Flash Editorials March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

To view this article as an animated video featuring your Editor, click below.

This has been a news-filled week!

The Nation I: Rick Santorum won beauty contests in Alabama, Kansas and Mississippi this week, and Mitt Romney came in third behind Tweedledum Gingrich in the South. And poor ol’ Ron Paul…came in dead last. Curious thing about Ron Paul. He draws enormous crowds to venues when he speaks. He has been brilliant in getting campaign contributions for eight years, holding “Ron Paul Money Bombs” that generate millions each time. Ron Paul has won the hearts and minds of the young and those who are tired of being robbed and lied to. But what will the good doctor do with all these followers at the convention and beyond? There is no possibility that he will swing his support to any of the other three candidates when he stands against everything they support. I have heard many suggest he become a Third Party candidate, but that would be a one-way ticket to Ross Perot-ville. But I have a suggestion for Mister Paul. How about taking the next logical step in protecting personal liberty and property rights and become a secessionist? Forsake the Grand Old Party, Doctor Paul. Tell your willing, excited followers that secession is the only solution to return liberty to the North American continent. Encourage your supporters to spread the good news about forming new nations from old states. And finally, because you are from Texas, nominate yourself as the first President of a New Texas nation. Texas needs a lightning rod for nationhood, and with your notoriety and principled stand against DC tyranny, you are the perfect man to be the next Sam Houston.

The Nation II: Washington is in full spin cycle about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been identified as the “lone gunman” who murdered 16 civilians in Afghanistan this week. Afghanis say there were more than one soldier committing the murders, and that they were all drunk. Remembering the Patrick Tillman story, and how the Army lied their asses off, I’m kind of inclined to believe the indigenous reports. Bales has now been emergency evacuated from Afghanistan by aircraft and is heading for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For days after the incident, I heard Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta stating that this would not deter America from its mission in Afghanistan. Really? Our soldiers commit a mass murder of mostly women and children and DC thinks it’s just business as usual? War is defined by atrocity, but also by hubris. And hubris is usually followed by nemesis.

The Nation III: Our Moron-in-Chief, Barack Obama, announced this week that he would release some of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) into the market with the goal of easing American gas and diesel prices. The SPR is supposed to be America’s defensive measure against a temporary supply disruption. The SPR is an emergency trust fund of about 750 million barrels of oil. The US imports about 12 million barrels of crude daily, so if we used the entire SPR, it would only last us two months. So once again, the Wanker-in-Chief plays politics with national security in an attempt to lower gas prices at the pump. But the last time he dipped into the SPR was in 2011 during the Arab Spring, and the 30 million barrels released dropped the pump price by 3 cents. Three. Cents. The world is awash with crude oil. Obama simply wants to get re-elected. This ain’t about US…this move is ALL about HIM.

International I: This week, the SWIFT banking clearing house, the company that manages nearly all international transactions, cut off Iran from doing business through them. This is only the latest in a long line of sanctions that stretch back into the 1980s. Make no mistake, dear readers. The USA is already at war with Iran. Economic sanctions are an act of war. There is just nobody shooting guns yet. Notice I said “yet.” Which brings be to…

International II: The US Navy’s first nuclear aircraft carrier USS Enterprise has sailed from Norfolk, Virginia on its final voyage and deployment. It is headed for the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea area. When it arrives, it will be one of three carrier task forces in the area at once. Is the Obama Administration trying to bluff Iran? Or is the US going to strike Iran at the demand of Israel? Just keep one word in mind…”Sunburn.” Google the term “Sunburn Missile” and see what awaits the carrier task forces. Perhaps the Pentagon decided to have the USS Enterprise sunk at sea instead of being cut up for scrap at the Navy Yard.

International III: Israel knows that Obama is not their friend. But they know that the Republican top three are competing with each other to see who will go to war for Israel against Iran first. So what might Israel do to change the November election? They might keep up the pressure to attack Iran. That will keep the Middle East unstable. An unstable Middle East will keep crude oil prices climbing. And if gasoline prices hit $5.00 per gallon before November, Obama is a goner.

Shameless Plug: Have you ever dreamed of owning a home-based business? It’s a dream shared by millions of people who crave freedom from bosses. But it’s much, much more…and today I want you to concentrate on TIME FREEDOM. You can always earn more money somehow, but you cannot earn more time. Spend it foolishly and it is forever gone. Long hours on the job steal time from you and your family. Did you get married and have kids just so you could bring home a paycheck but not spend time in their lives? Do you feel guilty when you miss important events because you have to work? You can take control of your life with the RIGHT kind of home business. To learn more about my Energy business, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Watch the opening video about “Lifestyle.” Then look to the left and click on “Defining Moments” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Business: The Apple Computer Company has been enjoying a remarkable runup of its stock (AAPL) price. Friday’s close was $585.87 per share. Per. Share. I’m not saying it’s not deserved, but I have been watching scores of hedge funds jumping on this stock, which drives up the price. I wonder how much Apple stock is really worth. I love their stuff and use it every day. But hype is hype, and stock is paper. We’ll see what happens by the end of 2012.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 337,713 in the week ending March 10th, down 30,719 from the week previous. Yet once again, the Labor Department reported 351,000 new jobless claims…a number higher than the real number by 14,000. Apparently, the Labor Department has an affirmative action hiring program for the retarded.

Sports: The NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing, and two of the top four seeds have already been eliminated. The “Big Dance” is always a delight to watch, and a great teacher of the “never quit” values we all need to hear on occasion. And this year, CBS has partnered with other cable channels to show every game in its entirety. Hoop junkies must be in heaven.

Entertainment: Last week, Tel-evangelist Pat Robertson announced that the so-called War on Drugs has failed and that there are too many people clogging up the legal and penal systems because of drug use and drug dealing. Ol’ Pat now believes that drugs should be legalized, regulated and taxed like alcohol. I wish to point out to you that Robertson’s epiphany is not moral or based in an understanding of personal liberty, but political and cultural. He must also be figuring that he’s done enough good stuff through The 700 Club to get into heaven, so why not flip the bird to the rest of the evangelicals? Now THAT’S entertainment!!

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


A Tale of Two Tales

March 8, 2012

What Real World?

by Fred Reed

As I listen to American fury against uncooperative Afghans, to Congress furiously denouncing Pakistan for anemic aid in conducting the current wars, I sometimes wonder whether the US is playing with a full deck. The anger arises I suspect because the US and the rest of the world work from very different premises. They believe in, as we say, distinct narratives.

The American narrative holds that the United States is a light to the world, the freest, richest, most productive country the world has ever seen, the greatest military power, the most prolific producer of technlogy and of Nobel laureates. America is a force for freedom and democracy, a champion of human rights, a land of universal opportunity with liberty and justice for all. The Unites States is what all countries could be if they accepted our values. History supports this view. In a raw continent, American energy and free enterprise carved a paradise from a wilderness.

This narrative, the belief that America is special among nations, favored by God, pervades the culture. Those old enough will remember that Superman fought for “truth, justice, and the American way.”

Underlying all of this is a profoundly moral view of America’s place in the world. The United States does not fight, like the French, for glory; or like the English, for empire; or like the Russians, to steal watches from the wounded. America fights against Evil, whether in the form of communism, terror, Islam, socialism, or the growing threat of enslavement by Chinese communism. These evils are real, Americans believe, immediate, and threaten us with tyranny.

The narrative of the US military springs from the national narrative. American soldiers are brave, wholesome young men selflessly sacrificing to overthrow brutal dictators, to defeat terror, and to give the oppressed peoples the benefits of democracy. This actually happened in Japan, Germany, and Iraq, asserts the narrative. Sure, a bad apple among GIs may occasionally commit an atrocity, but these are isolated incidents and blown out of proportion by a leftist press.

Quite different is what might be called the World Narrative, held around the globe with differing intensities and emphases. It holds the US to be an endlessly aggressive military power that is out of control, hypocritically speaking of democracy and freedom while supporting dictators and overthrowing elected governments. America is arrogant, crassly materialistic, crime-ridden, vulgar, racially unjust, the world’s only avowed practicioner of torture, economically exploitative, imperialistic and intolerant of other cultures.

The military form of the World Narrative holds that America savagely attacks weaker nations in pursuit of oil and empire, that it uses overwhelming technological superiority to butcher peasants armed with rifles, that atrocities are routine, that it employs Stalinist nocturnal raids to terrorize populations, that killing of children is common.

The World Narrative is closer to the truth. It is easy to compile a long list of dictatorships supported by the US, and anyone who has covered wars knows that atrocities are what militaries do. America supports Saudi Arabia and Israel, both with horrible records on human rights. It would also be easy to show that many countries that accuse the US of misbehavior commit or have committed similar crimes. This doesn’t occur to these countries. Peoples see everybody’s warts but their own.

The peculiar isolation in which Americans typically live shelters the national narrative. Americans are geographically isolated in that they can go nowhere without passports, which few have; linguistically isolated in that almost none speak a second language; and temporally isolated since few have even a rudimentary grasp of history. Add an odd lack of curiosity, apparently based on a belief that the superiority of America is such that other places are not worthy of study. The result is a closed system.

This might be of minor interest if it did not affect American policy. But it does. The US operates in a world that doesn’t quite exist. Think of a blind man who by error enters the wrong house. He bumps into furniture and can’t find the bathroom because things are not where he thinks they are.

Consider the war to take over Afghanistan—which is what it is. The American Narrative, relentlessly moral, says that the US is there to fight Terror, to defeat Al Qaida, to save the Afghan people from repressive domination by the Taliban. The government in Kabul represents the Afghan people and is allied with the US in ridding the country of extremists. The Caspian hydrocarbons have nothing to do with it. The GIs fight to give Afghans a stable democracy, law and order, and equal rights for women.

This is the sort of moral mission that the Narrative demands. In the real world, one might as well give art lessons to a boar hog.

By contrast, the Afghans predictably see the US as an invading army of brutal infidels—a word we see as faintly amusing but they don’t—who bomb and kill, kick in their doors at three a.m, humiliate the men in front of their families and insult their women. A very little of this, a very few dead children, can arouse a whole lot of hatred, but the American Narrative doesn’t allow of this truth.

Consequences ensue. Note that in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, as in Pakistan, as in Viet Nam, the national armies supposedly on America’s side are never ready. Despite billions of dollars spent in training them, somehow they are always years away from being able to take over. They desert, cooperate with the enemy, sometimes murder GIs. By contrast, the enemy fights tenaciously.

The Americans are baffled and outraged. “We are here to help these people, to protect them against the evil (communists, Al Qaida, Iranians, or whatever). Where is their gratitude? Why don’t they do their share?”

When you recruit citizens of a country to kill their own people in the name of a widely hated puppet government, their enthusiasm is likely to be exiguous. But since the American Narrative insists that the US seeks only to end the dominion of Evil, opposition to America becomes inexplicable.

In war after war, those attacked fail to act as the US expects. The Iraqis should have welcomed the American soldiers who were bringing them democracy and defeating an evil dictator. This fits the Narrative. That people don’t like being invaded, having their cities devastated, their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers in the army killed—this does not fit the Narrative of unalloyed American virtue. It merely determines events.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net


The Persian Gulf Is Boiling

January 16, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

Here are the facts as I see them:

• Iran has had a nuclear energy program for nearly 40 years. They use nuclear reactors to produce electricity.
• Iran is being accused by Western nations of enriching radioactive materials with the intent of producing nuclear weapons.
• The International Atomic Energy Commission has not been able to produce any evidence that Iran is enriching uranium for weapons.
• 20% of the world’s oil production is shipped down the Persian Gulf and through the narrows of the Straits of Hormuz.
• The West, led by Washington, who is being led by a nose ring by Israel, are escalating economic sanctions against Iran.
• Recently, the US and Israel performed war games just outside the Persian Gulf as a threat to Iran.
• Iran has done its own war games in the Persian Gulf and recommended that American carrier task forces not return to the Gulf.
• Washington is threatening to destroy the Iranian Central Bank.
• Washington pulled this same shyt in Iraq. Remember?
• Things are fixin’ to get real ugly in the Persian Gulf.

Think about Iran’s situation some more. Iran is one of the major oil producers of the Middle East. Dozens of nations buy their oil from Iran. Iran would be punishing themselves if they blocked the Strait of Hormuz. But the West has shown themselves willing to commit a false-flag operation and hang it around an enemy’s neck. Saddam Hussein’s name might come to mind. The nation of Afghanistan might come to mind. Yet, Washington is moving steadily toward war against Iran. The false-flag operation would give Washington and Israel the cover they need to start a shooting war. More on that below.

The reality of the situation is that Iran has a commodity that the world cannot live without. So, which should be in control here…the buyer or the seller? Should the Central Bank of Iran be held hostage by the banks of other nations, or the banking families that control most of the world banking system? I submit to you that the seller…Iran…should exert its sovereignty and its ultimate control.

What should the Iranian response be?

Iran should announce that beginning immediately, all payment for crude oil will be made in gold: no currency, no credit. No gold, no oil.

That single act will solve most of Iran’s problems. Requiring payment in gold would begin to strengthen the Iranian rial (their currency), thereby setting the world’s bankers back on their heels. If you are not using the banker’s credit, you are not subject to their rules or control. In recent months, the rial has lost almost 50% of its value against the US Dollar. Selling oil for gold would quickly make inflation in Iran disappear. The economy would rebound for everybody living in Iran. Another benefit would be a spike in world gold prices as companies and nations make massive purchases of gold so they can buy oil.

Now, what about a shooting war? Look at a map of the Persian Gulf. The entire eastern shore of the Gulf is Iran. The Persian Gulf is not a big body of water and has a choke point at the southeastern end. The incredible hubris of the American Navy, commanded by whichever President is in office (save Ron Paul), would place one or two carrier task forces in the Gulf. Iran possesses the Russian-built Sunburn anti-ship missile. The American navy has no defense for the Sunburn. The missile travels at nearly 1,600 miles per hour (Mach 2.1) at an altitude of about 50 feet above the waves. Iran has mobile launchers all along the mountainous shoreline of the Gulf. In a retaliatory strike, Sunburn missiles launched from the shore would reach the ships of the carrier task forces in a matter of seconds. The ship-board weapons systems like Phalanx will not have enough time to calculate a firing solution. And the Phalanx system has never been tested against the Sunburn. Multiple Sunburn missiles will send the task forces to the bottom of the Gulf, with massive loss of American sailors and airmen. Yet another defeat for the American military.

In my opinion, Iran could take control of their crisis situation and avoid a war simply by going with gold.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Advice to a Generic Candidate

January 10, 2012

Fred to Change Course of History

by Fred Reed

Last night on the lobotomy box I encountered yet another candidate for the presidency, a Mr. Sanctorum, threatening to make war on Iran. I can’t decide whether the idea is more frightening than fascinating, or fascinating than frightening. I do suggest that the combined candidates do not have the military competence of a stuffed bear. Given that the principal business of the United States is war and preparation for it, do we want a martial analphabetic in charge? One does not let children play with chain saws. (From all of this I exempt Ron Paul, who appears to be sane.)

To save the republic, if any, from another routine military disaster, I offer the following thoughts.

To begin, I will ask the following questions of the candidates, and for that matter of Mr. Obama, and of the Secretary of Defense, a generic bureaucrat.

Can you explain: Convergence zones, base bleed, Kursk, range-gate pull-off, artillery at Dien Bien Phu, IR cross-over, Tet and queen sacrifice, Brahmos 2, CIWIS, supercruise, side-lobe penetration, seven-eighty-twice gear, super-cavitating torpedoes, phased arrays, pulse Doppler, the width of Hormuz versus the range of Iranian cruise missiles, DU, discarding sabot, frequency agility, Chobham armor, and pseudo-random PRF?

These, gentlemen, are the small talk of serious students of the military. Here I mean men like David Isby, author of such books as Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army for Jane’s, which you likely have never heard of, or William S. Lind, probably the best military mind (though, or because, not a soldier), that I have encountered. If you are unfamiliar with them, and with the things listed above, you are unfamiliar with the military. Yet you campaign for possession of the trigger.

Perhaps a little humility, perish the thought, and a little self-examination might be in order.

Peering into your own depths, you will probably find that the humility does not come easily. In my decades of covering the armed services, I noticed among men a belief in their innate jock-strap competency regarding wars. Men who would readily admit ignorance of petroleum geology, ophthalmology, or ancient Sumerian grammar nonetheless believe that they grasp matters military. Usually they do not. In particular, they have an utterly unexamined belief in America’s military invincibility.

Candidates should be wary of this. Instead, most of you propose ultimata to Iran as one would threaten a three-year-old with a spanking. You clearly think that the American flotilla would quickly thrash the impudent Persians with no unexpected consequences. Do as we say, or the fleet will teach you a jolly good lesson.

So thought Philip II in 1588.

A little reading wouldn’t hurt. I would strongly recommend A Legacy of Ashes, by Tim Weiner, on the CIA, and We Meant Well, by Peter van Vuren, a former State Department guy on how Iraq actually works. You will be most surprised. I accept in advance your gratitude for these suggestions.

Once a candidate from the relative bushes gets elected, as may happen, he becomes a captive of Washington in about ten minutes. This too you should bear in mind. You will be briefed by the CIA, which will spin things so that you believe what it wants you to believe. The spooks will radiate lethal charm and speak with the assurance of a higher order of being. This will give you a sense of admission to a special tree house where everyone has a Captain Marvel secret decoder ring (two box tops and a dollar fifty). And, in Washington, you will have access to no other view. Gotcha.

You will be briefed by the Pentagon by generals with firm handshakes, steely gaze, obvious intelligence, and a convincing understanding of the world as consisting chiefly of threats. They are very good at this. You do not become a general without expertise with Power Point and the slick gab of a confidence man. Generals too are politicians. They will carry you along like a wood chip in a spring flood. And you will pay the price.

A powerful skepticism is here well advised. The belief that military men know about war is beguiling. It is their trade, is it not? Surely they must be authorities. Dentists know about dentistry. Soldiers must know about war. But how often when you go to a dentist do you return without teeth?

In fact career officers live in a mental world not well adapted to winning today’s wars. You need to understand this. Theirs is a world of aggression seeking an outlet, of institutionally inculcated confidence unrelated to external reality, of suppression of dissent. Fatal bad judgment is common, and recently almost the rule. If you think this implausible, consider:

When the Japanese attacked Pearl, their military thought it would win, Yamamoto excepted. When the Wehrmacht went into Russia, it thought it would win. So did Napoleon. When the Germans attacked in 1914, they thought they would win, the Schlieffen Plan being infallible. When the Confederates shelled Sumpter, they thought they could win. When the French took on the Viet Minh, they thought they would win. When the Americans went into Viet Nam, they thought they would win. When they went into Iraq, Somalia, Beirut, Afghanistan….

And now you, our newly elected, fresh-caught president, contemplate a shooting war with Iran. Those who favor this idea will assure you that it will be short and sweet. Shock and Awe. Duck soup. A cakewalk. The Iranians will just take it, perhaps put up some slight and hapless resistance, and roll quickly over. Our airplanes, after all, say varooom and pow-pow-pow and boom.

Good luck.

Note that in the foregoing list of wars, all were expected to end quickly. This should not surprise. Military men live in the psychic world of the cavalry charge, of decisive battle, of courage, heroism, and glorious victory. Modern militaries are designed with shsort-and-sweet in mind, with tanks ships and aircraft intended to fight other tanks ships and aircraft. Unfortunately wars nowadays are more like dealing with a recalcitrant bureaucracy. They go on and on. Concentrated firepower doesn’t work well against dispersed enemies. The treasury bleeds, the public wearies. Quick victory seldom comes. The Pentagon thrashes and thrashes every more desperately, a saber tooth in the tar pits of La Brea. Just give us a little more time, a few more troops, a surge….

Reflect that the Pentagon hasn’t won a war since 1945, unless you count titanic eruptions like Granada. Yes, it usually wins the conventional battles, as it did in Afghanistan, as it did in Iraq, “Mission Accomplished,” but then the enemy deploys the most fearsome weapons of the last half-centry: the AK, the RPG, and the IED.

The Pentagon can bomb Iran with impunity, as it could Afghanistan. It thinks it can keep the Straits open, as it thought it could do all the things in the past that it couldn’t. How many burning supertankers does it take to discourage the rest?

Then the unexpected comes. It turns out that the enemy is not as stupid as the strategy required. Pehhaps thousands of Iranian troops infiltrate into largely Shiite Iraq, which blows again. Oh fun.

If you can’t win any war at all, start a larger one. And you, Mr. Sanctorum, or Romney, or Gingrich, will hold the bag. Such a deal.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
www.FredOnEverything.net


OO Rah

November 2, 2011

War and the Free Will of Pool Balls

by Fred Reed

I read frequently among the lesserly neuronal of the supposed honor of soldiers, of the military virtues of courage, loyalty, and uprightness–that in an age of moral decomposition only the military adhere to principles, and that our troops in places like Afghanistan nobly make sacrifices to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Is not all of this nonsense?

Honor? A soldier is just a nationally certified hit-man, perfectly amoral. When he joins the military he agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill, regardless of whether he has previously heard of the country in which he will kill them or whether the residents pose any threat to him or his. How is this honorable? It is cause for lifelong shame.

It is curious that so many soldiers think that they are Christians. Christianity is incompatible with military service, if any Christianity is meant that Christ would have regarded with other than repugnance.

The explanation of course lies in the soldier’s moral compartmentalization. Within his own tribe or pack, these usually being denominated “countries,” he is the soul of moral propriety—doesn’t knock over convenience stores, kick his dog, or beat his children; speaks courteously, observes personal hygiene, and works tirelessly for the public good in the event of natural disasters. A steely gaze with little behind it and a firm handshake amplify the appearance of probity.

In conflict with foreigners, he will burn, bomb, rape and torture indiscriminately. His is the behavior of feral dogs, which humans closely resemble.

Sacrifice? GIs do not make sacrifices. They are sacrificed, sacrificed for big egos, big contracts, for the shareholders of military industries, for pasty patriots in salons who never wore boots. They fight not for love of country but to stay alive, and from fear of the punishments meted out to deserters. If you doubt this, tell the men in Afghanistan that they may come home on the next plane without penalty, and see how many stay. Troops are as manipulated as roosters in a cock fight, forced to choose between combat and the pot.

Always, to understand the bloody absurdity of the military, bear in mind the primitive, overriding instinct of mankind to form packs and fight other packs. It is the only drive that can at times take precedence over sex.Thus we have tribes, football teams, Crips and Bloods, religious wars, rabid political parties, and patriotism, this latter being far the worst. Men in particular live primed to form martial herds and rush mindlessly upon other herds, waving slogans, arguments, forty-yard passes from scrimmage, swords, naval artillery, or white phosphorous. Dogs. Ants. Soldiers. Humanity.

Nowadays a high moral pretext for war will be contrived, embodying saccharine goodness and nauseous piety. We kill them to make them free, butcher their families because they must be democratic. The race has accumulated just enough fragile decency to want a noble pretext before burning children. Yet the pack’s hostility to outsiders remains the primary drive behind wars, with reasons hung on later like Christmas ornaments.

Most profoundly, wars are not about anything. They are just wars. Aggression trumps substance. Note that in politics, the content of debate often matters less than the visceral pleasure of antipathy as, for example, when greens and capitalists exchange irrational insults like savages working themselves up for battle. The posturing is just foreplay.

Armies, and nations, have to have enemies. Since our instincts seem wired more for single combat, for bar fights more than for sprawling industrial wars, soldiers invariably seek the atavistic adrenal satisfactions of a quick and smashing victory. They are almost always wildly optimistic about the likely outcome. Thus the belief in decisive battles, cakewalks and such, even when experience counsels that there won’t be one. The military wants to fall upon the bastards, any bastards, and give them what for, to settle things once and for all in brutal, exhilarating, simple combat. Agincourt, Picket’s charge, Themistocles in the Saronic Gulf, that sort of thing.

If you don’t think that exhilaration is a factor in military affairs, you have never watched night flight ops with a carrier battle group, Tomcats trapping ker-wham! rising howl of huge engines, thirty-knot wind whipping across the flight deck, smell of burnt kerosene, the focused dance of men cooperating in something complex and dangerous in the wilds of the Pacific. It is a drug. This is much of why we have wars.

And it is why the Pentagon is repeatedly surprised when after the swoosh and scream of the jets over Kabul, or Quang Tri, or Baghdad, angry men with rifles creep from their holes and begin killing and there comes a losing uncomprehended disaster of ten years. Practicality matters less than the spirit of the thing.

Armies of the First World have made this hormonal miscalculation time and again: The French in Vietnam, the Americans in Vietnam, the Russians in Afghanistan, the French in Algeria, the Israelis in Lebanon, the Americans in Iraq, the Americans in Afghanistan. Militaries don’t learn. They can’t.

They can’t learn because soldiering is directed as much at maintaining a desired mental state as at practicality. A thick layer of romance has always lain over matters martial. The rush of a low-level pop-and-drop bombing run in an F16, the legions wintering on the Rhine-Danube line, pennants, charges, the poetry and intensity of it all. “Oo-rah!” “Death from Above!” “The most dangerous thing in the world is a Marine with his rifle.” “Crush their skulls and eat their faces.” Feel-good slogans, suitable for children of eleven..

One thinks of the excitement of a high-school basketball game, bright lights, tense expectancy, cheerleaders twirling and emitting exhortations to invincibility. “Hey, hey, whaddya say, let’s get that ball and go!” “Ricky, Ricky, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, nobody can!” Oo-rah.

Those who train and arm the soldiers are less delusional. Behind the curtains the butcher’s trade is an ugly one. In my days of covering the military, I remember efforts to invent blood-red plastic shrapnel that would not show up on x-rays, to make it difficult for the enemy to save his wounded. A tac-nuke manual spoke of how to keep soldiers fighting after being lethally irradiate by a nuclear explosion. Shortly they will die, puking and stumbling, but how does one get a bit more combat out of them? This manual used the evocative phrase, “terrain alteration.”

While soldiers quickly come to hate their assigned enemies, as do fighting cocks, they also know that what they are doing will not play well back home. The entrail-dripping gut-shot, a woman sobbing over a mound of red mush that is no longer precisely her child—these could interfere with the flow of contracts. Consequently militaries try furiously to suppress photographs of those they torture and mutilate, to package routine atrocities as “isolated incidents,” to keep pictures of garishly altered soldiers off the pages of newspapers. The extreme sensitivity suggests moral uneasiness, oo-rah or not. During Vietnam, the damning photos poured out. The controlled press of today poses no similar problem.

If this is honor, I’ll pass. Oo-rah.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
www.FredOnEverthing.net


Are Evangelical Christians Warmongers?

September 18, 2011

By Chuck Baldwin

I’ve been an evangelical Christian since I was a child. I’ve been
in the Gospel ministry all of my adult life. I attended two
evangelical Christian colleges, received honorary degrees from two
others, and taught and preached in several others. I’ve attended
many of the largest evangelical pastors’ gatherings and have been
privileged to speak at Christian gatherings–large and small–all over
America. I have been part of the inner workings of evangelical
ministry for nearly 40 years. I think I learned a thing or two about
evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity in America. And I’m here to
tell you: I don’t like what I see happening these days!

Let’s get this straight right out of the gate: nothing touched by
man can be perfect, because none of us is perfect. There is no perfect
church, perfect school, perfect mission board, perfect Sunday School
class, perfect pastor, perfect deacon, or perfect Christian. Until the
afterlife, we are all yet encased in Adamic flesh, complete with human
weaknesses and imperfections. And only the Pharisaical among us are
too proud to admit it.

That said, I do think it is more than fair to say that, historically,
Christians have always attempted to be–and have always publicly
taught the importance of being–peacemakers. Historically, Christians
have preached–and tried to practice–love and brotherhood. The early
church was born in a baptism of love and unity. Oh sure, there were
always individual misunderstandings and differences, but, on the
whole, the church was a loving, caring, compassionate ecclesia.

Mind you, Christians historically were not afraid or ashamed to
defend themselves, their families, and their country. The Lord Jesus,
Himself (the Prince of Peace), allowed His disciples to carry personal
defense weapons (see Luke 22:36,38). Yes, while some Christian sects
were conscientious pacifists, these were the exception, not the rule.
The vast majority of Christian believers understood the Biblical,
Natural Law principle of self-defense. But believing in the right of
lawful, God-ordained self-defense was never to be confused with
warmongering.

So, what has happened to turn the most peace-loving institution the
world has ever known (the New Testament church) into the biggest
cheerleaders for war? I’m talking about un-provoked, illegal,
unconstitutional, unbiblical–even secret–wars of aggression. The
biggest cheerleaders for the unprovoked, unconstitutional, pre-emptive
attack and invasion of Iraq were evangelical Christians. Ditto for the
war in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, the attacks in Yemen, etc.
Who is calling for the bombing of Iran? Evangelical Christians. Who
cheers for sending more and more troops all over the world to maim and
kill more and more people (including innocents)? Evangelical
Christians. Shoot (pun intended)! Most evangelical Christians didn’t
even bat an eye when the federal government sent military and police
personnel to murder American citizens, including old men, women, and
children–Christian old men, women, and children, no less–outside
Waco, Texas.

And where are today’s evangelical Christians giving a second
thought regarding their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in many
of these Middle Eastern countries that are being persecuted,
imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the puppet regimes being put in
power by the US government–at US taxpayer (including Christian
taxpayer) expense? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more
Christians have been persecuted under the US-imposed regime in Iraq
than were ever persecuted when Saddam Hussein was in power. Oh! And
don’t forget that it was the US government that was responsible for
putting Saddam Hussein in power to begin with. The US government set
up Osama bin Laden, too. But I digress.

In addition to the “white” wars (the ones everyone knows about),
the US government authorizes some 70 black ops commando raids in some
120 countries EVERY DAY. In fact, the secret, black ops military of
the US is so large today it now totals more personnel than the ENTIRE
MILITARY OF CANADA!

A recent report noted, “In 120 countries across the globe, troops
from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of
high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings,
capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint
operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous
partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once
‘special’ for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are
special for their power, access, influence, and aura.”

To see the complete report of America’s secret wars, go to:

http://tinyurl.com/3q7s335

Yet, how much of this knowledge would even faze the average
evangelical Christian today? All we hear from today’s “churches”
is “bomb,” “attack,” “wipe them out,” etc. Then, at the
same time, they get all emotional about sending missionaries to the
same countries that they had just cheered-on the US military in
raining down missiles of death and destruction upon (to bring
salvation to the lucky ones that weren’t killed, I suppose).

And who are the ones that belittle and impugn Ron Paul? Evangelical
Christians. Why? Because he tells the truth about America’s foreign
policy being responsible for much of the hatred and bitterness
erupting in foreign countries against us. I guarantee you that many of
the “conservative” Republicans who booed Dr. Paul’s comments to
this regard at the GOP Presidential debate this week would identify
themselves as evangelical Christians.

See the report at:

http://tinyurl.com/3otfnzr

The disciples of our Lord were called “Christians” first by the
Gentiles of Antioch, because of the manner in which the disciples
reminded them of Christ’s nature and teachings. I never thought I
would hear myself say what I’m about to say, but the truth is, the
term “Christian” today means anything but Christ-like. To many
people today, “Christian” refers to some warmongering,
mean-spirited, throw-anyone-to-the-wolves-who-crosses-them person, who
then has the audacity to look down their nose in contempt against
anyone who disagrees with them for even the smallest reason. And the
word “church” has the stigma of being simply an enclave of
warmongers to many people today. And that, my friends, is one reason
so many people are so turned off with today’s Christianity. And I
can’t say that I blame them. I’m turned off too!

Am I a pacifist? Absolutely not! Do I believe an individual, a
family, a community, or a nation has the right to protect and defend
itself? I absolutely do! And the fellow who breaks into my home or who
attacks my loved ones will personally discover I believe that! But
this blind support for illegal, immoral, unconstitutional war is
anything but Christian. Not only is it turning people against our
country among people abroad, it is turning our own countrymen against
the Christ we Christians claim to love right here at home.

I dare say that the modern Warfare State would grind to a screeching
halt tomorrow if evangelical Christians would simply stop supporting
it! And the thing that most evangelical Christians fail to realize is
that the Warfare State is one of the primary tools that the evil one
is using to usher in his devilish New World Order that even babes in
Christ know to be of Satan. Hence, Christians are helping to promote
the very thing that Satan, himself, is using to enslave them.

Yes, I’ve been an evangelical Christian for most of my life and an
evangelical pastor for all of my adult life. And if we Christians do
not quickly repent of this bloodlust that seems to dominate
evangelical Christianity today (spiritually and militarily), the word
that was first used by un-churched Gentiles to describe Christ’s
followers will be used as a curse-word to describe those who
facilitated the ruination of our country.

Chuck Baldwin is a syndicated columnist, radio broadcaster, author, and
pastor dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America
was founded.He lives in Montana.


The Era of Aircraft Carriers Is Ending

September 2, 2011

by Eric Margolis

(Editor’s Note: China is working on newer anti-ship missiles, but it doesn’t need to. The current anti-ship missile technology delivers a 1,000-pound TNT payload at Mach 3, or over 3 times the speed of sound, about 30 feet above the sea surface. At that rate of speed, the ships cannot calculate a fire solution to prevent the missile impact. Use your browser and Google the term “sunburn missile,” and read for yourself.

Seceding states that become new sovereign nations do not need carriers…they may not even need a navy.)

The mighty US Navy won’t say so publicly, but it’s increasingly worried by China’s development of new anti-ship missiles. The chief worry is China’s new DF-21D whose primary target is America’s huge aircraft carriers.

According to Chinese sources, the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has recently become operational in limited numbers. Originally developed for submarines, the DF-21D is said to have a range of 2,700km and at least some capability to strike moving targets.

China’s military is hard at work on satellites, long-range backscatter radar, submarines, and drones that can identify moving naval targets up to 3,000 km distance. These overlapping sensors will provide accurate, real-time targeting data for the DF-21D and other shorter-ranged sea, air and land-based anti-ship missiles.

The US Navy insists its carriers are not threatened by any of China’s new missiles and retain their freedom of action off China. But the DF-21D can cover the entire South China Sea, including Taiwan.

This could be extremely bad news for the US Navy, which deploys 11 aircraft carrier groups that enable the US to project power around the globe.

Batteries of DF-21D’s based safely inland may keep the US Navy far off China’s coasts, isolate Taiwan, and threaten US bases in Japan, Okinawa and Guam. In fact, the mere existence of the DF-21D’s and their deployment in sizeable numbers may be enough to keep US carriers at least 2,000 km from China’s coasts, thus beyond the useful range of the carrier’s strike aircraft.

As a writer on naval affairs, I’ve long been convinced that big attack aircraft carriers are going the way of the battleship. At around 100,000 tons, they are huge targets, high in the water, easily detected at long range by radar and infrared sensors. Each US attack carrier carries close to one million gallons of aviation fuel plus hundreds of tons of munitions.

The US Navy made carrier operations into a high science during World War II. The USN was famed for its brilliant damage-control techniques that prevented the loss of many US warships during WWII.

But anti-ship missiles are lethal to carriers. Layered anti-ship missile defense can stop small number of attacking missiles. But if enough high-speed missiles are fired, and from different directions, at least one or two will permeate carrier and escort defenses.

Just one missile, filled with explosives and fuel, hitting a carrier will cause massive damage and fires that will put the great capitol ship out of action. I have joined numerous naval warfare simulations: in almost every case, some anti-ship missiles fired by enemy aircraft and subs inevitably leaked through layered defenses and hit the carriers. Each carrier and its escorts costs over $25 billion (not including its aircraft). They simply cannot be risked against relatively inexpensive Chinese missiles.

Officially, the US Navy denies claims its beloved carriers are increasingly vulnerable. The Navy’s brass is dominated by former naval aviators, just as the pre-war US Navy was run by battleship admirals. There is huge institutional bias against abandoning big attack carriers, just as there is bitter Navy and Air Force opposition to abandoning manned fighter aircraft and relying on drones.

Which makes all the more amazing an article in the May 2011 issue of the US Naval Institute Proceedings (for which I’ve written) by two Pentagon strategists urging an immediate end to building aircraft carriers, “Proceedings” is the voice of the US naval establishment.

For this heresy to be printed is a bombshell. But a needed one. It’s time the US Navy face facts and plan for the obsolescence of its attack carriers. There will still be a role for smaller carriers carrying drones and helicopters, but in wartime, the days of the mighty flattop that won the epic WWII victories at Midway and the Marianas are over.

China has recognized this by deploying a mid-sized carrier this month that may be equipped with fixed-wing aircraft, drones, and helicopters.

It will be hugely expensive for the near bankrupt US to develop new systems that can counter China’s naval missiles. This means the US 7th Fleet will have to patrol far offshore where its influence will be sharply diminished, or even neutralized. The North Pacific will no longer be an American lake.

Eric Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

Copyright © 2011 Eric Margolis


Thank You for Your Service?

July 24, 2011

by Laurence M. Vance

(Editor’s Note: The only “thank you” should be spoken to a militia member when he/she is defending his own seceded nation. But when every able-bodied person in your nation between 18 and 50 is a member of the national militia, only the children and seniors would be doing the thanking.)

It is without question that Americans are in love with the military. Even worse, though, is that their love is unqualified, unconditional, unrelenting, and unending.

I have seen signs praising the troops in front of all manner of businesses, including self-storage units, bike shops, and dog grooming.

Many businesses offer discounts to military personnel not available to doctors, nurses, and others who save lives instead of destroy them.

Special preference is usually given to veterans seeking employment, and not just for government jobs.

Many churches not only recognize veterans and active-duty military on the Sunday before holidays, they have special military appreciation days as well.

Even many of those who oppose an interventionist U.S. foreign policy and do not support foreign wars hold the military in high esteem.

All of these things are true no matter which country the military bombs, invades, or occupies. They are true no matter why the military does these things. They are true no matter what happens while the military does these things. They are true no matter which political party is in power.

The love affair that Americans have with the military – the reverence, the idolatry, the adoration, yea, the worship – was never on display like it was at the post office the other day.

While at the counter shipping some packages, a U.S. soldier, clearly of Vietnamese origin in name and appearance, dressed in his fatigues, was shipping something at the counter next to me. The postal clerk was beaming when he told the soldier how his daughter had been an MP in Iraq. Three times in as many minutes I heard the clerk tell the soldier – with a gleam in his eye and a solemn look on his face – “Thank you for your service.” The clerk even shook the soldier’s hand before he left.

I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing, and I am no stranger to accounts of military fetishes in action.

Aside from me not thanking that soldier for his service – verbally or otherwise – I immediately thought of four things.

One, what service did this soldier actually render to the United States? If merely drawing a paycheck from the government is rendering service, then we ought to thank every government bureaucrat for his service, including TSA goons. Did this soldier actually do anything to defend the United States, secure its borders, guard its shores, patrol its coasts, or enforce a no-fly zone over U.S. skies? How can someone blindly say “thank you for your service” when he doesn’t know what service was rendered?

Two, is there anything that U.S. soldiers could do to bring the military into disfavor? I can’t think of anything. Atrocities are dismissed as collateral damage in a moment of passion in the heat of battle by just a few bad apples. Unjust wars, we are told, are solely the fault of politicians not the soldiers that do the actual fighting. Paul Tibbets and his crew are seen as heroes for dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Before he died, Tibbets even said that he had no second thoughts and would do it again. I suspect that if the United States dropped an atomic bomb tomorrow on Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing everyone and everything, and declaring the war on terror over and won, a majority of Americans would applaud the Air Force crew that dropped the bomb and give them a ticker-tape parade.

Three, why is it that Americans only thank American military personnel for their service? Shouldn’t foreign military personnel be thanked for service to their country? What American military worshippers really believe is that foreign military personnel should only be thanked for service to their government when their government acts in the interests of the United States. Foreign soldiers are looked upon as heroic if they refuse to obey a military order to shoot or kill at the behest of their government as long as such an order is seen as not in the interests of the United States. U.S. soldiers, however, are always expected to obey orders, even if it means going to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Libya under false pretenses.

And four, what is a Vietnamese man – who most certainly has relatives, or friends or neighbors of relatives, that were killed or injured by U.S. bombs and bullets during the Vietnam War – doing joining the U.S. military where he can be sent to shoot and bomb foreigners like the U.S. military did to his people?

And aside from these four things, I’m afraid I must also say: Sorry, soldiers, I don’t thank you for your service.

* I don’t thank you for your service in fighting foreign wars.
* I don’t thank you for your service in fighting without a congressional declaration of war.
* I don’t thank you for your service in bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.
* I don’t thank you for your service in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
* I don’t thank you for your service in expanding the war on terror to Pakistan and Yemen.
* I don’t thank you for your service in occupying over 150 countries around the world.
* I don’t thank you for your service in garrisoning the planet with over 1,000 military bases.
* I don’t thank you for your service in defending our freedoms when you do nothing of the kind.
* I don’t thank you for your service as part of the president’s personal attack force to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.

Thank you for your service? I don’t think so.

Laurence M. Vance writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The Revolution that Wasn’t, and Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com.


Graveyard of Empires

June 30, 2011

(Editor’s Note: There is an old saying in politics: “If your opponent is burying himself with his own words, get out of his way and let him continue.” It’s the same in Washington’s foreign wars and quest for world empire. Washington is bankrupting the nation by prosecuting wars with no stated goal and no end game. And the other major world players are wisely stepping out of the way and allowing…even helping…Washington destroy itself.

Think about it. China is financing DC’s wars by buying Treasury securities. They already own nearly $1 Trillion in Washington debt. Washington is already functionally bankrupt but still borrowing and spending on war. Nations like China and Russia do not need to lift a finger in opposition to Washington’s actions. They are simply patiently waiting for Washington to destroy America and the US Dollar. Meanwhile, they save jillions of dollars in military spending by standing to the side and allowing America piss off the entire world and be its self-proclaimed police force. China can absorb the losses when DC defaults. In the meantime, China and Russia are consolidating their economic positions globally by skillful negotiations on commodities buying and selling. Russia supplies a large percentage of natural gas to Europe, which fills their coffers with capital. China has quietly made staggering deals for raw materials around the world. Meanwhile, Washington dithers and borrows and spends and allows America to become a Third World nation, the largest debtor nation in the history of mankind.

The nations of the world can see the inevitability of American economic collapse. The smart nations are preparing for the worst. But the question arises: are there any smart nations left in the world? The ONLY thing that a smart nation can do right now to prepare for global economic collapse is to switch to a precious metals money system. And any state of the American Union that contemplates secession must begin with hard money.

Here is an article about America’s military end, by my friend Eric Margolis.

Graveyard of Empires

by Eric Margolis

In his majestic poem “Recessional,” Rudyard Kipling was writing of the fading British Empire, but his words are as vivid and pertinent today as a century ago:

Far-called our navies melt away –
On dune and headland sinks the fire –
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

The objective of war is to achieve political objectives, not to kill enemies.

Politically, the US has achieved nothing in Afghanistan after ten years of desultory, destruction, and titanic expenditure.

So in this sense, the United States has already lost the Afghan conflict, its longest war. Militarily its forces have been stalemated, meaning that it has lost the all-important military initiative and is now on the strategic defensive. We have seen this before – in Vietnam.

Once more, Afghanistan fulfills its grim title as “graveyard of empires.”

The US has failed to install an obedient regime in Kabul that controls Afghanistan. It has made bitter foes of the nation’s Pashtun majority, and, in pursuing this war, gravely undermined Pakistan. Claims that US forces were only in Afghanistan to hunt the late Osama bin Laden were widely disbelieved.

Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama bowed to public opinion, approaching elections, military reality and financial woes by announcing he would withdraw a third of the 100,000 US troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer. Pentagon brass growled open opposition. Obama should have smacked them down, but did not, adding to the growing belief that he is weak and overawed by the military chiefs.

US allies France and Germany announced similar troops reductions. All foreign troops are supposed to quit Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

This staggered withdrawal will take the US garrison roughly back to the size it was before President Obama sent 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan. This means enough soldiers to hold the main urban centers and connecting roads, but not enough to defeat Taliban guerillas in the field, or to block the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Washington currently spends at least $10 billion monthly on the Afghan war, not counting “black” payments, CIA and NSA operations. The US has poured $18.8 billion in development aid into Afghanistan since 2001 with nothing to show for the effort. Pakistan has been given $20 billion to support the Afghan War. Each US soldier in Afghanistan costs $1 million per annum, not counting full support costs.

None of these costs are covered by taxes; all are piled onto the gargantuan national debt.

The US deficit is heading over $1.4 trillion. The national debt, when unfunded pensions and benefits are added, is likely $100 trillion, according to the chief of PIMCO, the world’s largest bond trader. This means America, top-heavy with unsustainable debt, risks capsizing financially.

Forty-four million Americans now receive food stamps; the national infrastructure of roads, airports, bridges and schools is crumbling from neglect. Unemployment, officially at 9.5%, is probably closer to 20%.

The cry is being heard: “Rebuild America, not Afghanistan.”

In spite of intense pro-war propaganda, over half of Americans now oppose the Afghan War. Even US-installed Afghan president Hamid Karzai calls it, “ineffective, apart from causing civilian casualties.”

So will the US really pull out of Afghanistan? That remains to be seen. There are many contradictory signs.

Mid-level talks between the US and Taliban have been conducted for over a year. Washington’s plan was to try to split Taliban through such talks.

US Afghan supremo Gen. David Petraeus tried to buy off Afghan resistance in the same manner he had bribed Iraq’s Sunni tribes into quiescence. This gambit did not work with Taliban’s hardened warriors, for whom honor holds as much value as money.

The US will probably keep a sizeable number of its remaining 66,000 soldiers in Afghanistan after 2014, rebranding them training troops. The huge US bases at Kandahar and Bagram will be retained as permanent US fortified enclaves.

Billions more will be spent on the Afghan government army and police. They have so far proved ineffective because most are composed of Tajik and Uzbek mercenaries who are hated and distrusted by the Pashtun.

A similar process is underway in Iraq where “withdrawal” means keeping combat brigades in Iraq, renamed “training units” and “counter-terrorism units,” thousands of mercenaries, and mobile US combat forces in neighboring Kuwait and the Gulf.

New US embassies in Baghdad and Kabul – huge, fortified complexes with their own mercenary combat forces – will be the world’s biggest. Kabul will have a staff of 1,000 US personnel. Bin Laden called them “crusader fortresses.” Fortified US consulates are under construction in other parts of Afghanistan.

In addition, the US will still arm and finance allied Tajik and Uzbek militias in Afghanistan, and CIA-run mercenary forces. Financing Pakistan’s US-backed regimes and Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan must also continue at around $3 billion yearly. What political concessions the US is giving Moscow to allow passage of war supplies through its territory remains a secret.

The US appears to be going and staying at the same time. By contrast, Taliban’s position is clear and simple: it will continue fighting until all foreign troops are withdrawn. US special forces, drones and hit squads have been unable to assassinate enough Taliban commanders to make the mujahidin stop fighting.

Americans never study history, not even their own. We don’t recall founding father, the great Benjamin Franklin, who said, “there is no good war, and no bad peace.” Or that the Pashtun Taliban and its allies are dedicated, undefeated warriors who fight where they live, and have all the time in the world.

I’ve been in combat with Pashtun fighters and remain in awe of their courage and love of combat. The Pashtun mujahidin will keep fighting as long as their ammunition lasts.

America, for all its B-1 heavy bombers, strike fighters, missiles, helicopter gunships and drones, armor, super electronics, spies in the sky and all the other high tech weapons of modern war has failed to defeat some 30,000 tribal fighters armed with nothing more than light weapons and legendary valor.

The US has lost the political war in Afghanistan. It may linger there, but it cannot win.

Eric Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

Copyright © 2011 Eric Margolis


On Patriotism

May 26, 2011

Examining the Firmware of War

by Fred Reed

(Editor’s Note: This is the perfect follow-up to yesterday’s posting about psychopaths. And packs are just lower forms of tribalism, which we explored HERE.)

Patriotism is everywhere thought to be a virtue rather than a mental disorder. I don’t get it.

If I told the Rotarians or an American Legion hall that “John is a patriot,” all would approve greatly of John. If I told them that patriotism was nothing more than the loyalty to each other of dogs in a pack, they would lynch me. Patriotism, they believe, is a Good Thing.

Of course the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor were patriots, as were the German soldiers who murdered millions in the Second World War. The men who brought down the towers in New York were patriots, though of a religious sort. Do we admire their patriotism?

Of course not. When we say “John is a patriot,” we mean “John is a reliable member of our dog pack,” nothing more. The pack instinct seems more ancient, and certainly stronger, than morality or any form of human decency. Thus, once the pack—citizenry, I meant to say—have been properly roused to a pitch of patriotism, they will, under cover of the most diaphanous pretexts, rape Nanking, bomb Hiroshima, kill the Jews or, if they are Jews, Palestinians. We are animals of the pack. We don’t admire patriotism. We admire loyalty to ourselves.

The pack dominates humanity. Observe that the behavior of urban gangs—the Vice Lords, Mara Salvatrucha, Los Locos Intocables, Crips, Bloods — precisely mirrors that of more formally recognized gangs, which are called “countries.” Gangs, like countries, are intensely territorial with recognized borders fiercely defended. The soldiers of gangs, like those of countries, have uniforms, usually clothing of particular colors, and they “throw signs” — make the patterns of fingers indicating their gang — and wear their hats sideways in different directions to indicate to whom their patriotism is plighted. They have generals, councils of war, and ranks paralleling the colonels and majors of national packs. They fight each other endlessly, as do countries, for territory, for control of markets, or because someone insulted someone. It makes no sense. It would be more reasonable for example to divide the market for drugs instead of killing each other. But they do it because of the pack instinct.

Packery dominates society. Across the country high schools form basketball packs and do battle on the court, while cheerleaders jump and twirl, preferably in short skirts (here we have the other major instinct) to maintain patriotic fervor in the onlookers. Cities with NFL franchises hire bulky felons from around the country to bump forcefully into the parallel felons of other cities, arousing warlike sentiments among their respective fellow dogs.

Fans. Fans.

Such is their footballian enthusiasm that they will sometimes burn their own cities in delight at victory or disturbance at loss. Without the pack instinct, football would hardly matter to them at all.

It’s everywhere. The Olympics, the World Cup, racial groups, political parties — Crips and Bloods, all.

Part of patriotism is nationalism, the political expression of having given up to the pack all independence of thought.

Patriotism is of course incompatible with morality. This is more explicit in the soldier, a patriot who agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill by the various alpha-dogs — President, Fuehrer, emperor, Duce, generals.

Is this not literally true? An adolescent enlists, never having heard of Ruritania, which is perhaps on the other side of the earth. A year later, having learned to manage the Gatlings on a helicopter gunship, he is told that Ruritania is A Grave Threat. Never having seen a Ruritanian, being unable to spell the place, not knowing where it is (you would be amazed how many veterans of Viet Nam do not know where it is) he is soon killing Ruritanians. He will shortly hate them intensely as vermin, scuttling cockroaches, rice-propelled paddy maggots, gooks, or sand niggers.

The military calls the pack instinct “unit cohesion,” and fosters it to the point that soldiers often have more loyalty to the military than to the national pack. Thus it is easy to get them to fire on their own citizens. It has not happened in the United States since perhaps Kent State (How about Waco? – Ed.), but in the past the soldiery were often used to kill striking workers. All you have to do is to get the troops to think of the murderees as another group.

If you talk to patriots, particularly to the military variety, they will usually be outraged at having their morality questioned. Here we encounter moral compartmentation, very much a characteristic of the pack. If you have several dogs, as we do, you will note that they are friendly and affectionate with the family and tussle playfully among themselves — but bark furiously at strangers and, unless they are very domesticated, will attack unknown dogs cooperatively and kill them.

Similarly the colonel next door will be honest, won’t kick your cat or steal your silverware. Should some natural disaster occur, work strenuously to save lives, at the risk of his own if need be. Yet he will consciencelessly cluster-bomb downtown Baghdad, and pride himself on having done so. A different pack, you see. It is all right to attack strange dogs.

The pack instinct, age old, limbic, atavistic, gonadal, precludes any sympathy for the sufferings of outsiders. If Dog pack A attacks intruding dog pack B to defend its territory, its members can’t afford to think, “Gosh, I’m really hurting this guy. Maybe I should stop.” You don’t defend territory by sharing it. Thus if you tell a patriot that his bombs are burning alive thousands of children, or that the embargo on Iraq killed half a million kids by dysentery because they couldn’t get chlorine to sterilize water, he won’t care. He can’t.

The same instinct governs thought about atrocities committed in wartime. In every war, every army (correctly) accuses the other side of committing atrocities. Atrocities are what armies do. Such is the elevating power of morality that soldiers feel constrained to lie about them. But patriots just don’t care. Psychologists speak of demonization and affecting numbing and such, but it’s really just that the tortured, raped, butchered and burned are members of the other pack.

I need a drink.

©Copyright 2011 Fred Reed
www.FredOnEverything.net