Category Archives: Military

Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal, by Peter Korzun

Looks like Iraq is not going to be the Middle East’s shining star of democracy nor a reliable US satrapy. It’s lining up with Iran and Russia. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.

Known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility, the T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun that can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles and the 1A45T fire-control system. Standard protective measures include sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend the T-90 from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.

During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage

The agreement to purchase the tanks was also confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The T-90s will reinforce the Iraqi M1A1 Abrams fleet damaged in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants. The decision to buy the Russian tanks was prompted by the successful performance of T-90s in Syria. During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage. For comparison, in October last year, an M1 Abrams was hit by a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile at the Qurayyah crossroads south of Mosul. The missile rammed into the turret from behind to make the ammunition compartment explode.

To continue reading: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

 

Advertisements

Strip Mining the World, by Robert Gore

The richest vein in the history of predatory mining is just about played out.

A gigantic mine engages in every conceivable destructive practice—strip mining, heap leaching, tailings dams and ponds and so on. It pays such low wages its workers only make ends meet by borrowing from the company at usurious rates. The mine has befouled the air and poisoned the water. Many workers are chronically sick and their children are afflicted with birth defects. The mine’s absentee owners know that the mine is played out and the tailings dam is structurally unsound. They close the mine, count their profits, and move on. A month later the dam gives way. A deluge of noxious sludge inundates the town below the dam, sparing no one and rendering the area uninhabitable.

The government is a strip mining operation, plundering the dwindling residual value of a once wealthy America. Forget ostensible justifications, policy is crafted to allow those who control the government to maximize their take and put the costs on their victims, leaving devastation in their wake.

Wars are no longer about defending the country or even making the world safe for democracy. They are about appropriations, not to be won, but profitably prolonged. The Middle East and Northern Africa have been a mother lode. You would think their sixteen-year war in backward and impoverished Afghanistan would be a shameful disgrace for the military and the intelligence agencies. It’s not. They’ve milked that conflict for all its worth, and now brazenly talk about a “generational war”: many more years of more of the same.

We can also look forward to generational wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. The strip miners are agitating for an Iranian foray. That’s got Into The 22nd Century written all over it, a rich, multi-generational vein, perhaps America’s first 100-year war.

The only rival for richest mother lode is medicine. Health care is around 28 percent of the federal budget, defense 21 percent. Medical spending no longer cures the sick; it’s the take for insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital rackets. The US spends more per capita on health care than any other nation (36 percent more than second-place Switzerland) but quality of care ranks well down the list.

In education there is the same gap between per capita spending (the US ranks at or near the top) and value received, in this instance as measured by student performance. What’s paid is out of all proportion to what’s received, especially at a time when computer and communications technology should be driving down the costs of education across the board.

Indoctrination factories formerly known as schools, colleges, and universities dispense approved propaganda. For students, higher education is now on the government-sponsored installment plan. There’s a litany of excuses why Johnny, Joan, Juan, Juanita, Jamal and Jasmine can’t read, compute, or think, but lack of funding and student loans don’t wash. Education dollars fund teachers’ unions, their pensions, administrators, and edifice complexes; learning is an afterthought. This vein will play out as the pensions funds, and the governments that have swapped promises to fund them for educators’ votes, go bankrupt. Probably around the same time as the student loan bubble pops.

Money itself has become a faith-based construct, a strip mining operation jointly owned by the government, the central bank, and the banking cartel it supports. Replacing gold with paper promises, monetizing debt, interest rate suppression, inflation of the money supply and the central bank’s balance sheet, macroeconomic meddling, maintenance of a bankers’ cartel, and insider dealing within the cartel have immeasurably increased the wealth and power of the entire banking complex.

Twenty trillion dollars in debt, two-hundred-plus trillion in unfunded liabilities, and an economy that has barely cruised above stall speed for eight years are core samples indicating the mine is exhausted. The tailings dam has sprung visible leaks. However, the townspeople below the dam remain willfully oblivious to the danger.

Recognizing realty and doing something about it are hallmarks of mental toughness, once considered a virtue. Now, in various tangible and virtual sanctuaries against facts and logic, the demand is made for reality to conform to the delusions of those who refuse to confront it. In the safe space between their ears, the only danger is someone warning of danger.

Lower even than the level of mental fortitude is physical toughness. When the dam breaks, the obese, opiated, otiose endomorphs resting their girths on couches across America will have no chance of escaping the sludge, even with their motorized carts. President Kennedy christened the President’s Council on Physical Fitness to address what he saw as a soft and flabby America. Fifty years later, America is exponentially softer and flabbier—physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Most Americans are in no condition to handle the emotional and physical stresses crises will bring.

It’s viciously ironic that many of them will look to the strip miners for salvation. A captive government that has turned America into a field of rackets, its string-pullers extracting power and wealth while ordinary people have seen their incomes stagnate, their meager savings dwindle, and opportunities shrink, is somehow going to make financial and economic catastrophe all better.

In one sense Hillary Clinton’s use of the term “deplorable” was unfortunate, in that it implies that the strip miners care enough about the townspeople to deprecate them. They don’t. The townspeople have had their uses, but they’re expendable once the mine is played out. Let someone else worry about pulling them from the sludge, or just leave them buried. The strip miners chose America first because it had the richest vein, now exhausted. The strip miners will move on to other, albeit less lucrative, lodes. That is what is meant by globalization.

WHO’S EXPENDABLE?

AMAZON

KINDLE

Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment, by Michael Brendan Dougherty

It’s not an embarrassment if you think the US should be aligned with a repressive Islamic fundamentalist regime that is one of the leading state sponsors of terror. From Michael Brendan Dougherty at nationalreview.org:

It also has very real strategic and moral costs.

When he was 17, five years ago, Mujtaba al-Sweikat committed the “crime” of participating in a pro-democracy rally in Saudi Arabia. Instead of attending Western Michigan University, as he had planned to do that fall, he was put in prison. Reports are now leaking out of Saudi Arabia that al-Sweikat will soon be beheaded for his transgression. It’s just the latest reminder that Saudi Arabia is America’s worst best friend.

The U.S. does get something out of its relationship with Saudi Arabia; there is real intelligence sharing, and the Kingdom has used its power over OPEC to drive oil prices down when we want to humiliate Russia or accomplish some other goal. That’s not nothing. Nor will I pretend that a global superpower can do the business of horse-trading only with saints and scholars. But there are real costs to our relationship with the Saudis, and I’m not sure that our policy elites are reckoning with them at all.

A day will come when we need friends with whom we share a real civilizational affinity, and our relationship with the Saudis will hurt us on that day. Saudi-funded mosques and preachers flow into the nations of our friends and allies, preaching hatred and occasionally terror. We often talk about how nationalism is a response to the globalization of commerce. But it’s also a response to the globalization of Saudi Arabia’s favorite forms of Islam. Syrian refugees come to Germany and find Saudi-funded mosques that are far more extreme than anything they knew at home. Saudi-funded clerics are a major engine of extremism, and of the nationalist backlash it produces, from France to India.

Saudi actions in this regard are so embarrassing and brazen that Western nations won’t even let themselves be heard discussing them intelligibly. Last Week, U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd refused to publish her own government’s delayed report on the funding of extremist groups. Even in the press releases, the government was too ashamed to admit the fact that everyone knew to be in them: Saudi Arabia funnels money to the extremist groups that threaten Europe with terrorism.

To continue reading: Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment

Dismantling McCain’s Disastrous Legacy Should Now Be Trump’s Top Priority, by Tom Luongo

John McCain has been the stalwart of a foreign policy that has been nothing but disastrous for the US. From Tom Luongo at lewrockwell.com:

It is hard to estimate how much influence over U.S. domestic and foreign policy John McCain had. With his illness upgraded to a glioblastoma in his head, the likelihood of his return to a policy position is unlikely.

As I predicted earlier this week, the severity of McCain’s health problems will inevitably usher in a major power shuffle in Washington.

The Arizona senator’s absence creates a unique opportunity for President Trump to alter the course of our foreign and domestic policy. From Iraq to Libya, Syria to Afghanistan and right up to Russia’s borders in Ukraine, McCain’s bloody paw prints are all over more than a decade of American foreign policy blunders.

Most of these foreign policy nightmares have served, directly or indirectly, to weaken Russia’s western and southern flanks and prevent Eurasian integration. And of all the excrement that has exited McCain’s mouth, his hatred for Russia has always seemed most sincere. Everything else is politically fungible.

His irrational hatred of Russia made him the perfect vessel for neoconservative policy. It allowed him, without irony, to share the stage with Nazi-sympathizers in Ukraine or rub elbows with Salafist head-chopping radicals in Syria while ensuring a steady flow of taxpayer money to these animals.

McCain’s Hate Talk Express to Hell

With him gone the driving force is gone as well. Many who stood with McCain on these issues did so because Washington is the ultimate ‘go along to get along’ kind of place. And few, if any, in the Senate have his drive to continue the work. Notice how quiet Lindsay Graham has been the last couple of weeks.

Many will see the writing on the wall and kiss the ring of President Trump to avoid a primary challenge in the spring.

And some will see this as a great opportunity to retire now that the status quo has shifted. Don’t forget that Diane Feinstein, McCain’s Democrat doppleganger is retiring in 2018. Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer are gone. The generation of U.S. legislators that brought us this madness are being put out to pasture. Nancy Pelosi is in trouble as House Minority Leader.

Do you really think many Democrats and RINOs have the will to fight now that their GOP Trojan Horse is on chemo?

To continue reading: Dismantling McCain’s Disastrous Legacy Should Now Be Trump’s Top Priority

Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign, Neocons and liberals howl, by Justin Raimondo

We can’t have any kind of peace of in Syria because that might in some way benefit bogeyman Russia. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The headline in the Washington Post said it all: “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow.” The madness that has infected what passes for journalism today could not be more starkly dramatized: everything is seen through the distorting lens of Russophobia. It doesn’t matter that that the program had failed to achieve its ostensible goal, and that the US-vetted rebels had for the most part defected to al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS. Atrocities committed by the “moderate” rebels go unmentioned. That real experts on the region like Joshua Landishailed the move as a step toward a peaceful settlement is ignored. The only thing that matters is that, as one unnamed “current official” cited in the article puts it, “Putin won in Syria.”

From this perspective, the Syrian people are merely pawns in a geopolitical game between Washington and Moscow. Elsewhere in the piece, the authors – Washington Post reporters Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous – bemoan the fact that the US has somehow “lost” Syria. Under the cover of citing anonymous former White House officials, they write:

“Even those who were skeptical about the program’s long-term value, viewed it as a key bargaining chip that could be used to wring concessions from Moscow in negotiations over Syria’s future.

“’People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you’d do for free,’ said a former White House official. ‘To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish.’”

The Syrian people are mere “bargaining chips” as far as the movers and shakers of the American empire are concerned: they have no reality outside the cold calculations of power politics, the maneuvers of our know-it-all political class, who think they are qualified to run the world.

This is the same mentality that led us into the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and the equally tragic and bloody intervention in Libya, both of which resulted in chaos and the triumph of terrorism. In both cases we destroyed a secular authoritarian regime and paved the way for the growth of radical Islamist factions, enabling the spread of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and similar terrorist formations. And for what?

When the history of this era is written, the motivations of US policymakers under both President Obama and President George W. Bush will be called into question: why did they destroy the Middle East? Was it simply an error of judgment, or was something more sinister involved? Did they deliberately upend these societies, actively aiding Islamist barbarians, much as the late Roman emperors invited the Teutonic barbarians into the empire as mercenaries – who eventually turned on them and sacked Rome?

To continue reading: Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign, Neocons and liberals howl

Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction, by Tom Englehardt

In large part, the outcome of US policy in the Middle East and Northern Africa has been destruction and rubble, and nothing more. An excellent article from Tom Englehardt at antiwar.com:

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science.  Everything “networked.”  It was to be a glorious dream of limited destruction combined with unlimited power and success.  In reality, it would prove to be a nightmare of the first order.

If you want a single word to summarize American war-making in this last decade and a half, I would suggest rubble. It’s been a painfully apt term since September 11, 2001. In addition, to catch the essence of such war in this century, two new words might be useful: rubblize and rubblization. Let me explain what I mean.

In recent weeks, another major city in Iraq has officially been “liberated” (almost) from the militants of the Islamic State.  However, the results of the U.S.-backed Iraqi military campaign to retake Mosul, that country’s second largest city, don’t fit any ordinary definition of triumph or victory.  It began in October 2016 and, at nine months and counting, has been longer than the World War II battle of Stalingrad.  Week after week, in street to street fighting, with U.S. airstrikes repeatedly called in on neighborhoods still filled with terrified Mosulites, unknown but potentially staggering numbers of civilians have died.  More than a million people – yes, you read that figure correctly – were uprooted from their homes and major portions of the Western half of the city they fled, including its ancient historic sections, have been turned into rubble.

This should be the definition of victory as defeat, success as disaster.  It’s also a pattern.  It’s been the essential story of the American war on terror since, in the month after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush loosed American air power on Afghanistan.  That first air campaign began what has increasingly come to look like the full-scale rubblization of significant parts of the Greater Middle East.

By not simply going after the crew who committed those attacks but deciding to take down the Taliban, occupy Afghanistan, and in 2003, invade Iraq, Bush’s administration opened the proverbial can of worms in that vast region. An imperial urge to overthrow Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, who had once been Washington’s guy in the Middle East only to become its mortal enemy (and who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11), proved one of the fatal miscalculations of the imperial era.

To continue reading: Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction

Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now? by Patrick Buchanan

Take the stupidities that launched US involvement  in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya and add them all up, then square that number, and you still won’t reach the stupidity of a prospective US military intervention in Iran. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender.”

Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War.

Why is containment surrender? “Because freedom is threatened everywhere so long as this dictatorship stays in power,” says Gingrich.

But how is our freedom threatened by a regime with 3 percent of our GDP that has been around since Jimmy Carter was president?

Fortunately, Gingrich has found a leader to bring down the Iranian regime and ensure the freedom of mankind. “In our country that was George Washington and … the Marquis de Lafayette. In Italy it was Garibaldi,” says Gingrich.

Whom has he found to rival Washington and Garibaldi? Says Gingrich, “Maryam Rajavi.”

Who is she? The leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which opposed the Shah, broke with the old Ayatollah, collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and, until 2012, was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.

At the NCRI conference in Paris in July where Gingrich spoke, and the speaking fees were reportedly excellent, John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani were also on hand.

Calling Iran’s twice-elected President Hassan Rouhani, “a violent, vicious murderer,” Giuliani said, “the time has come for regime change.”

Bolton followed suit. “Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it is not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region,” he said. Hence, “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.”

To continue reading: Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?