Category Archives: Military

Pity the Nation: War Spending Is Bankrupting America, by John W. Whitehead

The warfare state is certainly helping to bankrupt America, but John Whitehead goes too easy on the welfare state. From Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“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
By force and by torture…
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away…”
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet

War spending is bankrupting America.

Our nation is being preyed upon by a military industrial complex that is propped up by war profiteers, corrupt politicians and foreign governments.

America has so much to offer – creativity, ingenuity, vast natural resources, a rich heritage, a beautifully diverse populace, a freedom foundation unrivaled anywhere in the world, and opportunities galore – and yet our birthright is being sold out from under us so that power-hungry politicians, greedy military contractors, and bloodthirsty war hawks can make a hefty profit at our expense.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your hard-earned tax dollars are being used for national security and urgent military needs.

It’s all a ruse.

You know what happens to tax dollars that are left over at the end of the government’s fiscal year? Government agencies – including the Department of Defense – go on a “use it or lose it” spending spree so they can justify asking for money in the next fiscal year.

We’re not talking chump change, either.

We’re talking $97 billion worth of wasteful spending.

According to an investigative report by Open the Government, among the items purchased during the last month of the fiscal year when government agencies go all out to get rid of these “use it or lose it” funds: Wexford Leather club chair ($9,241), china tableware ($53,004), alcohol ($308,994), golf carts ($673,471), musical equipment including pianos, tubas, and trombones ($1.7 million), lobster tail and crab ($4.6 million), iPhones and iPads ($7.7 million), and workout and recreation equipment ($9.8 million).

So much for draining the swamp.

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An Officer’s Path to Dissent, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

Danny Sjursen reviews the insanity that is America’s wars. From Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Maj. Danny Sjursen gathering coordinates to set up an airstrike while under fire during a patrol in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

For a while there, I was a real star. High up in my class at West Point, tough combat deployments in two wars, a slew of glowing evaluations, even a teaching assignment back at the military academy. I inhabited a universe most only dream of: praised, patted and highly respected by everyone in my life system and viewed as a brave American soldier. It’s a safe, sensible spot. For most, that’s enough. Too bad it was all bunk. Absurdity incarnate.

The truth is, I fought for next to nothing, for a country that, in recent conflicts, has made the world a deadlier, more chaotic place. Even back in 2011—or even 2006, for that matter—I was just smart and just sensitive enough to know that, to feel it viscerally.

Still, the decision to publicly dissent is a tough one. It’s by no means easy. Easy would be to go on playing hero and accepting adulation while staying between the lines. Play it safe, stick to your own, make everyone proud. That’s easy, intellectually immature—the new American way.

When you take the journey of dissent, you lose friends, alienate family, confuse confidants and become a lonely voice in your professional world. I’ve spent years sitting in military classrooms from West Point to Fort Knox to Fort Leavenworth as the odd man, the outlier, the confusing character in the corner. It’s like leaving the church, becoming an atheist, all while still living in the monastery. Still, the truth is that the military is more accommodating than one might suspect. I wrote a critical book, published some skeptical articles, but it’s not as though anyone ever outright threatened me. The pressure is different, more subtle: veiled warnings from superiors, cautious advice from mentors.

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Mike Pompeo’s War Warning to China, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The US has been making war in Afghanistan for almost 18 years to no avail, but Mike Pompeo threatens China with war. Does anyone else see the idiocy here? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Could America sustain such a commitment? More important, why should we? Has the White House thought through the implications of what the Pompeo threat may bring?

As President Trump flew home from his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un, Mike Pompeo peeled off and flew to Manila. And there the Secretary of State made a startling declaration.

Any armed attack by China on a Philippine ship or plane in the South China Sea, he told the Philippine government, will be treated as an attack on an American ship or plane, bringing a U.S. military response.

“China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and, therefore, economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States,” said Pompeo. “As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under article 4 of our mutual defense treaty.”

Article 4 requires the U.S. and the Philippines to come to the defense of the other if one is attacked. The treaty dates back to August 1951. There are Americans on Social Security who were not born when this Cold War treaty was signed.

Pompeo’s declaration amounts to a U.S. war guarantee.

Why would we make such a commitment? Why take such a risk?

Is Trump aware of what Pompeo’s promise could entail?

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The Draft Should be Abolished for Everyone — Not Just Women, by Ryan McMaken

The draft should not apply to women any more than it should apply to men, which means not at all. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

On Friday, Federal Judge Gary Miller declared the federal government’s policy of male-only conscription to be unconstitutional.  Miller ruled that past prohibitions on women in combat may have legally  justified the all-male policy, but since the military has integrated women into combat positions, the past policy can no longer be constitutionally justified.

The ruling can be taken two ways. It can be seen as a ruling that expands federal powers to conscript through the Selective Service system, and thus expand the military’s power over the everyday lives of Americans. This is true in the strictly legal sense. On the other hand, the ruling could be interpreted as a political blow against conscription since the number of voters negatively impacted by conscription is now far higher than before. Apparently sympathetic to this latter interpretation, USAToday described the ruling as  “the biggest legal blow to the Selective Service System since the Supreme Court upheld the draft registration process in 1981.” After all, those who brought the lawsuit, an organization called “The National Coalition for Men” was expressly attempting to highlight the injustice — from a male point of view — of being the only group legally obligated to submit to what is essentially registration for possible future slave labor. (Miller, however, does not actually order to the Pentagon to expand Selective Service eligibility. Any concrete legal action will likely come in the future, but those seeking to make such a move will be emboldened by Miller’s declaration.)

Experience suggests, however, that an expansion of the Selective Service requirement will manifest itself largely as a matter of “equality” rather than as a ploy to highlight the general injustice of conscription overall.

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The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered, by Gilbert Doctorow

Americans are in for their biggest technological shock regarding the Russians since Sputnik. From Gilbert Doctorow at antiwar.com:

To the vast majority of Americans, including the foreign policy establishment, the question posed in the title may seem something of a joke. After all, absolute military superiority over Russia and other potential rivals for global influence has been the objective of US military policy for the last twenty-five years or more, at vast budgetary expense. One instrument for its achievement has been the roll-out of a system known as the global missile defense, which in effect encircles Russia and China, posing the threat of massive simultaneous missile strikes that could overwhelm any defenses. To intelligence specialists at the Pentagon, who likely have been watching, as I have done, what the Kremlin disseminated earlier today in Russian only versions so far, the question of Moscow turning the tables is entirely serious and shocking.

When Vladimir Putin first publicly described Russia’s latest state-of-the-art weapons systems in development and deployment one year ago, during his 1 March 2018 Address to the bicameral legislature, he said these systems would ensure the re-establishment of full strategic parity with the United States. Western media sniggered. US politicians, with a very few exceptions, chose to ignore what they considered to be just domestic electioneering during a presidential campaign that Putin was expected to win handily. It was all a bluff, they said.

In his annual Address this past Wednesday, 22 February, President Putin expanded on those developments in armaments, reported which systems were now entering active service. He made it clear one of them is the planned Russian response to a likely consequence of US withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: the stationing by the U.S. of nuclear armed cruise missiles like the Tomahawk on land and directed against Russia, all of which would reduce the warning time of incoming attack in Moscow to just 10–12 minutes and constitute an existential risk.

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Bolton’s Blunder: Hubris and Dead Empire Walking, by Yvonne Lorenzo

Hubris blinds to our own flaws and our enemies’ strengths. The US government right now may be history’s biggest case of hubris. From Yvonne Lorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

In hindsight, a good teacher can positively affect your life years into the future. When I was a teenager attending a private school in the 1970s, I took a course on Russian history. I remember my teacher well all these years later, but I also remember some of what he taught. Americans think of themselves as the principal cause of the defeat of Nazi Germany, but Russia lost tens of millions of lives defending against her invasion. And my teacher told me that a way to understand the existence of the Eastern Bloc, especially the partitioning of Germany was that Russia decided it would never be invaded at such great human cost by Germany and its allies ever again; if paranoid, there was a reason for the paranoia and the decision was less about Russia expanding and taking territory, which the nation didn’t need, but creating a buffer zone against possible incursion, hence also the partition of Germany so that she could never again become a mortal threat. I also recall his stating that Stalin couldn’t inspire the people to fight and die for Soviet ideals; instead, he returned to historical themes of saving the Fatherland, their homes, their nation from destruction and enslavement by a foreign enemy.

I mention my personal experience because I was reminded of what I learned so long ago in a new book, currently available on Amazon Kindle and in paper by Andrey Martyanov, entitled Losing Military Supremacy The Myopia of American Strategic Planning. Yet the title, although in fact the heart of book, doesn’t do the book justice because for interested Americans Martyanov explains the very different cultures, American and Russian. If “culture” is not a precise word, one should say that both Russia and America have unique experiences and the experiences of America today put her in great jeopardy.  Let me quote an excerpt from the book that makes this point better than I can:

While speaking to the US military at Fort Bragg after the official conclusion of US operations in Iraq in 2011, in what can only be described as an acute case of myopia and ignorance, President Obama doubled down on a his dubious “finest fighting force in history” claim, assuring all that “we know too well the heavy cost of that war.” Here was the problem: America doesn’t. With the exception of those who fought and died or were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and their immediate families, America, as it was with every American foreign war, never knew the real costs. Even as bodies of American GIs started to arrive in coffins into the US from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans continued, as if nothing really happened, to go to work, buy lattes at espresso stands, sell and buy cars, go on vacations, travel around the world and pay their mortgages. Normal life went on as if nothing of significance happened. The very phenomenon which was responsible for the United States emergence as a superpower—war, WWII in particular—was never a factor which had a real impact on the nation and created no real inhibitors in the political elites to their often ignorant, boastful and aggressive rhetoric nor created a necessity to study the subject, which was foundational to American prosperity and success after WWII. This still hasn’t been done.

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Putin Now Thinks Western Elites Are ‘Swine’, by Dmitry Orlov

One day western elites will bitterly rue not paying attention to Vladimir Putin, or worse, disparaging everything he said. From Dmitry Orlov at russia-insider.com:

An article I published close to five years ago, “Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over”, turned out to be the most popular thing I’ve written so far, having garnered over 200,000 reads over the intervening years. In it I wrote about Putin’s speech at the 2014 Valdai Club conference. In that speech he defined the new rules by which Russia conducts its foreign policy: out in the open, in full public view, as a sovereign nation among other sovereign nations, asserting its national interests and demanding to be treated as an equal. Yet again, Western elites failed to listen to him.

Instead of mutually beneficial cooperation they continued to speak the language of empty accusations and counterproductive yet toothless sanctions. And so, in yesterday’s address to Russia’s National Assembly Putin sounded note of complete and utter disdain and contempt for his “Western partners,” as he has usually called them. This time he called them “swine.”

The fake news media

The president’s annual address to the National Assembly is a rather big deal. Russia’s National Assembly is quite unlike that of, say, Venezuela, which really just consists of some obscure nonentity named Juan recording Youtube videos in his apartment. In Russia, the gathering is a who’s-who of Russian politics, including cabinet ministers, Kremlin staffers, the parliament (State Duma), regional governors, business leaders and political experts, along with a huge crowd of journalists. One thing that stood out at this year’s address was the very high level of tension in the hall: the atmosphere seemed charged with electricity.

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