Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Esper’

A debunked conspiracy theory that will still destroy America

Posted by M. C. on November 20, 2020

Liberal Hawks and Idiot Imperialists, with Doug Bandow
Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute The American Empire is completely detached from the will of the American people. This has been made evident most recently as the U.S. military has stopped obeying its civilian leadership. For example: Jim Jeffrey, an American diplomat, lied to the President about troop numbers to keep America at war  Defense Secretary Mark Esper bragged in the “Military Times” about how he would ignore the President’s policies, and found out he could get away with it Horton used to think that those in power were conspiring to destroy America by overextending the U.S. dollar and the U.S. military. But the truth is that the American Empire is run by idiots. Heroic reporters like Michael Hastings have revealed the inner-world of the fools who rule us. Samantha Power, for example, got tired of “doing rinky-dink do-gooder stuff,” like protecting Christians in Iraq, so she plotted the overthrow of Libya so she could add an extra bullet point to her resume. “They make enough of a living building this crumbling empire that it’s worth it for them to not object and to continue to go along with this.” —Scott Horton To get into the minds of the next group of psychopaths who will be advising President Biden, like those who think we need to go back to supporting Al Qaeda in Syria, listen to the interview by clicking below. Listen to Interview Innoculate others against war propaganda. Share this email.

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The US Military/Security Complex Is Destroying Both Peace and the US Economy –

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2020

The military/security complex makes certain that no moves toward peace can succeed. Its lobbyists have succeeded in undoing all the arms control agreements reached with Russia since the 1960s.

Paul Craig Roberts

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is a former Raytheon lobbyist and another example of President Trump’s penchant for frustrating his own policies by appointing to power people who oppose his policies.  Why does Trump think he can expect a representative of the military/security complex to help him wind down Washington’s hegemonic policeman of the world routine?

Esper is out making speeches that the military/security complex needs 5% real increase annually in order to counter Russia and China— .  It is Washington that is aggressive toward Russia and China, not the other way around.  The military/security complex desperately needs foreign enemies in order to maximize its budget and power.  Russiagate’s purpose was to prevent Trump from removing a valuable “enemy” by normalizing relations with Russia. 

The US defense  budget could be cut in half and still be larger than the combined defense budgets of Russia and China.  China spends about half as much of its economy on defense as the US.  If Russia and China intended aggression against the US, wouldn’t you expect to see much higher spending on military?

You could make a case that US defense spending is so high because of inefficiency and enormous profits hidden in “cost overruns.”  If so, then increased real spending should come from strict budetary measures and oversight.  We should not be accepting a military spending system that cannot account for trillions of dollars and is so poorly controlled that it cannot be audited.  Will patriotic conservatives ever realize that blind support for the Pentagon allows the massive rip-off of taxpayers and the neglect of real needs all for nothing but out-sized profits of arms makers? 

The military/security complex makes certain that no moves toward peace can succeed.  Its lobbyists have succeeded in undoing all the arms control agreements reached with Russia since the 1960s.  Russia’s President Putin has made repeated offers to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty, but Washington has rejected his offer out of hand.  The reason is obvious.  The corrupt puppet regime of Obama agreed to a trillion dollar increase in nuclear weapons spending, and the military/security complex means to get that money.

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Exclusive– Congressman: Nancy Pelosi Blocking Investigation into Chinese Coronavirus Origins, Tax Money to Wuhan Lab

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2020

Anthony Fauci’s NIAID was involved in funds going to the Wuhan lab.

Yet this epidemic centered at this lab was a big surprise. Why?

Power, money, big government wanting to control the plebs?

So are we back to everyone’s first guess-Bio-weapons research? How deep is Fauci’s involvement in bio-weapons?

Are you getting the feeling that anywhere there is a government funded lab researching cures-there are bio-weapons lurking in a dark corner?

by Matthew Boyle

Appearing on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, Reschenthaler discussed his efforts to investigate tax dollars that flowed through a New York firm to the Wuhan lab. He said that Pelosi and House Democrats are not interested in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable and, instead, want to focus their oversight efforts on politically harming President Trump again just like they tried and failed with the partisan impeachment last year and earlier this year…

Reschenthaler wrote a letter this week to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper inquiring about a Pentagon grant to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc., a New York firm that has had a history of funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology with subgrants from American taxpayers. The Pentagon grant the congressman was inquiring about was for research into bat-borne zoonotic diseases and their potential as weapons of mass destruction or biological weapons. While it is unclear if that grant saw U.S. taxpayer money flowing from it out to the Wuhan lab, it is known that another grant that EcoHealth Alliance received did partially spend U.S. tax dollars in the Chinese lab….

That grant, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — in particular the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is run by the now-famous Dr. Anthony Fauci — saw U.S. tax dollars sent to EcoHealth Alliance for researching coronaviruses from bats flow out to the Chinese lab in Wuhan…

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What We’re Not Allowed To Know About the Afghan War – Original

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2020

Rather, in this moment – well into year 19 of a war Americans now ignore – the real story is SIGAR#46 itself: specifically what this remarkable (if insipid) report contains. See, what’s profound about the document is threefold: what it says, what it doesn’t say, and (most fascinating / disturbing of all), what it says it can’t say. No need, even, to read between the lines – the document literally lists what it won’t let out.

…he admits the Afghan War is “still” in “a state of strategic stalemate.” Not too comforting, that – especially after 19 years of killing and dying.

Tune in to Episode#46 of the SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) show, folks – at least those (few) who still care about America’s longest, ongoing, war. The latest installment just dropped, and I promise it’s a gem: replete with the all the dramatic suspense of “Homeland,” the dark comedy of a rebooted “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and the sappy tear-jerking of “This Is Us.” OK, maybe I’m overselling that; it’s a pretty abstruse government document, at root. Still, this particular segment from the congressionally-appointed organization charged with “independent and objective oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction projects and activities,” is pretty darn profound if anyone bothered to read it. But few will.

See, Americans will binge watch anything – no matter how banal – put in front of them by Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, especially if it means they can avoid (gasp) any of that messy face-to-face human interaction stuff. Sure, there are now 46 SIGAR installments, but what’s that compared to 201 episodes of the beloved “Office?” But read even the 1-2 page executive summaries of quarterly reports that increasingly, and vehemently, conclude that the nation’s longest war – which still kills American troops – is failing? Fat chance. Never happen. That, like “voluntary” service in the war itself, is somebody else’s job. Not that reading even the entire (most relevant) “Security” section would take very long. After all, the current top New York Times bestseller, Open Book – by the always riveting and relevant pop star Jessica Simpson – clocks in at 416 pages, compared to just 26 (with ample pictures and charts) in this security report.

Now, luckily for you, the reader, I’ve neither the space, energy, nor inclination to recount, again, the holistic failures, obfuscations, and contradictions of this absurd, endless war. Rather, in this moment – well into year 19 of a war Americans now ignore – the real story is SIGAR#46 itself: specifically what this remarkable (if insipid) report contains. See, what’s profound about the document is threefold: what it says, what it doesn’t say, and (most fascinating / disturbing of all), what it says it can’t say. No need, even, to read between the lines – the document literally lists what it won’t let out.

Coming from a notoriously (and increasingly) furtive Pentagon, and government more generally, this 46th internal report card is at times astonishingly forthright – even about what it “legally” refuses to be forthright about! It’s all rather stunning, and, in a macabre way, almost refreshing. So why be so straight-up, Uncle Sam? It sure ain’t due to any principled attachment to the public’s right-to-know. Nah, call me cynical – conspiratorial even – but I’m increasingly persuaded that the report is almost some sort of dark inside joke. It’s like a dare-you-to-care, slap-in-the-face to a cowed citizenry whom the powers-that-be know don’t care about, or even pay attention to, this forever war. See, they count on, maybe even laugh at, such public apathy.

So, to hit only the highest of the highlights: let’s review just what’s (sequentially) in, the security section of SIGAR-46 – with particular attention to what it says, doesn’t say, and says it doesn’t say. The darn thing begins with an instructive admission from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, in which he admits the Afghan War is “still” in “a state of strategic stalemate.” Not too comforting, that – especially after 19 years of killing and dying. Then, it quotes a January 22, 2020 White House statement that President Trump’s goal is for the Taliban to demonstrate “a significant and lasting reduction in violence…that would facilitate meaningful negotiations on Afghanistan’s future.”

Presumably, this would allow the U.S. to – Vietnam-style – declare victory and go home. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t say is that the Taliban holds the strongest hand right now, controls or contests more of the country than ever before, has time on its side, and thus has no incentive to oblige Mr. Trump. Nor does it say that (and this is awkward) the “sovereign” Afghan Government categorically rejects negotiations with the Taliban on Trump’s – admittedly oscillating – terms.

Furthermore, the report says that Taliban-initiated attacks were actually higher this fourth quarter than in any year since data collection began in 2010. Furthermore, it admits that more American service members died in 2019 (23) than in any year since 2014. SIGAR doesn’t say, what, precisely, those soldiers died for! The report then goes on to list out a bunch of fairly vital information that’s recently (for the last few years) been “classified.” Instructively, SIGAR feels obliged (read: forced) to place the following verbatim statement before each and every datapoint it says it can’t say: “US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) continued to classify or otherwise restrict from public release the following types of data…” These minor items include, well: Afghan Security Forces’ casualty numbers, performance assessments (how these U.S.-trained units are, you know, doing), and overall personnel “attrition” (from desertion, books-cooking, and battle deaths).

I know what you’re thinking: so how are the American people to know how the war is going, and thus how to assess it, and thereby which candidate for commander-in-chief to vote for? Short answer: they won’t – and that’s the idea! The national security state doesn’t want an educated, informed, active citizenry. That’s not in their interest. Here’s a thought experiment to demonstrate just how off-the-democratic-rails the system has gone: Imagine the outcry if on June 7th, 1944, the US Government announced – “Sorry, folks, we can’t tell you how D-Day turned out, but, please keep sending your precious boys across the Atlantic to fight anyway!”

Oh, and there’s so much more inside SIGAR’s treasure-trove of tragedy: violence is still highest in the traditional Taliban heartland of the Afghan South, West and Mountain East, but, in 2019, increased and even spread into the non-Pashto North and Capital-bordering regions. Indeed, enemy attacks were up in 13 of 34 provinces (38 percent), seven of which aren’t even Pashto-majority (most all Taliban hail from this ethnic group) districts. Then the document says that Afghan Security Force numbers were up seven percent this quarter, but didn’t say that much of that increase came from finally auditing and fiddling with the byzantine Afghan “books,” or that the total force is still – after 19 years of raising and training that force with American cash and human effort – only manned at 77.5 percent of authorized capacity, a mere 79,000 man shortfall.

Finally, the report vaguely says that a “general” – exact Afghan casualty counts remain classified – DOD “assessment” showed that local security force casualties “increased slightly.” What it doesn’t say anything about are two defeat-clinching details: 1) That the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties – that is, losing troops faster than it can replace them; and 2) That the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay the bill for its own security forces (which runs at $5 billion annually against $2 billion of domestic revenue). More specifically, foreign aid still accounts for more than 95 percent of the national GDP. It’s the sort of mental math my 5th grader is capable of: an unsustainable formula for perpetual US involvement in the conflict.

So there you have it, folks. It’s all in there: open admissions, obvious omissions, and forthright admissions-of-omissions – which all point towards a failed war that has long ago been lost. Clearly, if America was still an even marginally functional (ostensible) republic, every single Congressman would have felt duty-bound, and voluntarily read these (and past) reports. My guess is few bothered. Then, in my democratic fantasy world, there’d be hardcore hearings on the Hill and every relevant national security figure of the last two decades would be called on the carpet with some awkward explaining to do. But there won’t be any of that, either.

Only it isn’t just a derelict-in-its-duty, busy with “dialing-for-dollars” Legislature that’s to blame for Afghan War inertia (though Congress-bashing is rather cathartic!). No, a slew of other organizations and institutions – universities, churches, unions, and veterans’ groups, for starters – ought to be devouring every word of these crucial reports, planning, assembling, and then hitting the old streets in response to the rank ridiculousness revealed therein. Yet it just doesn’t seem – on any substantial scale – to be happening. And, while I know it isn’t strictly true, in my darker moments of despair I genuinely wonder if I’m the last citizen left with a functioning highlighter and a f**k left to give.

Look, that sounded self-righteous, and it likely was. Still, remember, always remember, that the “owners” of the US National Security State (and thus, this whole country) count on our apathy, and can’t smoothly rule the roost without it. And they’re so certain, here in the year 2020, that they’ve got that locked down, that they aren’t even afraid to (insincerely) pay fealty to transparency through assenting to such a remarkably candid SIGAR admission of “stalemate” and failure. The warfare state elites may as well roll-up hard copies of the report and poke us right in the eyes, folks. They’re laughing at you! So please, get pissed; fight back. Read…rally…and, if necessary…revolt!

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Afghanistan war: US and Afghan Taliban start partial truce ...



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Pentagon: We’ll Shoot Any Syrian Official Who Tries to Access Syrian Oil | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on November 10, 2019

But, as one reporter pointed out, ISIS fighters “have no armor. They have no aircraft.”

“Do they have the capability to actually seize the oil fields?” the reporter asked. “And isn’t this really about Russia and Syria seizing those oil fields?”

Yes, oil is why your sons and daughters are died.

Authored by Andrea Germanos via,

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields.

The briefing came less than two weeks after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, “That’s our mission, to secure the oil fields” in the Deir ez-Zor area of eastern Syria. President Donald Trump’s comments before and after that remark —”We’re going to be protecting [the oil], and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future,” and “The oil… can help us, because we should be able to take some”— were seized on by critics who claimed Trump was suggesting violating international law by plundering another country’s resources and openly saying the U.S. was pursuing war for oil.

Hoffman, in his comments Thursday, gave a different message—that “the revenue from this is not going to the U.S. This is going to the SDF,” referring to the Kurdish-led and U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, who are battling ISIS. Byrne claimed that the U.S. has been waging the oil field control mission alongside SDF and that the goal was to prevent ISIS from obtaining the oil revenue.

But, as one reporter pointed out, ISIS fighters “have no armor. They have no aircraft.”

“Do they have the capability to actually seize the oil fields?” the reporter asked. “And isn’t this really about Russia and Syria seizing those oil fields?”

* * *

Hoffman replied that the goal was “to prevent a resurgence” of ISIS which would be facilitated if the terrorist group had access to the oil revenue.

When the Pentagon officials were pressed on whether “U.S. troops have the… authorization to shoot if a representative of the Syrian government comes to the.. oil fields and says, ‘I am here to take property of these oil fields,’” Byrne said, “our commanders always retain the right and the obligation of self-defense when faced with a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.”

The officials were reminded by a reporter that “the government of Syria is still, based on international law… [the] recognized legitimate government.” Hoffman said, “Everyone in the region knows where American forces are. We’re very clear with anyone in the region in working to deconflict where our forces are. If anyone — we work to ensure that… no one approaches or has — shows hostile intent to our forces, and if they do, our commanders maintain the right of self-defense.”

Hoffman later said that the oil field mission couldn’t be separated from the fight to defeat ISIS. Operations in “Syria are done under the commander-in-chief’s authorities to — with regards to protecting Americans from terrorist activity.”

Pressed again by a reporter about the “legal basis for… the United States military to take and control the natural resources inside the boundaries of another country,” Hoffman responded, “the legal basis for this comes under the commander-in-chief’s authority for us to be conducting counter-terrorism efforts against ISIS. And I — I get your point when you’re trying to decouple the ISIS issue from the Syria issue, but it is not a decoupled issue.”

Later Hoffman was asked by a reporter if “President Trump [has] legal authority to take over these oil fields or is the United States stealing the oil?”

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The Messy Reality Inside the Pentagon, Captured in Fiction ...

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Secretary of Defense, Incorporated – Original

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

Perhaps we should confess to ourselves that the nation’s vaunted soldiers are little more than political pawns in a game that’s far bigger, far more Kafkaesque, than those troopers could begin to fathom. And, finally, let’s admit one last thing: Few of us care.

This article originally appeared at TruthDig.


The man is so beautifully bland. In fact, I’d wager that only a tiny segment of Americans could name the current Secretary of Defense – and far fewer could pick him out of a lineup. Perhaps that’s the point. President Trump, a celebrity ham, has tired of sharing the stage with big-name advisers such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton. So they’re both gone. In their place, Trump has installed faceless bureaucrats to run the most powerful national security state in human history. And the rest of us hardly notice.

Trump’s appointment of Mark Esper as head of the largest and most active Cabinet department, and the new Defense Secretary’s near unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate, is no less of a scandal than Trump’s apparent efforts to seek foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Only it isn’t.

Still, the nomination of Esper, a recent lobbyist for the defense contracting corporation Raytheon, ranks as one of the most egregious illustrations of the “revolving door” between lobbyists and the Defense Department. It’s crony capitalism in fatigues, and while nothing new, a clear indication that things have only worsened under our reality-show-mogul-president.

Of course, seen through the rose-colored glasses of American empire, Esper is highly qualified to head the Defense Department. He’s a West Point graduate, former Army infantry officer, recipient of a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard and a doctorate in public policy from George Washington University, and has past experience working in the Pentagon.

If one digs further, however, Esper is wildly problematic—loaded with conflicts of interest, a veteran of the (should be) discredited neoconservative Bush-era DOD, and little more than a corporate “company man.” He didn’t just work for Raytheon, he lobbied on the defense contractor’s behalf only recently. Under rather sharp questioning by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during his confirmation hearings, Esper refused to recuse himself from participating in government business involving Raytheon. In typically lifeless language, Esper replied that “On the advice of my ethics folks at the Pentagon, the career professionals: No, their recommendation is not to.” How’s that for accepting responsibility? No matter, he was swiftly and quietly confirmed by a vote of 90-8 in the Senate.

Expect another banner year for Raytheon. It’s already the third-largest US defense contractor, and produces, among other tools of destruction, Paveway precision-guided missiles—the very weapons that Congress recently sought to stop shipping to Saudi Arabia due to (rather tardy) concerns about the heads of Yemeni civilians upon which they’re dropped.

I predict more deals and more taxpayer billions for Raytheon with Esper at the Defense helm…

All of which begs some questions and provides some disturbing answers. Perhaps we ought to ditch the myth that the Defense Secretary simply heads the Pentagon, and admit that Esper is really the emperor of a far grander military-industrial complex that includes a veritable army of K-Street lobbyists and venal arms dealers. Maybe it’s time to concede that unelected national security czars, and not a stalemated bought-and-sold Congress, run national defense and set the gigantic Pentagon budget. Perhaps we should confess to ourselves that the nation’s vaunted soldiers are little more than political pawns in a game that’s far bigger, far more Kafkaesque, than those troopers could begin to fathom. And, finally, let’s admit one last thing: Few of us care.

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Grand Theft Pentagon :Tales of Corruption and Profiteering ...

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Former lobbyist Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief

Posted by M. C. on July 24, 2019

Just another day in the swamp.

At least someone was bothered enough to bring the subject up.

Don’t worry, it is already forgotten.

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Army Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in as U.S. secretary of defence on Tuesday, hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote that ended the longest period by far the Pentagon had been without a permanent top official.

Esper was sworn in at the White House by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump and attended by a number of Republican lawmakers. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 90-8 several hours earlier.

“That’s a vote that we’re not accustomed to, Mark. I have to say that, so congratulations,” Trump told Esper, a former professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Esper, 55, a former soldier and lobbyist for weapons maker Raytheon Co <RTN.N>, received strong bipartisan support despite sharp questioning during his confirmation hearing by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren about his ties to Raytheon and his refusal to extend an ethics commitment he signed in 2017 to avoid decisions involving the company.

Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, was the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to voice opposition to Esper’s confirmation during the hearing.

Raytheon is the third-largest U.S. defence contractor…

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