"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people…. [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and … degeneracy of manners and of morals…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." (James Madison)
"In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful ": Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
"In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us": Thich Nhat Hanh, Contemporary Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist and writer
"The only security for the American people today, or for any people, is to be found through the control of force rather than the use of force" : Norman Cousins: American essayist and editor, long associated with the Saturday Review, 1912-1990
"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army": Edward Everett
"This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.": Franklin D. Roosevelt : April 16, 1953
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
"Make wars unprofitable and you make them impossible" - A. Philip Randolph
"Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education... no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both." - Abraham Flexner
"There would be an end of war and preparations for war if the cost were borne by those responsible for war. - Frederic Clemson Howe in Why War
"All wars are fought for money" - Socrates
"Terrorism is the price of empire. If you do not wish to pay the price, you must give up the empire": - Patrick J. Buchanan - Where the Right Went Wrong
"It's not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it's not going to help. Then you might say, "Yes, it's terrorizing people, but it's worth doing because it will end terrorism." But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?": - Howard Zinn - Terrorism and War
"Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism": - Noam Chomsky
Obama administration arms sales offers to Saudi top $115 billion - report: U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion (86 billion pounds) in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance https://uk.news.yahoo.com/obama-administration-arms-sales-offers-saudi-top-115-191753580.html
Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world: Exclusive: Two-thirds of UK weapons have been sold to Middle Eastern countries since 2010 http://tinyurl.com/zkxhh9q
Latest NewsTrump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. "Defense" Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget By Alex Emmons, February 28, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"
The U.S. government already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.
On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015.
U.S. military spending has been at permanent wartime levels since the 2001 terror attacks... U.S. military spending in 2015 remains at 190 percent of what it was before 9/11.
Trump orders military to prepare for world war By Tom Eley [Freelance journalist. Lives in Nottingham, England] 28 January 2017, WSWS.org
During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.
The US currently spends approximately $600 billion on its military annually—excluding expenditures on the intelligence agencies and Veterans Administration— more than the next nine largest military spenders combined. American “defense” spending accounts for, by itself, over one third of all global military spending, and it consumes the great majority of the federal discretionary budget.
Increases in military spending, coupled with Trump’s promises to drastically lower taxes on corporations and the rich, must inevitably be paid for by cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, and by plundering Social Security and Medicare.
Mikhail Gorbachev: Appears 'The World Is Preparing for War' 'Wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war,' writes former Soviet leaderThe Warnings of a New World War By Gilbert Doctorow [the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord] October 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Consortium News"
The U.S.-Russia confrontation over Ukraine and now Syria is far more dangerous than is understood by mainstream U.S. analysts as Russia lays down clear warnings that are mostly being ignored.
A picture is worth a thousand words / President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left
In an interview with the Bild newspaper on Oct. 8, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is known for his cautious rhetoric, described the present international situation in the following woeful terms: “unfortunately it is an illusion to believe this is the old Cold War. The new times are different; they are more dangerous.
For these reasons, said Steinmeier, “The USA and Russia must continue talking with each other.” He concluded his appeal with fairly balanced recommendations to resolve the humanitarian crisis in east Aleppo, urging both Russia and the other powers to apply their influence with their clients on the ground.
Sad to say, this call to reason fell on deaf ears. On the same day, a U.S. State Department spokesman explained to journalists Washington’s decision over the weekend to end the joint peace process with Moscow, saying that there was “nothing left to talk about with the Russians.”
War damage in the once-thriving Syrian city of Aleppo / Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016
Meanwhile, the Russian side took as the last straw this unilateral and trumpeted decision of the Americans to bury the deal signed on Sept. 9 between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that had taken 14 hours to negotiate and was seen as a triumph of cooperation versus confrontation.
De facto, from the Russian view, that deal was sabotaged on Sept. 17 by the Pentagon when U.S. and coalition aircraft bombed a Syrian government military outpost at Deir Ezzor killing more than 60 Syrian soldiers.
From the foregoing, it would appear that the U.S. government was keen to play down to the general public the significance of the separately noted Russian moves last week. It is in this context that one must appreciate what an unofficial but authoritative Russian state television program last Sunday night did...
The Oct. 9 show, the real hoped-for audience of the first half-hour segment was in Washington, D.C., where its intent was to pour cold water over hotheads in the Pentagon and CIA – and bring the American leadership back to its senses. Quoting from the transcript:
“This past week relations between the USA and Russia went through a sharp but expected turn. To bend over backwards further in the face of [American] lies has lost all sense and is simply harmful. By bending over backwards we mean looking for diplomatic compromises.
“We held endless expectations that the USA will finally separate the non-terrorists from the terrorists [in Syria]. We waited more than a year for this. But it is clear they did not want to. They are taking us and the whole world for fools.
"America is working on the side of Al Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate], providing them with diplomatic cover; providing them with additional arms; helping them by their supposedly mistaken bombing of a Syrian army position.
By presenting Russia with hostility and enormous challenges, the United States has been creating the very Russia it fears.
Moreover, the CIA has its own agent taking part in the prime-time talk shows several days a week. He is a welcome and paid guest of the Russian state television because of his outstanding Russian language skills and his defense of the policy line coming from Washington, which makes him the American that Russian viewers love to hate.
In this capacity, he rubs shoulders regularly with the leading Russian politicians on the shows and has a chance, in the breaks, to put to them the kind of question that one such politician said he raised a week ago: “Will there be a war?”
A puzzling and scandalous question arises: why has the President not said a word about the “radical change in relations” with Russia? And why is it that neither candidate when asked about how to respond to the killings in east Aleppo on Debate Two, that very same evening, on Oct. 9, were clueless.
Indeed, the remarks of Hillary Clinton to the effect that the United States must stand up to the Russians and impose a “no-fly zone” in Syria missed the point that to do so now will mean destruction of U.S. aircraft and naval vessels, or, in other words, the onset of World War III.
For his part, Donald Trump came out marginally better on the issue of what to do about east Aleppo. He said that, as he understands, it’s lost already. That appraisal is much closer to reality.
The end result of the official silence in the U.S. about Russia’s message of defiance and about its military wherewithal in place in Syria to defend what it construes as its national interest is that as a nation the U.S. is flying blind.
War vs. Democracy By Robert C. Koehler September 09, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The paradox of democracy is that it depends on the integrity of those who have the most to lose if an election goes the wrong way — you know, the people in power.
That’s a particularly thorny dilemma when the “fourth estate” — the speakers of truth to power, the public’s counterforce against political hackdom — are basically corporate wimps who view their job as the voice of public relations for the status quo, the defenders of our conventional beliefs, e.g., that God’s in his heaven and America is the world’s oldest, greatest, most secure democracy.
But in 2016, even the mainstream media are trembling with uncertainty. As Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis recently wrote: “Now 16 years after the theft of the presidency in Florida 2000, and a dozen since it was done again in Ohio 2004, the corporate media is approaching consensus that it is indeed very easy to strip millions of legitimate citizens from the voting rolls, and then to hack electronic voting machines and computerized central tabulators to flip the official final outcome.”
Change is coming, apparently, whether we want it or not. Bernie Sanders and the progressive revolution were neatly, efficiently stiffed by the Democrats, but the “alt-right” nationalists and white supremacists surprised the hell out of the Republicans and now their man is leading a charge up Stone Mountain, promising to make America great again, or at least free of non-European immigrants and the cruel constraints of political correctness.
Two months before the election, I feel the need to pause and look in several directions at the shortcomings of the process we celebrate with such self-adulation.
In an interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, points out: “The magnificent work that the Bernie Sanders campaign did and the momentum they built and the public support that they demonstrated and mobilized is a wonder to behold and it has forever transformed the political landscape. But it was essentially sabotaged by the Democratic Party as it has always done since George McGovern won the Democratic Party nomination, and the rules of the game were changed so that a grassroots campaign could not win the nomination again — in part by creating super delegates and Super Tuesdays, but that’s not the end of it.”
It is in this context that I bring up the concept of election reform. For democracy to be real, three rights must be protected: the right to vote, the right to have your vote counted, and the right to vote for a candidate who actually represents you. And as usual, all three of these rights are under assault.
Pentagon And CIA at War in Syria By Eric Margolis September 03, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
What a mess! In the crazy Syrian war, US-backed and armed groups are fighting other US-backed rebel groups. How can this be?
Cost Of War
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,455,590" Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,883
Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 3,487
Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
General Breedlove and the Russophobes By Justin Raimondo July 06, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Antiwar"
They’re determined to start World War III
Revealed by hackers who broke into his email accounts, Breedlove’s plot to start World War III with Russia recalls the recklessness of Dr. Strangelove in a movie of the same name – except this isn’t a movie, it’s reality.
If you missed it, the biggest military corruption scandal in decades By Craig234 Wednesday Jun 01, 2016
The company that has the most business servicing Navy ships in much of the world, owned by a Malaysian man, has been found to be massively corrupt and to have penetrated the US Navy heavily.
Several Naval officers have already pled guilty to charges related to the corruption. More than 200 officers are under investigation. The Chief of Naval Operations called about 200 admirals to a meeting in December and told them that 30 of them are under investigation.
The company has a widespread network of navy officers supplying them secret information and redirecting Navy ships as the company ordered them to, to get serviced by the company, who overcharged the Navy for the services.
Many Naval Officers received expensive gifts, lavish parties with prostitutes, and cash payments for their corrupt actions.
There are lessons to learn here about ‘good government’. That checks and balances and oversight that costs money is part of ‘good government’.
Republicans include the costs of investigating fraud and crime in their budget-slashing for any groups who are their donors and even some who are not.
For example, under Bush, the IRS slashed the budget for auditing the wealthy, while spending heavily on building new systems to detect the smallest errors for the working class returns.
The idea of corruption in the military spending is not new. Harry Truman came to national fame by heading the Senate’s investigation into corrupt activities in World War II spending.
It’s great that this was caught — but the massive extent and how long it’s gone on show we still are not doing well at catching this as it should be.
Why has this scandal received so little media attention? It seems related to the larger problem of not having news organizations, but entertainment news organizations for profit.
We need to support fighting and monitoring for this sort of corruption as part of our battle for good government. This harms the public support for government.
"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living": General Omar Bradley
"The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis": Edmund Burke
Bernie’s Quasi-Concession Speech and Hillary’s Syrian War to Come By Gary Leupp June 21, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Dissident Voice"
What a triumph for Hillary it will be should boys and girls both die in World War III. http://www.informationclea
Bernie: “The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly.” Meaning, “we” will all have to — as our major task — back the Wall Street candidate Clinton versus the racist buffoon.
Hillary: Wall Street's warmonger.
Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III By Paul Craig Roberts May 28, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war. http://thesaker.is/how-russia-is-preparing-for-wwiii/
Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.
Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.
Russian weapons systems are far superior to American ones. American weapons are produced by private companies for the purpose of making vast profits. The capability of the weapons is not the main concern.
Previous US presidents worked to defuse tensions. The Obama regime has inflated tensions with lies and reckless provocations, which makes it far more likely that the new Cold War will turn hot. If Killary [the author's nickname for Hillary the warmonger] gains the White House, the world is unlikely to survive her first term.
We’re Never Winning These Wars: America Has Zero to Show For Its Decades of Bloodshed in the Middle East Armed conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond hasn't brought anything close to lasting peace. Quite the opposite.
possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious."
"If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say "No" to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses." - Louis Lecoin - French pacifist leader
"Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!" : Helen Keller
Cost Of War
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,455,590"
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,883
Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 3,487
Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan Total Cost of Wars Since 2001: 1,651,249,293,613
National Priorities the budget
“War Is a Racket” James Albertini – TRANSCEND Media Service. 19 Oct. 2015
The U.S. military receives more funding than the rest of the 10 largest militaries in the world combined (China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, U.K., France, Japan, India, Germany & South Korea): $1.3 trillion dollars per year.
These figures do not include additional military-related spending by the VA, CIA, Homeland Security, Energy, Justice or State Departments, nor interest payments on past military spending, which combine to raise the true cost of U.S. militarism to about $1.3 trillion per year, or one thirteenth of the U.S. economy.
Four Horsemen of the Democracy By Robert C. Koehler
“It was also a shock to the system that a candidate universally known in Iowa, with deep pockets and long experience, could come close to losing to a relative unknown who was initially considered little more than a protest candidate.”
Just think of it! The tiny, tightly controlled consciousness that calls itself The World’s Greatest Democracy got all rattled and discombobulated by the behavior of Iowa caucus participants this week, because a large number of them — virtually half of the participating Democrats — cast their vote for an old socialist, well outside the zone of official approval.
The above quote, from the Washington Post, lays painfully bare the scope of awareness considered allowable in the American electoral process. Oh Bernie, with his unrealistic ideas, his idealism, his anger! He was supposed to be fringe — the candidate of the unserious (non-voting) American — but instead his campaign has cut into the mainstream vein, bleeding money from it and now, OMG, actual votes. What’s going on here?
The way I see it, he’s threatening the consensus of ignorance that has congealed over the last four decades around the American political process, especially at the highest levels. Indeed, the consensus is coming apart on its own this election season, even for those who have traditionally embraced it, e.g., the “white middle class,” as conservative writer R.R. Reno notes in a recent New York Times op-ed:
“Our political history since the end of World War II has turned on the willingness of white middle-class voters to rally behind great causes in league with the wealthy and political elite: Resist Communism! Send a man to the moon! Overcome racism! Protect the environment! Today, white middle-class voters want to be reassured that they can play an active role in politics. They want someone to appeal to their sense of political self-worth, not just their interests.
“This is precisely what Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders offer.”
I think it’s bigger than that. The American public is hearing the distant rumble of civilization’s collapse — hearing it beyond the chatter of the boob-tube pundits, beyond our trivialized identity as “consumers.” With the term “sense of political self-worth,” Reno is trying to say that democracy has a deep, spiritual dimension, that politics is about life and death, that our so-called leaders have to pledge a different sort of allegiance than the one they’ve gotten used to. . . that maybe, as a society, we need to start over at some basic level.
This is what a movement is: collective momentum for change, focused around a resonating principle. All people are equal. Violence solves nothing. We must cherish, not exploit, the planet that sustains us. These, at any rate, are some of the core principles that Bernie Sanders is tapping into and animating with his campaign.
A movement is bigger than any given leader, certainly bigger than any politician, but without leadership — and, especially, without some sort of access to the political process — movements can quickly lose momentum and deflate.
This is what happened to the global antiwar movement that preceded George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. No matter that the invasion was an utter disaster from (almost) every point of view — indeed, that it set loose, you might say, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — it has been coddled politically for over a decade now and perpetuated by both a Republican and Democratic presidency. Something is deeply problematic about the democracy both Sanders and Trump are now rocking. Issues of real significance are not up for discussion, and haven’t been for a long time.
Meanwhile, the contemporary Four Horsemen are running loose: War, Poverty, Racism and Climate Change. They may have other names, but these are how they appear to me in my political nightmares. And the riders are human. They’re the ones leading us right now, behind the façade of democracy.
Confronting them — stopping them — will take a movement independent of politics as usual, but not independent of the political process itself. This, I believe and hope, is what Bernie Sanders is bringing to the 2016 presidential race: a public opening into the process now owned by the acolytes and fiscal beneficiaries of the Four Horsemen.
Consider War, a.k.a. militarism: While Sanders is roundly condemned for the cost of his “socialist” ideas, such as universal healthcare and free college tuition, the cost of perpetual war and military readiness — the cost of nukes and surveillance and global domination — never comes up in presidential debates or official political discussions of any sort. This cost manages to be both enormous and almost invisible.
Nicolas J.S. Davies, writing last fall at Huffington Post, points out that the military budget during the Obama administration has averaged $663.4 billion annually. He adds: “These figures do not include additional military-related spending by the VA, CIA, Homeland Security, Energy, Justice or State Departments, nor interest payments on past military spending, which combine to raise the true cost of U.S. militarism to about $1.3 trillion per year, or one thirteenth of the U.S. economy.”
U.S. military spending, as has often been noted, equals or surpasses the annual budgets of the next ten largest military spenders combined. Davies also makes this fascinating point in his essay:
“If we compare U.S. military spending with global military spending, we can see that, as the U.S. cut its military budget by a third between 1985 and 1998, the rest of the world followed suit and global military budgets also fell by a third between 1988 and 1998. But as the U.S. spent trillions of dollars on weapons and war after 2000 . . . both allies and potential enemies again responded in kind. The 92 percent rise in the U.S. military budget by 2008 led to a 65 percent rise in global military spending by 2011.”
U.S. military spending leads the way! A U.S. decision to disarm would also lead the way, but none of this is up for public discussion. Our military spending is silently necessary for the continuation of business as usual. Not only that, it’s never in danger, as, let us say, Social Security is, or any effort to relieve the hell of poverty. The money is always available, no matter the condition of the economy.
This enormous wrong requires direct confrontation by an informed and politically empowered public. Let us make sure that the 2016 presidential race is no less than this.
Why WWIII Is On The Horizon By Paul Craig Roberts [Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.]; December 29, 2015
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave birth to a dangerous American ideology called neoconservativism. The Soviet Union had served as a constraint on US unilateral action. With the removal of this constraint on Washington, neoconservatives declared their agenda of US world hegemony. America was now the “sole superpower,” the “unipower,” that could act without restraint anywhere in the world.
The staggering unipolar power that history has given to Washington has to be protected at all costs. In 1992 top Pentagon official Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which became the basis for Washington’s foreign policy.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine states that the “first objective” of American foreign and military policy is “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat [to US unilateral action] on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.” (A “hostile power” is a country sufficiently strong to have a foreign policy independent from Washington’s.)..
With this background, we can understand that the dangerous situation facing the world is the product of the neoconservative’s arrogant policy of US world hegemony. The failures of judgment and the dangers in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts are themselves the consequences of the neoconservative ideology...
Russia and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, have been demonized by neoconservatives and their puppets in the US government and media. For example, Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, declared Putin to be “the new Hitler.” A former CIA official called for Putin’s assassination. Presidential candidates in both parties are competing in terms of who can be the most aggressive toward Russia and the most insulting toward Russia’s president.
The effect has been to destroy the trust between nuclear powers. The Russian government has learned that Washington does not respect Washington’s own laws, much less international law, and that Washington cannot be trusted to keep any agreement. This lack of trust, together with the aggression toward Russia spewing from Washington and the presstitute media and echoing in the idiotic European capitals, has established the ground for nuclear war. As NATO (essentially the US) has no prospect of defeating Russia in conventional war, much less defeating an alliance of Russia and China, war will be nuclear.
The European governments, especially Germany and the UK, are complicit in the move toward nuclear war. These two American vassal states enable Washington’s reckless aggression toward Russia by repeating Washington’s propaganda and supporting Washington’s sanctions and interventions against other countries. As long as Europe remains nothing but an extension of Washington, the prospect of Armegeddon will continue to rise.
At this point in time, nuclear war can only be avoided in two ways. One way is for Russia and China to surrender and accept Washington’s hegemony. The other way is for an independent leader in Germany, the UK, or France to rise to office and withdraw from NATO. That would begin a stampede to leave NATO, which is Washington’s prime tool for causing conflict with Russia and, thereby, is the most dangerous force on earth to every European country and to the entire world. If NATO continues to exist, NATO together with the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony will make nuclear war inevitable.
That the United States got involved in Syria in 2006 is revealed in WikiLeaks. That the Pentagon was intent on overthrowing the Syrian government in 2001 is revealed by the Donald Rumsfeld memo shown to Wesley Clark, and by Tony Blair in 2010.
That misdirection also facilitates leaving out of the story the U.S. brushing aside of a peace process proposed by Russia in 2012.
Quoting Obama on a 2013 proposal for a "targeted military strike" blatantly avoids Seymour Hersh's report on the massive bombing campaign Obama had planned.
At least as early as 2001, the United States had the Syrian government on a list of governments targeted for overthrow.
In 2003, the United States threw the Middle East into a whole new sort of turmoil with its invasion of Iraq. It created sectarian divisions, and fueled and armed and facilitated the organization of violent groups.
At least as early as 2006, the United States had people in Syria working for the overthrow of the government.
The U.S. response to the Arab Spring, and the U.S.-led overthrow of the Libyan government made matters worse. ISIS was developing long before it burst into the news, its leaders organizing in U.S. prison camps in Iraq. The region was heavily armed with weapons from outside the region, primarily from the United States.
In 2012, Russia proposed a peace-process that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down, but the U.S. brushed the idea aside without any serious consideration, suffering under the delusion that Assad would be violently overthrown very soon, and preferring a violent solution as more likely to remove the Russian influence and military -- and perhaps also due to the general U.S. preference for violence driven by its weapons industry corruption.
Seymour Hersh would later reveal that the U.S. plan had been for a massive bombing campaign. And Robert Parry, among others, would report on the debunking of White House lies about the chemical weapons attack. While Syria might have been guilty, the White House almost certainly did not know that, and the U.S. public seemed to recognize that even such guilt would not justify entering the war.
What compelled Obama to accept diplomacy as the last resort in 2013 was the public's and Congress's refusal to allow war. But Obama went right on arming and training fighters in the Syrian war, and sending more troops back into Iraq.
When ISIS burst onto the scene it openly begged the United States to attack it, viewing this as a huge recruitment opportunity. The United States obliged, attacking ISIS from the air in Iraq and Syria (and getting numerous allies to do so as well), in addition to continuing its arming and training operations -- now supposedly aimed at both ISIS and Assad. ISIS thrived, as did various anti-Asad groups. Turkey joined in by attacking Kurds rather than ISIS or Assad. Russia joined in by bombing ISIS and anti-government groups in Syria. This dangerously increased already high tension between Russia and the United States, as Russia intends to keep the Syrian government from being overthrown, and the United States intends to overthrow it
Chris Hedges: What It Means to Be a Socialist Chris Hedges gave this speech Sunday at a Santa Ana, Calif., event sponsored by the Green Party of Orange County.
We live in a revolutionary moment. The disastrous economic and political experiment that attempted to organize human behavior around the dictates of the global marketplace has failed. The promised prosperity that was to have raised the living standards of workers through trickle-down economics has been exposed as a lie. A tiny global oligarchy has amassed obscene wealth, while the engine of unfettered corporate capitalism plunders resources, exploits cheap, unorganized labor and creates pliable, corrupt governments that abandon the common good to serve corporate profit.
The relentless drive by the fossil fuel industry for profits is destroying the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species. And no mechanisms to institute genuine reform or halt the corporate assault are left within the structures of power, which have surrendered to corporate control. The citizen has become irrelevant. He or she can participate in heavily choreographed elections, but the demands of corporations and banks are paramount.
We will, as Friedrich Engels wrote, make a transition to either socialism or barbarism. If we do not dismantle global capitalism we will descend into the Hobbesian chaos of failed states, mass migrations—which we are already witnessing—and endless war. Populations, especially in the global South, will endure misery and high mortality rates caused by collapsing ecosystems and infrastructures on a scale not seen since perhaps the black plague. There can be no accommodation with global capitalism. We will overthrow this system or be crushed by it. And at this moment of crisis we need to remind ourselves what being a socialist means and what it does not mean.
First and foremost, all socialists are unequivocal anti-militarists and anti-imperialists. They understand that there is no genuine social, political, economic or cultural reform as long as the militarists and their corporatist allies in the war industry continue to loot and pillage the state budget, leaving the poor to go hungry, workingmen and -women in distress, the infrastructure to collapse and social services to be slashed in the name of austerity.
The psychosis of permanent war, which infected the body politic after World War I with the internal and external war on communism, and which today has mutated into the war on terror, is used by the state to strip us of civil liberties, redirect our resources to the war machine and criminalize democratic dissent.
We have squandered trillions of dollars and resources in endless and futile wars, from Vietnam to the Middle East, at a time of ecological and fiscal crisis. The folly of endless war is one of the signs of a dying civilization. One F-22 Raptor fighter plane costs $350 million. We have 187 of them. One Tomahawk cruise missile costs $1.41 million. We fired 161 of them when we attacked Libya. This missile attack on Libya alone cost us a quarter of a billion dollars. We spend an estimated $1.7 trillion a year on war, far more than the official 54 percent of discretionary spending, or roughly $600 billion. If we don’t break the back of the war machine, profound change will be impossible.
The human cost has been horrendous. Over 1 million dead in Iraq. Millions more are displaced or are refugees. Iraq will never be reconstituted as a unified state. And it was our war industry that created the mess. We attacked a country that did not threaten us, and had no intention of threatening its neighbors, and destroyed one of the most modern infrastructures in the Middle East. We brought not only terror and death—including the Shiite death squads we armed and trained—but power outages, food shortages and the collapse of basic services, from garbage collection to sewer and water treatment. We dismantled Iraq’s institutions, disbanded its security forces, threw its health service into crisis and engineered massive poverty and unemployment. And out of the chaos rose insurgents, gangsters, kidnapping rings, jihadists and rogue paramilitary groups—including our hired mercenaries, like [the current army of] Iraq.
Foreign battlefields are laboratories for the architects of industrial slaughter. They perfect the tools of control and annihilation on the demonized and the destitute. But these tools eventually make their way back to the heart of empire. As the corporatists and the militarists disembowel the nation, rendering our manufacturing centers boarded-up wastelands and tossing our citizens into poverty and despair, the methods of subjugation familiar to those on the outer reaches migrate back to us—wholesale surveillance, indiscriminate use of lethal force in the streets of our cities against unarmed citizens, a stripping away of our civil liberties, a dysfunctional court system, drones, arbitrary arrest, detention and mass incarceration.
Democracy is snuffed out. As the German socialist Karl Liebknecht said during the First World War: “The main enemy is at home.” We will destroy the engines of endless war and shut down the war profiteers or we will become the next victims; indeed many in our marginal communities already are its victims.
You cannot be a socialist and an imperialist. You cannot, as Bernie Sanders has done, support the Obama administration’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and be a socialist. You cannot, as Sanders has done, vote for every military appropriations bill, including every bill and resolution that empowers and sanctions Israel to carry out its slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, and be a socialist. And you cannot laud, as Sanders has done, military contractors because they bring jobs to your state. Sanders may have the rhetoric of inequality down, but he is a full-fledged member of the Democratic Caucus, which kneels before the war industry and their lobbyists. And no genuine grass-roots movement will ever be born within the bowels of the Democratic Party establishment, which is currently attempting to shut down Sanders to make sure its anointed candidate is the nominee. No elected official dares to challenge any weapons system, no matter how costly or redundant. And Sanders, who votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time, steers clear of confronting the master of war.
There is a reason no establishment politician, including Sanders, dares say a word against the war industry. If you do, you end up like Ralph Nader, tossed into the political wilderness. Nader was not afraid to speak this truth. And it is in the wilderness, I am afraid, that real socialists must for the moment reside. Socialists understand that if we do not dismantle the war industry, nothing, absolutely nothing, will change; indeed, things will only get worse.
War is a business. Imperial wars seize natural resources on behalf of corporations and ensure the profits of the arms industry. This is as true in Iraq as it was in our campaigns of genocide against Native Americans. And, as A. Philip Randolph said, it is only when it is impossible to profit from war that wars will be dramatically curtailed, if not stopped.
War, wrapped in the cant of nationalism and the euphoria that comes with the giddy celebration of power and violence, is used by ruling elites to thwart and destroy the aspirations of workingmen and -women and distract us from our disempowerment.
Eugene V. Debs--“I have been accused of obstructing the war,” Debs said in court. “I admit it. I abhor war. I would oppose war if I stood alone.”
Debs, who would spend 32 months in prison, until 1921, also delivered to many a socialist credo at his sentencing after being found guilty of violating the Espionage Act:
“Your honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
The redirecting of national frustrations and emotions into the struggle against a common enemy, the cant of patriotism, the endemic racism that is the fuel of all ideologies that sustain war, the false bonding that comes with the sense of comradeship, seduces those on the margins of society. They feel in wartime that they belong. They feel they have a place. They are offered the chance to be heroes. And off they march like sheep to the slaughter. By the time they find out, it is too late.
“War,” as Randolph Bourne wrote, “is the health of the state.” It allows the state to accrue to itself power and resources that in peacetime a citizenry would never permit. And that is why the war state, like the one we live in, has to make certain that we are always afraid.
The manufacturing of weapons systems and the waging of war is today the chief activity of the state. It is no longer one among other means of advancing the national interest, as Simone Weil pointed out, but has become the sole national interest.
The radicals, such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or Wobblies, founded by Mother Jones and Big Bill Haywood in 1905, were destroyed by the state. Department of Justice agents in 1912 made simultaneous raids on 48 IWW meeting halls across the country and arrested 165 IWW union leaders. One hundred one went to trial, including Big Bill Haywood, who testified for three days. One of the IWW leaders told the court:
"This war is a business man’s war and we don’t see why we should go out and get shot in order to save the lovely state of affairs that we now enjoy."
The Wobblies once led strikes involving hundreds of thousands of workers and preached an uncompromising doctrine of class warfare. It went the way of the passenger pigeon. The Socialist Party by 1912 had 126,000 members, 1,200 officeholders in 340 municipalities, and 29 English and 22 foreign-language weeklies, along with three English and six foreign-language dailies. It included in its ranks tenant farmers, garment workers, railroad workers, coal miners, hotel and restaurant workers, dock workers and lumberjacks. It too was liquidated by the state. Socialist leaders were jailed or deported. Socialist publications such as The Masses and Appeal to Reason were banned. The assault, aided later by McCarthyism, has left us without the vocabulary to make sense of our own reality, to describe the class war being waged against us by our corporate oligarchs.
We will regain this militancy, this uncompromising commitment to socialism, or the system the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism” will establish the most efficient security and surveillance state in human history and a species of neofeudalism. We must stop pouring our energy into mainstream political campaigns. The game is rigged.
We will rebuild our radical movements or become hostages to the capitalists and the war industry. Fear is the only language the power elite understands. This is a dark fact of human nature. It is why Richard Nixon was our last liberal president. Nixon was not a liberal [personally]. He was devoid of empathy and lacked a conscience. But he was frightened of movements. You do not make your enemy afraid by selling out. You make your enemy afraid by refusing to submit, by fighting for your vision and by organizing. It is not our job to take power. It is our job to build movements to keep power in check. Without these movements nothing is possible.
“You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it,” Malcolm X said. “When you get that kind of attitude, they’ll label you as a ‘crazy Negro,’ or they’ll call you a “crazy nigger”—they don’t say Negro. Or they’ll call you an extremist or a subversive, or seditious, or a red, or a radical. But when you stay radical long enough, and get enough people to be like you, you’ll get your freedom."
The New Deal—which as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a charter member of the oligarchic class, said—saved capitalism, was put in place because socialists were strong and a serious threat. The oligarchs understood that with the breakdown of capitalism—something I expect we will again witness in our lifetimes—there was a real possibility of a socialist revolution. They were terrified they would lose their wealth and power.
In other words, Roosevelt went to his fellow oligarchs and said hand over some of your money or you will lose all your money in a revolution. And his fellow capitalists complied. And that is how the government created 15 million jobs, Social Security, unemployment benefits and public works projects. The capitalists did not do this because the suffering of the masses moved them. They did this because they were scared. And they were scared of radicals and socialists.
George Bernard Shaw got it right in his play “Major Barbara.” The greatest crime is poverty. It is the crime every socialist is dedicated to eradicating.
We must stop looking for our salvation in strong leaders. Strong people, as Ella Baker said, do not need strong leaders. Politicians, even good politicians, play the game of compromise and are too often seduced by the privileges of power. Sanders, from all I can tell, began his political life as a socialist in the 1960s when this was hardly a bold political statement, but quickly figured out he was not going to have a seat at the table if he remained one. He wants his seniority in the Senate. He wants his committee chairmanships. He wants his ability to retain his seat unchallenged. This was no doubt politically astute. But in this process he sold us out.
Integrity and courage are powerful weapons. We have to learn how to use them. We have to stand up for what we believe in. And we have to accept the risks and even the ridicule that comes with this stance. We will not prevail any other way.
As a socialist I am not concerned with what is expedient or what is popular. I am concerned with what is right. I am concerned with holding fast to the core ideals of socialism, if for no other reason than keeping this option alive for future generations. And these ideals are the only ones that make possible a better world.
If you will not call for an arms embargo along with the boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, you are not a socialist. If you will not demand we dismantle our military establishment, which is managing the government’s wholesale surveillance of every citizen and storing all our personal information in perpetuity in government computer banks, and if you will not abolish the for-profit arms industry, you are not a socialist.
If you will not call for the prosecution of those leaders, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who engage in aggressive acts of pre-emptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal act, you are not a socialist. If you will not stand with the oppressed across the globe you are not a socialist.
Socialists do not pick and choose whom among the oppressed it is convenient to support. Socialists understand that you stand with all the oppressed or none of the oppressed, that this is a global fight for life against global corporate tyranny. We will win only when we stand together, when we see the struggle of workingmen in Greece, Spain and Egypt as our own struggle.
If you will not call for full employment and unionized workplaces you are not a socialist. If you will not call for inexpensive mass transit, especially in impoverished communities, you are not a socialist. If you will not call for universal, single-payer health care and a banning of for-profit health care corporations you are not a socialist. If you will not raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour you are not a socialist.
If you are not willing to provide a weekly income of $600 to the unemployed, the disabled, stay-at-home parents, the elderly and those unable to work you are not a socialist. If you will not repeal anti-union laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, and trade agreements from NAFTA to the TPP and CAFTA, you are not a socialist. If you will not guarantee all Americans a pension in old age you are not a socialist.
If you will not support two years of paid maternity leave, as well as shorter workweeks with no loss in pay and benefits, you are not a socialist. If you will not repeal the Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act as well as halt government spying on citizens, along with mass incarceration, you are not a socialist.
If you will not put into place laws that prohibit all forms of male violence against women and criminalize the trafficking and pimping out of prostituted girls and women, while not criminalizing the exploited girls and women, you are not a socialist. If you do not support a woman’s right to control her own body you are not a socialist. If you do not support full equality for our GBLT community you are not a socialist.
If you will not declare global warming a national and global emergency and divert our energy and resources to saving the planet through public investment in renewable energy and an end to our reliance on fossil fuels you are not a socialist. If you will not nationalize public utilities, including the railroads, energy companies and banks, you are not a socialist. If you will not support government funding for the arts and public broadcasting to create places where creativity, self-expression and voices of dissent can be heard and seen you are not a socialist.
If you will not terminate our nuclear weapons programs and build a nuclear-free world you are not a socialist. If you will not demilitarize our police, meaning that police no longer carry weapons when they patrol our streets but rely on specialized armed units that have to be authorized case-by-case to use lethal force, you are not a socialist.
If you will not support government training and rehabilitation programs for the poor and those in our prisons, along with the abolition of the death penalty, you are not a socialist.
If you will not grant full citizenship to undocumented workers you are not a socialist. If you do not declare a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions you are not a socialist.
If you will not provide free education from day care to university, and forgive all student debt, you are not a socialist. And if you will not provide free, state-run mental health care, especially for those now caged in our prisons, you are not a socialist. If you will not dismantle our empire and bring our soldiers and Marines home you are not a socialist.
Socialists do not sacrifice the weak and the vulnerable, especially children, on the altars of profit. And the measure of a successful society for a socialist is not the GDP or the highs of the stock market but the right of everyone, especially children, never go to bed hungry, to live in safety and security, to be nurtured and educated, and to grow up fulfill his or her potential. Work is not only about a wage, it is about dignity and a sense of self-worth.
I am not naive about the forces arrayed against us. I understand the difficulty of our struggle. But we will never succeed if we attempt to accommodate the current structures of power. Our strength lies in our steadfastness and our integrity. It lies in our ability to hold fast to our ideals, as well as our willingness to sacrifice for those ideals. We must refuse to cooperate.... We must rebel.
I cannot promise you we will win. I cannot promise you we will even survive as a species. But I can promise you that an open and sustained defiance of global capitalism and the merchants of death, along with the building of a socialist movement, is our only hope. I am a parent, as are many of you. We have betrayed our children. We have squandered their future. And if we rise up, even if we fail, future generations, and especially those who are most precious to us, will be able to say we tried, that we stood up and fought for life. The call to resistance, which will require civil disobedience and jail time, is finally a call to the moral life. Resistance is not about what we achieve, but about what it allows us to become. In the end, I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
Underlying Reasons for the Raging Syrian War: Competing Natural Gas Pipelines It’s no secret that the U.S. and some of its allies are doing everything in their power to remove Syria’s Assad regime. But why do they and their leaders feel so strongly that it is must be done, why is it so important to them? Why does President Obama continue to insist that Assad must go and why does he believe that he has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of that country?
The standard answer to these questions is that it’s a part of the process to hunt down and destroy ISIS terrorists who have infiltrated that country and are causing great havoc within it.
It appears that Mr. Obama’s agenda is very similar to that of Bush/Cheney when they decided that Saddam Hussein had to go. They invaded, occupied and literally destroyed that country, sending many Iraqis to their deaths and millions into exile. One thing is certain; where there is an issue involving gas or oil anywhere in the Middle East you can bet that the chances of some conflict erupting are very great and you will find the U.S. government right in the middle of the action.
When we speak of pipelines it should be understood that a tremendous competition currently exists for delivery of natural gas to many of the European nations.
The country of Qatar has substantial reserves of gas which it badly wants to sell to these European countries, to take the business away from Russia, the current major supplier, and prevent Iran from doing the same in the future. The favored, most expeditious route for the Qatar gas pipeline is via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, to Turkey and then to Europe. The problem is that Assad, who initially signed off on the routing this pipeline through Syria, did an about face and backed out of the deal.
Quite likely Assad did it because he decided to align himself with the planned development of the competing Iran,-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That move on his part is why many geopolitical experts say that this clash between Syria and Iran (with Russia in the background) on the one side and Qatar/Saudi Arabia and the U.S. on the other, was the main reason why this conflict erupted.
Is it logical to think that competition over a pipeline route could actually cause such a massive war and crisis? Well, many past wars were started over much less important issues; and in this situation the European gas market represents mega-billions of business for whoever is the major supplier and controls the method of delivery.
This proposed Qatar pipeline has been in the planning stages for some time. World energy observers are very familiar with it and how it would be a threat to other competing pipelines. But that knowledge is not present here in America where the vast majority of people don’t know a thing about it or why it may well be a major reason for this escalating conflict. And the reason they don’t is that the U.S. government and the corporate-controlled media don’t want them to know anything about it. They want to keep insisting that this is a part of the War on Terror.
The Military Does Not Want to Win Wars
An interview with Bill Bonner, editor, The Bill Bonner LetterPorter Stansberry: I wanted to get to a deeper question with you, because one of the things I enjoy with our private conversations is the philosophy that we share about the foolish things people will believe… and the lengths they will go to defend them.
And one in particular, which you've written about in your daily e-letter, Bill Bonner's Diary, is the fallacy of war and the war state… and the whole idea that underpins the idea of conflict, both in modern times and historical times.
How many more senseless wars can we lose before people begin to doubt the wisdom and authority of their elected leaders when it comes to leadership of the Army, Navy, Marines, etc.?
Bill Bonner: This one is, unfortunately, my interest. It's very depressing because I think we can lose lots of wars and, in fact, we intend to lose the wars. These wars are meant to be lost. They're not meant to be won, and winning would be the worst thing that could happen.
I mean, we're set up in a system where the wars are designed to keep the war industry in business. You can't win a war and stay in business, because if you won a real war, then you'd have to send the troops home and stop spending so much money.
But these wars are not intended for that. They're intended to go on forever. The military does not want to win them. The military has no way of winning them, because there's no enemy that could be defeated.
I mean, they're designed just to go on forever. They are an extension and a corruption of the defense industry, really, and so they'll just go on and on...
Even after all this time, even after using the military just to suppress and oppress their own people [in Argentina], people were still behind the military. I think it's almost impossible. People almost never abandon their military, no matter how dumb it is, no matter how bad of a service it gives.
And so what happened was this military, which was so used to killing weaponless people, got sent to the Malvinas. They were certain they were going to just settle this in some long negotiation with Britain. But instead, Britain sent the Army. They sent the fleet. And they went, and they attacked these poor Argentines who were totally unprepared to really fight a war because they had been so used to just killing civilians.
A military that is corrupted in this way becomes a tool… not to defend the nation, but really to divert funds from the nation to itself. This includes its suppliers and military men who have luxury cars and planes...
In the U.S., we see these huge, huge expenses for material – war material that is suitable for fighting World War II. And now what's probably going to happen is we're going to keep these wars going for as long as we can.
And then when a real war comes up against a real enemy, like, say… China, that real enemy is developing new weapons that will work against America's clunky old material.
And who knows how that will go. But I think until that happens, the imperial power gets fatter and fatter and bigger and bigger, spending more and more money on the military… Mind you, this is a military which is less and less able to really defend the country. And then you have a real war, and it's defeated.
(email 8/16/15 from the Stansberry Digest)
Where Did the Antiwar Movement Go? Much of the tenacious antiwar opposition of that era, when thought about now, is automatically attributed to the draft, to the fact that young men like me were subject to being called up and sent thousands of miles from home to fight in a conflict that looked more brutal, despicable, and even criminal by the second. And there is, of course, some truth to that explanation, but it’s a very partial, dismissive truth, one that, for instance, doesn’t explain the vast number of young women who mobilized against the war in those years.
While the draft was a factor in the growth of war consciousness, it was hardly the only one. It’s easy to forget that a generation raised in the Golden Fifties believed the American system would work for them and that, if it didn’t, it was the obligation of the citizen to try to fix it. Those young people were convinced that, if you spoke up loudly enough and in large enough numbers, presidents would listen. They also believed that you, as an American, had an obligation to step forward, to represent the best in your country, to serve.
In 2015, the spectacle of slaughter is still with us. These days, however, few Americans have that sense that it might be happening right down the street. War is no longer a part of our collective lives. It’s been professionalized and outsourced. And here’s the wonder of it all: since 9/11, this country has engaged in a military-first foreign policy across much of the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, launching an unending string of failed wars, conflicts, raids, kidnappings, acts of torture, and drone assassination programs, and yet Americans have remained remarkably unengaged with any of it.
Similarly, the military high command never again wanted to experience a citizen’s army reaching an almost mutinous state and voting with its feet or its antiwar testimony or its medals. Ever since Vietnam, the urge of successive administrations and an ever-expanding national security state has been to fight wars without the involvement of the American people (or the antiwar version of democratic oversight). Hence, the rise of the warrior corporation and the privatization of war.
Especially after 9/11, a kind of helplessness settled over Americans left out in the cold when it came to the wars being fought in their name. In some sense, most of us accepted our newly assigned role as a surveilled and protected populace whose order of the day was don’t get involved.
In other words, amid all the military failures of this era, there was a single hardly mentioned but striking victory: no antiwar movement of any significance proved to have staying power in this country.
Start with the drone, a robotic machine that guarantees one thing in the ongoing spectacle of slaughter: no American combatant will ever die in its operations, no matter how many Afghans, or Yemenis, or Iraqis, or Syrians, or Pakistanis, or Libyans, or Somalis may die when it releases its aptly named Hellfire missiles. From that heroic investigative crew, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, we have an approximation of the casualties on the ground from Washington’s drone assassination campaigns across the Greater Middle East, and they run into the thousands (including hundreds of children) and lots of what might be called the mistaken dead. Keep in mind that the most basic drone attack of Washington’s wars in the Greater Middle East has been the “signature strike,” as it’s euphemistically known. These target not specific individuals, but groups on the ground that seem to fit certain behavioral patterns suspected of being telltale marks of terror outfits -- particularly young men with weapons (in regions in which young men are likely to be armed, whatever their affiliations).Start with the drone, a robotic machine that guarantees one thing in the ongoing spectacle of slaughter: no American combatant will ever die in its operations, no matter how many Afghans, or Yemenis, or Iraqis, or Syrians, or Pakistanis, or Libyans, or Somalis may die when it releases its aptly named Hellfire missiles. From that heroic investigative crew, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, we have an approximation of the casualties on the ground from Washington’s drone assassination campaigns across the Greater Middle East, and they run into the thousands (including hundreds of children) and lots of what might be called the mistaken dead. Keep in mind that the most basic drone attack of Washington’s wars in the Greater Middle East has been the “signature strike,” as it’s euphemistically known. These target not specific individuals, but groups on the ground that seem to fit certain behavioral patterns suspected of being telltale marks of terror outfits -- particularly young men with weapons (in regions in which young men are likely to be armed, whatever their affiliations).
Hiroshima Anniversary a Reminder that Peace is the Best Self Defense Greenpeace Japan commemorates the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima 70 years ago today, and warns against the current government’s dismantling of Japan’s so-called peace constitution and the risks of nuclear power.
“The trauma felt by Japanese people after the Fukushima accident – and also by thousands of people affected by other nuclear disasters, such as Chernobyl – should never again be endured, which is why we firmly believe that peace – not war – is the best form of self defence,” said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director.
“But sadly, we are seeing this tradition in Japan being reoded by the Abe government as it begins to dismantle the so-called peace constitution and doggedly pursue nuclear power at the expence of clean, safe renewables.”
Drafted by occupying U.S. officials in 1946, the constitution renounced the right to wage war or maintain armed forces and enshrined democracy and human rights.
World Beyond War news, etc.
"The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us." - John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
ICH: The Untold Story Of An Epic Struggle For Justice "The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us." - John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), formed in January 2003 "to speak out on the use of intelligence to justify the war," is "a coast-to-coast enterprise; mostly intelligence officers from analysis side of CIA, but Operations side also represented.
US Weapons Exporters Lead World in War Profiteering finds that the United States is behind one-third of all equipment and weapons exports world-wide... in 2014, global "defense" trade surpassed $64.4 billion
Letter to a Young Army Ranger (From an Old One): 'Why the War on Terror Shouldn’t Be Your Battle' 'I’m writing this letter in the hope that offering you a little of my own story might help frame the bigger picture for you.' ...a few of the things they don’t tell you at the recruiting office or in the pro-military Hollywood movies that may have influenced your decision to join... Maybe you still believe that the U.S. is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world and in existential danger from “the terrorists.” Maybe it seems like the only reasonable thing to do: defend our country against terrorism... The media has been a powerful propaganda tool when it comes to promoting that image, despite the fact that, as a civilian, you were more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. More Killed by Toddlers Than Terrorists in U.S.
Liberty Tree committed to building a democracy movement for the U.S.A..
This is your government on war.
An unnatural, synthesized invention, war courses through Congress, city halls and the Oval Office. Paranoia, fear, consumption, degradation, enslavement, betrayal and suffering – these are the family values of a nation on war.
Our government’s addiction consumes the domestic budget, leaving little for health, education or infrastructure. It invades privacy and creates enemies through paranoia and fear, painting its opposition as savage, barbaric, shady, and justifying oppression, enslavement, torture and murder. It desecrates the natural world, poisoning the veins of the Earth and its abundance, waging chemical warfare and extracting the resources to do so.
We need an intervention, an American Awakening, to end the inevitable suffering of the American people – indeed, the global village – at the whims of mega users. Want to protect the Fourth Amendment? Want to protect them all? Call for a 28th Amendment – an amendment to abolish the slavery of addiction, an amendment to abolish war.
Section 1. The American people, in accordance with the promotion of international justice, peace, human rights and dignity, hereby renounce the use of organized, armed force to resolve intra- and inter-state conflict; neither war nor war-making processes shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall neither make nor approve war, nor approve of the use of military force, as a means for resolving intra- and inter-state conflict.
Section 3. The United States shall neither make nor keep locations of detention for prisoners of war, and all prisoners, upon recognition, shall be released to their respective home nations or non-military, judicial courts.
A Quaker Perspective on the Possibility of U.S. Strikes in Syria the Quaker testimonies-- simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship... When one of the children asked me about Syria after meeting, I told her that there had been an extreme civil conflict going for more than two years and that many people were losing their homes and being killed. She asked me, “Why would America choose to destroy even more instead of trying to help?”
"Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but entire societies—corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting basic human desires. Mixing hard-nosed realism with profound moral and philosophical insight, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning is a work of terrible power and redemptive clarity whose truths have never been more necessary." (Review of book by Chris Hedges, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Public Affairs, 2014).
War Profiteers links and quotes
Children at War"Possibly the world's most unrecognized form of child abuse, child soldiering has become a defining feature of modern warfare...
"...while child soldiering is most wide-spread in Africa, the phenomenon is by no means confined to that continent... Colombia... Sri Lanka... Afghanistan...
"What's more, armed groups are increasingly targeting children not only because they are cheap and effective, but also because their limited psychological development means that they can be manipulated more easily than adults...
"Given that upon recruitment or abduction, many of these children are so young that they have not yet developed a clear sense of right and wrong, it is only a matter of time before they are transformed into killing machines. In fact, in many conflicts today, child soldiers are feared more than adult ones, precisely because of the horrifying cruelty of which they are capable" (Fatin Abbas. "The New Face of Warfare." The Nation, May 28, 2007: 38-41).
"From The New York Times: "An American soldier who beat, raped, and sodomized a Nigerian woman in the northern Italian town of Vicenza in 2004 was given a lighter sentence because the court ruled that his tour of duty in Iraq had made him less sensitive to the suffering of others." the court document said, "The prolonged psychological stress to which the accused was subjected and the lowered importance he ended up giving to the life and well being of those around him can only have influenced the committing of crimes"" ("No Comment." The Progressive, May, 2006: 11).
"Einstein recognized that the machinations of a small group of men partially explain a penchant for war. The men who control the industries, the press and the church gain wealth and power by war. What he could not understand was how the majority, which had so much to lose, succumbed to their ploys so easily" (Russell Jacoby. "The War That Never Was." The Nation, Dec. 20, 2004: 31).
"In her provocative essay The Iliad or the Poem of Force, Simone Weil treats Homer's epic as a tableau depicting the disasters and torments of battle. Weil argues that in passage after passage, Homer never tires of showing how the use of force reduces people to nameless things" (John Palattella. "The War of Words." The Nation, Jan. 12, 2004: 34-5).
"Albert Camus, looking back on two world wars that had slaughtered more than 70 million people: When do we have the right to kill our fellow human beings or let them be killed?...
"What is overlooked by those who believe the benefits of the war outweigh the costs is that killing even one innocent person to benefit others violates the most basic human right -- the right to life...
"Terrorism is simply a criminal technique for coercing a political agenda by killing innocent people"(Paul Savoy. "The Moral Case Against the Iraq War." The Nation, May 31, 2004: 16-20).
"The history of military occupations of Third World countries is that they bring neither democracy nor security" (Howard Zinn. "How to Get Out of Iraq: A Forum." The Nation, May 24, 2004: 12).
"The only way to understand war is to see it from the perspective of the victims...
"Agent Orange... left in its wake thousands of deformed children. Many died shortly after birth... orphans, crippled, plagued by skin diseases, abandoned in hospitals and orphanages...
"We prefer the myth of war, the myth of glory, honor, patriotism and heroism, abstract words that in the terror and brutality of combat are empty and meaningless... words that are obscene to those ravaged by war...
"... our fantasy life. It permits us to destroy, not only things but other human beings...
"Most war films and images meant to denounce war fail. They fail because they impart the thrill of violence and power... scenes of combat become.. war porn...
"...the essence of war, which is death and suffering, is so carefully hidden from public view. We are not allowed to see dead bodies, at least of our own soldiers... the wounds that leave faces and bodies horribly disfigured by burns or shrapnel or poison. War is made palatable. It is sanitized. We are allowed to taste war's perverse thrill, but usually spared from seeing its consequences...
"We see only those veterans deemed palatable... those who are willing to go along with the lies of war. They are trotted out to perpetuate the myth, held up as heroes for young boys to emulate. We do not tolerate deviations from the script...
"... the seduction of the weapons and the pornography of violence...
"War corrupts our souls and deforms our bodies. It destroys homes and villages. It grinds into the dirt all that is tender and beautiful and sacred. It is a scourge. It is a plague" (Chris Hedges. "Evidence of Things Not Seen." The Nation, May 24, 2004: 31-34).
"Since no one can rid the world of terrorists, a never-ending "war" on terrorism is a juvenile concept. Does anyone believe that a "war on drugs" or a "war on poverty" can be won? The vocabulary used to describe today's poor thinking is so absurd that no one should be surprised when tomorrow's adults (today's children) declare "war" on practically everything" ("Letters." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 42).
"In military strategy "terrorism" is simply the use of the "indirect approach." The "direct approach" uses massive numbers of troops, planes, bombs, artillery and tanks. There is no way to defeat the indirect approach unless we depopulate the Muslim world... Greider writes of "fanatical terrorists" throughout the world. What is more fanatical than the "shock and awe" of dropping thousands of tons of depleted uranium on a civilian population?" ("Letters." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 42).
"...Bush's war on terrorism, and.. Sharon's, and.. Putin's. What their wars have in common is that they are based on an enormous deception: persuading the people of their countries that you can deal with terrorism by war...
"Since war is itself the most extreme form of terrorism, a war on terrorism is profoundly self-contradictory...
"Even within their limited definition of terrorism, they--the governments of the United States, Israel, Russia--are clearly failing...
"I believe that the American people's natural compassion would come to the fore if they truly understood that we are terrorizing other people by our "war on terror"...
"...as soon as you suggest that it is important, to consider something other than violent retaliation, you are accused of sympathizing with the terrorists. It is a cheap way of ending a discussion without examining intelligent alternatives to present policy...
"What can account for the fact that these obviously ineffective, even counterproductive, responses have been supported by the people of Russia, Israel, the United States?... It is fear, a deep, paralyzing fear, a dread so profound that one's normal rational faculties are distorted, and so people rush to embrace policies that have only one thing in their favor: They make you feel that something is being done...
"The CIA senior terrorism analyst who has written a book signed "Anonymous" has said bluntly that U.S. policies -- supporting Sharon, making war on Afghanistan and Iraq -- "are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world"" (Howard Zinn. "Our War on Terrorism." The Progressive, Nov. 2004: 12-13).
"More than half the public, in opinion polls over the past six months, had declared their opposition to the war. Neither major party candidate represented their view, so they were effectively disenfranchised...
"...our soldiers going innocently into Iraq, but becoming brutalized by the war, practicing torture on helpless prisoners, shooting the wounded, bombing houses and mosques, turning cities into rubble, and driving families out of their homes into the countryside...
"The Bush administration, riding high and arrogant, adhering to the rule of the fanatic, which is to double your speed when you are going in the wrong direction, will find itself oing over a cliff, too late to stop" (Howard Zinn. "Harness That Anger." Progressive, January, 2005: 20-21).
"George W. Bush's Iraq War, while duplicitous in many respects, is actually the culmination of twenty-five years of U.S. policy to ensure continued domination of the Persian Gulf and its prolific oil fields.
"In fact, it was a natural expression of the Carter Doctrine. Enunciated... in January 1980, the doctrine defines Persian Gulf oil as a "vital interest" of the United States that must be defended "by any means necessary...
"So the use of force to ensure U.S. access to Persian Gulf oil is not a Bush II policy or a Republican policy, but a bipartisan, American policy...
"Today, the Carter Doctrine stretches far beyond the Persian Gulf... an extended Carter Doctrine now justifies similar action in the Caspain Sea region, Latin America, and the west coast of Africa. Slowly but surely, the U.S. military is being converted into a global oil-protection service...
"The Carter Doctrine now covers much of the planet... Central Asia and the Caspain region... the Republic of Georgia and oil-rich waters off the coast of Africa... South China Sea... Colombia...
"The Cheney Report identifies many areas as possible sources of non-Gulf oil, but focuses in particular on three key areas: the Andean region of South America (notably Colombia and Venezuela), the west coast of Africa (Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, and Nigeria), and the Caspian Sea baasin (Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan)...
"...the current instability in Colombia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and other non-Gulf producing areas is one big reason behind the worldwide shortage of petroleum and the resulting high gasoline prices...
"Increase U.S. reliance on oil from Africa, Latin America, and the Caspian region... That's why Bush has established U.S. bases in the Caspian region...
"In announcing these moves, the White House has repeatedly stated that such action is needed to fight Al Qaeda and to support ongoing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. But a careful reading of Pentagon and State Department documents suggests that the protection of oil is of paramount concern...
"The 2003 invasion of Iraq should be viewed as not the first--and certainly not the last--of a long series of wars over the control of foreign oil. These wars are certain to claim an increasing toll in human life and will impose a severe and growing strain on the federal treasury. Members of the Armed Forces face years of dangerous and ignoble work as protectors of pipelines and refineries" (Michael T. Klare. "The Carter Doctrine Goes Global." The Progressive, Dec. 2004: 17-21).
Excerpts from book: Mickey Z. The Seven Deadly Sins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2004.
"...the many distortions and misrepresentations used to justify U.S. wars...
"...deconstructing our national myths...
"...the mainstream glorification of all things military...
"Thick Nhat Hanh: "We are taught to think that we need a foreign enemy. Governments work hard to get us to be afraid and to hate so we will rally behind them"...
"The purpose of U.S. war misinformation:
"...seven techniques are regularly employed to achieve these three goals (5)...
"Noam Chomsky: "To liberate yourselves from these misconceptions and perspectives is to take a long step toward overcoming oppression"...
"In affluent societies, one should expect a lot of "willed ignorance" from people... If one's privelege is based on maintaining the empire, it's not surprising that some people won't want to know about what the empire really does (5)...
"...public opinion can... end or prevent wars... To do so requires rebuttal, i.e., information that challenges the myopia and amnesia cultivated by State and corporate propaganda...
"Making us forget is what spin is all about (6)... [/] THE SEVEN SPINS or excuses for war:
Spin #1: The Sleeping Giant . "The U.S. minds its own business but the sleeping giant is endlessly awakened or has its patience tested by surprise events and unprovoked hostilities.
Spin #2: Good Wars. "Once forced into war, the U.S. only does so in the name of democracy, freedom, and justice.
Spin #3: U.S. vs. Them. "Godless communists, subhuman (and superhuman) Japanesse, gooks, chinks, butchers, terrorsts, evildoers, and the next Hitler--the U.S. always opposes the worst humanity has to offer.
Spin #4: Support the Troops. "No matter what we think or how we feel, we all unite behind our troops once the fighting starts.
Spin #5: The Devijl Made the U.S. Do It. "During war, even the U.S. has to sometimes play a little rough.
Spin #6: Surgical Strikes. :We have good intentions and smart bombs; those billion-dollar weapons can differentiate between the guilty and the innocent.
Spin #7: Only Losers Commit War Crimes. "For doing what we would never do, vanquished enemies of the U.S. must be brought to justice in war crime tribunals...
SPIN #1: THE SLEEPING GIANT
"It's an excuse we all learn in childhood: "He started it" or "She hit me first." From this rudimentary alibi grows the myth of the sleeping giant. By portraying oneself as the target of an unprovoked sneak attack all bases are covered. Not only are you claiming innocence and the role of a victim, you might even be excused for responding angrily... maybe even with a little too much force(9)...
EXAMPLE: The battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana bay in 1898. We blamed Spain and started the Spanish American War. The Maine's boiler simply blew up; it was an accident. The U.S. administration lied, an excuse to start a war.
EXAMPLE: President James Polk sent troops into Texas, crossing the border, "creating a pretext to stir Americans into action against Mexico." When the U.S. troops were attacked by Mexican troops (who were defending their country), Polk used it as an excuse to declare war on Mexico.
EXAMPLE: "The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is the mother of all sleeping giant spins. In July, 1941... "the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands instituted a total embargo on oil and scrap metal to Japan... tantamount to a declaration of war. This was followed soon after by the U.S. and the U.K. greezing all Japanese assets in their respective countries... The U.S. had clearly provoked the war with Japan... the embargoes [were] a clear and potent threat to Japan's very existence (17)...
EXAMPLE: The 1964 Bay of Tonkin incident was concocted to start a war in Vietnam. "...there was no reason to believe the Maddox was fired upon... a navy pilot flying over the Gulf of Tonkin that night [said] "our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets -- there were no PT boats there... There was not a single intruder" (19)...
The book gives more than a dozen more examples, most in Central and South America...
SPIN #2: GOOD WARS
Justification #2: "We can't sit back and allow bad guys to thrive. Sometimes we must commit violent acts to stop other, more violent acts from taking place (31)...
""While we claim to be a generous, humane society, I see us as a cold-blooded, selfish, increasingly narcissistic and out of touch with a broader reality," Atwood declares (32)...
EXAMPLE: WWII -- U.S. "investment [in Germany] increased by some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940... Western collaboration with both Germany and Italy in the years leading up to WWII abound but remain obscured through the magic of spin. This allows the Good War afterglow to shine six decades later (34)...
EXAMPLE: U.S. "humanitarian" intervention in Somalia in 1992-3. "Sold to the public as an act of U.S. philanthropy with images of malnourished African children and stories of evil Somali warlords, little of the nation's history was allowed to get in the way...
"From the late 1970s until just before Siad Barre's overthrow in early 1991, the U.S. sent hundreds of millions of dollars of arms to Somalia... Of course, chaos and famine ensued... creating ideal conditions for U.S. exploitation and whitewashing (36)...
"President Clinton... ordered the bombing of civilian targets (37)...
EXAMPLE: Yugoslavia in later 1990s. "...since an actual Somalia-like crisis did not exist, [the U.S.] simply fabricated one (38)...
"...a 78-day, U.S.-led NATO air assault was initiated in the name of humanitarianism. "The humanitarian justifications are ludicrous," says Robert Hayden, director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. "The casualties among Serb civilians in the first three weeks of this war [were] higher than all of the sacualties on both sides in Kosovo in the three months that led up to this war (39)...
"NATO killed more civilians than soldiers, accelerated the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees, destroyed the infrastructure and poisoned the environment of southeastern Europe (40)...
EXAMPLE: Does the U.S. ever intervene with legitimate humanitarian purposes?... the U.S. failed the ultimate litmus test: intervening in the Nazi Holocaust. Besides collaborating with Germany before, during, and after the war, U.S. leaders demonstrated indifference to the looming genocide...
"When a resolution was introduced in January, 1934 asking [FDR] (and the Senate) to express "surprise and pain" at the German treatment of the Jews, that resolution never got out of committee (41)...
EXAMPLE: Rwanda -- "Nearly a million Tutsis were massacred in Rwanda in 1994... one-seventh of the population became corpses. The U.S. response: "...we don't care... U.S. national interest is not involved... we can't put all these silly humanitarian interests on lists"... Clinton ordered that America do nothing to stop the killing (43)....
More examples are given in the book. "The United States, like all nations, operates out of self-interest but paints its behavior in broad strokes of selflessness as no other country does (44)...
SPIN #3: U.S. vs. THEM
"...it is easier to kill a subhuman thing than it is to kill a mirror image of yourself... [so we call our enemies] savages, gooks, chinks, butchers, terrorists, evildoers... Spin #3 plays into our worst fears--the bogeyman...
EXAMPLE: We killed off almost the entire population of native Americans... "people like George Washington... describing Indians as "wild beasts of the forest" and "savage as the wolf" (50)...
EXAMPLE: "...a similar strategy was employed to justify the African slave trade (50)...
EXAMPLE: WWI and the Creel Commission which spread rumors that "double rewards were paid to German submarine crews for sinking ships carrying women and children... inducing a fever pitch of so-called patriotism (51)...
EXAMPLE: "...the all-purpose Red Menace... the United States convinced much of the world that there was an international conspiracy out there...
""...the cry of national security stills criticism, rationality, and decency," says author Edward S. Herman (52)...
"More than a decade after the fall of the Iron Curtain, U.S. propagandists continue to rely on red-baiting as a method of silencing dissent...
"The entire "red scare" was blatant hypocrisy...Corporate America was... deeply involved in the soviet economy (55)...
Many other examples are given in the book.
SPIN #4: SUPPORT THE TROOPS
"No matter what we think or how we feel, once the actual fighting begins, all Americans must unite behind our troops to insure their safety through victory... [This amounts to] squashing dissent through the cultivation of patriotic fervor (73)...
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" (Hermann Goering, Hitler's Deputy, at his 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes trial).
EXAMPLE: WWI -- "Woodrow Wilson announced, "conformity will be the only virtue and any man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty" (75)...
"The Creel Committee published 75 million books and pamphlets, had 250 paid employees, and mobilized 75,000 volunteer speakers known as "four minute men," who delivered their pro-war messages in churches, theaters, and other places of civic gatherings.
"Hitler was very impressed by the successes of Anglo-American propaganda during World War I (74)...
EXAMPLE: WWII -- "...posters demonized the enemy, canonized "our boys," and helped restore the tattered image of corporate America... putting a positive spin on the war...
"Battlefield casualty images were banned and any labor-management tensions were glossed over... consciously fabricated... patriotism (76)...
EXAMPLE: Gulf War I -- "The media are completely unabashed in allying themselves with the administration, being a mouthpiece for the war machine...
"What the media do nationally is to imperceptibly create an amnesia-like feeling... There's no context for actions, there's no background; there's no history. Things just happen (78)...
"One would never be able to guess from public discourse that for every American veteran of combat in Vietnam, there must be twenty veterans of the antiwar movement. One reason for this is the media distortion of who opposes war...
"Schechter says, "Hawks rule the TV studios even as doves line the streets"... It's difficult to discover much of anything about the peace movement from a corporate media that relies almost entirely on retired military men as wartime commentators (81)...
"The "support the troops" mantra specifically ignores any real examination of who those troops are, what those troops are doing, and why someone might not want them waging war...
"Putting the troops in a position where they must commit atrocities and where they could get killed or injured is not "supporting" them (89)...
SPIN #5: THE DEVIL MADE U.S. DO IT
"During the war, even the U.S. has to sometimes play a little rough and sometimes the good guys get their hands a little dirty... in the name of freedom...
"Still, no matter how hard it tries, the Fifth Deadly Spin cannot explain away America's long criminal legacy...
EXAMPLE: "The first "devil" to drive god's country to commit atrocities was, of course, the indigenous population... broken treaties... innumerable massacres... forced marches... federally sanctioned dehumanization...
"...Adolf Hitler "used the [American] treatment of the native people... as a model... displacing, relocating, dramatically shifting or liquidating a population to clear the land and replace it with what he called superior breeding stock" (94-5)...
EXAMPLE: "...it was "necessary" to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki... Americans conditioned to perceive the Japanese as inhuman found it easy to hate. As a December 1945 Fortune poll revealed, twenty-three percent of those questioned wished the U.S. could have dropped "many more [atomic bombs] before the Japanese had a chance to surrender." Such fervor for slaughter was dultivated through a massive public relations effort to demonize the Japanese, e.g., the New York Times ran a photo showing a flamethrower being used to kill Japanese with the headline: "Clearing Out A Rat's Nest." (95)...
The U.S. history of "international terrorism... has no counterpart... attacking civilian installations, bombing hotels, sinking fishing vessels... poisoning crops and livestock (100)...
"Immediately upon the defeat of Germany, the United States went about recruiting Nazis to help with the next good war (103)...
"The impact of former Nazis ratcheting up the Cold War rhetoric can be measured in number of humans who suffered and died as pawns in the game... Millions were killed... thanks to Hollywood hagiography and useless history text[books], World War II remains as the example of U.S. high-mindedness (105)...
SPIN #6: SURGICAL STRIKES
"We have good intentions and smart bombs. Those billion-dollar weapons can differentiate between the guilty and the innocent...
"...an estimated 90 million civilians lost their lives during war in the twentieth century. Today, nine out of ten wartime deaths are civilians...half of those are children...
"The United States spends more than one million dollars per minute on war (119)...
EXAMPLE: "...the General Accounting Office released a study that found the claims made by the Pentagon and its principal weapons contractors concerning the pinpoint precision of the Stealth fighter jet, the Tomahawk land-attack missile, and laser-guided smart bombs "were overstated, misleading, inconsistent with the best available data, or unverifiable" (120)...
"The stealth systems didn't work in cold weather or heavy winds... the smart bombs hit their targets only about 30 percent of the time (122)...
"Even [the] Secretary of Defense... eventually admitted, "The Patriot [missile] didn't work." (124)...
"...military policies... often involve massive civilian casualties (126)...
SPIN #7: ONLY LOSERS COMMIT WAR CRIMES
"Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in the newspapers" (George Orwell) (118).
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities" (Voltaire) (128).
"I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side" (U.S. General Curtis LeMay [after WWII], p. 128)....
"...the issue of U.S. war crimes is rarely if ever broached (129)....
"The U.S. has almost always ended up on the winning side... and therefore hasn't had to accept responsibility for more than two centuries of its own atrocities (130)..
"...the U.S. commits war crimes with alarming frequency (131)...
"The International Criminal Court (ICC)... is the "first ever permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished." The United States is not happy about the ICC and Human Rights Watch explains why:
"The Bush Administration is attempting to negotiate bilateral impunity agreements with numerous countries around the globe. The goal of these agreements is to exempt U.S. military and civilian personnel from jurisdiction of the ICC" (139).
Cost of war today
$114,000 per minute Or
$500.00 per family per month Or
The Government borrows one BILLION dollars per day
40% of the Military budget is secret
Number of U.S.soldiers returned from Iraq in the last
year who have been diagnosed with mental-health problems:
Johns Hopkins University indicates that 100,000 civilians, most of them women and children, have died as a result of the Iraq war
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." (President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 1953)
The human and financial costs of the Iraq War continue to climb. Since the beginning of the war in March 2003, more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died, three times the number that died in the first Persian Gulf War. More than 85% of those soldiers died since the President declared an end to major combat. More than 7,000 soldiers have been wounded, 15 times the number wounded in the first Gulf War.1 Many of these soldiers have suffered permanent, disabling injuries.
Nearly 170,000 reservists and National Guard troops are currently on active duty compared to 50,000 prior to the Iraq War.
These part-time soldiers are taken away from their families and jobs for long periods of time. The American taxpayer pays the financial costs of this war Congress has already allocated $150 billion for the war.
More will be needed as instability grows and hostilities escalate: Attacks on U.S. and other troops in August averaged 90 per day, five times the level of last winter.
• Every day two U.S. soldiers are killed and 30 are wounded.
• The number of insurgents in Iraq may have quadrupled since last year.
• Crude oil production in Iraq is only two-thirds of what it was pre-war.
• The Administration requested Congress in September to shift money allocated for Iraqi reconstruction to security, a move indicating trouble, according to some Congressional leaders.
• A U.S.intelligence report provided to the Bush Administration in July concluded a gloomy outlook for stability in Iraq, including the possible outbreak of a civil war.
Beyond 2004, the financial needs of this war may consume another $4 billion per month.
"Every gun that ismade, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those whohunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." (PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower April 16,1953).
"Beware of foreign entanglements" (Washington).
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security" (Eisenhower).
"If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" (Madison).
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety" (B. Franklin).
"There is nothing good in war except its ending" (Lincoln).
"...called "global strike"... In a shocking innovation in American nuclear policy, recently discolsed in the Washington Post by military analyst William Arkin, the Administration has created and placed on continuous high alert a force where by the President can launch a pinpoint strike, including a nuclear strike, anywhere on earth with a few hours' notice...
"These actions make operational a revolution in US nuclear policy... targeting of, among others, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libra... grew out of Bush's broader new military strategy of pre-emptive war...
"The incorporation of nuclear weapons into the global strike option, casting a new shadow of nuclear danger over the entire planet, raises fundamental questions. Perhaps the most important is why the United States, which now possesses the strongest conventional military forces in the world, feels the need to add to them a new global nuclear threat. The mystery deepens when you reflect that nothing could be more calculated to goad other nations into nuclear proliferation" (Jonathan Schell. "A Revolution in American Nuclear Policy." The Nation, Mar. 14, 2005: 12).
"Iraq war increased starvation. Acute malnutrition among Iraqi children aged under five almost doubled last year because of chaos caused by the US-led occupation, according to the UN Human Rights Commission"("Roundup." Guardian Weekly, April 8, 2005: 2).
"The third world war has already started. It is not George Bush's rhetorical "war on terror", but terrorism itself. In other words, terrorism is the new war. A recent analysis of the casualty statistics of global terrorism shows that they follow the pattern previously observed for conventional conflicts ranging from small local skirmishes to the second world war...
"But how can a single simple statistic such as the number of people killed in attacks tell us anything meaningful about events and conflicts conducted in completely different places for what seem to be totally different reasons? Isn't this like expecting to understand a country's culture by counting its population?
"That depends on what you are looking for. When he first studied the statistics of "deadly quarrels" 80 years ago, the British physicist Lewis Fry Richardson wanted to understand why wars happen. Richardson, a Quaker who served as an ambulance driver in the first world war, hoped that such insight could promote world peace. He decided first to find out how wars were distributed according to their size.
"In the 1920s he plotted the fatality statistics for 82 wars fought since 1820 on a graph showing the size of the conflicts on one axis and the number of conflicts of that size on the other. He found that the data fitted onto a smooth curve which, when the numbers were plotted as logarithms, became a straight line. This sort of mathematical relationship is known as a power law. The line slopes "downwards" because there are progressively fewer conflicts of ever greater size: little wars are common, big ones are rare.
"The power law continued to hold as the data embraced conflicts such as the second world war and Vietnam. Richardson's discovery of power-law statistics of conflicts has been followed by the recognition that power laws govern all sorts of "social" statistics, from the sizes of towns to the fluctuations of economic markets and the structure of the world wide web.
"Power-law statistics of event sizes are also found for natural phenomena that occur close to points of instability, such as earthquakes...
"There are two different power laws--one that fits the figures for terrorist attacks in industrialised (G8) nations, and another for attacks in the rest of the world. The slope of the straight-line plot was steeper in the latter case, indicating that attacks in industrialized nations are more rare but more severe when they do occur. The attacks of September 11, 2001, indicate that, as do the London bombings...
"Johnson argues that while the conventional approach of political analysts is to look for micro-explanations of the course of a conflict in terms of the motivations of the groups concerned, that statistical analysis suggests that the outcomes are much more to do with "the mechanics of how people now do war"...
"The team's conclusion supports the assertion of Mary Kaldor, a political scientist at the London School of Economics, that "the ongoing war in Iraq is a new type of war." She says US military action in Iraq has been predicated on the assumption that they are fighting an "old war."...
""This is immensely dangerous," Kaldor says. That, it seems, must also be the message for any global "war on terror"--it is not one that can be won by military might, but by new strategies. In "new wars", she says, military forces should be deployed for law enforcement, and "forces are needed that combine soldiers, police and civilians with the capacity to undertake humanitarian and legal activities"
"But if, as Johnson's work suggests, these conflicts have indeed turned into a form of terrorism, they will not be over soon. According to Clauset, the power-law statistics of terrorism show that it "is an endemic feature of the modern world and is likely not something that can be completely eradicated. Instead it should be considered in a similar way to other endemic problems, such as crime and natural disasters"" (Philip Ball. "Statistically, this means war." Guardian Weekly, Aug. 12, 2005: 19).
"...the Pentagon has requested a total of $1.3 billion for a new type of land mine...
"Since the early 1990s, when the movement to ban land mines became widespread, forty mine-producing countries stopped producing, and millions of land mines have been destroyed, the result being that the casualty rate dropped from 26,000 people a year to between 15,000 and 20,000. But fifteen countries still insist on producing land mines [including the US]...
"...in the Second World War more than half of those who died were civilians...
"Strada rejects the idea of "humanitarian wars," as I do. I can accept that there may be rare situations where a small act of force might be used to halt a genocidal situation (Rwanda is an example). But war, defined as the massive and indiscriminate use of force (and technology dictates that any large-scale use of force cannot be focused on a particular evil-doer) cannot be accepted, once you understand its human consequences...
"Albert Enstein, horrified by the First World War, said: "War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished"" (Howard Zinn. "A Surgeon's Touch." The Progressive, Sep. 2005: 14-15).
"Don't be fooled a second time. They told you Britain must invade Iraq because of its weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong. Now they say British troops must stay in Iraq because otherwise it will collapse into chaos.
"This second lie is infecting everyone. It is spouted by Labour and Tory opponents of the war. Its axiom is that western soldiers are so competent that, wherever they go, only good can result. It is their duty not to leave Iraq until order is established, infrastructure rebuilt and democracy entrenched. Note the word "until. It hides a bloodstained half-century of western self-delusion and arrogance. The white man's burden is still alive and well in the skies over Baghdad (the streets are now too dangerous). Soldiers and civilians may die by the hundred. Money may be squandered by the million. But Tony Blair tells us that only western values enforced by the barrel of a gun can save the hapless Mussulman from his own worst enemy, himself" (Sam Jenkins. "The lies and folly march on." Guardian Weekly, Sep. 30: 3).
"It is organized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom" --Emma Goldman
"... the 19th century's anarchist Emma Goldman's warning about the consequences of the use of unlawful physical force to resolve conflict...
"... nary a word has been mentioned about the influence of violence upon a society that has become not only fascinated by, but has come to deify, it.
"Particularly when it comes to youth we see this idolatry manifest itself today, fueled by graphic international conflicts, movies, television, computer games and, to some degree, music...
"Kids' TV often has a particularly bad kind of violence--the humorous kind...
"Added to this mix is the ever-present influence of a corporatist culture willing to use exploited violence and unfettered competitiveness as a means to satisfy its own insatiable greed while a supportive government cheers it on under the guise of a free-market economy...
"...we have not made peace and non-violence attractive. Perhaps, this is because we ourselves have never really understood what they mean. Our concept of peace has always been framed in terms of the final and stabilized goals of a given conflict.
"True peace, as the famed child educator Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world wherein harmony reigns"... [from her pamphlet Peace and Education]...
[More from the pamphlet] ""The obedience which is expected of the child both in home and in the school--an obedience admitting neither of reason nor of justice--prepares [them] to be docile to blind forces.
""The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, manifestly unjust and false," the noted educator adds.
"The perfect and infallible discipline therefore becomes synonymous with slavery for the child...
"[From Montessori again] "The virtue worthy above all others of public encouragement and of reward has always been triumphing over one's school fellows in competitions, and the gaining in examinations of the decisive victory allowing one to pass from one year to another of a monotonous existence of perpetual servitude.
""[Children] brought up in this way have been prepared neither to fight and be victorious, not to conquer truth and possess it, nor to love others and join with them in striving for a better life.
""Their education has prepared them rather for an incident, a mere episode of real community life: war. For in reality, the cause of war does not lie in armaments, but in the [individuals] who make use of them"" (A.V. Krebs. "Sacrificing Childhood to Idolatry of Violence." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 7).
"Without question, if we all used the same vocabulary, the neoconservative movement would collapse. That's why the government has to pay columnists, favricate its own news and invent its own language to win the war of public opinion...
"... Bush-speak... touts a culture of lise, this while promoting permanent worldwide war...
"And so rather than rebuking the illegal war culprits, the neocons simply change the meaning of words and reward each other with new appointments...
"Nowadays, military death squad killings in Afghanistan and Iraq have become "targeted assassinations." And the president is completely against torture, as long as he defines its meaning, this while ensuring that US troops act with impunity and are exempt from the International War Crime tribunal.
"At home, politics trumps science and delusion is now the national pastime. There is no global warming. Propaganda promotes freedom. Corruption occurs abroad and pollution-friendly rules are now "clear-air" initiatives. Universal health care is satanic, and bankruptcy is now only an option for big business. And his deficit-inducing tax cuts that favor the rich are propelling the economy...
"...the deceptive use of language by the US government... we are supposed to perceive ourselves not as "savages," but as under siege from savages" (Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez. "The culture of life." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 18).
"It is orgnaized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom" -Emma Goldman
"...the 19th century's anarchist Emma Goldman's warning about the consequences of the use of unlawful physical force to resolve conflict...
"[We are] a society that has become not only fascinated by, but has come to deify [violence]
"Particularly when it comes to youth we see this idolatry manifest itself today, fueled by graphic international conflicts, movies, television, computer games and, to some degree, music...
"Kids' TV often has a particularly bad kind of violence--the humorous kind...
"Added to this mix is the ever-present influence of a corporatist culture willing to use exploited violence and unfettered competitiveness as a means to satisfy its own insatiable greed while a supportive government cheers it on under the guise of a free-market economy...
"We can argue that we have not made peace and non-violence attractive. Perhaps, this is because we ourselves have never really understood what they mean. Our concept of peace has always been framed in terms of the final and stabilized goals of a given conflict.
"True peace, as the famed child educator Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world werein harmony reigns"... [her] pamphlet Peace and Education...
""The obedience which is expected of the child both in home and in the school--an obedience admitting neither of reason nore of justice--prepares [them] to be docile to blind forces.
""The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, manifestly unjust and false" the noted educator adds.
"The perfect and infallible discipline therefore becomes synonymous with slavery for the child...
""The virue worthy above all others of public encouragement and of reward has always been triumphing over one's school fellows in competitions, and the gaining in examinations of the decisive victory allowing one to pass from one year to another of a monotonous existence of perpetual servitude.
""[Children] brought up in this way have been prepared neither to fight and be victorious, not to conquer truth and possess it, nor to love others and join with them in striving for a better life.
""Their education has prepared them rather for an incident, a mere episode of real community life: war. For in reality, the cause of war does not lie in armaments, but in the [individuals] who make use of them"" (A.V. Krebs. "Sacrificing Childhood to Idolatry of Violence." Populist Progressive, May 1, 2005: 7).
"Israel's invasion of Gaza and Lebanon illustrates the futility of war. It is a blunt instrument that exacts an unbearable price on civilians, and it aggravates prolems rather than resolving them" (Matthew Rothschild. "The Israeli-American Invasion." The Progressive, Sep. 2006: 8-10).
"... massive military attacks are not only morally reprehensible but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.
"In the three years of the Iraq War, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, the United States has failed utterly in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq...
The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. Indeed, it has increased the number of its enemies...
"The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquir Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew...
"The United States, which had its way in Latin America for a hundred years, has been unable, despite a long history of military interventions, to control events in Cuba, or Venezuela, or Brazil, or Bolivia.
"Overwhelming Israeli military power, while occupying the West Bank and Gaza, has not been able to stop the resistance movement of Palestinians. Israel has not made itself more secure by its continued use of massive force. The United States, despite two successive wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is not more secure.
"More important than the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time always results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a "war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms...
More than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by "accident." Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the twentieth century and they do not equal that awful toll.
"If reacting to terrorism attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism" (Howard Zinn. "Why War Fails." The Progressive, Nov. 2006: 14-15).
"The high yields Naylor gets from his monoculture fields couldn't happen without added nitrates. The chemical fertilizer industry was born from left-over ammonium nitrate, used in making explosives, the government had after World War II...
"Modern warfare and industrial agriculature are entwined...
""Today, it takes between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate." We've traded free energy from the sun for pricey petroleum.
"Big Ag thrives precisely because so many of these costs are hidden, especially environmental ones. Chemical runoff from farms contaminates our water tables. Excess nitrogen in our watersheds has created huge dead zones in the Northwest and the Gulf of Mexico. Our public health system faces epidemics of diabetes, childhood obesity, and heart disease, all related to our diet" (Elizabeth DiNovella. "Think Globally, Eat Locally." The Progressive, Nov. 2006: 41-44).
"Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. ...justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated." Manu 1200 bc
Still No Coherent and Effective Strategy for Defeating ISIS By Alan Hart, 11/19/15
Way back in July I wrote an article with the headline No sign of a coherent strategy for defeating perverted and barbaric Islamic fundamentalism. Four months and several jihadist atrocities on, and with still no sign, my conclusion is that Western leaders do not have the will to do what is necessary to put ISIS and its affiliates out of business because they don’t want to come to grips with the bottom line truth.
It can be summarised as follows.
ISIS and its affiliates are empowered by the hurt, humiliation, anger and despair of many who make up the Arab and other Muslim masses. It follows that the only way to erode support for ISIS and its affiliates and eventually put them out of business is by addressing this hurt, humiliation, anger and despair.
As I wrote previously, there are two prime causes of it.
One is American-led Western foreign policy for the Arab and wider Muslim world including its double standard as demonstrated by refusal to call and hold Israel to account for its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians.
The other prime cause of Arab and other Muslim hurt, humiliation, anger and despair is the corruption, authoritarianism and repression of most if not all Arab and other Muslim regimes. (In most cases they are regimes supported/endorsed by American-led Western foreign policy).
It also follows that addressing these two prime causes is something that can’t be done with bombs and bullets. They only play into the hands of ISIS and its affiliates.
What could American-led Western governments actually do to if they were willing to play their necessary part in addressing Arab and other Muslim hurt, humiliation, anger and despair?
As a priority that could endtheir double standard with regard to Israel by putting the Zionist state on notice that it will be isolated and sanctioned if it continues to demonstrate nothing but contempt for international law and its lack of interest in justice for the Palestinians.That really would give Western foreign policy a degree of credibility and respect and by doing so assist the process of eroding support for ISIS. and its affiliates.
But the single most important thing Western governments could and should dois use their leverage to persuade Arab and other Muslim leaders that it really is time for authoritarianism to give way to something approaching democracy. If Arab and other Muslim leaders agreed (no matter how reluctantly), this would rob ISIS and its affiliates of their most persuasive argument – that the Arab and other Muslim masses have nothing to gain from politics and non-violent demands for change.
Why, really, are Western governments unwilling to do what is necessary to put ISIS and its affiliates out of business?
I can think of two answers.
One is that governments are not free agents. They are prisoners of powerful vested interests including and especially the Military Industrial Complex and the Zionist lobby in all of its manifestations. (In America this lobby has the assistance of those organizations which represent and promote deluded, mad, Christian fundamentalism),
The other answer is short-termism – the art of politics in which decision-making is determined by what has to be said and done for short-term gain and winning the next election.
In my view this short-termism is the cancer at the heart of politics throughout the Western world because it provides no space and time for consideration of what has to be done over 10, 15, 20 and more years if a whole range of problems which threaten the wellbeing of all of humankind (the threat posed by ISIS and its affiliates is only one of many) are to be solved.
So it’s not only the Arab and other Muslim nations which desperately need new politics. We all do.
Peace, Not Russia, Is Real Threat to US Power By Finian Cunningham May 17, 2016. The US economy has ossified into a war economy and the only way for this to be maintained is for the US to be continually placed on a war footing.
In recent years, Washington’s military expenditure averages around $600 billion a year. That’s over half of the total discretionary spending by the US government, exceeding budgets for education, health and social security. It’s well over a third of the total world military annual spend of $1.7 trillion.
The incipient military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech in 1961 has indeed become a central, defining feature of American society and economy. To talk of «American free-market capitalism» is a staggering oxymoron when so much of the country’s economy is wholly dependent on government-funded militarism.
Or put it another way: if the US military budget were somehow drastically reduced in line with other nations, the all-powerful military-industrial complex and the American state as we know it would collapse. No doubt something better would evolve in time, but the impact on established power interests would be calamitous and therefore is trenchantly resisted.
Seeing Humanity in ‘Enemy’ States By Matthew Hoh May 17, 2016. The United States has over 800 military bases around the world, has client states across the globe, many of which are the worst human rights violators .
Colby Glass, MLIS