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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

[Apr 24, 2016] Ron Paul on the Military-Industrial Complex's Role in US Militarism from Latin America to Europe

Notable quotes:
"... Speaking of the US putting more troops in Europe near the Russian border, Paul notes that he doesn't think "they have strong evidence that the Russians are about to roll in tanks." Instead, a motivation for the military build-up, Paul says, is "stirring up troubles to justify more military expenditures." ..."
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Speaking last week with host Scott Horton on the Scott Horton Show, three-time presidential candidate and former Republican member of the US House of Representatives Ron Paul discussed the military-industrial complex's role in US militarism across the world, including in Latin America and Europe.

After Horton introduced Paul as "the greatest American hero," Paul and Horton entered a fascinating discussion of US foreign policy. Their wide-ranging discussion concerns matters including US intervention in Iraq and Ukraine, a potential "Brexit" - exit of Great Britain from the European Union (EU), and Paul's preference for free trade over international trade deals that Paul says put in place "managed trade to serve the interests of some special interests."

Addressing the influence of the military-industrial complex, Paul comments in the interview on examples in Europe and Latin America.

Speaking of the US putting more troops in Europe near the Russian border, Paul notes that he doesn't think "they have strong evidence that the Russians are about to roll in tanks." Instead, a motivation for the military build-up, Paul says, is "stirring up troubles to justify more military expenditures."

Paul also comments on the military-industrial complex when he discusses how a dispute over which company would profit from its helicopters being used in the US government's "Plan Columbia" was resolved by sending both companies' helicopters to Latin America for use in the drug war effort.

Listen to Paul's complete interview here.

Listen through the end of the interview and you will hear Horton's strong praise for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI). Paul founded RPI in 2013 after retiring from the House of Representatives. Says Horton:

Check out the Ron Paul Institute at ronpaulinstitute.org. They put out great antiwar propaganda all day long seven days a week - the great Dan McAdams, Dr. Paul, Adam Dick and others there at the Ron Paul Institute, ronpaulinstitute.org.
Read here Paul's April 10 editorial "As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions" discussed in the interview.
Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

[Apr 23, 2016] My support for Obama evaporated as it became apparent that, rather than fighting for civil rights, he was doubling down on Bush/Cheneys totalitarian approach to all issues of security

Notable quotes:
"... This question contains one truly huge assumption: that liberals actually support Obama and Clinton. My support for Obama evaporated as it became apparent that, rather than fighting for civil rights, he was doubling down on Bush/Cheney's totalitarian approach to all issues of security. ..."
"... The only time I've really thought he was fighting for anything was against Hillary during the latter part of his first nominating process. Since then he's been fairly spineless. ..."
"... The Clintons have never been liberal. They're all about taking the safe middle of the road; they'd never take on the corporate interests because they want their donations just like the right wing. ..."
"... If you want to find liberals, find folks like me that are at least interested in Sanders. Or at least initiate political conversations on your own. Educate yourself on the issues that are important to you and start talking with the people around you. ..."
www.quora.com

This question contains one truly huge assumption: that liberals actually support Obama and Clinton. My support for Obama evaporated as it became apparent that, rather than fighting for civil rights, he was doubling down on Bush/Cheney's totalitarian approach to all issues of security. His incessant compromises with GOP on health-care during his first year or two left us with an ACA that is somewhat better than nothing but falls dramatically far short of what it should have been; and the compromises were just tricks, the GOP intended to stonewall it from the beginning.

His FCC's actions on net neutrality were essential but don't outweigh his failings on liberty, privacy, and other issues. His failures to respond to the Bundy family's two armed insurrections are typical of his passive afraid-of-the-backlash approach to just about everything.

His administration is complicity embedded with the Content Ownership industry to eliminate the fair-use exception to copyright law. The only time I've really thought he was fighting for anything was against Hillary during the latter part of his first nominating process. Since then he's been fairly spineless.

Only reason I don't usually air these concerns publicly is the scandalous amount of racism and sheer hatred in the heart of the GOP's nut-job opposition.

The Clintons have never been liberal. They're all about taking the safe middle of the road; they'd never take on the corporate interests because they want their donations just like the right wing.

... ... ... ...

If you want to find liberals, find folks like me that are at least interested in Sanders. Or at least initiate political conversations on your own. Educate yourself on the issues that are important to you and start talking with the people around you.

[Apr 10, 2016] Writing a Blank Check on War The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... with legislators largely consigned to the status of observers, presidents pretty much wage war whenever, wherever, and however they see fit. ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com
by Andrew J. Bacevich

Let's face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land-otherwise considered sacrosanct-becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky, or just plain pissed off.

The examples are legion. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln arbitrarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ignored court orders that took issue with his authority to do so. After U.S. entry into World War I, the administration of Woodrow Wilson mounted a comprehensive effort to crush dissent, shutting down anti-war publications in complete disregard of the First Amendment. Amid the hysteria triggered by Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order consigning to concentration camps more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them native-born citizens. Asked in 1944 to review this gross violation of due process, the Supreme Court endorsed the government's action by a 6-3 vote.

More often than not, the passing of the emergency induces second thoughts and even remorse. The further into the past a particular war recedes, the more dubious the wartime arguments for violating the Constitution appear. Americans thereby take comfort in the "lessons learned" that will presumably prohibit any future recurrence of such folly.

Even so, the onset of the next war finds the Constitution once more being ill-treated. We don't repeat past transgressions, of course. Instead, we devise new ones. So it has been during the ongoing post-9/11 period of protracted war.

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the United States embraced torture as an instrument of policy in clear violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. Bush's successor, Barack Obama, ordered the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen, a death by drone that was visibly in disregard of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Both administrations-Bush's with gusto, Obama's with evident regret-imprisoned individuals for years on end without charge and without anything remotely approximating the "speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury" guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Should the present state of hostilities ever end, we can no doubt expect Guantánamo to become yet another source of "lessons learned" for future generations of rueful Americans.

♦♦♦

Yet one particular check-and-balance constitutional proviso now appears exempt from this recurring phenomenon of disregard followed by professions of dismay, embarrassment, and "never again-ism" once the military emergency passes. I mean, of course, Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, which assigns to Congress the authority "to declare war" and still stands as testimony to the genius of those who drafted it. There can be no question that the responsibility for deciding when and whether the United States should fight resides with the legislative branch, not the executive, and that this was manifestly the intent of the Framers.

On parchment at least, the division of labor appears straightforward. The president's designation as commander-in-chief of the armed forces in no way implies a blanket authorization to employ those forces however he sees fit or anything faintly like it. Quite the contrary: legitimizing presidential command requires explicit congressional sanction.

Actual practice has evolved into something altogether different. The portion of Article I, Section 8, cited above has become a dead letter, about as operative as blue laws still on the books in some American cities and towns that purport to regulate Sabbath day activities. Superseding the written text is an unwritten counterpart that goes something like this: with legislators largely consigned to the status of observers, presidents pretty much wage war whenever, wherever, and however they see fit. Whether the result qualifies as usurpation or forfeiture is one of those chicken-and-egg questions that's interesting but practically speaking beside the point.

This is by no means a recent development. It has a history. In the summer of 1950, when President Harry Truman decided that a U.N. Security Council resolution provided sufficient warrant for him to order U.S. forces to fight in Korea, congressional war powers took a hit from which they would never recover.

Congress soon thereafter bought into the notion, fashionable during the Cold War, that formal declarations of hostilities had become passé. Waging the "long twilight struggle" ostensibly required deference to the commander-in-chief on all matters related to national security. To sustain the pretense that it still retained some relevance, Congress took to issuing what were essentially permission slips, granting presidents maximum freedom of action to do whatever they might decide needed to be done in response to the latest perceived crisis.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964 offers a notable example. With near unanimity, legislators urged President Lyndon Johnson "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression" across the length and breadth of Southeast Asia. Through the magic of presidential interpretation, a mandate to prevent aggression provided legal cover for an astonishingly brutal and aggressive war in Vietnam, as well as Cambodia and Laos. Under the guise of repelling attacks on U.S. forces, Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon, thrust millions of American troops into a war they could not win, even if more than 58,000 died trying.

To leap almost four decades ahead, think of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 as the grandchild of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. This document required (directed, called upon, requested, invited, urged) President George W. Bush "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons." In plain language: here's a blank check; feel free to fill it in any way you like.

♦♦♦

As a practical matter, one specific individual-Osama bin Laden-had hatched the 9/11 plot. A single organization-al-Qaeda-had conspired to pull it off. And just one nation-backward, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan-had provided assistance, offering sanctuary to bin Laden and his henchmen. Yet nearly 15 years later, the AUMF remains operative and has become the basis for military actions against innumerable individuals, organizations, and nations with no involvement whatsoever in the murderous events of September 11, 2001.

Consider the following less than comprehensive list of four developments, all of which occurred just within the last month and a half:

Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Libya share at least this in common: none of them, nor any of the groups targeted, had a hand in the 9/11 attacks.

Imagine if, within a matter of weeks, China were to launch raids into Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan, with punitive action against the Philippines in the offing. Or if Russia, having given a swift kick to Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, leaked its plans to teach Poland a lesson for mismanaging its internal affairs. Were Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin to order such actions, the halls of Congress would ring with fierce denunciations. Members of both houses would jostle for places in front of the TV cameras to condemn the perpetrators for recklessly violating international law and undermining the prospects for world peace. Having no jurisdiction over the actions of other sovereign states, senators and representatives would break down the doors to seize the opportunity to get in their two cents worth. No one would be able to stop them. Who does Xi think he is! How dare Putin!

Yet when an American president undertakes analogous actions over which the legislative branch does have jurisdiction, members of Congress either yawn or avert their eyes.

In this regard, Republicans are especially egregious offenders. On matters where President Obama is clearly acting in accordance with the Constitution-for example, in nominating someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court-they spare no effort to thwart him, concocting bizarre arguments nowhere found in the Constitution to justify their obstructionism. Yet when this same president cites the 2001 AUMF as the basis for initiating hostilities hither and yon, something that is on the face of it not legal but ludicrous, they passively assent.

Indeed, when Obama in 2015 went so far as to ask Congress to pass a new AUMF addressing the specific threat posed by the Islamic State-that is, essentially rubberstamping the war he had already launched on his own in Syria and Iraq-the Republican leadership took no action. Looking forward to the day when Obama departs office, Senator Mitch McConnell with his trademark hypocrisy worried aloud that a new AUMF might constrain his successor. The next president will "have to clean up this mess, created by all of this passivity over the last eight years," the majority leader remarked. In that regard, "an authorization to use military force that ties the president's hands behind his back is not something I would want to do." The proper role of Congress was to get out of the way and give this commander-in-chief carte blanche so that the next one would enjoy comparably unlimited prerogatives.

Collaborating with a president they roundly despise-implicitly concurring in Obama's questionable claim that "existing statutes [already] provide me with the authority I need" to make war on ISIS-the GOP-controlled Congress thereby transformed the post-9/11 AUMF into what has now become, in effect, a writ of permanent and limitless armed conflict. In Iraq and Syria, for instance, what began as a limited but open-ended campaign of air strikes authorized by President Obama in August 2014 has expanded to include an ever-larger contingent of U.S. trainers and advisers for the Iraqi military, special operations forces conducting raids in both Iraq and Syria, the first new all-U.S. forward fire base in Iraq, and at least 5,000 U.S. military personnel now on the ground, a number that continues to grow incrementally.

Remember Barack Obama campaigning back in 2008 and solemnly pledging to end the Iraq War? What he neglected to mention at the time was that he was retaining the prerogative to plunge the country into another Iraq War on his own ticket. So has he now done, with members of Congress passively assenting and the country essentially a prisoner of war.

By now, through its inaction, the legislative branch has, in fact, surrendered the final remnant of authority it retained on matters relating to whether, when, against whom, and for what purpose the United States should go to war. Nothing now remains but to pay the bills, which Congress routinely does, citing a solemn obligation to "support the troops." In this way does the performance of lesser duties provide an excuse for shirking far greater ones.

In military circles, there is a term to describe this type of behavior. It's called cowardice.

Andrew J. Bacevich is the author of America's War for the Middle East: A Military History , which has just been published by Random House.

Copyright 2016 Andrew J. Bacevich

[Apr 10, 2016] Russias Lethal Military vs. Americas Third Offset Who Wins

Junk article, interesting comments.
Notable quotes:
"... Actually, he upgraded his army after Georgia launched a surprise blitzkrieg operation on S. Ossetia, killing UN-mandated Russian peacekeepers and a few hundred sleeping Ossets, with or without a wink and a nod from the US. Verdict's still out on that last one. You'll have to wait for Karl Rove's posthumous memoirs for that insight. ..."
"... Another silly "what if" article. A conflict between Nato and Russia will very quickly go nuclear. Nobody wins. Taking the three tiny Baltic countries into Nato was an incredibly stupid move. The purpose was purely to provoke Russia. They can't be defended without going nuclear. They will be lost forever. Nato gains nothing except the claim of being the victim. ..."
"... The NATO-bloc spends about a trillion dollars each year on the military -- as much as is spent by all other countries in the world combined, and an order of magnitude more than what Russia spends. ..."
"... If NATO is defending "Freedom", as we're told, then why does it require such a titanic amount of force and money? If U.S.-style "Freedom" is such a good thing, if this Exceptional "Freedom" is something that every sane person wants, then why does it take so much force to impose this "Freedom" on people ? ..."
"... NATO is selling death and destruction, repackaged as "Freedom and Democracy". Ask what is inside the pretty package! -- then you will understand why this "Freedom" is such a hard sell. ..."
"... The Baltic leaders are just milking NATO, with their constant 'threat alerts'. And NATO milks them right back. It's a symbiotic milk maid festival. ..."
April 8, 2016 | The National Interest Blog
Mark, 2 days ago
Just typical propaganda to justify endless billions for a nonexistent threat. ,you have to be a brainwashed neocon idiot or have stock in defense corporations or likely both to believe Russia has any interest in invading anyone. How would we feel if Russia moved missiles and troops to our borders?

iberaldisgust -> Mark , link

Ukraine ..... so much for brain washed .....
Robert Duran -> liberaldisgust , link
What about Ukraine?
Nawaponrath -> liberaldisgust, a day ago
Yes US funded riots that kicked out a democratically elected government
Brian -> Nawaponrath , a day ago
What's wrong with that?

You lost - get over it.

You should be use to it by now since all of your former allies have either joined NATO or want to join NATO as protection against Russia.

You see - we actually don't have to do anything to convince nations to work with us - we just let Russia act the way it normally acts and the rest falls into place.

I'm fond of saying that Putin is our best man in Russia. We couldn't ask for a better ally in helping us dismantle Russia.

R.W. Emerson II -> Brian , a day ago
Actually, it's the hack politicians who join NATO as protection against the people.

The people oppose the politicians in these "Democracies", but that doesn't seem to matter.

* "Over 10,000 Participate in Anti-NATO Rally in Serbia" , Sputnik News , 27 Mar 2016

* "'Neutrality is Beautiful': Majority of Finns Want to Stay Away From NATO" , Sputnik News , 30 Jan 2016

Brian -> Mark , link
Then we can tell Putin that he doesn't need to modernize his upgrades? Ok - you tell your comrades to stand down and we'll do the same.
Sinbad2 -> Brian , link
The Russians do defense, the US is invader uno numero.
Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day ago
Russia should stand down where exactly?
Nawaponrath -> Brian , a day ago
He upgraded his army after US funded regime change in Ukraine get your facts right
Michael DeStefano -> Nawaponrath , a day ago
Actually, he upgraded his army after Georgia launched a surprise blitzkrieg operation on S. Ossetia, killing UN-mandated Russian peacekeepers and a few hundred sleeping Ossets, with or without a wink and a nod from the US. Verdict's still out on that last one. You'll have to wait for Karl Rove's posthumous memoirs for that insight.
Nawaponrath -> Michael DeStefano , an hour ago
You are right and Georgia was armed and trained by US and instigated by US to attack Russia and what happened it took Russia 5 days to defeat the well armed US backed Georgians and this is an indicator how the US will fare against a war with Russia - FULL RETREAT
Brian -> Michael DeStefano , a day ago
Oh, the story is that Russia invaded Georgia lands.

I'm glad Russians were killed. Good.

Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day ago
Well, we already know you're a psychopath. No need to repeat yourself ad nauseam.
Ted Jebb -> Brian , link
Brian you really don't know what you are talking about. I doubt you ever have left your neighborhood let alone the state. You talk down about Russia and how great the American military is. But then again like all talk it is just talk. In a real war Russia has many more nukes then we do. They kept their nuclear program up while ours has fallen. Should a real war happen all you will see Brian is flashes of of light everywhere and that will be the end. GET IT WAKE UP !!!
Brian -> Nawaponrath , a day ago
And we did it without firing a shot....

Another win for the U.S.A.

Not our fault that most of your former allies/republics prefer the U.S. to Russia.

Heh heh.

Vasya Pypkin -> Brian , a day ago
Good. Now you gotta feed them ;)
Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day ago
Without firing a shot? Apparently, you missed the right sector snipers in the Hotel Ukraina, the Azov battalion civilian massacres in Mariupol and the Odessa holocaust, eh?

But we know, you loved every bullet of it. Psychopaths are as psychopaths do.

And BTW, speak for yourself. This 'we' thing is delusional. If 'we' met, you'd understand that quick enough.

Brian -> Michael DeStefano , a day ago
The Russians brought it upon themselves with their history of bullying...

Your neighbors will continue to hate you, and we don't need to do anything about it.

I'll be happy to send a donation to Ukraine so they can buy more defensive weapons - the more Russians that invade their land, the more body bags they can send back to Russia.

Sinbad2 -> Brian , link
The US is the bully, and you will pay the price, big time.
Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day ago
The Ukrainians brought it upon themselves, sir. You obviously share in that endearing Ukrainian trait to blame everyone but yourself for the consequences of your actions. Next time, try to keep your banderite fascist ideologues at bay and maybe you'll learn something about those 'European values' that Poroshenko seems to like to lecture the Europeans about, if that ain't a hoot in itself.
Ted Jebb -> Brian , link
Alright keyboard commando Brian time for your cookies and milk. Then you will need to return to your padded cell !!!
Vin -> Mark , link
nonexistent?

What just happened in Syria?
What about the untraceable subs Russia has that can knock out our aircraft carries easily? PS: Iran has one and we lost track of it shortly after they purchased it from Russia.
What about the large number of nuclear weapon Russia has and has used this threat in an offensives manor lately?

Are you the type of person who leaves his front door unlocked when you go to work?
Just type up your SS#, Credit Cards, and Name for us please...along with you address since you do not believe in preventive measures to safeguard yourself.

Nawaponrath -> Vin , a day ago
What about US bombing Syria before Russia intervene 4 years before killing at least 300,000 civilians
James Johnson -> Vin , link
You keep burning the fascist candlestick at both home and abroad your going to get burned.
JB 1969 -> Vin , a day ago
The untraceable diesel electric are very short range by ocean going standard AND become more visible it they need to approach the target (The hope to submerge, sit and have a vessel pass very close).
Michael DeStefano -> Vin , a day ago
Oh God, get a dozen cartons of worry beads and geriatric diapers off Amazon and leave the bullcrap where it belongs.
Che Guevara , a day ago
The Baltics and Poland should take an example from Finland. Finland has managed to avoid conflict with Russia, without any help from the U.S. or NATO. Threats of imminent Russian invasion are fairy tales.
strayshot -> Che Guevara , a day ago
Up until they show up on your doorstep asking for a cup of sugar...... and your surrender of the property.
Che Guevara -> strayshot , a day ago
Are you from Finland?
Ex Pat , link
Another silly "what if" article. A conflict between Nato and Russia will very quickly go nuclear. Nobody wins. Taking the three tiny Baltic countries into Nato was an incredibly stupid move. The purpose was purely to provoke Russia. They can't be defended without going nuclear. They will be lost forever. Nato gains nothing except the claim of being the victim.
liberaldisgust -> Ex Pat , link
I doubt that it would " Quickly go Nuclear " as once that line is crossed as you say there is no winner ...... on any level ....
Jose Luiz Costa Sousa -> Ex Pat , a day ago
MY CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOU OPINION WHICH IS MY OPINION. I AM A PROFESSIONAL ARMY OFFFICER. YOUR OPINION IS THE CORRECT AND THE REAL ONE. ALL THOSE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHATEVER STRENGTH AND KIND OF TROOPS OR WEAPONS NATO MIGTH HAVE WHEREVER... WITHIN EUROPE IS SIMPLY SILLY...

I THINK ANY ARMY OFFICER KNOWS WHAT YOU JUST TOLD... SO EITHER ALL THIS SHIT AROUND WHOM, WHAT AND WHERE TO DEPLOY MILITARY POWER TO STOP THE RUSSIANS IS JUST TO HAVE THE STUPID EUROPEANS SPENDING MORE MONEY BUYING USA WEAPONS OR IF NATO BELIEVES WHAT THEY ARE DOING... THEN THE GENERALS IN CHARGE ARE JUST DONKEYS ... AND I APOLOGIZE TO DONKEYS... OF COURSE ANY VERY FIRST MILITARY ACTION FROM RUSSIA EITHER TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM A NATO/ USA ATTACK OR TO CARRY OUT A PRE EMPTIVE ATTACK WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NUCLEAR... MORE THAN THAT IT WILL BE GLOBAL.... NOT ONLY AGAINST EUROPE... THE MAIN TARGET WILL BE USA AND ITS MILITARY BASES AROUND THE WORLD... AND OF COURSE EUROPE... SO CONVENCIONAL MILITARY MEANS IN SUCH A CONTEXT THEY SHALL BE BASICALLY TROOPS AND EQUIPMENT ABLE TO OPERATE IN A NUCLEAR AND NBQ ENVIRONMENT.

Sinbad2 -> Jose Luiz Costa Sousa , link
Which Army?
Sinbad2 -> Ex Pat , link
Russia wouldn't have to go nuclear to defeat Europe, so if it does go nuclear, it will be the US that pushes the button.
As the Russian army would be in Europe, the US would nuke Europe.
strayshot -> Ex Pat , a day ago
"Taking the three tiny Baltic countries into NATO was an incredibly stupid move."

I disagree. Americas' Principles have always stressed spreading Freedom & Liberty as far as possible. Where "we" Americans went wrong was not electing leadership who understood this principle.

I can agree with the Far Left on one thing: Europeans need to bring their military strength back up. It's obvious that my country (USA) is headed down a path of isolationism. A pity, really. Has the Europeans learned to value each other as equals...... or will ancient rivalries tear them apart?

R.W. Emerson II -> strayshot , a day ago
The NATO-bloc spends about a trillion dollars each year on the military -- as much as is spent by all other countries in the world combined, and an order of magnitude more than what Russia spends.

If NATO is defending "Freedom", as we're told, then why does it require such a titanic amount of force and money? If U.S.-style "Freedom" is such a good thing, if this Exceptional "Freedom" is something that every sane person wants, then why does it take so much force to impose this "Freedom" on people ?

If I invent something that people want -- a better mouse-trap, say -- do I have to bomb people into buying my product? Do I have to use "police" armed with tanks and machine-guns to round people up and force them into the store where my mouse-trap is sold?

Real freedom is something that sells itself. Freedom is something to live for, not something to kill and be killed for. We develop freedom by exercising our rights, not by turning other countries into rubble!

NATO is selling death and destruction, repackaged as "Freedom and Democracy". Ask what is inside the pretty package! -- then you will understand why this "Freedom" is such a hard sell.

Nawaponrath -> strayshot , a day ago
Freedom & Liberty via bombs in invasion! Democracy only when US puppet will win otherwise regime change like in Syria and in the past many other countries
Sinbad2 -> strayshot , link
BS, the US is a tyrant.
Donald Neuland -> strayshot , a day ago
your reply is silly and stupid. Principles never won anything. You are one of those pedantic liberals who think we (but, of course, not you) need to save everyone. Reality says most would rather give up than fight themselves.
David James -> Donald Neuland , a day ago
I agree with principles (They should not be underestimated!) however I think as Americans we are going to have to be a bit more pragmatic going forward.
Brian -> Donald Neuland , a day ago
As the big bad bully in Europe, it would be in your benefit if the U.S. stayed out of things.

Too bad your former republics and allies prefer the U.S. to Russia.

R.W. Emerson II -> Brian , a day ago
The politicians prefer the U.S. to Russia, perhaps. But I'm not sure that the same can be said of the people.
A referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held on 17 March 1991. The question put to voters was: "Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?"

Russia SFSR:
Choice .......... ------Votes . -----%
For .............. 56,860,783 .. 73.00
Against .......... 21,030,753 .. 27.00
Invalid ........... 1,809,633 ...... -
Total ............ 79,701,169 . 100.00
Reg., Turnout ... 105,643,364 .. 75.44

Ukrainian SSR:
Choice .......... ------Votes . -----%
For .............. 22,110,899 .. 71.48
Against ........... 8,820,089 .. 28.52
Invalid ............. 583,256 ...... -
Total ............ 31,514,244 . 100.00
Reg., Turnout .... 37,732,178 .. 83.52

Source: Nohlen & Stöver, "Soviet Union Referendum, 1991 , wikipedia , 14 Oct 2015

-- "Soviet Union referendum, 1991" , US Wow

A similar referendum was held 22 years later, by Gallup. In the 2013 Gallup poll , people in countries formed by the Soviet dissolution said, by a two-to-one margin, that they were worse off than before the Soviet break-up .

But it doesn't matter, of course, what the people think. The "West" -- the U.S. Empire -- decided that the Soviet Union was bad, and the rulers/bankers/gangsters of the "West" know what is best for everyone everywhere . That's because the rulers/bankers of the U.S. Empire are Exceptional, Enlightened and Inherently Superior. They were Born Without Sin, their intentions are Pure and Holy, and they Know More Than God.

Zero -> Donald Neuland , a day ago
"Reality says most would rather give up than fight themselves."

That much is certainly true...

Michael DeStefano -> strayshot , a day ago
It was foolish. How did Finland survive as a neutral country? If anyone had any justification for joining NATO after WWII, it was certainly Finland, yet it prospered undisturbed, even benefiting from Russia trade.

The Baltic leaders are just milking NATO, with their constant 'threat alerts'. And NATO milks them right back. It's a symbiotic milk maid festival.

Peter Tam -> Ex Pat , link
If that happened the Iranian will inherit the world
jimdeim -> Peter Tam , a day ago
No no one would when fallout kills everyone. Fact is if they just blew us up and we never fire one nuke, world ends from fallout.

[Apr 10, 2016] Why David Cameron Went Neocon

Notable quotes:
"... Cameron's attempts to look perspicacious in foreign affairs only show him once again to be over impulsive and delusional-proof once again that the prime minister's foreign policy is, as General Richards had put it, "more about the Notting Hill liberal agenda rather than statecraft." ..."
February 22, 2016 |
FAR FROM BEING an example of successful intervention, however, Libya has turned into a study in how the West makes things worse. It is now a failed state, a vast ungoverned space. The World Food Program says that 2.4 million Libyans are in need of humanitarian assistance; the country's population is 6.2 million. Its economy is at one quarter of its capacity. Instead of fostering democracy in the Maghreb, Libya has become a breeding ground for Islamist terror-security analysts call it "Scumbag Woodstock"-and a springboard for the refugee crisis into Europe. Towards the end of 2015, Abdullah al-Thani, one of Libya's competing prime ministers, wrote to Philip Hammond, Cameron's foreign secretary, offering to cooperate against ISIS and the people-smuggling rackets that bring so many migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe. He didn't receive a reply.

The Cameroons ignore the reality of Libya in favor of congratulating themselves on a job well done. As one Cabinet minister put it to the journalist Matthew D'Ancona, "whenever things get bad, and the press are saying what a rubbish government we are, I remind myself that there are people alive in Benghazi tonight because we decided to take a risk." In a Christmas interview with the Spectator magazine, Cameron insisted that

"Libya is better off without Qaddafi. What we were doing was preventing a mass genocide. Then, as you say, the coalition helped those on the ground to get rid of the Qaddafi regime and it's very disappointing that there hasn't been an effective successor regime."

Yet the idea of an imminent Libyan genocide in 2011 seems to have been exaggerated. The International Crisis Group concluded by the end of that year: "There are grounds for questioning the more sensational reports that the regime was using its air force to slaughter demonstrators, let alone engaging in anything remotely warranting use of the term 'genocide.'"

Moreover, Cameron's insistence that his intervention saved lives-when in the long run, it did not-and his use of word "disappointing" is telling. It suggests a near pathological unwillingness to accept mistakes. To admit failure in Libya would be to undermine the prime minister's judgment, and he can't have that. He would rather blame Libyans for not taking their big shot at democracy. This stubbornness seems to have driven him to be hawkish over Syria. Cameron and his friends want to recapture some of the magic they felt when they rid the world of a tyranny. It doesn't matter whether Britain is tackling Assad, or attacking Assad's enemy. It doesn't even matter that Britain is making a pathetically insignificant contribution. What counts is that the Tory top brass can feel they are fighting the good fight. When it comes to international statesmanship, the Cameroons prefer West Wing–style fantasy to realpolitik.

Cameron is aware of this criticism, which is why he has tried to pretend that he had thought through his latest adventure in Syria. But his strategy didn't stand up to much scrutiny. The prime minister's office issues a document claiming that while the immediate motive for airstrikes was to degrade ISIS, there was a medium-term plan to work with seventy thousand "Syrian opposition fighters on the ground who do not belong to extremist groups." This was an obvious fudge to suggest that destroying ISIS did not mean propping up Assad; that a third force existed in Syria, one which could be brought to the fore, with Western help. Unfortunately for democrats everywhere, this idea seems based on wishful thinking. Experts maintain that the armed opposition to Assad is dominated by ISIS, as well as the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and the equally Islamist Ahrar al-Sham. The smaller rebel groups might be labeled moderate, but they are able to operate only with the blessing of the jihadists. Besides, as journalist Patrick Cockburn, citing Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi of the Middle East Forum, writes, these groups "commonly exaggerate their numbers, are very fragmented and have failed to unite, despite years of war."

Cameron's attempts to look perspicacious in foreign affairs only show him once again to be over impulsive and delusional-proof once again that the prime minister's foreign policy is, as General Richards had put it, "more about the Notting Hill liberal agenda rather than statecraft."

[Apr 04, 2016] Vietnam War at 50 Have We Learned Nothing

Notable quotes:
"... When President George HW Bush invaded Iraq in 1991, the warhawks celebrated what they considered the end of that post-Vietnam period where Americans were hesitant about being the policeman of the world. President Bush said famously at the time, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all." ..."
"... Last month was another anniversary. March 20, 2003 was the beginning of the second US war on Iraq. It was the night of "shock and awe" as bombs rained down on Iraqis. Like Vietnam, it was a war brought on by government lies and propaganda, amplified by a compliant media that repeated the lies without hesitation. ..."
ronpaulinstitute.org

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

Last week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in commemoration of the "50th anniversary" of that war. The date is confusing, as the war started earlier and ended far later than 1966. But the Vietnam War at 50 commemoration presents a good opportunity to reflect on the war and whether we have learned anything from it.

Some 60,000 Americans were killed fighting in that war more than 8,000 miles away. More than a million Vietnamese military and civilians also lost their lives. The US government did not accept that it had pursued a bad policy in Vietnam until the bitter end. But in the end the war was lost and we went home, leaving the destruction of the war behind. For the many who survived on both sides, the war would continue to haunt them.

It was thought at the time that we had learned something from this lost war. The War Powers Resolution was passed in 1973 to prevent future Vietnams by limiting the president's ability to take the country to war without the Constitutionally-mandated Congressional declaration of war. But the law failed in its purpose and was actually used by the war party in Washington to make it easier to go to war without Congress.

Such legislative tricks are doomed to failure when the people still refuse to demand that elected officials follow the Constitution.

When President George HW Bush invaded Iraq in 1991, the warhawks celebrated what they considered the end of that post-Vietnam period where Americans were hesitant about being the policeman of the world. President Bush said famously at the time, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all."

They may have beat the Vietnam Syndrome, but they learned nothing from Vietnam.

Colonel Harry Summers returned to Vietnam in 1974 and told his Vietnamese counterpart Colonel Tsu, "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield." The Vietnamese officer responded, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."

He is absolutely correct: tactical victories mean nothing when pursuing a strategic mistake.

Last month was another anniversary. March 20, 2003 was the beginning of the second US war on Iraq. It was the night of "shock and awe" as bombs rained down on Iraqis. Like Vietnam, it was a war brought on by government lies and propaganda, amplified by a compliant media that repeated the lies without hesitation.

Like Vietnam, the 2003 Iraq war was a disaster. More than 5,000 Americans were killed in the war and as many as a million or more Iraqis lost their lives. There is nothing to show for the war but destruction, trillions of dollars down the drain, and the emergence of al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Sadly, unlike after the Vietnam fiasco there has been almost no backlash against the US empire. In fact, President Obama has continued the same failed policy and Congress doesn't even attempt to reign him in. On the very anniversary of that disastrous 2003 invasion, President Obama announced that he was sending US Marines back into Iraq! And not a word from Congress.

We've seemingly learned nothing.

There have been too many war anniversaries! We want an end to all these pointless wars. It's time we learn from these horrible mistakes.

[Mar 29, 2016] Is Trump Right About NATO Zero Hedge

www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

I am "not isolationist, but I am 'America First,'" Donald Trump told The New York times last weekend. "I like the expression."

Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement "unfair, economically, to us," and adds, "We will not be ripped off anymore."

Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments - especially NATO.

For the Donald's ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.

The first NATO supreme commander, Gen. Eisenhower, said in February 1951 of the alliance: "If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed."

As JFK biographer Richard Reeves relates, President Eisenhower, a decade later, admonished the president-elect on NATO.

"Eisenhower told his successor it was time to start bringing the troops home from Europe. 'America is carrying far more than her share of free world defense,' he said. It was time for other nations of NATO to take on more of the costs of their own defense."

No Cold War president followed Ike's counsel.

But when the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 nations, a new debate erupted.

The conservative coalition that had united in the Cold War fractured. Some of us argued that when the Russian troops went home from Europe, the American troops should come home from Europe.

Time for a populous prosperous Europe to start defending itself.

Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began handing out NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees, to all ex-Warsaw Pact nations and even Baltic republics that had been part of the Soviet Union.

In a historically provocative act, the U.S. moved its "red line" for war with Russia from the Elbe River in Germany to the Estonian-Russian border, a few miles from St. Petersburg.

We declared to the world that should Russia seek to restore its hegemony over any part of its old empire in Europe, she would be at war with the United States.

No Cold War president ever considered issuing a war guarantee of this magnitude, putting our homeland at risk of nuclear war, to defend Latvia and Estonia.

Recall. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956. Lyndon Johnson did not lift a hand to save the Czechs, when Warsaw Pact armies crushed "Prague Spring" in 1968. Reagan refused to intervene when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, on Moscow's orders, smashed Solidarity in 1981.

These presidents put America first. All would have rejoiced in the liberation of Eastern Europe. But none would have committed us to war with a nuclear-armed nation like Russia to guarantee it.

Yet, here was George W. Bush declaring that any Russian move against Latvia or Estonia meant war with the United States. John McCain wanted to extend U.S. war guarantees to Georgia and Ukraine.

This was madness born of hubris. And among those who warned against moving NATO onto Russia's front porch was America's greatest geostrategist, the author of containment, George Kennan:

"Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era. Such a decision may be expected to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking."

Kennan was proven right. By refusing to treat Russia as we treated other nations that repudiated Leninism, we created the Russia we feared, a rearming nation bristling with resentment.

The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.

While Trump is focusing on how America is bearing too much of the cost of defending Europe, it is the risks we are taking that are paramount, risks no Cold War president ever dared to take.

Why should America fight Russia over who rules in the Baltic States or Romania and Bulgaria? When did the sovereignty of these nations become interests so vital we would risk a military clash with Moscow that could escalate into nuclear war? Why are we still committed to fight for scores of nations on five continents?

Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared around 1991.

He is suggesting a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S. vital interests are imperiled. And when we agree to defend other nations, they will bear a full share of the cost of their own defense. The era of the free rider is over.

Trump's phrase, "America First!" has a nice ring to it.

greenskeeper carl

Trumps statements are true, but don't go far enough. Since the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, there is no reason for NATO to exist, or especially for us to be a part of it. We gain nothing except the promises to go to nuclear war with Russia, even over a shitshow country like turkey, who shot down a fucking Russia plane.

It would also be interesting to see what happens to the welfare states of Western Europe if they were forced to pay for all this shit, or the US left all together.

SteveNYC

Surely Trump is not so stupid to believe that we are being "had" by the Europeans in regards to the collective NATO defense budget? Surely he understands NATO is merely a captive audience for arms sales ex USA?

Surely he understands that by paying "more than our share" we are utilizing it to push a fucked up agenda abroad with the complicity of those who are "not paying their share"?

Come on Donald......get with the program.

Canadian Dirtlump

In a manner of speaking he's right. Other countries don't pay their fair share of the expenses. However, the size and scope of what exists now is orders of magnitude TOO BIG. So everyone else shouldn't pay more, the US should scale back and spend WAY less.

That is what will get someone killed. Scaling back at all and therefore costing any private predatory military supplier / contractor money..

Duc888

NATO should have been disbanded when USSR was toppled. It's that simple. It's a fucking MIC jobs program now. Let Europe sink or swim on it's own.

skepsis101

Something extraordinary has taken place in the last few weeks.

More and more old-time Republican stalwarts and leaders have laid their voices bare, if not defending Donald Trump, then for certain excoriating the three decade long NeoLib/NeoCon pact that is strangulating American sovereignty and paving the way for a NWO. Paul Craig Roberts, as always, was perhaps the first. But now David Stockman (Reagan's Budget Director), Peggy Noonan (Reagan's speechwriter), Patrick Buchanan (another Reaganite and erstwhile Republican curmudgeon), Robert Bennett (Reagan's head of the Department of Education), and perhaps many more that I am not aware of are coming out of the closet.

It is almost as though Trump's 'take-no-prisoners' ethos, and getting away with it and media and political correctness be damned, is actually creating enough breathing space for others to say what's been on their mind but have been too frightened to speak out about. Well spoken, known, and credible voices are pushing back. This could be a snowball careening downhill turning into an avalanche. If enough of these folks keep emerging from dark corners they could well provide Trump with a political phalanx that diminish the probabliity of something as outrageous as stealing the nomination or even assassination.

One thing is for certain. A civil war is taking place already, and its in the Republican Party.

alexcojones

Smedley Butler would never have the USA in such a criminal organizations.

But then Wall Street and the City of London, plus the Vatican and Tel Aviv call ALL the shots here in 'Murica

DCon

Only 725 bases

Hillary can double that

http://www.kelebekler.com/occ/bas_gb.htm

MrBoompi

Maybe NATO will come to rescue and save the US from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.

Batman11 , Tue, 03/29/2016 - 15:58

The thing is Europe doesn't need any defence.

The Putin bogeyman, well if we keep our closet doors shut I am sure we will be OK without any military spending at all.

Russian paranoia is an American thing and we never got into that "checking under the bed for Reds" thing in Europe.

Well maybe we will need some spending after the US turned Afghanistan and the Middle East into terrorist training centres.

NATO is just US sponsored interference and we could all do without it.

Come on Trump the world will get on much better without US military spending causing problems.

Freddie , Tue, 03/29/2016 - 15:58

NATO? The USA and European nations cannot even protect their borders from invasion. End NATO. It is only good for genocide against small unarmed countries.

[Mar 25, 2016] Tony Blair is right: without the Iraq war there would be no Islamic State

www.theguardian.com

16/3/2013
Iraq war and its aftermath failed to stop the beginning of peak oil in 2005

http://crudeoilpeak.info/iraq-war-and-its-aftermath-failed-to-stop-the-beginning-of-peak-oil-in-2005

Uploaded 5/7/2007

Government admits oil is the reason for war in Iraq

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7t_u641NyM

[Mar 24, 2016] Brussels 'Terrorism' - Gladio at its Finest

Notable quotes:
"... This type of 'terrorism' fits other well established models that are characterized as a 'strategy of tension', and these historically were planned and executed by assets of US-NATO military intelligence themselves, as part of the Gladio program. ..."
"... So we have to divide between military ISIS - that army of mercenaries, misled youth, drug addicts, ex-prisoners, and religious fanatics on the one hand, backed by Turkey and Gulf monarchies, from the 'ISIS' that is more like Al Qaeda - specially trained intelligence and security assets with knowledge of electronics, bomb making, counter-security/penetration, etc. - who are directly controlled by CIA/Mossad/MI6 and Saudi security and Pakistani ISI. ..."
"... The US-NATO intelligence program, through Gladio has long time assets in Europe, and the last year has been reminiscent of a time during the Cold War when this strategy of tension reached its peak in Europe during the 1970's. ..."
March 23, 2016 | Fort Russ

Editorial


Words always fail to speak to the human tragedy component of yesterday's 'terrorist' attacks, and my words cannot adequately address them either.

Moreover, it seems in poor judgment to specifically lament over one criminal tragedy, when such criminal tragic events are so rampant around the world, and are often the product of US-NATO operations globally.

The terrorist attacks in Belgium are a direct part of US-NATO's plans to perpetuate war and instability, and destabilization anywhere that the US senses hesitation to fully support its plans.

I have not yet seen evidence that the individuals who pulled off these attacks have any connection to any of the named or known 'terrorist' networks. What I have read so far as a Kurdish media sources claiming that ISIS had claimed responsibility.

For those linking these attacks to the known and documented ISIS/FSA members/soldiers that have now decided to seek 'refuge' in Europe from the way which they created, I would say that while it is possible that any such individuals who came as refugees in the recent wave could have been used in these attacks, such assets already existed and lived in Europe for an indeterminably long time.

There is a link, however, between the 'refugee' crisis and these terrorist attacks, - and that is that these are both components of the general destabilization of the middle-east and now, Europe. From a sociological and strategic point of view, it is difficult to imagine that such 'reverberations' were not foreseen, and therefore expected, and as such perhaps even viewed as desirable by the powers that be. Which powers that be do I speak of?

This type of 'terrorism' fits other well established models that are characterized as a 'strategy of tension', and these historically were planned and executed by assets of US-NATO military intelligence themselves, as part of the Gladio program.

It is unlikely in my view that ISIS, in the meaningful sense of the term, was behind this. Terrorist attacks such as this have a purpose for actual terrorist groups when they are linked with demands, a quid pro quo, release of prisoners, or some change in policy, recognition, or even a cash payment. They come after general warnings, and some inability of the terrorist group to get its demands met.

At the same time we have another 'ISIS' or, if you will, Al Qaeda - as a western intelligence and operations program designed to attack targets designated by their US/NATO handlers.

So we have to divide between military ISIS - that army of mercenaries, misled youth, drug addicts, ex-prisoners, and religious fanatics on the one hand, backed by Turkey and Gulf monarchies, from the 'ISIS' that is more like Al Qaeda - specially trained intelligence and security assets with knowledge of electronics, bomb making, counter-security/penetration, etc. - who are directly controlled by CIA/Mossad/MI6 and Saudi security and Pakistani ISI.

These 'random' attacks serve no tactical purpose for an actual terrorist group in my view, and only increase the chances that European voters or citizens will support some action, direct or kinetic, against ISIS. So this does not serve ISIS's interests.

The US-NATO intelligence program, through Gladio has long time assets in Europe, and the last year has been reminiscent of a time during the Cold War when this strategy of tension reached its peak in Europe during the 1970's.

Then, as perhaps now, the goal was to push European citizens/voters into a hostile position against a generally described 'enemy' - then communism, today 'Islamicism/Islamism'.

[Mar 13, 2016] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/12/five-foreign-policy-questions-us-election-candidates

Notable quotes:
"... Yeah. Painting the Syria/Libya crisis as Hillary vs the Repubs however is dishonest. not lacking insight or clarity. dishonest. On the Repubs: all the candidates except Trump said at the debate a few days ago that peace was not in the interests of Israel and therefore a US President would betray Israel by SEEKING peace. ..."
"... Hillary said at the townhall before Miss/MI that 'if we'd taken out Assad earlier like we did Gaddafi then Syria would only be as bad as Libya'. Your Hillary vs the Repubs routine is dishonest. This is the neocon oligrachy fighting for its life election. do not fake it in the name of Hillary. ..."
"... The Obama administration has redefined the word "militant " to be a "male of military age within the strike zone" and here's the killer ..."unless POSTHUMOUSLY proven to be innocent" ..."
"... Ramos ought to have asked Hilary exactly why Gadaffi was deposed, and came back at her fiercely with statistics and independent reports if she dared to even muse the suggestion that it was another "humanitarian intervention". ..."
"... If Hillary's two decade history of war mongering was exposed for what it really represents by "journalists" in the corporate media, she would no longer be insulated from the scrutiny her deeply flawed decision making warrants. ..."
"... Unfortunately, the American public have only independent news sites like the Intercept, Truthdig, the Jacobin, Harpers Magazine, Mondoweiss, and a few others from which to evaluate the real damage Hillary has caused. ..."
"... What gives Amerika the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations in the first place? Are they unaware that the rest of the world fears American terrorism more that anything else, or more likely, do they care? No wonder Hillary and the Republican hawks are worrying the planet. ..."
www.theguardian.com
jparmetler , 2016-03-13 08:44:03
You are absolutely right as far as these five questions are concerned. Yet you forgot an important one: TTIP as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. These so-called free trade agreements are a fatal threat to democracy as they invest more power in corporations than in parliaments and additionally they are detrimental to labour and the environment in the concerned countries.
Robert Maxwell , 2016-03-13 02:59:28
It's a good article and reflects some of the questions I've been having.

My curiosity was aroused when the first CIA-directed drone killed its first victims, a terrorist leader and some comrades in Yemen years ago. I'd thought that the CIA's assassination of anyone in a foreign country was illegal. Evidently the rules have changed but I don't recall hearing about it.

The media are always an easy target but lately I think their responsibility for our collective ignorance has increased. The moderators in the TV debates seem deliberately provocative. I can remember the first televised debate -- Kennedy vs. Nixon -- when both men soberly addressed the camera when answering questions of substance.

The first interaction BETWEEN debators was a brief remark in 1980 by Reagan aimed at Jimmy Carter. "There you go again." Before then, the debates were sober and dignified, as in a courtroom. After that, the debates slowly slid into the cage fights they've become.

I'm afraid I see the media as not setting the proper ground rules. Fox News is the absolute worst. The result is a continuous positive feedback loop in which we are gradually and unwittingly turned into those people who buy gossip tabloids at the supermarket checkout counter.

BREAKING NEWS! HILLARY WETS BED UNTIL TWELVE YEARS OLD!

If we wind up with one of these egomaniacal clowns in the White House, we'll deserve what we get.

mothersuperior5 , 2016-03-13 01:34:11
here it is again Cruz: right now in Fox: Iran wants to kill us; 'Donald' wants to negotiate deals with Iran and Cuba. We don't negotiate with terrorists. By failing to note what Trump actually says and by pretending that Hillary is not a neocon - a subtle one to be sure - you are revising the facts. actually as the facts appear. think about it and be clear. the moderate Islam routine BY Cruz Rubio Kasich is not about islam. its about the supposed sunni supposed allies. like please. add some insight. at least a bit.
mothersuperior5 , 2016-03-13 01:20:33
Yeah. Painting the Syria/Libya crisis as Hillary vs the Repubs however is dishonest. not lacking insight or clarity. dishonest. On the Repubs: all the candidates except Trump said at the debate a few days ago that peace was not in the interests of Israel and therefore a US President would betray Israel by SEEKING peace.

Trump said he'd be even-handed for the purpose of negotitating a peace deal. the other candidates say - reading from a script, certainly not thinking - that the trick was to get Saudi Arabia and Turkey to fight ISIS. sure, except they wont. Their agenda is anti-Assad in the name of conservative sunni-ism. the moderate arab sheikdom theocracy routines IS part of the problem. frankly the other Repub candidates would flirt with nuking Iran. Iran must be part of the solution like it or not. Hillary said at the townhall before Miss/MI that 'if we'd taken out Assad earlier like we did Gaddafi then Syria would only be as bad as Libya'. Your Hillary vs the Repubs routine is dishonest. This is the neocon oligrachy fighting for its life election. do not fake it in the name of Hillary.

michtom , 2016-03-12 20:10:53
Isn't the reason for most foreign policy decisions that they will make money for the Military Industrial Complex?

"Modernizing" nuclear weapons? Helping Saudi Arabia slaughter citizens of Yemen? Destabilizing multiple countries so that MORE weapons become "necessary" to deal with the instability?

All the question should be framed on that basis: "Is there any reason to 'modernize' our nuclear weapons other than to enhance the bottom line of the companies involved, especially when we are supposed to be working against nuclear proliferation?"

Powerspike michtom , 2016-03-12 22:29:01
An excellent statement of reality - sometimes it needs saying.
http://fff.org/2016/03/11/the-u-s-middle-east-killing-racket /
normankirk , 2016-03-12 19:06:03
Fantastic article, absolutely spot on. Its been a long wait , thank you.

The Obama administration has redefined the word "militant " to be a "male of military age within the strike zone" and here's the killer ..."unless POSTHUMOUSLY proven to be innocent"

Democrats or Republicans alike, foreign policy is predicated on the American drive to maintain global dominance, whatever illegal murderous callous action it takes.

Powerspike lorimerhotshot , 2016-03-12 21:56:21
Try this website
http://www.antiwar.com /
Featherstone1 , 2016-03-12 17:41:16
Ramos ought to have asked Hilary exactly why Gadaffi was deposed, and came back at her fiercely with statistics and independent reports if she dared to even muse the suggestion that it was another "humanitarian intervention".

Sanders should be pressed on Israel, and whether he can formally condemn the state for repeatedly breaking promises re: settlement on the West Bank and for committing war crimes during the Gaza strip conflict.

Michronics42 , 2016-03-12 17:34:44
If Hillary's two decade history of war mongering was exposed for what it really represents by "journalists" in the corporate media, she would no longer be insulated from the scrutiny her deeply flawed decision making warrants. If democracy and transparency actually functioned in the media, Hillary would be exposed as a neocon, whose terrible policy decisions have led to one global disaster after another, fomenting terrorism. (Even the New York Times-which endorsed Hillary-detailed her disastrous decisions in Libya).

Unfortunately, the American public have only independent news sites like the Intercept, Truthdig, the Jacobin, Harpers Magazine, Mondoweiss, and a few others from which to evaluate the real damage Hillary has caused.

But, like her domestic policies-historically: from Clintonomics to mass incarceration; welfare reform; the war on drugs; education (especially in Arkansas); disastrous "free" trade agreements; rampant fascism in the form of corporatism; plus, the millions donated to her campaign from dark money super pacs; and her sham "foundation; Hillary continues to represent the worst that politics offers, both globally and domestically.

And the list above also includes the devolution of the Democratic Party from FDR-like socialism to Clinton dominated corporate hacks, since Bill's election in 1992.

Until Clinton, Inc is stopped from commanding allegiance from "democratic" politicians on everything from the macro to micro levels of Democratic Party matters, voters will continue to be denied a true forum for change.

FraidyMan , 2016-03-12 16:46:27
What gives Amerika the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations in the first place? Are they unaware that the rest of the world fears American terrorism more that anything else, or more likely, do they care? No wonder Hillary and the Republican hawks are worrying the planet.
jokaz , 2016-03-12 16:34:27
"Currently Saudi Arabia is engaged in an indiscriminate bombing campaign in one of the world's poorest.."
Saudi Arabia is bombing with logistical help from US and UK, we're not only silent on the crimes of KSA, we help them
jokaz , 2016-03-12 16:34:27
"Currently Saudi Arabia is engaged in an indiscriminate bombing campaign in one of the world's poorest.."
Saudi Arabia is bombing with logistical help from US and UK, we're not only silent on the crimes of KSA, we help them
Bogdanich , 2016-03-12 16:01:59
Hillary was the push behind the U.S. Participation in Ukraine, Syria and Libya. Just a pathological warlord. She appointed VIc Nuland as undersecretary of state for Gods sake. A neo-con. The people that brought us the Iraq war. If she's elected you will get more of the same in a big way as she will increase the force structure and the involvement.
no1ban , 2016-03-12 15:55:05
This is the kind of informative and vital article I am buying the Guardian to read and which these days is all too rarely printed.
Hanwell123 no1ban , 2016-03-12 16:49:52
Try the Independent, it is much more forthcoming about foreign affairs and doesn't just parrot the stock Neo conservative stance.
alberto grieve , 2016-03-12 15:20:07
It is futile to expect reason from people whose foreign policy education comes primarily from Hollywood. It used to be that 96 % of people in congress had never left the country, even less lived abroad with other people and learned a foreign language. The ignorance is truly amazing and it would be funny if these people were not those that decide what happens in the world.
If the US keeps meddling in world affairs then the whole world should vote in their elections.
MrConservative2016 David Ellis , 2016-03-12 14:45:33
Don't exactly celebrate the US 'wag my tail' relationship with Wahhabi Arabia but on Syria, the only good option is to ally with President Assad and bomb out the Wahhabi infestation.
knightpestle , 2016-03-12 14:26:03
Libya is the dog that doesn't bark in the night in UK politics too.

During the debate on bombing Syria, speaker after speaker alluded to the disastrous intervention in Iraq, for which the guilty parties are no longer in the house.

But not one brought up the disastrous intervention in Libya, for which the guilty party was currently urging us into another intervention.

Having an amateurish, inward-looking Labour party doesn't help, of course.

The only people who have called Cameron out on Libya in the past year are Nigel Farage and Barack Obama. Ye gods.

Kevin P Brown MrConservative2016 , 2016-03-12 14:35:03
"According to the 24 February 2010 policy analysis "The Year of the Drone", released by the New America Foundation, the civilian fatality rate since 2004 is approximately 32%. The study reports that 114 reported UAV-based missile strikes in northwest Pakistan from 2004 to present killed between 830 and 1,210 individuals, around 550 to 850 of whom were militants."

You can quibble about the exact number of civilians killed, but the moment you approve of your local police bagging bad guys even if your family gets killed then you can maybe make a comment.

nnedjo , 2016-03-12 14:18:49

Many human rights organizations have called them illegal, and retired military leaders have said they backfire, creating more terrorists than they kill.

After reading " The Dron Papers " Edward Snowden came to the conclusion that drones do not really chase the terrorists, but they chase their mobile phones. Hence so many innocent victims, because who can guarantee that the mobile phone which was earlier in the possessions of some terrorist, is not now in the hands of entirely innocent people.
So, in addition to many ethical questions about the use of drones, this raised another question on how much "high-tech killing" is indeed reliable.
mothercourage , 2016-03-12 14:13:56
Excellent article.
Informative and quite rightly challenging.
America is really running away with itself on who, where, how and why they attack.
Britains 'special' relations with the US, should be curtailed, forthwith, because they have the audacity to now start pressuring us about the EU refferendum, too.
Obama had the nerve to say that we were free loading on the back of "US might" and their attempts at "global order", his words. While neatly avoiding the questions you ask here, about their role in Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, drones etc., etc, etc.
Britain should fight back with these facts and distance ourselves from this aggression.
SergeantPave , 2016-03-12 14:10:37
Hardly amazing. There's not one American in a thousand for whom these issues will determine their vote.
jez37med SergeantPave , 2016-03-12 14:24:56
quite right
nnedjo , 2016-03-12 13:55:54

While an enormous amount of time during this campaign has focused around the Iran nuclear deal, almost no attention has been given to any country that actually has nuclear weapons and what they plan to do with them over the coming years and decades.

This is also a proof of the "schizophrenic" Obama-Clinton foreign policy. US administration is doing everything to solve the problem of the Iranian nuclear program, and at the same time doing everything to spoil relations with the other nuclear power in the world, Russia.
The curiosity of its kind is that Russia, which is also affected by the US sanctions, helps US to resolve its dispute with Iran and suspend sanctions against this country. And not only that, but Russia agrees to relocate enriched uranium from Iran to its territory and thus provide a practical implementation of the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
nnedjo , 2016-03-12 13:43:40

yet the presidential candidates are almost never asked about why congress has not authorized the military action like the constitution requires.

Yes, Trevor Timm also criticized this in some of his previous articles, as well as Ron Paul, who also often criticized Obama for this fact. It's completely unclear why Obama continues to rely on the two authorizations that George W. Bush has got from Congress "to punish the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks", and for "the destruction of Saddam Hussein's [non-existent] WMD". This is particularly unclear given that Obama himself came to power mainly due to his criticism of Bush's war adventures.

It is possible that Obama does not have enough confidence that he can get authorization from the GOP dominant Congress to combat Isis in Syria and Iraq. However, by using authorizations for the old wars for something that has nothing to do with the new wars, Obama is not only acting illegally, but also provides an opportunity for the conclusion that he now supports Bush for the same thing for which he criticized him earlier, that is, for the Afghan and Iraq war.

kattw Kevin P Brown , 2016-03-12 14:57:33
'course I wouldn't approve. And I doubt most countries approve of being invaded (except for the folks who DO approve anyways).

"The US must stop acting as the world police.' Great phrase. You hear it a lot. Totally insupportable. Here's the fundamental problem: the globe is a small place these days. Countries really are no longer isolated entities than can act with little to no impact on anybody else. What one does, others feel. And leadership is a thing - somebody will always lead. Right now, there are very few candidates for that. With the fall of imperial England, the US became the only real superpower left (other than Russia, which has since collapsed, and is busy trying to come back). Thus, whether it likes it or not, the US has a leadership role to play. If it abdicates that position, and does as you and so many other less-than-brilliant folks demand? Power abhors a vacuum. Most likely is that either Russia or China will take over the role currently played by the US. And if you think either of THOSE countries will do a better job than the US, well... enjoy your personal delusion.

As for 'scratching heads and bleating' about intervention... we did not have to intervene. Said that before, saying it again, get it through your skull - we did not have to intervene. We could, in fact, totally disarm and just sit back and do nothing, anywhere. But. THIS WOULD HAVE CONSEQUENCES TOO. Seriously. Understand that. Doing nothing is doing something. Sitting out is still an action one can take. And it is INCREDIBLY likely that things would be WORSE in Libya right now had we not intervened. Not guaranteed, but likely.

The situation sucks. It would have been great if it had all turned out better. It didn't. But it probably would have been worse had we made a substantially different choice. Yeah, sure, you could then pat yourself on the back, and pretend that at least the US wasn't responsible, but, well, as a certain red-and-blue clad superhero says, with great power comes great responsibility. The US has great power - if we didn't intervene, and horrible things happened, it'd be just as much our fault as it is now that we DID intervene, and bad things happened. Because it would have been in our power to stop it, and we didn't.

[Mar 13, 2016] There's no such thing as imperialism-lite, Obama. Libya has shown that once again

Notable quotes:
"... Besides which, it's hard to buy the idea that Gaddafi was "rogue" or " a threat" when both parties named here were "rendering" secret prisoners to him for outsourced torture. ..."
"... There is no honour among thieves, clearly. But it would be folly to depict a squabble among them as a narrative of sinner vs saint... ..."
"... After the cold war, the US and had the chance to lead to a new world order based on democracy and human rights. Yet instead, its politics based became based on bullying and warmongering, and joined by their European allies. As a result we have a world entrenched in chaos and violence. ..."
"... To top it off, there is also their allies, the Saudi and Gulf allies. Therefore, if you want to know how bad the world has become as a result of the US, European and Gulf allies, their hypocrisy, criminal behavior, destruction of countries, and total disregard of international law, all you need to see is the war in Yemen. ..."
"... Imperialism never left,.. The Capitalists are always working at complete control, it has no problem dancing with Dictators and Authoritarian rulers when it suites its purpose. Its just now they appear to be wanting to improve their image by changing their partners who stepped on their toes and Israel's on occasion .. ..."
"... Yes, I will claim it as a U.S. inspired regime change policy, in all those Middle East secular and sovereign countries, by our own beloved War Mongering Nationalistic Neo Cons.. That is already being shown as a complete disaster.. Only 2 million dead so far and just wait until the religious fanatics are in complete control.. ..."
"... "keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies" mmm. An incomplete reading I think. What about oil and gas? Libya is north African richest country if I'm not mistaken ... Is Britain (and France) still trying to get its share there? ..."
"... "Western [ mostly american and british ] warmongering over the past two decades has had nothing to do with the existential defense of territory. "Defense" has become attack, keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies and lumbering military establishments that depend on it." ..."
"... "The result has been mass killing, destruction and migration on a scale not seen, at least outside Africa, since the second world war." ..."
"... The Sykes-Picot agreement was one of the secrets uncovered by the Russian Revolution: it was in the files of the newly-overthrown government, and promptly publicized by the Bolsheviks, along with lots of other documents relating to imperialist secret diplomacy. Sound familiar? ..."
"... The interventionist model that the West has carried out recently is really an extension of the old colonialism in a different guise. In the olden days, the excuse was to spread Western civilization and Christianity to the world living in backwardness. In the modern era, it's democracy. Unfortunately democracy cannot be installed by force. Even if the people of the country being invaded wanted it, the opportunists (either among them or the outsiders) would find ways to exploit the chaos for their own benefits. We have seen different forms of such evolution in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq. ..."
"... The CIA funded and trained the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, to fight the Russians, just as they backed Saddam against Iran. And the US has been mucking about in the Middle East since the 50s, the Brits since the late 19th century. Yours is a very selective reading of history. ..."
"... No, small groups of people with their own particular interests "begged for help." The "Arab Spring" was a Western media confection used to justify Western intervention to get rid of Gaddafi and Assad. Worked with Gaddafi, Assad not so well. ..."
"... You forget who triggered the French intervention. Another neo-con working for Israel. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/africa/02levy.html?_r=2 ..."
"... Israel does not want a functioning Arab State left in the Middle-East. ..."
"... It's like the Soviet Union invading the US because a few militiamen holed up in a wildlife refuge in Oregon. The neo-con press feeds us this propaganda and the willing idiots lap it up and deny responsibility when everything falls apart. ..."
"... Jihad Dave is supporting islamist maniacs in Libya and Syria. He succeeded in Libya, along with the ludicrous Sarkozy clown, but Russia and Iran have stood up to the plate in Syria. ..."
"... However much we might sympathise with fellow human beings living under brutal dictators and governments, a country can only really progress from within. Certainly, dialogue, sanctions and international cooperation can help foster change, but ultimately countries must want to change. ..."
"... No, Gaddafy's crime was actually to spend the bulk of Libya's oil revenues on useless things such as schools, hospitals, housing and subsidised food when that money could have been flowing into the pockets of the West. ..."
"... Taliban has been trained in the Saudi religious schools in Pakistan. Wahhabism is the official ideology of Saudi Arabia. 10 out of 11 terrorists 9/11 were the Saudis. All the Islamic terror in the last two decades was sponsored by the Saudis, including ISIS. ..."
"... Bosnia - a slow ticking bomb. Just bubbling under the surface. Kosovo - a mafia state run by drug lord Thaci, supported by the US. It is no secret that the main source of income in Kosovo today is drugs, prostitution, organ trafficking. ..."
"... There are no winners or losers in Iraq, everyone lost. Not a single group benefited from that western backed regime change, same in Libya and Syria. ..."
"... The US empire blew up Libya with some help from it's puppets, Sarkozy and Cameron. 100% imperialism. ..."
"... The USA - and its mini-me, the UK - have so blatantly bombed societies, manipulated governments and undermined social change in so many parts of the world that their trading positions are under real threat from emerging economic powers. ..."
"... Yes, Obama shows himself for the buffoon he really is. ..."
"... I, however, would caution against thinking the US led Neoliberal Empire of the Exceptionals is weakening. Its economic hegemony is almost complete only China and Russia remaining, and Obama with his "Pivot to Asia" (TM) has them surrounded and all set up for the female Chaney - Clinton the warmonger to get on with it. ..."
"... The Empire will only get more and more brutal - it has absolutely no concern for human life or society - power over the globe as the Pentagon phrases it: "Global full spectrum domination" don't kid yourself they are going all out to reach their goal and a billion people could be killed - the Empire would say - so what, it was in our strategic interest. ..."
"... Very well put, Sir. Obama's self-serving statement is borderline stupid. I constantly wonder why I voted for him twice. His Deep State handlers continue from the Bush period and having installed their coterie of right-wing extremists from Hillary to the Directors of the CIA, FBI, NSA, DOD, ad nauseum Obama has not had the courage at any point to admit not only the "mess" he makes, but the he is a captive mess of the shadow government. ..."
"... Your comment is so stereotyped: when British aggression or war crimes are involved, every excuse is trundle out, every nuance examined, every extenuating circumstance and of course there is always a convenient statute of limitations. But when others are involved, specifically America and Israel, the same Guardian readers allow no excuses or nuances and every tiny detail going back hundreds of years is repeatedly and thoroughly examined. ..."
"... Smith was murdered by extremists that took over Libya precisely because the death of Gadaffi left a dangerous power vacuum. The US aided and abetted certain groups, weapons found their way to the worse groups and Smith, a brave man, was his own country's victim in one sense. Hilary Clinton who should have known better publicly gloated over Gadaffi's death. Since his death the victimisation of black Libyans and other black Africans has become common, Libya has been overrun by extremists, and as we write is being used as a conduit for uncontrolled entry into Europe. ..."
"... The biggest unanswered and puzzling question, is that of how could Obama have expected or assumed that Britain and France would have stayed behind and clean up the mess they and the Americans have made of Libya? Why did the Americans resolved to play only the part of 'hired guns' to go in and blitzed the Libyan Government and its armed forces, and neglected to learn the lesson of planning what should follow after the destruction? ..."
"... The argument that the Americans had assumed that France and Britain would clean up the euphemistic mess has little or no credibility, since all three countries had been very clear about not wanting American, British and French 'boots on the ground.' ..."
"... "The result has been mass killing, destruction and migration on a scale not seen, at least outside Africa, since the second world war." ..."
"... We bombed in support of competing Jihadis groups, bandits and local war Lords then our well laid plans for a Utopian peace were thwarted because of the unforeseen chaos created as the Militias we gave close airsupport to fought over the spoils. ..."
"... We should remember that we funded the terrorists in Libya and then sent weapons to ISIS from Libya to Syria that is we again used Al Qaeda as a proxy force. We then again used the "threat" from the proxy forces i,e. Al Qaeda to justify mass surveillance of the general population. ..."
"... Of its 237 years of existence it has been at war or cold war for 222 of those years. ..."
"... NATO is behind ISIS and the wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Chechen, Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine. ..."
"... Jane they didn't "come apart" and Libya and Syria were the most stable and least under the thumb of radicals. Syria had equality and education for women who could wear whatever they wanted. Furthermore they did not fall apart they were attacked by the largest military forces in the world excluding Russia. NATO sent in special operations forces to destabilise the government. They along with Al Nusra and other violent Wahabi terrorists attacked police and army barracks, and when Assads police and military hit back it was presented by the Western media and propagandists as an attack on the people of Syria. Do you think any other country would allow terrorists to attack police and other public institutions without retaliating and restoring order. ..."
"... Many people who do not accept the Western medias false reporting at face value know that the wars in Syria were about changing the leaders and redrawing national boundaries to isolate Iran and sideline Russian influence. It was and is an illegal war and it was the barbarity of our Western leaders that caused the terrible violence. It was a pre planned plan and strategy outlined in the US Special Forces document below. http://nsnbc.me/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/special-forces-uw-tc-18-01.pdf ..."
"... In the Libyan case, it was a clear US strategy to put in the forefront their English and French valets, in a coup (euphemistically called "regime change") wanted by them. The nobel peace winner got some nerves to put the blame on his accomplices for the chaos in Libya, while the permanent objective of the US is to divide and conquer, sowing chaos wherever it occurs: Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria. Also Hillary is no stranger to the actions in Libya. ..."
"... Simon Jenkins, don't pretend you were against American punitive expeditions around the world to overthrow third world dictators. You worked from the same neo-con ideological script to defend the ultra-liberal, military industrial economy; scare mongering in the pages of the Guardian, as far back as I can remember. You lot are as totally discredited as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and American Nato toadies. ..."
"... Libya , Ukraine ,Syria have had the same recipe of de-stabilisation by the US and NATO. The so called popular rebels were in fact CIA trained and financed. Jihadist in Libya and Syria and neo-Nazis in Ukraine. After completing regime change in Libya as planned ,the Jihadist, with their looted arms were transferred to Syria and renamed ISIS. ISIS is Washingtons Foreign Legion army, used as required for their Imperial ends. Renamed as required on whichever territory they operate ..."
"... Cameron has been given a free pass on Libya. It really is quite astonishing. The man has turned a functioning society into a jihadi infested failed state which is exporting men and weapons across North Africa and down the Sahara and now serves as a new front line for ISIS ..."
"... Attacking Libya and deposing Gaddafi was down to enforcing the R2P doctrine on the pretext of "stopping another Rwanda". But it was a pretext. Islamist rebels attacked the armouries within Libya and the Libyans had every right to try and put down the rebellion. Samantha Powers et al were the war mongers. ..."
"... The 2011 regime change shenanigans of the west against Libya is colonialism at its worst from all the parties who instigated it. The aftermath, the resultant mayhem and chaos, was in itself adding insult to injury. Gaddafi was no saint, but the militias, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS now running rampant in the country are infinitely worse. This is a war crime of the first magnitude and no effort should be spared to address it ..."
"... The west who has assassinated or organised coups against democratically elected secular leaders who didn't give us their natural resources (eg iran) and installed brutal, clepto dictatorships who also take part in plundering the resources leaving the general population poor, uneducated and susceptible to indoctrination from Islamists. ..."
www.theguardian.com
So Barack Obama thinks Britain in 2011 left Libya in chaos – and besides it does not pull its weight in the world. Britain thinks that a bit rich, given the shambles America left in Iraq. Then both sides say sorry. They did not mean to be rude.

Thus do we wander across the ethical wasteland of the west's wars of intervention. We blame and we name-call. We turn deaf ears to the cries of those whose lives we have destroyed. Then we kiss and make up – to each other.

Related: David Cameron was distracted during Libya crisis, says Barack Obama

Obama was right first time round about Libya's civil war. He wanted to keep out. As he recalls to the Atlantic magazine , Libya was "not so at the core of US interests that it makes sense for us to unilaterally strike against the Gaddafi regime". He cooperated with Britain and France, but on the assumption that David Cameron would clear up the resulting mess. That did not happen because Cameron had won his Falklands war and could go home crowing.

Obama is here describing all the recent "wars of choice".

America had no "core interest" in Afghanistan or Iraq, any more than Britain had in Libya . When a state attacks another state and destroys its law and order, morally it owns the mess. There is no such thing as imperialism-lite. Remove one fount of authority and you must replace and sustain another, as Europe has done at vast expense in Bosnia and Kosovo.

America and Britain both attacked countries in the Middle East largely to satisfy the machismo and domestic standing of two men, George Bush and Tony Blair. The result has been mass killing, destruction and migration on a scale not seen, at least outside Africa, since the second world war. In this despicable saga, Cameron's Libyan venture was a sideshow, though one that has destabilised north Africa and may yet turn it into another Islamic State caliphate. It is his Iraq.

Related: The Guardian view on Libya: yet another messy frontier in the war on Isis | Editorial

As for Obama's charge that Britain and other countries are not pulling their weight and are "free riders" on American defence spending, that too deserves short shrift. British and French military expenditure is proportionately among the highest in the world, mostly blown on archaic weapons and archaic forms of war. Western warmongering over the past two decades has had nothing to do with the existential defence of territory. "Defence" has become attack, keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies and lumbering military establishments that depend on it.

Meanwhile the bonds between America and Britain will continue to strengthen. They do so, against all the odds, because they grow from one culture and one outlook on life. That mercifully has nothing to do with politicians.

Manveer95 , 2016-03-13 11:04:35

I'm stunned that Obama has been able to get away with his absolutely abysmal record with foreign policy. Libya was a complete disaster and there is evidence to suggest that Libya was a much better place under Gaddafi. And the fact that once they were in Iraq (something started by his predecessor) he wasn't committed to bringing about serious change, thus leaving a giant vacuum which, coincided with the Syrian Civil War, has now been filled by ISIS.

That's not even talking about the Iran deal, Benghazi and the disastrous "Bring Back our Girls" campaign.

JaneThomas -> grauniadreader101 , 2016-03-13 10:59:42
I take it that you do not think that the Guardian is making up such stories as these in dated order:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/01/libyan-revolution-battle-torn-families

"People find it very hard," said Iman Fannoush, with her two children in tow and a husband she knows not where. "They are up all night shooting because of good news. We hear the UN is coming to help us or our fighters have taken Brega or the air strikes have destroyed Gaddafi's tanks. Then everyone is afraid again when they hear Gaddafi's army is coming and they all want to know where is France, where are the air strikes, why is the west abandoning us?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/27/revolution-belongs-to-all-libyans
We are grateful for the role played by the international community in protecting the Libyan people; Libyans will never forget those who were our friends at this critical stage and will endeavour to build closer relations with those states on the basis of our mutual respect and common interests. However, the future of Libya is for the Libyans alone to decide. We cannot compromise on sovereignty or allow others to interfere in our internal affairs, position themselves as guardians of our revolution or impose leaders who do not represent a national consensus.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/apr/27/sandstorm-libya-revolution-lindsey-hilsum-review
Hilsum gives a riveting account of the battle for Tripoli, with activists risking their lives to pass intelligence to Nato, whose targeting – contrary to regime propaganda – was largely accurate, and too cautious for many Libyans.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/08/libyan-revolution-casualties-lower-expected-government
The UN security council authorised action to protect Libyan civilians from the Gaddafi regime but Russia, China and other critics believe that the western alliance exceeded that mandate and moved to implement regime change.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/16/libyas-arab-spring-the-revolution-that-ate-its-children
Libya's Arab spring was a bloody affair, ending with the killing of Gaddafi, one of the world's most ruthless dictators. His death saw the rebel militias turn on each other in a mosaic of turf wars. Full-scale civil war came last summer, when Islamist parties saw sharp defeats in elections the United Nations had supervised, in the hope of bringing peace to the country. Islamists and their allies rebelled against the elected parliament and formed the Libya Dawn coalition, which seized Tripoli. The new government fled to the eastern city of Tobruk and fighting has since raged across the country.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/16/libyas-arab-spring-the-revolution-that-ate-its-children
With thousands dead, towns smashed and 400,000 homeless, the big winner is Isis, which has expanded fast amid the chaos. Egypt, already the chief backer of government forces, has now joined a three-way war between government, Libya Dawn and Isis.

It is all a long way from the hopes of the original revolutionaries. With Africa's largest oil reserves and just six million people to share the bounty, Libya in 2011 appeared set for a bright future. "We thought we would be the new Dubai, we had everything," says a young activist who, like the student, prefers not to give her name. "Now we are more realistic."
Anthony J Petroff -> fairviewplz , 2016-03-13 00:46:41
Perpetually engineered destabilization is highly lucrative and has been for 200 years, but I don't know what's Central or Intelligent about it......except for a tiny handful at the top globally.
Ziontrain -> Monrover , 2016-03-13 00:25:45

On balance, is Libya worse off now than it would have been, had Gaddaffi been allowed free rein in Benghazi?

No-one can possibly know the answer to that, certainly not Mr Jenkins.

Clearly it was a dictatorship like say Burma is today.....but....from an economic point of view, it was like the Switzerland of Africa. And actually tons of European companies had flocked over there to set up shop. In contrast to now where its like the Iraquistan of Africa. No contest in the comparison there...

Besides which, it's hard to buy the idea that Gaddafi was "rogue" or " a threat" when both parties named here were "rendering" secret prisoners to him for outsourced torture.

There is no honour among thieves, clearly. But it would be folly to depict a squabble among them as a narrative of sinner vs saint...

Ziontrain , 2016-03-13 00:16:06
I wonder what the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is thinking. "Oh god - we made the mother of all #$%ups"? Surely...
fairviewplz , 2016-03-13 00:04:24
After the cold war, the US and had the chance to lead to a new world order based on democracy and human rights. Yet instead, its politics based became based on bullying and warmongering, and joined by their European allies. As a result we have a world entrenched in chaos and violence.

To top it off, there is also their allies, the Saudi and Gulf allies. Therefore, if you want to know how bad the world has become as a result of the US, European and Gulf allies, their hypocrisy, criminal behavior, destruction of countries, and total disregard of international law, all you need to see is the war in Yemen.

SUNLITE -> lestina , 2016-03-12 22:59:05
Imperialism never left,.. The Capitalists are always working at complete control, it has no problem dancing with Dictators and Authoritarian rulers when it suites its purpose. Its just now they appear to be wanting to improve their image by changing their partners who stepped on their toes and Israel's on occasion ..
SUNLITE -> buticomillas , 2016-03-12 22:39:23
Yes, I will claim it as a U.S. inspired regime change policy, in all those Middle East secular and sovereign countries, by our own beloved War Mongering Nationalistic Neo Cons.. That is already being shown as a complete disaster.. Only 2 million dead so far and just wait until the religious fanatics are in complete control..
grauniadreader101 -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-12 22:36:33
Yep, many pictures, as there always are with media confections. Remember the footage of Saddam's statue being torn down in front of a huge crowd? It was only months later we saw the wide angle shot that showed just how few people there really were there.
grauniadreader101 -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-12 22:34:20
These US and UK involvement in the ME are matters of official record; are you really denying the CIA trained the Mujahideen, or that both the UK and US propped up Saddam? Even Robert Fisk acknowledges that! And please, don't patronise me. You have no idea what I've read or haven't.
Anthony J Petroff , 2016-03-12 22:32:36
......c'mon, the powers behind the powers intentionally engineer mid-East destabilization to keep the perpetual war pumping billions to the ATM's in their living rooms; then, on top of it, they send the bill to average joe's globally; when is this farce going to be called out ?

It is completely illogical, can't stand even eye tests, yet continues like an emperor with new clothes in our face.

pierotg -> pierotg , 2016-03-12 22:23:48
"keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies" mmm. An incomplete reading I think. What about oil and gas? Libya is north African richest country if I'm not mistaken ... Is Britain (and France) still trying to get its share there?

Syria has the misfortune to be somehow in the middle of a proposed natural gas pipeline ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar-Turkey_pipeline ) too ...

Just add a couple of paragraphs Mr. Jenkins in order to complete your article which, I'm sorry to say, told me nothing I didn't know already .

pierotg , 2016-03-12 22:00:04
"Western [ mostly american and british ] warmongering over the past two decades has had nothing to do with the existential defense of territory. "Defense" has become attack, keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies and lumbering military establishments that depend on it."

"The result has been mass killing, destruction and migration on a scale not seen, at least outside Africa, since the second world war."

Clear and concise.
Thank you Mr. Jenkins

jdanforth -> coombsm , 2016-03-12 21:45:36
The Sykes-Picot agreement was one of the secrets uncovered by the Russian Revolution: it was in the files of the newly-overthrown government, and promptly publicized by the Bolsheviks, along with lots of other documents relating to imperialist secret diplomacy. Sound familiar?
skepticaleye -> ID9108400 , 2016-03-12 20:49:36
The interventionist model that the West has carried out recently is really an extension of the old colonialism in a different guise. In the olden days, the excuse was to spread Western civilization and Christianity to the world living in backwardness. In the modern era, it's democracy. Unfortunately democracy cannot be installed by force. Even if the people of the country being invaded wanted it, the opportunists (either among them or the outsiders) would find ways to exploit the chaos for their own benefits. We have seen different forms of such evolution in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq.
grauniadreader101 -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-12 19:35:02

Get your facts right. Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan were all states that crumbled after the demise of the USSR.

Bullshit. The CIA funded and trained the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, to fight the Russians, just as they backed Saddam against Iran. And the US has been mucking about in the Middle East since the 50s, the Brits since the late 19th century. Yours is a very selective reading of history.

grauniadreader101 -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-12 19:32:20
No, small groups of people with their own particular interests "begged for help." The "Arab Spring" was a Western media confection used to justify Western intervention to get rid of Gaddafi and Assad. Worked with Gaddafi, Assad not so well.
coombsm -> buticomillas , 2016-03-12 19:09:34
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar-Turkey_pipeline

this might answer your question. Syria has suffered for its geography since it was artificially created by the Sykes Picot agreement at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

IamBaal -> Hanwell123 , 2016-03-12 18:36:40
Don't forget the French "Philosopher" Bernard Henri-Levy

Levy on the Libyan insurgents

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2011/0326/Bernard-Henri-Levy-War-in-Iraq-was-detestable.-War-in-Libya-was-inevitable

"Libyan rebels are secularists, want unified country

Gardels: If the French aim is successful and Qaddafi falls, who are the rebels the West is allying with? Secularists? Islamists? And what do they want?

Levy: Secularists. They want a unified Libya whose capital will remain Tripoli and whose government will be elected as a result of free and transparent elections. I am not saying that this will happen from one day to the next, and starting on the first day. But I have seen these men enough, I have spoken with them enough, to know that this is undeniably the dream, the goal, the principle of legitimacy.

IamBaal -> FelixMyIcecream , 2016-03-12 18:13:17
You forget who triggered the French intervention. Another neo-con working for Israel. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/africa/02levy.html?_r=2
IamBaal -> TonyBlunt , 2016-03-12 18:11:45
Israel does not want a functioning Arab State left in the Middle-East.
IamBaal -> Bilingual , 2016-03-12 18:09:37
It's like the Soviet Union invading the US because a few militiamen holed up in a wildlife refuge in Oregon. The neo-con press feeds us this propaganda and the willing idiots lap it up and deny responsibility when everything falls apart.
IamBaal -> JohnHawkwood , 2016-03-12 18:07:15
The French led the way, with the French "Philosopher" Bernard-Henri Levy doing all the behind the scenes manipulation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/africa/02levy.html?_r=2

IamBaal , 2016-03-12 18:01:58
Britain started the mess in the Middle-East with the Balfour declaration and the theft of Palestinian land to create an illegal Jewish state. Europe should pay massive reparations of money and equivalent land in Europe for the Palestinian refugees living in squalid camps. Neo-con Jews who lobbied for the Iraq, Syria and Libyan wars should have their wealth confiscated to pay for the mess they created.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/africa/02levy.html?_r=2
ID4352889 , 2016-03-12 15:31:41
Jihad Dave is supporting islamist maniacs in Libya and Syria. He succeeded in Libya, along with the ludicrous Sarkozy clown, but Russia and Iran have stood up to the plate in Syria.

Presumably he's going down the Blair/Clinton route of cosying up to Middle Eastern Supremacist Cults in the hope that he can increase his income by tens of millions within the next 10 years. There can be no other explanation for his actions, that have never had anything whatsoever to do with the interests of either Britain or the wider European community.

ID9108400 , 2016-03-12 15:07:56
For me, the bottom line is that, however much might like to believe it, military intervention does not create nice, liberal, secular democracies. These can only be fostered from within.

However much we might sympathise with fellow human beings living under brutal dictators and governments, a country can only really progress from within. Certainly, dialogue, sanctions and international cooperation can help foster change, but ultimately countries must want to change.

The military, under the instruction of politicians, of the West should be pro-defence but anti-regime change or "nation building".

I'm not suggesting a completely isolationist position, but offensive military action should be seen as a last resort.

SomlanderBrit -> JustARefugee , 2016-03-12 15:05:53
Mr Jenkins is a knowledgeable man but should've thought through this a bit more before so casually associating death and destruction and misery with Africa.

China's cultural revolution and the Great Leap Forward alone killed and displaced more people after the second world war than all the conflicts in Africa put together. How about the break up of India in 1947? Korean War?

But no when he thought about misery Africa popped into his mind..

totemic , 2016-03-12 10:58:16

Meanwhile the bonds between America and Britain will continue to strengthen. They do so, against all the odds, because they grow from one culture and one outlook on life. That mercifully has nothing to do with politicians.

One culture?
One outlook?
Sounds all very Soviet.
So, all Enlightened souls are reduced to a monoculture, within the Anglo American Empire.

NezPerce , 2016-03-12 10:45:56
Obama is a bill of goods. The Voters that choose him thought that they were getting a progressive, Obama used the reverend Wright to make himself seem like a man committed to radical change, but behind Obama was Chicago investment banker Louis Susman (appointed ambassador to Britain).

Obama, a Harvard law professor, is the choice of the bankers, he does not play a straight bat, all the wars and killing are someone else's fault. Banking wanted rid of Gaddafi since he threatened the dollar as the reserve currency (as did Dominique Strauss-Kahn) as does the Euro, Obama let Cameron think he was calling the shots but he was just Obama's beard. Obama is nothing if not cunning, when he says stay in Europe but the Elites of the Tory party are pushing for out guess what, they got the nod from Obama and the Banks.

titorelli -> Histfel , 2016-03-12 10:25:33
So? All the numbers in the world can't undo Jenkins' thesis: there is no imperialism-lite. Imperialist wars are imperialist wars no matter how many die, and whether chaos, or neo-colonial rule follow. In his interview, Obama claims a more deliberate, opaque, and efficient war machine. To him, and his conscience, John Brennan, these metrics add up to significant moral milestones. To us innumerates, it's just more imperialist b.s.
chaumont , 2016-03-12 08:21:52
Gadaffy had since long planned to free his country and other African states from the yoke of being forced to trade within the American dollar sphere. He was about to lance his thoroughy well prepared alternative welcomed not the least by the Chinese when Libya was attacked. Obama is not truthful when suggesting the attack was not a "core" interest to the US. It was of supreme interest for the US to appear with its allies, Gadaffy´s independence of mind being no small challenge.
backtothepoint , 2016-03-12 07:00:41
Gadafy may have been particularly nasty with dissidents, but the UK has plenty of allies in the Muslim world that are far worse: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain... The Gulf States work their imported slaves to death and the UK kowtows to them. The UK has supplied billions of pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and sent military advisors to advise them how to use them to bomb Yemeni schools and hospitals.

No, Gaddafy's crime was actually to spend the bulk of Libya's oil revenues on useless things such as schools, hospitals, housing and subsidised food when that money could have been flowing into the pockets of the West.

Kosovo is also mentioned. There was a relatively low-level conflict (much like the Northern Ireland 'troubles') there until NATO started bombing and then oversaw the massive ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Serbs from their homeland (Serbs are the most ethnically-cleansed group in the former Yugoslavia: around 500,000 refugees).

Yugoslavia's real crime? It was the last country in Europe to refuse the market economy and the hegemony of Western banks and corporates.

The message is, 'Accept capitalism red in tooth or claw, or we'll bomb the crap out of you.'

backtothepoint -> Nola Alan , 2016-03-12 06:44:38
Did the attack on Afghanistan improve the situation? Perhaps temporarily in the cities, some things got a little better as long as you weren't shot or blown up. Over the country as a whole, it made the situation much worse.

I remember John Simpson crowing that the Western invaders had freed Afghanistan when they entered Kabul. My reaction at the time was, 'Well, the Soviets had no problem holding the cities. Wait until you step outside them.' There followed many years of war achieving pretty much nothing except to kill a lot of people and get recruits flocking to the Taliban.

It seemed we had learned absolutely nothing from the British and Soviet experiences.

And you seem to have forgotten the multitude of US terror attacks on Muslims before the Afghan invasion, repackaged for our media as 'targeted attacks with collateral damage'. Bombing aspirin factories and such. And the First Gulf War. And US bases occupying the region. And the fact that the situation in Afghanistan was due to the Americans and Saudis having showered weapons and cash on anyone who was fighting the Soviets, not giving a damn about their aims. Bin Laden, for instance.

And one aspect of law and order under the Taliban was that they virtually stopped opium production. After the invasion, it rose again to dizzying heights.

The only way to deal with countries such as Afghanistan as it returns to its default system, along with other, more aggressive rogue states such as Saudi Arabia, is to starve them of all weapons and then let their peoples sort it out. It may take a long time but it's the sole possibility.

As long as we keep pouring weapons into the Middle East for our own shameful purposes, the apocalypse will continue.

Bosula , 2016-03-12 00:43:38
Reading this excellent article one wonders how the war criminal Blair can be offered any peace-keeping role in the world or continue to get any air or press time.
wmekins , 2016-03-12 00:08:02
This is what Cameron's promises are worth, after boasting how he helped to topple Gadaffi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_OFaE19myg
enocharden -> honeytree , 2016-03-11 23:50:37
Taliban has been trained in the Saudi religious schools in Pakistan. Wahhabism is the official ideology of Saudi Arabia. 10 out of 11 terrorists 9/11 were the Saudis. All the Islamic terror in the last two decades was sponsored by the Saudis, including ISIS.

MissSarajevo , 2d ago

Bosnia - a slow ticking bomb. Just bubbling under the surface. Kosovo - a mafia state run by drug lord Thaci, supported by the US. It is no secret that the main source of income in Kosovo today is drugs, prostitution, organ trafficking. Tear gas in Parliament for the third time in as many months. While the squares full of unemployed young and old are adorned with statues of those that gave them this opportunity Tony Blair and Bill Clinton were popular but I think their halos are tarnished somewhat. The situation is so serious that the US is beefing up its presence in camp Bondsteel but you won't read about it in the Guardian.
AssameseGuy87 , previous , 2016-03-11 22:34:48

when British aggression or war crimes are involved, every excuse is trundle out, every nuance examined, every extenuating circumstance and of course there is always a convenient statute of limitations

So true . "Oh, oh, but the Spanish/Mongols/Romans etc etc", "Oh, like they were all so peaceful before Empire came along", "Oh, but but" (ad infinitum).

Mick James -> Andrew Nichols , 2016-03-11 22:25:02
End of Roman empire 476 AD
End of Byzantine Empire 1453 AD

Happy days.

JacobJonker , 2016-03-11 21:31:10
The bonds between America and Britain will continue to strengthen? Here's hoping. The neo-con cum neo-ultra liberal dream keeps on giving. Even after Brexit, Britain remains America's poodle at its peril. The rest of the article is right, but by now accepted wisdom amongst those capable of independent and rational thought.
redleader -> Rudeboy1 , 2016-03-11 21:01:53
The usual ways are carpet bombing (perhaps with incendiaries) or artillery bombardment (perhaps with phosphorus "shake and bake" shells).
Bilingual -> ohhaiimark , 2016-03-11 19:52:11
Here we go again, off course next phase is the "enlightment" in Al-Andalus...

1. Conflict between sunni and shiites has been dormant for decades. Saudi Arabias promotion of Wahhabism has awoken it again, along with the catalyst for the recent bloodshed, the invasion of Iraq. That placed it back in the hands of the majority Shia and upset radical sunnis (eg the Saudis).

Wahabism grew because of the oil export from Saudi Arabia which started way before World war II.

Bollocks, there was a short period of calm while Europe defeated the Ottoman empire , but the Mughal empire took great pleasure in slaughtering shiites, and the Ottoman empire had huge conflicts with the Safavid empire.

2. Pogroms were common against Jews in Europe and Europe has a far worse history of treating Jews than Muslims ever had. The "golden age of Judaism" in Europe was under Muslim rule in Spain. Need I mention that the Holocaust was perpetrated by European Christians?

He-he, the fabulous golden age which is always mentioned, no doubt they were golden at that time compared to Europe, but to compare it today, it would be like living in Nazi Germany as a Jew before the Nürnberg laws were implemented.

Would you like to pay a special non-muslim tax, step aside when a Muslim passed the street, be unable to claim any high positions in society to due to your heritage?

3. Didnt forget. the USSR didnt hand them chemical weapons though. That would be the West. And it wasnt Russia who invaded Iraq later over the scam that they had WMDs.

The Iran-Iraq war made the millions of dead possible primarily due to Soviet equipment, Halabja killed 5000. No, Russia prefered Chechnya and directly killed 300.000 civilians with the Grad bombings of cities and villages, whereas the casualties in Iraq primarily can be contributed to sectional violence.

4. I think you are forgetting Mossadeq in Iran in the 50s. Nasser in Egypt and any Pan-Arab group that was secular in nature. Pan-Arabism is now dead and radical Islamism is alive and well thanks to our lust for control over the region.

None of the mentioned were prime examples of democracy, Nasser for example had no problems in eliminating the Muslim brotherhood or killing 10s of thousands of rebels and civilians in Yemen with mustard gas.
Hanwell123 , 2016-03-11 18:55:47
Obama's remark that the Europeans and Gulf States "detested" Gaddafi and wanted to get rid of him while others had "humanitarian concerns" is of interest. It's unlikely the Arabs had humanitarian concerns in all the circumstances; they just wanted Regime Change. It is the lethal combination of Gulf Arabs and Neo-colonial France and Britain that has driven the Syrian war too- and continues to do so. No wonder America claims these countries enthuse about war until it comes and then expect them to fight it. France currently demands the surrender of Assad and for Russia to "leave the country immediately". Britain says there can be no peace while he remains and that Russia's "interference" is helping IS.
Mary Yilma , 2016-03-11 18:55:22
It's your prerogative whether or not you believe that the US and NATO intervene in countries based on moral grounds. But if you do want to delude yourself, remember that they only intervene in countries where they can make money off resources, like Libya and Iraq's oil revenues. If it were about morality, don't you think NATO and the West would have rushed to help Rwanda during the genocide?
smush772 -> SomlanderBrit , 2016-03-11 18:45:30
There are no winners or losers in Iraq, everyone lost. Not a single group benefited from that western backed regime change, same in Libya and Syria. You do not win when your situation is worse than it was before Saddam. You can't be a winner when you life in generally worse off than it was before. basically there is no rule of law now in these nations. Saddam was no monster like you want to portray him.
Serv_On -> Monrover , 2016-03-11 18:47:01
Gaddafi wanted a United Africa
and was pushing for oil trading for gold not dollars

World would have been better

zolotoy -> PVG2012 , 2016-03-11 18:05:53
Actually, some of those Latin American governments we overthrew were indeed liberal democracies.

As for Canada, there are several reasons we haven't invaded. Too big, too sparse too white...and economically already a client state. Of course, we did try once: the War of 1812.

dragonpiwo -> pinarello , 2016-03-11 17:37:03
Libya is sitting on a lake of oil also. I worked for an oil company there for a decade.
Scratcher99 -> thenewcat , 2016-03-11 17:36:32
"When the same leaders did initially stand aside (as in Syria) "

They didn't stand aside though, they helped create the trouble in the first place, as too with Libya; gather intelligence to find out who will take up arms, fund, train and give them promises, get them to organize and attack, then when the dictator strikes back the press swing into action to tell us all how much of a horrible bastard he is(even though we've been supporting and trading with him for eons), ergo, we have to bomb him! It's HUMANITARIAN! Not. It would be conquest though. Frightening.

patricksteen -> JohnHawkwood , 2016-03-11 17:15:07
Wrong. American fighters flew 27% of the sorties - the rest were conducted by other NATO members and primarily by the British and the French.
midnightschild10 , 2016-03-11 17:09:42
Obama has done everything in his power to morph into Bush including hiring a flaming chicken hawk in Ash Carter to play the role of Dick Cheyney. Bush left us with Iraq and Afghanistan, to which Obama added Egypt with the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya, Syria and Yemen. He also restarted the Cold War with Russia. He is now going after China for building islands in the South China Sea, a disputed area, something he as well as other Presidents before him has allowed Israel to build settlements on disputed land for the past fifty years and throughthrough $ 3.5 billion in gifts annually, has provided for enough concrete to cover all the land the Palestinians live on.

The 3.5 billion annually will increase by $40 billion over ten years, unless Netanyahu gets the increase he wants to 15 billion per year. So Obama must settle on a legacy which makes him both a warmonger and one of the very best arms dealer in the world. His family must be so proud.

Serv_On -> SomlanderBrit , 2016-03-11 17:08:19
Iraq was an illegal war
journeyinthewest -> kippers , 2016-03-11 17:06:14

To be a humanitarian intervention, a military intervention has to avoid causing regime collapse, because people will die because of regime collapse. This is an elementary point that the political class appears not to want to learn.

I agree with your analysis except the last paragraph. Pretty much in all interventions that we have witnessed, the political class deliberately caused the regimes to collapse. That was always the primary goal. Humanitarian intervention were never the primary, secondary or even tertiary objective.

If the political class want to do some humanitarian interventions, they can always start with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

EamonnStircock , 2016-03-11 16:37:40

America had no "core interest" in Afghanistan or Iraq

The USA was enforcing the UN blockade of Iraq, and had massive forces in place to do it. It was costing a fortune and there were regular border skirmishes taking place. It has been suggested that Bush and his advisors thought that they could take out Saddam and then pull all their forces back to the US. They won't admit it now because of the disaster that unfolded afterwards.
JanePeryer , 2016-03-11 16:36:32
Another good piece. What about all the weapons we sold Israel after they started their recent slaughter in Gaza and the selling of weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen (one of the poorest country's in the world) says everything you need to know about the tory party. They are sub humans and as such should be treated like dirt. I don't believe in the concept of evil...all a bit religious for me but if I did, it's what they are.
B5610661066 -> WankSalad , 2016-03-11 16:23:10

Describing the intervention in Libya as imperialism - 'lite' or otherwise - is ridiculous.

The US empire blew up Libya with some help from it's puppets, Sarkozy and Cameron. 100% imperialism.

Donald Mintz , 2016-03-11 16:21:59
It astonishes me that these great men and women-I include Sec'y Clinton here-give no indication that their calculations were made without the slightest knowledge of the countries they were preparing to attack in one way or another. From what one read in the long NYTimes report on preparations for the Libyan intervention, the participants in the planning knew a great deal about military matters and less about Libya than they could have found out in a few minutes with Wikipedia. Tribal societies are different from western societies, dear people, and you damn well should have known that.
willpodmore -> jezzam , 2016-03-11 16:21:31
Honduras. The USA backed the coup there. Honduras is now run by generals and is the world's murder capital. I could go on, jezzam. Please read William Blum's books on US foreign policy. They provide evidence that the US record is not good.
B5610661066 , 2016-03-11 16:20:50
Without the US the UK and France couldn't have overthrown Gaddafi. The jihadis would have been killed or fled Libya. I don't believe any post-Gaddafi plan existed. Why would there have been one? Killing Gaddafi was the war's aim. A western puppet strong man leader grabbing power would have been icing on the cake of course but why would the US care about Libya once Gaddafi was gone?
fanUS , 2016-03-11 16:20:16
Well, Cameron just followed Obama's 'regime change' bad ideas.
Obama is a failed leader of the World who made our lives so much worse.
Obama likes to entertain recently, so after his presidency the best job for him is a clown in a circus.
NYbill13 -> NezPerce , 2016-03-11 16:19:43
We will never know why Stevens and the others were killed.

Absent reliable information, everyone is free to blame whomever they dislike most.

Based on zero non-partisan information, Hillary is the media's top choice for Big Villain. She may in fact be more responsible than most for this horror, but she may not be too.

Who ya gonna ask: the CIA, the Pentagon, Ted Cruz?

It seems everyone who's ever even visited Washington,D.C., has some anonymous inside source that proves Hillary did it.

To hear the GOP tell it, she flew to Libya secretly and shot Stevens herself just because she damn well felt it, o kay ! (female troubles)

My question is: Where has US/Euro invasion resulted in a better government for all those Middle Eastern people we blasted to bits of blood and bone? How's Yemen doin' these days?

Hope Europe enjoys assimilating a few million people who share none of Europe's customs, values or languages.

I'm sure euro-businesses would never hire the new immigrants instead of union-backed locals.

Why, that would almost be taking advantage of a vast reservoir of ultra-cheap labor!

Nor will the sudden ocean of euro-a-day workers undercut unions or wages in the EU. No siree, not possible.

Just like unions have not been decimated, and wages have not stagnated in the US since 1980 or so. No siree. Not in Europe .

willpodmore -> jezzam , 2016-03-11 16:18:31
jezzam writes, "the dictator starts massacring hundreds of thousands of his own civilians." But he didn't. Cameron lied.

The rebellion against Gaddafi began in February 2011. The British, French and US governments intervened on their usual pretext of protecting civilians. The UN said that 1,000-2,000 people had been killed before the NATO powers attacked.

Eight months later, after the NATO attack, 30,000 people had been killed and 50,000 wounded (National Transitional Council figures).

Cameron made the mess; Cameron caused the vast refugee crisis. The NATO powers are getting what they want – the destruction of any states and societies that oppose their rule, control over Africa's rich resources. Libya is now plagued by "relentless warfare where competing militias compete for power while external accumulators of capital such as oil companies can extract resources under the protection of private military contractors."

sarkany -> xyz123xyz321 , 2016-03-11 15:59:16
any state that wishes to be taken seriously as a player on the world stage

The classic phrase of imperialism - an attitude that seems to believe any nation has the right to interfere in, or invade, other countries'.
Usually done under some pretence of moral superiority - it used to be to 'bring the pagans to God', these days more 'they're not part of our belief system'. In fact, it only really happens when the imperial nations see the economic interests of their ruling class come under threat.

The USA - and its mini-me, the UK - have so blatantly bombed societies, manipulated governments and undermined social change in so many parts of the world that their trading positions are under real threat from emerging economic powers.

The two that they are most scared of are Russia and China, who combined can offer the capital and expertise to replace the old US / European axis across Africa, for instance. The war is already being fought on many fronts, as this article makes clear.

Corrections -> xyz123xyz321 , 2016-03-11 15:44:02
When Dubya was POTUS, the EU wanted to create its own military force. The US insisted Nato be the only regional force. Just sayin'....
Lafcadio1944 , 2016-03-11 15:33:46
Yes, Obama shows himself for the buffoon he really is. Clinton had it right when the going gets tough Obama gives a speech (see Cairo).

I, however, would caution against thinking the US led Neoliberal Empire of the Exceptionals is weakening. Its economic hegemony is almost complete only China and Russia remaining, and Obama with his "Pivot to Asia" (TM) has them surrounded and all set up for the female Chaney - Clinton the warmonger to get on with it.

The Empire will only get more and more brutal - it has absolutely no concern for human life or society - power over the globe as the Pentagon phrases it: "Global full spectrum domination" don't kid yourself they are going all out to reach their goal and a billion people could be killed - the Empire would say - so what, it was in our strategic interest.

zkiwi , 2016-03-11 15:27:56
The odd thing is, Obama didn't seem to think getting rid of Gaddafi a bad thing at all at the time. Clinton was all, "We came, we saw, he died." And this bit about "no core interest" in Afghanistan and Iraq is just bizarre. Given the mess both countries are in, and the resurgence of the Taliban and zero clue about Iraq it was clearly a master stroke for Obama to decide the US exit both with no effective governments in place, ones that could deal with the Taliban et al. Never mind, he can tootle off and play golf.
fragglerokk -> fragglerokk , 2016-03-11 15:25:04
here's a decent summing up of the state of play in Libya and Hilarys role in it

http://chinamatters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/libya-worse-than-iraq-sorry-hillary.html

Anonymot , 2016-03-11 15:24:49
Very well put, Sir. Obama's self-serving statement is borderline stupid. I constantly wonder why I voted for him twice. His Deep State handlers continue from the Bush period and having installed their coterie of right-wing extremists from Hillary to the Directors of the CIA, FBI, NSA, DOD, ad nauseum Obama has not had the courage at any point to admit not only the "mess" he makes, but the he is a captive mess of the shadow government.

America has a historic crisis of leadership and being the sole model left in that field, the world has followed, the UK and all of Europe included.

fragglerokk , 2016-03-11 15:21:07
Libya is all Hilarys work so expect to return with boots on the ground once Wall Sts finest is parked in the Oval office. She has the midas touch in reverse and Libya has turned (and will continue) to turn out worse than Iraq and Syria (believe me its possible) There is absolutely no one on the ground that the west can work with so the old chestnut of arming and training al qaeda or 'moderate' opposition is not an option. ISIL are solidifying a base there and other than drones there is zip we can do.

Critising Cameron just shows how insecure Obama is, lets be honest the middle east and afghanistan are in the state they are because Obama had zero interest in foreign policy when his first term started, thus allowing the neocons to move into the vacuum and create the utter disaster that is Syraq and Ukraine. We in europe are now dealing with the aftermath of this via the refugee crisis which will top 2 million people this year. Obamas a failure and he knows it, hence the criticism of other leaders. Cameron is no different, foreign policy being almost totally abandoned to the US, there is no such thing as independent defence policy in the UK, everything is carried out at the behest of the US. Don't kid yourself we have any autonomy, we don't and there are plenty of high level armed forces personnel who feel the same way. Europe is leaderless in general and with the economy flatlining they too have abandoned defence and foreign affairs to the pentagon.

Right now we're in the quiet before the storm, once HRC gets elected expect the situation to deteriorate rapidly, our only hope is that someone has got the dirt to throw her out of the race.

previous -> thenewcat , 2016-03-11 15:03:43
"Not Syria"

ISIS established itself in Iraq before moving into Syria. Would ISIS exist is Britain had not totally destabilized Iraq? Going back even further, it is the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, that great exercise in British Imperialism that created the artificial nations in the Middle East that are collapsing today.

Your comment is so stereotyped: when British aggression or war crimes are involved, every excuse is trundle out, every nuance examined, every extenuating circumstance and of course there is always a convenient statute of limitations. But when others are involved, specifically America and Israel, the same Guardian readers allow no excuses or nuances and every tiny detail going back hundreds of years is repeatedly and thoroughly examined.

Transparent hypocrisy. Accept responsibility and stop offloading it to Calais.

NezPerce -> nemesis7 , 2016-03-11 15:00:09
Ambassador Stevens was killed in a cover up over the arms dealing from Libya to Syria, (weapons and fighters to ISIS). It seems more likely that he was killed because he was investigating the covert operation given that he was left to fend for himself by all US military forces but in a classic defamation strategy he has been accused of being behind the operation. Had he been he would have been well defended.
nofatebutwhatyoumake , 2016-03-11 14:50:24

"Defense" has become attack, keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies and lumbering military establishments that depend on it.

Couldn't put it better myself. Yes, America is a full blown Empire now. Evil to it's very core. Bent on world domination and any cost. All we lack is a military dictatorship. Of course, with the nation populated by brainwashed sheep, a "Dear Leader" is inevitable,

nemesis7 , 2016-03-11 14:48:17
President Obama was correct in keeping US boots off the ground in Syria. An active US troop presence would have resulted in an even greater level of confusion and destruction on all sides. However, it was precisely the US' meddling in Libya that helped pave the way for its current dysfunctional, failed state status, riven by sectarian conflicts and home to a very active Al Quaida presence.

US interference in Libya saw Gadaffi backstabbed by the US before literally being stabbed to death although he had been given assurances that the US would respect his rule particularly as he had sought to become part of the alliance against the likes of Al Quaida.

Obama was behind the disgraceful lie that the mob that attacked the US' Benghazi Embassy and murdered Ambassador Smith y was 'inflamed' by an obscure video on youtube that attacked extremist elements of the Islamic faith. Smith deserved better than this blatant lie and the grovelling, snivelling faux apologies Obama and then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made to the Muslim world for something that had nothing to do with 99.9 percent of non Muslims.

Smith was murdered by extremists that took over Libya precisely because the death of Gadaffi left a dangerous power vacuum. The US aided and abetted certain groups, weapons found their way to the worse groups and Smith, a brave man, was his own country's victim in one sense. Hilary Clinton who should have known better publicly gloated over Gadaffi's death. Since his death the victimisation of black Libyans and other black Africans has become common, Libya has been overrun by extremists, and as we write is being used as a conduit for uncontrolled entry into Europe.

Disappointingly, President Obama forgets the Biblical saying about pointing out a speck in somebody's eye while ignoring the plank in his own.

markdowe , 2016-03-11 14:46:54
Mr President doesn't privately refer to the Libyan upheaval as the "shit show" for no good reason. The chaos and anarchy that have ensued since, including the migrant crisis in Europe and the rise of Islamic State, is directly attributable to the shoddy interventionist approach used by both Britain and France.
FelixMyIcecream -> Hanwell123 , 2016-03-11 14:42:30

it seems Cameron jumped on the bandwagon in fear France would take all the glory.

He wanted his Falklands moment .

Taku2 , 2016-03-11 14:37:45
Good article, with justified moral indignation. Only thing I would have changed, is "imperialism-lite" to 'lesser and greater imperialism.

Would it not have been a great contribution towards peace and justice, had the US decided not to invade Iraq and Libya, on account that other western countries were "free-riders" and would not have pulled their weight?

So, what does the world needs now? More 'free-riding countries' to dissuade so-called responsible countries - Britain, France, America, Italy - from conspiring to invade other countries, after consulting in the equivalent of a 'diplomatic toilet and drawing up their war plans on the back of the proverbial cigarette packet.'

For all Obama's niceties, it would now appear that he has been seething and mad as hell about his perception of Britain and France 'abandoning' Libya and watching it perceptible destabilizing the region and the flames fanning farther afield.

The biggest unanswered and puzzling question, is that of how could Obama have expected or assumed that Britain and France would have stayed behind and clean up the mess they and the Americans have made of Libya? Why did the Americans resolved to play only the part of 'hired guns' to go in and blitzed the Libyan Government and its armed forces, and neglected to learn the lesson of planning what should follow after the destruction?

The argument that the Americans had assumed that France and Britain would clean up the euphemistic mess has little or no credibility, since all three countries had been very clear about not wanting American, British and French 'boots on the ground.'

Is the Americans now telling the world that they went into Libya without planning for the aftermath, because it was 'an emergency to save lives' and they had to go in immediately?

Well, if so, that is now how nations behave responsibly, and it is now clear that more lives have probably been lost and continue to be sacrificed, than those which might have been saved as a result of the West invading and attacking Libya.

FelixMyIcecream -> Hanwell123 , 2016-03-11 14:35:04

the Europeans expected America to pick up the tab for reconstruction

I don't think there would be many complaints from Halliburton or other American companies to help with the reconstruction, if the place wasn't such a shit-storm right now.

previous , 2016-03-11 14:32:31
"The result has been mass killing, destruction and migration on a scale not seen, at least outside Africa, since the second world war."

Judging from the sentiments expressed in the overwhelming majority of comments posted on multiple threads on this forum, the British people don't want to accept responsibility for "migration on a scale not seen... since the second world war". The almost universal resistance to accepting refugees and migrants that fled their homes due to unprovoked British aggression is disgusting and pathetic. It highlights the hypocrisy of those who see themselves morally fit to judge almost everyone else.

NezPerce , 2016-03-11 14:25:27
Mitchell says that we had a plan to stabilise Libya but that it could not be implement the plan because there was no peace?#*^..... Der

We bombed in support of competing Jihadis groups, bandits and local war Lords then our well laid plans for a Utopian peace were thwarted because of the unforeseen chaos created as the Militias we gave close airsupport to fought over the spoils.

Well there you have it- its the fault of the Libyans.

Hanwell123 , 2016-03-11 14:05:15
Hilary Clinton recently blamed Sarkozy for Libya describing him as so "very excited" about the need to start bombing that he persuaded her and she, Nuland and Power persuaded a reluctant Obama. Three civilian females argued down the military opinion that it was unnecessary and likely to cause more trouble than it was worth.

As this was clearly to support French interests the Americans insisted the Europeans do it themselves if they were that keen. Old Anglo-French rivalry has never been far from the surface in the ME and it seems Cameron jumped on the bandwagon in fear France would take all the glory. Neither of them appear to have given any thought about reconstruction. The blame is mostly Cameron's as Sorkozy was chucked out of office just months later. Did Cameron have a plan at all? If so it was his biggest mistake and one we'll be paying for over the coming years.

SHappens -> jezzam , 2016-03-11 14:03:29

Without Putin's mischief making though, this would have been sorted out long ago.

Putin intervened in September 2015. What have the West been doing since 2011 to stop the conflict, one wonders.

Russia vetoes any UN attempt to sort out the mess

Looking bad you'd realize that it at least prompted Obama to retract in 2013. Since then though support to Saudi and proxies destabilizing Syria has only increased.

Russia is clearing the mess of the West, and they should be grateful. Obama might be from what I read today from his "confessions".

grauniadreader101 -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-11 14:03:19
Yes. I don't think that is a pro-imperialist stance. He's arguing that there is no middle ground; getting rid of dictators you don't like is imperialism, and whether you follow through or not, there are serious consequences, but to not follow through is an abnegation of moral responsibility to the people you are at attemting to "free". It seems to me he is arguing against any foreign intervention, hence his castigation of Obama and Cameron for the "ethical wasteland of their wars of intervention."
ohhaiimark -> PVG2012 , 2016-03-11 13:53:27
Please do me a favour and study 20th century history a little more. The US overthrow countless democracies in Latin America and the Middle East and installed fascist dictatorships.

Liberal Democracy haha come on now. They dont care about Democracy. They care about money. They will install and support any dictatorship (look at Saudi Arabia for example) as long as they do as they are told economically.

I love western values, dont get me wrong. It is the best place to live freely. However, if you werent lucky enough to be born in the west and the west wants something your country has (eg. oil).....you are in for a lot of bad times.

I just wish western leaders/governments actually followed the western values that we all love and hold dear.

NezPerce , 2016-03-11 13:49:00
We should remember that we funded the terrorists in Libya and then sent weapons to ISIS from Libya to Syria that is we again used Al Qaeda as a proxy force. We then again used the "threat" from the proxy forces i,e. Al Qaeda to justify mass surveillance of the general population.

The solution as Corbyn pointed out is to stop funding the Terrorists.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi's arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn't always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06s0qy9

Peter Oborne investigates claims that Britain and the West embarked on an unspoken alliance of convenience with militant jihadi groups in an attempt to bring down the Assad regime.

He hears how equipment supplied by the West to so called Syrian moderates has ended up in the hands of jihadis, and that Western sponsored rebels have fought alongside Al Qaeda. But what does this really tell us about the conflict in Syria?

This edition of The Report also examines the astonishing attempt to re brand Al Nusra, Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, as an organisation with which we can do business.

pfbulmer , 2016-03-11 13:46:44
What is good that this is finally coming out ,the denial by both Obama and a very left wing media has failed to confront this issue in what is an incredibly low point for Obama and Hilary Clinton and their naive ideas about the Arab Spring.

As it is equally so for David Cameron and William Hague. Sarkozy is different he was not naive he knew exactly what he was doing thais was about saving french influence in North Africa,he was thinking about Tunisa, Algeria which he was keen to drag others into ! He was the most savvy of all those politicians at least he was not a fool,but France priorities are not the same as the UK !

Obama's comments once again as usual do not really confront the real problems of Libya and gloss over the key issues and ending up passing the buck, he can do no wrong ? It was not the aftermath of Libya but the whole idea of changing the controlling demographics of the country which he played a major part in destabilising through the UN AND Nato which was the problem !

It was thought the lessons of Iraq was all about not putting boots on the ground ,or getting your feet dirty ,as this antagonises the locals and that a nice clinical arms length bombardment creating havoc ,is the best way to go .

This was not the lesson of Iraq , which was actually not to destabilise the controlling demographics of the country which will never recover if you do ..It is one thing to depose a leader or ask a leader to step down but do not disturb 100 of years controlling demographics, sectarian or not in these countries is not wise . To do so is a misstep or misjudgement !

Demographics are like sand dunes they have taken many years to evolve and rest uneasy, in the highly religious and sectarian landscape but can be unsettled over night, grain by grain even by a small shift in the evening night breeze , a small beetle can zig zag across and the whole dune will crumble

Once again the US pushed the UK who vied with France at how high they could jump, using the UN blank cheque as cover ,for melting down the country and has left UN credibilty in taters has now no credibility and Nato is now not trusted .

They took disgracefully no less the UN 1973 Peace Resolution , point one, Cease fire and point two No Fly Zone .They bent it , twisted it , contorted it into blatant out right support of the eastern shiite sympathisers sectarian group, against the more secular Sunni Tripoli groups .

(Gaddafi was not one man Mr apologist Rifkind he was the tribal leaders of a quite a large tribe !)

Which has been part of a historic rivalry going back hundreds of years . They killed more civilians that Gaddafi ever had or could have done . They even attacked in a no fly zone government troops retreating and fired on government planes on the ground in a non fly zone .

Then they refused to negotiate with the government or allow the Organisation of African states to mediate who had agreed general elections .They went on bombing until there was no infrastructure no institutions or sand dunes ,or beetles left !

It was done after Iraq and that is why it is so shameful and why Obama , Cameron, Sarkozy , the UN , Nato must face up to what they have done , and after the Chilcot enquiry there needs to be a Cameron enquiry . Presumably it will have the backing of Obama !

What is worse is the knock on effect on this massive arm caches and fighters from Libya then went on to Syria, reek havoc and destabilised the country . Because Russia and China could never trust again the UN , the UN has been ineffective in Syria for that very reason .The deaths of British tourist in next door Tunisia has to laid firmly at David Cameron's and the foreign office door !

No wonder Libya is keeping Obama awake at night , no wonder he is indulging in damage limitation , no wonder he is trying to re write history ? How can I get this out of my legacy . If only I had not met Mr Cameron a yes man ! If only I had been told by some with an once of common sense , not to touch this country with a barge pole ?

The poor Libyan people will agree with him !

The lesson for the UK is do want you think is right not what the US thinks as right , a lesson that David Cameron has failed to learn , and has shown he is not a safe pari of hands and lacks judgement !

ohhaiimark -> Bilingual , 2016-03-11 13:45:40
1. Conflict between sunni and shiites has been dormant for decades. Saudi Arabias promotion of Wahhabism has awoken it again, along with the catalyst for the recent bloodshed, the invasion of Iraq. That placed it back in the hands of the majority Shia and upset radical sunnis (eg the Saudis).

2. Pogroms were common against Jews in Europe and Europe has a far worse history of treating Jews than Muslims ever had. The "golden age of Judaism" in Europe was under Muslim rule in Spain. Need I mention that the Holocaust was perpetrated by European Christians?

3. Didnt forget. the USSR didn't hand them chemical weapons though. That would be the West. And it wasn't Russia who invaded Iraq later over the scam that they had WMDs.

4. I think you are forgetting Mossadeq in Iran in the 50s. Nasser in Egypt and any Pan-Arab group that was secular in nature. Pan-Arabism is now dead and radical Islamism is alive and well thanks to our lust for control over the region.

mothersuperior5 , 2016-03-11 13:45:06
Obama? Censored? You forgot Hillary. she even said the other day at the townhall before Miss/MI to the effect 'if Assad had been taken out early like Gaddafi then Syria would only be as bad as Libya'. laughable really. i presume you aren't criticising Hillary Clinton?
upthecreek -> Colossian , 2016-03-11 13:41:18

Gaddafi who was openly threatening to massacre all rebels in Benghazi.

Yes that was the narrative that Western media wanted to portray but in reality was not the reason Libya was attacked !

NezPerce , 2016-03-11 13:37:15
Kosovo is now basket case that we are paying for but it is small. Now we have also backed NeoCon regime change in Ukraine which we are going to be paying for. Libya will soon have enough Jihadist training camps to be a direct threat.

What we see is a Strategy of Chaos from the US NeoCons but what we have failed to notice is that the NeoCons see us as the target, as the enemy.

david119 , 2016-03-11 13:35:56
Totally agree that there is no such thing as Imperialism Lite, just as there is no such thing as Wahabi Lite or Zionism Lite. So I wonder why Hilary Benn thinks Britain has anything to feel proud about our foreign policy. It seems to me Britain's Foreign Policy is a combination of incompetence, jingoism and pure evil.
What is the point of employing the brightest brains in the land at the Foreign Office when we get it wrong almost all the time ?
James Barker , 2016-03-11 13:29:27
"Western warmongering over the past two decades has had nothing to do with the existential defence of territory. "Defence" has become attack, keeping alive the military-industrial lobbies and lumbering military establishments that depend on it."
Attacking Al qaeda in Afghanistan had nothing to do with defending territory?
John Smith -> AddisLig , 2016-03-11 13:26:33
Libyan 'rebels' were armed and trained by 'the West' in a first place. The plan was the same for Syria but Russians stopped it with not allowing 'no fly zone' or to call it properly 'bomb them into the stone age'.

You probably don't know how 'bloody' Gaddafi was to the Libyans.

* GDP per capita - $ 14,192.
* For each family member the state pays $ 1000 grants per year.
* Unemployment - $ 730.
* Salary Nurse - $ 1000.
* For every newborn is paid $ 7000.
* The bride and groom given away $ 64,000 to buy an apartment.
* At the opening of a one-time personal business financial assistance - $ 20,000.
* Large taxes and extortions are prohibited.
* Education and medicine are free.
* Education and training abroad - at the expense of the state.
* Store chain for large families with symbolic prices of basic foodstuffs.
* For the sale of products past their expiry date - large fines and detention.
* Part of pharmacies - with free dispensing.
* For counterfeiting - the death penalty.
* Rents - no.
* No Fees for electricity for households!
* Loans to buy a car and an apartment - interest free.
* Real estate services are prohibited.
* Buying a car up to 50% paid by the state, for militia fighters - 65%.
* Gasoline is cheaper than water. 1 liter - 0,14 $.
* If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
* Gaddafi carried out the world's largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country

antipodes -> Jeshan , 2016-03-11 13:19:04
The Gadaffi regime had upset the USA because Gadaffi was setting up an oil currency system based on gold rather than US dollars. While this was not the sole reason the West turned against him it was an important factor. The largest factor for the wars so far, and the planned war against Iran was to cut out the growing Russian domination of the oil supply to Europe, China and India.
Potyka Kalman , 2016-03-11 13:18:58
A decent article as we could expect from the author.

However personally I doubt there was no ulterior motive in the case of Lybia. Lybia was one of the countries who tried the change the status quo on the oil market and it has huge reserves too (as we know Europe is running out of oil, at least Great Britain is).

It is very likely that the European countries retreated because Libya started to look like another Iraq.

TatianaAD -> David Ellis , 2016-03-11 13:16:32
When you are talking about "democratic forces of the revolution.." i imagine you being an enthusiastic teenager girl who hardly knows anything about the world but goes somewhere far for a gap year as a volunteer to make locals aware of something that will help them forever. It is instead of demanding responsible policies and accountability from her own government.
antipodes -> MarkB35 , 2016-03-11 13:12:18
Sorry!!!
What planet have you been living on. What do you read apart from lifestyle magazines full of shots of celebrity boobs and bums.
The United states is the most interventionist country in history. Of its 237 years of existence it has been at war or cold war for 222 of those years.
NATO is behind ISIS and the wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Chechen, Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine.
If the West stopped intervening there would be very few wars and if the West used its influence for peace rather than control there would rarely be any was at all.
Nothingness -> ohhaiimark , 2016-03-11 13:04:10
Well put. People forget the importance of oil in maintaining the standard of living in our western democracies. Controlling it's supply trumps all other issues.
antipodes -> JaneThomas , 2016-03-11 12:57:20
Jane they didn't "come apart" and Libya and Syria were the most stable and least under the thumb of radicals. Syria had equality and education for women who could wear whatever they wanted. Furthermore they did not fall apart they were attacked by the largest military forces in the world excluding Russia. NATO sent in special operations forces to destabilise the government. They along with Al Nusra and other violent Wahabi terrorists attacked police and army barracks, and when Assads police and military hit back it was presented by the Western media and propagandists as an attack on the people of Syria. Do you think any other country would allow terrorists to attack police and other public institutions without retaliating and restoring order.

Many people who do not accept the Western medias false reporting at face value know that the wars in Syria were about changing the leaders and redrawing national boundaries to isolate Iran and sideline Russian influence. It was and is an illegal war and it was the barbarity of our Western leaders that caused the terrible violence. It was a pre planned plan and strategy outlined in the US Special Forces document below.
http://nsnbc.me/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/special-forces-uw-tc-18-01.pdf

If you get your facts right it ruins your argument doesn't it.

SHappens , 2016-03-11 12:56:32
In the Libyan case, it was a clear US strategy to put in the forefront their English and French valets, in a coup (euphemistically called "regime change") wanted by them. The nobel peace winner got some nerves to put the blame on his accomplices for the chaos in Libya, while the permanent objective of the US is to divide and conquer, sowing chaos wherever it occurs: Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria. Also Hillary is no stranger to the actions in Libya.

These Middle East countries should have been left alone by the West. Due to their nature, these countries have strong divisions and battle for their beliefs and a strong man, a dictator is what prevented them to fall into the chaos they are today. Without the Western meddling, arming and financing various rebel groups, Isis would not exist today.

BlackBlue1984 -> CABHTS , 2016-03-11 12:49:40
Neither is putting political opponents in acid baths and burning tyres, as Tony Blair's friends in the central Asian Republics have been doing, neither is beheading gays, raped women and civil rights protesters, as Cameron's Saudi friends have been enjoying, the latter whilst we sell them shit loads of munitions to obliterate Yemeni villagers. I wonder how the Egyptian president is getting on with all that tear gas and bullets we sold him? And are the Bahrani's, fresh from killing their own people for daring to ask for civil rights, enjoying the cash we gave them for that new Royal Navy base? Our foreign policy is complacent and inconsistent, we talk about morality but the bottom line is that that doesn't come into it when BAE systems and G4S have contracts to win. Don't get me wrong, Britain has played a positive role internationally in many different areas, but there is always a neo-liberal arsehole waiting to pop up and ruin the lives of millions, a turd with a school tie that just wont be flushed away.
tonall -> TidelyPom , 2016-03-11 12:46:45
Simon Jenkins, don't pretend you were against American punitive expeditions around the world to overthrow third world dictators. You worked from the same neo-con ideological script to defend the ultra-liberal, military industrial economy; scare mongering in the pages of the Guardian, as far back as I can remember. You lot are as totally discredited as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and American Nato toadies.
Newmacfan , 2016-03-11 12:25:21
It is high time that Europe reviewed and evaluated its relationship with the United States, with NATO, Russia and China. The world needs to be a peaceable place and there needs to be more legislation imposed upon the Financial Markets to stop them being a place where economic destabilisation and warfare can and do take place. The United States would not contemplate these reviews taking place as they are integral to their continuing position in the world but also integral to the problems we are all experiencing? It will take a brave Europe to do this but it is a step that has to be taken if the world is to move forward! Britain should be a huge part of this, outside a weakend EU this would benefit the United States from Britains lack of input, another reason we should vote to stay and be positive to our European position. The most vulnerable herring is the one that breaks out of the shoal?
SalfordLass , 2016-03-11 12:24:58
Libya , Ukraine ,Syria have had the same recipe of de-stabilisation by the US and NATO. The so called popular rebels were in fact CIA trained and financed. Jihadist in Libya and Syria and neo-Nazis in Ukraine. After completing regime change in Libya as planned ,the Jihadist, with their looted arms were transferred to Syria and renamed ISIS. ISIS is Washingtons Foreign Legion army, used as required for their Imperial ends. Renamed as required on whichever territory they operate
Scahill , 2016-03-11 11:52:53
Cameron has been given a free pass on Libya. It really is quite astonishing. The man has turned a functioning society into a jihadi infested failed state which is exporting men and weapons across North Africa and down the Sahara and now serves as a new front line for ISIS

Cameron's Libya policy from start to finish is a foreign policy catastrophe and in a just world would have seen him thrown out of office on his ear

Newsel -> IntoTheSilence , 2016-03-11 11:50:06
Attacking Libya and deposing Gaddafi was down to enforcing the R2P doctrine on the pretext of "stopping another Rwanda". But it was a pretext. Islamist rebels attacked the armouries within Libya and the Libyans had every right to try and put down the rebellion. Samantha Powers et al were the war mongers.

Then there is this gem: "Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for a United Nations resolution allowing international forces to intervene in Libya.
There was no other choice, he told French radio. "We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children."

"We abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners to extremist militias," Mr Sisi told Europe 1 radio. He was referring to the aftermath of the 2011 war in which Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled with the help of an international coalition.
That intervention was "an unfinished mission", he said."

The US, France and the UK own this ongoing mess but do not have the moral fortitude to clean it up. As with the "Arab Spring", this will not end well.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31500382?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AMorning%20Brief&utm_campaign=2015_MorningBrief_New_America_PROMO

SilkverBlogger , 2016-03-11 11:49:56
The 2011 regime change shenanigans of the west against Libya is colonialism at its worst from all the parties who instigated it. The aftermath, the resultant mayhem and chaos, was in itself adding insult to injury. Gaddafi was no saint, but the militias, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS now running rampant in the country are infinitely worse. This is a war crime of the first magnitude and no effort should be spared to address it
ohhaiimark -> Bilingual , 2016-03-11 11:43:08
The west who propped up the Saudis, who's crazy wahhabi brand of Islam helped radicalise the Islamic world with 100 billion dollars spent on promoting it.

The west who created israel and then has done nothing to stop israels ever growing land theft and occupation over decades (not even a single sanction)...leading the Muslim world to hate us more for our hypocrisy and double standards.

The west who has assassinated or organised coups against democratically elected secular leaders who didn't give us their natural resources (eg iran) and installed brutal, clepto dictatorships who also take part in plundering the resources leaving the general population poor, uneducated and susceptible to indoctrination from Islamists.

The west who arms brutal dictators to wage proxy wars and then invades and bombs these same dictators countries over claims they have WMDs (that we sold to them).

The west has been intervening in the middle east alot longer than post 9/11. We are very very culpable for the disasters engulfing the region.

Jeshan , 2016-03-11 11:42:44
Libya was "not so at the core of US interests that it makes sense for us to unilaterally strike against the Gaddafi regime"

Let's examine what Obama is saying here: when it is perceived to be at the core of US interests, the USA reserves the right to attack any country, at any time.

The world inhabits a moral vacuum, and in that state, any country can justifiably choose to do anything, against anyone, for any reason. And this guy got the Nobel Peace Prize.

FelixMyIcecream , 2016-03-11 11:42:29

In this despicable saga, Cameron's Libyan venture was a sideshow, though one that has destabilised north Africa and may yet turn it into another Islamic State caliphate.

You forgot to mention Cameron was only following Sarkozy .

Don't forget the French role .

25 February 2011: Sarkozy said Gaddafi "must go."

28 February 2011: British Prime Minister David Cameron proposed the idea of a no-fly zone

11 March 2011: Cameron joined forces with Sarkozy after Sarkozy demanded immediate action from international community for a no-fly zone against air attacks by Gaddafi.

14 March 2011: In Paris at the Élysée Palace, before the summit with the G8 Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sarkozy, who is also the president of the G8, along with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and pressed her to push for intervention in Libya

.

19 March 2011: French[72] forces began the military intervention in Libya, later joined by coalition forces


2011_military_intervention_in_Libya#Chronology
Sal2011 , 2016-03-11 11:41:36
Well said in the headline. Imperialism-lite/heavy, colonialism, and neo-colonialism don't work, should be a thing of the past. Intervening in the politics of another country is a mug's game.

Don't understand why Obama is blaming Cameron for it, perhaps playing to his domestic gallery. Blair's love fest with the deluded Gaddafi family, followed by the volte-face of pushing for his violent overthrow by the next government, were both severely misguided policies. Need to diplomatically encourage change, in foreign policy, and the desired type of political movements to take hold. Military interventions have the opposite effect, so does propping up dictators, religiously fanatical regimes, proven time and time again.

WarrenDruggs -> KinoLurtz , 2016-03-11 11:41:07

Gadaffi was on the verge of massacring an entire city of people

Who needs well paid journalists when you can get this level of propaganda for free?

DavidGW -> TruffleWednesday , 2016-03-11 11:40:31

So the choices are to do nothing, or invade and create a colony?

Pretty much. As Jenkins rightly says, if you want to launch an aggressive war you either do it or you don't. If you do it then it is your responsibility to clear up the mess, however many of your own lives are lost and however much it costs. Trashing a country and then buggering off is not an option.

Of course, using force for defensive reasons is fine. That's why modern warmongering politicians always call it "defence" when they drop bombs on innocent people in faraway countries. It is no such thing.

David Hart -> AmandaLothian , 2016-03-11 11:22:15
There was no massacre, not even a hint of one. Total obfuscation to give Hillary Clinton a foreign policy "success" so that she could use it as a springboard to the presidency. "Hillary Clinton was so proud of her major role in instigating the war against Libya that she and her advisors initially planned to use it as basis of a "Clinton doctrine", meaning a "smart power" regime change strategy, as a presidential campaign slogan.

War creates chaos, and Hillary Clinton has been an eager advocate of every U.S. aggressive war in the last quarter of a century. These wars have devastated whole countries and caused an unmanageable refugee crisis. Chaos is all there is to show for Hillary's vaunted "foreign policy experience".

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/10/hillary-clinton-the-queen-of-chaos-and-the-threat-of-world-war-iii /

[Mar 12, 2016] President Obama's Interview With Jeffrey Goldberg on Syria and Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Obama is just another establishment drone like Bush and Clinton. If you already hate Wall Street then all these people are covered. Obama is a corporate lawyer who worked for Wall Street. Nothing new here to see. ..."
"... Obama: pre-emptive strikes on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria--all of which have resulted in disasters like the growth of ISIS. Obama: Meets weekly to decide where the drones will kill people, without charge or trial (and without revealing who the targets are and what the success/failure was--and how much "collateral damage" there was in human lives.) Certainly the most lawless president we've had--and the most bloodthirsty. ..."
"... "The most lawless president . . . and the most bloodthirsty?" One need not support Obama to know that he's not even close the most bloodthirsty, or lawless. I strongly recommend you study Nixon, LBJ, and Reagan. Then drop back to Eisenhower and Guatemala to wrap up the bloody evening. ..."
"... I was counting all blood, not simply American blood, which is what I thought the original post was doing. I would also count proxies, such as the Contra, because American aid was essential to them. I would not count the aid Reagan covertly provided Iraq, because that war would have been long and horrid in any event. ..."
"... The lawlessness question is more complex. Nixon and Reagan set up clandestine organizations that did not appear in any budget line, both of which performed illegal actions. (Nixon's was more serious because the Plumbers' actions related to domestic opponents.) ..."
"... So are Yemen, Syria, Honduras and Ukraine ... all put in play during Obama's reign. But much of the credit goes to Hillary and the other war harpies in the Administration. Obama has tried to pull back from the brink. ..."
"... Obama did nothing to de-escalate the conflict in the Ukraine. The "somewhat" means you don't have any clue at all. It has to to more with Putin not wanting to conquer the entire Ukraine. The Ukrainians could have been initially defeated, but holding them down would be impossible. ..."
"... And the fact is the Foreign Policy Establishment is utterly mad; they're furious at Obama for not implementing their crazy militaristic schemes. Which is more or less the same story that Goldberg reports here in the Atlantic. ..."
"... According to the State Department's neoCon Czarina for European Affairs, the US pumped $5 Billion into underwriting NGO agitation in Ukraine. Nuland herself was on the front-lines in the Maidan and picked out "our guy Yats" ... In fact, Congress has passed a motion to prevent further funds to the neo-Nazis in Kiev. ..."
"... Syria was invaded by a jihadi army largely armed by the US (part of the Benghazi affair involved the US Ambassador shipping weapons seized from Qaddafi to the Syrian jihadis via Turkey) and funded by US allies in the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. ..."
"... Russia - not "Putin" - is fighting to defend Syrians - not "Assad" - from terrorist aggressors. ..."
"... Currently, about 4,000 fighters of the 25,000 estimated (by the US) in Latakia province have laid down their weapons. Most of these have been re-deployed back into their original territories alongside Syrian Arab Army support units. ..."
"... That comes out to about 80% of the fighters in Syria are Al Qaida or ISIS-affiliated, and the *VAST* majority of these fighters are foreign mercenaries. ..."
"... Acknowledgement of Obama's feckless, misguided foreign policy is not an endorsement of Bush's adventurism. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power are engaging in pure speculation that starting this CIA program a few months earlier would have had a different outcome. Why so? This is nothing more than wishful thinking. ..."
"... Our real mistake was in not supporting the 2012 Geneva peace plan which called for post-civil war elections that would include Assad. We maintained an absolutist demand for 'Assad must go' so of course he and the people who depend on him, 50% to 60% of the population would soldier on. ..."
"... American foreign policy has been a disaster since Kissinger. Neocons convinced many on the right it was a solid ideology. Many of you cheered when Reagan armed Al Qaeda, transferred weapons to Iran, terrorized Central/South America by arming death squads and displacing indigenous people to make way for large multinationals. And, to add insult to injury, you all cheered for Bush initiated torture on our soil (torture has been a tool for decades at black sites), created Guantanamo, started illegal wars, helped to foment a global economic system that is the equivalent of carpet bombing, especially as it relates to weaker or poorer countries; the list goes on. ..."
"... You're not wrong about Obama. He has embraced the same insanity, although, not to the same extent. Neoconservatism needs to die but gullible fools in both parties seem to embrace the insanity when their guy is in charge. ..."
"... Hillary supports the same ideology as Bush but you guys will pretend to hate her and Dems will now say her plans are great. It's Americans who allow this insanity to continue. ..."
"... Afghans and Saudis including Bin Laden were first trained by the US, and then the UK. Read the link I attached, Carter started this mass bloodshed and he isn't the least repentant. Yeah, that sweet old peanut farmer is almost as bad as Hitler. Shucks. ..."
"... Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west. ..."
The Atlantic

Obama said that to achieve this rebalancing, the U.S. had to absorb the diatribes and insults of superannuated Castro manqués. "When I saw Chávez, I shook his hand and he handed me a Marxist critique of the U.S.–Latin America relationship," Obama recalled. "And I had to sit there and listen to Ortega"-Daniel Ortega, the radical leftist president of Nicaragua-"make an hour-long rant against the United States. But us being there, not taking all that stuff seriously-because it really wasn't a threat to us"-helped neutralize the region's anti-Americanism.

The president's unwillingness to counter the baiting by American adversaries can feel emotionally unsatisfying, I said, and I told him that every so often, I'd like to see him give Vladimir Putin the finger. It's atavistic, I said, understanding my audience.

"It is," the president responded coolly. "This is what they're looking for."

He described a relationship with Putin that doesn't quite conform to common perceptions. I had been under the impression that Obama viewed Putin as nasty, brutish, and short. But, Obama told me, Putin is not particularly nasty.

"The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank. Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks." Obama said that Putin believes his relationship with the U.S. is more important than Americans tend to think. "He's constantly interested in being seen as our peer and as working with us, because he's not completely stupid. He understands that Russia's overall position in the world is significantly diminished. And the fact that he invades Crimea or is trying to prop up Assad doesn't suddenly make him a player. You don't see him in any of these meetings out here helping to shape the agenda. For that matter, there's not a G20 meeting where the Russians set the agenda around any of the issues that are important."

Russia's invasion of Crimea in early 2014, and its decision to use force to buttress the rule of its client Bashar al-Assad, have been cited by Obama's critics as proof that the post-red-line world no longer fears America.

So when I talked with the president in the Oval Office in late January, I again raised this question of deterrent credibility. "The argument is made," I said, "that Vladimir Putin watched you in Syria and thought, He's too logical, he's too rational, he's too into retrenchment. I'm going to push him a little bit further in Ukraine."

Obama didn't much like my line of inquiry. "Look, this theory is so easily disposed of that I'm always puzzled by how people make the argument. I don't think anybody thought that George W. Bush was overly rational or cautious in his use of military force. And as I recall, because apparently nobody in this town does, Putin went into Georgia on Bush's watch, right smack dab in the middle of us having over 100,000 troops deployed in Iraq." Obama was referring to Putin's 2008 invasion of Georgia, a former Soviet republic, which was undertaken for many of the same reasons Putin later invaded Ukraine-to keep an ex–Soviet republic in Russia's sphere of influence.

"Putin acted in Ukraine in response to a client state that was about to slip out of his grasp. And he improvised in a way to hang on to his control there," he said. "He's done the exact same thing in Syria, at enormous cost to the well-being of his own country. And the notion that somehow Russia is in a stronger position now, in Syria or in Ukraine, than they were before they invaded Ukraine or before he had to deploy military forces to Syria is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of power in foreign affairs or in the world generally. Real power means you can get what you want without having to exert violence. Russia was much more powerful when Ukraine looked like an independent country but was a kleptocracy that he could pull the strings on."

Obama's theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.

"The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-nato country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do," he said.

I asked Obama whether his position on Ukraine was realistic or fatalistic.

"It's realistic," he said. "But this is an example of where we have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for. And at the end of the day, there's always going to be some ambiguity." He then offered up a critique he had heard directed against him, in order to knock it down. "I think that the best argument you can make on the side of those who are critics of my foreign policy is that the president doesn't exploit ambiguity enough. He doesn't maybe react in ways that might cause people to think, Wow, this guy might be a little crazy."

"The 'crazy Nixon' approach," I said: Confuse and frighten your enemies by making them think you're capable of committing irrational acts.

"But let's examine the Nixon theory," he said. "So we dropped more ordnance on Cambodia and Laos than on Europe in World War II, and yet, ultimately, Nixon withdrew, Kissinger went to Paris, and all we left behind was chaos, slaughter, and authoritarian governments that finally, over time, have emerged from that hell. When I go to visit those countries, I'm going to be trying to figure out how we can, today, help them remove bombs that are still blowing off the legs of little kids. In what way did that strategy promote our interests?"

But what if Putin were threatening to move against, say, Moldova-another vulnerable post-Soviet state? Wouldn't it be helpful for Putin to believe that Obama might get angry and irrational about that?

"There is no evidence in modern American foreign policy that that's how people respond. People respond based on what their imperatives are, and if it's really important to somebody, and it's not that important to us, they know that, and we know that," he said. "There are ways to deter, but it requires you to be very clear ahead of time about what is worth going to war for and what is not. Now, if there is somebody in this town that would claim that we would consider going to war with Russia over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, they should speak up and be very clear about it. The idea that talking tough or engaging in some military action that is tangential to that particular area is somehow going to influence the decision making of Russia or China is contrary to all the evidence we have seen over the last 50 years."

... ... ...

A weak, flailing Russia constitutes a threat as well, though not quite a top-tier threat. "Unlike China, they have demographic problems, economic structural problems, that would require not only vision but a generation to overcome," Obama said. "The path that Putin is taking is not going to help them overcome those challenges. But in that environment, the temptation to project military force to show greatness is strong, and that's what Putin's inclination is. So I don't underestimate the dangers there." Obama returned to a point he had made repeatedly to me, one that he hopes the country, and the next president, absorbs: "You know, the notion that diplomacy and technocrats and bureaucrats somehow are helping to keep America safe and secure, most people think, Eh, that's nonsense. But it's true. And by the way, it's the element of American power that the rest of the world appreciates unambiguously. When we deploy troops, there's always a sense on the part of other countries that, even where necessary, sovereignty is being violated."

TotoCatcher -> Whateveryousay

Obama is just another establishment drone like Bush and Clinton. If you already hate Wall Street then all these people are covered. Obama is a corporate lawyer who worked for Wall Street. Nothing new here to see.

Question -> TotoCatcher

Establishment? I thought he was unqualified because he was a "junior Senator" and "community leader". Now he's establishment?

So basically establishment has about as much meaning as "entitlement" - its definition varies entirely depending on who you're referencing?

pp91303 -> Question

Totocatcher is a leftist accusing Obama of being a wall street, "corporate lawyer". He wasn't. The right never said he was. So an ignorant leftist calls Obama a corporate crony and that is somehow an indictment of the right. Brilliant.

Obama was a red diaper baby, who went to a racist and anti-American church in Chicago, who worked a few years for a scummy little law firm that represented leftist-subsidized-housing developers like Tony Rezco, and who previously worked as a community organizer.

nubwaxer -> Whateveryousay

mine's not a hate comment but the extreme right, all republicans it seems, think bush's preemptive or proactive militarized foreign policy is still the right approach. it's still the shoot, aim, oops quagmire approach and obama's careful and patient evolving approach drives them crazy.

the problem seems to me our oversized military is so well trained and well armed with the newest gear, which of course keeps profits flowing to defense contractors, that since we have it we nee to use it constantly to keep its edge. president obama seems to have reluctantly accepted our endless war strategy, but to the great ire of the right has shifted away from a militarized foreign policy to a primarily diplomatic approach. i for one see great success in the iran nuclear deal and restoration of relations with cuba.

of course there will be those whipped into mass hysteria and seething anger by the relentless right wing propaganda and i'll be gone before i have to read any of their comments.

Tom Hoobler -> nubwaxer

Obama: pre-emptive strikes on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria--all of which have resulted in disasters like the growth of ISIS. Obama: Meets weekly to decide where the drones will kill people, without charge or trial (and without revealing who the targets are and what the success/failure was--and how much "collateral damage" there was in human lives.) Certainly the most lawless president we've had--and the most bloodthirsty.

Oscarthe4th -> Tom Hoobler

"The most lawless president . . . and the most bloodthirsty?" One need not support Obama to know that he's not even close the most bloodthirsty, or lawless. I strongly recommend you study Nixon, LBJ, and Reagan. Then drop back to Eisenhower and Guatemala to wrap up the bloody evening.

Oscarthe4th -> David Murphy

Glad we agree on LBJ.

I was counting all blood, not simply American blood, which is what I thought the original post was doing. I would also count proxies, such as the Contra, because American aid was essential to them. I would not count the aid Reagan covertly provided Iraq, because that war would have been long and horrid in any event.

The lawlessness question is more complex. Nixon and Reagan set up clandestine organizations that did not appear in any budget line, both of which performed illegal actions. (Nixon's was more serious because the Plumbers' actions related to domestic opponents.)

Obama, like most other presidents in messy wars, has expanded the president's power, and I fully agree that he has gone beyond what is constitutional. For the most part, however, it has not been covert. That reduces some elements of the danger his acts pose, but not all.

screendummie -> Kimo Krauthammer

No, the Arab Spring happened after Obama was president. The Arab Spring occurred in 2011, first in Tunisia and then elsewhere throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The uprisings in Libya and Syria happened a couple years after Obama was president. Libya is a complete mess and a declared failed state because of Obama.

Sarastro92 -> screendummie

So are Yemen, Syria, Honduras and Ukraine ... all put in play during Obama's reign. But much of the credit goes to Hillary and the other war harpies in the Administration. Obama has tried to pull back from the brink.

screendummie -> Sarastro92

Special operation troops are in Syria. This has been reported numerous times. There was even a Congressional grilling of a general on our troops training Syrian fighters with the revelation that a half billion was spent training of 3 or 4 Syrian fighters. The officer grilled was Centcom commander, General Lloyd Austin back last year. You're blatantly ignorant of what's going on in the world.

screendummie -> Sarastro92

I hope you don't really believe 50 U.S. troops are only in Syria. I bet it's far greater. You have to remember they get rotated out. More than 50 troops have been deployed to Syria if they're being rotated. The troops in Jordan are supporting the combat mission. How is that any different? I'm curious how those 50 troops in Syria are fed and supported. Do they bring it all in themselves, or are more U.S. troops crossing in and out of Syria on a daily basis? If you really believe there are 50 U.S. troops in Syria, then you're really kidding yourself.

There are several thousand troops now in Iraq. Before it was just 300. No, I'm not buying the advisor claim one bit.

Obama did nothing to de-escalate the conflict in the Ukraine. The "somewhat" means you don't have any clue at all. It has to to more with Putin not wanting to conquer the entire Ukraine. The Ukrainians could have been initially defeated, but holding them down would be impossible.

Davis Pruett -> Sarastro92

>>>And the fact is the Foreign Policy Establishment is utterly mad; they're furious at Obama for not implementing their crazy militaristic schemes. Which is more or less the same story that Goldberg reports here in the Atlantic.

More-or-less the general disposition reported by Goldberg - but minus a vast trove of key facts which he purposefully distorts and obscures.

Sarastro92 -> David Murphy

Bull. According to the State Department's neoCon Czarina for European Affairs, the US pumped $5 Billion into underwriting NGO agitation in Ukraine. Nuland herself was on the front-lines in the Maidan and picked out "our guy Yats" ... In fact, Congress has passed a motion to prevent further funds to the neo-Nazis in Kiev.

Syria was invaded by a jihadi army largely armed by the US (part of the Benghazi affair involved the US Ambassador shipping weapons seized from Qaddafi to the Syrian jihadis via Turkey) and funded by US allies in the Gulf monarchies and Turkey.

The French and Brits are culpable. Putin has changed the whole dynamic leading to a ceasefire and the demise of ISIS in Syria. But the whole thing can blow up at anytime.

Your problem is that you read the CNN- NY Times propaganda and think you know something.

David Murphy -> screendummie

Can't exclude Cameron and Sarkozy from guilt over Libya. They sent in some special forces, dropped a few bombs and then moved on to other things. The arab spring was a grass-roots attempt to bring about democracy, which failed sadly.

elHombre -> Kimo Krauthammer

Really? Libya, Syria and ISIS were "debacles" when Obama took office? Really?

And 23 up votes? The revisionist rubes are out in force on this one.

Kimo Krauthammer -> hyphenatedamerican

Everywhere the US treads we leave chaos and increased radicalism. Time for the US to get out now and let Putin wipe put ALL the terrorist vermin, even those we have been backing.

Davis Pruett -> hyphenatedamerican

>>>Putin is not fighting terrorists, he is fighting for Assad. Not the same thing.

Russia - not "Putin" - is fighting to defend Syrians - not "Assad" - from terrorist aggressors.

Apparently, you missed the part where a few weeks ago Syria and Russia offered a ceasefire and complete amnesty to any "revolutionaries" who are not associated with Al Qaida or ISIS.

Currently, about 4,000 fighters of the 25,000 estimated (by the US) in Latakia province have laid down their weapons. Most of these have been re-deployed back into their original territories alongside Syrian Arab Army support units.

That comes out to about 80% of the fighters in Syria are Al Qaida or ISIS-affiliated, and the *VAST* majority of these fighters are foreign mercenaries.

So, long story short:

You don't know what you're talking about. You are factually wrong, and should be ashamed for sounding off in public about something you have no knowledge of.

azt24 -> Question

By every objective measure, Iraq was in better shape in 2009 vs. 2016. There was no ISIS, no Christian or Yazidi genocide, no slave markets in 2009, and violence was a tiny fraction of what it is today. These are just facts.

As for picking 2009 for a start date, the article is titled The Obama Doctrine. The subject is Obama, the topic is politics.

David Murphy -> azt24

Iraq's problem now are largely self-inflicted. The Shia majority decided to oppress the Sunni, and Al Qaeda and ISIS are sunni. A simple resolution to ISIS in the ME would have been for the Iraq government to act as a national government being fair to all not a partisan Shia government. Iran has been active in Iraq since Bush's day. Obama could achieve little in that benighted country, which was in a far better state before Bush led the attack on it.

elHombre -> nubwaxer

Acknowledgement of Obama's feckless, misguided foreign policy is not an endorsement of Bush's adventurism.

Only Obamadupes can fail to appreciate the risks of Obama's one-sided, ego-assuaging Iran fiasco and Cuba-courting.

Defense contractors employ people, but you probably believe we don't need the jobs.

You are, indeed, an Obama nubwaxer.

azt24 -> rswfire

" I feel President Obama isn't someone who really seeks the spotlight"

Surely you jest. No President has been more in love with the sound of own voice, or more given to "I-me-mine-I-me-mine" when talking. Because it's always about him. Like when he explained to Bibi Netanyahu that he understood the Middle East because he was raised by a single mom.

If Obama has quieted down in recent years, I can only suppose that it must have become obvious even inside the WH bubble that it wasn't working -- people have completely tuned Obama out.

TotoCatcher

The Atlantic is removing comments from most of the articles. Why? I won't read here if they don't bring comments back.

This story is booooring. So I don't have much to comment on it. Obama was just another Bush who was just another Clinton. NEXT!

chris chuba

This article clearly states that we DID start to arm and equip the rebels after 'several months' in 2011 via a CIA program. It is a myth that we did nothing in Syria.

What ended up happening is exactly what Obama feared would happen. The farmers and doctors were supplanted by the foreign Jihadist groups that Turkey and Saudi Arabia were sponsoring. This was inevitable and the only thing that could have prevented that was an actual invasion and occupation of Syria which I in no way, shape or form endorse.

Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power are engaging in pure speculation that starting this CIA program a few months earlier would have had a different outcome. Why so? This is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Our real mistake was in not supporting the 2012 Geneva peace plan which called for post-civil war elections that would include Assad. We maintained an absolutist demand for 'Assad must go' so of course he and the people who depend on him, 50% to 60% of the population would soldier on.

Hurrya -> EnderAK12

Are we sure that there was ever a free Syrian army? The Free Syrian Army was a media concept and never had a significant presence on the ground.

Thermite -> EnderAK12

We were supporting the Free Syrian Army since 2011. Basically when it started.

gtiger -> EnderAK12

You talk about the FSA as it's a viable entity. At best it's a loose alliance of rebel groups of widely differing ideology. It's Libya part II.

Fresh -> Guyzer

American foreign policy has been a disaster since Kissinger. Neocons convinced many on the right it was a solid ideology. Many of you cheered when Reagan armed Al Qaeda, transferred weapons to Iran, terrorized Central/South America by arming death squads and displacing indigenous people to make way for large multinationals. And, to add insult to injury, you all cheered for Bush initiated torture on our soil (torture has been a tool for decades at black sites), created Guantanamo, started illegal wars, helped to foment a global economic system that is the equivalent of carpet bombing, especially as it relates to weaker or poorer countries; the list goes on.

You're not wrong about Obama. He has embraced the same insanity, although, not to the same extent. Neoconservatism needs to die but gullible fools in both parties seem to embrace the insanity when their guy is in charge.

Hillary supports the same ideology as Bush but you guys will pretend to hate her and Dems will now say her plans are great. It's Americans who allow this insanity to continue.

Innes Mizner -> hyphenatedamerican

They called the Mujahadeen back then, and Carter then Reagan created them, armed them and trained them. Even a certain Bin Laden.

Innes Mizner -> azt24

Afghans and Saudis including Bin Laden were first trained by the US, and then the UK. Read the link I attached, Carter started this mass bloodshed and he isn't the least repentant. Yeah, that sweet old peanut farmer is almost as bad as Hitler. Shucks.

Innes Mizner -> azt24

I have already provided background information and proof he and his crew were trained in Scotland.

I assumed this was well known in the US, I mean before you invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

A lot of the other articles have been buried, but the BBC one is good, and if you give me a while I will dig out an SAS officer discussing this.

The Afghan Mujahideen were deported from their southern Scottish, and northern English, training grounds after the Lockerbie bombing. Nobody suspects them of being the cause of that crash, the biggest terrorist atrocity in the UK to date, but they were under the flight path and they were terrorists/freedom fighters training to down Soviet planes, so they were instantly deported to avoid media attention.

Innes Mizner -> hyphenatedamerican link
No, I'm claiming that the original fundamentalist Islamic extremist terrorist Mujadeen recruited by the CIA by Carter included Bin Laden's bodyguards and other Saudis.

I know that because I'm Scottish, they were trained in Scotland.

Guerrillas who protect US terror attack suspect Osama bin Laden were trained in Scotland, it has been alleged.

There used to be other more informative media links available, but it's more difficult for 'them' to 'retire' a widely linked BBC report.

Innes Mizner -> hyphenatedamerican link
No, I think that individual died before "Al Qaeda".

Are you aware "Al Qaeda" is a name assigned by western security agencies, they just adopted the name after we named them that?

This was written by the British foreign secretary at the time, Robin Cook, someone who had access to all the MI6 and NSA and CIA files:

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.
Innes Mizner -> Fresh
"American foreign policy has been a disaster since Kissinger"

I agree with your post but I'd roll it back 20 years. Kissinger extended the Vietnam debacle and extended it to create Pol Pot. A lot of Reagan's problems were clearing up his mess, and failing.

Eisenhower, FDR, those guys I admire. New Dealers who knew what war was.

CharlieSeattle -> Innes Mizner
Did ja ever wonder why Reagan gets the teary e/RINO "neocon" accolades and not Eisenhower?

Lets see...

Reagan embraced the Military Industrial Complex. Eisenhower warned America about the dangers of the MIC corrupting the US government.

Reagan granted amnesty to 3.5 million illegal aliens. Eisenhower deported them all after WWII in Operation Wet back.

Reagan administration was #6th worst scandalous, worse than Obama. Eisenhower administration was #23rd worst scandalous, only because of VP Nixon!

Face it, if Eisenhower was running for office today, the Reagan RINO "neocons" would KILL HIM!

I am very glad Trump is not like Reagan.

.............Trump/Eisenhower in 2016

veerkg_23 -> Innes Mizner
Pol Pot was a Chinese thing. The US supported the Royalists, whoever they were, in Cambodia. Mao decided he wanted a piece because he fear Soviet domination so formed the Khmer Rouge. Didn't turn out so well.
Innes Mizner -> veerkg_23
To begin with the Khmer Rouge were a local Nazi group that emerged from the ashes of Kissenger's cross border bombing. Then after they'd wiped out a third of their population neighbouring Vietnam invaded, ejected them and then retreated in one of the few genuine examples of military humanitarian interventions.

The Chinese did hate the Vietnamese, so that annoyed them. But it annoyed Reagan more, because you yanks also had a big hang up about Vietnam kicking your arse.

So Reagan sent in the Green Berets to train Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in guerilla tactics - and supply them with funds, weapons and diplomatic cover.

Then Iran-Contra broke, Reagan sacrificed Ollie North on that bonfire, withdrew the Green Berets from Cambodia, and instead persuaded Maggie Thatcher to send in the SAS to support the Khmer Rouge.

Now say what you want about Thatcher, but she was never a liar. She sent the SAS in and boasted about her support for the Khmer Rouge on 'Blue Peter', a British childrens TV programme.

None of that is widely known in the US, I know, but I can provide supporting links that prove what I've claimed here if you ask for any.

Innes Mizner -> hyphenatedamerican
Sigh.

Stop me when you have have read enough of my links, or when you need an explanation. I can go on and on without mentioning Chomsky.

Kris -> Innes Mizner link
Thanks, Innes. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like a link or two to read more about this, particularly US involvement.
Innes Mizner -> Kris link
NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, Daniele Ganser, 2005 Cass Press.

In yet another top-secret operation US Green Berets trained genocidal Khmer Rouge units in Cambodia after contact was established between Ray Cline, senior CIA agent and Steve Arnold, special adviser to US President Reagan. When the Iran Contra scandal got under way in 1983, President Reagan, fearing another unpleasant exposure, asked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to take over. She sent the SAS to train Pol Pot forces. 'We first went to Thailand in 1984' senior officials of the SAS (British equivalent of CIA) later testified, 'The Yanks and us work together; we're close like brothers they didn't like it anymore than we did. We trained the Khmer Rouge in a lot of technical stuff', the officer remembers. 'At first they wanted to go into the villages and just chop people up. We told them go easy'. The SAS felt uneasy with the operation and a lot of us would change sides given half a chance. That's how

Innes Mizner -> Kris
The Long Secret Alliance: Uncle Sam and Pol Pot, John Pilger, Covert Action Quarterly Fall 1997

Plus PDF

[Mar 11, 2016] Ron Paul thinks that some of the top candidates want to carpet bomb the world

www.mintpressnews.com

... ... ...

Paul's criticism of the presidential contenders didn't stop with Sanders and Trump.

"From a libertarian viewpoint, there is absolutely no meaningful difference between Hillary and Trump," he emphatically remarked. "I mean, they both support [the] military-industrial complex, the federal reserve, deficits, entitlements, invasion of our privacy."

Indeed, Paul summarized the absurdity of the 2016 election platforms, saying, "It's super-nationalistic populism versus socialism. That is so remote from what we need to be doing - we need to be moving ourselves away from tyranny toward liberty."

Asked if he would be endorsing any candidates, Paul explained there isn't a single person left in the race who fits libertarian ideals of limiting government and protecting individual liberties.

"Some of the top candidates want to carpet bomb the world," he said, shaking his head in disbelief. "No, a libertarian can't endorse this authoritarian approach."

leslymill • 4 days ago

I was a Ron Paul delegate and he is wrong. Trump in NOT for allowing my property, town, county, state or country to be overrun by lawless un-American criminals. I agree Trump is not a liberty candidate in many many ways that have me concerned. I am afraid Trump is out for power as much as to make america great again. I hope we force him to be surrounded by strong minded Constitutional conservatives, cause he is a much better person to take the oath of office than Hitlery Clinton.I will always listen to Ron Paul he is wiser than I am but here I don't completely agree. He is just disgusted. I am disgusted because many of us see our country going down and know Ron was the only one to fix it. Now all we can do is influence candidates with his way of Paulatics.

imsharon • 7 days ago

I do like Ron Paul in spite of the fact that I do NOT agree with his summation in regard to "what we need to be doing". As to his belief that we need to be limiting government, Paul is more Conservative Republican than he spouts. In my view, limiting Government is exactly what the GOP is about...replacing it with Corporate Power and total Control of our country, which has already gained a strong foothold.

colram -> imsharon • 5 days ago

For his entire career, Ron Paul has fought for the power of individuals to determine their own fate, without control by governments or corporations. The GOP is owned by corporations just as the democratic party is. Time for them to lose the power.

[Mar 10, 2016] War Is A Drug Images From The Eerie Syrian Ceasefire Zero Hedge

www.zerohedge.com

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.
Oxford University Press. (2015)
www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296422.001.0001...

Chin up, boys. Like Lt. Lockhart said in Full Metal Jacket: "In other words, it's a huge shit sandwich, and we're all gonna have to take a bite."

Life will not get any better, or at least much better, than it is already. And it's likely to get a whole lot worse tomorrow. There is true freedom in realizing that. The strength in personality is to grok the horrors of reality without retreating to the comfort of fantasy stories . Most aren't up to the task.

"The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive."
-
Ernest Becker
The Denial of Death

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  • Father Thyme , |

    "A Civilization is a dominant community that imposes its beliefs upon all other communities by violence, which must involve the use of genocide; so any community that recoils from inflicting genocide will suffer genocide."

    Philip Atkinson www.ourcivilisation.com

    Its war. Who wins? The winner. For what that's worth.

    It's worth life. For what that's worth.

    Father Thyme , |

    It's not a bad thing...

    Humans are neither good nor bad. Really.

    The best essay I've ever seen on the philosophical question of good/evil comes from an anarchist...and you know what I think of anarchist. (Im still willing to learn from my lessors.)

    Are humans essentially good, or essentially evil? This is one of the most basic, perennial questions in philosophy. Many identify our individual answers to this question as determing our political spectrum - conservatives believe humans are inherently evil, and require strict rules to make them good, while liberals believe humans are inherently good, and must simply be free to act on such goodness. Both positions are unrealistic. Humans are products of evolution, and evolution is unconcerned with such abstractions as "good" or "evil." As Aristotle said, humans are social animals. We are neither "good" nor "evil." We are only inherently social.

    Thesis #5: Humans are neither good nor evil.
    The Thirty Theses
    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-thirty-theses

    SteveNYC , |

    "How much can you know about yourself, if you've never been in a fight?"

    Father Thyme , |

    We're all in a fight, if you...

    "Think about it. We all start out the same way... a single sperm among 50 million other sperm, all desperate to get to one egg. To win. You, me, everyone else on the planet ever in history, we all won that 100-meter in-utero, winner-take-all race to mama's enchanted, life-giving egg. First prize? Life? Second prize? Death. Right. Now, you think we weren't throwing a few elbows? You think you weren't knocking a few other sperm over, stabbing 'em in the back just to get ahead, just to win? Thom, you don't win that kind of race without being an asshole. I mean, a huge asshole. Your problem is you think that assholes are some sort of anomaly, some sort of aberration. Nature is an asshole factory, my friend. If you exist, you're an asshole. You think, therefore you are, but you are, therefore you're an asshole."
    -
    Nature is an asshole making factory
    Happyish
    Showtime, 2015
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGjTHtPn_No

    new game , |

    merica is the destabilizing force , ongoing, as soon as order and boundries get established like wolves do, we will re-arrive on command from a secret message from our higher powers and stir the hornets nests. then we can claim democracy is in progress once again. now do you understand?

    THE SOLUTION IS... , |

    I am almost certain that at least some on the ground are more than aware of who orchestrated this nightmare (hell some probably get patched up in Israeli hospitals)...but I bet they are more concerned with the bastards shooting at them right now. However, it is certain that whatever the result of this mess, Israel has not made many new friends in the region...but once you realise that the whole purpose of Israel is to remain a weeping sore in the most resource rich region on earth everything starts to make sense.

    Israel is supposed to be a nightmare apartheid weapons testing ground murdering kids everyday. That way the Rothschild central bank owners in the three city states that comprise the City of London, Washington DC and the Vatican can extract resources from the surrounding countries for pennies on the dollar!!! The plan works perfectly when you think like a diabolical psychopath. If anything the poor Jewish people comprise a useful scapegoat that can at anytime be ditched and blamed once the resources in the region become depleted or the global economy moves beyond petroleum products. Israel is a vital lynchpin of the petrodollar like Saudi Arabia. I am actually quite sure that once supporting it is no longer profitable to the "west" it will be cut adrift. In fact, I believe that barring any Zionist plots, this process has already begun with the Iran deal. If oil becomes redundant or abundant in the next few centuries I actually expect the Israelis themselves will push for a peace deal before they get pushed into the sea. Any thoughts?

    THE SOLUTION IS... , |

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that Israel is a classic British colonial project. We British are renowned for transplanting foreigners into other peoples lands and hoovering up the resources that fall out of the inevitable bust up!! Just look at the Sri Lankan mess we made by importing Indians of a different religion to work the tea plantations...It caused a bloody nightmare for over a century whilst we extracted Ceylon's finest...It is kind of depressing when you think about how well it worked. Thankfully the Sri Lankans kicked us out once the jig was up but the damage it caused continued for decades after we left. Disgraceful really.

    TahoeBilly2012 , |

    Israel is a Rothchild backup State in case they ever got booted outta Europe.

    Kaleb , |

    Geepers, whose propoganda book did you pull this mess from? And as far as he US backing away from Israel, you're right on that one. But...its because of that Dangling Dingbat with a Loose Wingnut we got in DC and his slightly confused and murdering self destructing administration that's doing it. Not the "We the people" or is that "we the folk"

    [Mar 10, 2016] Do you remember five men being arrested by NYPD on 9-11 for filming and celebrating the attacks

    www.zerohedge.com

    Zero Hedge

    Submitted by hedgeless_horseman on 03/08/2016 13:14 -0500

    disbelief
    - noun - dis·be·lief \?dis-b?-?l?f\
    : a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real.

    >

    I cringe every time I see a, "9-11 Never Forget," bumper sticker, t-shirt, or beer coozie. I sigh and say to myself, "How can you never forget what you never knew?"

    There are many conspiracy theories surrounding 9-11, but this article focuses on just one conspiracy fact. The FBI released the, "Five Dancing Israelis," that were arrested by the NYPD on 9-11 for filming and celebrating the attacks on the WTC and driving around in a van that tested positive for explosives. These were admitted Mossad agents working undercover in the USA.

    Here is an interesting exercise that I invite all zerohedge readers to try. The next several times that you engage someone in a conversation, preferably a politician running for office , ask the following questions.

    Do you remember anything about five Middle Eastern men being arrested by the NYPD on 9-11 for filming and celebrating the attacks on the WTC and driving around Manhattan in a van that tested positive for explosives...these were admitted foreign intelligence agents working undercover in the USA?

    In asking this question dozens of times, most recently in a conversation with two rabbis at one of the five Holocaust Museums in Texas, I have personally never, not once, had a person answer yes.

    However, if they do answer yes to you, then ask if they recall what nation the men were from. I would be shocked to hear any American say, "Israel."

    If they answer no, tell them they were Israeli Mossad agents, and ask if that helps them to remember.

    Again, I have never had anyone say that they knew anything about what I was talking about. Not once, not in any city, nor in any state of the USA. If the conversation does continue, what I do hear, almost exclusively, is utter disbelief that what I am saying is true.

    But it is true.

    Now, consider that since 9-11, the USA has invaded and occupied what was once the sovereign nation of Afghanistan for almost 15 years and counting, allegedly due to the role it played in 9-11. We have spent billions upon billions of dollars and killed tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands, in this war effort.

    A girl who was burned beyond recognition by a U.S. drone in Afghanistan and left for dead in a trashcan before she had to undergo reconstructive surgery. The chemicals in the missiles burn so hot they can light a tank on fire, but this is somehow different from the chemical warfare allegedly waged by our enemy...

    Hellfire thermobaric warhead using a metal augmented explosive charge is used primarily in urban warfare, against bunkers, buildings caves and other concealed targets. This warhead is designed to inflict greater damage in multi-room structures, compared to the Hellfire's standard or blast-fragmentation warheads. The Metal Augmented Charge or MAC (Thermobaric) Hellfire, designated AGM-114N, has completed rapid development cycle in 2002 and was deployed during OIF by US Marines Helicopters in Iraq. The new warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder that is layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the explosive detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures. The AGM-114N is designed for deployment from helicopters such as the AH-1W or UAVs such as the Predator drones.

    http://defense-update.com/products/h/hellfire.htm

    I hear that more US soldiers serving in Afghanistan now die from suicide than are killed by the Afghanis, in what is now the longest war in American history . Yet, we are now in our third Presidential election in the USA since 9-11 and the occupation of Afghanistan, and the candidates aren't talking about any of this, and the Fourth Estate sure as hell isn't asking any questions.

    Why?

    Don't you want to know how the Presidential candidates feel about the fact that the FBI released the Five Dancing Israelis? What about your congressmen and senators? Don't you want to know how our nation can imprison Afghanis in Guantanamo Bay, without trial, and torture them for information regarding 9-11... for more than a decade ...yet the FBI released the Five Dancing Israelis to fly back to Israel and do television interviews .

    If our politicians respond with disbelief, like everyone else I have ever asked, then what does that tell us?

    If nobody from the Fourth Estate ever asks them these questions, then what does that tell us?

    If you are afraid to engage people with this type of conversation, then please read my article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-06/hedgelesshorsemans-revolutionar...

    Never forget: War is a racket!

    [Mar 09, 2016] Article Obama. Putin and the U.S. Election

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Russians have cooperated with the U.S. on the Iran deal and in trying to bring about a truce in Syria (their intervention was provoked by CIA "covert" weapons deals with jihadists against their ally Assad, the legally UN-recognized government), and in calming down the situation in Ukraine by a cease fire (another intervention initiated by the U.S.- E.U. role in overthrowing the legally elected government in that country and the installation of an ultraright-wing anti-Russian regime. ..."
    "... Cohen says the mass media in the U.S. attributes all these international problems to Russian aggression and to Putin's megalomania ["Putin's Russia"]. So while we play around with farcical political debates and a news media that misinforms rather than informs, Obama stealthily builds up the aggressive capabilities of U.S. imperialism and, consciously or unconsciously, further endangers the peace of the world and the future of humanity. ..."
    "... The Left is falling down on the job of warning the working class of the dangers it faces in the coming election. HRC has wrapped herself in the Obama legacy and will no doubt continue the march towards more wars and military adventures that the U.S. has embarked upon ever since Korea. The Republican candidates are no different in this respect. Whoever wins in November, the big losers will be the working class and the minorities who will continue to be abused and exploited by the U.S. ruling establishment. ..."
    "... This military build-up is part of the profit-generating foreign policy of the military-industrial complex. It justifies the transfer of billions of dollars in "defense" spending to the private coffers of the 1%. What are the chances that HRC will adopt a pro-peace agenda and come out against the U.S.- NATO build-up in Europe? Sanders is also weak on this issue but he can be more easily pressured to change, as cutting the military budget frees up money for the progressive changes to reduce income inequality that he favors and he is not beholden to the establishment. What is to be done? ..."
    Mar 07, 2016 | OpEdNews

    Why is Obama deliberately stirring up old Cold War tensions with Russia by ordering saber-rattling by the Pentagon and our puppet military alliance Nato? Professor Steven Cohen, writing in The Nation (2-29-16), says Obama is escalating the tensions with Russia in an unprecedented manner not seen since the days of Nazi Germany. These hostile actions are being basically ignored by the mass media and none of the presidential candidates in either party have addressed them in the debates except indirectly (Sanders and Clinton supporting NATO, Trump mentioning he wants to make a "deal" with Putin).

    The issue is Obama's decision to increase by 400% military expenditures and deployments on or near the Russian border by the U.S. and NATO. Such a huge concentration of Western military power on the Russian border has not been seen in modern times -- not even at the height of the Cold War. Cohen says Russia will have to respond by its own build-up including the positioning of advanced missiles. Thus the whole of Eastern Europe will become a tinderbox, increasing the probability of a regional war or worse if some minor incident flares up.

    This is, I might add, wholly unnecessary and reckless behavior on the part of Obama and his generals (the type of behavior a future President Cruz or Rubio are characterized of being capable of initiating). Why is this coming at the very time Russia is trying to de-escalate tensions with the U.S.?

    The Russians have cooperated with the U.S. on the Iran deal and in trying to bring about a truce in Syria (their intervention was provoked by CIA "covert" weapons deals with jihadists against their ally Assad, the legally UN-recognized government), and in calming down the situation in Ukraine by a cease fire (another intervention initiated by the U.S.- E.U. role in overthrowing the legally elected government in that country and the installation of an ultraright-wing anti-Russian regime.

    Cohen says the mass media in the U.S. attributes all these international problems to Russian aggression and to Putin's megalomania ["Putin's Russia"]. So while we play around with farcical political debates and a news media that misinforms rather than informs, Obama stealthily builds up the aggressive capabilities of U.S. imperialism and, consciously or unconsciously, further endangers the peace of the world and the future of humanity.

    The Left is falling down on the job of warning the working class of the dangers it faces in the coming election. HRC has wrapped herself in the Obama legacy and will no doubt continue the march towards more wars and military adventures that the U.S. has embarked upon ever since Korea. The Republican candidates are no different in this respect. Whoever wins in November, the big losers will be the working class and the minorities who will continue to be abused and exploited by the U.S. ruling establishment.

    The Left has, however, done its duty in one respect. There is a slight possibility the dire consequences enumerated above could be avoided or alleviated and that would be the election of Bernie Sanders as president. This event would open up progressive political action outside of the control of the establishment and could lead to a democratic renaissance in the U.S. The Left - Progressive movement has solidly backed Sanders (aside from some fringe elements). Unfortunately, the Left cannot agree on a Plan B. HRC's election would be a victory for the establishment and there is no third party that the Left is willing to unite behind.

    This military build-up is part of the profit-generating foreign policy of the military-industrial complex. It justifies the transfer of billions of dollars in "defense" spending to the private coffers of the 1%. What are the chances that HRC will adopt a pro-peace agenda and come out against the U.S.- NATO build-up in Europe? Sanders is also weak on this issue but he can be more easily pressured to change, as cutting the military budget frees up money for the progressive changes to reduce income inequality that he favors and he is not beholden to the establishment. What is to be done?

    Born Lake Worth, FL 1942. Educated FSU and Graduate Center CUNY. Currently teaching philosophy in NYC. Associate editor of Political Affairs online.

    [Mar 07, 2016] The Danger Of Media Blackout Zero Hedge

    Notable quotes:
    "... Of particular importance here is the term, "legitimate interests." With this term, the doctrine reveals that its goal is the suppression of other nations, regardless of whether their ambitions are reasonable or not. All that matters is US hegemony over the world. ..."
    "... Second, the sociopathic goals of those in power are a clear and present danger to the peace and well-being of the population. ..."
    "... "to combat and prevent Russian aggression." is merely NATO double-speak for... "To combat a Russian Counter-Attack to our First Strike to a National Coup. Bellarus is next. The boa-like encirclement of the USSR, er, I mean Russia , will continue." ..."
    "... Unfortunately for the war-makers, the game is up. More and more people have woken up to the lies. NATO has overplayed its hand, and its propaganda is just not believed any more. ..."
    "... WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. ..."
    "... The imperialism of the United States began well before Paul Wolfowitz. He's simply turned the tradition into one of perpetual warfare. When I think of Dantes nine circles of hell, I can't help but imagine him & Dick Cheney in the center. ..."
    "... We've been in a media blackout since November 22, 1963. ..."
    "... We had some dinner guests over, and the topic of the situation in Ukraine came up. I took the position that the US/EU helped stage the coup that tossed the elected government of Yanukovych, and that the current government is illegitimate, not to mention Nazi thugs. And that the trigger was Yanukovych intending to accept the Russian bail-out, turning his back on the punitive EU austerity program. I didn't even get into the US being pissed at Russia for blocking their Syrian/Assad regime change operation at the UN security council, and were intent on making Russia pay for their insolence. ..."
    "... Our guests were incredulous that I took that position, accusing me of falling for Russian propaganda. Their view is that it was a popular rebellion against a corrupt government, that Russia illegally and forcibly annexed Crimea, and that Russia continues to kill Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil. Any US involvement is/was for the good of the Ukrainian people. ..."
    "... Mission accomplished. And I don't see it changing. MSM blankets North America with western propaganda so thoroughly that otherwise intelligent people don't recognize it as such. Espousing an alternative worldview, and one gets labelled a conspiracy nut or a Putin sympathizer. Sooo Orwellian. ..."
    www.zerohedge.com
    Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

    Recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a press conference with about 150 journalists from around the world, including representatives of the western media.

    Mister Lavrov was brief and concise; however, the question period lasted for some two hours. A breadth of topics was discussed, including the re-convening of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, diplomatic relations in Georgia and, tellingly, the increasingly fragile relations with the US. This has not been reported on in Western media.

    This followed close on the heels of reports (again, not to be found in Western media) that the US has quadrupled its budget for the re-armament of NATO in Europe (from $750 million to $3 billion), most of which is to be applied along the Russian border. The decision was explained as being necessary "to combat and prevent Russian aggression."

    It should be mentioned that this decision, no matter how rash it may be, is not a random incident. It's a component of the US' decidedly imperialist Wolfowitz Doctrine of 1992. This doctrine, never intended for public release, outlined a policy of military aggression to assure that the US would reign as the world's sole superpower and, in so-doing, establish the US as the leader within a new world order. In part, its stated goal is,

    "[That] the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests."

    Of particular importance here is the term, "legitimate interests." With this term, the doctrine reveals that its goal is the suppression of other nations, regardless of whether their ambitions are reasonable or not. All that matters is US hegemony over the world.

    Clearly, relations are reaching a dangerous level. The Russian message has repeatedly been, "Stop, before it's too late," yet Washington has reacted by stepping up its threat of hegemony. If the major powers do not call "time out", world war could easily be on the horizon . Yet, incredibly, it appears that the Russian press conference has received zero coverage in the West. No British, French, German, or US television network has made a single comment. As eager as the Russians have been to get the word out as to their concerns, there has been a complete blackout of reporting it in the West.

    Russia Insider has published an article on the internet, but little else appears to be available.

    Today, the internet allows us to tap into information from every country in the world. Both official and non-official versions of the reports are available, if we know where to find them. And for those who have the time to do so, and take the time to do so, it's possible to stay abreast of The Big Picture, although, admittedly, it's a major undertaking to do so.

    Separating the wheat from the chaff is the greatest difficulty in this pursuit; however, as events unfold, a trend is being revealed – that the world is becoming divided with regard to information. In most of the world, there's an expanse of available information, but, increasingly, the US, EU, and their allies are revealing a pattern of information removal . Whatever does not fit the US/EU position on events never reaches the public.

    A half-century ago, this was the case in the USSR, China, and several smaller countries where tyranny had so taken hold that all news was filtered. The people of these countries had a limited understanding as to what was truly occurring in the world, particularly with regard to their own leaders' actions on the world stage.

    However, in recent decades, that tyranny has dissipated to a great degree and those countries that had been isolationist with regard to public information are now opening up more and more. Certainly, their governments still prefer that their press provide reporting that's favourable to the government, but the general direction has been toward greater openness.

    Conversely, the West – that group of countries that was formerly called "the Free World" – has increasingly been going in the opposite direction. The media have been fed an ever-narrower version of what their governments have been up to internationally.

    The overall message that's received by the Western public is essentially that there are good countries (the US, EU, and allies) and bad countries whose governments and peoples seek to destroy democracy. Western propaganda has it that these bad countries will not stop until they've reached your home and robbed you of all your freedoms.

    The view from outside this cabal is a very different one. The remainder of the world view the attacks by US-led forces (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria, etc.) as a bid for world dominance. In examining the Wolfowitz Doctrine, this would seem to be exactly correct.

    This is not to say, however, that the people of the NATO countries are entirely on-board with this aggression. In fact, if they were allowed to know the ultimate objective of the NATO aggression, it's entirely likely that they would oppose it.

    And, of course, that's exactly the point of the blackout. A country, or group of countries, that seeks peace and fair competition, with equal opportunity for all, need not resort to a media blackout. The average citizen, wherever he may live, generally seeks only to be allowed to live in freedom and to get on with his life. Whilst every country has its Generals Patton, its Napoleons, its Wolfowitzes, who are sociopathically obsessive over world domination, the average individual does not share this pathology.

    Therefore, whenever we observe a nation (or nations) creating a media blackout, we can be assured of two things.

    First, the nation has, at some point, been taken over (either through election, appointment, or a combination of the two) by leaders who are a danger to the citizenry and are now so entrenched that they have little opposition from those remaining few higher-ups who would prefer sanity.

    Second, the sociopathic goals of those in power are a clear and present danger to the peace and well-being of the population.

    In almost all such cases, the blackout causes the population to go willingly along each time their leaders make another advance toward warfare. They may understand that they will be directly impacted and worry about the possible outcome but, historically, they tend to put on the uniform and pick up the weapon when the time comes to "serve the country."

    Trouble is, this by no means "serves the country." It serves leaders who have become a danger to the country. The people themselves are the country. It is they, not their leaders, who will go off to battle and it is they who will pay the price of their leaders' zeal for domination.

    Kirk2NCC1701

    "to combat and prevent Russian aggression." is merely NATO double-speak for... "To combat a Russian Counter-Attack to our First Strike to a National Coup. Bellarus is next. The boa-like encirclement of the USSR, er, I mean Russia , will continue."

    FIFY

    BarnacleBill ,

    Unfortunately for the war-makers, the game is up. More and more people have woken up to the lies. NATO has overplayed its hand, and its propaganda is just not believed any more.

    http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2016/01/nato-overplays-its-hand.html

    hedgeless_horseman ,

    WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

    A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of
    the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit
    of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge
    fortunes.

    In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new
    millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That
    many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war
    millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

    How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench?
    How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of
    them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun
    bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were
    wounded or killed in battle?

    https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt

    Proctologist ,

    The imperialism of the United States began well before Paul Wolfowitz. He's simply turned the tradition into one of perpetual warfare. When I think of Dantes nine circles of hell, I can't help but imagine him & Dick Cheney in the center.

    SillySalesmanQu... ,

    We've been in a media blackout since November 22, 1963.

    MedicalQuack ,

    It's called News Rigging, 60% of what you read is written by bots, so just spin one up and off you go and works good to create knock off news too, technology is smarter than most realize. One guy wrote 10k books with a bot and put them on sale at Amazon..

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2015/04/news-rigging-has-arrived-astroturf-and.html

    swmnguy,

    Wolfowitz is just an apologist for what's already been going on. So is Zbigniew Brzezinski. It's the same insane megalomania Kubrick skewered in "Dr. Strangelove." By this time it's gone on long enough the host is being drained dangerously low. But it's not anything new.

    VWAndy ,

    Banker wars and fiat games in a never ending cycle.

    rainingFrogs,

    Well this information removal strategy seems to be working quite well.

    We had some dinner guests over, and the topic of the situation in Ukraine came up. I took the position that the US/EU helped stage the coup that tossed the elected government of Yanukovych, and that the current government is illegitimate, not to mention Nazi thugs. And that the trigger was Yanukovych intending to accept the Russian bail-out, turning his back on the punitive EU austerity program. I didn't even get into the US being pissed at Russia for blocking their Syrian/Assad regime change operation at the UN security council, and were intent on making Russia pay for their insolence.

    Our guests were incredulous that I took that position, accusing me of falling for Russian propaganda. Their view is that it was a popular rebellion against a corrupt government, that Russia illegally and forcibly annexed Crimea, and that Russia continues to kill Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil. Any US involvement is/was for the good of the Ukrainian people.

    Mission accomplished. And I don't see it changing. MSM blankets North America with western propaganda so thoroughly that otherwise intelligent people don't recognize it as such. Espousing an alternative worldview, and one gets labelled a conspiracy nut or a Putin sympathizer. Sooo Orwellian.

    [Mar 07, 2016] Do We Need To Rebuild The Military

    Notable quotes:
    "... What does "rebuild the military" mean? Has the budget been gutted? Have the useless weapons programs like the F-35 finally been shut down? No, the United States still spends more on its military than the next 14 countries combined. And the official military budget is only part of the story. The total spending on the US empire is well over one trillion dollars per year. Under the Obama Administration the military budget is still 41 percent more than it was in 2001, and seven percent higher than at the peak of the Cold War. ..."
    "... Russia, which the neocons claim is the greatest threat to the United States, spends about one-tenth what we do on its military. China, the other "greatest threat," has a military budget less than 25 percent of ours. ..."
    "... I would rebuild it in a very different way, however. I would not rebuild it according to the demands of the military-industrial complex, which cares far more about getting rich than about protecting our country. I would not rebuild the military so that it can overthrow more foreign governments who refuse to do the bidding of Washington's neocons. I would not rebuild the military so that it can better protect our wealthy allies in Europe, NATO, Japan, and South Korea. I would not rebuild the military so that it can better occupy countries overseas and help create conditions for blowback here at home. ..."
    "... No. The best way to really "rebuild" the US military would be to stop abusing the military in the first place. The purpose of the US military is to defend the United States. It is not to make the world safe for oil pipelines, or corrupt Gulf monarchies, or NATO, or Israel. Unlike the neocons who are so eager to send our troops to war, I have actually served in the US military. I understand that to keep our military strong we must constrain our foreign policy. We must adopt a policy of non-intervention and a strong defense of this country. The neocons will weaken our country and our military by promoting more war. We need to "rebuild" the military by restoring as its mission the defense of the United States, not of Washington's overseas empire. ..."
    "... Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute ..."
    March 6, 2016 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
    The Republican presidential debates have become so heated and filled with insults, it almost seems we are watching a pro wrestling match. There is no civility, and I wonder whether the candidates are about to come to blows. But despite what appears to be total disagreement among them, there is one area where they all agree. They all promise that if elected they will "rebuild the military."

    What does "rebuild the military" mean? Has the budget been gutted? Have the useless weapons programs like the F-35 finally been shut down? No, the United States still spends more on its military than the next 14 countries combined. And the official military budget is only part of the story. The total spending on the US empire is well over one trillion dollars per year. Under the Obama Administration the military budget is still 41 percent more than it was in 2001, and seven percent higher than at the peak of the Cold War.

    Russia, which the neocons claim is the greatest threat to the United States, spends about one-tenth what we do on its military. China, the other "greatest threat," has a military budget less than 25 percent of ours.

    Last week the Pentagon announced it is sending a small naval force of US warships to the South China Sea because, as Commander of the US Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee, China is militarizing the area. Yes, China is supposedly militarizing the area around China, so the US is justified in sending its own military to the area. Is that a wise use of the US military?

    The US military maintains over 900 bases in 130 countries. It is actively involved in at least seven wars right now, including in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and elsewhere. US Special Forces are deployed in 134 countries across the globe. Does that sound like a military that has been gutted?

    I do not agree with the presidential candidates, but I do agree that the military needs to be rebuilt. I would rebuild it in a very different way, however. I would not rebuild it according to the demands of the military-industrial complex, which cares far more about getting rich than about protecting our country. I would not rebuild the military so that it can overthrow more foreign governments who refuse to do the bidding of Washington's neocons. I would not rebuild the military so that it can better protect our wealthy allies in Europe, NATO, Japan, and South Korea. I would not rebuild the military so that it can better occupy countries overseas and help create conditions for blowback here at home.

    No. The best way to really "rebuild" the US military would be to stop abusing the military in the first place. The purpose of the US military is to defend the United States. It is not to make the world safe for oil pipelines, or corrupt Gulf monarchies, or NATO, or Israel. Unlike the neocons who are so eager to send our troops to war, I have actually served in the US military. I understand that to keep our military strong we must constrain our foreign policy. We must adopt a policy of non-intervention and a strong defense of this country. The neocons will weaken our country and our military by promoting more war. We need to "rebuild" the military by restoring as its mission the defense of the United States, not of Washington's overseas empire.


    Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

    Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

    [Mar 07, 2016] Vijay Prashad The Foreign Policy of the 1%

    Notable quotes:
    "... This BRILLIANT presentation should be heard (and I hope RNN runs it in print so that it can be copied, old-style, and distributed on 'paper')..absorbed as a concise, integrated history of globalization-the neo-imperialist policy that continues from the 19th-20thc. imperialism... and revealed as a continuation process of global capitalism & its "1%" class. ..."
    "... One of the most important takeaways, though not a necessarily new one but one worth reiterating, is that national boundaries in terms of the US and the 1% are of no importance since a world domination economic empire is the goal. ..."
    "... The bloated US imperial military budget reflects how the 99% at home fund this empire, of course they never voting for it. The military is not a US military--it is the military of the 1% and global capitalism. This actually should be the meme that those trying to raise consciousness put forth, since those on the left and the right from the middle and lower classes can begin to see the whole electoral mirage for what it is. ..."
    "... Clearly the methods concerned human beings are using to address the madness of the elites and their corporate/military state have had absolutely no impact: Poverty is more rampant now than ever before, the gap between rich and poor very much wider and the number of wars keeps increasing, especially the race war against the Arab people. ..."
    "... Big Brother's web of deception is weakening. The ranks of unbelievers grows daily. But does the cynicism beget People Power or Donald Trump? ..."
    "... Dear DreamJoe. I think you're right that BB's web of deception is weakening, but I doubt that it's weakened enough. I'm sure you understand the 'deep state' concept. It does not matter which flunkeys the "people" elect; the deep state continues to run the show. What's going on now is all bread and circuses; it means nothing. ..."
    "... Bernie and Donald are manifestations of a deeper systemic failures that have changed everything for millions of people. B & D will come and go, but that crisis will remain, and will become more acute. ..."
    "... why do American politicians become incontinent when they mention Saudi Arabia ..."
    "... recycling mechanism for capitalism ..."
    "... there is a suicidal death pact between the West and Saudi Arabia ..."
    "... Protecting oligarchs investments and rate of return on shareholders gains is worlds burden we are told a needed evil in order to advance GROWTH endlessly. Growth code word for consolidation of power and wealth by ownership consolidation globally by one percent. ..."
    "... For many years I would have been agreeing with you...after 50 years I have recognized that in the scheme of things, no 'change' (from tribal to private property, from feudalism to capitalism) has 'just happened'...magically born clean & clear. The process is messy, no clear beginning or even END is really possible to see. History is filled with ironies and this time its the Dem Arm of the Duopoly letting Bernie in- as an artificial straw-man candidate to make Hillary's campaign appear to be a contest between the 'idealist' and 'the realist' and not the global coronation it is --- let in by mistake (just as every power elite has miscalculated & underestimated the powerful yearning for more justice & liberty& instinctive anger at the few that enslave the majority (thru history 'The 99%'...). ..."
    "... So long as he rises to militarily protect "National Interests" abroad - read: imperial billionaire class interests - he's really one of them. ..."
    "... He could be doing exactly what Trump is doing except from the populist left perspective: taking down the duopoly's both corporate mafia houses with uncompromising fervor. ..."
    "... Excellent discussion and lecture. A very important part of the 'due diligence' of democratic participation and research by the people. ..."
    therealnews.com
    SettingTheNarrative, link
    Be nice to have a book called "The Foreign Policy of the 1%". Maybe include references to GATT, TPP, oil wars as mentioned in the presentation.

    Other questions:

    1) How does Foreign Policy of 1%: tie to Economic Hitman, John Perkins?
    2) How does Foreign Policy of 1%: tie to conservative founders like Jeane Kirkpatrick?
    3) How does Foreign Policy of 1%: tie to rise to Regan Revolution? Trump?

    ForDemocracy, link
    This BRILLIANT presentation should be heard (and I hope RNN runs it in print so that it can be copied, old-style, and distributed on 'paper')..absorbed as a concise, integrated history of globalization-the neo-imperialist policy that continues from the 19th-20thc. imperialism... and revealed as a continuation process of global capitalism & its "1%" class.

    Deepest thanks to Vijay Prashad...and to others like professor Bennis (present in the audience)... whose in-depth analysis of the system can, if studied, contribute to putting the nascent 'political revolution' Bernie calls for...into a real democratic movement in this country. We are so woefully ignorant as 'members of the 99%'- it seems worst of all in America-- intentionally kept isolated from knowing anything about this country/corporation's 'foreign policy' (aka as Capitalist system policy or 'the 1% policy) that Bernie cannot even broach what Vijay has given here. But he at least opens up some of our can of worms, the interrconnectdedness of class-interests and the devastation this country's (and the global cabal of ) capitalist voracious economic interests rains upon the planet.

    The Mid-East is a product of Capitalism that will, if we don't recognize the process & change course & priorties, will soon overtake all of Africa and all 'undeveloped' (pre-Capitalist) countries around the globe--The destruction and never-ending blur of war and annihilation of peoples, cultures and even the possibility of 'political evolution' is a product of the profit-at-any-and-all-costs that is the hidden underbelly of a system of economics that counts humanity as nothing. It is a sick system. It is a system whose sickness brings death to all it touches... and we are seeing now it is bringing ITS OWN DEATH as well.

    The '99% policy' (again a phrase Prashad should be congratulated for bringing into the language) is indeed one that understands that our needs --the people's needs, not 'national interests' AKA capitalist corporate/financial interests --- are global, that peace projects are essentially anti-capitalist projects.... and our needs-to build a new society here in the U.S. must begin to be linked to seeing Capitalism as the root cause of so much suffering that must be replaced by true democratic awakening a- r/evolutionary process that combines economic and civic/political -- that we must support in every way possible. Step One: support the movement for changed priorities & values by voting class-consciously.

    Trainee Christian, link
    The 1% or the oligarchy have completely won the world, our only way to fight against such power is to abandon buying their products, take great care on who you vote for in any election, only people who have a long record of social thinking should be considers. They can be diminished but not beaten.
    Sillyputta, link
    One of the most important takeaways, though not a necessarily new one but one worth reiterating, is that national boundaries in terms of the US and the 1% are of no importance since a world domination economic empire is the goal.

    The bloated US imperial military budget reflects how the 99% at home fund this empire, of course they never voting for it. The military is not a US military--it is the military of the 1% and global capitalism. This actually should be the meme that those trying to raise consciousness put forth, since those on the left and the right from the middle and lower classes can begin to see the whole electoral mirage for what it is.

    denden11, link
    All of what's been said about the elites, the one percent, has already been said many years ago. The conversation about the wealthy elites destroying our world has changed only in the area of how much of our world has and is being destroyed. Absolutely nothing else has changed, nothing else.

    Clearly the methods concerned human beings are using to address the madness of the elites and their corporate/military state have had absolutely no impact: Poverty is more rampant now than ever before, the gap between rich and poor very much wider and the number of wars keeps increasing, especially the race war against the Arab people. Meanwhile, as we continue to speak the ocean is licking at our doorstep, the average mean temperature has ticked up a few notches and we are all completely distracted by which power hungry corporate zealot is going to occupy the office which is responsible for making our human condition even more dire. The circus that is this election is merely a ploy by the elites to make us believe that we actually do have a choice. Uh-huh; yet if I were to suggest what REALLY needs to be done to save the human race I would be in a court which functions only to impoverish those of us who try to speak the truth of our situation objectively. The 'Justice' system's only function is to render us powerless. Whether one is guilty or innocent is completely irrelevant anymore. All they have to do is file charges and they have your wealth. Good luck to all of us as we all talk ourselves to death.

    Vivienne Perkins -> denden11, link
    Dear denden11: You get gold stars in heaven as far as I'm concerned for telling the exact truth
    in the plainest possible terms. Bravissimo. "Talk/ing/ ourselves to death" is, I'm sorry to say, what we are doing. I've been working on these issues for forty years, looking for an exit from this completely interlocked system. I'm sorry to say I haven't seen the exit. I do understand how we have painted ourselves into this corner over the past 250 years (since the so-called Enlightenment), but without repentance on our part and grace on God's part, we're doomed because we all believe the Big Lies pumped into us moment by moment by Big Brother. And it's the Big Lies that keep us terminally confused and fragmented.
    Trainee Christian ->Vivienne Perkins link
    Well-done, you know the truth.
    dreamjoehill -> Vivienne Perkins link
    Don't Believe the Hype was an NWA rap anthem over twenty year ago. I always liked the shouted line, "And I don't take Ritalin!"

    Big Brother's web of deception is weakening. The ranks of unbelievers grows daily. But does the cynicism beget People Power or Donald Trump?

    In defeat, will Sander's campaign supporters radicalize or demoralize into apathy or tepid support for Hillary - on the grounds that she's less of an evil than Trumpty Dumbty?

    If not defeated, will Sanders and his campaign mobilize the People to fight the powers that be? Otherwise, he has no real power base, short of selling out on his domestic spending promises and becoming another social democratic lapdog for Capital- like Tony Blair.

    Vivienne Perkins -> dreamjoehill link
    Dear DreamJoe. I think you're right that BB's web of deception is weakening, but I doubt that it's weakened enough. I'm sure you understand the 'deep state' concept. It does not matter which flunkeys the "people" elect; the deep state continues to run the show. What's going on now is all bread and circuses; it means nothing.
    dreamjoehill -> Vivienne Perkins link
    As material conditions change drastically for tens of millions of USAns, the old propaganda loses effect. New propaganda is required to channel the new class tensions. Still an opening may be created. People can't heat their homes with propaganda, the kids are living in the basement and grandpa can't afford a nursing home and he's drinking himself to death. That's the new normal, or variations on it for a lot of people who don't believe the hype anymore.

    Bernie and Donald are manifestations of a deeper systemic failures that have changed everything for millions of people. B & D will come and go, but that crisis will remain, and will become more acute.

    Interesting times.

    WaveRunnerMN , link
    Great work Vijay...got my "filters" back on. Cut and pasted original comment below despite TRNN labeling of "time of posting" which is irrelevant at this point.

    Wow...now that I got my rational filters back on this was a great piece by Vijay and succinctly states what many of us who "attempt" to not only follow ME events but to understand not only the modern history by the motives of the major players in the region. Thanks for this piece and others...looking forward to the others.

    WaveRunnerMN -> WaveRunnerMN link
    Posted earlier while my mind was on 2016 election cycle watching MSM in "panic mode"

    Thought this was going to be a rational discussion on US foreign policy until the part on ? "Trumps Red Book". I had hoped to rather hear, "The Red Book of the American Templars" ...taking from the Knights Templar in Europe prior the collapse of the feudal system. I will say that Vijay's comment on Cruz was quite appropriate though it would also have been better to not only put it into context but also illustrate that Cruz's father Rafael Cruz believes in a system contrary to the founding ideals of the US Constitution: He states in an interview with mainstream media during his son's primary campaign that [to paraphrase] "secularism is evil and corrupt". Here is an excerpt of his bio from Wiki:

    "During an interview conducted by the Christian Post in 2014, Rafael Cruz stated, "I think we cannot separate politics and religion; they are interrelated. They've always been interrelated."[29] Salon described Cruz as a "Dominionist, devoted to a movement that finds in Genesis a mandate that 'men of faith' seize control of public institutions and govern by biblical principle."[30] However, The Public Eye states that Dominionists believe that the U.S. Constitution should be the vehicle for remaking America as a Christian nation.[31]"

    Fareed Zakaria interviewed a columnist from the Wall Street Journal today on Fareed's GPS program and flatly asked him [paraphrased], "Is not the Wall Street Journal responsible for creating the racist paradigm that Trump took advantage of "? Let us begin with rational dialogue and not demagogy. Quite frankly with regard to both Cruz and Trump [in context of the 2016 elections cycle] a more insightful comment would have been...Change cannot come from within the current electoral processes here in the US with Citizen's United as its "masthead" and "Corporations are people as its rallying cry"!

    Alice X link
    Thank you, a valuable piece. There are a number of takeaway quotes, but the ringer for me was from Ray McGovern (rhetorically):
    why do American politicians become incontinent when they mention Saudi Arabia

    Shortly thereafter Vijay Prashad in what he calls the Saudi post 1970s recycling mechanism for capitalism says:

    there is a suicidal death pact between the West and Saudi Arabia
    WaveRunnerMN ->Alice X link
    Not the West....just the F.I.R.E industries...driving the housing bubble; shopping malls; office buildings; buying municipal bonds [as they the municipalities bought and built prisons; jails; SWAT vehicles and security equipment (developed by the Israelis); and keeping the insurance companies afloat while AllState had time after Katrina to pitch their subsidiaries allowing these subsidiaries to file for bankruptcy]...now all the maintenance expense is coming due and cities and counties are going broke... along with the Saudi investments here in US.
    itsthethird link
    Protecting oligarchs investments and rate of return on shareholders gains is worlds burden we are told a needed evil in order to advance GROWTH endlessly. Growth code word for consolidation of power and wealth by ownership consolidation globally by one percent. What about the 99 percent? While populations simply need and want also income and investment security globally.

    What about populations in massive consumer debt for education, housing, etc. to fund one percent Growth. Laborers across globe are all in same boat simply labor for food without anything else to pass along to progeny but what is most important ethics. A world government established by corporatism advantage by authority of law and advantage all directed toward endless returns to oligarchy family cartels is not an acceptable world organization of division of resources because it is tranny, exclusive, extraction and fraudulent. Such madness does NOT float all boats.

    All this while oligarchs control Taxation of government authority and hidden excessive investment and fraud return taxation. While Governments in west don't even jail corporate criminals while west claims law is just while skewed in favor of protecting one percent, their returns on investment and investments. Billionaires we find in some parts of so called Unjust regions of world not yet on board with cartel game are calling out fraud that harms individuals and society aggressively.

    TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian court has sentenced a well-known tycoon to death for corruption linked to oil sales during the rule of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the judiciary spokesman said Sunday.

    Babak Zanjani and two of his associates were sentenced to death for "money laundering," among other charges, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi said in brief remarks broadcast on state TV. He did not identify the two associates. Previous state media reports have said the three were charged with forgery and fraud.

    "The court has recognized the three defendants as 'corruptors on earth' and sentenced them to death," said Ejehi. "Corruptors on earth" is an Islamic term referring to crimes that are punishable by death because they have a major impact on society. The verdict, which came after a nearly five-month trial, can be appealed.

    sisterlauren link
    Looking forward to a transcript. I really enjoyed listening to this live yesterday.
    aprescoup link
    So when Bernie winds up on the regime change band wagon (of mostly leftist governments) and stays silent in the face of US aided and approved of coups (Honduras/Zelaya being the next most recent before Ukraine) while railing against the billionaire class on Wall Street and the neoliberal trade agreements, he's not only missing the elephant in the room; he's part of this elephant.
    ForDemocracy -> aprescoup link
    For many years I would have been agreeing with you...after 50 years I have recognized that in the scheme of things, no 'change' (from tribal to private property, from feudalism to capitalism) has 'just happened'...magically born clean & clear. The process is messy, no clear beginning or even END is really possible to see. History is filled with ironies and this time its the Dem Arm of the Duopoly letting Bernie in- as an artificial straw-man candidate to make Hillary's campaign appear to be a contest between the 'idealist' and 'the realist' and not the global coronation it is --- let in by mistake (just as every power elite has miscalculated & underestimated the powerful yearning for more justice & liberty& instinctive anger at the few that enslave the majority (thru history 'The 99%'...).

    And as all past power-elites have done, our '1%' has misread the age-old evolution of culture when an old system NO LONGER WORKS that makes freedom, imagination & rebellion more acceptable more attractive, more exciting and NECESSARY. Then, once energized BY NEED, DESIRE, and yes HOPE....change begins and can't be stopped like a slow-moving rain that keeps moving. As with past eras & past changes, in our own day this 'millennial plus 60's' powerful generational tide is JUST BEGINNING to feel our strength & ability. Turning what was supposed to be a globalist-coronation into what right now certainly seems like a step towards real change, towards building a recognition of the power, we 'the 99%' can --IF WE ACT WISELY & WITH COMMITTMENT begin the work of creating a new world.

    Criticising Bernie is criticizing the real way progress works...We need to get out of an ego-centric adolescent approach to human problem-solving, understand we need to keep our movement growing even if it doesn't look the WAY WE EXPECTED IT TO LOOK...keep clear on GOALS that Bernie's campaign is just a part of. The 'left' needs to recognize its our historic moment: to either move ahead or SELF-destruct.. Impatience needs to be replaced by a serious look down the road for our children's future. If we don't, the power elite of the System wins again (vote Hillary?? don't vote??). We need to take a breath & rethink how change really happens because this lost opportunity Is a loss we can no longer afford. The movement must be 'bigger than Bernie'.

    WaveRunnerMN -> aprescoup link
    I just hope he does not get forced to resign which the L-MSM is now beginning to parrot so Hillary can win given the huge turnouts the Repugs are getting in the primaries. I want to see four candidates at the National Convention...in addition to Third parties.
    itsthethird -> aprescoup, link
    No one can be elected Commander and Chief by stating they will not defend oligarchs interests as well as populations interests. We agree populations interests are negated and subverted all over earth . That cannot be changed by armed rebellion but it can be changed by electing electable voices of reason such as Sanders. Sanders will fight to protect populations and resist oligarchy war mongering while holding oligarchs accountable. Sanders will address corrupted law and injustice. Vote Sanders.
    Trainee Christian -> itsthethird, link
    You are probably correct in your thinking, but the real power will never allow any potential effective changes to the system that is. People who try usually end up dead.
    itsthethird -> Trainee Christian , link
    This is why we must as citizens become active players in government far greater then we are today, we must do far more then voting. We must have time from drudgery of earning a substandard wage that forces most to have little time for advancing democracy. Without such time oligarchs and one percent end-up controlling everything.

    We can BEGIN the march toward mountain top toward socializations which will promote aware individualizations. We don't expect we will advance anything without oppositions in fact we expect increased attacks. Those increased attacks can become our energy that unites masses as we all observe the insanity they promote as our direction. We merely must highlight insanity and path forward toward sanity. Nothing can make lasting change this generation the march will take generations. The speed advance only will depend on how foolish oligarchs are at attempts to subvert public awareness seeking change. As they become more desperate our movements become stronger. We must refrain from violence for that is only thing that can subvert our movement.

    aprescoup -> itsthethird link
    So long as he rises to militarily protect "National Interests" abroad - read: imperial billionaire class interests - he's really one of them.

    Maybe this will help:

    Vijay Prashad: The Foreign Policy of the 1% - http://therealnews.com/t2/inde...

    Johnny Prescott -> itsthethird link
    What exactly leads you to contend that Sanders is going to "resist oligarchy war mongering"?
    aprescoup -> sisterlauren link
    He could be doing exactly what Trump is doing except from the populist left perspective: taking down the duopoly's both corporate mafia houses with uncompromising fervor.

    Instead he does the LOTE thing for the neoliberal-neocon party "D". That's just dishonest bullshit opportunism.

    Rob M -> aprescoup link
    Opportunism with good intent...I'll take that.
    jo ellis , link
    Do not receives daily email for a long time without clue why? so haven't in contact with TRN's daily report until subject video appears on youtube website. and impressed by the panelists's congregated pivotal works done thru all these years.
    Serenity NOW , link
    important lecture for those who want to better understand the crises of capitalism and globalization.
    William W Haywood , link
    Excellent discussion and lecture. A very important part of the 'due diligence' of democratic participation and research by the people.

    [Mar 07, 2016] The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Murder Is Washington's Foreign Policy

    Notable quotes:
    "... Washington has a long history of massacring people, for example, the destruction of the Plains Indians by the Union war criminals Sherman and Sheridan and the atomic bombs dropped on Japanese civilian populations, but Washington has progressed from periodic massacres to fulltime massacring. From the Clinton regime forward, massacre of civilians has become a defining characteristic of the United States of America. ..."
    "... Washington is responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia and Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and part of Syria. Washington has enabled Saudi Arabia's attack on Yemen, Ukraine's attack on its former Russian provinces, and Israel's destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian people. ..."
    "... In a recent article , Mattea Kramer points out that Washington has added to its crimes the mass murder of civilians with drones and missile strikes on weddings, funerals, children's soccer games, medical centers and people's homes. Nothing can better illustrate the absence of moral integrity and moral conscience of the American state and the population that tolerates it than the cavalier disregard of the thousands of murdered innocents as "collateral damage." ..."
    "... violence creates terrorists ..."
    "... The only possible conclusion is that under Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama the US government has become an unaccountable, lawless, criminal organization and is a danger to the entire world and its own citizens. ..."
    ronpaulinstitute.org

    Washington has a long history of massacring people, for example, the destruction of the Plains Indians by the Union war criminals Sherman and Sheridan and the atomic bombs dropped on Japanese civilian populations, but Washington has progressed from periodic massacres to fulltime massacring. From the Clinton regime forward, massacre of civilians has become a defining characteristic of the United States of America.

    Washington is responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia and Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and part of Syria. Washington has enabled Saudi Arabia's attack on Yemen, Ukraine's attack on its former Russian provinces, and Israel's destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian people.

    The American state's murderous rampage through the Middle East and North Africa was enabled by the Europeans who provided diplomatic and military cover for Washington's crimes. Today the Europeans are suffering the consequences as they are over-run by millions of refugees from Washington's wars. The German women who are raped by the refugees can blame their chancellor, a Washington puppet, for enabling the carnage from which refugees flee to Europe.

    In a recent article, Mattea Kramer points out that Washington has added to its crimes the mass murder of civilians with drones and missile strikes on weddings, funerals, children's soccer games, medical centers and people's homes. Nothing can better illustrate the absence of moral integrity and moral conscience of the American state and the population that tolerates it than the cavalier disregard of the thousands of murdered innocents as "collateral damage."

    If there is any outcry from Washington's European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese vassals, it is too muted to be heard in the US.

    As Kramer points out, American presidential hopefuls are competing on the basis of who will commit the worst war crimes. A leading candidate has endorsed torture, despite its prohibition under US and international law. The candidate proclaims that "torture works" - as if that is a justification - despite the fact that experts know that it does not work. Almost everyone being tortured will say anything in order to stop the torture. Most of those tortured in the "war on terror" have proven to have been innocents. They don't know the answers to the questions even if they were prepared to give truthful answers. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn relates that Soviet dissidents likely to be picked up and tortured by the Soviet secret police would memorize names on gravestones in order to comply with demands for the names of their accomplices. In this way, torture victims could comply with demands without endangering innocents.

    Washington's use of invasion, bombings, and murder by drone as its principle weapon against terrorists is mindless. It shows a government devoid of all intelligence, focused on killing alone. Even a fool understands that violence creates terrorists. Washington hasn't even the intelligence of fools.

    The American state now subjects US citizens to execution without due process of law despite the strict prohibition by the US Constitution. Washington's lawlessness toward others now extends to the American people themselves.

    The only possible conclusion is that under Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama the US government has become an unaccountable, lawless, criminal organization and is a danger to the entire world and its own citizens.

    Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.

    [Mar 06, 2016] While Obama fiddles ... -

    Krauthammer is probably the most gifted neocon progagadist. Kind of Joseph Goebbels of neocons (I know, I know). But despite his considerable and undisputable gifts as a propagandist, I can't read him without a shoot of Stoli. He is so predictably jingoistic that sometimes I think he was hired by Putin to destroy any semblance of rational thinking in Washington establishment. An interesting question is what he drinks to write such articles.
    Notable quotes:
    "... In Syria, the minds of the 7th century are doing their 7th century thing. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them (read: assassinate Assad). ..."
    "... In the Ukraine, another group of mid 18th Century thinking is doing their 18th century thing. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them. ..."
    "... These right wing neocon chickenhawks like Krauthammer and the politicians who ascribe to the "Just bomb 'em, invade 'em, and disband their military" school of thought are precisely the reason the world is in such "disarray". The sooner these blood thirsty miscreants are no longer influential, the sooner things might turn around. Certainly the security of the civilized world is at stake but bombing the heck out of everything (especially if they have brown skin) is not the answer. And given the damage the GHWB/Cheney and li'l bush/Cheney catastrophe CAUSED, the "sooner" part of the equation is likely to take another 100 years. Thanks neocons. Thanks for nothing but fear, blood, destruction, and grief. ..."
    The Washington Post

    spkpost, 2/28/2016 2:37 PM EST

    In the South China Sea, China is doing it's China thing. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them.

    In Syria, the minds of the 7th century are doing their 7th century thing. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them (read: assassinate Assad).

    In the Ukraine, another group of mid 18th Century thinking is doing their 18th century thing. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them.

    In Iran, the Iranians are doing what any sovereign nation would do when threatened by outside forces (i.e. Israel and the US)- arm themselves in order to create a deterrent to invasion or worse. Krauthammer's answer? Bomb them, destroy the deterrent, and invade.

    As far as Cuba is concerned, bomb them too (I guess).

    These right wing neocon chickenhawks like Krauthammer and the politicians who ascribe to the "Just bomb 'em, invade 'em, and disband their military" school of thought are precisely the reason the world is in such "disarray". The sooner these blood thirsty miscreants are no longer influential, the sooner things might turn around. Certainly the security of the civilized world is at stake but bombing the heck out of everything (especially if they have brown skin) is not the answer. And given the damage the GHWB/Cheney and li'l bush/Cheney catastrophe CAUSED, the "sooner" part of the equation is likely to take another 100 years. Thanks neocons. Thanks for nothing but fear, blood, destruction, and grief.

    [Mar 03, 2016] President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorse Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate

    Notable quotes:
    "... "These endorsements are a last-ditch effort by the DC Establishment to try to blunt our large and growing command of the race. It comes as no surprise that these moves are made just two days after Rep. Grayson became the first major statewide candidate in the country to endorse the anti-Establishment candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for the Presidency.
    They come just one day after a new poll shows Rep. Grayson with a double-digit lead, winning among men and women, every age group, and whites, blacks and Hispanics. The anti-Democratic Party Establishment is desperate to drag Grayson's opponent, their do-nothing, errand boy for Wall Street, over the finish line. But Florida voters in both parties are fed up with egregious manipulation by outside forces to dictate our candidates.
    These arrogant Empire-Strikes-Back efforts by the Democratic politburo will be no more successful than the similar failed attempts by Republican party bosses. This is the year when the voters decide." ..."
    "... This simply shows that, like Charlie Crist, Murphy, the former Republican turned Democrat, cannot be trusted and will always pander to whatever group that will aid his ambition. ..."
    Florida Politics

    The endorsements bring the biggest possible names into the hotly-contested race for the Democratic nomination for Florida's U.S. Senate seat between Murphy, of Jupiter, and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson or Orlando.

    In a news release issued by Murphy's campaign, Obama called Murphy a "tireless champion for middle-class families."

    "I am proud to endorse Congressman Patrick Murphy for the United States Senate. Patrick has been a tireless champion for middle-class families and a defender of the economic progress that American workers and businesses have made," Obama stated in the release. "In Congress, he's fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, reform our criminal justice system, and protect a woman's right to choose. Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next Senator."

    Grayson's campaign responded calling the endorsements "the DC establishment" and noted they come one day after Grayson endorsed outsider Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton.

    For Murphy, the endorsements could not come any higher; he already has brought in dozens of Democratic endorsements. Grayson, meanwhile, has brought in a few of his own, mostly from people in the progressive wing of the party.

    "I am honored that President Obama and Vice President Biden are endorsing my campaign for Florida's middle-class families," Murphy stated in the release. "The president, the vice president and I share the same values and commitment - strengthening Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, protecting a woman's right to choose, and growing America's middle class.

    "Over the past seven years, President Obama and Vice President Biden have been champions for Democrats and hardworking families across our country, and I am humbled and proud to receive their endorsement and campaign shoulder-to-shoulder with them for what we believe in," he continued.

    "These endorsements are a last-ditch effort by the DC Establishment to try to blunt our large and growing command of the race. It comes as no surprise that these moves are made just two days after Rep. Grayson became the first major statewide candidate in the country to endorse the anti-Establishment candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for the Presidency. They come just one day after a new poll shows Rep. Grayson with a double-digit lead, winning among men and women, every age group, and whites, blacks and Hispanics. The anti-Democratic Party Establishment is desperate to drag Grayson's opponent, their do-nothing, errand boy for Wall Street, over the finish line. But Florida voters in both parties are fed up with egregious manipulation by outside forces to dictate our candidates. These arrogant Empire-Strikes-Back efforts by the Democratic politburo will be no more successful than the similar failed attempts by Republican party bosses. This is the year when the voters decide."

    Here is a response from Brian Swensen, Campaign Manager for Carlos Lopez-Cantera for U.S. Senate:

    "Patrick Murphy continues on the path to become Charlie Crist 2.0 by moving further and further to the left for political expediency and gain. This simply shows that, like Charlie Crist, Murphy, the former Republican turned Democrat, cannot be trusted and will always pander to whatever group that will aid his ambition.

    By receiving Obama's endorsement Murphy has cast his allegiance to those who don't believe in American exceptionalism, those whose policies have severely hindered economic growth and those who refuse to stand with our most important ally, Israel."

    [Mar 03, 2016] Former US Marine President Obama should be tried for treason

    Notable quotes:
    "... a strategy of destabilizing all of the areas surrounding Israel, this includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and even Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This long-term goal is a part of a Greater Israel project, so in terms of sectarian divide you see happening in Iraq today it's actually all part of the very well designed plan to try and secure this fantasy goal of the Greater Israel project. ..."
    "... The last thing Israel or US wants is a strong Nasser-type leader, an Arab nationalist who will seriously ensure that the resources of that country are taken and protected and used for the benefit of the people – that's the last thing that the empire wants and Israel wants. ..."
    "... They're drunk on their own power, they are used to getting everything they want, they can buy anything and anyone that can be bought. This explains the corruption of virtually every government we can look at, and the policies do not reflect the interests of the people. They reflect, pure and simple, the interests of the bankers. ..."
    RT - SophieCo

    Sophie Shevardnadze:So I am here with activist Kenneth O'Keefe, it's really great to have you on our show. Kenneth, I know that you've led a human shield action in Iraq, right before the war started and then you were deported – do you follow what's going on in Iraq right now? For example, the November death toll was almost 1,000 and 2013 is the deadliest year since 2008. Why do you think the removal of Saddam hasn't improved the lives of Iraqis? – Or has it? I don't know…

    Kenneth O'Keefe: Well, I think if you really want to know the truth about the invasion in Iraq, there are clearly some incentives from the invasion: oil, securing oil was one of them, establishing prominent military bases in the region was another one, but the far less talked about reality is Israeli plans which made clear that the Balkanization of surrounding countries and particularly Iraq, if we go to Odid Yinon's plan for Israel in the 1980s, it lays out very clearly a strategy of destabilizing all of the areas surrounding Israel, this includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and even Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This long-term goal is a part of a Greater Israel project, so in terms of sectarian divide you see happening in Iraq today it's actually all part of the very well designed plan to try and secure this fantasy goal of the Greater Israel project.

    SS: Why would Israel benefit from an unstable Middle East, unstable Arab nations? Because what we see is that this instability actually is followed by fundamental Islam. People who are overthrown are either replaced by fundamentalist powers or there's just more sectarian violence that grows…

    KK: Yes, if would seem on the surface from a sane point of view that everything is going wrong, but in fact, when you fracture a country along sectarian divides, ultimately you weaken the country. The last thing Israel or US wants is a strong Nasser-type leader, an Arab nationalist who will seriously ensure that the resources of that country are taken and protected and used for the benefit of the people – that's the last thing that the empire wants and Israel wants. While you have these religious fundamentalist nutcases who are running around bombing and doing all sorts of stuff like that, you have a weakened, fractured country in Iraq, and that is the prerequisite for ultimately expanding Israel into a fantasy of a Greater Israel project. It doesn't seem sane and it's not sane because those who are trying to carry out these agendas are pure and simple psychopaths.

    SS: So you think that American administrations, one after another, have been following this plan for 30 years?

    KK: If you ask me how the world functions, then you have to understand one thing plain and simple – the head of the snake, the system of power is headed by the financial system. The bankers rule the Earth, through the private control of issuance of money, debt-based money which we all are supposed to pay. Ultimately with all of these things that they call "austerity" and whatnot, the bankers, basically, through the control of issuance of money which allows them to provide themselves with an infinite supply of money, means that they can buy anything and anyone that can be bought – so if we look at it, the vast majority of governments around the world, they are nothing more than puppets carrying out an agenda for the bankers, and the bankers at the top of this pyramid are, as I've said, plain and simple psychopath

    They're drunk on their own power, they are used to getting everything they want, they can buy anything and anyone that can be bought. This explains the corruption of virtually every government we can look at, and the policies do not reflect the interests of the people. They reflect, pure and simple, the interests of the bankers.

    SS: So if what you're saying is true, that governments obey the big banks and the big money, then it would really take the people and a revolution in each country that you have named to actually change things around. Do you really see revolution taking place in America, for example?

    KK: It's already happening. I'll give you a great example why I'm optimistic about things in America. You know that the president of the US, traitor that he is, is actually a constitutional lawyer? He actually has trained at the highest levels [of academia] in constitutional law. Do you know how obscene it is that somebody who was trained in constitutional law, giving himself the authority to execute anyone, anywhere, in any part of the planet with no jury, no trial, no conviction, nothing – this man is a dictator who has assigned himself the right to execute anyone, including US citizens. I am confident that at some point the American patriots, who seem to be in a bit of a coma and have been sleeping for a long time, are going to wake up soon and realize that when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the US, the president of the US also took that oath and has breached it so badly that he should be arrested and charged with treason right now – and ultimately all of the sycophants of the US Congress who pass things like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, again, completely a contrary to the US constitution, which is supposed to be the supreme law of the land. These people need to be arrested, and a government needs to be put in place that actually honors the US Constitution, and I honestly believe that's going to happen, one way or another.

    ... ... ...

    SS: So you actually bring me to my next point, which is Syria. You're saying the allegations in the Western press that it wasn't Syria but Iran that was the actual goal, the final goal, are true. What happens now if Assad starts to look like he is finally achieving a decisive victory, how will the US respond, do you think?

    KK: Again, keep in mind that the real problem that Assad faces is that, well, yes, there are major human rights violations that happen in Syria and then in every other Arab country, and the US and the Western world – ultimately there are human rights violations of obscene levels, especially in the US. So they are in no position to talk about other leaders – our leaders, the US president can execute anyone, anywhere, anytime – and he does. So how can we talk about Bashar Al-Assad seriously and say that this man is a problem…

    SS: Oh, Kenneth, they will talk about that and [say] the world listens to the American president, that's the difference. They will talk about that, they keep talking about it. That was the whole purpose of why they wanted to overthrow Assad, because there were supposedly human rights violations in Syria.

    KK: The point that I'm making is that the US has given himself the authority to execute anyone, anywhere, anytime for any pretext, any bogus reason. Is that more of a problem to the world than Bashar Al-Assad? Of course it is! It's much more of a problem that the president of the US says he can execute anyone, anywhere anytime, and yet we're sitting here talking about Bashar Al-Assad which, granted, this man has committed crimes in Syria, there's no question of that. But when we look at the US president, when we look at Israel, we look at Britain – that alliance, this true Axis of Evil between these three countries. The amount of devastation that has occurred in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other parts of world – Yemen, Pakistan – it's so devastating, I think its beggars belief that we as people can be conned into thinking that Bashar Al-Assad is the problem, or that Ahmadinejad was the problem. We are the problem; we in the West are the problem, especially the US government. It really is quite ridiculous that we get manipulated into saying, "Oh, we have to take care of this problem over there." The problem is in our own backyard, and we know this. We better take care of our dirty, filthy House of corruption. The US Congress is nothing but a den of traitors, the most sycophantic, disgusting traitors you can imagine, and the White House has got a dictator. This is a problem; this is a major problem, a much bigger problem than what's happening in Syria or Bashar Al-Assad.

    SS: Now, you have great knowledge and strong opinions about events in the Middle East. Iran has recently softened its attitude toward its opponent after decades of deadlock. Israel is annoyed. How do you see that developing?

    KK: I think it's a reflection of the sanity of people around the world who realize that any kind of attack on Iran is tantamount to initiating a full-scale Third World War, which of course could very well and almost inevitably would lead to a war with China and Russia. This is pure madness and those of us who've lost loved ones or who have served in combat like myself, and others who know the devastating cost of war, not just for the so-called "victor" – because the only victor really is the bankers, quite frankly – but even those who are supposedly on the winning side suffer greatly, and testimony to that fact aside from 1 million to 2 million dead in Iraq is the 22 American servicemen a day who are committing suicide because of the horrendous things that they were told to do in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. This policy, this shift in policy to actually resolve this conflict with Iran, this false conflict, in truth – is a reflection of the will of the people, if you ask me, who are starting to achieve their goal.

    SS: You think Netanyahu is bluffing, because I've spoken to a couple of Israeli parliamentarians, I've spoken to Israelis – and they all are for a strike.

    KK: No, I don't think he is bluffing, he is an absolute psychopath and he reflects the agenda for the powers that be in Israel. Each one of these players – Netanyahu, George W. Bush, Obama, Cameron – they are all puppets and they all are supposed to read a different script at different times, depending on what the agenda is. The agenda is shifting slightly. It looks like Israel and the people of Israel, the Jewish state of Israel, are like sheep being led into slaughter, because ultimately the policies of Israel are completely and totally unsustainable. Even the CIA said in 2009 that Israel would not even exist within 20 years. Henry Kissinger himself said it wouldn't exist in 10 years, and the reason why is because its policies are totally self-destructive. The puppet masters are quite happy to sacrifice the people of Israel, they are going to destroy themselves if they do attack Iran, because Iran can fight back and does have allies, and a lot of countries are sick and tired of Israel's threats to both its immediate neighbors and even the rest of the world. When we look at the Samson Option, I encourage people to Google "Samson Option" and look at the threat Israel has posed to the world if things don't go its way.

    SS: When you talk about the US, [it's] Israel's main supporter – but right now we see that it's kind of open to Iran as well, knowing, how much anxiety that raises among Israelis – what does it tell you about the US?

    KK: It tells me that people are beginning to realize their power. I think there are things that correlate – the approval rating for Barack Obama and the US Congress is as low as it's possible to get, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 percent, 20 percent maximum. The people have come to a point where they are sick and tired of being lied to, they know they are being lied to, and when they see their so-called leaders try to cooperate with Israel and get another war that would lead to disastrous consequences for the region and for the US and every other person involved – they've had it. The reflection of the policies is indeed that of the people, it's the people who are sick and tired. I do see that there is some demarcation going on between Israel and the US, but this is because the power of people is rising - and as we saw on Syria, the Congress and the president were all basically saying, "The red line was crossed, blah-blah-blah," and this blatantly false flag attack in Ghouta in Syria has backfired, they were not able to carry out this agenda, and this is only empowering the people that much further.

    SS: So you think Iran should be allowed to develop its nuclear program?

    KK: I think it's absolutely hypocritical and insane that we would sit here and fixate on Iran and its supposed nuclear weapons program, which I don't believe exists, but nonetheless, who could blame Iran if they were developing nuclear weapons? If the US and the West taught any lessons to the rest of the world with the invasion and occupation of Iraq it was that Saddam Hussein was a fool for actually disarming, because by disarming all he did was make that much easier for the empire to come in and destroy the entire country. So the lesson we teach to the world is that the best way to defend yourself is to get yourself a nuclear weapon, and of course the biggest culprit of using nuclear weapons and producing nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction is my birth nation, the US, and I find it absolute insane that we sit here and talk about Iran's supposed nuclear weapons program when we know the US is producing every kind of weapon under this sun. It is spending more than any other military on the planet combined, and it's involved in more war, more death and more suffering than any other nation combined. And yet it's sitting there on a pedestal talking about other nations developing weapons of mass destruction? It is insane that we even allow them to do this, the first nation that needs to disarm without questions is the US, and the first nation to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity is my birth nation – the United States. Once we start seeing actions like this, then we'll know the people in positions of power are serious, because ultimately the rest of the world is sick and tired of the impunity and continuous threats of a Third World War. We've reached the point now when human beings around the planet are realizing we can't do this. We can't have a Third World War, this is not a game.

    SS: But you haven't answered my question – do you think Iran should be able to develop its nuclear program?

    KK: I think that every nation should disarm right now, every nation that has a weapons program should be inspected by a legitimate international body and those nations with the highest amount of WMDs, nuclear weapons should be the first ones to start disarming. When those nations start disarming, then I would say that the rest of the world will also have to show that it's disarming as well. While the US is able to maintain the largest military might in the history of the world and continues to use those weapons against all other countries, I only see it as a pure hypocrisy that the West would say that other countries can't have such things. I don't want any weapons in this world, but it's not right for us in the West and particular for the US to say that we can have all these weapons and for the rest of the world – we'll bomb you to the Stone Age if you even try to think to defend yourself. It's beyond hypocrisy, it's ridiculous. The US needs to disarm first, and the world needs to assist on that.

    SS: I've read in your blog that you said this world needs one thing above all others – and that's sanity. But doesn't sanity depend on what side of the argument you're on?

    KK: No, I think we were all sane when we were children and unfortunately what passes as education is actually an indoctrination and through indoctrination we've turned into really largely a bunch of dupes who've enslaved ourselves without even knowing it, but when you regain the capacity to think for yourself, to actually become human, it becomes very clear. For instance, if we look at these politicians who are historically lying to us, over and over and over again, and we realize that the war-making are absolutely inherently interested in perpetuating war, and if we look at the people in the positions of power, we see how they continuously reap major bonuses with the banks – they get bailouts to the tune of trillions and yet we're being told that we're not working hard enough, that we're in debt. All of these things combined lead us to the point when we reach a certain level of sanity, and realize: "You know what? This entire system does not represent me," and in fact every person on this planet is fighting the same enemy. That enemy uses the financial system to enslave all of us. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out; in fact more and more people are figuring this out. A point of sanity brings us to the point when we realize: "Enough, this is a game that cannot be played, we're risking our own collective suicide here and as a sane person I will not contribute in any way towards this never-ending policy of war which is leading us to the brink of destruction". This is not about being intelligent, this is about being sane first and foremost. The average person can understand this very easily.

    [Mar 03, 2016] Capitalism Requires World War

    www.zerohedge.com

    Zero Hedge

    Authored by Cathal Haughian via TheSaker.ie,

    It has been our undertaking, since 2010, to chronicle our understanding of capitalism via our book The Philosophy of Capitalism . We were curious as to the underlying nature of the system which endows us, the owners of capital, with so many favours. The Saker has asked me to explain our somewhat crude statement 'Capitalism Requires World War'.

    The present showdown between West, Russia and China is the culmination of a long running saga that began with World War One. Prior to which, Capitalism was governed by the gold standard system which was international, very solid, with clear rules and had brought great prosperity: for banking Capital was scarce and so allocated carefully. World War One required debt-capitalism of the FIAT kind, a bankrupt Britain began to pass the Imperial baton to the US, which had profited by financing the war and selling munitions.

    The Weimar Republic, suffering a continuation of hostilities via economic means, tried to inflate away its debts in 1919-1923 with disastrous results-hyperinflation. Then, the reintroduction of the gold standard into a world poisoned by war, reparation and debt was fated to fail and ended with a deflationary bust in the early 1930's and WW2.

    The US government gained a lot of credibility after WW2 by outlawing offensive war and funding many construction projects that helped transfer private debt to the public book. The US government's debt exploded during the war, but it also shifted the power game away from creditors to a big debtor that had a lot of political capital. The US used her power to define the new rules of the monetary system at Bretton Woods in 1944 and to keep physical hold of gold owned by other nations.

    The US jacked up tax rates on the wealthy and had a period of elevated inflation in the late 40s and into the 1950s – all of which wiped out creditors, but also ushered in a unique middle class era in the West. The US also reformed extraction centric institutions in Europe and Japan to make sure an extractive-creditor class did not hobble growth, which was easy to do because the war had wiped them out (same as in Korea).

    Capital destruction in WW2 reversed the Marxist rule that the rate of profit always falls. Take any given market – say jeans. At first, all the companies make these jeans using a great deal of human labour so all the jeans are priced around the average of total social labour time required for production (some companies will charge more, some companies less).

    One company then introduces a machine (costed at $n) that makes jeans using a lot less labour time. Each of these robot assisted workers is paid the same hourly rate but the production process is now far more productive. This company, ignoring the capital outlay in the machinery, will now have a much higher profit rate than the others. This will attract capital, as capital is always on the lookout for higher rates of profit. The result will be a generalisation of this new mode of production. The robot or machine will be adopted by all the other companies, as it is a more efficient way of producing jeans.

    As a consequence the price of the jeans will fall, as there is an increased margin within which each market actor can undercut his fellows. One company will lower prices so as to increase market share. This new price-point will become generalised as competing companies cut their prices to defend their market share. A further n$ was invested but per unit profit margin is put under constant downward pressure, so the rate of return in productive assets tends to fall over time in a competitive market place.

    Interest rates have been falling for decades in the West because interest rates must always be below the rate of return on productive investments. If interest rates are higher than the risk adjusted rate of return then the capitalist might as well keep his money in a savings account. If there is real deflation his purchasing power increases for free and if there is inflation he will park his money (plus debt) in an unproductive asset that's price inflating, E.G. Housing. Sound familiar? Sure, there has been plenty of profit generated since 2008 but it has not been recovered from productive investments in a competitive free market place. All that profit came from bubbles in asset classes and financial schemes abetted by money printing and zero interest rates.

    Thus, we know that the underlying rate of return is near zero in the West. The rate of return falls naturally, due to capital accumulation and market competition. The system is called capitalism because capital accumulates: high income economies are those with the greatest accumulation of capital per worker. The robot assisted worker enjoys a higher income as he is highly productive, partly because the robotics made some of the workers redundant and there are fewer workers to share the profit. All the high income economies have had near zero interest rates for seven years. Interest rates in Europe are even negative. How has the system remained stable for so long?

    All economic growth depends on energy gain. It takes energy (drilling the oil well) to gain energy. Unlike our everyday experience whereby energy acquisition and energy expenditure can be balanced, capitalism requires an absolute net energy gain. That gain, by way of energy exchange, takes the form of tools and machines that permit an increase in productivity per work hour. Thus GDP increases, living standards improve and the debts can be repaid. Thus, oil is a strategic capitalistic resource.

    US net energy gain production peaked in 1974, to be replaced by production from Saudi Arabia, which made the USA a net importer of oil for the first time. US dependence on foreign oil rose from 26% to 47% between 1985 and 1989 to hit a peak of 60% in 2006. And, tellingly, real wages peaked in 1974, levelled-off and then began to fall for most US workers. Wages have never recovered. (The decline is more severe if you don't believe government reported inflation figures that don't count the costof housing.)

    What was the economic and political result of this decline? During the 20 years 1965-85, there were 4 recessions, 2 energy crises and wage and price controls. These were unprecedented in peacetime and The Gulf of Tonkin event led to the Vietnam War which finally required Nixon to move away from the Gold-Exchange Standard in 1971, opening the next degenerate chapter of FIAT finance up until 2008. Cutting this link to gold was cutting the external anchor impeding war and deficit spending. The promise of gold for dollars was revoked.

    GDP in the US increased after 1974 but a portion of end use buying power was transferred to Saudi Arabia. They were supplying the net energy gain that was powering the US GDP increase. The working class in the US began to experience a slow real decline in living standards, as 'their share' of the economic pie was squeezed by the ever increasing transfer of buying power to Saudi Arabia.

    The US banking and government elite responded by creating and cutting back legal and behavioral rules of a fiat based monetary system. The Chinese appreciated the long term opportunity that this presented and agreed to play ball. The USA over-produced credit money and China over-produced manufactured goods which cushioned the real decline in the buying power of America's working class. Power relations between China and the US began to change: The Communist Party transferred value to the American consumer whilst Wall Street transferred most of the US industrial base to China. They didn't ship the military industrial complex.

    Large scale leverage meant that US consumers and businesses had the means to purchase increasingly with debt so the class war was deferred. This is how over production occurs: more is produced that is paid for not with money that represents actual realized labour time, but from future wealth, to be realised from future labour time. The Chinese labour force was producing more than it consumed.

    The system has never differed from the limits laid down by the Laws of Thermodynamics. The Real economy system can never over-produce per se. The limit of production is absolute net energy gain. What is produced can be consumed. How did the Chinese produce such a super massive excess and for so long? Economic slavery can achieve radical improvements in living standards for those that benefit from ownership. Slaves don't depreciate as they are rented and are not repaired for they replicate for free. Hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants limited their way of life and controlled their consumption in order to benefit their children. And their exploited life raised the rate of profit!

    They began their long march to modern prosperity making toys, shoes, and textiles cheaper than poor women could in South Carolina or Honduras. Such factories are cheap to build and deferential, obedient and industrious peasant staff were a perfect match for work that was not dissimilar to tossing fruit into a bucket. Their legacy is the initial capital formation of modern China and one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. The Chinese didn't use net energy gain from oil to power their super massive and sustained increase in production. They used economic slavery powered by caloric energy, exchanged from solar energy. The Chinese labour force picked the World's low hanging fruit that didn't need many tools or machines. Slaves don't need tools for they are the tool.

    Without a gold standard and capital ratios our form of over-production has grown enormously. The dotcom bubble was reflated through a housing bubble, which has been pumped up again by sovereign debt, printing press (QE) and central bank insolvency. The US working and middle classes have over-consumed relative to their share of the global economic pie for decades. The correction to prices (the destruction of credit money & accumulated capital) is still yet to happen. This is what has been happening since 1971 because of the growth of financialisation or monetisation.

    The application of all these economic methods was justified by the political ideology of neo-Liberalism. Neo-Liberalism entails no or few capital controls, the destruction of trade unions, plundering state and public assets, importing peasants as domesticated help, and entrusting society's value added production to The Communist Party of The People's Republic of China.

    The Chinese have many motives but their first motivation is power. Power is more important than money. If you're rich and weak you get robbed. Russia provides illustrating stories of such: Gorbachev had received a promise from George HW Bush that the US would pay Russia approximately $400 billion over10 years as a "peace dividend" and as a tool to be utilized in the conversion of their state run to a market based economic system. The Russians believe the head of the CIA at the time, George Tenet, essentially killed the deal based on the idea that "letting the country fall apart will destroy Russia as a future military threat". The country fell apart in 1992. Its natural assets were plundered which raised the rate of profit in the 90's until President Putin put a stop to the robbery.

    In the last analysis, the current framework of Capitalism results in labour redundancy, a falling rate of profit and ingrained trading imbalances caused by excess capacity. Under our current monopoly state capitalism a number of temporary preventive measures have evolved, including the expansion of university, military, and prison systems to warehouse new generations of labour.

    Our problem is how to retain the "expected return rate" for us, the dominant class. Ultimately, there are only two large-scale solutions, which are intertwined .

    One is expansion of state debt to keep "the markets" moving and transfer wealth from future generations of labour to the present dominant class.

    The other is war, the consumer of last resort. Wars can burn up excess capacity, shift global markets, generate monopoly rents, and return future labour to a state of helplessness and reduced expectations. The Spanish flu killed 50-100 million people in 1918. As if this was not enough, it also took two World Wars across the 20th century and some 96 million dead to reduce unemployment and stabilize the "labour problem."

    Capitalism requires World War because Capitalism requires profit and cannot afford the unemployed . The point is capitalism could afford social democracy after the rate of profit was restored thanks to the depression of the 1930's and the physical destruction of capital during WW2. Capitalism only produces for profit and social democracy was funded by taxing profits after WW2.

    Post WW2 growth in labour productivity, due to automation, itself due to oil & gas replacing coal, meant workers could be better off. As the economic pie was growing, workers could receive the same %, and still receive a bigger slice. Wages as a % of US GDP actually increased in the period, 1945-1970. There was an increase in government spending which was being redirected in the form of redistributed incomes. Inequality will only worsen, because to make profits now we have to continually cut the cost of inputs, i.e. wages & benefits. Have we not already reached the point where large numbers of the working class can neither feed themselves nor afford a roof over their heads?13% of the UK working age population is out of work and receiving out of work benefits. A huge fraction is receiving in work benefits because low skill work now pays so little.

    The underlying nature of Capitalism is cyclical. Here is how the political aspect of the cycle ends:

  • 1920s/2000s – High inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
  • 1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
  • 1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, rising unemployment, nationalism and extremism
  • What comes next? – World War.
  • If Capitalism could speak, she would ask her older brother, Imperialism, this: "Can you solve the problem?" We are not reliving the 1930's, the economy is now an integrated whole that encompasses the entire World. Capital has been accumulating since 1945, so under- and unemployment is a plague everywhere. How big is the problem? Official data tells us nothing, but the 47 million Americans on food aid are suggestive. That's 1 in 7 Americans and total World population is 7 billion.

    The scale of the solution is dangerous. Our probing for weakness in the South China Sea, Ukraine and Syria has awakened them to their danger.The Chinese and Russian leadershave reacted by integrating their payment systems and real economies, trading energy for manufactured goods for advanced weapon systems. As they are central players in the Shanghai Group we can assume their aim is the monetary system which is the bedrock of our Imperial power. What's worse, they can avoid overt enemy action and simply choose to undermine "confidence" in the FIAT.

    Though given the calibre of their nuclear arsenal, how can they be fought let alone defeated? Appetite preceded Reason, so Lust is hard to Reason with. But beware brother. Your Lust for Power began this saga, perhaps it's time to Reason.

    Uncle Sugar

    Seriously - Having a Central Bank with a debt based monetary system requires permanent wars. True market based capitalism does not.

    Father Thyme

    Your logical fallacy is no true scotsman
    http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman

    Wed, 03/02/2016 - 23:21 | 7264475 Seek_Truth

    Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    If wealth were measured by creating strawmen- you would be a Rothschild.

    gwiss

    That's because they don't understand the word "capitalism."

    Capitalism simply means economic freedom. And economic freedom, just like freedom to breed, must be exposed to the pruning action of cause and effect, otherwise it outgrows its container and becomes unstable and explodes. As long as it is continually exposed to the grinding wheel of causality, it continues to hold a fine edge, as the dross is scraped away and the fine steel stays. Reality is full of dualities, and those dualities cannot be separated without creating broken symmetry and therefore terminal instability. Freedom and responsibility, for example. One without the other is unstable. Voting and taxation in direct proportion to each other is another example.

    Fiat currency is an attempt to create an artificial reality, one without the necessary symmetry and balance of a real system. However, reality can not be gamed, because it will produce its own symmetry if you try to deny it. Thus the symmetry of fiat currency is boom and bust, a sine wave that still manages to produce equilibrium, however at a huge bubbling splattering boil rather than a fine simmer.

    The folks that wrote this do not have a large enough world view. Capitalism does not require world wars because freedom does not require world wars. Freedom tends to bleed imbalances out when they are small. On the other hand, empire does require world war, which is why we are going to have one.

    Wed, 03/02/2016 - 23:27 | 7264485 GRDguy

    Capitalism becomes imperialism when financial sociopaths steal profits from both sides of the trade. What you're seeing is an Imperialism of Capital, as explained very nicely in the 1889 book "The Great Red Dragon."

    AchtungAffen

    Really? I thought that was the re-prints of Mises Canada, Kunstler or Brandon Smith. In comparison, this article is sublime.

    Caviar Emptor

    Wrong. Capitalism needs prolonged directionless wars without clear winners and contained destruction that utilize massive amounts of raw materials and endless orders for weapons and logistical support. That's what makes some guys rich.

    Wed, 03/02/2016 - 22:56 | 7264423 Jack's Raging B...

    That's was a very long-winded and deliberately obtuse way of explaining how DEBT AS MONEY and The State's usurpation of sound money destroyed efficient markets. The author then goes to call this system Capitalism.

    So yeah, the deliberate destruction of capital, in all its forms, is somehow capitalism. Brilliant observation. Fuck you. There are better terms for things like this. Perhaps....central banking? The State? Fiat debt creation? Evil? Naw, let's just contort and abuse language instead. That's the ticket.

    My Days Are Get...

    From Russia News Feed:

    Cathal Haughian Bio :

    I've spent my adult life in 51 countries. This was financed by correctly anticipating the Great Financial Crisis in 2008. I was studying Marx at that time. I'm presently an employee of the Chinese State. I educate the children of China's best families. I am the author, alongside a large international team of capitalists, of Before The Collapse : The Philosophy of Capitalism.

    I also have my own business; I live with my girlfriend and was born and grew up in Ireland.

    ===============

    Why would anyone waste time to read this drivel, buttressed by the author's credentials.

    The unstated thesis is that wars involve millions of actors, who produce an end-result of many hundreds of millions killed.

    Absent coercion ("the Draft"), how is any government going to man hundreds of divisions of foot soldiers. That concept is passé.

    Distribute some aerosol poisons via drones and kill as many people as deemed necessary. How in the hell will that action stimulate the world economy.

    Weapons of mass-destruction are smaller, cheaper and easier to deploy. War as a progenitor of growth - forget it.

    The good news is that this guy is educating the children of elite in China. Possibly the Pentagon could clone him 10,000 times and send those cyborgs to China - cripple China for another generation or two.

    slimycorporated...

    Capitalism requires banks that made shitty loans to fail

    Ms No

    The term cyclical doesn't quite cover what we have being experiencing. It's more like a ragdoll being shaken by a white shark. The euphoria of bubble is more like complete unhinged unicorn mania anymore and the lows are complete grapes of wrath. It's probably always been that way to some extent because corruption has remained unchallenged for a great deal of time. The boom phases are scarier than the downturns anymore, especially the last oil boom and housing boom. Complete Alfred Hitchcock stuff.

    I don't think it's capitalism and that term comes across as an explanation that legitimizes this completely contrived pattern that benefits a few and screws everybody else. Markets should not be behaving in such a violent fashion. Money should probably be made steady and slow. And downturns shouldn't turn a country into Zimbabwe. I could be wrong but there is really no way to know with the corruption we have.

    Good times.

    o r c k

    And War requires that an enemy be created. According to American General Breedlove-head of NATO's European Command-speaking to the US Armed Services Committee 2 days ago, "Russia and Assad are deliberately weaponizing migration to break European resolve". "The only reason to use non-precision weapons like barrel bombs is to keep refugees on the move". "These refugees bring criminality, foreign fighters and terrorism", and "are being used to overwhelm European structures". "Russia has chosen to be an adversary and is a real threat." "Russia is irresponsible with nuclear weapons-always threatening to use them." And strangely, "In the past week alone, Russia has made 450 attacks along the front lines in E. Ukraine".

    Even with insanity overflowing the West, I found these comments to be the most bizarrely threatening propaganda yet. After reading them for the first time, I had to prove to myself that I wasn't hallucinating it.

    [Mar 03, 2016] The Trumpster Sends The GOP-Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster

    It is unclear to what extent Trump represents a threat to Washington establishment and how easily or difficult it would be to co-opt him. In any case "deep state" will stay in place, so the capabilities of POTUS are limited by the fact of its existence. But comments to the article are great !
    Notable quotes:
    "... The great Dwight Eisenhower left office at the height of the cold war in 1961, warning the American public about the insatiable appetites for budgets and war of the military industrial complex. At the same time, however, his final budget attested to his conviction that $450 billion in today's purchasing power (2015 $) was enough to fund the Pentagon, foreign aid and security assistance and the needs of veterans of past wars. ..."
    "... Thanks to the GOP War Party and neocons we are spending more than double that amount-upwards of $900 billion-–for those same purposes today. Yet unlike the nuclear threat posed by the Soviet Union at the peak of its industrial vigor, we no longer have any industrial state enemy left on the planet; we have appropriately been fired as the world's policeman and have no need for Washington's far flung imperium of bases and naval and air power projection; and would not even be confronted with the domestic policing challenges posed by highly limited and episodic homeland terrorist tempests had Washington not turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and others into failed states and economic rubble. ..."
    "... But here's the thing. While spending a lifetime as a real estate speculator and self-created celebrity, The Donald apparently did not have time to get mis-educated by the Council On Foreign Relations or to hob knob with the GOP inner circle in Washington and the special interest group racketeers they coddle. ..."
    "... But a nation tumbling into financial and fiscal crisis will welcome the War Party purge that Trump would surely undertake. He didn't allow the self-serving busy-bodies and fools who inhabit the Council on Foreign Relations to dupe him into believing that Putin is a horrible threat; or that the real estate on the eastern edge of the non-state of the Ukraine, which has always been either a de jure or de facto part of Russia, was any of our business. Likewise, he has gotten it totally right with respect to the sectarian and tribal wars of Syria and Iraq and Hillary's feckless destruction of a stable regime in Libya. ..."
    "... Besides, unlike the boy Senator from Florida who wants to be President so he can play with guns, tanks, ships and bombs, The Donald has indicated no intention of tearing up the agreement on day one in office. ..."
    "... Most importantly, The Donald has essentially proclaimed the obvious. Namely, that the cold war is over and that the American taxpayers have no business subsidizing obsolete relics like NATO and ground forces in South Korea and Japan. ..."
    "... At the end of the day, the reason that the neocons are apoplectic is that Trump would restore the 1991 status quo ante. The nation's self-proclaimed greatest deal-maker might even take a leaf out of Warren G. Harding's playbook and negotiate sweeping disarmament agreements in a world where governments everywhere are on the verge of fiscal bankruptcy. ..."
    "... Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.... A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill. H. L. Mencken ..."
    "... Great read Mr. Stockman, and I can only hope you are right, that Super Tuesday really triggers the demise of the Military Industrial Complex, although I seriously doubt it can be removed, replaced or dismantled that easily. ..."
    "... The roots of the neocons and neolibs go so deep - multi-generational, multi-faceted, and removing their control will require Open Regime Surgery, something I don't see anyone capable of performing quite yet. Surely they are going to want their shot at being the first rulers to control the entire earth - just before the energy runs out and the planet collapses in on itself due to being hollowed out :) ..."
    "... David, you are missing some fairly strong evidence that 911 was an inside job. ..."
    "... As an engineer, I find it impossible to fathom that building 7, not hit by any planes and only suffering minor fires, would fall straight into its own footprint at FREEFALL SPEED. This is exactly the sort of thing you would expect ONLY from a controlled demolition. ..."
    "... I think that the neocons, in their meetings regarding the "Project for a New American Century" (PNAC), needed 911 to foment, foster and facilitate a push of patriotic pathos of the American people to go to war. ..."
    "... So so true. Of course this is an abridged version of history. You speak the truth to power. This never makes the news or any of the debate tables with any of the mainstream media. Why...because the media is owned by the corporations that profit from war. ..."
    "... There is no more liberal media unless you watch the Young Turks. With regards to Iran. There is more to their history than...CIA's coup of 1953. From my memory the British controlled the Iranian oilfields up until 1951 when they were nationalized. Why...because the British BP oil company was cheating Iran on the profit sharing deal. So the British are out. It is 1953 and the Americans want in. 1953 the Anglo-American Coup happened and the the profit sharing began again with American oil companies with the Shaw (Shell-mobil-Exxon..I can't remember which one) Of course the American oil companies breached the deal and shorted the POS Shah who then shorted his nation. Rulers forget, poor people are pissed off people. So all this "it was the CIA" crap is baloney...They were tools for corporate America. Don't kid yourself, it was about the oil. IMO ..."
    "... As Stockman points out, it seems that Washington was set on then neocon automatic pilot. The policy of the Democrats was basically a continuation of a policy started prior to Reagan presidency. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton are involved in regime change plans when we thought that Neo-cons has been shown to be a band of idiots that worked for the military industrial complex. ..."
    "... In the seventies, Brzezinski advocated support for the Islamic belt with fundamentalist regimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. These Islamo-fascist were supposed to control the perceived enemies of Capitalism. ..."
    "... Thank you Mr. Stockman for fearlessly stating the facts. As to the 1st Iraq War, and the lies on which it was based, the only other significant detail I would have mentioned is that Saddam was suckered into invading Kuwait by the bitch, April Gillespie who, at the time, was serving as his special envoy to the middle east. ..."
    "... @lloydholiday Billionaire "businessman" Glen Taylor owns the influential Minneapolis newspaper. He and his idiotic neocon editorial board ENDORSED RUBIO just before the Minnesota caucuses. Rubio may have made secret promises to Taylor, whose cannot possibly separate his many business interests from Minnesota and national politics. This explanation is as likely any, how the Little Napoleon won the ONLY state he is going to win, unless Floridians are somehow swayed to raise up a man toward the Presidency who isn't qualified to be dog catcher. ..."
    "... As usual concise, accurate. Bush and Shrub were phonies in thrall to the Carlyle Group and their buddies the 'Kingdom' (source and supporter of al-Quaeda) plus the pro-Israeli neocons who wanted US boots on the ground to protect Israel. The Bush duumvirate played along in this duplicitous game, which Trump called them on. Enron also played a role: Shrub let them set policy in the Stans as their consortium sought pipeline rights from the Taliban. Crooks at play in the garden of evil. ..."
    "... It is the bombs, drones, cruise missiles and brutal occupations of Muslim lands unleashed by the War Party that has actually fostered the massive blowback and radical jidhadism rampant today in the middle east and beyond. ..."
    "... Mr Stockman apparently has the bad manners to speak the truth. Washington is going to be PO'd at the blatant disrespect for their BS. ..."
    "... @FreeOregon It will shocked me beyond words if he survives the primaries. Far too much is at stake. In fact, 100 years of lying, cheating, and thieving, and the wealth it has produced is at stake. The Rothschild Establishment, centered in London and Tel Aviv, will not sit idly by and watch as their lucrative racket is dismantled by an up-start politician that cannot be purchased and put under their control. ..."
    "... All true....finally the politicians that have run our country into the ground are exposed for the puppets of oligarchs they are...it is obvious....both parties, phony conservatives and liberals alike, are waging war on Trump because he truly threatens the status quo......it's going to get real ugly now that the powers that be are threatened.....I wouldn't fly to much if I was Trump from here on in! ..."
    davidstockmanscontracorner.com
    Wow. Super Tuesday was an earthquake, and not just because Donald Trump ran the tables. The best thing was the complete drubbing and humiliation that voters all over America handed to the little Napoleon from Florida, Marco Rubio.

    So doing, the voters began the process of ridding the nation of the GOP War Party and its neocon claque of rabid interventionists. They have held sway for nearly three decades in the Imperial City and the consequences have been deplorable.

    It goes all the way back to the collapse of the old Soviet Union and the elder Bush's historically foolish decision to invade the Persian Gulf in February 1991. The latter stopped dead in its tracks the first genuine opportunity for peace the people of the world had been afforded since August 1914.

    Instead, it reprieved the fading remnants of the military-industrial-congressional complex, the neocon interventionist camp and Washington's legions of cold war apparatchiks. All of the foregoing would have been otherwise consigned to the dust bin of history.

    Yet at that crucial inflection point there was absolutely nothing at stake with respect to the safety and security of the American people in the petty quarrel between Saddam Hussein and the Emir of Kuwait.

    The spate, in fact, was over directional drilling rights in the Rumaila oilfield which straddled their respective borders. Yet these disputed borders had no historical legitimacy whatsoever. Kuwait was a just a bank account with a seat in the UN, which had been created by the British only in 1899 for obscure reasons of imperial maneuver. Likewise, the boundaries of Iraq had been drawn with a straight ruler in 1916 by British and French diplomats in the process of splitting up the loot from the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    As it happened, Saddam claimed that the Emir of Kuwait, who could never stop stuffing his unspeakably opulent royal domain with more petro dollars, had stolen $10 billion worth of oil from Iraq's side of the field while Saddam was savaging the Iranians during his unprovoked but Washington supported 1980s invasion. At the same time, Hussein had borrowed upwards of $50 billion from Kuwait, the Saudis and the UAE to fund his barbaric attacks on the Iranians and now the sheiks wanted it back.

    At the end of the day, Washington sent 500,000 US troops to the Gulf in order to function as bad debt collectors for three regimes that are the very embodiment of tyranny, corruption, greed and religious fanaticism.

    They have been the fount and exporter of Wahhabi fanaticism and have thereby fostered the scourge of jihadi violence throughout the region. And it was the monumental stupidity of putting American (crusader) boots on the ground in Saudi Arabia that actually gave rise to Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, the tragedy of 9/11, the invasion and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Patriot Act and domestic surveillance state and all the rest of the War Party follies which have followed.

    Worse still, George H.W. Bush's stupid little war corrupted the very political soul and modus operandi of Washington. What should have been a political contest over which party and prospective leader could best lead a revived 1920s style campaign for world disarmament was mutated into a wave of exceptionalist jingoism about how best to impose American hegemony on any nation or force on the planet that refused compliance with Washington's designs and dictates.

    And most certainly, this lamentable turn to the War Party's disastrous reign had nothing to do with oil security or economic prosperity in America. The cure for high oil is always and everywhere high oil prices, not the Fifth Fleet.

    Indeed, as the so-called OPEC cartel crumbles into pitiful impotence and cacophony and as the world oil glut drives prices eventually back into the teens, there can no longer be any dispute. The blazing oilfields of Kuwait in 1991 had nothing to do with domestic oil security and prosperity, and everything to do with the rise of a virulent militarism and imperialism that has drastically undermined national security.

    It is the bombs, drones, cruise missiles and brutal occupations of Muslim lands unleashed by the War Party that has actually fostered the massive blowback and radical jidhadism rampant today in the middle east and beyond.

    Indeed, prior to 1991 Bin Laden and his mujahedeen, who had been trained and armed by the CIA and heralded in the west for their help in defeating purportedly godless communism in Afghanistan, had not declaimed against American liberty, opulence and decadence. They did not come to attack our way of life as the neocon propagandists have so speciously claimed. Misguided and despicable as their attack was, it was motivated by revenge and religious fanaticism that had never previously been directed against the American people. That is, not until the Washington War Party decided to intervene in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

    Yes, the wholly different Shiite branch of Islam centered in Iran had a grievance, too. But that wasn't about America's liberties and libertine ways of life, either. It was about the left over liability from Washington's misguided cold war interventions and, specifically, the 1953 CIA coup that installed the brutal and larcenous Shah on the Peacock Throne.

    The whole Persian nation had deep grievances about that colossal injustice--a grievance that was wantonly amplified in the 1980s by Washington's overt assistance to Saddam Hussein. Via the CIA's satellite reconnaissance, Washington had actually helped him unleash heinous chemical warfare attacks on Iranian forces, including essentially unarmed young boys who had been sent to the battle front as cannon fodder.

    Still, with the election of Rafsanjani in 1989 there was every opportunity to repair this historical transgression and normalize relations with Tehran. In fact, in the early days the Bush state department was well on the way to exactly that. But once the CNN war games in the gulf put the neocons back in the saddle the door was slammed shut by Washington, not the Iranians.

    Indeed at that very time, the re-ascendant neocons explicitly choose to demonize the Iranian regime as a surrogate enemy to replace the defunct Kremlin commissars. Two of the most despicable actors in the post-1991 neocon takeover of the GOP--Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz--actually penned a secret document outlining the spurious anti-Iranian campaign which soon congealed into a full-blown war myth.

    To wit, that the Iranian's were hell bent on obtaining nuclear weapons and had become an implacable foe of America and fountain of state sponsored terrorism.

    Not long thereafter in 1996, these same neocon warmongers produced for newly elected Israeli prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, the infamous document called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing The Realm".

    Whether he immediately signed off an all of its sweeping plans for junking the Oslo Accords and launching regime change initiatives against the Baathist regimes in Iraq and Syria is a matter of historical debate. But there can be no doubt that shortly thereafter this manifesto became the operative policy of the Netanyahu government and especially its virulent campaign to demonize Iran as an existential threat to Israel. And that when the younger Bush took office and brought the whole posse of neocons back into power, it became Washington's official policy, as well.

    After 9/11 the dual War Party of Washington and Tel Aviv was off to the races and the US government began its tumble toward $19 trillion of national debt and an eventual fiscal calamity. That's because the neocon War Party sucked the old time religion of fiscal rectitude and monetary orthodoxy right out of the GOP in the name of funding what has in truth become a trillion dollar per year Warfare State.

    There were several crucial moments along the way-–the first being the sacking of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill by the White House praetorian guard led by Karl Rove. His sin was having the audacity to say that the Afghan and Iraqi wars were going to cost trillions, and that stiff tax increases and painful entitlements cuts were the only way to make ends meet.

    Right then and there the GOP was stripped of any fiscal virginity that had survived the Reagan era of triple digit deficits. Right on cue the contemptible Dick Cheney was quick to claim that Reagan proved "deficits don't matter", meaning from that point forward whatever it took to fund the war machine trumped any flickering Republican folk memories of fiscal prudence.

    The great Dwight Eisenhower left office at the height of the cold war in 1961, warning the American public about the insatiable appetites for budgets and war of the military industrial complex. At the same time, however, his final budget attested to his conviction that $450 billion in today's purchasing power (2015 $) was enough to fund the Pentagon, foreign aid and security assistance and the needs of veterans of past wars.

    Thanks to the GOP War Party and neocons we are spending more than double that amount-upwards of $900 billion-–for those same purposes today. Yet unlike the nuclear threat posed by the Soviet Union at the peak of its industrial vigor, we no longer have any industrial state enemy left on the planet; we have appropriately been fired as the world's policeman and have no need for Washington's far flung imperium of bases and naval and air power projection; and would not even be confronted with the domestic policing challenges posed by highly limited and episodic homeland terrorist tempests had Washington not turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and others into failed states and economic rubble.

    The Bush era War Party also committed an even more lamentable error in the midst of all of its foreign policy triumphalism and its utter neglect of the GOP's actual purpose to function as an advocate for sound money and free markets in the governance process of our two party democracy. Namely, it appointed Ben Bernanke, an avowed Keynesian and big government statist who had loudly proclaimed in favor of "helicopter money", to a Federal Reserve system that was already on the verge of an economic coup d'état led by the unfaithful Alan Greenspan.

    That coup was made complete by the loathsome bailout of Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis. And the latter had, in turn, been a consequence of the massive speculation and debt build-up that had been enabled by the Fed's own policies during the prior decade and one-half.

    Now after $3.5 trillion of heedless money printing and 86 months of ZIRP, Wall Street has been transformed into an unstable, dangerous casino. Honest price discovery in the capital and money markets no longer exists, nor has productive capital been flowing into real investments in efficiency and growth.

    Instead, the C-suites of corporate America have been transformed into stock trading rooms where business balance sheets have been hocked to the tune of trillions in cheap debt in order to fund stock buybacks, LBOs and M&A deals designed to goose stock prices and the value of top executive options.

    Indeed, the Fed's unconscionable inflation of the third massive financial bubble of this century has showered speculators and the 1% with unspeakable financial windfalls that are fast creating not only an inevitable thundering financial meltdown, but, also, a virulent populist backlash. The Eccles Building was where the "Bern" that is roiling the electorate was actually midwifed.

    And probably even the far greater political tremblor represented by The Donald, as well.

    Yes, as a libertarian I shudder at the prospect of a man on a white horse heading for the White House, as Donald Trump surely is. His rank demoguery and poisonous rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims, refugees, women, domestic victims of police repression and the spy state and countless more are flat-out contemptible. And the idea of building a horizontal version of Trump Towers on the Rio Grande is just plain nuts.

    But here's the thing. While spending a lifetime as a real estate speculator and self-created celebrity, The Donald apparently did not have time to get mis-educated by the Council On Foreign Relations or to hob knob with the GOP inner circle in Washington and the special interest group racketeers they coddle.

    So even as The Donald's election would bring on a thundering financial crash on Wall Street and political upheaval in Washington-–the truth is that's going to happen anyway. Look at the hideous mess that US policy has created in Syria or the incendiary corner into which the Fed has backed itself or the fiscal projections that show we will be back into trillion dollar annual deficits as the recession already underway reaches full force. The jig is well and truly up.

    But a nation tumbling into financial and fiscal crisis will welcome the War Party purge that Trump would surely undertake. He didn't allow the self-serving busy-bodies and fools who inhabit the Council on Foreign Relations to dupe him into believing that Putin is a horrible threat; or that the real estate on the eastern edge of the non-state of the Ukraine, which has always been either a de jure or de facto part of Russia, was any of our business. Likewise, he has gotten it totally right with respect to the sectarian and tribal wars of Syria and Iraq and Hillary's feckless destruction of a stable regime in Libya.

    Even his bombast about Obama's bad deal with Iran doesn't go much beyond Trump's ridiculous claim that they are getting a $150 billion reward. In fact, it was their money; we stole it, and by the time of the next election they will have it released anyway.

    Besides, unlike the boy Senator from Florida who wants to be President so he can play with guns, tanks, ships and bombs, The Donald has indicated no intention of tearing up the agreement on day one in office.

    Most importantly, The Donald has essentially proclaimed the obvious. Namely, that the cold war is over and that the American taxpayers have no business subsidizing obsolete relics like NATO and ground forces in South Korea and Japan.

    At the end of the day, the reason that the neocons are apoplectic is that Trump would restore the 1991 status quo ante. The nation's self-proclaimed greatest deal-maker might even take a leaf out of Warren G. Harding's playbook and negotiate sweeping disarmament agreements in a world where governments everywhere are on the verge of fiscal bankruptcy.

    He might also come down with wrathful indignation on the Fed if its dares push toward the criminal zone of negative interest rates. As far as I know, The Donald was never mis-educated by the Keynesian swells at Brookings, either. No plain old businessman would ever fall for the sophistry and crank monetary theories that are now ascendant in the Eccles Building.

    When it comes to the nation's current economy wreckers-in-chief, Janet Yellen and Stanley Fischer, he might even dust off on day one the skills he honed during 10-years on the Apprentice.

    Worse things could surely happen.

    bill5

    @Protogonus

    Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.... A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill. H. L. Mencken

    The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. Its evil effects must be plain enough to everyone. ... There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get. On the contrary, they tend to be noticeably silly. ... No, there is nothing notably dignified about religious ideas. They run, rather, to a peculiarly puerile and tedious kind of nonsense. At their best, they are borrowed from metaphysicians, which is to say, from men who devote their lives to proving that twice two is not always or necessarily four. At their worst, they smell of spiritualism and fortune telling. Nor is there any visible virtue in the men who merchant them professionally. Few theologians know anything that is worth knowing, even about theology, and not many of them are honest. ... But the average theologian is a hearty, red-faced, well-fed fellow with no discernible excuse in pathology. He disseminates his blather, not innocently, like a philosopher, but maliciously, like a politician. In a well-organized world he would be on the stone-pile. But in the world as it exists we are asked to listen to him, not only politely, but even reverently, and with our mouths open. H. L. Mencken

    Amen!

    Rich Lancaster
    Great read Mr. Stockman, and I can only hope you are right, that Super Tuesday really triggers the demise of the Military Industrial Complex, although I seriously doubt it can be removed, replaced or dismantled that easily.

    The roots of the neocons and neolibs go so deep - multi-generational, multi-faceted, and removing their control will require Open Regime Surgery, something I don't see anyone capable of performing quite yet. Surely they are going to want their shot at being the first rulers to control the entire earth - just before the energy runs out and the planet collapses in on itself due to being hollowed out :)

    jimbob23

    David, you are missing some fairly strong evidence that 911 was an inside job.

    As an engineer, I find it impossible to fathom that building 7, not hit by any planes and only suffering minor fires, would fall straight into its own footprint at FREEFALL SPEED. This is exactly the sort of thing you would expect ONLY from a controlled demolition.

    I think that the neocons, in their meetings regarding the "Project for a New American Century" (PNAC), needed 911 to foment, foster and facilitate a push of patriotic pathos of the American people to go to war.

    Washington DC
    Rumor is Bloomberg is going to announce. As an Independent.
    Blackdog5555

    So so true. Of course this is an abridged version of history. You speak the truth to power. This never makes the news or any of the debate tables with any of the mainstream media. Why...because the media is owned by the corporations that profit from war.

    There is no more liberal media unless you watch the Young Turks. With regards to Iran. There is more to their history than...CIA's coup of 1953. From my memory the British controlled the Iranian oilfields up until 1951 when they were nationalized. Why...because the British BP oil company was cheating Iran on the profit sharing deal. So the British are out. It is 1953 and the Americans want in. 1953 the Anglo-American Coup happened and the the profit sharing began again with American oil companies with the Shaw (Shell-mobil-Exxon..I can't remember which one) Of course the American oil companies breached the deal and shorted the POS Shah who then shorted his nation. Rulers forget, poor people are pissed off people. So all this "it was the CIA" crap is baloney...They were tools for corporate America. Don't kid yourself, it was about the oil. IMO

    BTW the Kuwaiti Royalty were friends of the Bushes.

    We also did Israel a favor as Saddam was funding suicide bombers in Palestine ($20,000.00 to the family for every suicide bomber) Arab mothers were happy to have their kids blown up for that Saddam "reward." Ever notice how the suicide bombs ended/slowed in Israel after Saddam was deposed. I did. Also Saddam was amassing his military on the Saudi's border at that time (Saddam wanted Saudi oil to pay off his war debt) and so as a favor the the Saudi King (Bush's buddy) we ended that threat. Yipee for us. This is never brought out in serious debate or news coverage. So if someone says it was not about the oil...It was about the oil and always has been. It is all about the oil. Oil is short for corporate cash cow money.

    SD is right, Osama hated the fact that Bush's infidels were in the land of Mecca, and that was one of the major instigators for the 9/11 attacks. Efing arrogant, ignorant Bush keeping "Merica" safe. Clinton could have done a much better job cleaning up those King George the 1st's foreign policy blunders, so I fault him to a degree too.

    There are some good web sites that talk about this..I don't have them handy.

    Don't you love history.

    Cheers.

    BD

    MPBadger

    You are absolutely right. As Chas Freeman, who was our ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War, has recounted, the stationing of American troops on Saudi soil in response to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait presented a serious issue given that "[m]any Saudis interpret their religious tradition as banning the presence of non-Muslims, especially the armed forces of nonbelievers, on the Kingdom's soil." Shortly after the invasion, Freeman was present at a meeting between King Fahd and Vice-President Cheney at which the King, overruling most of the Saudi royal family, agreed to allow U.S. troops to be stationed in his country. This decision was premised on the clear understanding, stressed by Cheney, that the American forces would be removed from Saudi Arabia once the immediate threat from Saddam was over.

    When that did not happen, Fahd faced serious domestic problems. Several prominent Muslim clerics who objected to his policies were sent into exile, further inflaming the religious community. More significantly for us, Osama Bin Laden began to call for the overthrow of the monarchy and elevated his jihadist fight against the U.S. His Saudi passport was revoked for his anti-government rhetoric, and in April 1991, threatened with arrest, he secretly departed Saudi Arabia for the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, never to return. The result, ten years later, was 9-11.

    zee_point

    As Stockman points out, it seems that Washington was set on then neocon automatic pilot. The policy of the Democrats was basically a continuation of a policy started prior to Reagan presidency. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton are involved in regime change plans when we thought that Neo-cons has been shown to be a band of idiots that worked for the military industrial complex.

    In the seventies, Brzezinski advocated support for the Islamic belt with fundamentalist regimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. These Islamo-fascist were supposed to control the perceived enemies of Capitalism.

    Now, we talk 24/7 about the Islamic threat, while the Islamists are being supported by our closest allies and elements in the deep state in Washington.

    Diacro222

    We rarely hear about the Shah of Iran and OUR CIA back in 1953. Nor about OBL and his stated reason's for 9/11. Including the vengeful and childish bombardment of highlands behind Beirut by our terribly expensive recommissioned Battle Ship ! Imagine the thinking behind taking that 'thing' out of mothballs to Scare the A - rabs. Invading Grenada was Ollie North's idea to save face.

    cbaker0441

    Thank you Mr. Stockman for fearlessly stating the facts. As to the 1st Iraq War, and the lies on which it was based, the only other significant detail I would have mentioned is that Saddam was suckered into invading Kuwait by the bitch, April Gillespie who, at the time, was serving as his special envoy to the middle east.

    CALARISTOS

    @lloydholiday I lived in MPLS. You would be amazed at how sacrificially 'liberal' they are, much like Merkel and the deluded Germans. Minn let in thousands of Ethiopians and other Muslims who are now giving natives a major headache, much like Europe.

    The women over 30 are nearly fanatic over Black oppression, voted for Obama in droves, and appear to be willing to sacrifice the interests of their own children in favor of aliens and minorities (my own niece raised in Minn is a fanatic in this regard). Rubbero is a loser with a wind up tongue. They are easily impressed by patter however inarticulate.

    Protogonus

    @lloydholiday Billionaire "businessman" Glen Taylor owns the influential Minneapolis newspaper. He and his idiotic neocon editorial board ENDORSED RUBIO just before the Minnesota caucuses. Rubio may have made secret promises to Taylor, whose cannot possibly separate his many business interests from Minnesota and national politics. This explanation is as likely any, how the Little Napoleon won the ONLY state he is going to win, unless Floridians are somehow swayed to raise up a man toward the Presidency who isn't qualified to be dog catcher.

    CALARISTOS

    As usual concise, accurate. Bush and Shrub were phonies in thrall to the Carlyle Group and their buddies the 'Kingdom' (source and supporter of al-Quaeda) plus the pro-Israeli neocons who wanted US boots on the ground to protect Israel. The Bush duumvirate played along in this duplicitous game, which Trump called them on. Enron also played a role: Shrub let them set policy in the Stans as their consortium sought pipeline rights from the Taliban. Crooks at play in the garden of evil.

    bill5

    It is the bombs, drones, cruise missiles and brutal occupations of Muslim lands unleashed by the War Party that has actually fostered the massive blowback and radical jidhadism rampant today in the middle east and beyond.

    Mr Stockman apparently has the bad manners to speak the truth. Washington is going to be PO'd at the blatant disrespect for their BS.

    If the GOP disappears, there's always the brain dead Democrats. What we need is an end to both parties. The best way to accomplish that is to cancel the entirety of the Fed Gov. Just get rid of all of it. Let the states become countries and compete on the world stage. Let all those holding Federal paper (the national debt) use it in their bathroom as toilet paper. Cancel the debt - ignore it - lets start fresh with no central bank and real money based on something that the politicians can't conjure into existence. I suggest gold and silver as history has shown that they work well.

    hmkdpm

    @bill5 What I never hear anyone state is that if we had let the Russians alone in Afghanistan this whole mess would have never happened. Isn't that what originally allowed the Taliban and Obama bin Laden rise to power? I though Reagan was a great president but made a catastrophic error in aligning with the islamic insurgents against Russia . The Russians knew a radical Islamic state on their border would be a problem and the existing Afghan government, an ally of Russia, asked them to help quell the islamist civil war. The Russians would have ruthlessly eliminated the islamists without worrying about causing any greenhouse gas emissions or hurting anyones feelings.

    cbaker0441

    @FreeOregon It will shocked me beyond words if he survives the primaries. Far too much is at stake. In fact, 100 years of lying, cheating, and thieving, and the wealth it has produced is at stake. The Rothschild Establishment, centered in London and Tel Aviv, will not sit idly by and watch as their lucrative racket is dismantled by an up-start politician that cannot be purchased and put under their control.

    Mugsy7777

    All true....finally the politicians that have run our country into the ground are exposed for the puppets of oligarchs they are...it is obvious....both parties, phony conservatives and liberals alike, are waging war on Trump because he truly threatens the status quo......it's going to get real ugly now that the powers that be are threatened.....I wouldn't fly to much if I was Trump from here on in!

    @Mugsy7777

    He has his own plane, ground crew, flight crew, and body guards which I would guess make a heck of a lot more than the SS...Secret Service that is.

    I'm figuring the election will be rigged.

    @marcopolo2150 @Mugsy7777 one drone..........

    what a pathetic country America has become.

    [Feb 25, 2016] The Insanity of American Foreign Policy CIA-Backed Rebels Are Fighting Pentagon-Backed Rebels

    Notable quotes:
    "... Furqa al-Sultan Murad receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies as part of a covert program, overseen by the CIA , that aids rebel groups struggling to overthrow the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, according to rebel officials and analysts tracking the conflict. ..."
    "... If indeed 'buzzfeed" has there story correct then Russia will be continuing the campaign of kicking our fucking asses in new innovative ways that were never thought possible! ..."
    "... I happen to believe that like the Seymour Hersh PR psyops stunt of a story about DOD not following orders from the Commander-in-Chief and "going rogue" on him in those Countries they already destroyed is still committing treason no matter how you slice it . ..."
    "... In short the CIA is at the head of the MIC always has been and always will be until it's time of death which may be coming sooner than we think! ..."
    "... The invisible hand of the market applied to mayhem - US style? ..."
    "... The US Doesn't have a Foreign Relations policy, it's Israel's foreign relations policy installed on US soil. ..."
    "... But it looks like the YPG in northeast Syria (where the US spec ops where deployed) is the favorite since they seem to have gotten the advanced Javelin anti tank missile while the moderate Jihadists only got the not as effective TOW. Video and photo at RT. ..."
    "... Pictures have emerged on social media which appear to show Syrian Kurds with an advanced US-produced anti-tank missile. A video allegedly shows a rocket blowing up an Islamic State truck. Washington has denied "providing the YPG with weapons." ..."
    "... The FGM-148 Javelin is a portable anti-tank missile, which was developed by the United States. It is able to lock on to potential targets using infrared imaging, which makes it a lot more effective than the TOW missile system, which militias fighting against IS had been using, as the TOW is heavier and requires a portable power supply ..."
    "... "Also, Javelin launchers and missiles are rather expensive. In 2002, a single Javelin command launch unit cost $126,000, and each missile cost around $78,000." ..."
    "... You have to love the MIC! ..."
    www.zerohedge.com

    Submitted by George Washington on 02/24/2016 12:35 -0500

    Buzzfeed notes :

    Officials with Syrian rebel battalions that receive covert backing from one arm of the U.S. government told BuzzFeed News that they recently began fighting rival rebels supported by another arm of the U.S. government.

    The infighting between American proxies is the latest setback for the Obama administration's Syria policy and lays bare its contradictions as violence in the country gets worse.

    The confusion is playing out on the battlefield - with the U.S. effectively engaged in a proxy war with itself.

    ***

    Furqa al-Sultan Murad receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies as part of a covert program, overseen by the CIA , that aids rebel groups struggling to overthrow the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, according to rebel officials and analysts tracking the conflict.

    The Kurdish militants, on the other hand, receive weapons and support from the Pentagon as part of U.S. efforts to fight ISIS. Known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, they are the centerpiece of the Obama administration's strategy against the extremists in Syria and coordinate regularly with U.S. airstrikes.

    (And see this story from the Telegraph.)

    The Daily Beast also reports that U.S. allies are fighting CIA-backed rebels. The U.S. is supporting the Kurds, who are the best on-the-ground fighters against ISIS … yet America's close ally Turkey is trying to wipe out the Kurds . Moreover, the U.S., Turkey and Saudi Arabia are all using the Incerlik air base in Adana, Turkey , on the border with Syria to launch military operations in Syria. The U.S. is using Incerlik to SUPPORT the Kurds, but Turkey is using the EXACT SAME air base to BOMB the Kurds . In addition, the U.S. is supporting Shia Muslims in Iraq … but supporting their arch-enemy – Sunnis Muslims – in neighboring Syria.

    And the U.S. claims to be fighting the war on terror AGAINST the exact same groups – ISIS and Al Qaeda – that our closest allies are SUPPORTING . Absolutely insane …

    Unless the U.S. is really pursuing an agenda in which chaos is the goal .

    Son of Captain Nemo

    GW

    If indeed 'buzzfeed" has there story correct then Russia will be continuing the campaign of kicking our fucking asses in new innovative ways that were never thought possible!

    I happen to believe that like the Seymour Hersh PR psyops stunt of a story about DOD not following orders from the Commander-in-Chief and "going rogue" on him in those Countries they already destroyed is still committing treason no matter how you slice it .... is all simply a way of attempting to draw Russia in closer to get intel on them while they continue to work miracles on our "proxies" which is depleting our stable of Mercs R' Us day by day.

    The event that took place this past weekend in Homs and Damascus is indicative of just that. And if Russia did indeed make the mistake of giving too much information out to Uncle Sam, the U.S. military and Langley won't be enjoying that luxury again!...

    I'm pretty certain that "Winter Soldier" Kerry's desire to carve up Syria should the cease fire aka Plan B not come to fruition... It was always the Only Option on the table for Langley and the Pentagon!!

    In short the CIA is at the head of the MIC always has been and always will be until it's time of death which may be coming sooner than we think!

    Bear

    "The Insanity of American Foreign Policy: CIA-Backed Rebels Are Fighting Pentagon-Backed Rebels"

    Makes for great US Arms industry ... Go Syria

    ptoemmes

    The invisible hand of the market applied to mayhem - US style?

    JailBanksters

    The US Doesn't have a Foreign Relations policy, it's Israel's foreign relations policy installed on US soil.

    Consuelo

    +1000

    The 'insouciant' Goyim remain mesmerized under the spell of entertainment and Political-Correctness gone mad. Hence, unable are they to mount any sort of opposition to this 'soft takeover' of their nation.

    Tigermoth

    But it looks like the YPG in northeast Syria (where the US spec ops where deployed) is the favorite since they seem to have gotten the advanced Javelin anti tank missile while the moderate Jihadists only got the not as effective TOW. Video and photo at RT.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/333468-javelin-missile-kurds-usa/

    Pictures have emerged on social media which appear to show Syrian Kurds with an advanced US-produced anti-tank missile. A video allegedly shows a rocket blowing up an Islamic State truck. Washington has denied "providing the YPG with weapons."

    If the video, believed to have been filmed near the Syrian town of Shaddadi, is authenticated it would show that Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces have been given an upgrade in technology. The footage shows a truck allegedly belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on the receiving end of a direct hit from the missile.

    The FGM-148 Javelin is a portable anti-tank missile, which was developed by the United States. It is able to lock on to potential targets using infrared imaging, which makes it a lot more effective than the TOW missile system, which militias fighting against IS had been using, as the TOW is heavier and requires a portable power supply

    "Assuming he's not firing from the side of a mountain or on top of a compound, it's definitely a Javelin," Corporal Thomas Gray, a former Marine Javelin gunner who watched the video told the Washington Post.

    However John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said that he was unable to confirm whether the image was authentic and that "nothing has changed about our policy of not providing the YPG with weapons."

    From wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FGM-148_Javelin

    "Also, Javelin launchers and missiles are rather expensive. In 2002, a single Javelin command launch unit cost $126,000, and each missile cost around $78,000."

    You have to love the MIC!

    [Feb 13, 2016] The Obama Administration Recklessly Escalates Confrontation With Russia

    Notable quotes:
    "... Russia will certainly react, probably by moving more of its own heavy weapons, including advanced missiles, to its Western borders, possibly along with a number of tactical nuclear weapons. Indeed, a new and more dangerous US-Russian nuclear arms race has been under way for several years, which the Obama administration's latest decision can only intensify. ..."
    "... Astonishingly, these potentially fateful developments have barely been reported in the US media, and there's been no public discussion, not even by the current presidential candidates during their debates. ..."
    "... Every presidential candidate and the other leaders of both parties, as well as the editors and writers in the mainstream media who profess to be covering the 2016 campaign, the state of our nation, and world affairs are professionally and morally obliged to bring these dire developments to the fore. Otherwise, they will be harshly judged by history-if anyone is still around to write it. ..."
    The Nation

     he Obama administration has just recklessly escalated its military confrontation with Russia. The Pentagon's announcement that it will more than quadruple military spending on the US-NATO forces in countries on or near Russia's borders pushes the new Cold War toward actual war-possibly even a nuclear one.

    The move is unprecedented in modern times. With the exception of Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, Western military power has never been positioned so close to Russia. The Obama administration's decision is Russian roulette Washington-style, making the new Cold War even more dangerous than the preceding one. Russia will certainly react, probably by moving more of its own heavy weapons, including advanced missiles, to its Western borders, possibly along with a number of tactical nuclear weapons. Indeed, a new and more dangerous US-Russian nuclear arms race has been under way for several years, which the Obama administration's latest decision can only intensify.

    The decision will also have other woeful consequences. It will undermine ongoing negotiations between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, and it will further divide Europe itself, which is far from united on Washington's increasingly hawkish approach to Moscow.

    Astonishingly, these potentially fateful developments have barely been reported in the US media, and there's been no public discussion, not even by the current presidential candidates during their debates. Never before in modern times has such a dire international situation been so ignored in an American presidential campaign. The reason may be that everything related to the new Cold War in US-Russian relations since the Ukrainian crisis erupted in November 2013 has been attributed solely to the "aggression" of Russian President Vladimir Putin or to "Putin's Russia"-a highly questionable assertion, but long the media's standard policy narrative.

    Every presidential candidate and the other leaders of both parties, as well as the editors and writers in the mainstream media who profess to be covering the 2016 campaign, the state of our nation, and world affairs are professionally and morally obliged to bring these dire developments to the fore. Otherwise, they will be harshly judged by history-if anyone is still around to write it.

    [Feb 13, 2016] Democratic debate: the five biggest moments

    Notable quotes:
    "... Watch the very good summary below of American involvement in Iraq, 2003-2014, done by PBS Frontline . It specifically states that during the 2007 Surge to stabilize an Iraq that had been de-stabilized by the American invasion, the US gave about $400 million to the progenitor of ISIS, the Sunni Sons of Iraq . ..."
    "... The unintended consequences of the American (and British) invasion was the creation of ISIS, funded by the American taxpayer. Sanders voted against those consequences ; Clinton, the old Klingon war-bird that she is, voted for them. ..."
    "... Wow. Almost completely biased yet again. Did you watch the actual debate? Do these 5 points strike you as the main ones? I am Hillary Clinton and I approved this article. PS Obama? Kissinger? Both rate as crucial talking points last night and Hillary and no decent answer to Bernie on either ..."
    "... I would love to see those transcripts, and have in fact written to her suggesting that she release them. I understand that Goldman Sachs paid good money to hear those speeches, and might like them to remain private, but I think it would be better for the nation, since she is running, for people to know what she said. ..."
    "... Sanders catches Clinton on her advice from Henry Kissinger , Hillary doubles down on her assertion that getting advice from war criminals is good policy. I guess if she could get advice from Josef Mengele about Health care shed do that too? ..."
    "... Lamest line of the night - when Hillary tried to make a big deal about there being a majority of women on stage . Sorry Hill, but that kind of sexism is just as offensive as if you said majority of straight people on stage . You come across like some gender supremacist. ..."
    "... Im sorry, but as a woman and a feminist, I find this one of the most offensive things I have ever read! In what fucking universe is Hillary Clinton one of the most accomplished women in the world ? ..."
    "... She was a bright student who chose to sacrifice her own career and tone down her own ambitions and persona to become the political wife so the man she married could have the career he wanted, then, once he left office, coatailed on his connections and name recognition to win a (open-goal) U.S. Senate Seat, in which she did nothing brave or revolutionary or remarkable and which she then abandoned for a decent presidential run of her own (I voted for her in 2008, as it happens) in which she threw in the towel far too early and easily in the face of the party establishment ordering her to. Her reward for this was a post as U.S. Secretary of State, where she distinguished herself by helping implement a series of foreign policy disasters (Libya alone she haunt her for the rest of her life, and no, I dont mean the irrelevant Benghazi incident, but the complete destruction of what was once one of the most stable countries in the region)... ..."
    "... Killary proclaims listening to and following a war criminal and her neocon cohorts is somehow a good thing. ..."
    "... Killary says may many past mistakes having nothing to do with my future ones. ..."
    "... Faux-identity politics has run its course. ..."
    "... Really believe Republicans havent changed? Eisenhower had a 92% income tax on the rich, supported unions and warned of our industrial military. Your bible thumping party would crucify Eisenhower and Jesus today. Conservatives golden rule is help the rich . ..."
    "... Hillary Clinton has never had an original opinion on anything her whole political life. When she opens her mouth, all that comes out is a endless stream of views which safeguards the interests of the many wealthy organizations and institutions she has supported over the decades. ..."
    "... And really, what does Clinton have other than serving a pretty disastrous tenure as Obamas Secretary of State? (At least Kerry, for all his faults, c.f. Ukraine, managed the Iran deal - all Clinton did was manage to utterly destroy Libya.) ..."
    "... The only reason that Republicans find any support is because America is dumbing down. Based on my own observation because I happen to live in a very red state, by and large, Republican voters are willfully uninformed. Put a Republican in the Oval Office and our education system will not improve. Nor will the collective IQ of the American populace jump any curves. ..."
    "... Ill take Sanders proven judgment over Clintons shoot first; ask questions later approach. ..."
    "... Clinton, who received $225,000 for her appearance, praised the diversity of Goldmans workforce and the prominent roles played by women at the blue-chip investment bank and the tech firms present at the event. She spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. ..."
    "... For some reason I have a feeling that the big banks wouldnt be asking Mr . Sanders to speak at their events. ..."
    "... So if the Commander in Chief should be, first of all, a courageous person, who would you rather entrust the defense of the United States and the safety of its citizens; to Bernie Sanders or to Hillary Clinton. ..."
    "... she voted for gw bushs disastrous war. that is not slavishly denigrating clinton, thats just a fact. she caved on the most important foreign policy issue since vietnam. ..."
    "... This debate solidified my desire that Hillary NOT be Commander in Chief. She really did scare me that she would be too eager to go to war. The way she kept saying the words Commander in Chief, it made me feel she couldnt wait to get her fingers on the button. ..."
    "... Why anyone would believe corporate clone Hillary Clinton is beyond me. Hillary Clinton has two guiding principles: the advancement of Hillary Clinton, and the enrichment of Hillary Clinton. ..."
    www.theguardian.com
    smkngman, 2016-02-13 00:55:28
    Please!

    The biggest moment was when Bernie responded to,
    "Journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is."

    Aside from the "Journalists have asked" bull, his reply was most certainly the biggest moment of the entire debate!

    "Well it ain't Henry Kissinger,"

    According to Google, this moment created the BIGGEST spike of internet searches during the debate.

    RobertHickson2014, 2016-02-12 22:57:04
    Hypothetically, if Hillary is 500 delegates short of winning the nomination, while Bernie is only short 200, and 600 of the 700 Supers break her way....

    A scenario like that could very well happen; the DNC needs to abolish the Super Delegates once and for all to remove the prospect of a rigged nomination process.

    EDVDGN -> imipak, 2016-02-12 18:45:58
    Watch the very good summary below of American involvement in Iraq, 2003-2014, done by PBS' "Frontline". It specifically states that during the 2007 "Surge" to stabilize an Iraq that had been de-stabilized by the American invasion, the US gave about $400 million to the progenitor of ISIS, the Sunni "Sons of Iraq".

    The "unintended consequences" of the American (and British) invasion was the creation of ISIS, funded by the American taxpayer. Sanders voted against those "consequences"; Clinton, the old Klingon war-bird that she is, voted for them.

    Of course, daughter Chelsea, didn't have to get all dirty and bloody herself by going to fight her mother's war, but your sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers did. Vote for more of that with Clinton.

    "Losing Iraq", PBS, "Frontline", 7/29/14, 1 ½ hours
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/losing-iraq /

    uples, 2016-02-12 18:20:20
    Wow. Almost completely biased yet again. Did you watch the actual debate? Do these 5 points strike you as the main ones? I am Hillary Clinton and I approved this article. PS Obama? Kissinger? Both rate as crucial talking points last night and Hillary and no decent answer to Bernie on either
    kattw -> dochi1958, 2016-02-12 17:00:19
    I would love to see those transcripts, and have in fact written to her suggesting that she release them. I understand that Goldman Sachs paid good money to hear those speeches, and might like them to remain private, but I think it would be better for the nation, since she is running, for people to know what she said.

    ... ... ...

    Marcedward, 2016-02-12 16:18:17
    Big Moments:

    1) Hillary tries to mention a local African American killed by police, forgets the name mid sentence and struggles to get it out of her mouth. Came across as very rehearsed, especially when it turns out the victims mom was in the audience, being used by the Clinton Campaign for an obvious photo opportunity. Clinton wins the HAM HANDED Award.

    2) Hillary tries to go after Sanders for disagreeing with Obama and comes across like an inside the beltway clueless blithering idiot. She claims progressive creds, but she's totally unaware of how disappointing Obama has been to the Left. Hillary exposed as another Washington Insider, again.

    3) Sanders command of the agenda while all Clinton could do is follow his lead quipping "me too!" Clearly Sanders is in control of this race, Clinton is not, one is a leader, one is not. Hillary should just step down for the good of the country and the party

    4) Sanders catches Clinton on her "advice from Henry Kissinger", Hillary doubles down on her assertion that getting advice from war criminals is good policy. I guess if she could get advice from Josef Mengele about Health care she'd do that too?

    5) Hillary wearing what looked to be a Star Trek (the original series) Admiral's uniform - was that a nod to trekkies? I couldn't tell if it was a Star Fleet or a Romulan top. Anyway, cred for Hillary for shouting out to Trekkies.

    6) Lamest line of the night - when Hillary tried to make a big deal about there being a "majority of women on stage". Sorry Hill, but that kind of sexism is just as offensive as if you said "majority of straight people on stage". You come across like some gender supremacist.

    SocalAlex -> kattw, 2016-02-12 15:13:11

    of one of the most accomplished women in the world

    I'm sorry, but as a woman and a feminist, I find this one of the most offensive things I have ever read! In what fucking universe is Hillary Clinton "one of the most accomplished women in the world"?

    She was a bright student who chose to sacrifice her own career and tone down her own ambitions and persona to become the "political wife" so the man she married could have the career he wanted, then, once he left office, coatailed on his connections and name recognition to win a (open-goal) U.S. Senate Seat, in which she did nothing brave or revolutionary or remarkable and which she then abandoned for a decent presidential run of her own (I voted for her in 2008, as it happens) in which she threw in the towel far too early and easily in the face of the party establishment ordering her to. Her reward for this was a post as U.S. Secretary of State, where she "distinguished" herself by helping implement a series of foreign policy disasters (Libya alone she haunt her for the rest of her life, and no, I don't mean the irrelevant Benghazi incident, but the complete destruction of what was once one of the most stable countries in the region)...

    Sorry, Clinton may well be an intelligent and competent woman, but by what stretch of the imagination is she "one of the most accomplished women in the world"? The U.S. perhaps - through arguably not even - but the world? Seriously? And then you have the gall to claim Sanders supporters are delusional?

    Women like Angela Merkel or Christine Lagarde (like them or loathe them) could and would eat the likes of Clinton for breakfast, and they accomplished what they have without any husband's help!

    om Voloshen, 2016-02-12 15:12:45
    1. Killary plays the sex card.
    2. Killaty says little about her famaly's policy toward jailing nearly a third of all black men and foreclosing on so many of their homes due to Bill's passing GlassSteagall.
    3. Killary conveniently leaves out the fact that all key Latino and minority interest groups supported Bernie's no vote.
    4. Killary proclaims listening to and following a war criminal and her neocon cohorts is somehow a good thing.
    5. Killary says may many past mistakes having nothing to do with my future ones.
    ocalAlex -> Reality_Man, 2016-02-12 14:55:18
    Both Cruz and Rubio are as white as Clinton and Sanders. And having parents who were part of the upper-class who fled Cuba after the Revolution doesn't remotely reflect the personal histories of the vast majority of Hispanic-Americans. (Nor, for that matter, does being the son of a wealthy Kenyan student and middle-class white mother reflect the reality of 99% of African-Americans.)

    Faux-identity politics has run its course. It was never as instrumental in Obama's election(s) as was made out in the first place, and many of the minority for whom it was have learned their lesson.

    As the Republicans are painfully aware and Clinton is learning, blacks and Latinos and women and young people aren't stupid - they will ultimately rather vote for the "old white man" who represents their interests than the person they have slightly more of a genetic or cultural link to who doesn't!

    RobertHickson2014, 2016-02-12 14:33:36
    Hillary learned her lessons well from that douche bag, Henry Kissinger. Here are some of his 'foreign policy' quotes.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/here-are-the-top-10-most-callous-and-inhumane-henry-kissinger-quotes /

    SocalAlex -> Adrian, 2016-02-12 14:30:17
    Well, Sanders was the first Senator to announce he was boycotting Netanyahu's speech to Congress last year, and while he's certainly adopted a more mainstream line towards Israel in recent years, he's still never spoken at or accepted support from AIPAC and makes it quite clear in his policy brief that he believes Israel needs to end the siege of Gaza and withdraw from the West Bank .

    Clinton, on the other hand, is an AIPAC darling who doesn't even "believe" Gaza is under siege and merely has some mealy-mouthed platitudes to offer about how settlement expansion in the West Bank is not "helpful". (And one of her largest individual campaign donors is an Israeli-American billionaire who she has assured she will, if elected, do everything in her power to crack down on the BDS movement!)

    At least Obama treated the extremist bunch who are now in power in Israel exactly how they deserved.

    You mean even more $100s of billions in U.S. "aid" than they were already getting and complete diplomatic cover for their assault on Gaza and other assorted war crimes? If you think that's tough love, I'd hate to see how your children turn out!

    *For more background see thisAl-Jazeera English piece or the Electronic Intifada's exhaustive coverage.

    Sanders is far from perfect on this issue, but he's about as "progressive" as it is possible for any high-profile U.S. politician to be. (And I really hope you weren't implying the fact that he is Jewish makes him more likely to be pro-Israel - that is precisely the kind of crap which helps those opposed to Palestinian rights paint all of us campaigning for them in a bad light...)

    nnedjo -> kattw, 2016-02-12 14:26:01

    Of course, Clinton distances herself from her supporters by running a tight campaign

    Of course, that's the way how it works, Clinton left to her supporters to do the dirty work, and then she distances herself from them, and continue to play an angel.
    newellalan -> Reality_Man, 2016-02-12 14:21:17
    Really believe Republicans haven't changed? Eisenhower had a 92% income tax on the rich, supported unions and warned of our industrial military. Your bible thumping party would crucify Eisenhower and Jesus today. Conservatives golden rule is "help the rich".
    mouchefisher -> kattw, 2016-02-12 14:12:57
    You either misunderstood my comment, or you're being disingenuous.

    What I find strange is The Guardian's evident pro-Clinton bias, even though it pretends to be a progressive paper. Sanders is obviously the true progressive, not Clinton. So yes, it does make me (and many, many other readers of The Guardian) wonder.

    ajreddish, 2016-02-12 14:12:07
    Hillary Clinton has never had an original opinion on anything her whole political life. When she opens her mouth, all that comes out is a endless stream of views which safeguards the interests of the many wealthy organizations and institutions she has supported over the decades.

    At least when Bernie Sanders opens his mouth on any issue, there's no puppet strings moving furiously up and down in the background.

    SocalAlex -> DennisLaw , 2016-02-12 14:10:16
    What foreign policy credentials/experience did Obama have? (Or W. Bush or Bill Clinton for that matter?)

    And really, what does Clinton have other than serving a pretty disastrous tenure as Obama's Secretary of State? (At least Kerry, for all his faults, c.f. Ukraine, managed the Iran deal - all Clinton did was manage to utterly destroy Libya.)

    Agi Tater -> imipak , 2016-02-12 14:03:26
    The only reason that Republicans find any support is because America is dumbing down. Based on my own observation because I happen to live in a very red state, by and large, Republican voters are willfully uninformed. Put a Republican in the Oval Office and our education system will not improve. Nor will the collective IQ of the American populace jump any curves.

    Sanders' one weakness is he does not articulate a clear foreign policy. On the other hand, these are complex issues that can't be reduced to talking points. Further, Sanders' voting record on these issues is solid. Unlike Clinton he did vote against the war in Iraq. And he predicted the unintended consequence of instability and thus ISIS. Clinton has far more experience but she pretends her vote for a disastrous war in Iraq has no connection to ISIS. That's a serious lack of judgment and/or honesty on her part.

    I'll take Sanders' proven judgment over Clinton's "shoot first; ask questions later" approach.

    Agi Tater, 2016-02-12 13:38:25
    This article is not balanced and thus disappointing. Same with Graves' opinion piece stating that Sanders "squandered" his lead. Absurd.

    Everything that comes out of Clinton's mouth is a strategic ploy for votes. She will say whatever she and her advisors think she must say to get elected. If she is elected, she will maintain the status quo, at least when it comes to the economy and campaign financing. Those are the two areas that must be reformed before we can see any real progress.

    Anyone who believes that Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street criminals are funding Clinton's campaign because she's going to follow through with the real economic reforms that she's now promising (copying Sanders) and that will eliminate their fraudulent business models is a fucking idiot. What Wall Street type is going to donate to a candidate who's going to level the playing field and thus destroy their business model? Are people really that stupid? (rhetorical question) Let's see those transcripts from her speeches that she clearly does not want voters to see.

    The truth is, Clinton's talking points have shifted and evolved to match Sanders' positions that voters find attractive. This is a matter of record. She's an Establishment politician and will be to the end. Sander is the real deal.

    Murphy1983, 2016-02-12 13:36:57
    From Politico Feb. 9, 2016:

    NEW YORK - "When Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs executives and technology titans at a summit in Arizona in October of 2013, she spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs, according to people who saw her remarks.

    "Clinton, who received $225,000 for her appearance, praised the diversity of Goldman's workforce and the prominent roles played by women at the blue-chip investment bank and the tech firms present at the event. She spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.

    "'It was pretty glowing about us," one person who watched the event said. "It's so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.' "

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/clinton-speeches-218969#ixzz3ztCCKaHe

    sharethewealth -> kattw, 2016-02-12 13:34:37
    It's a tough question to ask, given the American track record on foreign policy. Who would you listen to? American interests overseas have never been, shall we say, altruistic; more self serving and clandestine. It's no wonder Bernie is focusing his attention on the national socio/political climate. It seems ironic to think that any government can influence foreign policy in a positive way while issues such a racism and a living wage are so rampantly out of balance in their own nation.
    Elfeesh, 2016-02-12 13:29:10
    So your "5 things we learned" is actually "A positive spin on 4 things about Clinton and one thing Sanders said", whilst totally failing to mention the fact that Clinton outright lied about things that Bernie had said in an attempt to make it seem like he actively opposes Obama, or that she said, verbatim, that she wouldn't allow child refugees to settle in the US and to send them back AS A MESSAGE.

    This paper's coverage is getting more and more biased by the minute as its journalists realise that "kooky old Sanders" is actually getting some traction with the American people. That article by Lucia Gravesis a disgrace and cherry picks the one liners Sanders came back to Hillary's attacks with, as though its somehow terrible for someone to defend themselves with witty and quick comebacks.

    Just FYI Guardian, your readership is actually half intelligent and can see through your biased BS, just as the general electorate can see through the crappy CNN and PBS coverage given to Sanders. You say that Clinton "won" the debate, yet it seems that most people disagree(Note the person saying this is an Associated Press journalist) and there is more than one source to suggest that, in Nevada a focus group say Sanders' won by a 25-9 margin and even Chris Matthews, who for the longest time has been struggling to say "Bernie Sanders" without the "Democratic Socialist" prefix, says that Bernie beat Hillary at her own game. Finally, and I'm afraid I don't have a link for this one, CNN and PBS' own coverage of the debate cut to a room in South Carolina filled with a focus group of women of mixed age and race. (Please note SC is supposed to be Clinton's version of New Hampshire where she'll stomp all over Sanders) Almost all people in the group said Bernie had done the best in the debate, and the one black woman they interviewed (again, black women is supposedly Clinton's demographic) said that Sanders was the most convincing out of the two, though she remained undecided.

    People would start taking this paper seriously again if you guys actually paid attention to whats going on, instead of just closing your eyes to all the evidence and continuing to hammer out ridiculous articles bigging up your chosen candidate. There's a reason people aren't even bothering to read your coverage anymore, and instead go straight to the comments to see what people are actually thinking.

    DrKropotkin -> Serv_On , 2016-02-12 13:19:41
    "Bernie should give a pledge that he will never take a red cent for a speech ever ever ever"

    It's not about cents - it's hundreds of thousands per hour and behind closed doors, which is an unsubtle way to bribe a future president. Sanders did give a speech recently to a University that paid him $1,800. Transcripts are available and he donated all of the money to charity.

    Anatoliy Asanov -> Serv_On, 2016-02-12 13:13:08
    For some reason I have a feeling that the big banks wouldn't be asking Mr . Sanders to speak at their events.
    Zendjan -> elterrifico, 2016-02-12 13:12:17
    She makes Lucrezia Borgia look like Mother Teresa.
    DrKropotkin -> Reality_Man, 2016-02-12 13:08:57
    In both primaries Sanders beat the polls by 5-8%. Nationally he is now just 2 points off Clinton according to the latest poll.

    The MSMBS has created a reality bubble around Clinton, but nobody takes print media or TV news seriously anymore, everybody knows they have to use multiple sources online to get a real balanced picture. So everyday more and more people are learning about Sanders and liking what they see - a consistent advocate for progressive policies even when it was neither profitable nor popular to be one.

    In particular voters are learning about his anti segregation campaigning in the 1960's and his pro gay rights positions in the 1980's. When they look at Clinton's past they see a calculating fair weather supporter on these issues, possibly based on the latest polling.

    Also, her pockets full of Wall Street money is really damaging her and when she tries to defend it she comes across as disingenuous (at best).

    ouKnightedStates -> EbenezerSeattle, 2016-02-12 13:04:38
    It's amazing. Three articles in the Guardian praising her "vote in 2002 not a plan for ISIS 2016" line as a winner. Vote in 2002 caused ISIS in 2016!
    Stetson Meyers, 2016-02-12 12:58:36
    She is hiding behind Obama. Defending him while bringing up the fact that he took Wall Street money does nothing to endear me to you. It makes me angry at Obama.
    elterrifico, 2016-02-12 12:55:25
    If Hillary wants low blow then let's talk about

    The rose law firm and the missing subpoenaed files that a cleaning crew found in the living quarters while slick Willie Clinton was president.

    Cattlegate and how Hillary claims she made millions on cattle futures from a wall street article that the wall street journal said didn't exist.

    Lets talk about all the people how suspiciously died who were connected to the Clinton's and who had information to Clinton wrong doings.

    I bet that would shut Hillary's sleazy mouth

    DrKropotkin, 2016-02-12 12:49:52
    From ATL:

    "Clinton dropped this critique on the senator from Vermont: "Journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is." "

    Let me finish the Guardian's reporting for them:

    Sanders quickly responds "Well it ain't Henry Kissinger" - the audience applauds and laughs.

    Janosik53 -> UNOINO, 2016-02-12 12:27:30
    Exactly. ISIS is part of the unintended consequences that were created by the West's Middle East adventure. "Blowback" as the security services have it. The same thing could be said about the U.S. backing of the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, the better to scupper the Soviets. Elements of the mujahadeen morphed into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Bin Laden was a CIA asset at one time.

    Bernie remembers what happened, Hillary dismisses it with the "2002 vote" quip. Hillary is a tactician, Bernie is a strategist. I think a moral strategist makes a better C-in-C than a bought and paid for tactician.

    pretzelattack -> Yunnaan, 2016-02-12 12:08:39
    the point is electing a republican lite to deal with republican intransigence makes no sense whatever. she will work with them to advance the neoliberal austerity agenda, which hurts the middle class, and everybody else but the kind of people who pay her so much money to give a canned speech.
    nnedjo, 2016-02-12 12:03:37
    Let me get this straight. You have politicians who all his life was not afraid to swim against the mainstream, neither he worried that it could jeopardize his political career.

    And on the other hand, you have a careerist politician, which the whole of her life was "turning with the wind", climbed the ladder of political power, both in its Democratic Party and in the state too, and finally ended up with hundreds of millions of dollars on her private account, gained thanks to its political influence.

    So if the Commander in Chief should be, first of all, a courageous person, who would you rather entrust the defense of the United States and the safety of its citizens; to Bernie Sanders or to Hillary Clinton.

    Anatoliy Asanov -> SenseCir, 2016-02-12 12:01:54
    The same plan she and the establiment was shoving down our throats and digging in in our pockets... And Putin wouldn't be Putin if US weren't prowling around the world. Why is Saudi Arabia is our ally?
    mouchefisher, 2016-02-12 11:45:30
    I think I'll soon just start skipping The Guardian's articles completely, and head straight to the comments.
    The articles read like pro-Clinton adverts, which seems strange coming from a self-proclaimed progressive news source...
    Fortunately, we do have The Nation, The Atlantic, Salon, Alternet, etc.
    Adrian, 2016-02-12 10:29:34
    Am I the only one who's wondering why Bernie Sanders is not being asked a single question about his position on the Palestinian problem, on the recent events involving Netanyahu and the Israeli lobby in the USA trying to derails the Iran nuclear deal and so on?

    I don't think we need now at the White House someone willing to follow Netanyahu's lead in the Middle East... At least Obama treated the extremist bunch who are now in power in Israel exactly how they deserved.

    devin42 -> Marcedward, 2016-02-12 09:50:47
    Hey, Guardian writers. I don't know if you ever come into the comments - but realise this. We aren't morons. This isn't the Mail. We can see through it. A great many of us watched the debates, follow the campaigns, know the facts from other sources. The internet is great like that, as corporate media no longer has an exclusive stranglehold on framing and spin.

    The constituents of your 'paper' are not easily hoodwinked and most, as you can see, find the spin disgusting. You're going to keep haemorrhaging readers unless you either refocus on integrity in journalism (unlikely, considering who's on the board), or fully commit to being a pseudo-intellectual Buzzfeed. Best of luck.

    pretzelattack -> Philman, 2016-02-12 09:43:42
    she voted for gw bush's disastrous war. that is not slavishly denigrating clinton, that's just a fact. she caved on the most important foreign policy issue since vietnam.
    EDVDGN, 2016-02-12 09:23:32
    The American Public Broadcasting System's (PBS) "NewsHour" reports:*

    In other news, some of Clinton's speaker fees from Wall Street, 2013-15**:

    TOTAL: $2,935,000

    Thus, our health care system is expensive and sub-par, but a resounding and understandable "No, we can't" from Clinton on universal health care, and many other issues.
    _____________________________________
    *"Health Costs: How the U.S. Compares With Other Countries", PBS
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/health-costs-how-the-us-compares-with-other-countries /
    **"Hillary Clinton Got Paid More for 12 Speeches to Wall Street Banks than Most Americans Make in a Lifetime",
    http://humansarefree.com/2016/01/hillary-clinton-got-paid-more-for-12.html

    FeatherWood, 2016-02-12 09:19:32
    This debate solidified my desire that Hillary NOT be Commander in Chief. She really did scare me that she would be too eager to go to war. The way she kept saying the words "Commander in Chief," it made me feel she couldn't wait to get her fingers on the button.

    When Hillary praised President Obama and criticized Bernie for some mild critiques he'd made of the president, it was an utterly transparent ploy for the votes of African-Americans in South Carolina. So obvious that I was a bit disgusted. Hillary and President Obama have a rocky history. Any comments Bernie has made are tame compared to the stuff Hillary said about him during the 2008 campaign. I really wonder if people will buy Hillary trying to wrap herself so closely with Obama.

    Sandra Bowen -> CDKBM180715, 2016-02-12 09:03:56
    Hillary wears a new outfit every campaign day. Sanders' has 2 suits, 1 blazer. Looks say a lot about a person
    SirWillis -> CDKBM180715, 2016-02-12 08:30:10
    At least try to understand what he is saying. He's saying her smile is false, he's not commenting on her looks. Her smile is false, it's not natural, and I have no doubt she was coached to smile in the way focus groups decided was the most electable. Trouble is a genuine smile is hard to fake.

    Please try to understand these things, context is everything.

    CanadianAtheist, 2016-02-12 08:19:57

    Clinton drops a well-tuned response to Sanders' criticism of her vote in support of the Iraq war: "I don't believe that a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat Isis in 2016."


    But it is a reflection of her judgement. We condemn Republicans, journalists, academics, etc. who supported the Iraq War, but we are supposed to give Clinton a pass? Let's also not forget that she supported the troop increase in Afghanistan and pushed for military action in Libya.
    CanadianAtheist -> crap_in, 2016-02-12 08:14:00
    According to congress.gov Sanders has sponsored 780 pieces of legislation and cosponsored 5428.
    noraak15 -> noraak15, 2016-02-12 06:50:20
    To be clear this is in relation to this being Obama's fault.

    As for the Dems doing their best to lose a winnable election you may be right but Sanders really has hit the nail on the head. It doesn't matter who wins no change will occur until the big money and special interests are reined in and that won't happen unless and until there is a president backed by a movement of ordinary people demanding change that is so large and undeniable that politicians in Washington realize that unless they accede to the people's demands (as presented by the President) and get behind the President in respect of such change they will actually lose their seats... only incumbents fearful of losing their seats will vote for anything other than what the lobbyists tell them to. Only then will change happen. I'd bet there is more certainty that won't happen then Villa making a surprising comeback and not being relegated.

    noraak15 -> EssoBlue, 2016-02-12 06:38:54
    For the same reason they voted for Blair and Bush Dubya and Clinton and Bush Sr... Poor people, the same people I honestly want to help as a responsible socialist democrat, are essentially stupid and generally vote against their own interests hence the number of blue collar workers in the US flocking to Donald Trump rallies. It defies belief but there it is, that and the fact that smart people who aren't only out for themselves have better things to do like discover gravitational waves, perform your surgery, teach and other less snazzy things then simply make money.
    Peter Kinnaird -> Serv_On, 2016-02-12 06:35:45
    On the contrary. The economy crashed because the unfettered free markets failed. You don't need someone who "understands" or in other words supports the free market status quo, you need someone who understands the flaws of the markets and the need for regulation.
    noraak15 -> Serv_On, 2016-02-12 06:31:26
    Uh? You do realize it was the deregulation of Wall Street that led to the collapse right? You do realize Wall Street aready leads the government by the nose don't you (the very reason Sanders quite rightly states that any reform will be impossible no matter who is elected President unless they have a groundswell of popular support beneath them)? You are aware that laws and trade agreements are written by Wall Street lawyers and that Wall Street is regulated by Wall Street lawyers due to the continuous rotating door between government agencies and Wall Street? You do understand that QE and bailouts were at the behest of and in the interest of Wall Street bound to create asset bubbles they can make a lot of money insider trading on then exit and leave pension funds on the hook and not designed to save the economy don't you?

    Oh why do I bother you believe in "continuous growth" generated by perfect rationale markets and of course unicorns and leprechauns waiting with your pot of gold.

    EssoBlue, 2016-02-12 05:30:29
    Why anyone would believe corporate clone Hillary Clinton is beyond me. Hillary Clinton has two guiding principles: the advancement of Hillary Clinton, and the enrichment of Hillary Clinton.

    Lest we forget, in 2008 Hillary Clinton ran as a gun-loving churchgoer against Barack Obama.

    PlayaGiron, 2016-02-12 05:20:01
    Only the graun can make the exposure of Clinton's ties to the butcher Kissinger into a win for Team Hillary.

    Watch the video and you will the crowd totally backs Sanders during the exchange

    Nice to see the Guardian still has war criminal Kissinger's back.

    Too bad we are seeing through your corporatist propaganda.

    joeblow9999, 2016-02-12 05:09:13
    Hillary appeared desperate and her attacks came off as unimaginative and sleazy. More and more she is appearing to be a liability to the nomination.

    [Feb 13, 2016] US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

    Notable quotes:
    "... The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection. ..."
    "... Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder. ..."
    "... When Clapper says they might then they are already doing so. ..."
    "... Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all. ..."
    "... USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if theyre in they can do anything they want. ..."
    "... She is an opportunist, not a feminist. ..."
    "... Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment. ..."
    "... I said I wouldnt ever do that again after Obummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that. ..."
    "... You lost me on equality is women having all the same opportunities as men . Actually many of us want entirely different opportunities and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of feminism that is enmeshed in peoples real lives. ..."
    "... Im an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them. ..."
    www.theguardian.com
    Fgt 4URIGHTS, 2016-02-09 22:59:16
    The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg1-vao5Ta8

    Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder.

    YeeofLittleFaith -> Individualist , 2016-02-09 22:37:44
    I'll say this, if this inevitable surveillance can prevent actual criminals from committing actual crimes, it might be useful.

    And I'll say this: if that is the intention of these devices - and if your bog-standard criminal is ever caught using them - I'll eat your smart fridge.

    neiman1 -> JinTexas , 2016-02-09 22:29:54
    When Clapper says "they might" then they are already doing so.
    Hillary Assad , 2016-02-09 22:26:15
    Surveillance video of San Bernardino released on 01/05/16 Enjoy!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHH7gvHXLzQ
    mirandawest -> Dan B , 2016-02-09 22:20:40
    Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all.
    mirandawest -> John Leehane , 2016-02-09 22:15:38
    USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if they're in they can do anything they want.
    bcarey -> harrywarren , 2016-02-09 20:53:30

    She is an opportunist, not a feminist.

    Absolutely correct.
    (And a panderer.)

    Lisa Wood -> kirili, 2016-02-10 07:17:32
    Hear ya, I plan to hold him to the fire. I'm a realist, and married to an uber realist, so not gonna argue with ya here, but, as this article actually says really well, is that the holistic embrace of all inequity opens the landscape to the big conversations we do Need to have right now.

    I know i know, the UN is at one hand a weak tool and on the other a NWO franchise, but Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment.

    I have let my Hope thing vibrate a bit, and I said I wouldn't ever do that again after O'bummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that.

    Lisa Wood -> MajorMalaise , 2016-02-10 07:08:42
    You lost me on "equality is women having all the same opportunities as men". Actually many of us want entirely different "opportunities" and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of "feminism" that is enmeshed in people's real lives.
    keepinitreal2000, 2016-02-10 06:12:18
    I'm an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them.

    As an Aussie it is important that his message is heard and implemented as America can then show the world there is good in the world and that we all can live in a fair, just and equal world. Something America has stopped showing for a very longtime. This hopefully will filter down to other countries as America rightly or wrongly leads the world and many countries do follow suit.

    [Feb 12, 2016] Theres A Special Place at The Hague for Madeleine Albright

    Notable quotes:
    "... Too bad she is a neocon monster. ..."
    "... Albright doesn't have a whole lot of empathy for those who find themselves on the disadvantageous side of American foreign policy. She neither came down wholly for or wholly against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But that might just have been silly partisan politics and not due to any actual concern for the lives of Iraqi civilians. In 1996, Albright stated that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to American sanctions was justified. ..."
    "... From Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide ..."
    "... Unlike Rwanda, Albright was involved in every step of Clinton's Balkan policy, although she was not his Secretary of State until 1997. Before that, she was U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and served as president of the Center for National Policy . She is a former student of Zbigniew Brzezinski . ..."
    "... Albright actively advocated policies that led to American military action in 1999, and placed all of the blame for the situation on the Belgrade government . (Does that ring a bell?) Albright's contention was that "a little bombing" would encourage Milosevic to sign Rambouillet Peace Accords, which would allow for the NATO occupation of Kosovo. ..."
    "... The Clinton Administration demanded Milosevic's removal from power , and in 2000, Albright rejected Vladimir Putin's offer to try to use his influence to defuse the situation. ..."
    "... War may have been the American end game in the Balkans from the start. In 1992, the American ambassador torpedoed Bosnian secession peace negotiations by convincing Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic to refuse to sign the peace accords. The ensuing catastrophic civil war, which ended in 1995, was blamed on Bosnian Serbs and Milosevic. Colin Powell recalled, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was pressured by Albright in 1992 to use military force on Bosnia. ..."
    "... Albright has never wavered from her stance on the Balkans. In 2012, she got into a shouting match with pro-Serbian activists over her role in that conflict , calling the protesters "dirty Serbs." ..."
    russia-insider.com

    Madeleine Albright proves to the young, aspiring women of America that warmongering psychopathy has no glass ceiling.

    Former U.S. Secretary of State under Bill Clinton Madeleine Albright thinks there is "a special place in hell" for young women if they don't vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Despite overwhelming evidence that most young American women who still plan to remain involved in the electoral process would rather go to hell than vote for Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, from her seat of war criminal wisdom, has informed the naive lasses that support for Bernie Sanders will land them in the VIP room in a superstitious underground torture chamber.

    By repurposing her own original quote, Albright has proven yet once again that she is an expert on hell's admission standards because she's probably going there.

    Of course it should come to no surprise that Albright is stumping for Hillary Clinton. After all, she was Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, the first female to hold the office. And sure, Albright has an interesting bio. She and her family, fleeing Czechoslovakia from approaching German army, escaped to Serbia, and she survived the Nazi Blitzkrieg of London.

    Too bad she is a neocon monster.

    Although she personally experienced the horrors of WWII, and had family members who died in the Nazi death camps, Albright doesn't have a whole lot of empathy for those who find themselves on the disadvantageous side of American foreign policy. She neither came down wholly for or wholly against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But that might just have been silly partisan politics and not due to any actual concern for the lives of Iraqi civilians. In 1996, Albright stated that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to American sanctions was justified.

    When is genocide justified? Or when does it simply not matter?

    Let's ask the Rwandans.

    Although the Clinton Administration's stated purpose for intervening in the Balkans was to stop genocide, the Rwandan genocide in 1994 continued unabated. From Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide:

    &q