Category Archives: Military

Coming to Terms With the US Role in Central America, by César Chelala

The US doesn’t have clean hands in Central America, and its interventions there have something to do with the flow of people trying to cross the southern border.  From César Chelala at antiwar.com:

On March 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton took an unprecedented step. During a four-nation visit to Central America, he expressed regret for the role the United States had played in a brutal counter-terrorism campaign that had caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Guatemala’s civil war.

President Clinton’s apology followed the publication of the findings of an Independent Historical Clarification commission, which concluded that U.S. government support to the Guatemalan military was responsible for most of the human rights abuses committed during the 36-year war in which 200,000 people died.

The human rights abuses were also detailed in The Guatemala Truth Commission report which was coordinated by Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was brutally murdered. According to the report, children were killed, abducted, forcibly recruited as soldiers and sexually abused. Fetuses were cut from their mothers’ wombs and young children were thrown alive into pits.

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The So-Called War on Terror Has Killed Over 801,000 People and Cost $6.4 Trillion: New Analysis, by Jessica Corbett

The direct and indirect costs of the war on terror have been staggering. From Jessica Corbett at commondreams.org:

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home.”

A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle

A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle during partnered live fire range training at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/U.S. Army/Flickr/cc)

The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths.

“These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago,” Lutz added. “We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”

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About Trump, by Sylvain LaForest

Is there method to President Trump’s madness? That’s a question people have been asking for the last three years. Sylvain LaForest claims there is. From LaForest at orientalreview.org:

The timing is right for everyone to understand what Donald Trump is doing, and try to decrypt the ambiguity of how he is is doing it. The controversial President has a much clearer agenda than anyone can imagine on both foreign policy and internal affairs, but since he has to stay in power or even stay alive to achieve his objectives, his strategy is so refined and subtle that next to no one can see it. His overall objective is so ambitious that he has to follow random elliptic courses to get from point A to point B, using patterns that throw people off on their comprehension of the man. That includes most independent journalists and so-called alternative analysts, as much as Western mainstream fake-news publishers and a large majority of the population.

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It’s Trump vs. the Deep State vs. the Rest of Us, by Ryan McMaken

One huge benefit of Trump’s presidency is that it’s exposed the Deep State for everyone except those who refuse to look. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

One of the best side effects of the Trump presidency has been the hostility of the so-called “deep state” or “intelligence community” directed at the president.

This, in turn, has led many Americans to realize that America’s powerful, un-elected secret police agencies serve an agenda all their own, and that they choose sides in political controversies. Consequently, polls show one’s views of the CIA and the FBI depend largely on one’s ideological bent. Polls from Fox News and NBC news in recent years show that as various government bureaucracies have ratcheted up their hostility to Trump, more Democrats and Hillary Clinton voters have said they trust the CIA and the FBI.

Why the president and this deep state should be at odds has never been obvious to casual observers. Last month, however, in an article titled “Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Turns Against Him,” the New York Times at last explained that there is indeed very real enmity between Trump and agencies such as the CIA and the FBI. The Times contends that Trump “went to war with the professional staff” of the intelligence agencies and the State Department.

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Iraq: All Is in Ruins and Mourning, by Eric Margolis

The US has laid waste to Iraq. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Victor Hugo said of the devastated Balkans in the 19th century:  ‘The Turks have passed by here. All is in ruins or mourning.’

Welcome to modern Iraq.

The British were always masters of efficient imperialism.  In the 19th century, they managed to rule a quarter of the Earth’s surface with only a relatively small army supported by a great fleet.

Many of their imperial subjects were so overawed by the pomp and circumstance of British rule that they often willingly cooperated, or at least bent the knee.

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When Did Ukraine Become a ‘Critical Ally’? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Calling Ukraine a critical ally would be like Russia calling Mexico a critical ally. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

On hearing the State Department’s George Kent and William Taylor describe President Donald Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine, The New York Times summarized and solemnly endorsed their testimony:

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the President, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally, under constant assault by Russian forces.”

“‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country, and have been for four years,’ Taylor said. ‘I saw this on the front line last week; the day I was there a Ukrainian soldier was killed and four more wounded.’”

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The Trump Doctrine Demands a Democratic Response, by Danny Sjursen

Trump’s actual foreign policy, as opposed to his bombast, is virtually no departure from the policies of his predecessors. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

I’ve been publishing antiwar material for more than five years now. Seeing as I only retired this past February, I did most of my dissenting while still on active duty, and much of it during the Obama years. During that time, the overwhelming majority of hate mail in my inbox – and sometimes my actual mailbox – almost always came from the political right. Then Trump was elected, occasionally said some modestly prudent things about ending endless war in the Middle East, and when I dared write approvingly about those words, my hate mail began to change. Now it invariably emerges from the mainstream “left,” my own ostensibly ideological compatriots. (More on this phenomenon in my Nov. 6 column at Antiwar.com). Now, despite spending almost all of my adult life in uniform, I’m labeled a “Putin apologist,” a “traitor,” an “asset” and a “useful idiot.”

It’s ironic; maddeningly so, in fact. A cursory glance at my body of work since January 2017 reveals a consistent propensity to challenge this president. Nonetheless, I’ve felt of late a professional, and ethical, obligation to occasionally (if cautiously) cheer Trump’s more prudent critiques of the forever wars I once waged. My more thoughtful critics note that all that Trump-talk hasn’t been backed by much follow-through, and they ain’t wrong. As I’ve been long apt to point out, the distance between Trump’s anti-interventionist “rhetoric” and his actual actions in the greater Middle East remains, for now, wide enough to drive a semi-truck through.

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