Why Do We Fight?

This is yet another in a series that I write as part of my antiwar campaign.

The title is an excellent question that has many answers but only one to my way of thinking.

This is not the world of World War 2…….and there is no major threat, military threat, to speak of for the US to keep a watchful eye upon….yes there is China….or Russia….or ….that is about it these days.

But let us look at what The American Conservative had to say on the question……

Today’s political and military leaders have no choice but to project technology and strategic conditions into the future while they develop their forces today. However, before such multi-billion dollar investments are made, critical questions should be answered.

What is the real mission set? In other words, whom do we fight? Where do we fight? How do we fight? And how do we get there? On Memorial Day, we must take a step back to properly address these questions because right now it’s not so clear. What we do have is a military spending strategy that is out of whack with reality and setting us up for failure when real threats arise.

The United States is primarily a global maritime and aerospace power, not a global land power. Washington is known for exaggerating threats, but is the notion of spending to fight a near-simultaneous war with Russia and China in 2030 a realistic goal? Wars with continental powers like Russia, China, or even Turkey or Iran, demand the persistent employment of large and powerful ground forces projected over thousands of miles. U.S. military advantages at sea and in the air are relegated to supporting roles as seen in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

 
These days our foreign policy is more about meddling than trying to head off war……
But let me mention just a few of the things that we didn’t learn from the Mueller report. We didn’t learn that Russian agents appeared at Republican Party headquarters in 2016 with millions of dollars in donations to influence the coming election. (Oops, my mistake!  That was CIA agents in the Italian election of 1948!) We didn’t learn that a Russian intelligence agency in combination with Chinese intelligence, aided by a major Chinese oil company, overthrew an elected U.S. president and installed Donald Trump in the White House as their autocrat of choice. (Oops, my mistake again!  That was the CIA, dispatched by an American president, and British intelligence, with the help of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later BP. In 1953, they overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran, and installed the young Shah as an autocratic ruler, the very first — but hardly the last — time the CIA successfully ousted a foreign government.) We didn’t learn that key advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin were in close touch with rogue elements of the U.S. military preparing to stage a coup d’état in Washington, kill President Barack Obama in a direct assault on the White House, and put the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in office. (Sorry, again my slip-up and full apologies! That was President Richard Nixon’s adviser Henry Kissinger in contact with Chilean military officers who, on September 11, 1973—the first 9/11—staged an armed uprising during which Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of that country, died and army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet took power.) We didn’t learn that, at the behest of Vladimir Putin, Russian secret service agents engaged in a series of plots to poison or in some other fashion assassinate Barack Obama during his presidency and, in the end, had at least a modest hand in encouraging those who did kill him after he left office. (Oh, wait, I was confused on that one, too. I was actually thinking about the plots, as the 1960s began, to do in Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.) Nor, for that matter, did we learn that the Russian military launched a regime-change-style invasion of this country to unseat an American president and get rid of our weapons of mass destruction and then occupied the country for years after installing Donald Trump in power. (Sorry one more time! What I actually had in mind before I got so muddled up was the decision of the top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to launch a “regime-change” invasion of Iraq in 2003, based on fraudulent claims that Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and install a government of their choice in Baghdad.)
 
States use war, or the threat of war, as a last resort to solve political disputes. For every state, the ability to make war is an indispensable tool to ensure its security. However, war cannot rebuild trust. War cannot separate truth from lies. War cannot defeat attacks on the social structures currently seen in the West. We must look elsewhere.
 
If war is not the answer why is there war?
 
This from Smedley Butler……

Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.  

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Our foreign policy should be….DO NO HARM……

We would have fewer opponents if we adopted this idea.

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Do We Need Militarism?

The subject of militarism is a subject that we study in conflict management and resolution…..I am talking about armed conflict……

We can think of several examples where it does not end well….Italy in the 1930s and Germany as well are the two most readily available to most people.

First, maybe the definition will help- my reader understand…..

Militarism is a belief that a nation should develop, maintain, and use a strong military to expand its interests. A militaristic country has a large defense force on which it spends a disproportionate share of its income. The society subordinates all other national interests to support a strong military.

In militarism, the government directs the factors of production to strengthen the military. The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor. It gives preferential treatment to defense contractors. For example, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imports, such as steel, that he said could threaten national security.

An aspect of militarism is the notion that unquestioning obedience is something to be admired. Militarism has a corrosive effect on the ability of both children and adults to think for themselves and speak out when they see something wrong. Armies require people to obey orders without question. Of all the reasons that might be given for killing a human being, surely the very weakest explanation is that you killed because someone told you to.

Militarism and nationalism go hand-in-hand. Nationalists believe their country is superior to all others. They don’t join global organizations or collaborate with other countries on joint efforts. They use the military to defend their country. Nationalists find it easy to justify a large military to attack other countries because they believe them to be inferior. The military enforces the nation’s superiority both internally and externally.  (Does that sound at all familiar?)

Now that the topic has been fleshed out….let’s move on…..

It seems that the US is drowning in militarism and the president is stoking the fire…..

It’s no small thing to lodge a word or phrase of your own in our language. So give Dwight D. Eisenhower credit. In his presidential farewell address to the American people in 1961, the former five-star general of World War II warned – and who would have known better – of the growth of what he called “the military-industrial complex.” (“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry… We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions… Added to this, 3½ million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment… Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial 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.”)

Drowning in Militarism

It all began with Ike’s proclamation on the M-IC and has continued to the point where the Defense industry controls damn near everything…..

In 2019, most Americans see the Pentagon and the U.S. military as this country’s protectors — a force for good, perhaps the equivalent of an eagle, that national symbol, soaring over an endangered land. What if, however, we saw the Pentagon not as a noble bird, a symbol of freedom and strength, but as a parasitic one? What if the avian image that came to mind was the opportunistic cowbird?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/09/riptide-american-militarism

We have an election next year…..and we can break this scary cycle…the cash should be spent on education or health or infrastructure…..maybe it is time for someone to come up with an idea of the “Peace Race”. (A post to come)

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Where Are The “Patriots”?

WE are fighting endless wars across the globe…especially in Afghanistan and Iraq and the MSM has done an excellent job of NOT showing the horrors of war while chest thumping for more.

Look how the MSM is championing the possible use of military force against Iran….

All the bravado does not seem to influence the public to want to join up and do their part to protect the country from the “brown hordes” on the horizon…..

Recruiting goals are not being met and the fiscal year draws close the Army has tried bribery…….

The Army is handing out bonuses up to $40,000 for people who join the infantry as the military’s largest branch works to meet its 2019 recruitment goal with only months left in the fiscal year.

Army leaders believe the bonuses will help them increase the size of the service’s force and attract more recruits to combat-arms positions, said Kelli Bland, the public affairs director for U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

Recruits who select the infantry military occupation specialty could receive a bonus up to $40,000 depending on the length of their initial contract, according to Bland. The recruit would have to sign a contract for a six-year commitment in order to receive the maximum of $40,000 bonus, Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told Military.com.

An average enlistment contract is about four years, Bland said.

The Army needs to fill 3,300 infantry spots by Sept. 30 and decided in mid-May to increase the infantry recruiting bonus from the maximum $15,000, according to Bland. The bonus is only available to recruits who leave for basic training before the end of September.

(Stars and Stripes)

Look for more fodder for the battlefield…..sacrifices for the M-IC…..

They would not have to resort to bribery if they were not fighting so goddamn many wars.

Just Saying!

Peace Out!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–12Jul19

As a student and writer on armed conflict its management and resolution I am always looking at different wars/battles to see if any of them match up with the endless relentless wars we are fighting today.

And since the news is so damn redundant these days I have taken to reading more so than normal which is a lot…..

I read one by a retired service person on the top ten battles in history……do you agree with his list and rankings?

Battles win wars, topple thrones, and redraw borders. Every age of human history has experienced battles that have been instrumental in molding the future. Battles influence the spread of culture, civilization, and religious dogma. They introduce weapons, tactics, and leaders who dominate future conflicts. Some battles have even been influential not for their direct results, but for the impact of their propaganda on public opinion.

The following list is not a ranking of decisive engagements, but rather a ranking of battles according to their influence on history. Each narrative details location, participants, and leaders of the battle, and also provides commentary on who won, who lost, and why. Narratives also evaluate each battle’s influence on the outcome of its war and the impact on the victors and losers.

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/topten/index.html

What a good American!  He ranks Yorktown #1.

Waterloo ranking will make my English friends happy…..and to help that…..The Battle of Waterloo was the last attempt by Napoleon to establish himself in France and Europe, after his defeat in 1814. Why was Napoleon defeated at Waterloo? It was a mixture of the stubborn British resistance, their superior cavalry, Wellington’s leadership and, most importantly, the timely arrival of the Prussian army on the battlefield. 

The problem for me is that England was not alone in this conflict….they were joined by others……https://dailyhistory.org/Why_was_Napoleon_defeated_at_Waterloo%3F

I think the Battle of Tours in the 8th century needs to be included for this conflict stopped the Muslim conquest of Europe.

In 712 the Saracens entered into France and began pillaging the region for treasure. In 725 Anbessa, the Saracen governor of Spain, personally leads an army across the Pyrenees Mountains into France and takes the strongly fortified town of Carcassone. During the battle he receives a fatal wound, and the Saracen army retires into the nearby town of Narbonne before retreating back to the safety of Spain.

http://www.classichistory.net/archives/battle-of-tours

I disagree with his choice of Cajamarca…..I feel that the defeat of the Mongols at Marj al-Saffar was more substantial because it brought an end to the western expansion of the Mongols.  Europe should be eternally grateful.

Or The Battle of Britain should be also for it stop Hitler in his tracks and his time table for Russia was moved up and that was a disastrous decision.

Do you have any battles that you feel should be on the list of the ten most decisive battles?

Let us know and explain why you think they should be included.

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Peace In Our Time?

I wish I could say that with the urge to laugh out loud…..

Sorry I had to borrow a line from UK’s Chamberlain in 1938….but this time I am talking about America’s longest war ever….Afghanistan.

The latest round of talks between the US and the Taliban have ended with what is being called a “roadmap to peace” for Afghanistan. The agreement is non-binding, but points toward a formal agreement being not far down the road.

The talks effectively have an agreement on the US withdrawal and the Taliban fighting against ISIS and al-Qaeda, and commits both sides to a deal to end civilian casualties and negotiate with the Afghan government on power-sharing.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the head US negotiator, is expressing hopes that the deal will ultimately be finalized by September 1. This would be the day for signing the deal, though when everything would be implemented is still unclear.

A final deal is expected to both put a timeline to everything, and provide some mechanism of international guarantors for the peace deal, ending 18 years of US-led occupation of Afghanistan.

(antiwar.com)

Where was the “elected” Afghan government in these talks?

I asked and I received…..

The Afghan peace process “must be fully Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” former President Hamid Karzai said at the 8th World Peace Forum in China on Tuesday, according to Xinhua report.

“Progress is there between the United States and the Taliban, and hopefully, it is one that will ensure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Karzai said.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad concluded the seventh round of talks with the Taliban negotiators on July 9 in Qatar. He was cited by reports as saying that the Afghans are closer to reaching peace than any time in the past.

Khalilzad said on July 8 that he had “lots of progress” on four key issues under debate in the negotiations.

The four issues which have been discussed by the US and the Taliban negotiators in the seven rounds of talks are counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks.  

Karzai lauded efforts made to push for national reconciliation and bring about peace in Afghanistan, such as the two-day intra-Afghan dialogue opened on Sunday in Qatar’s capital Doha with the presence of a 17-member negotiating team from the Taliban.

(tolonews.com)

Wait!

Did I see that the Taleban was fighting against AQ and ISIS?

And yet the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy…..then explain to all of us just why the Hell are we still fighting and dying in this region?

NATO has a different take on when  to leave…..

Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid, the Resolute Support Commander Gen. Scott Miller, and NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Nicholas Kay on Wednesday visited Ghazni to assess the security of the central province.

Addressing the meeting, Kay said NATO will not leave Afghanistan until the job is done.

“We are not leaving. We are not leaving until the job is done. If the Taliban think they can just wait us out, then they have miscalculated,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the acting defense minister said they visited the province to show to the security forces that the government is supporting them.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/nato-will-not-leave-afghanistan-until-job-done-kay

WTF?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Has Our Foreign Policy Failed?

AS a student and writer on American foreign policy I feel that ours in the last decades has been a failure.

I say this because in two decades we have gone to endless wars and the threat of even more to come…..Albright, Powell, Clinton and all the Trumpites…..confrontation and armed conflict has become the norm as opposed to the exception.

How to describe U.S. foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily—invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical “caliphate” the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/understanding-failure-us-foreign-policy-albright-doctrine-60477

Our failures have been shown to be forefront…especially with Trump’s favorite tactic….sanctions…..

The U.S.’s military might be the most powerful weapon in the country’s arsenal, but economic sanctions are being fully exploited to go after “enemies” real or imaged. The U.S. Treasury Dept. identifies 30 active sanctions programs that include, according to one estimate, 7,967 operating sanctions.

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) defines an economic sanction “as the withdrawal of customary trade and financial relations for foreign and security policy purposes.”  It notes that the modern sanction era began in the wake of the Cuban Revolution and escalated following the 9/11 attacks when Pres. George W. Bush signed an Executive Order (#13224) that gave the Treasury Department officials “authority to freeze the assets and financial transactions of individuals and other entities suspected of supporting terrorism.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/sanctions-failure-of-u-s-foreign-policy/

It is time for the US to re-learn the use of diplomacy as opposed to direct action…..diplomacy costs less (something that Repubs should be pushing if they truly are deficit hawks) in cash and lives.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Where The Hell Is “Sahel”?

I am a student of history and of conflict…….I try to let my readers know what is happening around the world because eventually the US may be fighting yet another war.

I have a friend that studies the region in Africa known as the “Sahel”…..but most of my readers will be asking WTF?

Let me help out….

Image result for sahel

I have written about this region on occasion but not in-depth…..most of mine has been about the deaths of American SOF troops or the terror that is Boko Haram….but there is so much more to this region that some small posts of mine.

I introduced my reader to the “Sahel” when I reported on the deaths of American soldiers in Mali and Niger.

There is so much going on in this region with the US and France using soldiers to try and control the developing situations.

thousands of miles away, in the deserts and scrublands of West Africa’s Sahel – a semi-arid belt of land on the southern edge of the Sahara – another jihadist insurgency has been spreading like wildfire, with far less international attention.

The civilian toll in numbers

  • Civilian fatalities rose 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali compared to the previous year
  • 440,000 people displaced by conflict, a five-fold increase over the previous year
  • 1.8 million people face food insecurity
  • 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance
  • 157 men, women, and children killed in March in one attack in Mali

In recent months, a surge in violence in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger – three Sahelian countries with shared borders and common problems – has left more than 440,000 people displaced and 5,000 dead, as militants – some with links to al-Qaeda and IS – extend their grip across the region.

https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/in-depth/sahel-flames-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger-militancy-conflict

The UN has isolated several problems other than the rise in terrorist activity……food, environmental, fragile economies as well as political instability……

https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/december-2013/sahel-one-region-many-crises

Let’s be honest the Sahel is quickly becoming a hot bed for terrorist activity……

Violent extremist organizations in the Central Sahel (the Fezzan in Libya’s south, Niger and the Lake Chad Basin) are exploiting environmental change, economic grievances, and longstanding social cleavages to recruit and expand. United States Africa Command is explicitly tasked with countering significant terrorist threats but fluctuating resources and underuse of diplomatic and economic tools risks allowing extremists to consolidate their gains and establish safe havens.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/07/08/assessment_of_rising_extremism_in_the_central_sahel_114562.html

I admit that this region does not get the copy it deserves here on IST……a situation I shall try to rectify.

This is a region that the US has entered into with our military and that may not be the best way to handle events in these countries.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”