Category Archives: War

For The Love of Money – Ill Fares The Land

Ill Fares The Land

“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth…

“The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all the rhetoric that accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets, disdain for the public sector the delusion of endless growth.

“We cannot go on living like this. The little crash of 2008 was a reminder that unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy: sooner or later it must fall prey to its own excesses and turn again to the state for rescue. But if we do no more than pick up the pieces and carry on as before we can look forward to greater upheavals in years to come.
― Tony Judt

Pity The Nation

Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The US federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars is over $5.9 trillion dollars

This is Saigon (1967)

Farewell, my wistful Saigon bride
I’m going out to stem the tide
A tide that never saw the seas
It flows through jungles, ’round the trees
Some say it’s yellow, some say red
It will not matter when we’re dead
How many dead men will it take
To build a dike that will not break?
How many children must we kill
Before we make the waves stand still?
Though miracles come high today
We have the wherewithal to pay
It takes them off the streets, you know
To places they would never go alone
It gives them useful trades
The lucky boys are even paid
Men die to build their Pharaoh’s tombs
And still, and still the teeming wombs
How many men to conquer Mars?
How many dead to reach the stars?
Farewell, my wistful Saigon bride
I’m going out to stem the tide
A tide that never saw the seas
It flows through jungles, ’round the trees
Some say it’s yellow, some say red
It will not matter when we’re dead
   – Joan Baez Saigon Bride (1967)

 

War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men – Georges Clemenceau

The Generals Won’t Save Us From the Next War

I can’t agree more with this article’s assessment. Although the author misses some big examples, like Colin Powell’s embarrassing exhibition claiming Saddam’s WMDs. In his defense, there has been so much ineptitude that it would take a Tolstoy-sized book to capture the scope.
For me Matt Ridgway (Korea) was the last exceptional and trustable (by the people) top command American general. His heroic leadership upon assuming command of the 8th Army largely saved South Korea and changed the 20th century. With our troops greatly outnumbered and on the run from the Chinese Army, after MacArthur’s debacle at Yalu River, he parachuted in to the retreating army and ordered them to stop, turnaround, and fight. Which they did, and so did he right along with them.
Then when the French were surrounded by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, about to lose the French-Indochina war, most of Eisenhower’s generals and Richard Nixon were urging him to send in American troops, or drop nuclear weapons, to save them. It was the general he trusted most, Matt Ridgway, along with Churchill, that convinced Ike not to do it. Tragically another general, Maxwell Taylor, and the Joint Chiefs, helped convince JFK and then LBJ to go in anyway a decade later. By that time there was big money in it for their respective branches.
Interestingly Ridgway, who also fought at Normandy, was the last great American command general before the onset of the military corporate complex. It’s been downhill all the way from there. And now it’s Iran…

U.S. Commander Says Expanded Middle East Force May Be Needed to Counter Iran

Why bother with competency when you know you’ll get $700 billion either way? Rather than study the lessons of history it’s so much easier to work on a good John Wayne imitation. And what about these unquestioning reporters that seem to think their job is to amplify the cowboy rhetoric. Embarrassing. Goodnight Morley Safer wherever you are!

 

The Trick Play: Deceptive Tactic Designed to Fool Opposing Team (Iran) and Viewers (US Public)

Administration Escalates Threat Against Iran While Making it Seem Just the Opposite.

Today arrives the next step in the escalation against Iran. Headline: Pompeo offers to talk to Iran with no preconditions.

This is the age-old playbook for escalating tensions. The subterfuge is designed to make it appear that we are easing our stance, to make it seem like Donald Trump is the restraining force on his overzealous war mongers, but in reality this puts more pressure on Iran. And as usual the media is either complicit or just plain oblivious, either way they aren’t serving us. Note the first line in the Politico piece below:

“His (Pompeo’s) remarks suggest increased flexibility by the Trump administration. President Donald Trump’s desire to avoid a war with Iran appears to be prevailing in his own administration — for now…”

He then went on to demand a precondition:

Reuters: “The United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.”

Guardian: “But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would not negotiate with Washington, even after Rouhani had previously signaled talks might be possible if sanctions were lifted.”

Al Jazeera: “Ruohani says Iran will not be bullied into negotiations with tightened sanctions and threats by Washington”

AP: “But the United States will not relent in trying to pressure the Islamic Republic to change its behavior in the Middle East, America’s top diplomat said.”

This is why they pulled out of the nuclear deal in the first place- to isolate the moderates. Knowing full well that the moderates can’t talk and the hard liners won’t, they will now pose themselves as the good guys– we tried everything, including offers of no conditions, but it’s Iran that won’t negotiate because they want Nukes, so we have no other choice. If you look back at what was happening right before we invaded Iraq you’ll find much of the same – Saddam: if you’ll just negotiate on the WMDs, tell us where they are, we can make a deal. Of course, the WMDs didn’t exist.

Reuters: US Prepared to Talk To Iran Without Preconditions. Iran Sees Wordplay

Updated June 22, 2019: 

President Trump called off an airstrike against Iran yesterday at the the last minute. The retaliatory action was over Iran’s downing of a US drone earlier in the week. The story has it that the military had launched the attack and the bombers were in the air heading for their targets but in a moment of contemplative restraint Mr. Trump called it off, saying that the proportionality of the impending Iranian deaths would be above the level of the original crime committed by them. In the following barrage of press interpretations of his actions we’ve heard everything from ineptitude, poor planning, mental instability and his dilemma regarding his campaign stated aversion to war.

My belief is that this is yet another stage in the effort to turn domestic public opinion in favor of action against Iran. Once again the illusion is that Trump is the last firewall keeping the circling hawks, some with long-standing agendas, from leading us down the path to war in the middle east. Trump is now made to look like the good guy, this time much to the relief of even his staunchest opponents. Even Nancy Pelosi praised his actions. It’s basically a game of chicken, but it is being played with US domestic public opinion as the ultimate prize. As I mention above, this is similar to events leading up to the Iraq invasion, where there was a media campaign designed to make it look like we were continually offering Saddam a way out, only to finally run out of patience with his refusal to turn over the non-existent WMDs. Even though we had surrounded him he was the bad guy who just wouldn’t adhere to the norms of international law and order (ie American hegemony).

Not even Fox News believes the “unlikely” story:

Fox’s Chris Wallace, Shep Smith Cast Doubt On Trump’s Iran Strike Claims

Now the administration is on record as having offered to talk with no preconditions and we’ve seemingly narrowly averted a military confrontation due to our calmer heads and alleged humanitarian instincts. Incrementally we are becoming the good guys, trying desperately to avoid war, and Iran is the belligerent, targeting our assets and ditching the nuclear deal. The battleship of public opinion is being turned in the administration’s favor. Even if the narrative is believable that events are happening randomly, that it’s not all planned out, the effect is the same. Ball in Iran’s court.

“Cocked and loaded” to strike Iran, Trump says he called off operation when told 150 would likely die

Another supporting thought:

I have heard a lot about Donald Trump needing a war with Iran to prop up his sagging poll numbers. The “rally around the flag” and “wag the dog” arguments. What I haven’t heard too much about is that the US military really needs a war…

Fewer Americans want to serve in the military. Cue Pentagon panic