Category Archives: Military

Oligarchic Imperialism Is The New Dominant World Religion, by Caitlin Johnstone

Borrowing from a Thomas Sowell book title; the vision of the anointed: a world run by a small elite at the point of a gun. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

I was just watching a gaggle of blue-checkmarked narrative managers attack progressive commentators Katie Halper and Briahna Joy Gray on Twitter for platforming antiwar journalist Rania Khalek on the grounds that Khalek is an “Assadist”, which is imperialist for “someone who opposes western imperialism in Syria”.

At no point do any of these narrative managers bother to address the actual things these women were discussing together or why anything Khalek was saying in their video conference was wrong. They do not feel the need to do such a thing, because they have this label, “Assadist”, which they can pin on one of the speakers and thereby reject one hundred percent of her work and one hundred percent of the people who give her a platform from which to speak. They feel no need to address the arguments, because they have a label which they all agree means they can completely un-person someone who opposes western regime change agendas in a specific region.

There are many such labels that are used to exclude people from positions of influence and power for simply disagreeing with the official doctrine of status quo oligarchic imperialism in any way. “Assadist” is one of them; it allows someone to be completely marginalized from platforms of significant influence without anyone ever needing to admit that they’re simply depriving anyone of a platform who criticized the way the US power alliance used proxy armies and propaganda campaigns in a campaign to topple Damascus. “Kremlin asset” is another, as are “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie”, or “[insert imperialism-targeted leader] apologist”.

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Washington chicken littles would keep troops in Afghanistan forever, by Dan DePetris

There never seems to be a “right” time for Washington to withdraw from its forever wars. One possibility the author doesn’t consider is that it’s not fear, but rather a gravy train of out and out intelligence and military corruption that leads to perpetual war in places like Afghanistan. From Dan DePetris at responsiblestatecraft.org:

n the days since the Trump administration announced the withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Beltway has turned into the epicenter of righteous condemnation.

Lawmakers like Republican Sen. Ben Sasse are issuing mealy-mouthed press statements calling the troop drawdown a modern-day retreat from evil terrorist forces. Retired 4-Star Generals, including John Allen and Joseph Votel, are wondering why the White House would deliberately hand Afghanistan over to the Taliban when there is so much more work to do.

One of the most sanctimonious denunciations of the withdrawal came from none other than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who scurried to the Senate floor on the eve of the announcement to make his displeasure known: “The consequences of a premature American exit…would be reminiscent of the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975.”

The American public has heard all of this before. Invocations of Vietnam, claims about terrorist vacuums, and the levying of emotionally stultifying words like “retreat” are par for the course in Washington. But the last several days of huffing and puffing from the usual, so-called national security “experts” have been so obscenely dishonest that one wonders why they are consulted at all.

The talking point of a U.S. withdrawal being rushed or irresponsible is perhaps the most laughable of the bunch. The term “precipitous” has been used by opponents of the withdrawal so many times over the last several days that some journalists are habitually injecting it into their own reports. “Precipitous,” however, connotes a disorganized, panicked sprint to the exits. Trump’s decision to reduce the U.S. troop presence in the country is anything but — the administration has made it abundantly clear that Trump sees no point in throwing good money after bad in one of the most violent and corrupt places on earth. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien telegraphed the move to bring U.S. force levels in Afghanistan to 2,500 over four weeks ago. Nobody should be surprised. Nor should movement towards a final exit from a war that just entered its 20th year be referred to as a “precipitous” action.

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ELECTION 2020: What President Biden Won’t Touch, by Danny Sjursen

Joe Biden’s no threat to the warfare state. From Danny Sjursen at consortiumnews.com:

Considering the think-tank imperialists in the bunch Biden is naming to direct U.S. foreign policy, Danny Sjursen expects little to change in the essence of the war-state.

Military aircraft streaming red, white and blue during the welcoming ceremony for President Donald Trump, May 2017, King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (White House, Andrea Hanks)

In this mystifying moment, the post-electoral sentiments of most Americans can be summed up either as “Ding dong! The witch is dead!” or “We got robbed!” Both are problematic, not because the two candidates were intellectually indistinguishable or ethically equivalent, but because each jingle is laden with a dubious assumption: that President Donald Trump’s demise would provide either decisive deliverance or prove an utter disaster.

While there were indeed areas where his ability to cause disastrous harm lent truth to such a belief — race relations, climate change, and the courts come to mind — in others, it was distinctly (to use a dangerous phrase) overkill. Nowhere was that more true than with America’s expeditionary version of militarism, its forever wars of this century, and the venal system that continues to feed it.

For nearly two years, We the People were coached to believe that the 2020 election would mean everything, that Nov. 3 would be democracy’s ultimate judgment day. What if, however, when it comes to issues of war, peace, and empire, “Decision 2020” proves barely meaningful?

After all, in the election campaign just past, Donald Trump’s sweeping war-peace rhetoric and Joe Biden’s hedging aside, neither nuclear-code aspirant bothered to broach the most uncomfortable questions about America’s uniquely intrusive global role. Neither dared dissent from normative notions about America’s posture and policy “over there,” nor challenge the essence of the war-state, a sacred cow if ever there was one.

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The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge of Foreign Policy, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Presidents come and go and America’s imperial foreign policy never changes. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

President Trump has announced that he is ordering a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq during the waning days of his administration.

Why only partial? And why now in the waning days of his presidency? After all, when Trump campaigned in 2016, his expressed aim was to bring all the troops home from those two countries. He repeatedly vowed to bring an end to America’s “forever wars.”

There is a simple explanation for Trump’s failure, one that unfortunately so many Americans are loathe to consider: It’s not the president who is in charge of foreign policy. Instead it is the Pentagon and the CIA that are in charge.

Trump had four years to bring home those troops. Clearly he wanted to. The reason he didn’t — the reason he still can’t — is because the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA won’t let him.

Longtime readers of my blog know that I have periodically referenced a book titled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend his book.

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The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition to Afghanistan Withdrawal Shows Its Key Factions, by Glenn Greenwald

The usual suspects are pushing back against Trump’s efforts to get US troops out of Afghanistan, and many of them would find places in a prospective Biden administration. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

An unholy union of the National Security State and the neocon-backed and corporate-funded Democratic Party are about to assume power: with media-supported internet censorship a key weapon.

The Trump era has engendered numerous fractures, one might say realignments, in the political order. Long-time ideological allies are now adversaries, and long-time political enemies are now in full-fledged coalitions. These shifts are not temporary or Trump-dependent but enduring, because they are grounded in shared core beliefs about the defining debates shaping our new politics and how to consolidate real power: call it the Lincoln Project Syndrome.

WASHINGTON, DC – Former Obama CIA Director John Brennan (R) with The Atlantic’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg during the Washington Ideas Forum at the Harman Center for the Arts (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One major reason for this transformation is a fundamental difference in how to understand Trump: is he the primary author of America’s pathologies or merely a symptom of pathologies which long pre-dated him? Relatedly: is removing Trump from power a vital step in returning the U.S. to its previous status as a benevolent and law-abiding republic, or is isolating him as the principal cause of the nation’s woes a cynical propaganda tactic for whitewashing the sins of those who are actually responsible so that they can rebuild their reputations and again assume power? Were Trump’s policies some radical, unprecedented aberration from U.S. political tradition or, stylistic quirks aside, a standard continuation of it?

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Australian War Crimes Report Means Get The Fuck Out Of Afghanistan, by Caitlin Johnstone

Americans should be asking the same question as Australians: is Afghanistan really worth the price of our souls? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The much-anticipated report on potential war crimes by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Afghanistan has been released, recommending 19 current or former soldiers be investigated for up to 39 murders.

Not combat kills. Not accidental kills. Not non-combatants killed by disputable decisions made in the heat of battle. Not civilians killed due to recklessness or carelessness on the part of Australian forces. Murders. Of non-combatants who died for no other reason than happening to live in a region the US power alliance has seen geostrategic value in keeping militarily occupied for 19 years.

The information about atrocities perpetrated by Australian forces in Afghanistan has taken many years to emerge, was fought tooth and claw with attacks on whistleblowers and journalists, and surely only touches on a tiny fraction of the war crimes which have been perpetrated and covered up with the investigation finding that “the criminal behaviour of a few was commenced, committed, continued and concealed at the patrol commander level”.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, ADF Chief Angus Campbell describes a “self-centred warrior culture” in Australia’s Special Air Service which “was embraced and amplified by some experienced, charismatic and influential non-commissioned officers and their proteges, who sought to fuse military excellence with ego, elitism and entitlement,” leading to acts of horrific brutality.

“In this context it is alleged that some patrols took the law into their own hands: rules were broken, stories concocted, lies told and prisoners killed,” says Campbell.

“The Brereton report also found evidence that junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner to achieve their first kill, in a practice known as ‘blooding’,” SMH reports.

Troops “carried ‘throwdowns’ – foreign weapons and equipment such as pistols, small hand-held radios and grenades to be placed with the bodies of enemies killed in action for the purpose of taking photos,” reports SMH. “This practice eventually was used for the purpose of concealing deliberate unlawful killings.”

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The Korean War’s Forgotten Lessons on the Evil of Intervention, by James Bovard

The Korean War may not have been quite as ugly as the Vietnam War, but it was pretty ugly. From James Bovard at fff.org:

This year is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a conflict from which Washington policymakers learned nothing. Almost 40,000 American soldiers died in that conflict that should have permanently vaccinated the nation against the folly and evil of foreign intervention. Instead, the war was retroactively redefined. As Barack Obama declared in 2013, “That war was no tie. Korea was a victory.”

The war began with what Harry Truman claimed was a surprise invasion on June 25, 1950, by the North Korean army across the dividing line with South Korea that was devised after World War Two. But the U.S. government had ample warnings of the pending invasion. According to the late Justin Raimondo, founder of antiwar.com, the conflict actually started with a series of attacks by South Korean forces, aided by the U.S. military: “From 1945-1948, American forces aided [South Korean President Syngman] Rhee in a killing spree that claimed tens of thousands of victims: the counterinsurgency campaign took a high toll in Kwangju, and on the island of Cheju-do — where as many as 60,000 people were murdered by Rhee’s US-backed forces.”

The North Korean army quickly routed both South Korean and U.S. forces. A complete debacle was averted after Gen. Douglas MacArthur masterminded a landing of U.S. troops at Inchon. After he routed the North Korean forces, MacArthur was determined to continue pushing northward regardless of the danger of provoking a much broader war.

By the time the U.S. forces drove the North Korean army back across the border between the two Koreas, roughly 5,000 American troops had been killed. The Pentagon had plenty of warning that the Chinese would intervene if the U.S. Army pushed too close to the Chinese border. But the euphoria that erupted after Inchon blew away all common sense and drowned out the military voices who warned of a catastrophe. One U.S. Army colonel responded to a briefing on the Korea situation in Tokyo in 1950 by storming out and declaring, “They’re living in a goddamn dream land.”

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Beijing Sends Biden a Warning, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Want to send your kids or grandkids off to fight the Chinese over some rocks in the South China Sea? If Joe Biden and the Democrats don’t believe in America First, who or what do they put first? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Because of Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden thundered during the campaign, the U.S. “is more isolated in the world than we’ve ever been … America First has made America alone.”

Biden promised to repair relations with America’s allies. And he appears to have gone some distance to do so in the congratulatory phone call he received from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

According to Suga, during the brief call, Biden said Article V of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty of 1960 covers the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, islands Japan controls but China claims as its own.

“President-elect Biden gave me a commitment that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands,” said a delighted Suga. And what does Article V commit us to?

“Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger…”

Message: The U.S. will treat a Chinese attempt to take the Senkakus, tiny rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea, as an attack on the USA, and America will fight China to secure Japan’s right to keep the islands.

Biden has removed any ambiguity that may have existed and given Tokyo a U.S. war guarantee that covers the Senkakus.

The response of China’s foreign ministry was to angrily lay claim to the islands they call the Diaoyus as “inherently Chinese” and to dismiss the U.S.-Japan security treaty as a “product of the Cold War.”

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Even a Military-Enforced Quarantine Can’t Stop the Virus, Study Reveals, by Jeffrey Tucker

Lockdowns haven’t worked, and lockdown harder won’t work either. From Jeffrey Tucker at aier.org:

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study that goes to the heart of the issue of lockdowns. The question has always been whether and to what extent a lockdown, however extreme, is capable of suppressing the virus. If so, you can make an argument that at least lockdowns, despite their astronomical social and economic costs, achieve something. If not, nations of the world have embarked on a catastrophic experiment that has destroyed billions of lives, and all expectation of human rights and liberties, with no payoff at all.

[The earliest version of this article misstated the conditions of the control group. They were equally locked down with those who participated in the study. The difference between the two concerned testing frequency and the isolation response. This does not affect this article’s conclusion; indeed it strengthens it: even under extreme measures, the virus spread, and more so with the extra measure intended to control the virus. Nearly all infections were without symptoms.]

AIER has long highlighted studies that show no gain in virus management from lockdowns. Even as early as April, a major data scientist said that this virus becomes endemic in 70 days after the first round of infection, regardless of policies. The largest global study of lockdowns compared with deaths as published in The Lancet found no association between coercive stringencies and deaths per million.

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Who’s World Order?? by Matthew Ehret

President Trump’s America First foreign policy is more in sync with the emerging multipolar world order than America as global policeman that pushed by the Obama and neocon retreads that will populate a Biden administration. From Matthew Ehret at thesaker.is:

In his Foreign Policy article of April 2020, Biden states that he will reverse Trump’s embarrassing foreign policy record by standing up to both China, Russia and other totalitarian nations which represent the three-fold plague of “authoritarianism, nationalism and illiberalism” and “once more have America lead the world”.

Biden went further promising to undo the harm Trump has done to NATO by re-enforcing the military body, extending its influence to the Pacific (which sounds a lot like the Esper/Pompeo doctrine for the Pacific), and even demanded that NATO go harder on Russia stating that “the Kremlin fears a strong NATO, the most effective political military alliance in modern history.”

Considering Biden’s nearly 45 year political record supporting every military intervention in American history, opposing de-segregation, eulogizing pro-KKK Senator Strom Thurmond, passing bills that incarcerated petty drug dealers for life on behalf of the cheap labor prison industrial complex and supported the rampant growth of both Wall Street, Big Pharma and the Big Tech run surveillance state, we should think twice before celebrating this man’s possible entry into the halls of the highest office in the USA.

Biden’s call for renewing the NATO alliance in opposition to Russia and China, his support for reversing Trump’s calls for military reduction in the Middle East and his support for extending NATO in the Pacific mixed with his lifelong track record, forces us to ask if Glen Greenwald was right when he quit the Intercept on November 1 saying:

“If Biden wins, that’s going to be the power structure: A democratic party fully united with neocons, Bush/Cheney operatives, CIA/FBI/NSA Wall Street and Silicon Valley: presenting itself as the only protection against fascism. And much of the left will continue marching behind it.”

As it turns out, Greenwald’s warning was absolutely on point, as the entire intelligence apparatus, Big Tech and mainstream media complex which worked desperately to oust President Trump for 4 years and is currently running a vast voting fraud operation as this is written has given its full backing to the narrative of “an inevitable of a Biden presidency”.

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