaded it. Your comments and exchanges in this thread are here for anyone to read, so I don't have to continue.

Ze K 07.10.16 at 5:44 pm

"You make all these comments and then get upset when they are read to say what they say. "

You're right; come to think of it, you've been into slimeball-style slur for a while now, and I should've gotten used to it already, and just ignored you. Fine, carry on.

Anarcissie 07.11.16 at 2:19 am

@Hidari 07.10.16 at 2:57 pm @ 197 -

Although the term 'global policeman' (or 'cops of the world') is mostly used ironically (in my experience), 'policeman' does have a straight meaning, denoting a person who operates under the authority of law, whereas the supreme Mafia capo is a law and authority unto himself, at least until someone assassinates him. I think this second metaphor more closely approximates the position and behavior of the present United States.



[Jul 04, 2016] Why Is Hillary Clinton Still a Hawk

Notable quotes:
"... Then there is Hillary Clinton, who will be this year's nominee. Few Democrats have more consistently favored the use of military force. She voted for the Iraq War. As secretary of state, she urged President Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. ..."
"... New York Times correspondent Mark Landler, author of the new book Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, told me her aides have told him she favored shipping lethal defensive military equipment to the government of Ukraine after the Russian invasion, something Obama rejected. ..."
"... She pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya. She proposed similar action in Syria. She has recounted her advice to her husband in dealing with Serbia in 1999: "I urged him to bomb. ..."
"... Clinton thinks "that American intervention does more good than harm, and that the writ of the United States properly reaches, as George W. Bush once declared, into 'any dark corner of the world.'" ..."
"... Robert Gates, who was defense secretary under Obama, likes and admires Clinton. But when she pressed Obama to bomb Moammar Gadhafi's forces-which Landler says he probably would not have done otherwise-Gates resisted, arguing that Libya was not a vital U.S. interest and that there was no telling what would happen next. "In meetings, I would ask, 'Can I just finish the two wars we're already in before you go looking for new ones?'" he wrote later. ..."
"... Clinton has gotten endless criticism for her handling of the 2012 attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi. She deserves more, but has gotten far less, for recommending an intervention that led to that attack and left Libya in violent turmoil that continues today. ..."
"... The question is why a child of the 1960s, whose husband strenuously avoided being drafted for the Vietnam War, would grow so fond of military power. Obama needs a compelling reason to use force. Clinton needs a compelling reason not to. ..."
"... Obama made the mistake of intervening in Libya, but in a recent interview with The Atlantic, he admitted, "It didn't work," and "Libya is a mess." Clinton, however, has never expressed second thoughts. During his recent visit to Chicago, I asked Landler about her ability to confront the possibility she was wrong. ..."
"... In that instance, she apparently didn't learn from our failed military intervention. If she becomes president, I'm guessing, she'll get another chance. ..."
July 4, 2016 | Reason.com

In an era of endless military conflict, anti-war sentiment abides among Democrats. In 2004, their presidential nomination went to John Kerry, who was strongly critical of George W. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. In 2008, they chose Barack Obama, largely because he had opposed that war. This year, 12 million people cast ballots for Bernie Sanders, who voted against it.

According to Gallup, 68 percent of Democrats think the Iraq War was a mistake-compared with just 31 percent of Republicans. Two in three reject the use of ground combat troops against Islamic State.

Then there is Hillary Clinton, who will be this year's nominee. Few Democrats have more consistently favored the use of military force. She voted for the Iraq War. As secretary of state, she urged President Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

New York Times correspondent Mark Landler, author of the new book Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, told me her aides have told him she favored shipping lethal defensive military equipment to the government of Ukraine after the Russian invasion, something Obama rejected.

She pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya. She proposed similar action in Syria. She has recounted her advice to her husband in dealing with Serbia in 1999: "I urged him to bomb."

Most Democrats, particularly Obama, have learned to be wary of entangling the United States in wars of choice. But not Clinton. Despite the disaster in Iraq, the failure in Afghanistan and the chaos in Libya, she remains a hawk at heart.

Landler, who covered Obama and Clinton for The New York Times, sees a clear difference between her approach to foreign policy and that of the president she served. Obama believes "the United States resorts too readily to military force to defend its interests," he writes. Clinton thinks "that American intervention does more good than harm, and that the writ of the United States properly reaches, as George W. Bush once declared, into 'any dark corner of the world.'"

Robert Gates, who was defense secretary under Obama, likes and admires Clinton. But when she pressed Obama to bomb Moammar Gadhafi's forces-which Landler says he probably would not have done otherwise-Gates resisted, arguing that Libya was not a vital U.S. interest and that there was no telling what would happen next. "In meetings, I would ask, 'Can I just finish the two wars we're already in before you go looking for new ones?'" he wrote later.

Clinton has gotten endless criticism for her handling of the 2012 attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi. She deserves more, but has gotten far less, for recommending an intervention that led to that attack and left Libya in violent turmoil that continues today.

The question is why a child of the 1960s, whose husband strenuously avoided being drafted for the Vietnam War, would grow so fond of military power. Obama needs a compelling reason to use force. Clinton needs a compelling reason not to.

Landler attributes this bias to several factors, including her conservative Midwestern upbringing, her rapport with generals and, in the words of one staffer, "a textbook view of American exceptionalism."

Other reasons come to mind. She saw Democratic senators politically damaged by voting against the 1991 war against Iraq, and she was not about to take the risk of opposing the next one. As a woman, she doubtless has felt the need to demonstrate that she can be as tough-as that term is typically defined in American politics-as any male leader.

Obama made the mistake of intervening in Libya, but in a recent interview with The Atlantic, he admitted, "It didn't work," and "Libya is a mess." Clinton, however, has never expressed second thoughts. During his recent visit to Chicago, I asked Landler about her ability to confront the possibility she was wrong.

"I don't find the same evidence of a learning curve with her," he said. "I would have liked to see a little more introspection from her on that, because I think that's the key case where she led the charge, it didn't go the way they hoped it would and there are some really important lessons to be drawn."

In that instance, she apparently didn't learn from our failed military intervention. If she becomes president, I'm guessing, she'll get another chance.

[Jul 03, 2016] Obama Will Need His Oratory Powers to Sell Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The case for ambitious trade deals, Dr. Prasad said, is that they allow the United States to set the rules for its dealings with other countries, and to wield greater geopolitical influence. Yet those arguments are easily overshadowed by the simple, if dubious, assertion that the losses to the American economy from these deals are greater than the benefits. ..."
www.nytimes.com

When President Obama travels to North Carolina and Europe this week, he will press an argument that could define foreign policy in the last six months of his presidency: that Americans and Europeans must not forsake their open, interconnected societies for the nativism and nationalism preached by Donald J. Trump or Britain's Brexiteers.

Few presidents have put more faith than Mr. Obama in the power of words to persuade audiences to accept a complex idea, whether it is the morality of a just war or the imperfect nature of American society. Yet countering the anti-immigration and anti-free-trade slogans in this election year will require all of his oratorical skills.

Mr. Obama road-tested his pitch over the last two weeks in two friendly venues: Silicon Valley and Canada. This week, he will take the case to North Carolina, a swing state that has been hard hit by the forces of globalization, and to a NATO meeting in Poland, where the alliance members will grapple with the effects of Britain's vote to leave the European Union, known as Brexit.

In Warsaw, Mr. Obama will sit next to Britain's lame-duck prime minister, David Cameron, whose political career was ended by his miscalculation over holding the referendum on European Union membership. But first, in Charlotte, N.C., he will campaign with Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who reversed her position on Mr. Obama's Asian trade deal, formally called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after many in her party turned sharply against free trade.

"President Obama has made a valiant attempt to build support for freer trade," said Eswar S. Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University. "But the arguments in favor of free trade lack rhetorical and political resonance, especially amidst a heated political campaign."

The case for ambitious trade deals, Dr. Prasad said, is that they allow the United States to set the rules for its dealings with other countries, and to wield greater geopolitical influence. Yet those arguments are easily overshadowed by the simple, if dubious, assertion that the losses to the American economy from these deals are greater than the benefits.

[Jul 02, 2016] The Evil of Madeleine Albright

Hillary is essentally Albright II. No differences if pocies whatsoever
Notable quotes:
"... one of the Cabinet members present leaned over to me and said, "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event - something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough - and slow enough - so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" The hair on the back of my neck bristled, my teeth clenched, and my fists tightened. I was so mad I was about to explode. I looked across the table, thinking about the pilot in the U-2 and responded, "Of course we can …" which prompted a big smile on the official's face. "You can?" was the excited reply. "Why, of course we can," I countered. "Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go." ..."
"... Imagine that! A Cabinet official suggesting a deliberate provocation endangering a military pilot's life in order to justify a war: "…but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event - something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world." Is this mere amoral pragmatism? Machiavellianism? It is in any case evil. ..."
"... On January 31, 2003 President George W. Bush in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair seriously proposed provoking Saddam to shoot down a U.S. aircraft. According to notes taken my Blair advisor David Manning (the accuracy of which has never been challenged), Bush suggested "flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted with UN colors. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach" of UN resolutions. Maybe then the UN, which had refused to endorse the plan to attack Iraq and was sceptical about the justifications given by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, would endorse war. (Perhaps the military brass opposed the plan, which was never carried out.) ..."
"... The so-called Rambouillet Agreement was rejected outright by the Serbs as well as their Russian allies. But Albright immediately stated, "We accept the agreement"–as though there was any agreement. The bullying was conducted in such a smug fashion that the French Foreign minister accused the U.S. of becoming a hyperpuissance–not a mere superpower but a "hyperpower." ..."
"... This was indeed Albright's plan (and that of Bill Clinton, egged on by Hillary, who has confessed, "I urged him to bomb"), resulting in the deployment of NATO to bomb a European capital for the first time since 1945, killing at least 500 civilians (Human Rights Watch) and maybe ten times that number. ..."
"... Throughout the last decade the neoconservatives have been the leading warmongers. But they have no monopoly on imperialist arrogance, contempt for truth and indifference to human life. Madeleine Albright is proof of that. ..."
October 18, 2010 | Dissident Voice

"Could you have one of our U-2s shot down?"

Madeleine Albright is infamous for her reply to the question posed by 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl about the sanctions against Iraq in May 1996.

"We have heard that a half million children have died," stated Stahl. "I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"

"I think this is a very hard choice," replied Albright, "but the price–we think the price is worth it."

Albright, who served as Bill Clinton's Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, had a cruel disregard for the lives of Iraqis, Serbs, and others. But she apparently had a callous attitude towards the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen too. In his new memoir, General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, writes about a White House breakfast in late 1997. (The account is cited by Justin Elliott in Salon .)

Early on in my days as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we had small, weekly White House breakfasts in National Security Advisor Sandy Berger's office that included me, Sandy, Bill Cohen (Secretary of Defense), Madeleine Albright (Secretary of State), George Tenet (head of the CIA), Leon Firth (VP chief of staff for security), Bill Richardson (ambassador to the U.N.), and a few other senior administration officials. These were informal sessions where we would gather around Berger's table and talk about concerns over coffee and breakfast served by the White House dining facility. It was a comfortable setting that encouraged brainstorming of potential options on a variety of issues of the day.

During that time we had U-2 aircraft on reconnaissance sorties over Iraq. These planes were designed to fly at extremely high speeds and altitudes (over seventy thousand feet) both for pilot safety and to avoid detection.

At one of my very first breakfasts, while Berger and Cohen were engaged in a sidebar discussion down at one end of the table and Tenet and Richardson were preoccupied in another, one of the Cabinet members present leaned over to me and said, "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event - something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough - and slow enough - so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?"

The hair on the back of my neck bristled, my teeth clenched, and my fists tightened. I was so mad I was about to explode. I looked across the table, thinking about the pilot in the U-2 and responded, "Of course we can …" which prompted a big smile on the official's face.

"You can?" was the excited reply.

"Why, of course we can," I countered. "Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go."

The official reeled back and immediately the smile disappeared. "I knew I should not have asked that…."

"No, you should not have," I strongly agreed, still shocked at the disrespect and sheer audacity of the question. "Remember, there is one of our great Americans flying that U-2, and you are asking me to intentionally send him or her to their death for an opportunity to kick Saddam. The last time I checked, we don't operate like that here in America."

Imagine that! A Cabinet official suggesting a deliberate provocation endangering a military pilot's life in order to justify a war: "…but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event - something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world." Is this mere amoral pragmatism? Machiavellianism? It is in any case evil.

(I'm reminded of how the key neocon text "Rebuilding America's Defenses" authored by Paul Wolfowitz for the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) "thinktank" in Sept. 2000, states that the "process of transformation" to the kind of super-militarized aggressive state the neocons hoped for "will be a long one absent some catastrophic event like a new Pearl Harbor." And as the Deputy Secretary of Defense he warned of another Pearl Harbor in his speech at West Point in June 2001. After 9-11, widely compared in the media to the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941, he immediately set about preparations for war with Iraq.)

On January 31, 2003 President George W. Bush in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair seriously proposed provoking Saddam to shoot down a U.S. aircraft. According to notes taken my Blair advisor David Manning (the accuracy of which has never been challenged), Bush suggested "flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted with UN colors. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach" of UN resolutions. Maybe then the UN, which had refused to endorse the plan to attack Iraq and was sceptical about the justifications given by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, would endorse war. (Perhaps the military brass opposed the plan, which was never carried out.)

At the Clinton White House breakfast described by Gen. Shelton, Berger, Cohen, Tenet and Richardson were involved in separate conversations. The other cabinet members were Robert E. Rubin (Treasury), Janet Reno (Attorney General), Bruce Babbit (Interior), Dan Glickman (Agriculture), Mickey Kantor (Commerce), Alexis Herman (Labor), Donna E. Shalala (Health and Human Services), Andrew M. Cuomo (Housing and Urban Development), Rodney Slater (Transportation), Richard W. Riley (Education), Jesse Brown (Veteran's Affairs), Federico F. Pena (Energy), and Albright.

Out the 14 members of the Cabinet, there were four women. The fact that Shelton deliberately avoids indicating the gender of his interlocutor may hint that it was one of them. It is hard to believe that Attorney General Reno would suggest sacrificing an airman to the head of the Joint Chiefs at a White House breakfast. Or the Secretary of Labor, or Secretary of Health and Human Services. It's hard to believe anyone on the above list would so–except Albright.

Albright in her memoirs expresses regret for her "it was worth it" statement in the 1996 interview. And she told Newsweek in 2006, "I'm afraid that Iraq is going to turn out to be the greatest disaster in American foreign policy-worse than Vietnam." But she bears partial responsibility for the December 1998 bombing of Iraq ("Operation Desert Fox"), a prelude to the 2003 invasion. She helped produce the disaster.

And she helped produce disaster in the former Yugoslavia. As violence rose in the Serbian province of Kosovo, between the Kosovo Liberation Army and security forces, she (and Cohen) deliberately exaggerated the Kosovar Albanian death toll and demanded the U.S. right to intervene. She arranged the de facto alliance with the KLA, earlier labelled "terrorist" by U.S. officials. In March 1999 at the Rambouillet talks between Serbia and the Kosovar rebels, along with the U.S., its European allies and Russia, the U.S. demanded that the whole of Serbia (and other states within what was left of Yugoslavia) submit to virtual occupation by NATO. Yugoslavia had proudly remained outside the Warsaw Pact and had prided itself on participation in the Non-Aligned Movement. No government in Belgrade could have complied with Albright's demands.

The so-called Rambouillet Agreement was rejected outright by the Serbs as well as their Russian allies. But Albright immediately stated, "We accept the agreement"–as though there was any agreement. The bullying was conducted in such a smug fashion that the French Foreign minister accused the U.S. of becoming a hyperpuissance–not a mere superpower but a "hyperpower."

John Pilger wrote , "Anyone scrutinizing the Rambouillet document is left with little doubt that the excuses given for the subsequent bombing were fabricated. The peace negotiations were stage managed and the Serbs were told: surrender and be occupied, or don't surrender and be destroyed."

This was indeed Albright's plan (and that of Bill Clinton, egged on by Hillary, who has confessed, "I urged him to bomb"), resulting in the deployment of NATO to bomb a European capital for the first time since 1945, killing at least 500 civilians (Human Rights Watch) and maybe ten times that number.

A Republican official later told a think tank that a certain "top official" had told him: " We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that's what they are going to get." Don't we see a pattern here?

Throughout the last decade the neoconservatives have been the leading warmongers. But they have no monopoly on imperialist arrogance, contempt for truth and indifference to human life. Madeleine Albright is proof of that.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu . Read other articles by Gary .

This article was posted on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 7:00am and is filed under Imperialism .

[Jun 29, 2016] Why the Sanders Revolution Must Take on the Permanent War State

Notable quotes:
"... The permanent war state is the 800-pound gorilla in US society and political life. As the old joke goes, the answer to the question, "Where does an 800-pound gorilla eat?" is, "Anywhere he likes." As long as the organs of "national security" continue to retain the extraordinary power to appropriate budgetary resources and to involve the United States in foreign conflicts without real accountability, US politics will be grotesquely distorted to the profound disadvantage of the movement for fundamental change. The Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency will continue to control most of the $1.1 trillion federal discretionary spending budget, crowding out programs that would benefit people. And beyond wielding that obvious financial power, by maintaining the premise that the United States must continue to make war indefinitely, they will also wield an ideological weapon that helps the economic elite maintain the status quo. ..."
"... For more original Truthout election coverage, check out our election section, "Beyond the Sound Bites: Election 2016." ..."
"... But that fundamental obstacle to change was not even mentioned by any of the speakers who introduced the main themes of the conference on the first night. On the second day, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) strongly denounced moves by powerful interests for a new war for regime change in Syria, but she did not address the underlying system of institutional interests and power that keeps the United States at permanent war. There was one breakout session entitled "Healthcare Not Warfare," which highlighted what people already know -- that spending for war and preparation for war robs the people of resources needed to build a more prosperous and equitable society. But it was evidently an afterthought for conference organizers, and did not interest many of the attendees, drawing perhaps 30 people. ..."
"... The Sanders campaign never explicitly raised the issue of the permanent war state during the primary election contest, either. He did present a sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton when they debated foreign policy, effectively demolishing her position urging a more militarily aggressive policy in Syria. He called for a policy that "destroys ISIS" but "does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East."But he never talked about ending the unprecedented power that national security institutions have seized over the resources and security of the American people. ..."
"... The power of the military-industrial-congressional complex that has morphed into a permanent war state has long been the real "third rail" in US politics, which anyone aspiring to national office touches only at the risk of being branded "anti-American." News media coverage constantly reinforces the idea that US global military presence and aggressiveness are legitimate responses to foreign threats. So, for politicians, explaining why the power of that combination of institutions is a danger not only to people's economic interests, but also to their physical security is seen as extremely difficult and fraught with political risk. Sanders, who had no problem opposing specific wars, undoubtedly feared that an effort to deal with the interests and power behind the wars that most Americans oppose would force him to respond to attacks from the Clinton camp and the corporate media, and thus interfere with his populist message. ..."
"... Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare ..."
www.truth-out.org
The People's Summit in Chicago June 17-19 dramatically displayed both the strengths and the vulnerabilities of what has emerged in 2016 as one of the most potentially powerful movements for fundamental change in the United States in many decades. The event, which brought together 3,000 committed movement activists to rally in support of the "political revolution" given impetus by Bernie Sanders' campaign, was an opportunity to ensure that the movement will not dissipate in the wake of Hillary Clinton's clinching the Democratic nomination.

The leaders of the movement sought to use the summit to reconcile conflicting activist views on the relationship between movement organizations and electoral politics. The summit may have succeeded in keeping the coalition of those who privilege electoral politics and those who see it as a distraction from their local struggles from splitting up. But despite the political sophistication and pragmatism of the organizers, the gathering failed to deal seriously with the problem of the "permanent war state" -- the central power bloc in the US government that looms menacingly over everything the movement hopes to accomplish.

The permanent war state is the 800-pound gorilla in US society and political life. As the old joke goes, the answer to the question, "Where does an 800-pound gorilla eat?" is, "Anywhere he likes." As long as the organs of "national security" continue to retain the extraordinary power to appropriate budgetary resources and to involve the United States in foreign conflicts without real accountability, US politics will be grotesquely distorted to the profound disadvantage of the movement for fundamental change. The Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency will continue to control most of the $1.1 trillion federal discretionary spending budget, crowding out programs that would benefit people. And beyond wielding that obvious financial power, by maintaining the premise that the United States must continue to make war indefinitely, they will also wield an ideological weapon that helps the economic elite maintain the status quo.

For more original Truthout election coverage, check out our election section, "Beyond the Sound Bites: Election 2016."

But that fundamental obstacle to change was not even mentioned by any of the speakers who introduced the main themes of the conference on the first night. On the second day, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) strongly denounced moves by powerful interests for a new war for regime change in Syria, but she did not address the underlying system of institutional interests and power that keeps the United States at permanent war. There was one breakout session entitled "Healthcare Not Warfare," which highlighted what people already know -- that spending for war and preparation for war robs the people of resources needed to build a more prosperous and equitable society. But it was evidently an afterthought for conference organizers, and did not interest many of the attendees, drawing perhaps 30 people.

The permanent war state is the 800-pound gorilla in US society and political life.

The Sanders campaign never explicitly raised the issue of the permanent war state during the primary election contest, either. He did present a sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton when they debated foreign policy, effectively demolishing her position urging a more militarily aggressive policy in Syria. He called for a policy that "destroys ISIS" but "does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East."But he never talked about ending the unprecedented power that national security institutions have seized over the resources and security of the American people.

It is not difficult to see why Sanders did not take on that larger issue. The power of the military-industrial-congressional complex that has morphed into a permanent war state has long been the real "third rail" in US politics, which anyone aspiring to national office touches only at the risk of being branded "anti-American." News media coverage constantly reinforces the idea that US global military presence and aggressiveness are legitimate responses to foreign threats. So, for politicians, explaining why the power of that combination of institutions is a danger not only to people's economic interests, but also to their physical security is seen as extremely difficult and fraught with political risk. Sanders, who had no problem opposing specific wars, undoubtedly feared that an effort to deal with the interests and power behind the wars that most Americans oppose would force him to respond to attacks from the Clinton camp and the corporate media, and thus interfere with his populist message.

The permanent war state also appears to be outside the political comfort zone of National Nurses United, the single most influential organization in planning and funding the People's Summit. As a senior official of National Nurses United explained, the organization is able to talk about corporate control of the health care system because nurses constantly see the consequences in their own work, but most have no such personal experiences enabling them to talk about the war system.

But despite these understandable reasons for taking a pass on the issue, the leadership of the movement inspired by the Sanders campaign is making a big mistake by failing to take on the problem of the permanent war state. The popular organizations represented in Chicago understand this, but they have hesitated to go up against the most powerful combination bureaucratic interests the world has ever known, in part because they have not had any clear idea about how those interests could be defeated. What has been not been tried, however, is a strategy that attacks the war system where it is most vulnerable -- the fact that the war system bureaucrats have systematically pursued their own personal and institutional interests at the expense of the American people.

The publicly available records of US intervention and war, especially since the beginning of the Cold War, reveal an endless succession of policies and programs that were utterly useless and provoked reactions from states and from non-state actors that threatened the safety of the American people. But the policy makers preferred those policies, because they gave them and their organizations more power, more budgetary resources, more people under their command, more new technology, more foreign bases and perquisites, and more lucrative jobs and contracts when they leave the government for private companies.

All the services were looking for a boost in military appropriations when they pushed Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to intervene militarily in Vietnam. The US Air Force sold its "shock and awe" strategy for regime change in Iraq to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in order to capture a larger share of the military budget. The CIA got control over a major new mission when it convinced President George W. Bush to launch a drone war in Pakistan.

But the American people suffered the direct and indirect consequences of these wars in each case.

The fundamental conflict between the national interest and the personal and bureaucratic interests of the policy makers of the permanent war state explains why the system has continued to produce uniformly disastrous policies decade after decade.

So the strategy of the movement that the Sanders campaign has mobilized must include a broadly concerted campaign that explains to young people, disaffected working-class people and others how the permanent war state produces winners and losers. The winners are the national security organs themselves, as well as those who make careers and fortunes from the permanent state of war. The losers are those who must suffer the socioeconomic and other consequences of such reckless policies. Such a campaign should aim at nothing less than taking away the flow of money and the legal authority that the permanent war state has seized on the pretext of "threats" that are largely of its own making.

Even though the permanent war state seems to be at the peak of its power, like all essentially hollow institutions, it has a serious political vulnerability. Millions of Americans know that the wars the war-state agencies have wrought over the past half century -- from the Vietnam War to the war in Afghanistan -- were worse than useless. So the legitimacy of the permanent war state is extremely tenuous. A determined campaign to challenge that legitimacy, carried out with sufficient resources over a few years with the participation of a broad coalition, could shake it to its roots. Such a campaign must be included in the work to open up new political spaces and propel the movement for change. Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission .

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy. His latest book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare , was published in February of 2014. Follow him on Twitter: @GarethPorter .

[Jun 28, 2016] Obama family role in Indonesian genocide

Notable quotes:
"... united snake orchestrated the 1965 genocide on Chinese indons, [later Clinton called Suharto the executioner 'our kind of guy' .] then instigated the 1989 pogrom [including mass rapes of Chinese girls]. ..."
Jun 25, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

denk | Jun 25, 2016 11:04:51 AM | 98

facists reunited.

united snake orchestrated the 1965 genocide on Chinese indons, [later Clinton called Suharto the executioner 'our kind of guy' .] then instigated the 1989 pogrom [including mass rapes of Chinese girls].

once again united snake has roped in its fascists buddies in Jakarta for another 'open season' on Chinese people.
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/06/25/obama-family-role-indonesian-genocide-protected-muslim-radicals.html

[Jun 28, 2016] Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. ..."
"... The weapons shipped from Libya to Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea - 125mm and 200ea - 1[55 mm]. ..."
truepundit.com

@54 pw

Here you go ...


SECRET-NOFORN
QQQQ

SERIAL:(U) (b)(3)10 USC§424
BODY
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 051443Z OCT 12.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE.

COUNTRY OR NONSTATE ENTITY: (U) LIBYA (LBY); SYRIA (SYR).

SUBJECT: ( S//NF ) (b)(3)10 USC§424. FORMER-LIBYA MILITARY WEAPONS
Shipped to Syria via the Port of Benghazi. Libya

DATE OF INFORMATION: (U) 1 May 2012 - 1 Sep 2012.

CUTOFF: (U) 18 Sep 2012.

(b)(3)10 USC§424, (b)(3)50 USC§3024(i)
REDACTED
CLASSIFIED

WARNING: (U) THIS IS AN INFORMATION REPORT. NOT FINALLY EVALUATED
INTELLIGENCE. REPORT CLASSIFIED SECRET//NOFORN .

TEXT: 1. ( S//NF ) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Weapons from the former Libya
military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to
the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons
shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125mm
and 155mm howitzers missiles.

2.( S//NF }During Ihe immediate altermath of, and following the
uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in
October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the
former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were
shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and
the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to
the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The
ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to
hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo. (NFI)

3. ( S//NF ) The weapons shipped from Libya to Syria during late-August
2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers
missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500
Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and
approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea - 125mm and 200ea - 1[55
mm].

(b)(1) Sec. 1. 4(c).(b)(3): 10§USC 424,(b)(3):50§USC 3024(i)
REDACTED
CLASSIFIED

Posted by: jfl | Jun 23, 2016 9:05:30 AM | 67

[Jun 28, 2016] What the American revolution can teach us about Brexit

www.theguardian.com
by James Nevius

gettinggolder , 2016-06-28 16:40:56
You know the American Revolution was not in any way I can see equivalent to machinations with the EU. Plenty is written belowon the history, and the fourth with all the fireworks is approaching.

The idea that the colonies revolted to avoid immigration is nothing short of absurd. To this day one of the largest ethnic groups are Germans descended from mercenary solders who stayed and farmed on what they saw as widely available farmland.

Obelisk1 , 2016-06-28 16:23:38
The Brexit motivations have quite a lot in common with those that drove US independence.

The most important thing for Americans to realize, when trying to understand the EU/UK relationship is that the citizens of the UK never gave the functionaries permission to make the citizens subject to law made overseas. The entire EU is built on a very shaky platform that has no democratic underpinnings.

svann21 , 2016-06-28 16:16:01
As was said in Dune, no matter who owns Arrakis "the spice must flow".

Bob999 , 2016-06-28 16:08:04
Another lesson to take from the UK-US relationship supports the view that the UK-EU economic relationship has a future.

American independence did not sever economic ties between the two countries, at least after 1815, when the second US-UK war (the war of 1812) was concluded.

For example, the Louisiana Purchase, which added more than half of what is now the contiguous US west of the Mississippi, was financed by London banks. The US bought the land from Napoleon, who was trying to finance his wars against Britain and others, and British bankers must have concluded that the US was going to get the money someone (it was the property deal of the century), so it might as well be them.

Throughout the 19th century, much of the investment that turned the US into the world's largest economy came from London financial markets. The cowboy period of the Old West was about rounding up herds of feral cattle that roamed the Western plains. Great Britain was a primary market for that cattle (canned meat), and British financing was key. So when you see Hollywood cowboy movies, remember that those roundups were often financed by British firms. Britain was a dominant source of finance in the US throughout the 19th century. Wall Street didn't catch up to the City of London as a financial center until World War I.

Just as the American revolution did not end the economic relationship between the US and the UK, there is no reason to believe Brexit will end the economic relationship between the UK and Europe. Economic ties rarely stay broken.

Alfreda Weiss , 2016-06-28 15:55:31
At the time of the US revolution Britain was a great colonial/pirate power controlling India where they took great wealth off the backs of the locals. Same for what became America where the British took wealth away from the natives and taxed the colonies to pay for their wars of choice. Now manufacturing has been off-shored to "Third World" cheap labor/slave places. In the empty areas of both the UK and US there is little ability to live beyond a backyard garden and small amounts of money for old people. Youth are ignored. Brexit was a beginning of the end for the West. The rest of the world will try to rise in what may be a dark time in history. The West needs to return to some respect for humanity and not giving total power to the 1%.
inyermush , 2016-06-28 15:53:15
What arrant nonsense. The Declaration of Independence specifically enumerates the reasons for leaving the empire and none of those reasons is xenophobia. For the benefit of the great Guardian uneducated, i share the exact text with you here:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Part II

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Scott Anderson , 2016-06-28 14:59:22
The EU has lost respect by failing to address high unemployment and has only itself to blame for continual losses when real people vote. Germany's unilateral decision to allow for unfettered immigration made things worse. The British exit has nothing to do with the American Revolutionary War. Likewise, Donald Trump has nothing to do with it as well. Trump's negative poll numbers reflect that he is not going to be the next President of the United States despite running against a relatively weak Hillary Clinton.

I think Cameron has been lame as the British PM. He should have insisted on all four regions having to vote yes to the British exit. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted no. So this vote has created divisions that may lead to the breakup of the UK.

emphisTigerFan89 , 2016-06-28 14:31:01
"Those in the UK who voted to leave the EU may think they've won a small victory in tightening Britain's borders, but if America's history is a model, there's little that can actually be done to slow immigration."

That is absolutely not true! But the will to stem the tide of unlimited immigration has to be accepted by politicians of both parties. The borders can be enforced if there is the political will to do so.

Americans have shown repeatedly that they accept immigrants who come here lawfully. We are a nation of LAWS, not of lawbreakers! Granted, there are issues with the new comers in every generation (see the treatment of the Irish in the early 1900's), but after those waves of immigration, they gradually assimilated into American culture.

The biggest issue of the current wave of immigration is there has been no pause since 1965. Wave after wave of immigrants from all over the world without a pause for assimilation is a recipe for disaster, as shown by the rise in strong Anti-American sentiments within the borders of the US, from not only majority Hispanic communities, but also Syrian, Somali, Iraqi, and other countries around the world.

Once upon a time, immigrants came to the US to be part of a greater nation. Today, immigrants come to the US, but want to recreate the country they left behind within the borders of the US.

DylanJohn , 2016-06-28 14:25:22
I don't know when it was first used, but Margaret Roberts used "make Great Britain great again" in the 1950 general election. Source: http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/100858
Sandya Narayanswami DylanJohn , 2016-06-28 14:32:23
The term Great Britain originated as a means of differentiating it from Brittany, La Petite Bretagne v La Grande Bretagne. Both Britain and Brittany are "Bretagne", in French. The term has nothing to do with greatness per se.
ConBrio , 2016-06-28 14:12:06
The political spiel at the end of the article only highlights the rhetorical mendacity permeating the article.

Couching the American Revolution in terms of racism or religion is dishonest. While there may have been elements of religious bias from person to person, the fact remains that the Constitution created a secular government which protects religious liberty, and in fact prohibits any "religious test" for holding office.

Indeed, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention even attended a Mass en mass, one Sunday.

While attitudes may change in response to immediate dangers, the millions of people who have been welcomed to this country since the Founding put the lie to the rhetorical deceit that ethnic or religious bias have played a significant role in our national agenda.

[Jun 19, 2016] Syria - Russian Surprise Attack Blows Up Kerrys Delaying Tactic

Notable quotes:
"... Its so sad how the western presstitutes try and work this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79jQSYQYcW0 Russia seems to have the war part covered while Syria is bringing the diplomatic punch into focus .... ..."
"... Unadulterated BS. As for Obama (see 6) the committee man (he was elected for that role), he is caught between a rock and a hard place. Ukraine was and is an absolute disaster - nothing worked out as wished. (Some may enjoy Helmer, who sometimes must be taken with a dose of salt, linked below, MH17, etc. This war is being fought on 2 fronts, Ukr. + Syria.) ..."
"... Although the US seems to have gotten tough(er) on ISIS in recent months, there are indications that this is just more smokescreen. The Assad must go! Coalition has merely changed tactics. They still support their extremist proxy army(s) (as demonstrated by recent resupply and pleas for Russia to avoid bombing) . ..."
"... Obama warned Putin that he could face a 'quagmire' and 'costs'. To paraphrase Madeline Albright: What good is a proxy army if you don't use it? ..."
"... Obama is a willing and very capable participant in the 'con'. This has been proven in the realm of domestic affairs as well as foreign affairs. james has it right when he says: "this good cop/bad cop (obama/brennan) routine is a pile of bullshite". ..."
"... The Saudis and its allied are too stupid to realize that they have been taken on a ride. Turkey is on the verge of crumbling as Erdogan keeps attacking the USA and Egypt and has not solve the issue with Israel on Hamas and the defunct Moslem Brotherhood. ..."
"... Yes, I suppose it is entirely possible that this "schism" between Obama and the Pentagon is just theatrics, optics, useful in declaring helplessness when "policies" are undone or contradicted ... Obama as victim of palace infighting. ..."
"... "Turkey on the verge of crumbling ..." ..."
"... Egypt has placed the MB on the terror list and has become allied with Saudi Arabia and UAE. Qatar is isolated for its support of the MB. Erdogan is between a rock and a hard place, its foreign policy has been a disaster. Seeking to restore relations with Russia. The intelligence community of Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia have joined assets in the Levant. Al Nusra on the Golan must be defeated, the UK/US training camps of rebels in Jordan must be neutralized to fight in the southern corridor to Damascus. ..."
"... To remove any ambiguity about the status of the Free Syrian Army, a representative was present at this year's Herzliya Conference. This annual conference is dedicated to issues relating to Israel's Security. Netanyahu and high level Israeli Military Intelligence leaders state they prefer ISIS to Assad. ..."
"... War criminal Obama was the lead advocate for bombing Syrian government a few years ago, thats until the UK Parliament put a temporary stop to it. So any credit given to Obama by b , or anyone else is ludicrous. LUDICROUS. The destruction of Libya still gets Obama mitigation ? ..."
"... In 2016 we have the batsh*t crazy appointed government bureaucrats siding with the sole interests of a foreign country. Circle talking seems to be the normal state of affairs at State, Executive and MSM. PBS has gone full Karl Marx. Congress has an 16% approval rating, 80% disapproval, and 4% no opinion [1]. So I guess Congress doesn't really matter? And as far as our military command goes, when you can use 'sold out' and 'son of a bitch' in the same sentence, we, as a nation might have a major problemo. ..."
"... Actually, Putin has said that their intervention in Syria is in Russia's strategic interests - making much the same argument that Bush did wrt al Queda: we need to fight them there so that we don't have to fight them here . Russia doesn't want to see extremist control of another failed state like Libya. ..."
"... Clearly there is an ongoing battle in the Obama Administration between Mostly the pentagon (at least some part of it) and the CIA (most part of it). Obama is well aware of this. ..."
"... Obama's Strategy has been to isolate Russia Politically and to shift the main focus of United State Towards Asia however the unexpected resistance of Russia and Syria wasn't forecast by his administration and part of the Deep state. Now part of the heads in the pentagon and the Obama administration want out of this proxy war against Russia as the World and mainly the US public becomes more and more aware of the real nature of the war ongoing in Syria. The heart of the matter is that The members of the oligarchy that rule the united states through revolving doors between the government , their law firms, foundations, banks and corporations can't afford to lose Syria for obvious reason. ..."
"... "But Putin invited the evil US Empire into Syria." ..."
"... I haven't watched or listened to that PBS tripe ever . But considering that PBS is 90% corporate funded, I find it hard to accept your assertion ... it is merely a corporate/permanent government psy-op to keep the intellectually and morally challenged sedated. ..."
"... Obama's Syria SNAFU was always destined to boil down to Yankees playing Russian Roulette - with Russia. They're probably beginning to realise that playing cat and mouse loses a lot of its appeal when the cat starts getting ready to eat you. ..."
"... Hillary's so predictably evil, and he's so officially 'unpredictable' that he's the natural focal point of the selection circus. It's too bad only one of them can lose. ..."
"... Confirmation of other reports ... ..."
"... Obama and his Administration is a collection of lawyers, political pseudo-"scientists", journos etc. They are very good at promoting suicidal social policies but do not and cannot operate with actual operational categories--briefings by CIA or Pentagon (granted that they reflect a reality on the "ground", which is a question) are not designed to teach some Ivy League lawyer fundamentals of international relations, strategy, operational art etc. They merely distill a very complex geopolitical reality to a several catch phrases which could be understood by people of such qualities as W. (his military briefings papers contained headers with Bible excerpts, supposedly applicable to current situation) or Obama, who has no clue on how to assess the world around himself. ..."
"... In relation to Russia what Obama has in mind is beaten to death cliche of Afghanistan (obviously without studying that war) with which he wants to impress Russians, who, meanwhile fought two bloody wars against Wahhabi terrorists on own territory and, somehow, do know, unlike Obama or US liberal political class, what does it take to deal with this huge issue. In the end, during last War in Chechnya US media loved to misuse this very term (quagmire) and completely forgot to mention that Chechnya today is, actually, pretty reliable anti-terrorism entity in Russia. Now, add here most of US "elites" and a population being absolutely oblivious to real war and voila'. You have people speaking in platitudes and ignorant cliches. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.

After the ceasefire in Syria started in late February Obama broke his pledge to separate the U.S. supported "moderate rebels" from al-Qaeda. In April U.S. supported rebels, the Taliban like Ahrar al Sham and al-Qaeda joined to attack the Syrian government in south Aleppo. The U.S.proxies broke the ceasefire.

Two UN resolutions demand that al-Qaeda in Syria be fought no matter what. But the U.S. has at least twice asked Russia not to bomb al-Qaeda. It insists, falsely, that it can not separate its "moderates" from al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda can not be attacked because that would also hit its "moderate" friends.

The Russian foreign minster Lavrov has talked wit Kerry many times about the issue. But the only response he received were requests to further withhold bombing. Meanwhile al-Qaeda and the "moderates" continued to break the ceasefire and to attack the Syrian government forces.

After nearly four month Kerry still insists that the U.S. needs even more time for the requested separation of its proxy forces from al-Qaeda. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently expressed the Russian consternation:

The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the 'good' opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime," Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The bucket was full and Kerry's latest request for another three month pause of attacking al-Qaeda was the drop that let it overflow. Russia now responded by hitting the U.S. where it did not expect to be hit:

Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week , disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow's air campaign in Syria began last year.

The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.
...
These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.
...
The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon's program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.

When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.

U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target.

This was no accident but a well planned operation and the Russian spokesperson's response makes the intend clear:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm the attack Friday, telling reporters it was difficult to distinguish different rebel groups from the air.

Translation: "If you can not separate your forces from al-Qaeda and differentiate and designate exclusively "moderate" zones we can not do so either ."

The forces near Tanf are supported by U.S. artillery from Jordan and air power via Iraq. British and Jordan special operations forces are part of the ground component (and probably the majority of the "Syrian" fighters.) There is no al-Qaeda there. The Russians know that well. But they wanted to make the point that it is either separation everywhere or separation nowhere. From now on until the U.S. clearly separates them from AQ all U.S. supported forces will be hit indiscriminately anywhere and anytime. (The Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State with U.S. support are for now a different story.)

The Pentagon does not want any further engagement against the Syrian government or against Russia. It wants to fight the Islamic State and its hates the CIA for its cooperation with al-Qaeda and other Jihadi elements. But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama's ear. But what can Obama do now? Shoot down a Russian jet and thereby endanger any U.S. pilot flying in Syria or near the Russian border? Risk a war with Russia? Really?

The Russian hit near Tanf was clearly a surprise. The Russians again caught Washington on the wrong foot. The message to the Obama administration is clear. "No more delays and obfuscations. You will separate your moderates NOW or all your assets in Syria will be juicy targets for the Russian air force. "

The Russian hits at Tanf and the U.S. proxies there has an additional benefit. The U.S. had planned to let those forces move north towards Deir Ezzor and to defeat the Islamic State in that city. Eventually a "Sunni entity" would be established in south east Syria and west Iraq under U.S. control. Syria would be split apart.

The Syrian government and its allies will not allow that. There is a large operation planned to free Deir Ezzor from the Islamic State occupation. Several hundred Syrian government forces have held an isolated airport in Deir Ezzor against many unsuccessful Islamic State attacks. These troops get currently reinforced by additional Syrian army contingents and Hizbullah commandos.A big battle is coming. Deir Ezzor may be freed within the next few month. Any U.S. plans for some eastern Syrian entity are completely unrealistic if the Syrian government can take and hold its largest eastern city.

The Obama administration's delaying tactic will now have to end. Russia will no longer stand back and watch while the U.S. sabotages the ceasefire and supports al-Qaeda.

What then is the next move the U.S. will make?

Posted by b on June 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 11:42:32 AM | 2
b:
But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama's ear.
Please don't be an Obama apologist b. Isn't it clear by now that Obama is not the peace-loving progressive that he pretends to be?
paul | Jun 18, 2016 11:42:53 AM | 3
Putin needs to send a message to Israel that Russia will no longer tolerate Israeli bombing raids in Syria.
Edomac | Jun 18, 2016 12:06:12 PM | 4
Line in the sand now for Israel it's about time.
harrylaw | Jun 18, 2016 12:16:30 PM | 5
Many pundits have argued that there is no military solution in Syria. I disagree, a military solution is the only one possible and it must be decisive. How is it possible for Saudi Arabia to supply and finance thousands of proxy forces to destroy a fellow Arab state, and still claim to be fighting terrorism. Syria and Iran need to take the gloves off and use their own special forces or better still encourage proxy forces of their own [unattributed of course]to cripple the Saudi economy with various 'incidents' at Ras Tamara oil port. "An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west". https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/03/saudiarabia.oil
This would have the benefit of killing two birds with one stone, the fall of one of the most obnoxious regimes known to mankind and with it the cessation of funding for schools of terrorism throughout the world and with it Assads vision of a secular Syrian state as a role model for the rest of the Middle East.
WorldBLee | Jun 18, 2016 12:23:55 PM | 6
@Jackrabbit at 2: Of course Obama is not progressive or peace loving. Only an idiot would argue that he is. But what b is saying is that Obama is weak reed who can be bent depending on which faction has his attention. He both wants to overthrow Assad and to avoid getting pulled into an expensive battle, in my opinion, and in any given week may issue contradictory policies. But it seems he sides more with the CIA than the Pentagon, which is dangerous in this case.
Terry | Jun 18, 2016 12:44:12 PM | 7

Seems as though the pressure is on ...this vid Skype presentation by Syrian presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, to GAFTA (Global Alliance for terminating al Qaeda) conference in Washington, June 2016. is well worth the listen to .

Its so sad how the western presstitutes try and work this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79jQSYQYcW0 Russia seems to have the war part covered while Syria is bringing the diplomatic punch into focus ....

Au | Jun 18, 2016 12:50:42 PM | 8
@2 It's always been clear to me that he is not some tremendous beacon of peace for Syria but the alternative was McCain and he definitely wanted and still wants more w/ ever a burning yearning for absolute overt total war against Syria.

It's tough to tell who Obama listens to; Ben Rhodes? Saudi's (most def) but is it just simply as a sorry for the iran deal or closer ties? The u.s. deep state (i think so but they seemed pretty pissed at him) . . i think he just expected things to go as they did in libya or perhaps as the 2012 dia memo stated, the plan all along was to create a sliver of a sunni state and for the u.s. in that case the objective is coming along whether a kurdistan (hopefully) or a caliphate (hope to god not)... is it a fly trap strategy that'll turn in to a caliphate? hell idk it's going to be insane w/ hillary.

ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 12:54:31 PM | 9
Just a reminder. Russia, Syria and Iran have a 'mutual defense treaty' that states an attack on one is an attack on all ...

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-russia-iran-syria-mutual-defense-treaties-the-western-media-missed

ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 1:10:20 PM | 10
June 18, 2016 - You cannot make this stuff up ...

"On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that's backed by the U.S.

Since last year, American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria while supporting different sides in the civil war. Moscow backs the Assad dictatorship; the U.S. is arming rebels who've been trying to overthrow it.

The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings."

Once again our so called Department of Defense displays its 'Kindergarten logic' by condemning Russia for acting within the parameters of International Law.

quote source - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ignores-warnings-bombs-u-s-backed-syrian-rebel-group/

Noirette | Jun 18, 2016 1:13:27 PM | 11
harrylaw at 5, yes, say. They state 'no military solution is possible' because they want a political transition right now. In short, they want the opposing parties to just lie down and die or go off and play WoW or watch Mad Men or sumptin'. Unadulterated BS. As for Obama (see 6) the committee man (he was elected for that role), he is caught between a rock and a hard place. Ukraine was and is an absolute disaster - nothing worked out as wished. (Some may enjoy Helmer, who sometimes must be taken with a dose of salt, linked below, MH17, etc. This war is being fought on 2 fronts, Ukr. + Syria.)

Read in the Swiss Press (no idea if true) that di Mistura is fed up with the lot of them, implied he will throw in the towel. Not that a return to the negotiating table is realistic, that ship has now sailed into the stormy night, the US can't try that move again, nor will the Russians be so compliant next time (imho.) So that is one thing the US won't do (?).. (b's question.) The rubber is going to hit the road on this one. It will be fought out in the corridors of power in Washington first. Putin has been in speech very conciliatory recently to show the usual 'good will'..

http://johnhelmer.net/?p=15859

Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 1:37:26 PM | 13
b:
What then is the next move the U.S. will make?
I will hazard a guess. But first, we should not think that the U.S. will act alone. Direct confrontation with Russia is (of course) too risky.

As I wrote in an earlier comment (includes timeline) , the San Bernandino attack occurred soon after the downing of the Russian airliner on October 31st 2015. This was the first attack against the US despite the US having (supposedly) bombed ISIS for over a year and engaged in a $500 million program to train anti-ISIS fighters.

The long delay in responding to USA's anti-ISIS activities sharply contrasts with the quickness with which ISIS had responded to Russia's intervention. This leads to the question of whether the San Bernandino attack was (hastily) arranged to blunt any attempt to associate USA with the proxy army of Sunni extremists.

Although the US seems to have gotten tough(er) on ISIS in recent months, there are indications that this is just more smokescreen. The Assad must go! Coalition has merely changed tactics. They still support their extremist proxy army(s) (as demonstrated by recent resupply and pleas for Russia to avoid bombing) .

The recent Orlando shooting better establishes ISIS's hate for USA and thereby distances USA/CIA from ISIS. This distancing may simply be misdirection that allows ISIS to carry out spectacular attack(s) against Russian interests. That it pre-dates attacks on Russian interests merely shows that they learned from the San Bernandino experience (where a lack of previous attacks raised suspicions) .

Note:

1) The San Bernandino attackers had visited Saudi Arabia and the wife had lived there. They were well established in the USA and drew little if any suspicion. They could have attacked months before or after the time that they actually did attack.

2) The Orlando attacker had also visited Saudi Arabia. The background of the wife is (as yet) not well understood. She was born in USA but her last name ("Salman") is the same as the Saudi royal family (I'm not sure how relevant that is) . It is now clear that she had some knowledge of the plans of her husband.

3) Both the San Bernandino and Orlando (SB&O) attackers had a young child. As a 'young family' they would be less likely to draw suspicion. Were the SB&O attackers really "radicalized via the Internet"? "ISIS-inspired"? "Lone wolf"? Or, were they 'deep cover' operatives?

4) The FBI has caught/entrapped many potential attackers that were "radicalized over the Internet" but they are invariably clueless and incapable.

5) AFAIK, "ISIS-inspired" attackers in Paris and Brussels didn't have young children and middle-class lifestyle.

Obama warned Putin that he could face a 'quagmire' and 'costs'. To paraphrase Madeline Albright: What good is a proxy army if you don't use it?

Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 1:43:31 PM | 14
WorldBLee @6:
Obama is a weak reed
Obama is a willing and very capable participant in the 'con'. This has been proven in the realm of domestic affairs as well as foreign affairs. james has it right when he says: "this good cop/bad cop (obama/brennan) routine is a pile of bullshite".

virgile | Jun 18, 2016 1:57:06 PM | 15
In public the US criticizes and threatens Russia. In private I think that the Pentagon is more than happy to see Russia blowing up these "moderates" that have become polluted by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and also Turkey.

Using Russia, the USA is giving a good lessons to these 'allies' countries that dare stand against the USA shift on Iran. They are becoming increasingly terrified by their powerlessness.

This has always been the USA double game in the ME: Caress and stab in the back. The Saudis and its allied are too stupid to realize that they have been taken on a ride. Turkey is on the verge of crumbling as Erdogan keeps attacking the USA and Egypt and has not solve the issue with Israel on Hamas and the defunct Moslem Brotherhood.

The tacit agreement between Kerry and Lavrov on crushing the rebels, islamist or not, is very clear.

Susan Sunflower | Jun 18, 2016 2:10:09 PM | 16
Posted by: virgile | Jun 18, 2016 1:57:06 PM | 15

Yes, I suppose it is entirely possible that this "schism" between Obama and the Pentagon is just theatrics, optics, useful in declaring helplessness when "policies" are undone or contradicted ... Obama as victim of palace infighting.

I was noticing how they no longer bother to state objectives to justify our actions (and/or inactions) ... Omar Mateens demand that we "stop bombing Afghanistan" made me wonder if we actually were bombing there, who and what and why ...
Juan Cole/Center from investigative journalism: US still in Conventional War in Afghanistan via . . . Drones? . My impression that our main mission in Afghanistant was "not leaving" ...

ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 2:18:27 PM | 17
PBS TV is running a piece on the military draft. Giving a historical perspective dating back to George Washington's request for a draft during the Revolutionary War to the present.

While stationed at Great Lakes Naval station in 1967 I noticed that all of e gate guards were US Marines. This was during Nam. I asked one Marine how he managed to pull such a plum assignment. He told me that he had been drafted into the Marines. His tour was for two years. He was told that being a draftee he would not serve in a combat unit as a draftee and not an enlistee 'he could not be trusted.'

Let the fragging begin.

karlof1 | Jun 18, 2016 2:34:25 PM | 18
The Outlaw US Empire's behavior regarding the UNSC resolution that al-Qaeda be attacked no matter what proves the Empire's support for that terrorist group absolving its citizens from paying taxes to support terrorism since doing so is against the law. Is my logic sound, or should I rephrase?
Oui | Jun 18, 2016 2:47:29 PM | 20
"Turkey on the verge of crumbling ..."

Egypt has placed the MB on the terror list and has become allied with Saudi Arabia and UAE. Qatar is isolated for its support of the MB. Erdogan is between a rock and a hard place, its foreign policy has been a disaster. Seeking to restore relations with Russia. The intelligence community of Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia have joined assets in the Levant. Al Nusra on the Golan must be defeated, the UK/US training camps of rebels in Jordan must be neutralized to fight in the southern corridor to Damascus.

Oui | Jun 18, 2016 2:53:45 PM | 21
It must be the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) heading towards Deir ez-Zor, a crucial cross-roads for Islamic State between Raqqa and Anbar province in Iraq. The U.S. will do all to help establish an enlarged Sunni enclave as a gift for its Arab patrons. A bit of Syria should suffice as punishment for Assad and allies.

Onslaught on ISIS: Syrian Army enters Raqqa province as Kurds, rebels advance | RT |
ISIS Sanctuary Map – ISW (May 25, 2016)

mik | Jun 18, 2016 2:56:33 PM | 22
Seems like you missed you missed the big news for today:

On Putin´s order, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister visited Bashar al Assad and the Kmeimim base.
That most certainly mean s that something big will be announced next week. Stay tuned...

jayc | Jun 18, 2016 3:13:17 PM | 24
The Helmer piece on MH17 is interesting. I remember reports that the Australians were prepared to send troops into the area, but if the Dutch were planning the same thing then it was a NATO op in all probability. The utter hysteria that had been unleashed in the Western media at the time would have provided the cover for such bold move. The desired result would not have necessarily been immediate war with Russia, but certainly the instantaneous creation of cold war standoff and militarization which has been happening incrementally instead. This could be considered similar to the sarin attack in Syria, blamed on Assad, with the hasty response of quickly regime-changing the country, which also was called off (and the policy continued incrementally since). This highlights the centrality of false-flag events to realize policy, particularly to those favouring rapid game-changing moves. It is very possible that the next POTUS will be faced with a false-flag atrocity in the Baltics or mid-east early in the first term, with an attendant bold move offered as response.
woogs | Jun 18, 2016 3:13:35 PM | 25
Lol ..... Putin does a Nuland on Kerry.

"U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target."

Putin seems quite adept at appearing weak (even to his supporters), then BAM!! IMO, this is not a one-off. No reason to fly clear across Syria to 'make a statement', though it was a helluva statement!

I expect more of the same, with Russia going back to its original strategy, which worked quite well. So much for Obama's foreign policy (don't do stupid shit).

Mina | Jun 18, 2016 3:14:29 PM | 26

Thanks Terry for the Bouthaina Shaaban speech. The most amazing are the questions after the 30 mn speech. A dozen of female hyenas talking non-sense! At some stage one of them is clearly becoming hysterical. Hard to believe they are simply ill-informed. Most of these people are on pay-list, for sure.
It is relieving to see a Muslim woman talking naturally, unveiled, in the middle of Ramadan. Shaaban is really strong to manage to keep her calm.
Oui | Jun 18, 2016 3:28:52 PM | 27
Sergei Shoigu Inspects Khmeimim Airbase in Syria

At the Khmeimim airbase, the General of the army Sergei Shoigu inspected the accommodation of personnel and issues of providing with all types of support, and also met with Russian pilots performing combat missions to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Syria and military units for the protection and security of the air base. The head of the Russian military tested the combat duty at the command post of the air defense group, and also the starting positions of anti-aircraft missile system S-400, which is stationed at the air base," stated the message of the Defense Ministry.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said that maintaining Syria's integrity must be the top priority and warned that the disintegration of the Middle Eastern country would be a "destabilizing factor not only for the region, but for the whole world."

"We must act carefully, step by step, aiming to establish trust between all sides to the conflict," the Russian president said, adding that a new and effective government could be formed in Syria once this trust is finally built. A political process is the only way to reach peace, Putin said, stressing that Syrian President Bashar Assad "also agrees to such a process."

Минобороны России

Minister of Defence General of the Army Sergei ‪#‎ Shoigu ‬ ordered the Chief of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides Lieutenant General Sergei ‪#‎Chvarkov‬ to build up negotiations with heads of administrations and armed formation commanders on joining national truce process.

Mina | Jun 18, 2016 3:52:12 PM | 30
Saturday night snuff movie on FB! Death for real!! So cool, ain't it?
Moloch is making cash tonigt!
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36566635
paulmeli | Jun 18, 2016 3:59:22 PM | 32
I have a great deal more respect for Russian leadership than I do American.

This coming from a 70 yr old American 'exceptionalist'. Sad.

Yonatan | Jun 18, 2016 4:11:08 PM | 33
To remove any ambiguity about the status of the Free Syrian Army, a representative was present at this year's Herzliya Conference. This annual conference is dedicated to issues relating to Israel's Security. Netanyahu and high level Israeli Military Intelligence leaders state they prefer ISIS to Assad.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/fsa-commander-takes-part-herzliya-conference/

Jack Smith | Jun 18, 2016 4:27:24 PM | 36
b, an excellent piece, if what you alleged were true! It's now or never. The regime in Washington must be stop. If not now, when? You cannot trust Obomo, Hillary, Trump or Bernie, regardless who is in the WH.
james | Jun 18, 2016 4:50:27 PM | 38
@7 terry.. ditto mina's comment @26 - thanks for sharing that video... pretty enlightening how thick the propaganda is inside the usa for them to question Syrian presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban in the manner they do... her comment at 49 minutes in is pretty strong and clear..
tom | Jun 18, 2016 4:52:42 PM | 39
War criminal Obama was the lead advocate for bombing Syrian government a few years ago, thats until the UK Parliament put a temporary stop to it. So any credit given to Obama by b , or anyone else is ludicrous. LUDICROUS. The destruction of Libya still gets Obama mitigation ?

But Putin invited the evil US Empire into Syria. What kind of fool would invite humanities worst enemy, as well as Russia's biggest enemy, into a conflict where they oppose each other. Grotesque stupidity.

Jack Smith | Jun 18, 2016 4:54:33 PM | 40
Lets be clear there are meetings behind closed doors among players, we are just speculating. While Syria might be the main focus point, Kiev continues bombing Separatists in Donbass, Venezuela in the blinks of anarchy. In joint military exercises off India's east coast, China and Russia's warships watching war game between US, Japan and India...

Here something you got to watch: TeleSurTV: Media Review: The World According to Seymour Hersh: Part Two

http://videos.telesurtv.net/en/video/557704/media-review-557704

Grieved | Jun 18, 2016 5:00:58 PM | 41
I loved this story. I am somewhat in awe of how the Russians have handled their Syrian presence, and the gains they make with every move. Did they have the moral weight 6 months ago to destroy US assets and perhaps US citizens on the ground in Syria? It seems certain that they do now. They seem to have tested all the players in the US establishment and discovered none who can stand up to them.

What will the US do next? On past performance, all it can do is lie, cheat and steal, but all this within the paradigms set by Russia and the UN. One assumes that Russia's command has every permutation of treachery war-gamed already, with contingency moves in place. I suggest popcorn.

It is to the benefit of world peace that the Syrian part of the war between Russia and the US proceed as slowly and deliberately as possible. With every day that passes Russia becomes militarily stronger and US military force continues to atrophy without renewal, while its policy-making remains frozen with no intellectual refreshment or inventiveness.

Putin and his team are such astonishingly mature peacemakers that every provocation or twitch of malice by the US is net with calm. The global effort continues to allow the US to sink to its knees with as much grace as can be managed. So far, nobody has had to nuke the US, and for this I'm grateful. There is one good and final slapping that the US has to take in public before its time is over, and I yearn for the day, but I think it's far off yet, somewhere in a single-digit range of years.

bbbb | Jun 18, 2016 5:16:13 PM | 42
@39 Russia doesn't want a quagmire, nor does it want Western Sanctions. If Syria wasn't a militarily weak and spent force, things would probably go a lot smoother. Instead, outsiders are having to fight outsiders, and Russia and Iran are not tier-1 allies for whatever reason. Russia and China have never shown much defense against western aggression against 'partner' countries as it is, so Syria has been quite a stretch.

For Iran, Hezbollah and Syrians, Syria is the battle of a lifetime, but for Russia, it's maybe a bargaining chip, or a something less, or something more.. we just don't know. All we can do it wait and see what happens, for we'll never truly know what Russia's intentions in the region are until after the fact.

I personally want the 'evil' side to be thwarted on all fronts, as it's akin to a cancer that will destroy the host (Syria and its society) unless it's excised. There are multiple ways of accomplishing it, but there are multiple ways of failing as well. I guess that's why I'm glad I'm here making opinions, rather than being in any sort of command position. I just hope that the next administration in Washington will be sick of this business, but unfortunately seems more or less to be only one side that probably won't win(Trump)

lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 5:28:16 PM | 44
Hello everyone I heard That France was building a military base near kobane. Is that true ? Can someone knowledgeable in the matter or b shed some light on this news ?
ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 5:37:24 PM | 45
At the least during Nam we were given the 'Domino Theory' which, if you could consume enough alcohol, made perfect sense. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident! Where a country without a Navy attacked our Navy. Where do I enlist!

In 2016 we have the batsh*t crazy appointed government bureaucrats siding with the sole interests of a foreign country. Circle talking seems to be the normal state of affairs at State, Executive and MSM. PBS has gone full Karl Marx. Congress has an 16% approval rating, 80% disapproval, and 4% no opinion [1]. So I guess Congress doesn't really matter? And as far as our military command goes, when you can use 'sold out' and 'son of a bitch' in the same sentence, we, as a nation might have a major problemo.

Just me opinion

[1] - http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

dahoit | Jun 18, 2016 6:14:46 PM | 48
I think people should note that this is all Russia black eyeing as collusion with Assad the evil dictator,and it all is about the upcoming election,where Trump,contrary to certain misinfo agents here,supports Russias efforts and promises to try and get along with the neolibcons enemies, who will be ejected from their positions by an American nationalist administration.All these creeps have been installed by the shrub.The HB and Obomba,all American zeros.

And look at the Olympic blanket judgement on innocent Russian athletes, more propaganda and demonization.

jfl | Jun 18, 2016 6:43:57 PM | 49
@48 dahoit

I haven't heard anything from Trump since Hillary's apotheosis, actually a little before. Has he stopped talking? Or has the corporate media just stopped publishing him? Obama, Kerry, the 50 dancing diplomats ... all that stuff seems made to order for Trump to roll over.

Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 7:02:33 PM | 50
bbbb @42:
For Iran, Hezbollah and Syrians, Syria is the battle of a lifetime, but for Russia, it's maybe a bargaining chip ...
Actually, Putin has said that their intervention in Syria is in Russia's strategic interests - making much the same argument that Bush did wrt al Queda: we need to fight them there so that we don't have to fight them here . Russia doesn't want to see extremist control of another failed state like Libya.
lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 7:05:52 PM | 51
Clearly there is an ongoing battle in the Obama Administration between Mostly the pentagon (at least some part of it) and the CIA (most part of it). Obama is well aware of this.

Obama's Strategy has been to isolate Russia Politically and to shift the main focus of United State Towards Asia however the unexpected resistance of Russia and Syria wasn't forecast by his administration and part of the Deep state. Now part of the heads in the pentagon and the Obama administration want out of this proxy war against Russia as the World and mainly the US public becomes more and more aware of the real nature of the war ongoing in Syria. The heart of the matter is that The members of the oligarchy that rule the united states through revolving doors between the government , their law firms, foundations, banks and corporations can't afford to lose Syria for obvious reason.

On the geopolitical scale The control of the silk Road and Pipeline is of primary importance especially the latter if the us wants to efficiently keep its grip on Europe for the next 30 years.France and mainly Germany could turn to Russia as noted by the willing of many member of their oligarchy and this would be a near devastating blow for the US empire.To take an example Europe is more or less today what India was for Great Britain back before the end of world war two.It might be difficult accepting or believing that one country in the near east such as Syria could old such a role in the destiny of an empire but that's exactly it.Syria is in our current present the country where channel all the opposition to the new world order made in America and if it wasn't for the inability of The States to wage a war against Russia a world war Three-this time without proxy-would be in the making.

The 50 high ranking diplomats,working for the department of state, asking Kerry to take over the Syrian state military in order to destroy the Islamic state wouldn't disagree with that. For those of you who know how to read Spanish this is the link reading of the desire of this high ranking diplomats http://www.telesurtv.net/news/Piden-funcionarios-de-Washington-derrocar-al-gobierno-sirio--20160617-0004.html .

The Good news is that I have never seen the united States leads a war against adversaries of the same caliber able to efficiently strike back to them (with the exception of japan) as the main lead...Remember It is the Russians who defeated Germany not the US..everything else is just propaganda.The US is more of empire that uses trickery and the weaknesses of its adversaries to forward its agenda more than anything else;otherwise they always ends up negotiating. I will probably be proven wrong at some point but not by the Russians as of now.

Oui | Jun 18, 2016 7:38:57 PM | 52
@tom

"But Putin invited the evil US Empire into Syria."

No he didn't .... UN resolution was approved under Medvedev.

lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 8:36:21 PM | 53
@dahoit

I can't believe there is people still believing in politician more so when they have been proven liars time and time again.I am all for the welcoming of a saviour and providential man but anyone doing a serious background check (as should any voter) on trump knows the man is a crook .I mean I understand the desire for hope but it shouldn't blind us.

Trump is just an Obama from the left and that is about it.The Deep state has gotten stronger since the Kennedy's Assassination and is unlikely to release its grip on Syria knowing its geostrategic necessity to the empire.

Trump will never be ruling the show on the main strategies of the empire, never, unless he wants himself dead. The only thing that will defeat the US empire in Syria is Russian will nothing short of that. Unless The States are able to pull some magic tricks unknown to us at that point. For one thing certain a war is very unlikely (although many want it)against such a mighty foe as Russia-for now.

The story printed out by many mainstream newspapers on Bill Clinton advising Trump on phone to run as a candidate should give anyone pause as to the hidden scheme behind politic and the trump and Clinton family friendship.Yet Some people still believe trump is an opposition to the system. That boggles the mind.Really.The only reason I can find explaining this attitude in someone knowledgeable of the trickery of the States is political correctness (quiet powerful actually) or blindness and irrational hope....now some say faith is irrational...however I was not expecting to see it having such large part in modern politics.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bill-clinton-called-donald-trump-ahead-of-republicans-2016-launch/2015/08/05/e2b30bb8-3ae3-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bill-clinton-called-donald-trump-ahead-of-republicans-2016-launch/2015/08/05/e2b30bb8-3ae3-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html

Macon Richardson | Jun 18, 2016 9:20:58 PM | 54
ALberto @ 45 You say that "PBS has gone full Karl Marx". I haven't watched or listened to that PBS tripe ever . But considering that PBS is 90% corporate funded, I find it hard to accept your assertion ... it is merely a corporate/permanent government psy-op to keep the intellectually and morally challenged sedated.
Robert Roth | Jun 18, 2016 10:08:06 PM | 55
Regarding who Obama listens to, a good analysis is Bob Parry on The State Department's Collective Madness, https://consortiumnews.com/2016/06/17/the-state-departments-collective-madness/.

A piece in today's Wall Street Journal indicates that despite the growing pressure, Obama means to stick by his policy of limited intervention. Of course he's being pig-headed in insisting "Assad must go," but what he's doing beats full-scale US invasion of Syria, "no-fly" zones and similar madness favored by Hillary and likely to lead to WW III although, as John Pilger puts it, WW has already started; on the other hand, it hasn't yet gone thermonuclear, and I see that as a distinct advantage.

juliania | Jun 18, 2016 10:59:14 PM | 56
Thank you Grieved, in particular for reminding us as follows:

". . .malice by the US is met with calm. The global effort continues to allow the US to sink to its knees with as much grace as can be managed."

This was well illustrated at the opening of the St. Petersburg economic conference. Pointed questions about political candidates were countered by Putin in a deft manner that left no doubt of his assessment of the 'leading' candidates, without calling anyone a hitler or any suggestion of interference in the US political process. I don't believe Putin is any fonder of Trump than he is of Ms. Clinton - he stated he'll work with whomever comes out on top (my words) and had kind words to say for Bill - not for his policies but for his encouragement of Putin early on. Very diplomatic, and wise.

Where have our wise politicians gone? We did have a few once. Couldn't we please just sink to our knees gracefully? The world would love us if we did. Here - I'll be first. (Sinks to knees.) After all, tonight is the night of Pentecost and Sunday we do the magnificent kneeling prayers for the first time since before Easter.

It's a good time to kneel.

Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2016 11:33:28 PM | 57
Obama's Syria SNAFU was always destined to boil down to Yankees playing Russian Roulette - with Russia. They're probably beginning to realise that playing cat and mouse loses a lot of its appeal when the cat starts getting ready to eat you.
PavewayIV | Jun 19, 2016 12:26:40 AM | 60
lebretteurfredonnant@44 - I'm not really knowledgeable in the matter, but I have broadband and type fast for what it's worth.

Little detail is known about the base, but it may be the former Syrian Army Mishtenur/Mushtannour Hill Military Base shown on wikimapia here . The location is just the flat top of Mishtenur Hill (just south of Kobane) with a bulldozed revetment around the periphery. No idea what the Syrian Army used it for - it may have been a simple observation post with a few artillery pieces (long gone). There are no structures on the hilltop other than a commercial radio tower and a few shacks at the northern edge. The hilltop itself isn't much more than 200m x 600m - not large enough for a fixed-wing airstrip but plenty of room for helicopters and a small contingent of French Special Forces. The Kurds probably have a few people there as headchopper lookouts/snipers.

The Mishtenur Hill location should be considered speculative - I only recall a couple of mentions in english-language Kurdish press. It makes sense to put it there, but who knows.

Months ago when the U.S. was building its 'secret' base at the Rmelian airstrip , there were rumors of a second 'U.S. base' being constructed somewhere around Kobane, but nothing was heard after that. Not sure if that rumor was related to the potential Mishtenur Hill location the French may be using.

The Kurds and Kurdish Press have been very tight-lipped about these bases for obvious reasons, so I wouldn't expect to ever see much on them. CNN had a crew run out to Rmeilan so we know it exists and was being worked on, but they were not allowed on the 'base' and couldn't see much over the protective berms surrounding it. There are no pictures or video of the current state. I would imagine the French SF base - wherever it ends up - will remain shrouded in mystery as well.

If you're doing any on-line searches, keep in mind that these locations have proper Turkish/Kurdish/Arabic names, not 'english' ones. There may be half-a-dozen variations on the derived english name used in various media sources as was the case for Rmeilan.

V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 12:28:50 AM | 61
paulmeli | Jun 18, 2016 3:59:22 PM | 32
I have a great deal more respect for Russian leadership than I do American.

I'll second your comment; this coming from a self exiled 71 yo American radical.

Joanne Leon | Jun 19, 2016 1:20:31 AM | 63
This is very, very alarming and I get a strong sense it's about a lot more than separating rebels from AQ. I also wonder who is really at that base in Tanf.

Have to also keep in mind the daily escalation of hostility around the NATO meetings leading up to the Warsaw summit.

Putin did a press conf at the end of the St Petersburg econ summit and a Canadian press exec asked about NATO troops deploying to their border. He gave a long answer about US walking away from a missile treaty that had kept the world from serious global war for 70yrs, etc. Had a lot to say about missiles. I wonder.

From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 1:26:06 AM | 64

@49 jfl
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-17/something-going-%E2%80%93-and-its-worse-you-thought

bbbb | Jun 19, 2016 2:24:34 AM | 66
Here's something to keep in mind as all of this goes on

http://energyskeptic.com/2016/emerging-threats-of-resource-wars-u-s-house-hearing/

DANA ROHRABACHER, California. We import 750,000 tons of vital minerals and material every year. An increasing global demand for supplies of energy and strategic minerals is sparking intense economic competition that could lead to a counterproductive conflict.

A ''zero sum world'' where no one can obtain the means to progress without taking them from someone else is inherently a world of conflict.

Additional problems arise when supplies are located in areas where production could be disrupted by political upheaval, terrorism or war.

jfl | Jun 19, 2016 3:53:38 AM | 67
@49 fth

Thanks. Actually I'd read that one. I rarely read anything of Justin Raimondo's at aw.com, but I read that one for some reason. It's the run down for those who haven't been paying attention, I thought. Let me look again ...yeah, it's not the Republican candidate (yet) talking about it, but for that one cryptic comment, it's Justin Raimondo talking about it, and he ain't running for president. Of course he's write-in candidate, as are about 200 million of the rest of us.

But that is just the kind of a pitch that Trump needs to make, has to make really, to keep from being steamrolled by the DNC machine and all the monied interests to whom its sold-out and who are consequently supporting it. Trump is pretty well-free of supervision by the Republicrat party and he needs something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what the Demoblicans are trying to make the election about. He could get a lot of attention, and possibly support, from the antiwar right and left, he could pick up Bernie's betrayed ... if he went after not only the sheer misanthropy of it all but the tawdriness, the treachery, the self-dealing of the neo-cons ... at least he could bring all that into the open. Make the neo-cons, their wars and the MIC a topic in the contest. He made a good start with his remarks on Russian and Putin. I think it's his most promising row to hoe.

But I haven't heard much at all from Trump himself lately, he seems to be 'thinking' ... lining up money, more likely, and tailoring his message accordingly. He's not interested in 'investing' whatever money he actually has in a political campaign. He took money from Adelson, has neo-cons on his payroll.

Hillary's so predictably evil, and he's so officially 'unpredictable' that he's the natural focal point of the selection circus. It's too bad only one of them can lose.

I'm going to write-in a candidate, and I hope that millions more of us will as well. If the write-in/none-of-the-above/spoiled-ballot total exceeded that of either of these two sorry characters we'd be off and running ourselves.

b | Jun 19, 2016 6:07:10 AM | 73
The Russian defense ministry confirms my take. The attack was intended to push the U.S. to documented separation:

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Due to appeal of the American party, representatives of the Russian an US defence departments held videoconference on implementing the Memorandum on preventing incidents while performing military operations in the airspace of Syria dating October 20, 2015.

The American party has informed the Russian one about alleged premeditated strike by the Russian Aerospace Forcers on detachments of the Syrian opposition in the south of Syria on June 16, 2016 in despite of appeals of the US.

Representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry explained that the object, which had suffered bombardment, was located more than 300 km far from borders of territories claimed by the American party as ones controlled by the opposition joined the ceasefire regime.

The Russian Aerospace Forces operated within the agreed procedures and forewarned member states of the US-led coalition about the ground targets to strike on. The American party has not presented coordinates of regions of activity of opposition controlled by the US. This caused impossibility to correct actions of the Russian aviation.

Therefore, actions by the Russian party have been carried out in strict observance of the Joint Russian-American statement and the Memorandum.

Moreover, within last few months, the Russian defence department has been suggesting compiling a joint map with actual information about location of forces active in Syria. However, there has been no significant progress reached.

The parties exchanged their opinions in a constructive manner. They were aimed at strengthening cooperation in fighting against terrorist formations in Syria and preventing all incidents while performing military operations in the territory of Syria

So - either cooperated, or get your "assets" annihilated. Let's see what the U.S. will come up with ...

From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 6:10:52 AM | 74
@ jfl | 67
Ok.
Trump seems consistent in his ideas: Don't mess in other countries, don't provoke Russia, only secure US-borders.
Now I see the article I gave isn't from Tyler Durden, but from Justin Raimondo.
Harry | Jun 19, 2016 6:37:50 AM | 76
@V. Arnold | 75

Case and point - when Ukie nazis were shelling Donbass cities, resistance went into offensive and broke through the nazis and made them run, Putin forced the resistance to stop immediately, under the gunpoint (literally*). Ukies returned to allowed by Russia front lines right on the outskirts of Donbass cities, and started using artillery and mortars on them again, then Putin acted angry about it.

The choices we have:
a) Putin made a cold calculated deal with his "Western partners" and let it happen, and then acted angry on TV for public perception.
b) Putin couldnt foresee it as he is stupid.

So which is it? I'm pretty sure everyone here will agree Putin is anything but stupid, which leaves us with option a)

*Idealistic Donbass resistance leaders who wanted to continue offensive and at the very least push nazis away from the cities, were removed by Russia. Either under blackmail and death threats (like Strelkov), or literally assassinated them (like Batman and others). Follow the history and facts, Russia's leadership arent idealist do-gooders as some like to imagine. Just because they are against even bigger evil like US, doesnt make Russia saintly.

V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 7:02:29 AM | 77
Harry | Jun 19, 2016 6:37:50 AM | 76
Just because they are against even bigger evil like US, doesnt make Russia saintly.

Well, if your comparing the U.S. and Russia for saintly-ness; Russia wins, hands down.
Again; the differences are chess to checkers; I just like and enjoy Pres. Putin's style; a class act under duress.
I'm glad you recognise the U.S. as the greater evil (by orders of magnitude).

MadMax2 | Jun 19, 2016 7:18:05 AM | 78
@48 dahoit

Demonisation...? What do you mean...?

Whitehall fears Russian football hooligans had Kremlin links

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jun/18/whitehall-suspects-kremlin-links-to-russian-euro-2016-hooligans-vladimir-putin?CMP=fb_gu

Harry | Jun 19, 2016 7:26:52 AM | 79
@V. Arnold | 77

Putin is leaps and bounds ahead of someone like Obama, there is no question. However I respect other resistance leaders even more, who are greater class acts, dont betray alies and are under much greater duress than Putin ever experienced, like Nasrallah, Khameinei (before nuke deal) and especially Assad. There is much to admire about them.

V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 7:31:51 AM | 80
Harry | Jun 19, 2016 7:26:52 AM | 79

No argument there; but all of the above (including Putin) are facing annihilation from/by the hegemon.
It's the main reason I fear war is immanent.
The insanity is palpable, no?

From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 8:56:30 AM | 82
@ Harry | 81

I already posted that in #64
and jfl reacted in #67

In the article a remarkable fragment about Gen. Michael Flynn:

The Washington Post, in its mission to debunk every word that comes out of Trump's mouth, ran an article by Glenn Kessler minimizing the DIA document, claiming that it was really nothing important and that we should all just move along because there's nothing to see there. He cited all the usual Washington insiders to back up his thesis, but there was one glaring omission: Gen. Michael Flynn, who headed up the DIA when the document was produced and who was forced out by the interventionists in the administration. Here is what Flynn told Al-Jazeera in an extensive interview:

Al-Jazeera: "You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn't listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Al-Jazeera: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Al-Jazeera: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they're doing."

Of course, Glenn Kessler and the Washington Post don't want to talk about that. Neither do the Republicans in Congress, who supported aid to the Syrian rebels and wanted to give them much more than they got. They're all complicit in this monstrous policy – and they all bear moral responsibility for its murderous consequences.

Gen. Flynn, by the way, is an official advisor to Trump, and is often mentioned as a possible pick for Vice President.

Oui | Jun 19, 2016 10:19:09 AM | 85
Confirmation of other reports ...
Western states amass forces in Syria | Southfront|

Rumors are growing that Germany is set to deploy special operation forces in Northern Syria in order to assist the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces that has laid a siege on the strategic ISIS-controlled city of Manbij . Reports look realistic amid a series of deployments by different Western states.

The US built a base in an abandoned airport in the Syrian Kurdish region Hasakah in 2015 and American troops have been participating in clashes against ISIS near Manbij since May 2016.

France's Defense Ministry admitted the presence of its special forces on the ground in Syria on June 9. French troops have reportedly built a military base near the city of Kobane and are participating in clashes with ISIS along with SDF and US units.

Meanwhile, UK special forces operating on the front line alongside rebels in Syria near the Jordanian border. They participate in direct clashes, provide training and manage of the opposition group, called " New Syrian Army ."

jflk | Jun 19, 2016 10:25:47 AM | 86
@74 fth, 'Trump seems consistent in his ideas: Don't mess in other countries, don't provoke Russia, only secure US-borders.'

Trump Says Britain Should Leave EU

"I would personally be more inclined to leave, for a lot of reasons like having a lot less bureaucracy," he told the Sunday Times. "But I am not a British citizen. This is just my opinion."

The billionaire businessman also told the newspaper that he would seek to have good relationships internationally if he were elected president in November, including with David Cameron. The British Prime Minister has in the past called Trump's proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States "divisive, stupid and wrong".

Trump also said that if he became president he would try to improve the trade deals the U.S. has with China, and work more closely with Russia and that could include co-operating with Russia in the fight against Islamic State.

The only thing with quotes is the first, the rest is 'old' news, isn't it? "try to improve the trade deals the U.S. has with China, ... work more closely with Russia ... co-operating with Russia in the fight against Islamic State" That's the kind of stuff that draws a line between himself and Hillary, the harridan horde, and the 50 dancing diplomats. I think that's the vein I would mine if I were The Donald. But I'm not. As I'm sure you've noticed.
harrylaw | Jun 19, 2016 10:26:04 AM | 87
Wayoutwest@84 John McCain has already advocated for man pads to be supplied to the US "good terrorists". The Russians can handle that situation simply by flying higher. The unknown repercussions are a different matter. Ben Gurion airport the only International airport in Israel and the hub of its commerce and tourist industry, some analysts say the closure of Ben Gurion for an extended period of time could wreck the Israeli economy. All the Israelis need is a few manpads operating a few miles from Ben Gurion airport or even the threat thereof of bringing down civilian airliners should concentrate the mind. Remember just one wayward missile fired by Hamas, which landed 1 mile from the airport was enough for the FAA to cancel all flights into and out of Ben Gurion.
okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 10:30:33 AM | 88
Russia Dismantles the Myth of the American Navy's Invincibility
~~~
Russian hypersonic weapons

The main Russian hypersonic weapon are derived from space glider Yu-71 (Project 4202), which flew during tests at a speed of 6000-11200 km/h over a distance of 5,500 km at a cruising altitude below 80,000 m, receiving repeated pulses from a rocket engine to climb, execute maneuvers and cornering trajectory. It is estimated that the glider is armed with warheads that are spatially independent, with autonomous guidance systems similar to the air-ground missiles Kh-29 L/T and T Kh-25 (which provides a probable deviation of 2-6 m). Although it may take nuclear warheads, the space glider will be armed with conventional warheads and will be powered by a rocket launched normally from nuclear-powered Russian submarines.
~~~
Hypersonic concept for a war

The new Russian military doctrine states that an attack on the American invasion fleet is to be executed in three waves, three alignments, thus preventing American expeditionary naval groups from positioning themselves near the Russian coast of the Baltic Sea. The first wave of hypersonic weapons, consisting of space gliders arranged on Russian nuclear-powered submarines under immersion in the middle of the Atlantic, starts fighting US naval expeditionary groups as they start crossing the Atlantic to Europe. The American naval groups need 7-8 days to cross the Atlantic; the plane Il-76MD-90A has a maximum flight distance of 6300 km and can be powered in the air, reaching the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in a few hours.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44902.htm

Oui | Jun 19, 2016 10:34:27 AM | 89
@tom @Harry @From The Hague

Putin and Medvedev spar over UN resolution on Libya - March 2011
Medvedev imposes sanctions on Libya | RT – Aug. 2011

Oui | Jun 19, 2016 10:42:38 AM | 91
@FTH | #90

It was Medvedev's call to abstain at the UNSC on Libya ... power of the president. Putin did not agree.

okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 10:47:48 AM | 92
Associated Press 6/19/2016
Russia says US failed to provide Syrian opposition locations
MOSCOW - The Russian military on Sunday rejected the Pentagon's accusations that it had deliberately targeted U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces, arguing the U.S. had failed to warn about their locations.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said the area targeted in the strike was more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from locations earlier designated by the U.S. as controlled by legitimate opposition forces.

The Pentagon said it held a video conference Saturday with the Russian military to discuss Russian air strikes Thursday on the At-Tanf border garrison, which targeted Syrian opposition forces fighting the Islamic State group.

"Russia's continued strikes at At-Tanf, even after U.S. attempts to inform Russian forces through proper channels of ongoing coalition air support to the counter-ISIL forces, created safety concerns for U.S. and coalition forces," it said in a statement.

Konashenkov retorted that the Russian military had warned the U.S. in advance about the planned strike, but the Pentagon had failed to provide coordinates of legitimate opposition forces, "making it impossible to take measures to adjust the Russian air force action."

He added that the Russian military had proposed months ago to share information about locations of various forces involved in military action in Syria to create a comprehensive map, but the Pentagon hasn't been forthcoming.

okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 11:24:47 AM | 94
OT (Full Article)
Turkey border guards 'shot Syrian children' - monitors

Turkish border guards have shot dead at least eight Syrians, including four children, who were trying to cross into Turkey, activists say.

A further eight people were injured, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

The shooting took place at a border crossing north of the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shugour, which is controlled by jihadist groups.

Turkey has repeatedly denied its guards shoot at Syrians crossing the border.

More than 2.5 million Syrians who fled the war have taken refuge in Turkey. Turkey has now closed its borders to Syrians.

The Associated Press news agency quoted a senior Turkish official as saying: "We are unable to independently verify the claims" regarding the shooting, but said authorities were investigating.

As well as four children, three women and a man were also killed, the Observatory said.

Other Syrian opposition groups put the death toll at 11.

Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 60 civilians have been shot while trying to flee across the border from Syria into Turkey, the Observatory says.

Noirette | Jun 19, 2016 12:42:47 PM | 95
IMHO the political solution just doesn't exist, because most of the fighters are likely foreigners who don't give a sh!t about Syria or Syrians. bbb @ 23.

I have read that there are about 30-40K of them, a large number (?) imho, because one tends to underestimate the mayhem well-organised small groups can cause in a fractured, now extremely vulnerable, shattered, society.

One of the problems for the pro-Assad side, I read, is that once some or many opponents are killed others just show up!

This last argument is faulty, because while the West likes to paint these forces as either: ideologically/religiously motivated by IS, or even politically-nationally in the sense of a 'New Caliphate', or, alternatively, as rebels against a corrupt despotic national order (freedom-fighters against Assad.)

All descriptions miss the mark (there might be some slivers of truth in the sense of 'rationalisations'…)

The bulk of them are mercenaries, imho, lost young men who are paid, regain agency, can send money to families, participate in a cause, and experience soldered group-think and communal 'being,' violent life to perpetrate barbaric acts on occasion, particularly against villagers, women, all would be repressed at home. Their pay is collapsing, at least halved (IS has been fractured and various income streams have become dodgy, oil for ex., support for losers always plummets) and so they leave, the hook becomes less glam, etc. Death also more certain. This one jihad is no longer *that* attractive.

Yes, these fighters don't give a sh*t about Syrians. They are fighting their 'own' war against the all the West (their enemy indeed), and therefore against Assad as afforded the opportunity. 'Islamist' forces *instrumentalised*, not a new move or flash news..the contradictions are ignored.

The fighters are patsy-cum-proxy forces, expendable. No seat at the High Table for them.

A more informed, better picture of the forces on the ground ? .. ??

SmoothieX12 | Jun 19, 2016 1:35:42 PM | 96
@13
Obama warned Putin that he could face a 'quagmire' and 'costs'. To paraphrase Madeline Albright: What good is a proxy army if you don't use it?

Obama and his Administration is a collection of lawyers, political pseudo-"scientists", journos etc. They are very good at promoting suicidal social policies but do not and cannot operate with actual operational categories--briefings by CIA or Pentagon (granted that they reflect a reality on the "ground", which is a question) are not designed to teach some Ivy League lawyer fundamentals of international relations, strategy, operational art etc. They merely distill a very complex geopolitical reality to a several catch phrases which could be understood by people of such qualities as W. (his military briefings papers contained headers with Bible excerpts, supposedly applicable to current situation) or Obama, who has no clue on how to assess the world around himself.

In this case the term "quagmire" is merely a simulacra produced by US media (this part Obama understands) to represent a huge number of military and political factors which influence achieving objectives of any campaign (or war) and which require addressing by professionals -- this is NOT Modus Operandi by US top political "elite".

In relation to Russia what Obama has in mind is beaten to death cliche of Afghanistan (obviously without studying that war) with which he wants to impress Russians, who, meanwhile fought two bloody wars against Wahhabi terrorists on own territory and, somehow, do know, unlike Obama or US liberal political class, what does it take to deal with this huge issue. In the end, during last War in Chechnya US media loved to misuse this very term (quagmire) and completely forgot to mention that Chechnya today is, actually, pretty reliable anti-terrorism entity in Russia. Now, add here most of US "elites" and a population being absolutely oblivious to real war and voila'. You have people speaking in platitudes and ignorant cliches.

Grieved | Jun 19, 2016 2:39:37 PM | 97
@ Noirette #95 - Thank you for putting into words the diminishing appeal of being mercenaries for the losing side.

It's an important dynamic that extends throughout the world and across many fields, not just in local battles by fighters with guns. It's a way in which wars are lost without being obvious at first. It parallels the way in which the US is losing its war against Russia and China in so many ways that are not completely obvious.

The US military is losing to Russia. The US dollar is losing to the Shanghai Gold Exchange. But neither Russia nor China have any reason to overpower the US in either of these fields, not today at least. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, all the mercenary instincts of players in all fields and all nations and with all interests are finely attuned to the quiet calculation of which side is winning or losing.

And out of the blue at times we see moments of disaffection - the UK of all allies, against the wishes of its sponsor the US, joins the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, because being on the winning side in some areas matters more than staying with the loser.

It takes time to create critical mass and tipping points, but we can see the pot coming to the boil if we want to.

bored muslim | Jun 19, 2016 3:02:52 PM | 99
@5 Harrylaw,

Yes, if only the Yemeni army and Houthi's had ballistic missiles capable of reaching Saudi oil facilities. Remember, Saudi's Shiite minority live right on top of its vast oil fields.

[Jun 18, 2016] Why Did 51 American State Department Officials Dissent Against Obama and Call for Bombing Syria?

Notable quotes:
"... By Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013) and the forthcoming The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). Originally published at Alternet ..."
"... Seymour Hersh has reported that Obama was forced to call off the attack on Syria on 30 August 2013 because General Dempsey informed him that the British defence lab at Porton Down had analysed environmental samples from the Ghouta chemical attack and had established that the sarin was "kitchen sarin" that could not have come from Syrian military stocks. Hersh reports that Dempsey effectively threatened Obama by warning him that he would testify to Congress (and would prime them to ask the question) on what he had told Obama. Hersh names Sir Peter Wall, then the head of the British army, as the officer who had briefed Dempsey on Porton Down's findings. ..."
"... I vividly recall how irate Obama was during that Rose Garden press conference when he backed down from bombing Syria. He was not pleased. Attempting to rewrite the historical record doesn't wash for anyone with a memory of the Kerry statement about chemical weapons and the alacrity with which Lavrov responded. Obama was boxed in, and he didn't like it one bit. ..."
"... If she had any involvement in this it certainly shows her contempt for Obama just a few days after he endorsed her and while the FBI investigation still plods on. Beyond that, I think the cable directly reflects the power of the Israeli lobby and the perceived benefits of a destroyed Syria. ..."
"... We make out that the national security apparatus taken as a system - and singling out the rare exceptions, who help the country by whistleblowing, leaking, and throwing bureaucratic obstacles in the way of the bad craziness - is corrupt to the bone. Also too insane. And that both characteristics are rewarded, and that individuals who display them tend to rise to the top. ..."
"... That the State Dept should be populated by neocons seems a logical consequence of the political leadership assigned to it. ..."
"... The story of the arrest in May 2013 of the Nusra Front sarin procurement team in Turkey, and the prosecutors' report completed in July 2013, was no longer a "bombshell" when reported by Hersh and raised by Turkish opposition MPs. A careful reading of Hersh's articles shows that this report was available to US Defence Intelligence agencies by summer 2013. Two other lines of evidence were available to US and UK intelligence agencies by summer 2013 that pointed to sarin production by the opposition. ..."
"... but given the idiocy shown by repeated US governments, it still shows a scintilla of sentience on Obama's part ..."
"... But in the world of those who wish to keep their jobs as good lap dogs to the Beltway conventional wisdom and not so accurate facts, ..."
"... Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan have a great mom-and-pop business going. From the State Department, she generates wars and from op-ed pages he demands Congress buy more weapons. There's a pay-off, too, as grateful military contractors kick in money to think tanks where other Kagans work, writes Robert Parry. ..."
"... If you'll allow a bit of speculation, I would argue that this push for war was created because it creates opportunities to loot the US treasury. It is of course backed by the ideology of US supremacy and invincibility which allows these people push for war against Russia. ..."
"... Its is pretty horrifying that professional diplomats could sign something so simpleminded, even within the context of neocon policy. ..."
"... Victoria Nuland could not have instigated the neo-nazi coup in Ukraine without her superiors' knowledge and approval. I still wonder who told L. Paul Bremer that disbanding the Iraqi Army before disarming its soldiers was a good idea. When asked about it Bush acted as if he never actually heard about it. ..."
"... Interesting War Nerd podcast#36 featuring American Conservative writer Kelley Vlahos. The basic claim is that the US security state which includes the State Dept., the MIC and the various think tanks and Universities surrounding Washington DC has produced dynastic clans which suck money from the defense budgets to fund lavish lifestyles. These 51 players are merely cheer leading for more war because there is simply not enough money in peace to keep the generational Ponzi going in luxury. ..."
"... Seems Cheny and Rumsfeld were successful stocking the State Dept shelves with career neocon bureaucrats. ..."
"... I've finally put my finger on why I will not vote for HRC. HRC is the embodiment of the notion that "ends justify the means". You cannot believe this and believe in the law … ethics … morality … at the same time. ..."
"... There have been rumblings over the years that many of the coalitions in the current Syria conflict are the result of countries competing for a Natural Gas pipeline between the Middle East and Europe: ..."
"... the old-guard professionals left, a new breed of aggressive neoconservatives was brought in, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Robert McFarlane, Robert Kagan and Abrams. After eight years of Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush, the State Department was reshaped into a home for neocons[…] ..."
"... As the 1990s wore on, the decimation of foreign policy experts in the mold of White and Derian left few on the Democratic side who had the courage or skills to challenge the deeply entrenched neocons. Many Clinton-era Democrats accommodated to the neocon dominance by reinventing themselves as "liberal interventionists," sharing the neocons' love for military force but justifying the killing on "humanitarian" grounds.[…] ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013) and the forthcoming The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). Originally published at Alternet

Close to half a million people are dead in Syria, as the country falls further and further into oblivion. Data on the suffering of the Syrians is bewildering, but most startling is that the Syrian life expectancy has declined by over 15 years since the civil war started. On the one side, ISIS holds territory, while on the other a fratricidal war pits the Assad government against a motley crew of rebels that run from small pockets of socialists to large swathes of Al Qaeda-backed extremists. No easy exit to this situation seems possible. Trust is in short supply. The peace process is weak. Brutality is the mood.

What should America do? In the eyes of 51 U.S. diplomats who still haven't grasped the negative outcomes of the disastrous wars launched since 2002, the solution is to bomb the world into America's image. In an internal dissent cable addressed to Barack Obama, seasoned diplomats have urged airstrikes on the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

... ... ..

Why did the diplomats write their dissent now, and why was it leaked to the press? A former ambassador, with deep experience in the Middle East, told me it was an error to leak the cable.

"Someone decided to leak it," he said, "for whatever irrational reason, an action as blatantly incorrect as it is most certainly politically and diplomatically counterproductive."

pmr9 , June 18, 2016 at 6:27 am

"Obama did not strike Syria in 2013 because he recognized, correctly, that the Russians, Chinese and most of the major countries of the Global South (including India) deeply opposed regime change"

This version of events gives undeserved credit to Obama. Seymour Hersh has reported that Obama was forced to call off the attack on Syria on 30 August 2013 because General Dempsey informed him that the British defence lab at Porton Down had analysed environmental samples from the Ghouta chemical attack and had established that the sarin was "kitchen sarin" that could not have come from Syrian military stocks. Hersh reports that Dempsey effectively threatened Obama by warning him that he would testify to Congress (and would prime them to ask the question) on what he had told Obama. Hersh names Sir Peter Wall, then the head of the British army, as the officer who had briefed Dempsey on Porton Down's findings.

On 29 August 2013 the UK Joint Intelligence Committee had reported to the Prime Minister, in a summary that was made available before the House of Commons debate on war with Syria, that there was "no evidence for an opposition CW capability" and "no plausible alternative to a regime attack scenario". It is clear from Hersh's report (and other sources that corroborate it) that this was misleading, and that officials in UK Defence Intelligence were aware, as were the Russians, that the Ghouta attack was a false flag using sarin produced by the opposition. To mislead the House of Commons is "contempt of Parliament" a crime against the British constitution that the House has powers to investigate and punish. Unfortunately no MP and no journalist has been prepared to ask the relevant questions.

James Levy , June 18, 2016 at 6:53 am

Excellent comment. Nevertheless, Obama deserves some credit, as the sad tale of General Shinseki and the invasion of Iraq shows. Obama had to listen to reason, and actually did. This is an incredibly low bar for praise, but given the idiocy shown by repeated US governments, it still shows a scintilla of sentience on Obama's part.

Would such a warning stop Clinton? Would it stop Trump if his ego was tied up in such a venture? I doubt it.

pretzelattack , June 18, 2016 at 7:36 am

it's very plausible that clinton coordinated the leak, as the article suggests. save us, cthulhu.

juliania , June 18, 2016 at 10:27 am

I vividly recall how irate Obama was during that Rose Garden press conference when he backed down from bombing Syria. He was not pleased. Attempting to rewrite the historical record doesn't wash for anyone with a memory of the Kerry statement about chemical weapons and the alacrity with which Lavrov responded. Obama was boxed in, and he didn't like it one bit.

sleepy , June 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

If she had any involvement in this it certainly shows her contempt for Obama just a few days after he endorsed her and while the FBI investigation still plods on. Beyond that, I think the cable directly reflects the power of the Israeli lobby and the perceived benefits of a destroyed Syria.

Lambert Strether , June 18, 2016 at 12:51 pm

> What do we as American citizens make out of 51 diplomats proposing war?

We make out that the national security apparatus taken as a system - and singling out the rare exceptions, who help the country by whistleblowing, leaking, and throwing bureaucratic obstacles in the way of the bad craziness - is corrupt to the bone. Also too insane. And that both characteristics are rewarded, and that individuals who display them tend to rise to the top.

Kudos to President Obama, which I very rarely say, for not being deked by these guys.

John Merryman , June 18, 2016 at 1:27 pm

That the State Dept should be populated by neocons seems a logical consequence of the political leadership assigned to it.

John Merryman , June 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Wasn't Baal an Assyrian deity? One which drew a bad rap for being opposed to our own preferred God of the Israelites. In which case, not likely one to promote bombing Syria.

pmr9 , June 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm

The story of the arrest in May 2013 of the Nusra Front sarin procurement team in Turkey, and the prosecutors' report completed in July 2013, was no longer a "bombshell" when reported by Hersh and raised by Turkish opposition MPs. A careful reading of Hersh's articles shows that this report was available to US Defence Intelligence agencies by summer 2013. Two other lines of evidence were available to US and UK intelligence agencies by summer 2013 that pointed to sarin production by the opposition.

1. a report to the UNSG from Mokhtar Lamani, the UN Special Representative in Damascus, that the Nusra Front was bringing nerve agent through the border from Turkey.

2. analyses by Porton Down and its Russian counterpart of environmental samples from two incidents in March 2013, showing that the agent was "kitchen sarin".

This has been discussed in some detail on Pat Lang's blog. By summer 2013 it was clear to US and UK defence intelligence staff that a false flag operation using sarin was being planned, and that their civilian counterparts were at least tacitly colluding with this. The analysis of samples from Ghouta and the use of the results to threaten Obama appears to have been a last-minute effort to block the use of this to start a war

MikeNY , June 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

but given the idiocy shown by repeated US governments, it still shows a scintilla of sentience on Obama's part

+1

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it". I marvel that there is anything still standing in Syraqistan; from the pictures I see, it looks like a gravel quarry. And now blowback has metastasized into domestic mass-shootings, sufficient to stain the Mississippi red; we wring our national hands in a Hamlet-like production of anguish and earnestness, and then change precisely NOTHING about how we conduct our affairs. We are insane.

tegnost , June 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Nor did hillary fight the nazi's, she has, however, viewed the atrocities for which she is largely responsible on tv and seemed quite pleased (wondering where the trump thing came from, I thought the discussion was about A.S.?). Nice of me to mention each of them once, gives a sense of balance or something. And your final sentence, you could put either name and corresponding gender identity there, both statements would be true. Googed robert kagan/Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and found this article that was interesting it's from 2014 so it's funny how events then rhyme with events currently. Never heard of the publication before but found it interesting, bonus points for featuring debate footage between richard dawkins and john lennox
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/07/08/the-people-vs-former-trotskysts-neo-bolsheviks-and-intellectual-whores
I'd be interested in your views on this

jawbone , June 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Friday's PBS NewHour demonstrated in a segment with Judy Woodruff and Margaret Warner that the program is remarkably good at "catapulting the propaganda", in this case that Assad's government used chemical weapons to kill a thousand of his own people. Factually, most of the dead were supporters of the government, which, if Assad ordered such an attack, would have made it even more evil. And only by knowing the actual facts about the chemicals involved does it belie the initial US assertions that Assar was responsible.

In due time, it was made known to those who read and retain information that, indeed, it was not an attack by the Syrian government, that the chemical signatures indicated "kitchen sarin," as pmr9's quote about Gen. Dempsey and results from the British defense lab at Porton Down showed.

But in the world of those who wish to keep their jobs as good lap dogs to the Beltway conventional wisdom and not so accurate facts, Margaret Warner made a special point of saying that Obama had backed down on enforcing his promise to go after Assad if Syria used chemical weapons.

After a video quote from Obama, Warner immediately repeated the now discounted charge.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: A red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.

MARGARET WARNER: But after a regime chemical attack killed more than 1,000 Syrians in August 2013, the president didn't launch military strikes, nor step up arming the Syrian rebels. ….

She's not the only public broadcast reporter to say exactly the same thing. It's now become one of those zombie lies: Nothing can keep them down.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/state-department-officials-push-for-military-intervention-in-syria/

The segment isn't very long, and the sad and worried expression on Warner's face at the end, where she talks about how sincere the signers of the letter are, is well worth looking at. And wondering about how they do it - how do they keep repeating lies?

Probably because no one calls them on it, no one who matters. And everyone they talk to repeats the same untruths.

Sheesh.

tony , June 18, 2016 at 6:52 am

Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan have a great mom-and-pop business going. From the State Department, she generates wars and from op-ed pages he demands Congress buy more weapons. There's a pay-off, too, as grateful military contractors kick in money to think tanks where other Kagans work, writes Robert Parry. A Family Business of Perpetual War

If you'll allow a bit of speculation, I would argue that this push for war was created because it creates opportunities to loot the US treasury. It is of course backed by the ideology of US supremacy and invincibility which allows these people push for war against Russia.

PlutoniumKun , June 18, 2016 at 7:37 am

Its an interesting article, but (not I assume the authors fault) doesn't actually answer the question. I'd always assumed that the diplomatic corps was significantly more pragmatic and anti-military intervention than other arms of the US foreign policy establishment, but this would seem evidence otherwise. Its is pretty horrifying that professional diplomats could sign something so simpleminded, even within the context of neocon policy. It doesn't say much for the quality of people involved. Perhaps its not just the military that has been degraded by a decade and a half of the war on terror, it may well be degrading the quality of people attracted to, and recruited by, all elements of the government establishment.

The other explanation – and its not all that encouraging – is that this is simply an attempt by a certain level of diplomats to say 'hey, its not our fault'. But I would have thought they would have picked a different target for their complaints than Obama if that was the case. It does seem more likely that this is a deliberate attempt by the Samantha Power/Hilary wing of the establishment to stake a claim to the high ground.

Procopius , June 18, 2016 at 8:16 am

A lot of what I've seen over the last few years only makes sense if I believe the State Department is the last bastion of PNAC (Project for a New American Century). There is no acknowledged strategy in Syria, no end game, no way to tell when/if we've won, except regime change. The CIA and the Pentagon seem to be backing different factions who are hostile to each other and both seem to be providing weapons to ISIS (perhaps, but not certainly, unintentionally). Victoria Nuland could not have instigated the neo-nazi coup in Ukraine without her superiors' knowledge and approval. I still wonder who told L. Paul Bremer that disbanding the Iraqi Army before disarming its soldiers was a good idea. When asked about it Bush acted as if he never actually heard about it.

art guerrilla , June 18, 2016 at 9:53 am

"A former ambassador told me that many of the diplomats have great fealty to Hillary Clinton. Could they have leaked this cable to boost Clinton's narrative that she wanted a more robust attack on Damascus as early as 2012? Is this a campaign advertisement for Clinton, and a preparation for her likely Middle East policy when she takes power in 2017?"

um, there is your answer right there, plutonium, all the rest is inside-inside baseball bullshit…

besides essentially using their gummint positions in an unusual calculated political manner, i am sure all these knob-polishers are simply jockeying for positions in Empress Cliton the First's reign of Empire… pass the soma, please…

DJG , June 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

Yes: And the use of the world fealty astounds me. Fealty, as in feudal relations? As in clientelism? These people shouldn't be allowed near foreign policy at all. Fealty indeed.

JTMcPhee , June 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm

But they dedicate themselves and bend all their efforts toward getting themselves into these positions where they get to use the wealth and credulity of ordinary people to "advance," and I use that word quite advisedly given where it's taking all of us, their interests and friends and agendas…

Not man of the rest of us, who might be interested in survival and sustainability and comity and all that, have the skills, schooling, connections and inclination to take part in the fokking Great Game, in all its parts and parameters…

ex-PFC Chuck , June 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Speaking of fealty, this from John Robb of Global Guerillas a few days ago.

craazyboy , June 18, 2016 at 11:58 am

There's a simple solution, however. Congress can cut the State Dept. budget to zero.

There's an old saying, "If you stop paying them, they stop showing up for work."

wellclosed , June 18, 2016 at 7:40 am

It is a pathetic sign of our times that the narrative of the " Fabulous 51 " has any traction at all, when such perspective is so demonstrably flawed. Pat Lang (and too few others) has been chronicling this neocon "Borg" delusion for quite some time – not unlike efforts here with respect to orthodox neo-econs, libertards, etc. It was pretty easy to assume, as the Kennedy administration must have, the outcome of belligerent threats against the evil Ruskies when they were way beyond their capacities in Cuba. But to threaten a modern, very militarily capable state with Neocon Wargasm Regime Change – – is truly insane. They really do have WMDs – like the ones only we have ever used.

tegnost , June 18, 2016 at 9:50 am

Hey, cmon, we've get the f-35, think of the boost to gdp when the russkis shoot down one or ten of those overweight video game platforms! We need some more heros like pat tillman (not dissing tillman, but the people who tried to use his good name for their own bitter ends), you know, to garner support for our noble casus belli.

twonine , June 18, 2016 at 7:42 am

Per Ray McGovern (RT interview this AM), the 51 are bucking for a promotion with the prospective new boss.

grizziz , June 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

Interesting War Nerd podcast#36 featuring American Conservative writer Kelley Vlahos. The basic claim is that the US security state which includes the State Dept., the MIC and the various think tanks and Universities surrounding Washington DC has produced dynastic clans which suck money from the defense budgets to fund lavish lifestyles. These 51 players are merely cheer leading for more war because there is simply not enough money in peace to keep the generational Ponzi going in luxury.

JTMcPhee , June 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

Once upon a time, even some editor at the WaPo let a little corner of the seraglio tent get lifted:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/petraeus-scandal-puts-four-star-general-lifestyle-under-scrutiny/2012/11/17/33a14f48-3043-11e2-a30e-5ca76eeec857_story.html

And of course you have a recent general officer who out-grabbed himself, selling very top secret Navy info on for money, prostitutes etc. to a guy nicknamed "Fat Leonard." Was allowed to plead to the lesser offense of lying to investigators. Bullshit, Just fokking bullshit. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/10/us-navy-admiral-pleads-guilty-to-lying-to-investigators-in-fat-leonard-bribery-case.html

An enlisted guy in my unit in Vietnam got drunk, convinced himself he could fly an Army Sioux helicopter. Started it, got it up out of the revetment, then when setting back down caught the left skid on the 4 foot high revetment wall and crashed it. He was court-martialed, jailed at Long Binh, busted to permanent E-1, denied even a discharge, and may still be paying off the $125,000 the Army said that broke-down chopper was worth on that E-1 pay. How many tiers of "justice" in "the system?"

Sam Adams , June 18, 2016 at 7:57 am

Seems Cheny and Rumsfeld were successful stocking the State Dept shelves with career neocon bureaucrats.

John , June 18, 2016 at 8:00 am

Regardless of the motivations first of the message itself and secondly of its purpose, my first thought was that the Clinton camp directly or indirectly was behind it. But it is such a ham fisted ploy; you would have to be a political idiot, wouldn't you? Then I recalled the other boneheaded moves and dismissed it.

ArkansasAngie , June 18, 2016 at 8:12 am

I've finally put my finger on why I will not vote for HRC. HRC is the embodiment of the notion that "ends justify the means". You cannot believe this and believe in the law … ethics … morality … at the same time.

HRC is no Gandhi.

False flags
Circumventing laws

Slippery slope? HRC has her skis on and her goggles down.

That is change I do not believe in.

ex-PFC Chuck , June 18, 2016 at 8:18 am

See also Pat Lang's post on this yesterday. As is the case with Naked Capitalism, the comment threads there are worth thorough reads as well as the posts. The consensus there seems to be that it demonstrates the success of the neo-con infiltration of the State Department, the signers' utter lack of experience in understanding of the military and warfare, and finally the results of the demise of DoS's area expertise in the Middle East.

afisher , June 18, 2016 at 9:17 am

I agree. I would add that Victoria Nuland has been in DC with week being grilled (/s) by Congress.

JTMcPhee , June 18, 2016 at 10:55 am

"Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the People for a New American Century or any other neoconservative group? I remind you that you are under oath to testify truthfully to Congress…"

Carolinian , June 18, 2016 at 8:21 am

Cutting to the chase.

A former ambassador told me that many of the diplomats have great fealty to Hillary Clinton.

Hugo Chavez joked that you would never have a coup in Washington because it has no US embassy. But it does have the State Department itself and it now appears they are using their partners in the press to help shape the coming regime change in our own country. How long before Vicky appears out on the Mall, giving out cookies?

Ignim Brites , June 18, 2016 at 8:43 am

Maybe the notion is that bombing the Assad military would provoke a military confrontation with Russia in Syria but more importantly in Eastern Europe. This will bolster the case for NATO which will face increased scrutiny in the upcoming POTUS campaign.

Cry Shop , June 18, 2016 at 9:33 am

Circulating the cable to get signatures is probably Clinton's attempt to push the Overton Window on Obama's dime, but leaking the cable was probably a jerk on Obama's chain for "leaking" their concerns to Carl Bernstein, which was covered on NC earlier this month.

Top Democrat officials are TERRIFIED that Hillary campaign IS IN FREEFALL! – Carl Bernstein

Mark John , June 18, 2016 at 9:48 am

The leak is ridiculous and ham-handed, but that is nothing new.

I hope we will all keep in mind what starts these wars and keeps them alive, as well as global warming and wealth inequality. THE PROFIT MOTIVE.

Harold , June 18, 2016 at 9:49 am

This whole election is like a military coup.

redleg , June 18, 2016 at 11:13 am

Corporate. The military would have some kind of plan for afterward. HRC and the Clintonian daleks see the election itself as the end game.

NYPaul , June 18, 2016 at 9:52 am

Questions, questions.

Seems to me like C.I.C. Clinton just can't wait another 6 months to start blowing the world up. I, too, believe Hillary is behind this gang of 51's insubordinate pronouncement. It's got her signature, intemperance and incompetence, written all over it. And, where's the current S.O.S. Cat, Kerry, while the Foggy Bottom mice are stirring this very dangerous Vladimir cauldron? So, maybe Obama kinda wishes he waited a little longer with his demented endorsement, "I don't think there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.".

Harold , June 18, 2016 at 10:19 am

Is it true that State Dept. employees are investing in Ukrainian utilities?

oho , June 18, 2016 at 10:38 am

yesterday morning, the NYT headlined its site w/this story. then anti-war/anti-neocon comments and upvotes flooded.

by lunch this story was buried well below the fold.

Automated analytics downgrading an unread story? Or an editorial decision by someone "surprised" that even the NYT bobbleheads don't buy the Neo-Con lies?

nothing but the truth , June 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

these guys are sending a "hire me" signal to goldman sachs and other (((tribe))) operations.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 18, 2016 at 11:00 am

Since they disagree with this president's policies, the honorable course of action by these 51 State Department employees would be to resign. Absent that, I believe the president can require their resignations.

steelhead23 , June 18, 2016 at 11:21 am

Bingo. It strikes me as analogous to holding a seance at church for seasoned diplomats to lobby for war. The stumbling block is that the document itself followed existing protocol for dissent. Its release to the public is the fire-able offense. I wonder if Obama is investigating.

Denis Drew , June 18, 2016 at 11:43 am

So Al Qaeda takes over Syria; so what? Al Qaeda would not kill half a million Syrians! !!! Once Al Qaeda takes over a country it is on its way to becoming a large bureaucratic entity - more inherently conservative. What are they going to do, declare war on the US; throw their government behind crashing airliners? The specter of a million US boots on the ground would squash that. We do have a reputation for that sort of thing going back to Korea.

My view of the world is the Rick Steves, Anthony Bourdain view - not their ideology (if any) but the Marshall McLuhan/medium-is-the-message view. It's just land and people - people like us.

If Obama cared about the Iraqi people he would have/could have gotten our reverse Saddam, Maliki, under control and coerced him in the direction of greater inclusion of the Sunni into a new coalition - instead of terrorizing them and forcing them into the open arms of ISIS. Ditto for arming and training the vast majority of innocents. We could have identified most people (the vast majority) that's not hard, and worked with them.

We could have tried to do both. But, as usual, Obama doesn't care.

craazyboy , June 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm

One real problem is they set up terrorist training camps, similar to the Taliban in Afgan. These are then organized terrorists they send out elsewhere in the world, even the USofA, if they can sneak past the TSA in airports.

However, Saddam never did that and neither did Assad. So our State Dept's strategy seems to be give terrorists a training ground so they can export a trained and organized terrorist network around the world. And this is after we've had at least 15 years to observe how it works. Note that the reason we felt we had to go into into Afgan originally was that the Taliban was running terrorist training camps.

Not to mention arming these "moderate Arabs" to overthrow Assad.

jawbone , June 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Another real problem is how Al Q tend to terrorize the captive populations, especially the females.

craazyboy , June 18, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I guess we could call that the worser of two evils?

JimTan , June 18, 2016 at 11:57 am

There have been rumblings over the years that many of the coalitions in the current Syria conflict are the result of countries competing for a Natural Gas pipeline between the Middle East and Europe:

http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/is-the-fight-over-a-gas-pipeline-fuelling-the-worlds-bloodiest-conflict/news-story/74efcba9554c10bd35e280b63a9afb74

I genuinely hope that our current state of foreign relations is not filled with actors following a 'Realist' school of thought:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_(international_relations)

Ultimately who knows, but this might be one motivation behind 51 diplomats calling for the bombing of Syria.

JimTan , June 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm

International relations following Machiavelli and Hobbes is a very bad thing.

Carolinian , June 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Robert Parry – with sources inside the State Dept. – offers up some insight on this story

But the descent of the U.S. State Department into little more than well-dressed, well-spoken but thuggish enforcers of U.S. hegemony began with the Reagan administration. President Ronald Reagan and his team possessed a pathological hatred of Central American social movements seeking freedom from oppressive oligarchies and their brutal security forces.[…]

As the old-guard professionals left, a new breed of aggressive neoconservatives was brought in, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Robert McFarlane, Robert Kagan and Abrams. After eight years of Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush, the State Department was reshaped into a home for neocons[…]

As the 1990s wore on, the decimation of foreign policy experts in the mold of White and Derian left few on the Democratic side who had the courage or skills to challenge the deeply entrenched neocons. Many Clinton-era Democrats accommodated to the neocon dominance by reinventing themselves as "liberal interventionists," sharing the neocons' love for military force but justifying the killing on "humanitarian" grounds.[…]

when Obama entered the White House, he faced a difficult challenge. The State Department needed a thorough purging of the neocons and the liberal hawks, but there were few Democratic foreign policy experts who hadn't sold out to the neocons. An entire generation of Democratic policy-makers had been raised in the world of neocon-dominated conferences, meetings, op-eds and think tanks, where tough talk made you sound good while talk of traditional diplomacy made you sound soft.

More here–all good.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/06/17/the-state-departments-collective-madness/

Personally I'd say "blame it on Reagan" is a good all purpose explanation for current ills. This response also takes in the Dems since they so often knuckled under to the Gipper.

Gaylord , June 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

The MIC must be pushing for more gravy to buoy the fake economy. This Empire based on greed, exploitation and chaos will take the whole of life down with itself.

oh , June 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I wonder if this memo is really meant to the legacy of the current administration by showing how it resisted the efforts of the hawks?

Sluggeaux , June 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm

All this foreign policy discussion is a bit over my head, but couldn't the leaked "dissent" have come from the White House ?

Isn't it most likely that Obama's concern for his "legacy" is going to make him want to out HRC and her grossly incompetent sycophants and cronies at State as the Bomb-Baby-Bomb crowd who goaded him to the brink of war with Russia over Syria based on faulty false-flag intelligence?

[Jun 17, 2016] http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36368-one-man-s-war-bringing-iraq-to-the-united-states

Notable quotes:
"... Born On The Fourth Of July ..."
"... All Quiet On The Western Front ..."
"... Who Are You: The Life of Pete Townshend ..."
"... Pearl Jam Twenty ..."
"... Tomas Young's War ..."
www.truth-out.org

One Man's War: Bringing Iraq to the United States

Thursday, 09 June 2016 10:21 By Mark Wilkerson , TomDispatch | Op-Ed (Image: Haymarket Books) Memorial Day is over. You had your barbeque. Now, you can stop thinking about America's wars and the casualties from them for another year. As for me, I only wish it were so.

It's been Memorial Day for me ever since I first met Tomas Young. And in truth, it should have felt that way from the moment I hunkered down in Somalia in 1993 and the firing began. After all, we've been at war across the Greater Middle East ever since. But somehow it was Tomas who, in 2013, first brought my own experience in the US military home to me in ways I hadn't been able to do on my own.

That gravely wounded, living, breathing casualty of our second war in Iraq who wouldn't let go of life or stop thinking and critiquing America's never-ending warscape brought me so much closer to myself, so bear with me for a moment while I return to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, and bring you -- and me -- closer to him.

Boom!

In that spring of 1993, I was a 22-year-old Army sergeant, newly married, and had just been dropped into a famine-ridden, war-torn country on the other side of the planet, a place I hadn't previously given a thought. I didn't know what hit me. I couldn't begin to take it in. That first day I remember sitting on my cot with a wet t-shirt draped over my head, chugging a bottle of water to counter the oppressive heat.

I'd trained for this -- a real mission -- for more than five years. I was a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief. Still, I had no idea what I was in for.

So much happened in Somalia in that " Black Hawk Down " year that foreshadowed America's fruitless wars of the twenty-first century across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, but you wouldn't have known it by me. That first day, sitting in a tent on the old Somali Air Force base in Baledogle, a couple of hours inland from the capital city of Mogadishu, I had a face-to-face encounter with a poisonous black mamba snake. Somehow it didn't register. Not really.

This is real , I kept telling myself in the six months I spent there, but in a way it wasn't or didn't seem to be.

After about a month, my unit moved to the airport in Mogadishu -- away from the snakes, scorpions, and bugs that infested Baledogle, but closer to dangers of a more human sort. Within a few weeks, I became used to the nightly rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire coming at us from the city. I watched the tracers streak by as we crouched behind our sandbagged fighting positions. We would return from missions to find bullet holes in the skin or rotor blades of our Black Hawk helicopters, or in one case a beer-can-sized hole that a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) round punched cleanly through the rear stabilizer without -- mercifully -- detonating.

And yet none of it felt like it was quite happening to me. I remember lying on my cot late at night, not far from the flight line full of Black Hawks and Cobras, hearing the drone of low-flying American AC-130 gunships firing overhead for hours on end. The first boom would come from the seaward side of the field as the gunship fired its M102 howitzer. A few seconds later, another boom would mark the round's arrival at its target across town, sometimes with secondary explosions as ammunition stores went up. Lying there, I remember thinking that those weren't the routine training rounds I'd heard a hundred times as they hit some random target in a desolate training area. They were landing on real targets, actual people.

Two other memorable boom s come to mind -- one as we waited in the back of a sun-baked supply truck, heading out on a volunteer mission to give inoculations to kids at a Somali orphanage. Boom . The ground shook to the sound of one of our Humvees and the four Army soldiers in it being blown apart by the sort of remote-controlled bomb that would become a commonplace of insurgents in America's twenty-first century wars. And a second, the loudest during my six months there, as a generator perhaps 20 feet from our tent exploded into flames from an incoming RPG round that found its target in the middle of the night.

This is real . I kept saying that to myself, but truthfully the more accurate word would have been surreal . The care packages I was receiving, the Tootsie Rolls and Cracker Jacks and letters from my wife back home telling me how much she missed me might as well have been from another planet.

Our helicopters flew daily reconnaissance missions ("Eyes over Mog" we called them) above the Somali capital. We did battle damage assessments, checking out pockmarked buildings the AC-130s had targeted the night before, or the shot-up safe house that Somali warlord Mohamed Aidid -- our operation's target (just as the US would target Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and the leaders of various terror groups) -- had reportedly been using as a control center. Once a beautiful mansion, it was now riddled with thousands of bullet holes and TOW missile craters.

We flew over Mogadishu's bustling marketplace, sometimes so low that the corrugated metal roofs of the stalls would blow off from our rotor wash. We were always looking for what we called "technicals" -- pick-up trucks with machine guns mounted in their beds -- to take out. Viewing that crowded marketplace through the sight of a ready-to-rock M-60 machine gun helped reinforce the message that all of this was beyond surreal.

Lives were ending violently here every day, and my own life, too, could have ended at any moment. Yet it was just about impossible to believe that all of a sudden I was in the middle of a violent set of incidents in a third-world hellhole, the sort of thing you might read about in the paper, or more likely, would never hear about at all. You'd never know about our near-nightly scrambles to our fighting positions behind a pile of sandbags, as the AK-47s cracked and the tracers flew overhead. It wouldn't even register as a blip in the news back home. In some bizarre way, I was there and it still wasn't registering.

A Soldier Just Like Me

Just days after returning home from Somalia, I (like so many others) watched the footage of dead American soldiers -- at least one a Black Hawk crew chief -- being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by cheering Somalis. For the first time, I found myself filled with a sense of dread, a profound that-could-have-been-me feeling. I imagined my mother looking at such a photo of me, of her dead son's body -- as someone's mother was undoubtedly doing.

If my interior landscape was beginning to shift in unsettling ways, if the war, my war, was finally starting to come home, I remained only minimally aware of it. My wife and I started a family, I got a civilian job, went to college in the evening using the GI Bill, and wrote a couple of books about music -- my refuge.

Still, after Somalia, I found myself drawn to stories about war. I reread Stephen Ambrose's blow-by-blow account of the D-Day landings, picked up Ron Kovic's Vietnam memoir, Born On The Fourth Of July , for the first time, and even read All Quiet On The Western Front . And all of them somehow floored me. But it wasn't until I watched Body of War , Phil Donahue's 2008 documentary about Iraq war veteran and antiwar activist Tomas Young, that something seemed truly different, that I simply couldn't shake the feeling it could have been me.

Tomas was a kid who had limited options -- just like me. He signed up for the military, at least in part, because he wanted to go to college -- just like me. Yes, just like so many other kids, too -- but above all, just like me.

He, too, was deployed to one of America's misbegotten wars in a later hellhole, and that's where our stories began to differ. Five days after his unit arrived in Iraq -- a place he deployed to grudgingly, never understanding why he was being sent there and not Afghanistan -- Tomas was shot, his spinal cord severed, and most of his body paralyzed. When he came home at age 24, he fought the natural urge to suffer in silence and instead spoke out against the war in Iraq. Body of War chronicled his first full year of very partial recovery and the blossoming of his antiwar activism.

Just a few weeks after the film's release, however, it all came crashing down. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and sank into a coma, awakening to find that he'd suffered a brain injury and lost much of the use of his hands and his ability to speak clearly. The ensuing years were filled with pain and debilitating health setbacks. By early 2013, he was in hospice care, suffering excruciating abdominal pain, without his colon, and on a feeding tube and a pain pump. Gaunt, withered, exhausted, he continued to agitate against America's never-ending war on terror from his bed, and finally wrote a " last letter " to former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, airing his grievances, which got significant media attention .

When I read it, I felt that he might have been me if I hadn't lucked out in Mogadishu two decades earlier. Maybe that's what made me reach out to him that April and tell him I wanted to learn more about what had happened to him in the years between Body of War and his last letter, about what it meant to go from being an antiwar agitator in a manual wheelchair to a bedridden quadriplegic on a feeding tube and under hospice care, planning to soon end his own life.

A Map of the Ravages of War

When I finally met Tomas, I realized how much he and I had in common: the same taste in music and books, the same urge to be a writer. We were both quick with the smart-ass comment and never made to be model soldiers because we liked to question things.

Each moment we spent together only connected us more deeply and brought me closer to the self that war had created in me, the self I had kept at such a distance all these years. I began writing his story because I felt compelled to show other Americans someone no different from them who had had his life, his reality, upended by one of our military adventures abroad, by deployment to a country so distant that it's an abstraction to most of us who, in these days of the All-Volunteer Army, don't have a personal connection either to the US military or to the wars it so regularly fights.

A historically low percentage of our population -- less than half a percent -- actually serves in the military. Compare that to around 9% during the Vietnam War, and 12% during World War II. Remarkably few of us ever see combat, ever even know anyone who was in combat, ever get to hear firsthand stories of what went on or witness what life is like for such a returning veteran. Not surprisingly, America's wars now largely go on without us. There is no personal connection. Here in "the homeland" -- despite the overblown fears of "terrorism" -- it remains "peacetime." As a consequence, few of us are engaged by veterans' issues or the prospect -- essentially, the guarantee -- of more war in the American future.

Tomas understood the importance of sharing the brutal fullness of his story. For him, there were to be no pulled punches. When I told him I wanted others to learn of his harrowing tale, of his version of the human cost of war, that I wanted to help him to tell that story, he responded that he had indeed wanted to write his own book. He'd scrapped the project because he could no longer write, and even Dragon voice-to-text software wouldn't work because his speech had become so degraded after the embolism struck.

Instead, he shared everything. Tomas and his wife, Claudia, opened their lives to me. I slept in their basement. During my periodic visits, he introduced me to an expansive mind in a shrunken world, a mind that wanted to range widely in a body mostly confined to a hospital bed, surrounded by books, magazines, and an array of tubing that delivered medications and removed bodily wastes in a darkened bedroom.

"I need to be fed," he said to me one day. "Do you want to see what that's like?" Then, he lifted his shirt and showed me the maze of tubing and scars on his body. It was a map of the ravages of war.

He was unflinchingly honest, sensing the importance of his story in a country where such experiences have become uncommon fare. Like his comic book heroes Batman and the Punisher, he wanted to make sure that no one would have to endure what he'd gone through.

An All-Too-Real Life and Surreal Wars

Tomas Young's war ended on the night before Veterans' Day 2014 when he passed away quietly in his sleep. His pain finally came to an end.

Body of War By Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro, The Real News Network | Film Veterans, We're Sorry for How Our Country Treated You By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed Veterans Urge Presidential Candidates to Say No to Militarism

The bullets that hit him in the streets of Baghdad in 2004 brought on more than a decade of agony and hardship, not only for him, but for his mother, his siblings, and his wife. Their suffering has yet to end.

Stories of the reality of war and its impact on this country are more crucial now than ever as America's wars seem only to multiply. Among us are more than 2.5 million veterans of our recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We owe it to them to read their accounts -- and an increasing number of them are out there -- and do our best to understand what they've been through, and what they continue to go through. Then perhaps we can use that knowledge not only to properly address their needs, but to properly debate and possibly -- like Tomas Young -- even protest America's ongoing wars.

It would have been perfectly understandable for Tomas to have faced the pain, frustration, and failing health of his final years privately and in silence, but that wasn't him. Instead, he made his story part of our American record. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here .

Mark Wilkerson

Mark Wilkerson spent eight years in the US Army as an AH-1 Cobra and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with the 3rd Infantry and 101st Airborne Divisions. He was deployed with the 101st to Somalia for six months in 1993. He is the author of Who Are You: The Life of Pete Townshend and co-wrote Pearl Jam Twenty . He has three children: Alex, Nick and Sam. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Melissa. His latest book is Tomas Young's War (Haymarket Books).

[Jun 10, 2016] In 2009 it was immediately obvious Obama was a complete and total fraud and he has governed center right because he has a neocon much like Bush 11 and Clinton were

Notable quotes:
"... Obama implemented health care "reforms" that were written by a health care industry lobbyist and have further enriched Big Pharma and health insurers. ..."
"... Oh, come on. Lots of people have covered this at length. The country was petrified when Obama took office. He had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the House. He could has passed anything he wanted. It was his own Robert Rubin holdover, bank friendly neoliberal Larry Summers, who argued for a smaller stimulus and bullied Christine Romer, whose modeling called for more. He could have passed real health care reform and didn't. ..."
"... Obama has governed center right because he has a center right world view. Presidents have enormous bully pulpits. They can move the Overton window if they choose to. He didn't make an effort because that is what he believes. I saw that with his disappointing first inauguration speech. He has even failed to do things that were entirely within his power, like his promised "first action" of his Administration of closing Gitmo. ..."
"... However, come 2009 it was immediately obvious Obama was a complete and total fraud ..."
"... With the help of the IM, by mid-2009 I fully understood that Obama was a continuation of Bush, and Bush was a continuation of Clinton. ..."
"... ike Clinton and Bush, Obama has done nothing but aggressively push this country, and the world, to the FAR right… by embracing a Global Corporate/Mafia/Neoliberal/Neocon 'New World Order' that exclusively privileges the 5% capitalist class over the 95% working class. ..."
"... You admit "Bill Clinton took the Democratic Party in a neoliberal direction"… but don't see that Obama did the exact same thing? How is that possible? ..."
"... NO WAY, NEVER EVER KILLERY. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves Smith Post author

Huh? Obama has not moved the US to the left. He had the opportunity to come down hard on Wall Street and didn't. He even engineered a second huge bailout for Wall Street, in the form of the "get out of liability almost free" card of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement. He is keen to implement trade deals that would be huge wins for multinationals at the expense of national sovereignity, including the ability of the US to regulate product safety, financial services, and the environment. His Presidency has seen profit share of GDP rise to record levels, and a "recovery" where the 1% gained at the expense of everyone else.

Google "Jane Hamsher" and "veal pen". Obama from the very start of his presidency targeted well funded leftist groups and got them defunded, systematically.

Obama implemented health care "reforms" that were written by a health care industry lobbyist and have further enriched Big Pharma and health insurers. He made promises to raise the minimum wage that he failed to act on. His Supreme Court picks were centrist at best. His Department of Justice has been soft on anti-trust, soft on elite white collar crime. He's routinely used the Republicans as an excuse to do what he wanted, which was to govern center-right. He'd regularly concede 75% of what they asked for as his opening gambit. And then he'd move further right to get bills passed.

Yves Smith Post author

Oh, come on. Lots of people have covered this at length. The country was petrified when Obama took office. He had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the House. He could has passed anything he wanted. It was his own Robert Rubin holdover, bank friendly neoliberal Larry Summers, who argued for a smaller stimulus and bullied Christine Romer, whose modeling called for more. He could have passed real health care reform and didn't.

He similarly could have passed real financial services industry reform and didn't. Dodd Frank was weak tea and had many of its provisions kicked over for study and later rulemaking, which was designed to let the industry have another go at watering it down. Danny Tarullo at the Fed singlehandedly has been a more effective force for reform than the Obama Administration.

The Obama administration enabled the taking by bank servicer of millions of homes when investors in those securitizations preferred modifications.

And please tell me what Obama has done in terms of improvements in consumer rights. The only thing I can think of is the CFPB's proposed rulemaking on mandatory arbitration. The only reason we got that is basically due to how Elizabeth Warren started up the CFPB, by creating a solid culture that held up over time. And he gave her that job with the hope she'd screw it up, not succeed. She had become a huge thorn in Timothy Geithner's side and they wanted to take her down a peg. But that plan backfired.

We wrote at GREAT length at the time how the FCIC was designed to do a crappy job and it did. By contrast, Ronald Reagan formed the Brady Commission to investigate the 1987 crash ten days after it happened, had it staffed with serious people, not lightweights like Phil Angildes (well meaning but out of his depth) and a subpoena process that guaranteed that no real investigation could or would be done. Obama reappointed Ben Bernanke, a Bush holderover who represented a continuation of the Greenspan policies that led to the crisis and bailed out the banks, imposed no executive or board changes, and did not pump for reform. By contrast, the Bank of England was much tougher with banks and fought tooth and nail for a Glass-Steagall type breakup of banks (it was stymied by the UK Treasury and got a partial win).

Gay rights? You mean Obama's weak and late endorsement of gay marriage? That's not legal action.

And the ACA was not "reform" but a program for more rent extraction by pharma and insurers. Did you manage to miss that the biggest groups funding the Obama campaign were the financial services industry, tech, and the medical/industrial complex?

It strengthened the position of insurers, and allows for profit levels that were higher than the industry enjoyed before the bill was passed. Obama never tried to sell single payer (in fact, his operatives targeted groups that advocated it), and was never serious about a public option. He took that off the table and got no concession from the other side. You never give a free concession in bargaining, ever. He just didn't want people talking about it any more.

The ACA has harmed a lot of people. Everyone I know who has to get a policy under the ACA is worse off. It is a nightmare for self employed people and people with erratic incomes. The only real benefit has been Medicaid expansion. And the ACA is going into a death spiral anyhow.

You really need to get out and deal with facts, not Democratic party/Administration PR.

More generally, you are selling the line "Obama was constrained." Bollocks. Obama has governed center right because he has a center right world view. Presidents have enormous bully pulpits. They can move the Overton window if they choose to. He didn't make an effort because that is what he believes. I saw that with his disappointing first inauguration speech. He has even failed to do things that were entirely within his power, like his promised "first action" of his Administration of closing Gitmo.

The success of the Sanders campaign, despite the MSM efforts to first ignore it and then ridicule it, shows how strong public support is for true progressive positions. If the Administration had gone in that direction, it would have had public opinion behind it and the media would have fallen in line.

I suggest you read:

Felix_47

Thank you for saying the obvious. And thank you for the Politico article which formulated my view as well and I am easily in the 1%, white, over educated and travelled, male and in the sixth decade. And I have mailed in my vote for Bernie. However in the cafeteria today one of the workers was talking about how he thought Bernie would kill in in CA and I reminded him he needed to vote since he was for him and his comment scared me…….He said he would vote for Bernie in the general but that he was registered as an independent because he does not believe in any of the parties and that he could not vote for Bernie……..but he said it did not matter…..unfortunately our precariate is not necessarily fully aware of the hoops required to vote…..and I am certain he is not alone…..there are many that want Bernie but just don't have it together to be able to vote for him.

Waldenpond

Yes, I just posted this…. 40% of NPPs that claimed to want to vote for Sanders just sent in their NPP ballots. They simply did not bother to request a D ballot.

Lambert Strether
  • Print this out and put it on the fridge, if you have a fridge.
  • (I'd also add that prosecuting banksters for accounting control fraud was under Obama's control at Justice, and would have been wildly popular across the political spectrum. Instead we got "I stand between you and the pitchforks."
  • Waldenpond

    Your back on memeorandum….which is pro-Clinton, ignore/excoriate Sanders today (well, most days)

    I did not read any of them, just the highlight that pops up….

    LGM… the people you know are 'dumb'
    DeLong is sorry he ever linked to you….
    Echidne of the Snakes… rotting, stinking something or other and your commenters are not representative of the D party.

    Steve in Dallas

    Yikes… "Barack Obama, a transformational figure, has moved the US back to the left – as much as possible"???

    At 45yo in late 2007 I was a "political naif"… still trusting the mainstream media. However, the Murdoch/FOX takeover of the WSJ pushed me to the internet… to follow the 'big crash'. Independent media sites like NakedCapitalism were so obviously and infinitely better to anything in the MSM I quickly was begging family/friends/everybody… "Please turn off the MSM. I learned more in one month reading the IM than I learned reading the WSJ daily for 20 years! The MSM is total garbage and totally corrupt"… BOYCOTT the MSM.

    Regarding Obama? All through 2008 I followed the IM election coverage, listened to his and Michael's campaign speeches. The message was clear… Obama was going to stop the out-of-control criminal banksters and Wall Streeters… AND stop the crazed out-of-control war criminals… MUCH more than Hillary! However, come 2009 it was immediately obvious Obama was a complete and total fraud. He immediately surrounded himself with the exact same economic and war criminals from the Clinton and Bush administrations. With the help of the IM, by mid-2009 I fully understood that Obama was a continuation of Bush, and Bush was a continuation of Clinton.

    Like Clinton and Bush, Obama has done nothing but aggressively push this country, and the world, to the FAR right… by embracing a Global Corporate/Mafia/Neoliberal/Neocon 'New World Order' that exclusively privileges the 5% capitalist class over the 95% working class.

    1) You admit "Bill Clinton took the Democratic Party in a neoliberal direction"… but don't see that Obama did the exact same thing? How is that possible?

    2) Even more audaciously disingenuous… "Clinton – pushed by progressive supporters – would continue that transformation". Bill's a neolib and Hillary is not? How is that possible?

    3) Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama were all consistent at creating your list of problems… "social justice issues, living wages, reversal of supply-side economic policy, protecting Social Security and other government agencies from privatization, and ending the Citizens United campaign finance regime… Supreme Court justice… Senate to provide its advice and consent"… and Hillary is here to fix those problems?

    4) To me your post sounds like just another TINA (there is no alternative) threat from the 5% telling the working class 95% slobs to back down and just take what they're given.

    I'm totally 100% with Yves' description of NC readers… NO WAY, NEVER EVER KILLERY.

    Thank you so much Yves… we/I love you!!!

    [Jun 10, 2016] This despicable, corrupt Clinton-style neocon Obama

    Notable quotes:
    "... He is keen to implement trade deals that would be huge wins for multinationals at the expense of national sovereignty, including the ability of the US to regulate product safety, financial services, and the environment. ..."
    "... His Presidency has seen profit share of GDP rise to record levels, and a "recovery" where the 1% gained at the expense of everyone else. ..."
    "... Obama implemented health care "reforms" that were written by a health care industry lobbyist and have further enriched Big Pharma and health insurers. ..."
    "... He made promises to raise the minimum wage that he failed to act on. ..."
    "... His Supreme Court picks were centrist at best. ..."
    "... His Department of Justice has been soft on anti-trust, soft on elite white collar crime. ..."
    "... He's routinely used the Republicans as an excuse to do what he wanted, which was to govern center-right. ..."
    "... He'd regularly concede 75% of what they asked for as his opening gambit. And then he'd move further right to get bills passed. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Yves Smith Post author

    Huh? Obama has not moved the US to the left. He had the opportunity to come down hard on Wall Street and didn't. He even engineered a second huge bailout for Wall Street, in the form of the "get out of liability almost free" card of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement.

    He is keen to implement trade deals that would be huge wins for multinationals at the expense of national sovereignty, including the ability of the US to regulate product safety, financial services, and the environment.

    His Presidency has seen profit share of GDP rise to record levels, and a "recovery" where the 1% gained at the expense of everyone else.

    Google "Jane Hamsher" and "veal pen". Obama from the very start of his presidency targeted well funded leftist groups and got them defunded, systematically.

    1. Obama implemented health care "reforms" that were written by a health care industry lobbyist and have further enriched Big Pharma and health insurers.
    2. He made promises to raise the minimum wage that he failed to act on.
    3. His Supreme Court picks were centrist at best.
    4. His Department of Justice has been soft on anti-trust, soft on elite white collar crime.
    5. He's routinely used the Republicans as an excuse to do what he wanted, which was to govern center-right.
    6. He'd regularly concede 75% of what they asked for as his opening gambit. And then he'd move further right to get bills passed.

    [May 31, 2016] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_profiteering

    en.wikipedia.org

    mikedow. 3d ago

    Ambrose Bierce lost much public cachet when he predicted(?) McKinley would meet with a bullet, as some believed his words were assumed as justification by the assassin.

    From his "Devil's Dictionary":

    WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity. The student of history who has not been taught to expect the unexpected may justly boast himself inaccessible to the light. "In time of peace prepare for war" has a deeper meaning than is commonly discerned; it means, not merely that all things earthly have an end-that change is the one immutable and eternal law-but that the soil of peace is thickly sown with the seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination and growth. It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his "stately pleasure dome"-when, that is to say, there were peace and fat feasting in Xanadu- that he heard from afar Ancestral voices prophesying war.

    One of the greatest of poets, Coleridge was one of the wisest of men, and it was not for nothing that he read us this parable. Let us have a little less of "hands across the sea," and a little more of that elemental distrust that is the security of nations. War loves to come like a thief in the night; professions of eternal amity provide the night.

    His entry just previous to this is for:

    WALL STREET, n. A symbol of sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven...

    I have a copy of his book "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians"; it's like reading a depressive version of Edgar Allen Poe, all foreboding and involving some supernatural force. Perhaps that's all he could find to explain the madness of the Civil War.

    [May 30, 2016] Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict

    Wrapped in the flag  neocon bottom feeders like Hillary (and quite possibly Trump, although this article is from Guardian which is a fiercely pro-Clinton rag) might eventually destroy this nice country.
    Notable quotes:
    "... the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing. ..."
    "... Maybe they get away with it because we the people who keep voting them into office don't know anything about war ourselves. ..."
    "... As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk ..."
    "... The author, like most Americans, is in denial about America's role in the world. The reason the US spends more on defense than the next 12 countries has nothing to do with self-defense. America wants to maintain its global military dominance. Both parties agree on this. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the war's purpose was to demonstrate American military power. Bill Kristol takes this a stage further and wants America to play the role of global hegemon and be in a state of constant war. This is a stupid idea. ..."
    "... It is a simple an obvious fact that the people most eager to see the US go to war, in every generation, are not the people who will suffer and die in those wars. Today is our Memorial Day. This is an article suggesting we, as Americans, stop and think about the people who were wounded and those who died in service to our country. Set aside your partisan rage and consider those people and their deaths, before you listen to words from any politician calling for more of those deaths. ..."
    "... And the hypocrisy of all this is how Hillary Clinton doesn't have a problem with war. She participated in toppling Libya and she was doing the same to Syria. So how is it all about Trump and what a war monger he is? ..."
    "... The corporations that sell war materiel actively push their products, ensure the support of the government through political contributions, and engage in blackmail by spreading out manufacturing over many locations. In this manner, the only way to profit is by selling weapons, killing more people. What state or city will want to lose employment by letting a manufacturer close? It is incredibly difficult to close an un-needed military base for the same reason, whether here or abroad. War is a great racket, the US has it down pat. ..."
    "... Hillary Clinton has started more wars, caused more death than Donald Trump....and yet....you don't mention that do you "We came, He died, We Laughed" ..."
    "... Unfortunately we're in a position where the United States is a debtor nation, and the easiest way to keep the house of cards from falling is to maintain "full spectrum dominance" in the words of the Pentagon. There's no easy way to unwind this situation. It is, however, absolutely crucial to keep a known psychopath like Clinton out of the command chair. ..."
    "... When congress votes to fund wars then [they need to] add 75% more for after care. As a combat veteran it pisses me off that [instead] charities are used to care for us. Most are run by want a be military, Senease, types. No charities, it's up to American people to pay every penny for our care, they voted for the war mongers so, so pay up people. Citizens need to know true costs, tax raises, cuts in SS , welfare, cuts in schools. Biggest thing, all elected officials and families and those work for them must use VA hospitals, let's see how that works out. ..."
    "... we insulate ourselves in a nice, warm cocoon of "Support Our Veterans" slogans and flag waving. ..."
    "... "Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict " How about Hillary and the fantasy of war, PERIOD. There hasn't been a war she didn't like. Did you listen to her AIPAC speech? No 2 State solution there. ..."
    "... So easy to be the hero in your wet dreams, your shooter games, your securely located war rooms stocked with emergency rations and the external defibrillator. This sort of unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing. ..."
    "... It is actually NOT Donald Trump who is advocating the endless global conflict and confrontation with Russia, China, India, Iran, Europe and North Korea. The candidate secretly advocating a never-ending war with the rest of the world is -- Madame Secretary, Hillary Clinton, in person. Aided and abetted - publicly - by her right-hand woman, another Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright and yet another Madame Undersecretary, Samantha Power. All chicken hawks, all neoconservatives, all pseudo-democrats, all on Wall Street payroll, all white, and all women who will never see a second of combat for the rest of their lives. ..."
    "... So, the very major premise of the article is flawed and unsustainable. Which, of course, then makes the entire article collapse as false and misleading. ..."
    "... John Mearsheimer who is a history professor at the University of Chicago wrote a great book about American foreign policy. Mearsheimer explains how American foreign policy has developed over the centuries. He argues that it firs objective was to dominate the Western Hemisphere before extending its reach to Asia and Europe. The War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine was part of a plan to dominate the Americas. The U.S. stopped Japan and Germany dominating Asia and Europe in the 20th century. The U.S. continued to view the British Empire as its greatest threat and Roosevelt set about dismantling it during WW2. Once WW2 was won, the Soviet Union became America's new adversary and it maintained forces in Europe to check Soviet expansion. ..."
    "... Mearsheimer argues that the U.S. is often in denial about its behavior and Americans are taught that the U.S. is altruistic and a force for good in the world. Measheimer states that "idealist rhetoric provided a proper mask for the brutal policies that underpinned the tremendous growth of American power." In 1991 the U.S. became the world's only super-power and according to Mearsheimer its main foreign policy objective was to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. ..."
    "... Mearsheimer claims that America's foreign policy elite is still largely made up of people who want to keep America on top, but these days they usually prefer to keep their views under wraps. ..."
    "... Trump is the only candidate I've ever heard question the cost of war, it's part of the reason he said we should flush NATO and we can't police the world for free any longer. ..."
    "... I have no problem with destroying ISIS. I have a problem with fighting Russia over every former Soviet state on their doorstep ala Madam Secretary. The best way to remember the war dead is to work to ensure that their ranks do not swell. ..."
    May 28, 2016 | theguardian.com

    As America marks Memorial Day, politicians should spare us the saber-rattling and reserve some space for silence

    ... ... ...

    The times are such that fantasy war-mongering is solidly mainstream. We've seen candidates call for a new campaign of "shock and awe" (Kasich), for carpet-bombing and making the desert glow (Cruz), for "bomb[ing] the shit out of them" (Trump), for waterboarding "and a hell of a lot worse" (Trump again), and for pre-emptive strikes and massive troop deployments (Jeb). One candidate purchased a handgun as "the last line of defense between Isis and my family" (Rubio), and the likely Democratic nominee includes "the nail-eaters – McChrystal, Petraeus, Keane" among her preferred military advisers, and supports "intensification and acceleration" of US military efforts in Iraq and Syria. Yes, America has many enemies who heartily hate our guts and would do us every harm they're able to inflict, but the failures of hard power over the past 15 years seem utterly lost on our political class. After the Paris attacks last December, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard suggested that a force of 50,000 US troops deployed to Syria, supported by air power, would crush Isis in short order, leading to the liberation of Fallujah, Mosul, and other Isis strongholds. "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side-effects that are going to be bad there," opined Kristol – funny guy! – who back in 2002 said that removing Saddam Hussein "could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy".

    ... ... ...

    "A night of waking," as Bierce tersely described it years later. The sheer volume and accuracy of ordnance made this a new kind of war, a machine for pulping acres of human flesh. Regardless of who was winning or losing, shock-and-awe was the common experience of both sides; Confederate and Union soldiers alike could hardly believe the things they were doing and having done to them, and when Bierce turned to the writer's trade after the war, some fundamental rigor or just plain contrariness wouldn't let him portray his war in conventionally heroic terms. In his hands, sentimentality and melodrama became foils for twisted jokes. Glory was ambiguous at best, a stale notion that barely hinted at the suicidal nature of valor in this kind of war. A wicked gift for honesty served up the eternal clash between duty and the survival instinct, as when, early in the war, Bierce and his fellow rookies come across a group of Union dead:

    How repulsive they looked with their blood-smears, their blank, staring eyes, their teeth uncovered by contraction of the lips! The frost had begun already to whiten their deranged clothing. We were as patriotic as ever, but we did not wish to be that way.

    ... ... ...

    Black humor sits alongside mordantly cool accounts of battles, wounds, horrors, absurd and tragic turns of luck. There are lots of ghosts in Bierce's work, a menagerie of spirits and bugaboos as well as hauntings of the more prosaic sort, people detached in one way or another from themselves – amnesiacs, hallucinators, somnambulists, time trippers. People missing some part of their souls. Often Bierce writes of the fatal, or nearly so, shock, the twist that flips conventional wisdom on its back and shows reality to be much darker and crueler than we want to believe. It's hard not to read the war into much of Bierce's writing, even when the subject is ostensibly otherwise. He was the first American writer of note to experience modern warfare, war as mass-produced death, and the first to try for words that would be true to the experience. He charted this new terrain, and it's in Bierce that we find the original experience that all subsequent American war writers would grapple with. Hemingway and Dos Passos in the first world war; Mailer, Heller, Jones and Vonnegut in the second world war; O'Brien, Herr and Marlantes in Vietnam: they're all heritors of Bierce.

    It's not decorative, what these writers were going for. They weren't trying to write fancy, or entertain, or preach a sermon; they weren't writing to serve a political cause, at least not in any immediate sense. One suspects that on some level they didn't have a choice, as if they realized they would never know any peace in themselves unless they found a way of writing that, if it couldn't make sense of their war, at least respected it. Words that represented the experience for what it was, without illusion or fantasy. Words that would resist the eternal American genius for cheapening and dumbing down.

    .... ... ...

    ...unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing.

    Maybe they get away with it because we the people who keep voting them into office don't know anything about war ourselves. We know the fantasy version, the movie version, but only that 1% of the nation – and their families – who have fought the wars truly know the hardship involved. For the rest of us, no sacrifice has been called for: none. No draft. No war tax (but huge deficits), and here it bears noting that the top tax rate during the second world war was 90%. No rationing, the very mention of which is good for a laugh. Rationing? That was never part of the discussion. But those years when US soldiers were piling sandbags into their thin-skinned Humvees and welding scrap metal on to the sides also happened to coincide with the heyday of the Hummer here at home. Where I live in Dallas, you couldn't drive a couple of blocks without passing one of those beasts, 8,600 hulking pounds of chrome and steel. Or for a really good laugh, how about this: gas rationing. If it's really about the oil, we could support the troops by driving less, walking more. Or suppose it's not about the oil at all, but about our freedoms, our values, our very way of life – that it's truly "a clash of civilizations", in the words of Senator Rubio. If that's the case, if this is what we truly believe, then our politicians should call for, and we should accept no less than, full-scale mobilization: a draft, confiscatory tax rates, rationing.

    Some 3.5 million Americans fought in the civil war, out of a population of 31 million. For years the number killed in action was estimated at 620,000, though recent scholarship suggests a significantly higher figure, from a low of 650,000 to a high of 850,000. In any case, it's clear that the vast majority of American families had, as we say these days, skin in the game. The war was real; having loved ones at risk made it real. Many saw battles being fought in their literal backyards. Lincoln himself watched the fighting from the DC ramparts, saw men shot and killed. The lived reality of the thing was so brutally direct that it would be more than 50 years before the US embarked on another major war. To be sure, there was the brief Spanish-American war in 1898, and a three-year native insurgency in the Philippines, and various forays around the Caribbean and Central America, but the trauma of the civil war cut so deep and raw that the generation that fought it was largely cured of war. Our own generation's appetite seems steadily robust even as we approach the 15th anniversary of the AUMF, which, given the circumstances, makes sense. As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk

    Bierce survived his own war, barely. Two weeks after writing to a friend "my turn will come", and one day before his 22nd birthday, he was shot in the head near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. The sniper's ball broke his skull "like a walnut", penetrating the left temple, fracturing the temporal lobe and doglegging down and around behind his left ear, where it stayed. Head shots in that era were almost always fatal, but Bierce survived not only the initial wound, but an awful two-day train ride on an open flatcar to an army hospital in Chattanooga.

    He recovered, more or less. Not the easiest personality to begin with, Bierce showed no appreciable mellowing from his war experience. His life is an ugly litany of feuds, ruptures, lawsuits, friends betrayed or abandoned, epic temper tantrums and equally epic funks. He was a lousy husband – cold, critical, philandering – and essentially abandoned his wife after 17 years of marriage. His older son shot himself dead at age 16, and the younger drank himself to death in his 20s; for his own part, Bierce maintained a lifelong obsession with suicide. In October 1913, after a distinguished, contentious 50-year career that had made him one of the most famous and hated men in America, Bierce left Washington DC and headed for Mexico, intending to join, or report on – it was never quite clear – Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. En route, dressing every day entirely in black, he paid final visits to the battlefields of his youth, hiking for miles in the Indian summer heat around Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, Hell's Half-Acre. For one whole day at Shiloh he sat by himself in the blazing sun. In November he crossed from Laredo into Mexico, and was never heard from again, an exit dramatic enough to inspire a bestselling novel by Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo, and a movie adaptation of the same name starring Gregory Peck.

    Late in life, Bierce described his military service in these terms:

    It was once my fortune to command a company of soldiers – real soldiers. Not professional life-long fighters, the product of European militarism – just plain, ordinary American volunteer soldiers, who loved their country and fought for it with never a thought of grabbing it for themselves; that is a trick which the survivors were taught later by gentlemen desiring their votes.

    About those gentlemen – and women – desiring votes: since when did it become not just acceptable but required for politicians to hold forth on Memorial Day? Who gave them permission to speak for the violently dead? Come Monday we'll be up to our ears in some of the emptiest, most self-serving dreck ever to ripple the atmosphere, the standard war-fantasy talk of American politics along with televangelist-style purlings about heroes, freedoms, the supreme sacrifice. Trump will tell us how much he loves the veterans, and how much they love him back. Down-ticket pols will re-terrorize and titillate voters with tough talk about Isis. Hemingway, for one, had no use for this kind of guff, as shown in a famous passage from A Farewell to Arms:

    There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of the places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.
    caravanserai , 2016-05-31 01:46:32
    The author, like most Americans, is in denial about America's role in the world. The reason the US spends more on defense than the next 12 countries has nothing to do with self-defense. America wants to maintain its global military dominance. Both parties agree on this. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the war's purpose was to demonstrate American military power. Bill Kristol takes this a stage further and wants America to play the role of global hegemon and be in a state of constant war. This is a stupid idea.

    Even if Saddam had WMDs, he still had nothing to do with 9/11. The politicians are very good at finding new scapegoats and switching the blame. A bunch of Saudis attacked the US on 9/11 so invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Bin Laden moves to Pakistan so pretend you don't know where he is. Some European terrorists kill other Europeans so Hillary wants to invade Syria. The assumption seems to be that all Muslims are the same, it does not matter where you kill them.

    JohnManyjars , 2016-05-31 01:12:38
    Fantastic writing...shame Murika won't listen to any of it.

    charlieblue

    Reading the comments and conversations below, I found myself sickened and saddened by how many of my fellow Americans can read a considered and well written article like this and imagine it is a partisan screed.

    It is a simple an obvious fact that the people most eager to see the US go to war, in every generation, are not the people who will suffer and die in those wars. Today is our Memorial Day. This is an article suggesting we, as Americans, stop and think about the people who were wounded and those who died in service to our country. Set aside your partisan rage and consider those people and their deaths, before you listen to words from any politician calling for more of those deaths.

    lattimote, 2016-05-30T13:08:53Z
    "Endless war," but it's not only attacks against other nations, it's a war against civil liberties thus leading to a state in which, whistle blowers, folks who poke holes in the government's 911 theory or complain about military operations in the China Sea may be considered unpatriotic, maybe worse.
    Dubikau
    A friend recently asked, "What's the big deal about wars? I'v seen them on TV lots of times. They have nothing to do with me." Alas, a generation or two after a devastating conflict, it seems people forget. The lessons of history are unknown or irrelevant to the ignorant, the horror beyond imagination. That the clown, Trump, has made it this far is a living horror movie. As Emerson said about someone:

    "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."

    He's a liar and a joke. Neither friends nor enemies can take him seriously and he is unpredictable.

    Bellanova Nova
    Excellent article.

    We must start talking seriously about Trump's pathology guarantees conflict and chaos, and should he get elected, an escalation of an endless war. The ramifications of his incurable and uncontrollable character defect in a political leader are dire and people should be educated about them before it's too late: https://medium.com/@Elamika/the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-a-narcissist-251ec901dae7#.xywh6cceu

    Philip Lundt
    As a veteran I have to ask you Ben: who gave you "permission to speak for the violently dead?"

    A lot of people love Donald Trump. It's not because they are racists warmongers, ignorant, misinformed or stupid. Veterans overwhelmingly support Donald trump. Go ahead call us racists and warmongers too.

    And the hypocrisy of all this is how Hillary Clinton doesn't have a problem with war. She participated in toppling Libya and she was doing the same to Syria. So how is it all about Trump and what a war monger he is?

    villas1
    Bravo. War is a racket.
    olman132 -> villas1
    As practiced in the US, certainly. The corporations that sell war materiel actively push their products, ensure the support of the government through political contributions, and engage in blackmail by spreading out manufacturing over many locations. In this manner, the only way to profit is by selling weapons, killing more people. What state or city will want to lose employment by letting a manufacturer close? It is incredibly difficult to close an un-needed military base for the same reason, whether here or abroad. War is a great racket, the US has it down pat.
    Jim Given
    When your'e putting your life at risk in a war zone wondering if you're going to make it back home, there's damned little discussion about politics. Whatever your reasons might have been for signing on the dotted line, all that matters then is the sailor, soldier, marine or airman standing beside you. It's discouraging, although painfully predictable, to read so few comments about veterans and so many comments about divisive politics.
    Mshand
    Hillary Clinton has started more wars, caused more death than Donald Trump....and yet....you don't mention that do you "We came, He died, We Laughed"
    USApatriot12
    Unfortunately we're in a position where the United States is a debtor nation, and the easiest way to keep the house of cards from falling is to maintain "full spectrum dominance" in the words of the Pentagon. There's no easy way to unwind this situation. It is, however, absolutely crucial to keep a known psychopath like Clinton out of the command chair.

    talenttruth

    For over 30 years, Americans have been carefully "programmed" 24/7, by deliberate Fear / Fear / Fear propaganda, so we would believe that the entire world is full of evil, maniacal enemies out to "get us."

    Of course there always ARE insane haters out there, who are either jealous of America's wealth, or who (more sophisticated than that) resent America's attempt to colonize-by-marketing, the entire world for its unchecked capitalism. Two sides of the same American "coin." Those who are conscripting jobless, hopeless young men overseas to be part of an equally mad "fundamentalist" army against America ~ benefit hugely FROM our militarism, which "proves their point," from their warped perspective.

    Thus do the (tiny minority) of crazy America-haters out there (who we help create WITH our militarism), serve as ongoing Perfectly Plausible Proof for Paranoia ~ the fuel for 24/7 fear/fear/fear propaganda. And who benefits from that propaganda? Oh wait, let us all think on that. For five seconds.

    In 1959, Republican war hero and President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us against combining the incentives of capitalism with the un-audited profitability of wars: the "military industrial complex." But in we Americans' orgy of personal materialism since the 1960's, we all forgot his warning and have let that "complex" take over the nation, the world, all our pocketbooks (53% or more of our treasury now goes to "defense" ~ what a lying word THAT is).

    Answer? It it the 1-percent, crazily Wealth Hoarder super-rich who (a) profit insanely from Eternal War and who now own (b) America's so-called "free press" (ha ha), the latter of which now slants all news towards Threat, Fear, and War, again, 24/7. And now that "their" Nazi Supreme Court has ruled that "money" = free speech, that same of sociopathic criminal class ALSO is coming to own politics. Welcome to fully blooming Corporate Fascism, folks.

    bullypulpit

    In his book "1984" George Orwell wrote, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Have we fallen so far that we are living that nightmare without question? When we hear the voices of politicians, with those on the political right being the most egregious offenders, clamoring for war, we must not forget the cost. Not just in terms of treasure, but especially of the blood spilled by our men and women in uniform. Ask, "Are the causes they are being asked to fight...and die...for, worthy of the sacrifice?"

    Jim Given -> bullypulpit

    I'm afraid that yes, we actually have fallen that far. The Patriot Act is the quintessential example. Who could possibly oppose something called The Patriot Act?

    Jim Given -> bullypulpit

    The War on Terror, another fine example. What, you oppose fighting terrorists? The language stifles (reasoned) dissent. It's brilliant, really.

    Tom Farkas

    Every year I get an uncomfortable sensation around Memorial Day. I know why now thanks to this article. I didn't serve in the armed forces. Not for want. I was a post Vietnam teenager. The armed forces were a joke during the Carter years and the US was in the middle of detante with the USSR. Nothing to fight about and the word terrorist was still a few years away from being reinvented. My Dad was a decorated veteran of the police action in Korea. He lost his best friend there. He rarely talked about it. He and I sat on the couch watching the fall of Saigon on TV. He silently cried. It was all for not. All those lives, all that misery, all for nothing but power and glory. He knew it and I've known it since but just couldn't put a finger on it. Thanks for this article.

    talenttruth -> Tom Farkas

    Tom, what a beautiful post. My husband and I (recently married after we were finally "allowed" to, just like "real people"), are both Vietnam veterans (we had to "hide" in order to serve). And I had majored in college in "U.S. Constitutional History," then worked worked (ironically!) in the advertising "industry" (the Lie Factory) for enough years to see how America, business and our society actually works, INSTEAD of "constitutionally."

    My self-preoccupied generation sleepwalked from the 1960's until now, foolishly allowing the super-rich to gradually make nearly every giant corporation dependent on military contracts.

    Example? The European Union has openly subsidized its aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. But here, in the USA ~ that would be "socialism," and so Boeing was forced instead (in order to compete) to rely on military contracts ("military welfare.") They're both "government subsidization," but ours is crooked.

    So what do we get when all corporations "must have" ongoing Business, in order to keep their insatiable profits rolling in? Eternal War. And its "unfortunate side effects" - maimed veterans, dead soldiers, sailors and airmen, and the revolting hypocrisy of "Memorial Day."

    On that day, we pay "respect" to those who died serving the Military Marketing Department for America's totally out of control, unchecked capitalism, which only serves the overlords at the top.

    Sorry to sound so grim, but I did not serve my country, to have it thus stolen.

    Barclay Reynolds

    When congress votes to fund wars then [they need to] add 75% more for after care. As a combat veteran it pisses me off that [instead] charities are used to care for us. Most are run by want a be military, Senease, types. No charities, it's up to American people to pay every penny for our care, they voted for the war mongers so, so pay up people. Citizens need to know true costs, tax raises, cuts in SS , welfare, cuts in schools. Biggest thing, all elected officials and families and those work for them must use VA hospitals, let's see how that works out.

    Jim Given -> Barclay Reynolds

    Failure to care for our veterans is a national disgrace. Thanks for your service brother.

    SusanPrice58 -> Barclay Reynolds

    I agree. While I'm sure that most of these charities try to do well, it always makes me angry to think about why the need for charities to care for veterans exists. If we are determined to fight these wars - then every citizen should have to have deep involvement of some sort. Raise taxes, ration oil, watch footage of battles, restore the draft - whatever. Instead, we insulate ourselves in a nice, warm cocoon of "Support Our Veterans" slogans and flag waving.

    Tom Wessel

    "Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict "

    How about Hillary and the fantasy of war, PERIOD. There hasn't been a war she didn't like. Did you listen to her AIPAC speech? No 2 State solution there.

    gwpriester
    The obscene amount of money the US pays just on the interest on the trillions "borrowed" for the Afghanistan and Iraq adventures would fix most that is wrong with the world. Bush & Cheney discovered if you don't raise taxes, require financial sacrifices, and do not have a draft, that you can wage bogus wars of choice for over a decade without so much as a peep of protest from the public. It is sickening how much good that money could do instead of all the death and destruction it bought.
    AllenPitt
    "So easy to be the hero in your wet dreams, your shooter games, your securely located war rooms stocked with emergency rations and the external defibrillator. This sort of unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing."

    EXACTLY!

    OZGODRK

    It is actually NOT Donald Trump who is advocating the endless global conflict and confrontation with Russia, China, India, Iran, Europe and North Korea. The candidate secretly advocating a never-ending war with the rest of the world is -- Madame Secretary, Hillary Clinton, in person. Aided and abetted - publicly - by her right-hand woman, another Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright and yet another Madame Undersecretary, Samantha Power. All chicken hawks, all neoconservatives, all pseudo-democrats, all on Wall Street payroll, all white, and all women who will never see a second of combat for the rest of their lives.

    So, the very major premise of the article is flawed and unsustainable. Which, of course, then makes the entire article collapse as false and misleading.

    MOZGODRK -> arrggh

    But you are missing the entire point. Trump is NOT advocating the conflict; he is advocating that we TALK to our enemies, so his lack of combat experience is a moot point.

    On the other hand, the Clintons, the Alzhe...er, Albright, and the Samantha Power-Tripp are all totally kosher with sending millions to die, knowing that they themselves will not experience a nanosecond of hot cognitive experience.

    caravanserai

    John Mearsheimer who is a history professor at the University of Chicago wrote a great book about American foreign policy. Mearsheimer explains how American foreign policy has developed over the centuries. He argues that it firs objective was to dominate the Western Hemisphere before extending its reach to Asia and Europe. The War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine was part of a plan to dominate the Americas. The U.S. stopped Japan and Germany dominating Asia and Europe in the 20th century. The U.S. continued to view the British Empire as its greatest threat and Roosevelt set about dismantling it during WW2. Once WW2 was won, the Soviet Union became America's new adversary and it maintained forces in Europe to check Soviet expansion.

    Mearsheimer argues that the U.S. is often in denial about its behavior and Americans are taught that the U.S. is altruistic and a force for good in the world. Measheimer states that "idealist rhetoric provided a proper mask for the brutal policies that underpinned the tremendous growth of American power." In 1991 the U.S. became the world's only super-power and according to Mearsheimer its main foreign policy objective was to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. Following the difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S. is less certain of its global role. Mearsheimer claims that America's foreign policy elite is still largely made up of people who want to keep America on top, but these days they usually prefer to keep their views under wraps. Trump seems to be proposing something completely different.

    Rescue caravanserai
    Trump is not proposing anything different. His foreign policy is the same as the establishment. He is not anti-war, nor more hawkish than Obama or Clinton. Trumps FP is unilateral i.e. The US will go it alone without the UN or anyone else, attack any country he feels is threatning, without paying attention to intl. law, or "political correctness" as he calls it, i.e. the US will kill and torture as many ppl as it feels like to feel safe, and pay no attention to the Geneva Conventions. Other statements about his intended FP, that the msm calls shocking, has already been done, i.e. bomb the crap out of people, kill families of terrorists, waterboarding and much worse. These have been common policies since 9/11 & before. Another policy is to steal Iraq's oil. This has been de facto US FP in the Middle East since Eisenhower. The difference is that Trump says it outright. He makes subtext into the text.
    Falanx
    I agree with the overall point of this article... but focusing on the GOP and Trump, detracts from its otherwise valid points. What about Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Clinton, Obama and Hillary? Especially Hillary ("We came, We saw, He died") who evidently considers herself a latter day Caesar. The plain fact is that the US was conceived as a warmongering nation. Everyone else in the world understands this.
    DanInTheDesert
    Wow. What a fantastic article . This is what we need in the era of twitter journalism -- a long think piece. Thank you.[*]

    Having said that I have disagree with the conclusion -- we have just a little over a week to avoid a forced choice between two hawks. The chances are slim but not impossible -- be active this weekend. Phonebank for Sanders. Convince a Californian to show up and vote.

    PrinceVlad

    Trump is the only candidate I've ever heard question the cost of war, it's part of the reason he said we should flush NATO and we can't police the world for free any longer.

    Kenarmy -> PrinceVlad

    "Donald Trump would deploy up to 30,000 American soldiers in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State, he said at Thursday night's debate."
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/trump-iraq-syria-220608#ixzz49yJWQras

    30,000? More like 300,000! The 30,000 will be the dead and wounded. But hey, Trump went to a military academy high school, and thus he has a military background ("always felt that I was in the military" because he attended a military boarding school)- http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-military-service-213392#ixzz49yKU9awC

    PrinceVlad -> Kenarmy

    I have no problem with destroying ISIS. I have a problem with fighting Russia over every former Soviet state on their doorstep ala Madam Secretary. The best way to remember the war dead is to work to ensure that their ranks do not swell.

    [*] and if anyone is reading who deals with such things -- y'all need to accept paypal or bitcoin so I can subscribe. Who uses their credit card online anymore?

    [May 30, 2016] Red Hot Jingoism, With a Side of Apple Pie

    marknesop.wordpress.com
    Peruse, if you will, this sabre-rattling pile of poop . Coming on the heels of recent articles which warn that the west sees a nuclear war as both winnable and possible , even probable, and the conviction that a new western strategy is the attempt to initiate a Kremlin palace coup by Russian nationalist hardliners fed up with Putin's squishiness because he will not respond more aggressively to NATO provocations on Russia's doorstep, it's hard not to conclude that the west has lost its mind. If the fear of a planet-devastating nuclear war – in which the two major world nuclear powers pull out all the stops in an unrestricted attempt to annihilate one another – no longer holds our behaviors in check…what's scarier than that?

    We seriously need to persuade our leaders, in the strongest terms, that they cannot talk smack like that. It might seem funny to you to hear a senior government official from the country that fabricated a case for war so it could destroy its old enemy, Saddam Hussein, and lay waste to his country and people, prattling on about 'the rules-based international order', just as if the United States recognizes any limitations on its application of raw power, anywhere on the globe, in its own interests. It's quite true that whenever the USA wants to start a war with someone, it first makes out a case that this is a situation in which it must act. And even its critics would have to acknowledge that it is damned good at this sort of fakery, and has come a long way since one of its premiere PR firms – Hill & Knowlton – coached the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States through her performance as a make-believe Kuwaiti nurse devastated by Saddam's forces' make-believe plundering of a Kuwaiti hospital, something which did not happen. It did, however, strike precisely the right responsive chord in public anger and disgust to kick off Gulf War I. Both wars against Iraq got off the ground on entirely fabricated scenarios calculated to get the rubes all in a lather to do the right thing. To hear a self-righteous assrocket like Ashton Carter maunder on about the rules-based international order, considering the United States encouraged the military campaign by the Ukrainian government to kill its own citizens in a blatant violation of the very core principles of the imaginary rules-based international order…why, it's a little like listening to Imelda Marcos teaching a seminar on how to take care of your shoes so they'll last a long time and you won't have to buy more. I have to say, it just… it makes me mad.

    What has really brought us to this point in the history of the Big Blue Marble is that despite the progress we've made together since the end of the Cold War, the indispensable and exceptional nation has in recent years tried by various means to overthrow the government of Russia, without success. It has tried incentivizing and supporting opposition movements, and got most of its NGO's kicked out of the country for its pains. It has tried sexual politics, hoping to mobilize the world's homosexuals against 'Putin's draconian anti-gay laws', only to have the effort fall flat. It has tried open economic warfare, which worked just long enough for President Obama to take credit for it , then Russian counter-sanctions made European businesses wish they had never heard of President Obama . Shortly after that, Russia began to muscle in on US agricultural markets ; a startlingly lifelike performance for a dying country. It looks like everything that has been tried in the effort to send Russia down for a dirtnap has failed. What's left? They're running out of war-alternative regime-change efforts.

    And what has made Washington suddenly so cocky with the nuclear stick? Could it be that its European-based missile defense system has just gone live ? After all Obama's waffling, after his backing away from the missile defense the hawks wanted, in the winding-down days of his presidency he re-committed to it, and the site in Romania has started up, with great fanfare. Washington continues to insist, tongue in cheek, that the system is not and cannot be targeted against Russia's nuclear deterrent, but for what other purpose could it be there? The rogue-missiles-from-Iran canard is pretty much played out. It seems pretty clear that Washington figures its interceptors (the Standard series SM3) give it a potential first-strike capability, which would – in theory – see Washington's unalerted launch taking out most of Russia's ICBM's in their silos, and the forward-based interceptors taking out the few missiles that avoided Washington's hammer-blow. If they don't believe that, why the sudden nuclear-weapons nose-thumbing?

    If they do believe that, it's a big mistake. First of all, where the USA relies on a nuclear triad deterrent – land-based, air-deployable and seaborne nuclear missiles – Russia adds a fourth leg; mobile Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL) vehicles which have a demonstrated off-road capability, so that they could be most anywhere. The USA could not be sure of hitting all Russia's land-based missiles before launch. Then there is the sea-based component, in SSBN's, ballistic-missile submarines. The BOREI Class carries the Bulava missile. Each of the 20 missiles can carry up to 10 MIRV warheads of 150 kilotons yield. The USA is already worried that it is falling behind Russia and China in submarine capability. Finally, Russia has the 'dead hand' system, which is an automatic program that will launch all undestroyed fixed-site missiles even if everyone in Russia is dead.

    ... ... ...

    This is an existential battle for Russia. No amount of conciliatory gestures will buy it peace, and the United States is determined to push it off the edge of the world. With NATO surrounding it, even if it disbanded its military and plowed all its croplands into flowerbeds, the west would still pretend to see it as a threat, and would foment internal discord until it broke apart. Russia's leaders know this. Its people know this. Strutting up and down the border and waving the NATO flag is not going to make Russia get scared about 'consequences', and kneel in the dirt. NATO's fundamental problem is that it understands neither the Russian character or the true circumstances in the country, preferring to rely on rosy estimates presented by its think tanks.

    The biggest 'consequence' of this dick-waving and posturing is that we are back where we were in 1947.

    Patient Observer , May 24, 2016 at 10:16 am
    Mark, a very timely and well-written post! The red hot approaching white hot rhetoric is unnerving to the sane. Yet, there is virtually no chance of a successful US first strike for the reasons you mentioned. If some breakthrough in ABM technology were to occur that co