The “International Community” is shrinking

As per Prof. Noam Chomsky, now that the U.K. is no longer supporting military action against Syria, "The International Community" is down to three countries: U.S., France, and Turkey.

Prof. Chomsky pointed out that the U.S. defines "International Community" (or "Global Community") as only including countries that agree with the U.S. power structure. Since those ~187 other countries of the world don’t agree to materially support a military strike on Syria, they are no longer included in the “International Community.”

Why “we” REALLY nuked both Hiroshima & Nagasaki. In just 3 days.

OLIVER STONE: … Every school kid — still, my daughter in her school, in private school, in good school, is still learning this: We dropped the bomb because we had to, because the Japanese resistance was fanatic, and we would have lost many American lives taking Japan. This is one — there’s no alternative to that story.   Oliver Stone on the Untold U.S. History from the Atomic Age to Vietnam to Obama’s Drone Wars | Democracy Now!

Here’s the alternative — a part of the truth that should be taught in good, honest, schools:

At 8:16 on the morning of August 6, 1945, the world got a glimpse of its own mortality. At that moment, the city of Hiroshima was obliterated by a fireball that sent waves of searing heat, then a deafening concussion, across the landscape. Three days later, a second bomb hit Nagasaki. … [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower said in 1963 “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

… Besides the Manhattan Project’s internal momentum was an external motive. Its leaders had to justify the $2 billion ($26 billion in today’s dollars) expense to Congress and the public… Byrnes…warned Roosevelt that political scandal would follow if it [the atomic bomb] was not used. … “How would you get Congress to appropriate money for atomic energy research [after the war] if you do not show results for the money which has been spent already?” …the U.S. had produced two types of bombs–one using uranium, the other plutonium. Whenever anyone suggested that the moment the bomb was dropped the war would be over, [bureaucrat] Groves countered, “Not until we drop two bombs on Japan.” As [historian] Goldberg explains… “One bomb justified Oak Ridge, the second justified Hanford.” Hiroshima was hit with the uranium bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”; the plutonium bomb, “Fat Man,” was used against Nagasaki.

From Why We Dropped The Bomb By William Lanouette, CIVILIZATION, The Magazine of the Library of Congress, January/February 1995

It’s hard for Americans who identify with the U.S. Government to accept the idea that that organization could have engaged in such horrendous acts – twice in three days – without pristine motives. Here’s what Vietnam era U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara – who was part of Gen. Curtis LeMay’s command when the bombs were dropped – thought about it: McNamara: “He, [General Curtis LeMay] and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.

Boy on dad's lap asks which terrorist group gets credit for nuking Hiroshima

As far as war criminals go, unfortunately we still have them.

Where Does the MilitaryIndustrial Complex come from? Egypt?

“A military-industrial complex (MIC) is composed of a nation’s armed forces, its suppliers of weapons systems, supplies and services, and its civil government.” — Wikipedia

The U.S. MIC has evolved – – –

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Egypt — the [Egyptian] military does get this $1.3 billion of [U.S.] aid, but it has to be spent purchasing U.S. weapons. And so, all of this money really gets funneled to U.S. defense contractors that are the real big beneficiary of these funds, that have very large lobbying firms in Washington and that lobby very strongly for this aid to keep going. … The Washington Post had a very interesting article today showing that since the 1980s the United States has granted Egypt an extraordinary ability to make these orders with these American defense contractors that are worth far more than the funds Congress has already appropriated. So it’s essentially like this massive credit card that Egypt has, with a limit of billions of dollars. And it’s something called “cash flow financing.” So Egypt can submit these large orders for equipment that will take years to produce and deliver, and it’s under the assumption that U.S. lawmakers will just continue funneling the aid. Egypt Tensions Escalate as Morsi Detained and Supporters of Army, Brotherhood Hold Rival Protests | Democracy Now!

The original insight – – –

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035-1040

In an early draft, Mr. Eisenhower more accurately called it “the militaryindustrialcongressional complex.”

CNAS National Security Hive on Syria: “Meh”

President Obama is expected to make an announcement this week on whether his administration will begin arming the Syrian rebels in their suddenly uncertain effort to topple the autocratic regime of Bashar Assad. All signs point to a lifting of the White House restriction on “lethal assistance” to the rebellion for the first time since the armed resistance began two years ago.

mehThis would mark a major development in U.S intervention in the civil war, which has been complicated by the infusion of radical Sunni extremists from outside the country, as well as the Iranian proxy Hezbollah, and untold resources for both Assad and the rebels, from the Gulf States on one side, and Russia on the other. Millions of refugees are pouring over the borders and into the already beleaguered states of Jordan and Lebanon. The Sunni resistance in Syria is sparking a Sunni resistance in Iraq, whose sectarian tensions mirror those of its neighbor and threaten to boil over at any time.

And how much did the giant annual convocation of national security state interests sponsored by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)  talk about this on Wednesday?

Not much.

In fact, the “pivot to China” (or “pivot to the Pacific”) was a much more attractive topic of conversation today – in fact an entire panel was dedicated to “the future rebalancing to China” this afternoon, proving again that the defense community loves girding up for conflicts that are less likely to happen much more than a) learning lessons from real wars that aren’t quite over yet, or b) talking about very real intervention in a very real tinderbox much closer to our supposed “threat zone” in the Middle East.

This was reflected in the prepared remarks and in the back-n-forth banter by the featured guests throughout the morning, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who, when asked by a Reuters reporter about the Pentagon’s preparation for Syria, said simply, “I don’t have anything for you.” He barely uttered the word Afghanistan, other to say the government will keep funding the war.

Interestingly, Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN., the author of the Syria Transition Support Act with Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ., which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 15 to 3 last month, was the only one to talk extensively about Syria and that was because he is so gung-ho to get in there.

“We are the only county that has the ability to bring all the neighbors in the region together,” he said, pretty optimistically, considering the “neighbors” are already involved and doing their own thing. They are also a bit irritated with the U.S for not “bringing all the neighbors together” when it was more feasible, that is, before every foreign proxy including al Qaeda started popping up in the country.

“What is of great international interest right now is the aftermath of Assad and the great war that is happening right now,” Corker added. Also optimistic, considering that Assad’s forces are on the march toward taking the strategic strongholds of Homs and Aleppo and look less likely to negotiate than ever.

“We have to change the balance of power,” the senator insisted, and help push things toward a negotiated settlement. “I do believe, this is the very best way forward and if I could make a bet …I bet that is what the president is going to to.”

The level of excitement in the room after this rousing plea for intervention was somewhere between zero and “meh.” Quietly, afterward, some national security types (both Marines and Air Force) told me they didn’t think there was any enthusiasm from the military for pushing our way into the Syrian mess. That seems to be an understatement.

Last summer, the Pentagon was on board with a plan by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Chief David Petraeus to send arms to the rebels. By April, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Martin Dempsey was backing off from that position and Sec. Def. Chuck Hagel was saying military involvement would be a bad idea.

Who knows who might convince the President otherwise as they continue these hot discussions in the White House this week. It looks like my friend Gareth Porter was right the other day when he said the “National Security State,” which includes the armed services, the Pentagon, and the Joint Chiefs, “are fine with what is going on in Syria” as of this moment. “But getting involved, it would be a tax on their resources,” and that the “cost to the National Security State would be greater than the benefit” of getting involved.

Talk about Nat Sec State interests — these are CNAS’s financial supporters here.  Most likely a good number of them had representatives at today’s conference. That most of the talk in the morning evolved around the budgets — how the Pentagon was going to work with sequestration, how it would survive with leaner budgets, indicates where the hive’s head is right now (on itself). They only want to know where the next-gen threats are in as much as they can offer new opportunities for federal contracts.

Not surprisingly, CNAS’s 7th Annual Conference was called “Looking Forward: U.S National Security Beyond the Wars.” After COIN fell this crowd couldn’t wait to get away from the war fast enough (interestingly, CNAS just issued a paper on “Toward A Successful Outcome in Afghanistan,” yet no panel was arranged to discuss it). CNAS seemed perfectly happy to talk budgets, China and Cyber, energy and whatever the room full of suits wanted. Painful strategy debates involving protracted conflicts (we still don’t know how many troops will be left behind in Afghanistan after 2014) and a possibly messy intervention that may in fact be decided this week, were not on the docket.

Guess it just wasn’t in their “interest.”


VERIFIED: Where Wars Do — and Don’t Come From

Where wars DO come from:

It is not civilizations that promote clashes. They occur when old-fashioned leaders look for old-fashioned ways to solve problems by rousing their people to armed confrontation.–Kenichi Ohmae, The End Of The Nation State, (New York: The Free Press 1995), p. 11.

Why of course the people don’t want war. … That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along –Head Nazi Hermann Goering

Mr. Bertie Felstead: “A German began singing All Through The Night, then more voices joined in and the British troops responded with Good King Wencelas… the next morning, all the soldiers were shouting to one another, “Hello Tommy, Hello Fritz” … The Germans started it, coming out of their trenches and walking over to us. Nobody decided for us – we just climbed over our parapet and went over to them, we thought nobody would shoot at us if we all mingled together… There wouldn’t have been a war if it had been left to the public. We didn’t want to fight but we thought we were defending England. England’s Oldest Man Remembers The 1915 Christmas Truce

People do not make wars; governments do. –U.S. President Ronald Reagan

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials… made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. …an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that …led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. –Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith, False Pretenses: Iraq THE WAR CARD Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War,

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. …The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose–especially their lives. …the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. Yours not to reason why; Yours but to do and die. That is their motto The Anti-war Speech That Earned Eugene Debs 10 Years in Prison, Socialist Party convention in Canton, Ohio, 16 June 1918

By contrast, where wars DON’T come from:

…we preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone. Soldiers came and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They say we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. Crazy Horse/Tashunkewitko

The Aztec strategy of war was based on the capture of prisoners by individual warriors, not on working as a group to kill the enemy in battle. By the time the Aztecs came to recognize what warfare meant in European terms, it was too late. Aztec

New England’s first Indian war, the Pequot War of 1636-37, provides a case study of the intensified warfare Europeans brought to America. Allied with the Narragansetts, traditional enemies of the Pequots, the colonists attacked at dawn. … The slaughter shocked the Narragansetts, who had wanted merely to subjugate the Pequots, not exterminate them. The Narragansetts reproached the English for their style of warfare, crying, “It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” In turn, Capt. John Underhill scoffed, saying that the Narragansett style of fighting was “more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies.” Underhill’s analysis of the role of warfare in Narragansett society was correct, and might accurately be applied to other tribes as well. Through the centuries, whites frequently accused their Native allies of not fighting hard enough. -James W. Loewen, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, (New York, NY: Touchstone 1996), p. 118