Was 100 Years Enough?

We have just celebrated the end of World War One…here in the US it was a celebration of Veterans Day…..I have been looking back at the war for the last few years…..I am amazed at the death and destruction that war gave the world…..

First let’s look at some misconceptions that have been spread about the war…..

Eleven leading historians explode some major myths that have clouded our understanding of the Great War over the past 100 years…

The killing of Franz Ferdinand was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back

https://www.historyextra.com/period/first-world-war/the-great-misconceptions-of-the-first-world-war/

It has been 100 years since the armistice has been signed…..and the world events show us that war is ever present for various reasons…..but did we learn anything from World War One?

The close of World War I was supposed to end the world’s reliance on arms—and empire. But on the centenary, the Middle East offers proof that this hasn’t happened.

The First World War, which ended a century ago Sunday, was supposed to be a hinge-moment in history: a war to end all wars, and a war to end the imperialism that had shaped the West’s interaction with the world for centuries. After the United States joined the war in 1917, President Wilson insisted it be fought in the cause of self-determination.

But despite its massive toll, the war did not end empire, and many of today’s struggles are rooted in that failure, including Americans’ own imperial investments in war.

https://newrepublic.com/article/152153/100-years-enough

About the only lessons learned by World War One is that there will always be bigger and better weapons and those that will want to possess them and ultimately use them and there will always be those that amass huge fortunes selling those weapons to whoever has the cash…..

Then we ask just what did all those people die for?

Yet the only war of the 20th century more senseless than Vietnam was the so-called Great War, and most especially America’s intervention in an old world tragedy for no good reason whatsoever. That is to say, the Marine heroes of the bloody battle of Belleau Wood did not die “in the trenches for the cause of freedom”.

To the contrary, they died there owing to the fanatical megalomania of President Woodrow Wilson. The latter maneuvered America into the Great War in April 1917 when it was nearly over, and for the purpose of giving himself a grand seat at the peace conference afterward to reshape the world in accordance with his messianic vision.

That was a horrible reason in itself for the 116,000 deaths of American servicemen during the less than 12 months that they were actually engaged in battle at the tail end of the war. The real tragedy of their sacrifice and the real crime of Wilson’s pointless intervention was that it snatched victory for the allies, who didn’t deserve it, from the jaws of stalemate among the militarily exhausted, financially bankrupt and politically demoralized combatants on both sides of the conflict.

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2018/11/12/america-should-have-skipped-the-war-not-just-the-ceremony/

I agree with another article I read about the holiday…..

…every public institution will pause and go through the motions of “thanking” America’s veterans; but the whole pretense ignores that the populace hardly cares about foreign policy.

Veterans’ Day – maybe we ought to drop the whole charade. Don’t get me wrong, there will be celebrations a plenty: the NFL will roll out the ubiquitous stadium-sized flags and march uniformed service members in front of the cameras; cities across the nation will hold parades; and millions of Americans will take a moment to go through the motions and “thank” the nation’s soldiers. Sure, the gestures are sometimes genuine and certainly preferable to the alternative. Still, all this martial spectacle misses the salient point hidden just below the surface: the American people are absolutely not engaged with U.S. foreign policy. Most could hardly name the seven countries its military actively bombing, let alone find them on a map.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2018/11/12/one-veterans-plea-get-informed-or-ditch-the-holiday/

Basically to me war makes no sense to me….and I am not alone…..

America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore/

AMEN!

I say that because I have heard people bad mouthing our veterans and servicemen as basically “freeloaders”…..to this I say “go find a war and go fight then talk to me!”  PERIOD!

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Time For The House To Step Up

(I will re-blog this post in January of 2019 as the new Congress gets sworn it…just a reminder)

Voting is done……the tally is the Dems have prevailed.

The House is now in the hands of the Dems…..and now is the time for the Dems to step up and take back the power to declare war…..they have allowed the president too much lee way in this field and because the president has had a free hand we are fighting someone in at least 100 locations….time for that to change!

The American political environment is as polarized as it has been in recent memory. But there is one major policy priority that should unite lawmakers on both sides: making the legislative branch relevant on matters of war and peace.

The assumption within the foreign policy establishment is that national security in general, and war-making in particular, are distinct responsibilities of the executive branch. The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces, after all, under Article 2 of the Constitution.

But the legislative branch is not meant to be a bystander. The authors of the Constitution understood that concentrating too much power in the executive branch would start the country down a dangerous road to perpetual war. “War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement,” James Madison observed astutely, and the temptation to make war “would be too great for any one man.”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-depetris-congress-war-powers-20181008-story.html

An excellent point and a point that I and others have been saying since 2003…..time for the Congress to start doing their job and let the president play to the cameras.

One little-noted consequence of the Democrats’ victory in the House of Representatives on Tuesday is that, for the first time in several years, there will be serious oversight of the Defense Department and possibly some cuts in high-profile weapons systems and secret commando operations.

At the Defense News Conference in September, Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington Democrat who has been the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and is likely to become its chairman in January, listed his top priorities if his party took control of the House. They include:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/democrats-house-pentagon-oversight.html

Is it possible that a new House could change the ddirection of US foreign policy?

The blue wave that crested over the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday was just large enough to usher in a Democratic majority for the first time in eight years. Because the president retains extraordinary powers to manage international affairs, foreign policy and national security may seem like the least likely areas to look for change in the new era. But Democrats may well force a shift in Washington’s approach to the world.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/how-house-democrats-will-shift-us-foreign-policy/575215/

And from the Middle East…….

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2018/11/midterms-revamp-mideast-policy-congress.html

So much rides on the new House…..but will anything change?

Democrats will use their new majority in the US House of Representatives to reverse what they see as a hands-off approach by Republicans toward President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and push for stricter dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, Reuters reports.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democrat in line to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said they might also seek congressional authorisation for the use of military force in places like Iraq and Syria. But on some hot-button areas, like China and Iran, he acknowledged there was little they could do to change the status quo.

As the majority party, Democrats will decide what legislation is considered in the House and have a more prominent role in setting spending policy and writing legislation.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181108-how-a-democratic-us-house-could-alter-foreign-policy/

But there is a dark side….recently the US Congress, a few members, have called for a ceasefire in the Yemen-Saudi mash-up….I agree but the problem is that the statement is little more than a PR stunt to look like the Congress is doing something…..

In an October 30 press release issued by the State Department, the Trump administration called “on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis—both of whom have long defended the Yemen war—are now calling for a ceasefire within 30 days.

Yet these exhortations are meaningless without real pressure on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are poised to launch yet another offensive on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-yemen-ceasefire-believe-it-when-you-see-it/

Like I have said….ALL BARK NO BITE!

Dems!  Time to step up!

More On The Death In Mali

A year ago I wrote a post on the mysterious death of a green Beret at the hands of SEALs…..I was appalled at the killing of Americans by Americans….we have enough enemies in the world we do not need to kill each other……then a report came out in a coupe of South American newspaper about the investigation into this death……I wrote…..https://lobotero.com/2018/11/07/suspicious-death-in-mali/

Four days after I read the report an American publication picked up the story…the Army Times……

A Navy admiral will now determine whether two SEALs will face charges in the strangling death of an Army Special Forces staff sergeant last year in Mali.

More than a year after the incident, the Navy’s criminal investigation into the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, 34, has concluded and been turned over to Rear Adm. Charles Rock, commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, as reported by the U.S. Naval Institute.

Rock was appointed by Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to oversee the case, according to USNI.

Capt. Greg Hicks, the Navy’s chief spokesman, told the New York Times that Rock would “review all relevant information pertaining to Staff Sergeant Melgar’s death and make determinations regarding administrative or disciplinary actions as appropriate.”

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/11/07/navy-completes-investigation-into-death-of-green-beret-in-mali-heres-what-happens-next/

Basically the same story as the one I read four days earlier……I wish I had more to write about but I wanted to make sure that my readers were aware that an American publication had picked up the story…..

Hopefully this family will get the answers and the satisfaction they deserve…..

Closing Thought–12Nov18

I have been looking back here on IST to World War One…..and since I have been working and writing about the Middle East I have also been looking at the effect of the war on many countries but it may have impacted the Middle East more so than others…….

Signs of World War I are everywhere and nowhere in the Middle East.

Overlain by subsequent conflicts and decades of bitter contestation, the legacies of the wartime experience continue to reverberate long after the conflict passed into history in Europe. With the Middle East in the throes of renewed political turmoil and having experienced decades of regional and international crises, many deriving from the decisions taken after the World War I, the complicated legacies of the war may not immediately be apparent but are nonetheless highly relevant.

A parallel may be drawn with the divided Europe up until 1989, where the ramifications of the World War II remained highly visible across multiple generations and made it difficult to establish historical distance from events whose legacy continued to resonate decades after.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/remembering-world-war-middle-east-181109152013898.html

Sadly tomorrow this war will be once again meaningless to most Americans…….

That brings today to an end of posting for me….I must recharge my batteries….see you guys tomorrow……chuq

An European Army?

Closing Thought–12Nov18

WTF?

I shared this info with a loyal reader of IST from the UK, https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/ , I try to get first hand info on stories I read….Pete has a great mind and lets me know what’s what in the UK and EU…..his takes are much appreciated.

The French dude has called for a standing “European Army” to protect the continent from Russia and the US…..really from the US?

Emmanuel Macron is calling for the formation of a “real European army,” and while two of that potential force’s foes, per the French president, are usual suspects, it’s the third that’s raising eyebrows. During a tour of WWI memorials in Verdun on Tuesday, Macron encouraged countries in Europe to establish a unified military effort to shield the continent “with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States of America,” reports AFP, via Time. “When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,” Macron noted, apparently referencing Trump’s pulling out of a nuclear weapons pact with Russia last month.

“Peace in Europe is precarious,” he added, with the Guardian noting Macron also warned of rising populism and nationalism there. Macron will be hosting a global “peace conference” in Paris on Sunday that will include Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other top leaders, and he’s expected to keep cautioning against what he calls the “leprosy” of nationalism—especially when compared to the past. “I am struck by similarities between the times we live in and those between the two world wars,” he told local media. The BBC, meanwhile, doesn’t know if this idea will ever fly, noting that “there is no evidence that any group of European countries has the political will or economic muscle to spend sufficiently on defense to make up for the United States’ raw power.”

Most of Europe is in the clutches of austerity programs so I do not think the cash is there for another standing army…..and then there is the “will”…don’t think there is much of that either.

“Making America Great Again”–Part 14

This part of the series is where most people pick up their knowledge of the country…the presidency of Andrew Jackson…..maybe I should say this is where most Americans think they know about this country and its early government……

Maj. Sjursen does an excellent job at looking at Jackson and the events around his presidency in Part 14…….

Part 14 of “American History for Truthdiggers.”

“… When the right and capacity to do all is given to any authority, whether it be called people or king, democracy or aristocracy, monarchy or a republic, I say: the germ of tyranny is there. …” —Alexis de Tocqueville, “Tyranny of the Majority”

There are precious few presidents, indeed, who can claim to have an entire era bearing their name. Andrew Jackson is one. Historians have long labeled his presidency and the years that followed it as “Jacksonian” America. This is instructive. Whatever else he was, this man, General—later President—Jackson, was an absolute tour de force. He swept to power on a veritable wave of populism and forever altered the American political scene. One might argue, plausibly, that we live today in the system he wrought.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-history-for-truthdiggers-andrew-jacksons-white-male-world-and-the-start-of-modern-politics/

Many think that the Jacksonian Era was the beginning of America as we know it today…..

This is an excellent look at our history…a history that may not be as it was taught to you in your school days…..

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Could It Happen Again?

That question is being asked on the day we Americans celebrate Armistice Day….could the world be plunged into that darkness again?

1914 the world thought that a form of “globalization” could prevent war……..they were wrong and we have been trying that experiment yet again and so it has not prevented any war that I am aware of….but here is Bloomberg’s take on this question……

Last month, I traveled to Vienna, the former seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a fitting place to contemplate the approaching 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.

That conflict began with Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia in July 1914, following the assassination of Austro-Hungarian archduke Franz Ferdinand. It ultimately led to more than 15 million deaths, the collapse of four empires, the rise of communism and fascism in some of Europe’s leading states, the emergence and subsequent retreat of America as a global power, and other developments that profoundly altered the course of the 20th century.

World War I was “the deluge … a convulsion of nature,” remarked Britain’s Minister of Munitions David Lloyd George, “an earthquake which is upheaving the very rocks of European life.” Although that conflict ended a century ago, it still offers three crucial lessons that are relevant to our increasingly disordered world today.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-11/100-years-after-world-war-i-there-s-reason-to-fear

Then there is the view of 100 years of a grand strategy by the US since the end of WW1…..

On November 11, 1918, World War One, the Great War, ended. Amid the chaos that followed—revolution, the fall of empires, and rise of nations—the United States attempted to build a rules-based world which favored freedom. American power had won the war, and President Woodrow Wilson was trying to shape a peace along the lines of what we now call a rules-based or “liberal” world order. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, presented the previous January, challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) which had started the war, and at the same time took on Lenin’s revolutionary alternative. Wilson’s ideas were a rough draft of American Grand Strategy in what has been called the American Century.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/one-hundred-years-of-american-grand-strategy

World War One changed the world forever……but now did we actually learn anything from the barbarity and horror of that war?

I await your thoughts.