Category Archives: Military

A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed laments the absurdity of the present hysteria about Russia. From Reed on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Consider:

He has threatened to cut the F-35, a huge blow to Lockheed-Martin and hundreds of subcontractors; to pull US troops out of South Korea, a blow to the Empire; to end the wars, a blow both to the Empire and the military industry getting rich from them; to pull troops out of Okinawa, crippling the Empire in the Pacific; to start a trade war with China with a forty-five percent tariff of Chinese goods, threatening American corporations with factories there; and to chase out illegal immigrants, an important source of cheap labor to businesses. He has called NATO “obsolete,” when leaving it would be the death knell of the Empire; and threatened to establish good relations with Russia, when the lack of a European enemy would leave NATO even more obviously unnecessary.

Thus New York and its branch operation in Washington resuscitate Russia as a bugbear to terrify the rubes,meaning most of the public. Money. Power. Empire.

To continue reading: A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare

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How We Got Here The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos, By Danny Sjursen

A devastating critique of the repeated failures of US foreign and military policy in the Middle East, from Army Major Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

The United States has already lost — its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington. Bush’s neo-imperial triumphalism failed. Obama’s quiet shift to drones, Special Forces, and clandestine executive actions didn’t turn the tide either. For all President Trump’s bluster, boasting, and threats, rest assured that, at best, he’ll barely move the needle and, at worst… but why even go there?

At this point, it’s at least reasonable to look back and ask yet again: Why the failure? Explanations abound, of course. Perhaps Americans were simply never tough enough and still need to take off the kid gloves. Maybe there just weren’t ever enough troops. (Bring back the draft!) Maybe all those hundreds of thousands of bombs and missiles just came up short. (So how about lots more of them, maybe even a nuke?)

Lead from the front. Lead from behind. Surge yet again… The list goes on — and on and on.

And by now all of it, including Donald Trump’s recent tough talk, represents such a familiar set of tunes. But what if the problem is far deeper and more fundamental than any of that?

Here our nation stands, 15-plus years after 9/11, engaged militarily in half a dozen countries across the Greater Middle East, with no end in sight. Perhaps a more critical, factual reading of our recent past would illuminate the futility of America’s tragic, ongoing project to somehow “destroy” terrorism in the Muslim world.

To continue reading: How We Got Here The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos

Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War on Iran, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

A Democratic, liberal fixture wants to hand Donald Trump an open invitation to wage war on Iran. It is never a good idea for Congress to unilateral relinquish its powers to declare war, regardless of the Congress, the war, or the president. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Rep. Alcee Hastings has sponsored a bill to authorize President Trump to attack Iran. Hastings reintroduced H J Res 10, the “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran Resolution” on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress after President Trump’s election.

Hastings’s bill has come as a shock to constituents and people who have followed his career as a 13-term Democratic Member of Congress from South Florida. Miami Beach resident Michael Gruener called Hastings’s bill, “extraordinarily dangerous,” and asked, “Does Hastings even consider to whom he is giving this authorization?”

Fritzie Gaccione, the editor of the South Florida Progressive Bulletin noted that Iran is complying with the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and expressed amazement that Hastings has reintroduced this bill at a moment when the stakes are so high and Trump’s intentions so unclear.

“How can Hastings hand this opportunity to Trump?” she asked. “Trump shouldn’t be trusted with toy soldiers, let alone the American military.”

Speculation by people in South Florida as to why Alcee Hastings has sponsored such a dangerous bill reflect two general themes. One is that he is paying undue attention to the pro-Israel groups who raised 10 percent of his coded campaign contributions for the 2016 election. The other is that, at the age of 80, he seems to be carrying water for the pay-to-play Clinton wing of the Democratic Party as part of some kind of retirement plan.

To continue reading: Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War on Iran

 

Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion? by Ron Paul

The military wants to send thousands of troops to Syria. That would be incredibly stupid. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Just over a week into the Trump Administration, the President issued an Executive Order giving Defense Secretary James Mattis 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. According to the Order, the plan should make recommendations on military actions, diplomatic actions, partners, strategies, and how to pay for the operation.

As we approach the president’s deadline it looks like the military is going to present Trump with a plan to do a whole lot more of what we’ve been doing and somehow expect different results. Proving the old saying that when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, we are hearing increasing reports that the military will recommend sending thousands of US troops into Syria and Iraq.

This would be a significant escalation in both countries, as currently there are about 5,000 US troops still fighting our 13-year war in Iraq, and some 500 special forces soldiers operating in Syria.

The current Syria ceasefire, brokered without US involvement at the end of 2016, is producing positive results and the opposing groups are talking with each other under Russian and Iranian sponsorship. Does anyone think sending thousands of US troops into a situation that is already being resolved without us is a good idea?

In language reminiscent of his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the president told a political rally in Florida over the weekend that he was going to set up “safe zones” in Syria and would make the Gulf States pay for them. There are several problems with this plan.

To continue reading: Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion?

 

“That War You Ordered….” by James Howard Kunstler

The war between Trump and the intelligence complex is disturbing on many levels. From James Howard Kuntsler at kunstler.com:

The gaslighting of the American public continues, with Gaslighter-in-Chief, The New York Times, whipping up a frenzy of Russia paranoia.*

It reminds me of an old gambit in fly fishing called the “artificial hatch.” Trout like to gorge on mayfly nymphs as they rise out of a stream and shuck their nymphal shells to fly away as winged adults. The bugs do this in bunches, at a particular time of day, according to sub-species. This “hatch” drives the trout into a feeding frenzy.

A lot of the time, of course, there’s no action on the stream, so the bored fly fisherman whips his line here and there around a particular pool, trying to create the simulation of a mayfly hatch so the trout will wake the fuck up. It is, to be frank a crude dodge, really an act of desperation. But at least it gives the fisherman something to do for a while besides worry about missing another mortgage payment.

The Russia paranoia frenzy is serious business because it indicates that a state-of-war exists between the permanent bureaucracy of government (a.k.a. the Deep State) and the new Trump administration. There are features of the struggle that ought to be much more disturbing than the dubious alleged monkey business about Russia hacking the election and the hoo-hah around a single intercepted phone call between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador, made to open a line-of-communication between high-ranking officials, strictly routine business in any other administration.

Most disturbing are signs that the so-called intelligence community (IC) has gone rogue in collusion with forces aligned around Democratic Party functionaries up to and including former president Obama and Hillary Clinton, along with CNN, The Times, The Wash-Po, NBC News and a few other mouthpieces of the defeated establishment. Obama and Hillary remain conspicuously sequestered from this maelstrom, but they must be working their phones like nobody’s business. (Is the IC monitoring them, too, one wonders?)

* Gaslighting — a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

To continue reading: “That War You Ordered….”

Is Russia Deliberately Trying To Start An Arms Race With Trump? by Duane Norman

Debt may be part of military strategy, especially US military strategy, and not in a good way. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

Yesterday, it was revealed that the Russian military (secretly) deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile. Of course, the mainstream media attempted to spin this as a “major test” for President Trump:

Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile that American officials say violates a landmark arms control treaty, posing a major test for President Trump as his administration is facing a crisis over its ties to Moscow.

The new Russian missile deployment also comes as the Trump administration is struggling to fill key policy positions at the State Department and the Pentagon — and to settle on a permanent replacement for Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who resigned late Monday. Mr. Flynn stepped down after it was revealed that he had misled the vice president and other officials over conversations with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.

The NY Times made sure to lead with the Trump-bashing, and gave scant details and/or commentary on the specifics of the system, or its significance. Reuters filled in the key blank from the administration that the NY Times left out:

“We know that this is an old issue. The Russians have been building and testing these things in violation of the INF treaty going back to the Obama administration,” the official told Reuters, asking to remain anonymous to speak freely.

“The issue now is the things are deployed and it’s an even greater violation of the INF treaty,” the official added.

To continue reading: Is Russia Deliberately Trying To Start An Arms Race With Trump?

‘Isolationist’ Trump Rattles His Saber, by Sheldon Richman

On any given day Trump can sound like an America Firster, espousing a foreign policy of noninterventionism. On any other given day, he can sound like a full-throated neoconservative. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

A few libertarians and other principled opponents of the warfare state assured us we likely would sleep easier with Donald Trump, rather than any neoconservative or humanitarian interventionist, in the White House. How’s that working out? Not so well. I’m hoarding melatonin and buying stock in Lunesta.

In its opening days the Trump administration has rattled the saber at Iran, China, and North Korea. This is hardly comforting, considering that pronouncements from Trump and his closest advisers could have come from the foreign-policy establishment he supposedly upended. If this is disruption, I’d hate to see what an embrace of The Consensus would look like. The possible appointment of Elliott Abrams, the quintessential neoconservative — architect of and apologist for mass murder in the Middle East — as deputy secretary of state is just one more sign that Peaceniks for Trump have been gulled. [UPDATE: Trump has decided not to appoint Abrams.]

What about Trump’s position on Russia? they will ask. What about it? Not taking Bill O’Reilly’s bait (transcript here) doesn’t count as being pro-peace, especially when Trump had his UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, warn that sanctions against Russia won’t be removed until Vladimir Putin relinquishes Crimea. Haley’s declaration was a reversal of Trump’s earlier, better (though flawed) position that sanctions would be tied to a mutual reduction of both countries’ nuclear arsenals. Now we’re back to the Obama position. One need not defend Russia’s move on Crimea (even if most inhabitants favored it) to see the context: the U.S.-engineered coup (backed by neo-Nazi elements) against Ukraine’s elected president in favor of a neocon favorite — not to mention the larger context: the decades-long expansion of NATO to the Russian border and incorporation of former Russian allies into the U.S-led sphere. Provocation begets counter-moves, which in the Ukrainian case were hardly surprising, considering the historical and strategic importance of Crimea to Russia. The Soviet Union is not being reconstructed.

To continue reading: ‘Isolationist’ Trump Rattles His Saber