Category Archives: War

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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MSM Already Helping Next Administration Hide Corruption Under ‘Diversity’ Banner, by Caitlin Johnstone

Biden may pick his administration from the “diversity pool,” but they’re going to pursue the same old policies. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.org:

There has never been a better time to be a woman, minority or member of the LGBT community who works in the DC establishment and thinks the poor should be made into pet food.

The New York Times has published an article titled “Could Limiting Corporate Candidates Hurt Biden’s Diversity Push?”, for the benefit of all those normal everyday readers who’ve been lying awake at night wondering if limiting corporate candidates might hurt Biden’s diversity push.

The article’s authors warn against the nonexistent, completely imaginary threat of the next presidential administration rejecting corporatists for cabinet positions to appease the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, claiming that doing so would be “narrowing the candidate pool” in a way that hurts Biden’s stated aim of creating an administration that is as diverse as America. Because apparently executive positions in the corporate and financial sector are the only place you can find ethnic minorities in America.

“Groups from the far left throw out edicts, but these don’t reflect the realities of the American experience or inequality, the racial wealth gap, and may prove counterproductive to diversify the administration and to implement policies that work for all Americans,” NYT is told by a member of the influential DC lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti.

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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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America’s Struggle Towards a New Civilizational Paradigm, by Alastair Crooke

America is irretrievably split. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The American body politic is shuddering in the wake of this U.S. election. The discontents at our hyper-monetized, inequitable modernity are exploding. People feel crushed, with their humanity amputated:

I was born at the end of Gen X … and grew up in a middle class town. Life was good … Our home was modest, but we went on vacations, had 2 cars … I grew up thinking that being an American was the greatest gift … As an adult, I have witnessed the world I grew up in fall to ruin. I have watched as our currency and our economy have been shamelessly corrupted beyond redemption.

I have watched my blue collar husband get up at an ungodly hour every day and come home with an aching back that we pray will hold out long enough to get him to old age in one piece. Outside of shoes, socks and underwear, almost everything my family wears was bought used. We’ve been on one vacation in 12 years … We don’t have cell phones … We hardly ever eat out. What I just described is life on 60K a year without going into debt. We working stiffs are on our own. We will be working until we die, because the Social Security we’ve been forced to pay into, has also been robbed from under us.

I watched as my family’s health insurance was gutted and destroyed. I have watched as education, which was already sketchy when I was a kid, became an all-out joke of wholly unmathematical math, gold stars for all, and self-loathing anti-Americanism. My family has taken an enormous financial hit as I stay home to home school our child.

I’ve sat by and held my tongue as I was called deplorable and I’ve been called a racist and a xenophobe and a chump and even an “ugly folk.” I’ve been told that I have privilege, and that I have inherent bias because of my skin colour, and that my beloved husband and father are part of a horrible patriarchy. Not one goddamn bit of that is true, but if I dare say anything about it, it will be used as evidence of my racism and white fragility. And now I have watched as people who hate me and mine – and call for our destruction blatantly and openly stole the election and then gaslighted us – and told us that it was honest and fair.

I am done. Don’t ask me to pledge to the flag, or salute the troops, or shoot fireworks on the 4th. It’s a sick, twisted, heart-breaking joke, this bloated, unrecognizable corpse of a republic that once was ours.

I am not alone. Not sure how things continue to function when millions of citizens no longer feel any loyalty to, or from, the society they live in. I was raised to be a lady, and ladies don’t curse, but fu*k these mother**kers to hell and back, for what they’ve done to me, and mine, and my country. All we Joe Blow Americans ever wanted was a little patch of land to raise a family, a job to pay the bills, and at least some illusion of freedom, and even that was too much for these human parasites. They want it all, mind, body and soul. Damn them. Damn them all.

America shudders. This is not just ‘politics as usual’. This is not even about President Trump (albeit that most Blue supporters believe so). This is not even just about America. There are moments when – collectively, as well as individually – civilisations reach to a fork in the road. American and West European civilisation is at such a point. Two poles, the coastal élites and the American central heartland, are colliding and the sparks and twisted metal resulting from this head-on crash will be the heat that will forge Red American civilisation into a step-shift (whatever that may lead). The after-effects will shape America, and Europe too, where Euro-élites are often little more than simulacra of those U.S. ‘coastal élites’.

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American Foreign Policy: The Problem of Applying the Monroe Doctrine Everywhere, by Doug Bandow

Empires are hard to maintain, probably impossible. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

When the new American nation was created, it was a lightweight in an international political game dominated by heavyweights. The U.S. was forced to develop a serious, measured, and realistic foreign policy.

The colonists outlasted the British during the Revolution in part because the New World revolt triggered an Old World war, in which the United Kingdom also had to fight France and Spain, which allied with the colonies. London’s North American battle became secondary. Yet French and Spanish assistance for the colonists remained limited, intended only to weaken the UK. The absolute monarchies did not desire a strong, independent republic on a continent where Paris and Madrid still possessed colonies.

It was a dangerous world for the weak, young nation. Nevertheless, the purchase of Louisiana from France in 1803 removed one threat from the continent. America survived – barely – another military round with Britain in 1812. A decade later colonial revolts against Spain seemed to dispatch the last serious regional rival.

President James Monroe then announced in 1823 that European efforts to recapture old or conquer new colonies would be seen as exhibiting “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” At the same time, he publicly eschewed intervention in European affairs.

This was pure chutzpah, given America’s evident lack of a military capable of enforcing such sentiments. Nevertheless, the proclamation was a fine effort to bolster US security. Europe, the fount of war for centuries, should stay out of Washington’s neighborhood. And the US would not get entangled in the Old World’s endlessly disastrous conflicts.

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged By Western Govt Contractors & Media, by Ben Gray

The Syrian war has always been an Anglo-American regime change operation. From Ben Gray at grayzone.com:

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

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