MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Interesting Progression of Events – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/daniel-mcadams/interesting-progression-of-events/

The Best of Daniel McAdams Daniel McAdams is the Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

creativecommons.org

Previous article by Daniel McAdams: Should We Celebrate Rumsfeld’s Death?The Deadly Heat Wave of July 1936 in the Middle of Arguably the Hottest Decade on Record for the USNew Documentary on JFK Assassination Reveals ‘Organized Black Op’

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Why the Regime’s Regulatory Power Is a Standing Threat to America | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 21, 2021

Today, it is hard to believe that a president, the Pentagon, the CIA, or the NSA would make these types of direct threats to any U.S. company or its executives. But they don’t have to. Everyone knows what can happen to them if they decide to publicly criticize the sordid, dark-side activities of the national-security establishment. Discretion is the better part of valor, which has to be one big reason why most executives choose to remain silent. 

https://mises.org/wire/why-regimes-regulatory-power-standing-threat-america

Jacob G. Hornberger

Whenever some foreign regime that is independent of the U.S. Empire goes after dissenters, U.S. officials trot out the First Amendment to show how different the United States is. Here, people are free to criticize government officials without fear of being put in jail or otherwise punished for exercising their free speech rights, they proudly point out. 

However, what goes unexplained in such pious proclamations is why so many leading executives in big American companies remain silent when it comes to America’s foreign wars, foreign interventions, coups, alliances with dictators, torture, mass secret surveillance, indefinite detention, denial of due process, Gitmo, state-sponsored assassinations, and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security establishment.

The reason is that every one of those executives knows that federal officials are able to retaliate against them in indirect ways for criticizing their policies and operations. Such indirect methods of retaliation can consist of IRS audits, regulatory harassment, denial of applications for mergers and acquisitions, non-renewal of radio and television licenses, and even the threat of disclosure of personal secrets acquired through secret surveillance of emails and telephone records. 

A good example of free speech nullification involved President Lyndon Johnson, soon after he became president after the assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson’s indirect nullification of the First Amendment is set forth in Robert Caro’s book The Passage of Power.

Prior to the assassination, a Dallas reporter named Margaret Mayer had begun investigating Johnson’s radio and television stations in Austin. On the evening of Saturday, January 4, 1964, Johnson telephoned her paper’s managing editor and spoke directly about what he was prepared to do if the paper didn’t stop Mayer’s investigation. 

Johnson mentioned by name the paper’s publisher and board owner, its president, and the president of radio and television stations owned by the paper. He then made it clear that he was prepared to use all the powers at his disposal against them if they didn’t stop Mayer’s investigation, including IRS audits, both personal and business, as well as non-renewal of FCC licenses for the radio and television stations. 

Johnson demanded a response by the next morning. The next morning—Sunday morning—the editor telephoned the president and said, “We’ll take care of the thing tomorrow” and assured Johnson that his role would be kept secret. Mayer’s investigation was shut down.

Caro provides another example, one involving not just a reporter but rather an entire newspaper which had been critical of Johnson before the assassination. Johnson set out to stop the criticism.

The paper’s president also served as president of a local bank that was trying to merge with another Texas bank. Such mergers require federal approval. Both the Federal Reserve and the Justice Department opposed the merger. Using presidential aide Jack Valenti as an intermediary, Johnson told the paper that if it wanted the merger to go through, it would have to cease criticizing him. According to Caro, the paper became a supporter of Johnson, even endorsing him in the 1964 race. Johnson overruled the Fed and Justice Department and ordered the approval of the merger.

Caro provides another example of this phenomenon, one involving a Washington, D.C., correspondent for a Texas newspaper. The reporter had been critical of Johnson. Johnson telephoned the paper’s owner and mentioned Fort Worth’s Carswell Air Force Base as well as the recent decision to close the Fort Worth Army Depot. He also mentioned a project to make the Trinity River navigable for barges from the Gulf of Mexico to Fort Worth.

The paper squeezed out the reporter. Carswell remained in operation and ended up playing a big role in Johnson’s war in Vietnam. Johnson also made sure that one billion dollars in federal money went to the Trinity River project, although the project was never finished. 

Today, it is hard to believe that a president, the Pentagon, the CIA, or the NSA would make these types of direct threats to any U.S. company or its executives. But they don’t have to. Everyone knows what can happen to them if they decide to publicly criticize the sordid, dark-side activities of the national-security establishment. Discretion is the better part of valor, which has to be one big reason why most executives choose to remain silent. 

Author:

Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Despite Withdrawal, U.S. Commits Billions to Fund Afghan Military | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 8, 2021

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/despite-withdrawal-u-s-commits-billions-to-fund-afghan-military/

by Jason Ditz

U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan was meant to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan. As it stands, however, it seems that the administration is going through any hoops possible that might keep the war going and the US deeply invested in it.

The latest sign of the Afghan War to come was envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and a delegation committing the U.S. to $3.3 billion annually in direct funding to the Afghan military. This is just one aspect of all the U.S. aid to Afghanistan still being negotiated.

The U.S. spent decades designing an Afghan military that the country could never afford, and it was assumed the U.S. would be on the hook for some subsidy. The sheer size of the funding, however, points to a U.S. vision that they’re going to keep fighting a war, and doing it on the US dime.

This is a problem more than just for the $3.3 billion annually. U.S. officials, both military and diplomatic, have insisted that they will be supporting the Afghan government in the long run, just in ways that won’t require keeping the U.S. troops on the ground there.

Everything that is going to entail remains to be seen, but the Pentagon is envisioning $8.9 billion in “direct war costs” for Afghanistan in 2022. That’s direct war costs for a war that’s supposed to be over.

The Pentagon has called what’s going to happen an “over-the-horizon capability” involving forces positioned outside Afghanistan. Yet if this is a direct war cost, these forces are clearly going to be doing something direct in the war. The definitely-not-over war.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com

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Pentagon’s UFO PsyOps Fuel Russia, China War Risk — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2021

The Pentagram keeping your fear alive. The Chinese and Russians keeping the Pentagram’s fear alive. Apparently some armed forces spend their money on things other than pregnant aircrewmen’s special uniforms.

However, more worrying still is that there is a dangerous reinforcing crossover of the two propaganda realms. The fueling of UFO speculation is feeding directly into speculation that U.S. airspace is being invaded by high-tech weapons developed by Russia or China.

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the Pentagon about whether the aerial “encounters” are advanced weaponry from foreign enemies who are surveilling the American homeland at will. Some U.S. air force aviators have recently expressed to the media a feeling of helplessness in the face of seeming superior technology.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/21/pentagon-ufo-psyops-fuel-russia-china-war-risk/

Finian Cunningham

The stoking of UFO controversy appears to be a classic psyops perpetrated by U.S. military intelligence for the objective of population control, Finian Cunningham writes.

There are reasons to be skeptical. After decades of stonewalling on the issue, suddenly American military chiefs appear to be giving credence to claims of UFOs invading Earth. Several viral video clips purporting to show extraordinary flying technology have been “confirmed” by the Pentagon as authentic. The Pentagon move is unprecedented.

The videos of the Unidentified Flying Objects were taken by U.S. air force flight crews or by naval surveillance and subsequently “leaked” to the public. The question is: were the “leaks” authorized by Pentagon spooks to stoke the public imagination of visitors from space? The Pentagon doesn’t actually say what it believes the UFOs are, only that the videos are “authentic”.

A Senate intelligence committee is to receive a report from the Department of Defense’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force next month. That has also raised public interest in the possibility of alien life breaching our skies equipped with physics-defying technology far superior to existing supersonic jets and surveillance systems.

Several other questions come to mind that beg skepticism. Why does the phenomenon of UFOs or UAP only seem to be associated with the American military? This goes back decades to the speculation during the 1950s about aliens crashing at Roswell in New Mexico. Why is it that only the American military seems privy to such strange encounters? Why not the Russian or Chinese military which would have comparable detection technology to the Americans but they don’t seem to have made any public disclosures on alien encounters? Such a discrepancy is implausible unless we believe that life-forms from lightyears away have a fixation solely on the United States. That’s intergalactic American “exceptionalism” for you!

Also, the alleged sightings of UFOs invariably are associated with U.S. military training grounds or high-security areas.

Moreover, the released videos that have spurred renewed public interest in UFOs are always suspiciously of poor quality, grainy and low resolution. Several researchers, such as Mick West, have cogently debunked the videos as optical illusions. That’s not to say that the U.S. air force or naval personnel were fabricating the images. They may genuinely believe that they were witnessing something extraordinary. But as rational optics experts have pointed out there are mundane explanations for seeming unusual aerial observations, such as drones or balloons drifting at high speed in differential wind conditions, or by the crew mistaking a far-off aircraft dipping over the horizon for an object they believe to be much closer.

The military people who take the videos in good – albeit misplaced – faith about what they are witnessing are not the same as the military or intelligence people who see an opportunity with the videos to exploit the public in a psychological operation.

Fomenting public anxieties, or even just curiosity, about aliens and super-technology is an expedient way to exert control over the population. At a time when governing authorities are being questioned by a distrustful public and when military-intelligence establishments are viewed as having lost a sense of purpose, what better way to realign public respect by getting them to fret over alien marauders from whom they need protection?

There is here a close analogy to the way foreign nations are portrayed as adversaries and enemies in order to marshal public support or least deference to the governing establishment and its military. We see this ploy played over and over again with regard to the U.S. and Western demonization of Russia and China as somehow conveying a malign intent towards Western societies. In other words, it’s a case of Cold War and UFOs from the same ideological launchpad, so to speak, in order to distract public attention from internal problems.

However, more worrying still is that there is a dangerous reinforcing crossover of the two propaganda realms. The fueling of UFO speculation is feeding directly into speculation that U.S. airspace is being invaded by high-tech weapons developed by Russia or China.

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the Pentagon about whether the aerial “encounters” are advanced weaponry from foreign enemies who are surveilling the American homeland at will. Some U.S. air force aviators have recently expressed to the media a feeling of helplessness in the face of seeming superior technology.

At a time of heightened animosity towards Russia and China and febrile talk among Pentagon chiefs about the possibility of all-out war, it is not difficult to imagine, indeed it is disturbingly easy to imagine, how optical illusions about alien phenomena could trigger false alarms attributed to Russian or Chinese military incursions.

The stoking of UFO controversy appears to be a classic psyops perpetrated by U.S. military intelligence for the objective of population control. Its aim is to corral the citizenry under the authority of the state and for them to accept the protector function of “our” military. The big trouble is that the psyops with aliens are, in turn, risking the exacerbation of fears and tensions with Russia and China.

With all the Pentagon-assisted chatter, it is more likely that an F-18 squadron could mistake an errant weather balloon on the horizon for an alien spacecraft. And amid our new Cold War tensions, it is but a small conceptual step to further imagine that the UFO is not from outer space but rather is a Russian or Chinese hypersonic cruise missile heading towards the U.S. mainland.

© 2010 – 2021 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Watch “Pre-Crime: Is The Pentagon Spying On Soldiers?” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2021

The Pentagon is denying reports in The Intercept from earlier this week that it is contracting with outside firms to monitor the social media postings of US soldiers to weed out “extremism” in the ranks. Is “white nationalism” really a problem in the military, or is this an attempt to purge those not adhering to the emerging cultural Marxism and “woke-ism” that is plaguing the country? Also today: Uniformed US soldiers giving the covid jab at bars? Mayor Lori “Racist” Lightfoot. And Ted Cruz goes “Russiagate” conspiracy theorist…

https://youtu.be/-5RWAXa7kqs

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Pentagon uses world’s largest ‘secret army’ of 60,000 undercover operatives to carry out ‘domestic & foreign’ operations – media — RT USA News

Posted by M. C. on May 19, 2021

However, the fastest-growing group within the Pentagon’s clandestine force operates exclusively online. These “cyber fighters” assume fake identities to gather intelligence and search for “publicly accessible information” on the internet. They even reportedly take part in “campaigns to influence and manipulate social media.” Hundreds of these shadowy keyboard warriors are employees of the National Security Agency, Newsweek reported.

According to the outlet, the network relies on 130 private companies and dozens of little-known and secret government agencies to support its operations. The businesses, which do everything from forging documents to creating disguises, collectively make over $900 million annually to help fund the secret army. 

https://www.rt.com/usa/524092-pentagon-secret-undercover-army/

RT

The US military operates a vast network of soldiers, civilians, and contractors that it uses for clandestine missions both at home and abroad, Newsweek has claimed, adding that the force also manipulates social media.

After a two-year investigation, the outlet reported that the undercover army consists of around 60,000 people, many of whom use fake identities to carry out their assignments. The Pentagon’s agents operate in real life and online, with some even embedded in private businesses and well-known companies. 

The massive program, unofficially known as “signature reduction,” is reportedly 10 times the size of the CIA’s clandestine service, making it the “largest undercover force the world has ever known,” Newsweek claimed. But the true scale and scope of the shadow army remains a closely guarded secret. No one knows the program’s total size, and Congress has never held a hearing on the military’s increasing reliance on signature reduction. There appears to be very little or no transparency regarding the massive clandestine military force, even as its continued development “challenges US laws, the Geneva Conventions, the code of military conduct, and basic accountability,” the outlet said. 

Around half of the signature reduction force is said to consist of special operations personnel who hunt down terrorists in war zones and work in “unacknowledged hot spots” such as North Korea and Iran. Military intelligence specialists reportedly make up the second-largest part of the secret army. 

However, the fastest-growing group within the Pentagon’s clandestine force operates exclusively online. These “cyber fighters” assume fake identities to gather intelligence and search for “publicly accessible information” on the internet. They even reportedly take part in “campaigns to influence and manipulate social media.” Hundreds of these shadowy keyboard warriors are employees of the National Security Agency, Newsweek reported.

According to the outlet, the network relies on 130 private companies and dozens of little-known and secret government agencies to support its operations. The businesses, which do everything from forging documents to creating disguises, collectively make over $900 million annually to help fund the secret army. 

While the Pentagon’s agents typically remain under the radar, Newsweek claims there are several cases in which their covers have been blown. One such incident in 2013 involved American “diplomat” Ryan Fogle, who was arrested in Russia while allegedly trying to recruit a double agent. The case received wide media coverage and prompted considerable mockery, due to the seemingly outdated spying paraphilia that Fogle was in possession of, including wigs, sunglasses, a Moscow street map, a compass, as well as an old Nokia phone. However, an expert who spoke with Newsweek said the phone was likely concealing a highly sophisticated communications device. 

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The Media Wants You to Trust Washington Again Now That Trump Is Gone | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 13, 2021

In 1965, Arthur Sylvester, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, berated a group of war correspondents in Saigon: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.”

https://mises.org/wire/media-wants-you-trust-washington-again-now-trump-gone

James Bovard

Former CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski declared on Twitter last week that American journalists would “never expect … Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly” and “Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know.” Kosinski denounced “Trump’s unAmerican regime” and declared, “No one should accept this.” Kosinski’s comments epitomize the “Trump-washing” of American history that explains much of the media’s rage, hypocrisy, and follies in the last five years.

Kosinski’s mindset also helps explain why Americans’ trust in the media has collapsed. Kosinski spent years as CNN’s State Department correspondent, but her inside sources apparently never mentioned to her how she was helping them con the world. As history professor Leo Ribuffo observed in 1998, “Presidents have lied so much to us about foreign policy that they’ve established almost a common-law right to do so.” In 1965, Arthur Sylvester, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, berated a group of war correspondents in Saigon: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.”

A few weeks before the 9/11 attacks, New York Times columnist Flora Lewis wrote that “there will probably never be a return to the … collusion with which the media used to treat presidents, and it is just as well.” But the toppling of the World Trade Center towers made the media more craven than at any time since Vietnam. The media’s shameless deference was one of the most underreported stories of the Iraq War. Washington Post reporter Karen DeYoung admitted in 2004: “We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power.” PBS’s Bill Moyers noted that “of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news, from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department.” Jim Lehrer, the host of government-subsidized PBS’s NewsHour, explained his timidity in 2004: “It would have been difficult to have had debates [about invading Iraq] … you’d have had to have gone against the grain.” Lehrer explained why he and other premier journalists seemed clueless on Iraq: “The word ‘occupation,’ keep in mind, was never mentioned in the run-up to the war. It was ‘liberation’…. So as a consequence, those of us in journalism never even looked at the issue of occupation.” The elite journalists looked only where government told them to look. Former president George W. Bush’s lying America into a ruinous war has not deterred liberal media outlets from rehabilitating him as the “good Republican” in contrast to Trump.

Kowtowing is the high road to media stardom. A leak from the White House, like a touch from a saint, can instantly heal a reporter’s lame career. For many journalists, “access” is more important than truth. In DC, there is more cachet in snaring exclusive interviews with policymakers than in exposing official wrongdoing. Being invited into the inner sanctums is “close enough for government work” to learning what the feds are actually doing. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman observed, “The [George W.] Bush administration has made brilliant use of journalistic careerism. Those who wrote puff pieces about Mr. Bush and those around him have been rewarded with career-boosting access.” Knowing when to be sycophantic is as vital to career advancement as recognizing which fork to use at a Georgetown dinner party.

Is the problem that journalists don’t know history or that journalists don’t know how to read—or both? Kosinski’s assertion that American journalists would “never expect their own govt to hide information the public has a right to know” is astounding on both scores. The federal government is creating trillions of pages of new secrets every year. The more documents bureaucrats classify, the more lies politicians can tell. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has become mostly a mirage. (FOIA is never mentioned in Kosinski’s Twitter feed.) After she was appointed secretary of state, Hillary Clinton effectively exempted herself from FOIA, setting up a private server to handle her official email. The State Department ignored seventeen FOIA requests for her emails prior to 2014. Prior to the 2016 election, the State Department claimed it needed seventy-five years to fully answer a FOIA request on Hillary Clinton’s aides’ emails—thereby protecting Hillary from revelations that could have hurt her with voters.

Perhaps Kosinski is unaware that the Trump-era secrecy she denounced flourished mightily thanks to the beloved Obama administration. In 2011, Obama’s Justice Department formally proposed to permit federal agencies to falsely claim that documents that Americans requested via FOIA did not exist. The Obama White House crippled FOIA responses by adding a new requirement for all federal agencies to permit the White House to review and potentially veto releases of requested FOIA documents that had “White House equities”—i.e., anything that might make the Obama administration look bad. A 2016 congressional report noted that many journalists had abandoned “the FOIA request as a tool because delays and redactions made the request process wholly useless for reporting.” My own experience, stretching back thirty years, is that federal agencies routinely presume that anyone who has publicly criticized their programs forfeits his rights under FOIA.

Kosinski never tweeted about the role of the “state secrets” doctrine in permitting the Justice Department to shroud torture, war crimes, and illegal surveillance. The state secrets doctrine presumes “government knows best, and no one else is entitled to know.” The George W. Bush administration routinely invoked “state secrets” to seek “blanket dismissal of every case challenging the constitutionality of specific, ongoing government programs,” according to a study by the Constitution Project. A federal appeals court slammed the Obama administration’s use of “state secrets” for presuming that “the judiciary should effectively cordon off all secret government actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the CIA and its partners from the demands and the limits of the law.” Last month, the Biden administration joined the torture secrecy hall of shame by urging a court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an American citizen who claimed he had been tortured in Egypt, because the alleged torturer had diplomatic immunity because he works for the International Monetary Fund. (I thought the IMF was only entitled to torture economies.) As the legal fate of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and John Kiriakou illustrates, telling the truth is the only war crime now recognized by the US government.

Kosinski’s assertions exemplify the new media storyline that Americans should respect Washington again now that Biden is president. But Leviathan doesn’t turn over a new leaf merely because a different hand swears an oath of office on the Bible. Lies are political weapons of mass destruction, obliterating all limits on government power. The more powerful government becomes, the more atrocities it commits and the more lies it must tell. But we can’t trust the press corps to expose any abuses that might imperil invitations to fancy receptions.

As I warned in a 2018 op-ed in The Hill, “Perhaps the biggest whopper in Washington nowadays is the assumption that the government and the political class will automatically be trustworthy once the Trump era ends…. There will still be a thousand precedents for federal coverups and duplicity. And neither political party nor the bureaucracy has shown any itch to cease deceiving the American people.” But I doubt that Kosinski read that piece or anything else that some government official didn’t hand her on a silver platter. Author:

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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Back to the Future at the Pentagon – TomDispatch.com

Posted by M. C. on April 10, 2021

What amazes me most in 2021 is how much of its structure and strategy resembles what held sway in 1981 when I joined the Air Force as a college student in ROTC. Instead of futuristic starship troopers flying around with jetpacks and firing lasers, the U.S. military is still essentially building the same kinds of weaponry we were then. They’re newer, of course, glitzier, if often less effective, but this country still has a Navy built around aircraft carriers, an Air Force centered on fighter jets and stealth bombers, and an Army based on tanks, helicopters, and heavy brigades. Admittedly, that Army may soon spend $20 billion on “augmented reality goggles” for the troops. (Perhaps those goggles will be programmed so that “reality” always looks like we win.)

https://tomdispatch.com/back-to-the-future-at-the-pentagon/

By William Astore

The future isn’t what it used to be. As a teenager in the 1970s, I watched a lot of TV science fiction shows, notably Space: 1999 and UFO, that imagined a near future of major moon bases and alien attacks on Earth. Movies of that era like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned colossal spaceships and space stations featuring international crews on mind-blowing missions to Jupiter and beyond. Who’d have thought that, 20 years after Kubrick’s alternate reality of 2001, we humans would effectively be marooned on a warming “sixth extinction” planet with no moon bases and, to the best of my knowledge, no alien attacks either.

Sure, there’s been progress of a sort in the heavens. Elon Musk’s Space X may keep going down in flames, but the Chinese now have their very own moon rocks. As the old-timey, unmanned Voyager probe continues to glide beyond our solar system, Mars is a subject for research by new probes hailing from the United Arab Emirates, China, and the U.S. Meanwhile, the International Space Station continues conducting research in low-earth orbit.

As with space exploration, so, too, with America’s military. What amazes me most in 2021 is how much of its structure and strategy resembles what held sway in 1981 when I joined the Air Force as a college student in ROTC. Instead of futuristic starship troopers flying around with jetpacks and firing lasers, the U.S. military is still essentially building the same kinds of weaponry we were then. They’re newer, of course, glitzier, if often less effective, but this country still has a Navy built around aircraft carriers, an Air Force centered on fighter jets and stealth bombers, and an Army based on tanks, helicopters, and heavy brigades. Admittedly, that Army may soon spend $20 billion on “augmented reality goggles” for the troops. (Perhaps those goggles will be programmed so that “reality” always looks like we win.)

As in the days of the old Cold War — and we may indeed be heading into a new cold war in 2021 — America is even witnessing a $100-billion revival of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, weapons that were vulnerable by the 1960s and obsolete by the 1980s. Consider them doubly-obsolete and no less escalatory in the 2020s. And despite having an ever larger and overly secretive military within the military, Special Operations Command, today’s forces are generally structured in a way eerily similar to those I joined two generations ago. Think of it as the Pentagon’s version of science fiction in which stasis rules instead of progress.

It’s true, of course, that, thanks to the vanity of our last president, a new Space Force has been added to the services (though without moon bases, alien interceptors, or much of anything else yet). And one sci-fi-style “advance,” drone warfare, has become increasingly automated and unbounded. Otherwise, this country’s war song of 2021 remains much the same as 2001 or even 1981. It still has a force structure designed first and foremost to deter and defeat another great power like China and Russia, the very bogeymen I first raised my right hand to defend America against 40 years ago. Indeed, the Cold War is simply being rebooted and rebranded for a new century, a century more likely to be China’s than America’s.

Nowadays, instead of speaking about the “containment” of communism and the Soviet Union, as in the Cold War, the talk is of prevailing in “near-peer” conflicts. (Note how the U.S. military may have near-peers but is ultimately peerless, since there can’t be any question that we’re number one, militarily speaking.) Who are those “near-peers” so intent on challenging America and spoiling our freedom-driven version of imperialism? China and Russia, mainly, with Iran and North Korea tossed in as minor-league risks. Again, for my 1981 junior military self, it’s déjà vu all over again. Iran as a perfidious enemy? Check. Russia and China as autocratic menaces? Check. An unpredictable North Korea? Check.

See the rest here

William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, is a TomDispatch regular and a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of critical veteran military and national security professionals. His personal blog is Bracing Views.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Airstrikes test US role as world police

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2021

Lloyd Austin appears to be the new Bolton.

“Biden wanted to respond to the incident in Iraq,” said Max Abrahms, a professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University, “but he wanted to do it in a way that didn’t seem too heavy-handed …

Being a bomb’s ground zero for having the shovel you are carrying being mistaken for a rifle is far from heavy handed in the Pentagram’s mind. Every day stuff.

The world’s policeman…someone has to do it. Why not McDonnell Douglas?

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=16a354c79

Kim Hjelmgaard

USA TODAY

Pentagon airstrikes against Iranbacked militias in Syria are not only the first military action taken by President Joe Biden. They are a test of his broad pledge to pursue a foreign policy that is more cooperative and mindful of international partners than his predecessor’s but still eschews the U.S. role as the world’s police to focus on making life better for Americans, some experts and lawmakers say.

Biden on Thursday night ordered the airstrikes on multiple facilities at a Syrian- Iraqi border control point in southeastern Syria in retaliation for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in neighboring Iraq. The Pentagon identified the targets as a “number of Iranian-backed militant groups including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.” It called the airstrikes “proportionate” and “defensive” and said the airstrikes were taken after consultation with coalition partners and unspecified “diplomatic measures.”

The military action comes as Washington and Tehran are locked in apparent stalemate over who should take the first step to revitalize a nuclear deal exited by the Trump administration; as Biden has vowed to recalibrate national security actions to favor the middle class; and as reporting from USA TODAY has revealed the scale of U.S. overseas military bases and counterterror operations two decades after 9/11.

“We are concerned that President Biden’s first instinct when it comes to regional security in the Middle East appears to be to reach for military options instead of diplomacy,” said Ryan Costello, director of The National Iranian American Council, an organization that seeks improved relations between Washington and Tehran.

“Biden wanted to respond to the incident in Iraq,” said Max Abrahms, a professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University, “but he wanted to do it in a way that didn’t seem too heavy-handed … the more fundamental question that needs to be asked, and isn’t, is what are Iranian militias doing in Iraq? The answer is they are there partly because the U.S. toppled (Iraq’s former president) Saddam Hussein.”

Abrahms said that the Biden administration is trying to balance the instincts of veteran national security officials and diplomats such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken – Obama administration-era officials who have long gravitated toward military interventions and regime change – with “the zeitgeist of the American citizenry, which has moved over the course of the Trump administration.”

He described this “zeitgeist,” which is backed up by polling that shows many Americans are most concerned about economic and security threats closer to home, as “a more limited role for the United States in the world, a greater delineation of where our vital interests lie.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters he was “confident in the target we went after. We know what we hit.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said the airstrikes killed at least 22 pro-Iranian fighters, wounded many more and destroyed several trucks carrying munitions.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, on facilities the U.S. struck, said he was “confident in the target we went after. We know what we hit.” ALEX BRANDON/AP

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Caitlin Johnstone: US bombs Syria and ridiculously claims self defense — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2021

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/516647-caitlin-johnstone-us-bombs-syria/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

On orders of President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed.

Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the Western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by US officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases.

Here’s this from the Washington Post:

The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.”

He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked groups operating in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member there.

So we are being told that the United States launched an airstrike on Syria, a nation it invaded and is illegally occupying, because of attacks on “US locations” in Iraq, another nation the US invaded and is illegally occupying. This attack is justified on the basis that the Iraqi fighters were “Iranian-linked,” a claim that is both entirely without evidence and irrelevant to the justification of deadly military force. And this is somehow being framed in mainstream news publications as a defensive operation.

This is Defense Department stenography. The US military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor. It’s the people trying to eject them who are acting defensively. The deaths of US troops and contractors in those countries can only be blamed on the powerful people who sent them there.

The US is just taking it as a given that it has de facto jurisdiction over the nations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and that any attempt to interfere in its authority in the region is an unprovoked attack which must be defended against. This is completely backwards and illegitimate. Only through the most perversely warped American supremacist reality tunnels can it look valid to dictate the affairs of sovereign nations on the other side of the planet and respond with violence if anyone in those nations tries to eject them.

To remind Iran who’s boss — rather than conduct the diplomacy he promised — Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force. (That’s who “Iranian-backed militia” have long been fighting) https://t.co/9YGXnpUeyI— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 26, 2021

It’s illegitimate for the US to be in the Middle East at all. It’s illegitimate for the US to claim to be acting defensively in nations it invaded. It’s illegitimate for the US to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Syrian government against ISIS and other extremist militias with the permission of Damascus. It is illegitimate for the US to claim the fighters attacking US personnel in Iraq are controlled by Iran when Iraqis have every reason to want the US out of their country themselves.

Even the official narrative reveals itself as illegitimate from within its own worldview. CNN reports that the site of the airstrike “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” in Iraq, and a Reuters/AP report says “Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out.”

This is all so very typical of the American supremacist worldview that is being aggressively shoved down our throats by all Western mainstream news media. The US can bomb who it likes, whenever it likes, and when it does it is only ever doing so in self-defense, because the entire planet is the property of Washington, DC. It can seize control of entire clusters of nations, and if any of those nations resist in any way, they are invading America’s sovereignty.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

Americans: $2000 checks pleaseGovernment: Sorry did you say airstrikes on Syria?Americans: No, $2000 checksGovernment: Okay, since you asked nicely here’s your airstrikes on Syria.— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) February 26, 2021

This sort of nonsense is why it’s so important to prioritize opposition to Western imperialism. World warmongering and domination is the front upon which all the most egregious evils inflicted by the powerful take place, and it plays such a crucial role in upholding the power structures we are up against. Without endless war, the oligarchic empire which is the cause of so much of our suffering cannot function, and must give way to something else. If you’re looking to throw sand in the gears of the machine, anti-imperialism is your most efficacious path toward that end, and should therefore be your priority.

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

Standing against imperialism and American supremacism cuts directly to the heart of our difficulties in this world, which is why so much energy goes into keeping us focused on identity politics and vapid energy sucks which inconvenience the powerful in no way whatsoever. If you want to out-wrestle a crocodile, you must bind shut its mouth. If you want to take down a globe-spanning empire, you must take out its weapons. Opposing warmongering and killing public trust in the propaganda used to justify it is the best way to do this.

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