At least that’s what one soldier said as the first of a surge of troops head to Afghan land, many of whom will die in vain.
Sane people don’t think war and killing children are fun. In fact, most aware people know that war is a racket for the profiteers and imperialists.
Contrary to what we were led to believe, President Obama is no more than Bush-lite. He’s going to pour some tens of thousands of extra soldiers into Afghanistan as if it will do any good at all. It won’t. Someone doesn’t understand the Hindu Kush. You can’t conquer certain places. He’s going to do it at the behest of Gates and the generals who don’t know shit from shinola. They’re doing it at the behest of whoever has promised them a portion of the plunder in this geo-political rape when the sanest thing is to recognize that different societies are different and to manage your needs and relationships by first recognizing this fact and not operating as agencies for corporations who want to ram their shit down unwilling throats and/or steal what isn’t theirs. Les Visible
Afghanistan is a dead end for occupiers.
The 20th anniversary of the defeat of the USSR in Afghanistan is a poignant reminder to occupation armies that the Hindu Kush mountains are the “graveyard of empires“. The Khyber for 5000 years has witnessed the hordes of invaders come down to the Indus–but the Khyber Pass is a one way street. No invader has been able to go up the Khyber and occupy Pakhtun lands. The Mongols, Alexander, the British, the Russians all discovered it the hard way.NATO war: UK 1880 defeats in Afghanistan.The rising fire of Anti-Americanism has engulfed the land from the Indus to the Amu Darya.more
The lies of war cost all Americans.
In 2005, the Congressional Research Service put the cost of keeping one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan at about $275,000 per year. By early 2006, the cost of keeping one soldier on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan had jumped to about $400,000 per year. Now Kosiak is estimating that actual cost of keeping a soldier deployed is nearly twice the estimate that the CRS published just two years ago.
A surge in inflation (which is almost certainly coming, thanks to the U.S. government’s huge fiscal deficit and the plans for yet-bigger deficits) will likely send Kosiak’s $775,000-per-year estimate even higher. Thus, by 2011 or so, the cost of keeping a soldier deployed in a war zone might top $1 million per year. And the Department of Defense has already declared its belief in the “long war” against terrorism. In early 2006, in its Quadrennial Defense Review, a closely watched document that reveals much of the Pentagon’s strategic thinking, the Department of Defense’s top leadership said that the war against terrorist networks “may well be fought in dozens of other countries simultaneously and for many years to come.” more
Control of the Afghan drug trade is important to the central banks who fund all wars.
The supply of heroin has been up causing prices to drop. The British were allowed to bust a few labs for show and send a message that competition will not be allowed, i.e. Taliban.
Operation Diesel: British troops have taken £50million worth of heroin during an attack on a remote Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan
“Showing these pictures would remind people of the war,” said S. Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. But he added that “what turns people against a war is not knowledge that Americans are dying but the belief that they are not dying for something” worthwhile.
As in most wars, the surge in Afghanistan will result in more Americans dying for something not worthwhile. The ‘good war’ is deception. These pictures, if allowed, will not wake up the sleeping public.
Killer drones play a big part in the surge. CIA, military and hired contractor ‘jocks’ controlling the killing from video game like control rooms far removed from the action. Some of the bases are even in Pakistan.
Obama’s promise of a ‘surge’ in Afghanistan as a new front in the world scam of the ‘War on Terror’ will be a desperate attempt to do what can’t be done, occupy and control a county that doesn’t want to be occupied. The violence will continue indefinitely or until we withdraw. Withdrawal is not an option at this time.
Using Afghanistan as a stepping stone to the future occupation of Pakistan and possibly Iran and the complete ‘Balkinization’ of the middle east is part of the plan for a ‘Greater Israel’ and US hegemony whose perceived and created enemies become divided and weak.
Of course we possibly can subdue Afghanistan by taking a hint from the ‘shock and awe’ of the early part of this war and in Iraq. We can fire bomb any village or town that defies occupation, just like in Gaza, and kill civilians by the score.
Will Obama risk alienating world opinion by escalating the death toll or will the world even care?
The planned U.S. military and counterinsurgency drive in Afghanistan is meeting public and official resistance that could delay and possibly undermine a costly, belated effort that American officials here acknowledge has a limited window of time to succeed.
The officials say they are optimistic that the planned addition of up to 30,000 troops, combined with a new strategy to support local governance and development aimed at weaning villagers away from Taliban influence, will show significant results within the year. They say improved cooperation from the army in neighboring Pakistan and better performance by the Afghan national army are bolstering this optimism.
Yet they also acknowledge that they face an array of obstacles, including: widespread public hostility to international forces over bombing raids and civilian abuses; the growing influence of Taliban insurgents in areas where central authority and services are scarce; and controversy over plans to establish village defense groups.
One conundrum, U.S. military officials say, is that the expanded forces will have to come in with heavy firepower and aggressive military tactics — likely to create more civilian casualties and public animosity — in order to secure rural districts so they can bring in services, aid and governance aimed at winning over the local populace.
“We don’t want to give people false expectations. This is going to be a very tough year,” said a U.S. military official here, speaking on the condition of anonymity. As American troops deploy throughout the south, where Taliban forces are strongest, he said, “you will see a very big spike” in armed clashes. Once areas are under control, “then we can bring in governance and development. But there will be some tough months of violence first.”
American military officials here said they are keenly aware that they have a serious image problem and limited time to prove that bringing in more troops and weapons will not destroy the Afghan countryside to save it.
“We have made errors in the past, but now we are getting it right,” a U.S. military official said. more
When the mainstream press has hesitations in reporting a situation, you know we are in for problems. I don’t even think the American military believes what it is saying.
The sideline of the narco-empire that Afghanistan has become under American occupation and its puppet regime is playing a big part in this surge.
American interests hate competition. Control of opium production and heroin refinement/distribution is a money maker that the central banks can’t allow to fall into the hands of the locals.
Can America maintain these imperialistic endeavors without re-instituting the draft?
Obama’s agenda contains proposals for universal service for the youth.
The draft is spoken about openly in Congress but more money will have to be spent for the obese draftees or volunteers in a pre-boot camp ‘fat camp.’
A draft is a last resort. If people are anything like they were during the Vietnam war, the outcry will shake up the country. Most don’t like being forced to kill and be killed.
The new administration’s pentagon nominees are anxious to get going.
“I believe the Pentagon needs to “substantially plus-up our forces in Afghanistan,” and move to do that “as quickly as possible.”
Lobbists for the war industry are pushing for more contracts.
One of the key issues for the early strategy and program-budget reviews would be to determine the appropriate mix of F-22 Raptor fighter jets and the Joint Strike Fighter, a next-generation fighter now in development.
Lockheed Martin, its subcontractors and congressional supporters have been lobbying heavily for more F-22s.
The media and the war criminals in government continue to try and make us believe that only by increasing the troops in Afghanistan and killing and subduing the population will we have peace.
War is peace you know. I read that in a prophetic book a long time ago.
Come January 20th the new president takes over and we’re all going to be looking for that ‘change.’
Barack Obama will announce his national security team today to approval from the military establishment and Republicans, distant cries of dissent from liberals and head-scratching from others.
The President-elect is expected to confirm the nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, ask Robert Gates to remain at the Pentagon, and make General Jim Jones his National Security Adviser.
Critics from the Left have said that Mr Obama is breaking promises to bring change. The Nation magazine has noted that “not a solitary dyed-in-the-wool progressive” has been floated for a senior Cabinet position. more
The War Party’s decisive influence in the Obama administration is going to be rolled out on Monday, so that even the most craven Obama-bots on the Left will be left wondering who and what they voted for. Hillary the hawk at State, Bush’s warlord Robert Gates at Defense, and Gen. Jim Jones – who wants to station U.S. troops in the occupied territories under the rubric of NATO! – as national security adviser to the president. Yes, antiwar voters took a chance on Obama, reasoning that anything would be better than four more years of Bushian belligerence, yet now they discover to their chagrin that the dice are loaded.
The same old crowd that brought us the invasion of Iraq is back, if not in full force or purest form, then at least in worrying numbers and high positions. The cries of “betrayal” are already being heard. more
Prominent voices from the political right have endorsed President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet picks, both for his economic and national security “teams.”
On November 28, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial entitled “Obama’s War Cabinet,” which lauded President-elect Barack Obama’s widely-anticipated decisions to keep Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense and to select retired general James Jones as National Security Adviser, the top two civilian military positions in the federal government. The selections, the editorial notes, mean that Obama intends to carry on the Bush administration’s military policy in Iraq and beyond. more
The foreign policy persons Obama selected for his cabinet are hawks.
Clinton as Sec State, Gates at Defense, a General as national security advisor and an Admiral as director of national intelligence. (Is there any other democracy that puts so many (ex-)military people into political positions?).
Susan S. Rice at the U.N., the worst choice possible after John R. Bolton. She will argue to bomb this or that country whenever something complicate might happen there. Africom will get a lot of stuff to do.
Obama promised to increase the U.S. troop strength by some 90,000. 20,000 active military will be dedicated to homeland security within the U.S. The hammer will get bigger and the urge to use it even stronger.
What country will he bomb first? We already know of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But where else does he want to kill? Somalia? Sudan? Kenia?
Carolyn Kaster / AP; Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images; Dennis Cook / AP
THE TEAM: No longer a rival, Clinton and Obama hold similar positions on many issues. Gates, center, is admired by the Obama team despite significant differences over nuclear weapons policy. Jones has separated himself from the Obama playbook on a few issues, including troop withdrawal.
On other issues, Gates has not supported Obama’s 16-month Iraq troop drawdown plan, and has publicly urged U.S. leaders to brace for a commitment that could last years. Still, Gates has differed from the Bush administration on Iraq troop policy.
Gates’ approach to the war in Afghanistan has come under fire from Obama’s team, which complains it has relied too heavily on air attacks that result in civilian casualties. more
Barack Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq—he promises only to withdraw combat brigades—is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush’s “war on terror.” And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it.more
A never ending social engineering psyops operation is in effect. A new 9/11 is the threat. Preparing us to accept whatever the government and media say should such an event happen? More wars for the central banks and the psychopath puppets who ‘lead’ us?
Islamabad—An Israeli intelligence site claimed Sunday that “US president-elect Barack Obama, European and Russian heads of states in Washington G20 conference were briefed over the weekend about a probable early al Qaeda attack.”
Isreali intelligence news site, “Debka”, also claimed that “Obama and his team have been advised that a new al Qaeda strike is highly probable in the United States or against a key US target in Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.”
However, there was no indication from the American official or media about such a possible attack or conspiracy.
The “Debka” claim coincided with a regional intelligence report that Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW regional chiefs have held an important meeting in a European capital and discussed “possible preparatory reaction” to a new mystery yet to unfold. Regional watchers have also cautioned against fast growing strategic and secret cooperation between certain foreign elements in the neighorbood of Pakistan.
DEBKA report claimed that al Qaeda’s Yemen base, a reliable barometer for Osama bin Laden’s schemes, issued a Directive to All Fighters in Arabia on Nov. 9 presaging a major operation in the United States that will “change the political and economic world” and be “far bigger than 9/11.”
Israeli source claimed that the Al Qaeda “notice said the operation “is very near” and “precise instructions were in the hands of “the fighters, who are already on their way to America” armed with bin Laden’s orders. The pretext offered for the attack is the rejection by the US and Europe of al Qaeda’s four-year old truce offer whose original pre-condition was the withdrawal of their armies from Iraq and Afghanistan. more
Bill Kristol, a Fox Television commentator and arch American neoconservative revealed recently what many had long suspected was US thinking about the current international situation.
Kristol recounts that in a 90-minute, mostly off-the-record meeting with a small group of journalists in early July, President Bush “conveyed the following impression, that he thought the next president’s biggest challenge would not be Iraq, which he thinks he’ll leave in pretty good shape, and would not be Afghanistan, which is manageable by itself… It’s Pakistan.” We have “a sort of friendly government that sort of cooperates and sort of doesn’t. It’s really a complicated and difficult situation.” Right on cue, presidential candidate Barack Obama took the baton from Bush in his speech on July 15, in which he argued that more focus and resource were required on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Police officers lead away a suspected terrorist in Vienna in September, 2007
November 16, 2008
International efforts to combat terrorist financing have lost momentum since successes that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda has changed the way it raises and delivers money for terrorist activities — relying more on private donations or criminal activities like the drug trade and using informal transfer methods outside of the global financial system.
Those are the findings of a new study — “The Money Trail: Finding, Following, and Freezing Terrorist Finances” — by experts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in Washington, D.C. RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz spoke about the report with one of its co-authors, Michael Jacobson, who has served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and as counsel on the 9/11 Commission. more from the propaganda arm Radio Free Europe
~~~~~~~~~~ The Telegraph UK spins some al qaeda myths:
The reason that the hard-core al-Qaeda supporters – including Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks – continue to be held at Gitmo is that, as most of them were picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan and other war zones, it is not possible to prosecute them the same way you would civilian criminals. The police are hardly likely to be able to scour the mountains of Tora Bora assembling evidence for the prosecution case. more
~~~~~~~~~~ Suicide bomber or local Iraq false flag? Keeping us in the war?
BAGHDAD (Agencies): A suicide car bomber killed 15 people, including 7 policemen, and wounded 20 in Iraq’s volatile northern Diyala province on Sunday, police said. Police said the bomber targeted a police checkpoint in the town of Jalawla, north of Baghdad, one of many in Diyala where al Qaeda militants operate despite being driven out of other parts of Iraq. Violence has fallen sharply across the country in recent months to some of its lowest levels since the 2003 US-led invasion, but insurgents have retained the ability to carry out bomb attacks. Police and police recruits are a favourite target of insurgent groups such as al Qaeda, who view them as collaborators with the US military. more
One of the facts hurled your way if you attempt to assert that the attack on Iraq was one of the Wars For The Jews is that Dick Cheney isn’t Jewish. No, he was a Shabbat goy, a gentile enlisted to do what the Jewish Billionaires couldn’t do, not for religious reasons, but for the practical reason that they needed a non-Jew to do the dirty work or else the Zionist nature of the attack on Iraq would have been too obvious. Dick Cheney had to be bought in order to betray the Old American Establishment he had so faithfully served for decades (one of the main reasons the Old American Establishment was so blindsided by the Zionist neocons is that the Old Boys trusted Cheney to look after their interests, not realizing he had been bought and paid for). Once the Jewish Billionaires had bribed the Republicans to put the Clean Breakers in charge of American military policy, they had the same group pay off Dick (my emphasis in red):
“A March 6, 2003 internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official says ‘action’ on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was ‘coordinated’ within Cheney’s office.
The e-mail says Douglas Feith, the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, received authorization from then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to ‘execute’ the Restore Iraqi Oil contract to Halliburton in 2002.
Feith was one of the architects of the Iraq war who operated the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans that exaggerated the Iraqi threat and provided the White House with bogus information about links between Iraq and al Qaeda.
The email said Feith approved elements in the contract ‘contingent on informing WH [White House] tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP’s [Vice President’s] office.’
Cheney, who claims he has severed all ties with Halliburton, receives deferred compensation from the company annually.
Two days after the email was sent, the Army Corps of Engineers formally awarded Halliburton the contract, without reviewing bids from other companies.”
Of courrse, Halliburton’s contract was with the Pentagon, and not with the Iraqi government. As soon as Halliburton lands a major contract with the current Iraqi government – and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it! – you can say the attack on Iraq was a ‘war for oil’.
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, America’s economy is a war economy. Not a “manufacturing” economy. Not an “agricultural” economy. Nor a “service” economy. Not even a “consumer” economy.
Seriously, I looked into your eyes, America, saw deep into your soul. So let’s get honest and officially call it “America’s Outrageous War Economy.” Admit it: we secretly love our war economy. And that’s the answer to Jim Grant’s thought-provoking question last month in the Wall Street Journal — “Why No Outrage?”
There really is only one answer: Deep inside we love war. We want war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love affair with war. We love “America’s Outrageous War Economy.” Americans passively zone out playing video war games. We nod at 90-second news clips of Afghan war casualties and collateral damage in Georgia. We laugh at Jon Stewart’s dark comedic news and Ben Stiller’s new war spoof “Tropic Thunder” … all the while silently, by default, we’re cheering on our leaders as they aggressively expand “America’s Outrageous War Economy,” a relentless machine that needs a steady diet of war after war, feeding on itself, consuming our values, always on the edge of self-destruction. Why else are Americans so eager and willing to surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world’s total military budgets? Why are there more civilian mercenaries working for no-bid private war contractors than the total number of enlisted military in Iraq (180,000 to 160,000), at an added cost to taxpayers in excess of $200 billion and climbing daily? Why do we shake our collective heads “yes” when our commander-in-chief proudly tells us he is a “war president;” and his party’s presidential candidate chants “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” as if “war” is a celebrity hit song? Why do our spineless Democrats let an incompetent, blundering executive branch hide hundreds of billions of war costs in sneaky “supplemental appropriations” that are more crooked than Enron’s off-balance-sheet deals? Why have Washington’s 537 elected leaders turned the governance of the American economy over to 42,000 greedy self-interest lobbyists? And why earlier this year did our “support-our-troops” “war president” resist a new GI Bill because, as he said, his military might quit and go to college rather than re-enlist in his war; now we continue paying the Pentagon’s warriors huge $100,000-plus bonuses to re-up so they can keep expanding “America’s Outrageous War Economy?” Why? Because we secretly love war! We’ve lost our moral compass: The contrast between today’s leaders and the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 shocks our conscience. Today war greed trumps morals. During the Revolutionary War our leaders risked their lives and fortunes; many lost both. Today it’s the opposite: Too often our leaders’ main goal is not public service but a ticket to building a personal fortune in the new “America’s Outrageous War Economy,” often by simply becoming a high-priced lobbyist. Ultimately, the price of our greed may be the fulfillment of Kevin Phillips’ warning in “Wealth and Democracy:” “Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” ‘National defense’ a propaganda slogan selling a war economy? But wait, you ask: Isn’t our $1.4 trillion war budget essential for “national defense” and “homeland security?” Don’t we have to protect ourselves? Sorry folks, but our leaders have degraded those honored principles to advertising slogans. They’re little more than flag-waving excuses used by neocon war hawks to disguise the buildup of private fortunes in “America’s Outrageous War Economy.” America may be a ticking time bomb, but we are threatened more by enemies within than external terrorists, by ideological fanatics on the left and the right. Most of all, we are under attack by our elected leaders who are motivated more by pure greed than ideology. They terrorize us, brainwashing us into passively letting them steal our money to finance “America’s Outrageous War Economy,” the ultimate “black hole” of corruption and trickle-up economics. You think I’m kidding? I’m maybe too harsh? Sorry but others are far more brutal. Listen to the ideologies and realities eating at America’s soul. 1. Our toxic ‘war within’ is threatening America’s soul How powerful is the Pentagon’s war machine? Trillions in dollars. But worse yet: Their mindset is now locked deep in our DNA, in our collective conscience, in America’s soul. Our love of war is enshrined in the writings of neocon war hawks like Norman Podoretz, who warns the Iraq War was the launching of “World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism,” a reminder that we could be occupying Iraq for a hundred years. His WW IV also reminded us of the coming apocalyptic end-of-days “war of civilizations” predicted by religious leaders in both Christian and Islamic worlds two years ago. In contrast, this ideology has been challenged in works like Craig Unger’s “American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America — and Still Imperil Our Future.” Unfortunately, neither threat can be dismissed as “all in our minds” nor as merely ideological rhetoric. Trillions of tax dollars are in fact being spent to keep the Pentagon war machine aggressively planning and expanding wars decades in advance, including spending billions on propaganda brainwashing naïve Americans into co-signing “America’s Outrageous War Economy.” Yes, they really love war, but that “love” is toxic for America’s soul. 2. America’s war economy financed on blank checks to greedy Read Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes’ “$3 Trillion War.” They show how our government’s deceitful leaders are secretly hiding the real long-term costs of the Iraq War, which was originally sold to the American taxpayer with a $50 billion price tag and funded out of oil revenues. But add in all the lifetime veterans’ health benefits, equipment placement costs, increased homeland security and interest on new federal debt, and suddenly taxpayers got a $3 trillion war tab! 3. America’s war economy has no idea where its money goes Read Portfolio magazine’s special report “The Pentagon’s $1 Trillion Problem.” The Pentagon’s 2007 budget of $440 billion included $16 billion to operate and upgrade its financial system. Unfortunately “the defense department has spent billions to fix its antiquated financial systems [but] still has no idea where its money goes.” And it gets worse: Back “in 2000, Defense’s inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding $2.3 trillion in unsupported entries.” Yikes, our war machine has no records for $2.3 trillion! How can we trust anything they say? 4. America’s war economy is totally ‘unmanageable’ For decades Washington has been waving that “national defense” flag, to force the public into supporting “America’s Outrageous War Economy.” Read John Alic’s “Trillions for Military Technology: How the Pentagon Innovates and Why It Costs So Much.” A former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment staffer, he explains why weapon systems cost the Pentagon so much, “why it takes decades to get them into production even as innovation in the civilian economy becomes ever more frenetic and why some of those weapons don’t work very well despite expenditures of many billions of dollars,” and how “the internal politics of the armed services make weapons acquisition almost unmanageable.” Yes, the Pentagon wastes trillions planning its wars well in advance. Comments? Tell us: What will it take to wake up America, get citizens, investors, anybody mad at “America’s Outrageous War Economy?” Why don’t you rebel? Will the outrage come too late … after this massive war bubble explodes in our faces? Post by way of:
When it comes to determining the true thrust and implication of world events, the old adage is still valid: “Follow the money.”
The lust for long green is not the sole determinant of state policies, of course. For example, there are also the psychosexual anxieties of blustering elites, the soul-corroding pathology of political ambition, the ignorance and arrogance of the powerful and the privileged, the herd instinct that can drive whole populations into self-deluding frenzies of nationalistic fervor — all kinds of factors in the mix. But money is never not in the center of things.
This is especially true in systems where war and rumors of war have become the foundation of the national economy. This is the ultimate condition of every empire (or rather the penultimate position; the ultimate position is the inevitable decline and fall). And the United States, with its globe-spanning military empire, is no exception. Here we have a nation that has stripped its own industrial base, brutally neglected its educational system, allowed its physical infrastructure to rot, and driven its small-holding farmers from the land, dispossessing its own citizens and degrading their communities, all for the short-term profit of a moneyed elite — and, what’s more, has based its prosperity on the profligate and disproportionate use of a finite resource which it cannot produce in sufficient quantities within its own borders.
Andrew Bacevich discusses this latter point this way in his new book, The Limits of Power, in a passage picked out by Bill Moyers which puts the American people in the frame along with our predatory elite:
“The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad.”
The decades-long quest for military-enforced dominance of geopolitical affairs has been has been both producer and product of this ravenous system. And now, the war machine is pretty much the only thing left. It has eaten all our seed corn, and must keep prowling constantly in foreign lands to feast on the resources of others. So war and the ever-present threat of war will continue to be the driving forces of American policy, at home and abroad, both in the public and private sectors – because that’s where the money is. Big money, gargantuan money, money out the wazoo. And what’s more, it’s free money – because most of it comes from the taxpayers, through insider sweetheart deals that very often guarantee profits for the crony contractor. No muss, no fuss, no risk – just gravy.
And so the Russian response to Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia – “Six Days That Changed the World!” as the deathless (or rather, death-filled) headlines proclaim – has been the usual win-win situation for the war-profiteers in the cockpit of the American corruptocracy, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal writes for those who really count in American society – the movers and shakers and shifters of Big Money – so you can often get a better analysis of what’s really going on than you would from, say, the New York Times, with all its weighty think-tank lumber. The headline from Saturday’s WSJ story says it all: Attack on Georgia Gives Boost To Big U.S. Weapons Programs.
Just as the rash and bloody deed of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili – who assaulted South Ossetia in a ferocious sneak attack — gave the Kremlin war machine the excuse it needed to flex its muscles, so the Russian response has been a godsend for the Pentagon. Now you see why we need all them big new weapons we’ve been hankering for, say the boys from Hell’s Bottom: we got to keep them Russkies down. And of course, in keeping with the noble tradition of our bipartisan foreign policy establishment, a top Democrat (an erstwhile hero of the “anti-war” movement, no less), is in the forefront of the Pentagon’s fear-mongering gobble at the pork barrel. From the Journal:
Russia’s attack on Georgia has become an unexpected source of support for big U.S. weapons programs, including flashy fighter jets and high-tech destroyers, that have had to battle for funding this year because they appear obsolete for today’s conflicts with insurgent opponents.Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spent much of the year attempting to rein in some of the military’s most expensive and ambitious weapons systems — like the $143 million F-22 Raptor jet — because he thinks they are unsuitable for the lightly armed and hard-to-find militias, warlords and terrorist groups the U.S. faces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been opposed by an array of political interests and defense companies that want to preserve these multibillion-dollar programs and the jobs they create.When Russia’s invading forces choked roads into Georgia with columns of armored vehicles and struck targets from the air, it instantly bolstered the case being made by some that the Defense Department isn’t taking the threat from Russia and China seriously enough. If the conflict in Georgia continues and intensifies, it could make it easier for defense companies to ensure the long-term funding of their big-ticket items.For example, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, quickly seized on the Russia situation this week, saying that it indicates the Russians see the toll that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking on the U.S. military. “We’ve spent so many resources and so much attention on Iraq that we’ve lost sight of future threats down the road. The current conflict between Russia and Georgia is a perfect example,” said Rep. Murtha during a recent visit to his district.
Go tell it, Brother John! Ivan’s on the march, and he’s headed straight for downtown Latrobe. If we don’t get them Raptors up pronto, they’ll be dishing up borschtburgers at McDonald’s next week. [Bernard Chazelle has a somewhat different take on Russia’s motivations over at A Tiny Revolution.]
But behind all the bull-roaring in the Beltway, the Journal cuts to the chase with admirable dispatch:
Some Wall Street stock analysts early on saw the invasion as reason to make bullish calls on the defense sector. A report from JSA Research in Newport, R.I., earlier in the week called the invasion “a bell-ringer for defense stocks.”…The change in administration [after the 2008 election] comes at a time of record profits and sales in the industry, reflecting historic highs in defense spending. Yet budget pressure is already undeniable. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan require laying out almost $12 billion a month and the Pentagon faces a massive tab for repairing and overhauling equipment when troops start coming home.Now, the Russian situation makes the debate over the equipping of the U.S. military a front-burner issue. “The threat always drives procurement,” said a defense-industry official. “It doesn’t matter what party is in office.”
And here our candid if unnamed war-profit maven has neatly encapsulated both the last century of American policy – and the next century as well: “The threat always drives procurement. It doesn’t matter what party is in office.” His vatic pronouncement should be emblazoned on billboards, streamed constantly beneath the natterers on TV news, and chiseled in marble on the Capitol Dome. For it is, in a very real sense, what America is about today: Threat. War. Procurement. Profit.
And never doubt the bipartisan nature of this self-devouring system. For even as Democratic “anti-war” icon John Murtha is saber-rattling at Moscow, Democratic “anti-war” icon Barack Obama is saber-rattling at Tehran in the official party platform that his aides have just completed. As Jonathan Schwarz reports, Obama’s platform insists that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program – despite the finding by the Bush Administration’s own intelligence agencies that it does not. And of course, it goes without saying that this non-existent program is such an overwhelming threat that Obama has pledged that he will be – wait for it – “keeping all options on the table.” From Schwarz (see original for links):
Sure, America’s intelligence agencies concluded last year December that Iran no longer has a nuclear weapons program. But what do they know? Surely the Democratic Party is far more informed about the situation than them, which is why the Democrats refer to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” in their just-finalized 2008 platform:
Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons The world must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That starts with tougher sanctions and aggressive, principled, and direct high-level diplomacy, without preconditions…. We will present Iran with a clear choice: if you abandon your nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, you will receive meaningful incentives; so long as you refuse, the United States and the international community will further ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions inside and outside the U.N. Security Council, and sustained action to isolate the Iranian regime… By going the extra diplomatic mile, while keeping all options on the table, we make it more likely the rest of the world will stand with us to increase pressure on Iran, if diplomacy is failing.
Note also that the Democrats are going to be “keeping all options on the table.” I’ve always wondered whether this phrase includes the possibility of America and Israel giving up all their nuclear weapons. I mean, that’s an option—surely if all options on the table, that means our complete nuclear disarmament is there on the table with all the rest of them.
So the beat – and the beat-downs – will keep going on, around the world, and fear will keep driving procurement, no matter what party is in office. As long as we want to guzzle and glut and “project dominance” in every corner of the world, war is all we’ve got.