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Memorial Day: Remembering the Political Lies that Spurred Mass Killing | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on May 26, 2020

It would be appropriate to celebrate Memorial Day by burning in
effigy the politicians whose lies led to the deaths of so many Americans
(and innocent foreigners). Those whose images deserve to be torched run
the gamut from Lyndon Johnson to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to
Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton (Kosovo) to George W. Bush (Iraq, et
cetera), to Barack Obama (Afghanistan, Libya, et cetera). Donald Trump’s
warring has primarily resulted in the killing of foreigners, but they
are also worthy of remembrance and lamentation. The burnings could be
accompanied by recitations of the major offenses against the truth and
liberty that each politician committed.

Before the war, almost all the broadcast news stories on Iraq originated with the federal government. PBS’ 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.”

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/memorial-day-remembering-the-political-lies-that-spurred-mass-killing/

by

On Memorial Day, the media do their usual sacralizing of war. Instead, it should be a day for the ritualized scourging of politicians. During the last 70 years, their lies have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of almost 100,000 American soldiers and millions of foreigners. And yet, people still get teary-eyed when politicians take the stage to talk about their devotion to the troops.

On Memorial Day 2011, for instance, the Washington Post included numerous touching photographs of graves, recent widows or fatherless kids by the headstones, and stories of the troops’ sacrifices. The Post buried a short article in the middle of the A-Section (squeezed onto a nearly full-page ad for Mattress Discounters) about the U.S. military killing dozens of Afghan civilians and police in a wayward bombing in some irrelevant Afghan province. The story’s length and placement reflected the usual tacit assumption that any foreigner killed by the U.S. military doesn’t deserve to be treated as fully human.

The Washington Post celebrations of Memorial Day never include any reference to that paper’s culpability in helping the Bush administration deceive America into going to war against Iraq. When Post reporters dug up the facts that exposed the Bush administration’s false claims on the Iraqi peril, editors sometimes ignored or buried their revelations. Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained that in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’”

The Post continued aiding the war party by minimizing its sordidness. When the Bush administration’s claims on Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program had collapsed, the Washington Post article on the brazen deceits was headlined, “Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence.” According to Post media columnist Howard Kurtz, the press are obliged to portray politicians as if they are honest. He commented in 2007, “From August 2002 until the war was launched in March of 2003 there were about 140 front-page pieces in the Washington Post making the administration’s case for war. It was, ‘The President said yesterday.’ ‘The Vice President said yesterday.’ ‘The Pentagon said yesterday.’ Well, that’s part of our job. Those people want to speak. We have to provide them a platform. I don’t have [sic] anything wrong with that.”

The Post was not alone in its groveling to war. Major television networks behaved like government-owned subsidiaries for much of the period before and during the Iraq War. CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan explained a month after the United States attacked Iraq, “I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance, at CNN, ‘Here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war,’ and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.” Jessica Yellin, a CNN correspondent who formerly worked for MSNBC, commented in 2008, “When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings.” NBC news anchor Katie Couric stated that there was pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of it.”

Before the war, almost all the broadcast news stories on Iraq originated with the federal government. PBS’ 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.”

But this record of servility and deceit has not slackened the media’s enthusiasm to drench Memorial Day with sanctimony.

In reality, Memorial Day should be a time to remember the government’s crimes against the people. Politicians have perennially sent young Americans to die for false causes or on wild-goose chases.

Over the past century, war memorials have become increasingly popular. However, most of the memorials do little or nothing to inform people of the chicaneries or deceits that paved the way to or perpetuated the war. It would be a vast improvement if each war memorial also had an adjacent monument of major lies—such as an engraved plaque listing the major deceits by which the American public were swayed to support sending American boys off to die for some grand cause.

The Vietnam War memorial in Washington, for instance, lists the names of each American killed in that conflict. If that memorial could be complemented by excerpts from the Pentagon Papers—or from some of the major admissions of deceit by some of that war’s policymakers—the effect on the public would be far more uplifting.

General Patton said that an ounce of sweat can save a pint of blood. Similarly, a few hours studying the lessons of history can prevent heaps of grave-digging in the coming years. President Trump has saber-rattled against Iran, North Korea, Syria, and other nations. His bellicose rhetoric should spur Americans to review the follies and frauds of past wars before it is too late to stop the next pointless bloodbath.

Memorial Day can benefit from the creativity of free spirits across the board. Tom Blanton, the mastermind of the website Project for a New American Revolution, proposed in an exchange on my website changing Memorial Day to make it far more realistic:

It used to be that Memorial Day was to honor dead soldiers. In recent years, we are asked to also honor veterans (who already have a day) and active duty members of the armed services. This may be an indication that the politicians feel there aren’t enough dead soldiers…

I think Memorial Day should simply be renamed Tombstone Day and people should decorate their yards with styrofoam tombstones like they do for Halloween. True-believers might even consider a few flag-draped coffins made of cardboard and maybe hanging dismembered arms and legs made of rubber from their trees.

Blanton’s proposal would provide a shot in the arm for party stores during the slow period between Valentine’s Day and Halloween. And it would be a spark for conversations that were far more substantive than the usual flag waving.

I would favor celebrating Memorial Day the way the British used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was the leader of a conspiracy in 1604 to blow up the Parliament building in London. Until recently, the British celebrated the anniversary of that day by burning Guy Fawkes in effigy. (Government officials have recently banned such burnings on the grounds that something bad might happen because of the fires. The movie V for Vendetta probably made some bureaucrats nervous.)

It would be appropriate to celebrate Memorial Day by burning in effigy the politicians whose lies led to the deaths of so many Americans (and innocent foreigners). Those whose images deserve to be torched run the gamut from Lyndon Johnson to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton (Kosovo) to George W. Bush (Iraq, et cetera), to Barack Obama (Afghanistan, Libya, et cetera). Donald Trump’s warring has primarily resulted in the killing of foreigners, but they are also worthy of remembrance and lamentation. The burnings could be accompanied by recitations of the major offenses against the truth and liberty that each politician committed.

The best way to honor American war dead is to cancel politicians’ prerogative to send troops abroad to fight on any and every pretext. And one of the best steps towards that goal is to remember the lies for which soldiers died.

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What on Earth Is the US Doing by Bombing Somalia? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2020

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2020/05/15/what-on-earth-is-the-us-doing-by-bombing-somalia/

The Trump administration has quietly ramped up a vicious bombing – and covert raiding – campaign in Somalia amid a global coronavirus pandemic. Neither the White House nor the Pentagon has provided any explanation for the deadly escalation of a war that Congress hasn’t declared and the media rarely reports. At stake are many thousands of lives.

The public statistics show a considerable increase in airstrikes from Obama’s presidency. From 2009 to 2016, the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced 36 airstrikes in Somalia. Under Trump, it conducted at least 63 bombing raids just last year, with another 39 such attacks in the first four months of 2020. The ostensible US target has usually been the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab, but often the real – or at least consequent – victims are long-embattled Somali civilians.

As for the most direct victims, it’s become clear that notoriously image-conscious AFRICOM public affairs officers have long undercounted and underreported the number of civilians killed in their expanding aerial bombardments. According to Airwars, a UK-based airstrike monitoring group, civilian fatalities – while low relative to other bombing campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria – may exceed official Pentagon estimates by as much as 6,800 percent. Only these deaths don’t tell the half of it. Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled areas that the US regularly bombs, filtering into already overcrowded refugee camps outside of the capital of Mogadishu.

There are approximately 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia who barely survive and are often reliant on humanitarian aid. So vulnerable are the refugees in the pandemic-petri-dish camps, that one mother of seven described feeling “like we are waiting for death to come.” Her fears may prove justified. Recently, coronavirus cases have risen rapidly in Somalia – a country with no public health system to speak of – and due to severely limited testing availability, experts believe the actual tally is much higher than reported. No matter how AFRICOM spins it, their escalatory war will only exacerbate the country’s slow-boiling crisis.

A Sordid Backstory

While comprehensive analysis of the sordid history of US military operations in Somalia would fill multiple volumes, it’s worth recalling the basic contours of Washington’s record. During the Cold War, the US pressured the United Nations to hand over the ethnically Somali Ogaden region to Ethiopia, then proceeded to arm and back this sworn enemy of Mogadishu. That is until Marxist Ethiopian military officers took power in a 1974 putsch, at which point America turned on a dime, and changed sides. Washington then backed Somalia in the ensuing war over Ogaden. Over the next decade and a half, the US propped up the abusive and corrupt Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

Nevertheless, after the Berlin Wall came down and Barre, a notorious human rights-violator, had outlived his Cold War usefulness, Congress cut off military and – more importantly – economic aid. Barre was soon toppled in a coup, and clan-based militias carved up the remnants of the Somali state. Civil war raged, and hundreds of thousands of civilians starved to death in the ensuing famine. Thanks to the blockbuster 2001 Hollywood film “Blackhawk Down,” what came next is the one bit of Somali history most Americans know. In 1992, US troops filtered into Somalia to support what began as a United Nations humanitarian response. No doubt, they eventually did some good.

In the chaos, the UN and especially the UStook sides in the civil war. Then after American special operators killed numerous civilians in the hunt for one particular warlord, thousands of angry Somalis turned on a group of army rangers and Delta Force commandos during another botched raid. In the day-long battle that inspired the film, 18 US soldiers and – far less reported – some 500 Somali men, women, and children were killed. With no stomach for the bad press of body bags being brought home, President Bill Clinton pulled the troops out within months.

For several years, Washington reverted to largely ignoring the ongoing Somali tragedy. That is until the 2001 terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., placed the region – and anything vaguely Islamist – into the Pentagon’s crosshairs. There hadn’t been much of an al-Qaeda presence in Somalia at the time, so the US basically “invented” one. In 2006, after an imperfect but popular Islamic Courts movement brought some stability to the capitol, Washington encouraged, backed, and even took part in an Ethiopian invasion.

This too backfired. The more hardline al-Shabab was empowered, largely catalyzed, and grew in popularity through its resistance to the illegal Ethiopian occupation and to the corrupt UN and U.S.-backed interim governments that followed. What AFRICOM’s director of operations called the “disease” of al-Shabab is now used as a vague justification of the latest escalation in US airstrikes.

AFRICOM Inertia

How many Americans know that some 500800 US troops are based in Somalia at any given time? Fewer still likely have the faintest idea that three Americans were killed in neighboring Kenya just a few months back, when al-Shabab nearly overran an airbase that housed some US troops.

Apathy and ignorance are troubling enough, but as has been the case for nearly all recent interventions in the Greater Middle East, Washington’s aggressive Somalia policy has proven counterproductive. The more intense and overt the US military strikes and presence, the more empowered al-Shabab becomes since the group is as much nationalist resistant movement as terror group. While this admittedly abhorrent crew kills and oppresses Somali civilians as much as or more than American bombs or U.S.-backed government security forces, Washington’s self-sabotage is real. As a Brown University Costs of War Project report concludes: “Al-Shabaab is fueled, in part, by the US war against it.” Though affiliated with al-Qaeda, al-Shabab’s recruits, expertise, and grievances are mainly local. Most funding comes from piracy and other criminal enterprises.

The United Nations with tacit support from even America’s NATO allies has called for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump team has only escalated military actions in various hotspots – particularly Somalia. This won’t play well with allies, adversaries, or neutral nations alike. If anything, it will drive the latter into the arms of Russia or China. In the face of such strategic inertia, one can’t help but wish the US military would heed its own doctrine.

It might start with number four on its list of the eight “paradoxes” of counterinsurgency: “Doing Nothing is Sometimes the Best Action.”

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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Pentagon Mum on WMD Grant to Wuhan Lab-Connected Firm

Posted by M. C. on May 5, 2020

It’s disgusting hardworking US taxpayer dollars were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. President Trump was absolutely correct to freeze that funding from the National Institute of Health …

The Pentagram is directly involved with the Wuhan lab yet they along with the CDC, WHO, NIH, NIAID, CIA, FIB and NSA were caught off guard.

This does not pass the smell test. Some or all had to know what was going on yet chose not raise the alarm.

Was this an experiment gone very bad?

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/04/pentagon-mum-on-wmd-grant-to-wuhan-lab-connected-firm/

by Kristina Wong

The Pentagon has stayed silent on why it gave a multimillion-dollar contract to a New York firm that sent U.S. taxpayer money to a lab in Wuhan, China, that is now the center of global scrutiny as the potential origin of the coronavirus.

On Friday, Breitbart News first reported that Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) had sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper inquiring about the 2017 contract, which gave $6.5 million to EcoHealth Alliance, which funded work on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The grant was specifically for “understanding the risk of bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in Western Asia.” The last Pentagon payment was just over a month ago, in the amount of $1,509,531 for a project to be completed in October 2022.

Reschenthaler wrote Esper on Thursday asking if any portion of the multimillion-dollar grant to EcoHealth Alliance went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and if so, what he is doing to ensure that American money is no longer going to the lab.

“What is the DOD doing to ensure American dollars can no longer be utilized by the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another research laboratory in the [People’s Republic of China]?” Reschenthaler wrote Esper.

Breitbart News on Friday sent an email query to the chief Pentagon spokesman for a comment on the letter but has yet to receive a response.

Reschenthaler sent the letter to Esper a week after the Trump administration terminated National Institute of Health (NIH) funding for an EcoHealth Alliance project that collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology on bat coronaviruses.

The congressman said in a statement last week:

It’s disgusting hardworking US taxpayer dollars were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. President Trump was absolutely correct to freeze that funding from the National Institute of Health …

To learn a $6.5 million Department of Defense grant was awarded to the same organization that sent US taxpayer dollars to the WIV, EcoHealth Alliance, is deeply concerning. I sent this letter to the DOD because we must get to the bottom of whether DOD grant funding was also sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the potential epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up of the origins and global threat posed by COVID-19, it is critical we ensure taxpayer dollars are not being used to support their activities.

On Saturday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the Intelligence Community is “rigorously” examining emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the coronavirus outbreak began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.

 

Reschenthaler’s letter to Esper noted, “similarities between EcoHealth Alliance’s NIH research and the description of the 2017 DOD grant” and asked Esper a series of questions:

Has any portion of DOD funding granted to EcoHealth Alliance or any other DOD grant recipient been given to or used in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology or any research laboratory in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)?

If no, what, if any, steps is DOD taking to determine whether department grant funding was utilized by the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another research laboratory in the PRC?

If yes, what is the DOD doing to ensure American dollars can no longer be utilized by the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another research laboratory in the PRC?

Reschenthaler, in the conclusion of his letter to Esper, noted that he is concerned U.S. taxpayer dollars may have been connected to this Wuhan lab and wants to be sure taxpayer funds were not misused.

“Given the Chinese Communist Party’s cover up of the global threat posed by COVID-19, it is critical we ensure taxpayer dollars are not being used to support their activities,” he wrote. “I appreciate your commitment to our national security, our servicemembers, and their families.”

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A Most Sordid Profession – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2020

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/fred-reed/a-most-sordid-profession/

A few thoughts on our disastrous trillion-dollar military:

It is unnecessary. It does not defend the United States. The last time it did so was in 1945. The United States has no military enemies. No nation has anything even close to the forces necessary to invade America, and probably none the desire. A fifth of the budget would suffice for any real needs.

“Our boys” are not noble warriors protecting democracy, rescuing maidens, and righting wrongs. They are, like all soldiers, obedient and amoral killers. Pilots bombing Iraq or Syria know they are killing civilians. They do not care. If ordered to bomb Switzerland, they would do it. This is the nature of all armies. Glamorizing this most reprehensible trades is just a means of usefully stimulating the pack instinct which we often call patriotism.

The militarily is America’s worst enemy. It does enormous damage to the United States while providing almost no benefit. Start with the war on Vietnam that cost hugely in money and lives, ours and theirs, with no benefit. Iraq: high cost, no benefit. Afghanistan: High cost, no benefit. Syria: High cost, no benefit.

The costs in lives and money do not include the staggering cost of weapons that do nothing for America or Americans. Do you, the reader, believe that you are safer because of the F-35? Do a dozen aircraft carriers improve the lives of your children? Will the B-21, an unbelievably expensive new thermonuclear bomber, make your streets safer? Then add the bleeding of engineering talent better spent on advancing America’s economic competitiveness. The country has many crying needs, falls behind China, but money and talent go to the military.

We cannot escape from the soldiers. The armed forces have embedded themselves so deeply into the country that they have almost become the country. America is little more than a funding mechanism for what clumsily may be called the military-industrial-intelligence-media-Israeli complex. Some of these entities belong to the military (NSA). Some depend on it (Lockheed-Martin). Some use it to their own ends (Israel), but the military is the central infection from which the other symptoms flow. Congress? A storefront, a subcommittee of the Knesset or, as P. J. O’Rourke put it, a parliament of whores. Factories, jobs, contracts, towns depend on military spending. If the Second Marine Division folded, Jacksonville NC would dry up and blow away. So would dozens of other towns. Without military spending, California’s economy would crash. Universities depend on military research funding.

The military has achieved its current autonomy by degrees, unnoticed. The Pentagon learned much in Vietnam, not about fighting wars, which it still cannot do well, but about managing its real enemy, the public. The media, which savaged the war on Vietnam, are now firmly controlled by the corporations that own them. Thus we do not see photos of the horrors committed by American aircraft bombing cities. While the existence of phenomenally expensive weapons like the B-21 is not quite suppressed, coverage is so slight that most Americans have never heard of it. This the Complex learned from the F-35 debacle. And of course Congress, thoroughly bought and wanting jobs in its districts, allows no serious opposition to anything military. Neither Congress nor the media point out the extent to which military expenditure dominates the economy, draining resources from civilian needs.

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train. For example, the war on Afghanistan of almost two decades has become an entitlement program for the arms industry, accomplishing nothing, killing countless peasants, and lacking purpose other than maintaining an unneeded empire and funneling money to the Complex.

How did the Complex free itself from civilian control? The crucial step in depriving the public of influence was the neutering of the constitutional requirement that wars be declared by Congress. The military thus became the private army of the President and those who control him. Then came the All Volunteer Army, which ended inconvenience to or mutilation of the children of people of importance, leaving the body bags to be filled by deplorables from Memphis or Appalachia or Mexico. America’s wars then became air wars and finally drone wars, reducing casualties to very few. The public, both ignorant and uninvolved, became acquiescent.

As I write, we wait to see whether Trump, and those behind him, will put America deeper into the Mid-East and perhaps war with Russia. If he does, we will read about it the next day in the newspapers. It will be expensive, dangerous, and of no benefit to anyone but the arms industry and Israel.

Despite the asphyxiating economic presence, the military keeps aloof from America. This too serves the purposes of the Complex, further preventing attention by the public to what is not its business. In the days of conscription there was a familiarity with the armed services. Young men from most social classes wore the uniform however ruefully and told of their experiences. Not now. The career military have always tended to keep to themselves, to socialize with each other as the police do. Now the isolation is almost hermetic. You can spend years in Washington or New York and never meet a colonel. Military society with its authoritarianism, its uniforms and its uniform government-issue outlook is not compatible with civil society. To the cultivated, military officers seem simple-minded, conformist and…well, weird.

Add it all up and you see that the citizenry has no say–none–over the Complex, which is autonomous and out of control. If the Complex wants war with Russia or China, we will have-war with Russia or China. Ask people whether they would prefer a naval base in Qatar–which most have never heard of, either the base or the country–or decent heath care. Then ask them which they have.

The military destroys America and there is nothing–nothing at all–that you can do about it.

Further, the Complex drives foreign policy, and in directions of no benefit to America or Americans. For example, the contrived fury against Russia. Why this? Russia presents no danger to America or anyone else. The Complex makes foreign policy for its own ends, not ours.

A rising Asia is challenging the America military Empire. The tide runs against the Complex. North Korea faced Washington down and became a nuclear power. The Crimea went back irrevocably to Russia. East Ukraine does the same. Iran got its treaty and becomes part of the world order. In the South China Sea, China ignores the US, which once was supreme in all the seas. The war against Afghanistan heads for its third decade and the war on Syria seems to have failed. Other things go badly for the Empire. The dollar is under siege as reserve currency. China grows economically, advances rapidly in technology and, doubtless terrifying to Washington, tries to integrate Asia and Europe into a vast economic bloc. The Complex beats the war drums as its fingers loosen on the world’s collective throat.

Washington desperately needs to stop the rollback of American power, stop the erosion of the dollar, block the economic integration of Eurasia and Latin America, keep Russia from trading amicably with Europe. It will do anything to maintain its grip. All of its remote wars in far-off savage lands, of no importance to America or Americans, are to this purpose. A militarized America threatens Russia, threatens China, threatens Iran, threatens North Korea, threatens Venezuela, expands NATO, on and on.

America has been hijacked.

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How Generals Fueled 1918 Flu Pandemic to Win Their World War | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on April 6, 2020

Just like today, brass and bureaucrats ignored warnings, and sent troops overseas despite the consequences.

It was called the “Spanish flu” only because, while the United States, Britain and France were all censoring news about the spread of the pandemic in their countries to maintain domestic morale, the press in neutralist Spain was reporting freely on influenza cases there. In fact, the first major wave of infections in the United States came in U.S. training camps set up to serve the war.

A good reason to bring troops home, close foreign bases and spend those trillions on actually saving American lives.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-generals-fueled-1918-flu-pandemic-to-win-their-world-war/

An emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918. (National Archives)

The U.S. military has been forced by the coronavirus pandemic to make some serious changes in their operations. But the Pentagon, and especially the Navy, have also displayed a revealing resistance to moves to stand down that were clearly needed to protect troops from the raging virus from the start.

The Army and Marine Corps have shifted from in-person to virtual recruitment meetings. But the Pentagon has reversed an initial Army decision to postpone further training and exercises for at least 30 days, and it has decided to continue sending new recruits from all the services to basic training camps, where they would no doubt be unable to sustain social distancing.

On Thursday, the captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, on which the virus was reportedly spreading, was relieved of command. He was blamed by his superiors for the leak of a letter he wrote warning the Navy that failure to act rapidly threatened the health of his 5,000 sailors.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper justified his decision to continue many military activities as usual by declaring these activities are “critical to national security.” But does anyone truly believe there is a military threat on the horizon that the Pentagon must prepare for right now? It is widely understood outside the Pentagon that the only real threat to that security is the coronavirus itself.

Esper’s decisions reflect a deeply ingrained Pentagon habit of protecting its parochial military interests at the expense of the health of American troops. This pattern of behavior recalls the far worse case of the U.S. service chiefs once managing the war in Europe. They acted with even greater callousness toward the troops being called off to war in Europe during the devastating “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918, which killed 50 million people worldwide.

It was called the “Spanish flu” only because, while the United States, Britain and France were all censoring news about the spread of the pandemic in their countries to maintain domestic morale, the press in neutralist Spain was reporting freely on influenza cases there. In fact, the first major wave of infections in the United States came in U.S. training camps set up to serve the war.

Abundant documentary evidence shows that the 1918 pandemic actually began in Haskell County, Kansas, in early 1918, when many residents came down with an unusually severe type of influenza. Some county residents were then sent to the Army’s Camp Funston at Ft. Riley, Kansas, the military’s largest training facility, training 50,000 recruits at a time for the war. Within two weeks, thousands of soldiers at the camp became sick with the new influenza virus, and 38 died.

Recruits at 14 of 32 large military training camps set up across the country to feed the U.S. war in Europe soon reported similar influenza outbreaks, apparently because some troops from Camp Funston had been sent there. By May 1918, hundreds of thousands of troops, many of whom were already infected, began boarding troopships bound for Europe, and the crowding onboard the ships created ideal conditions for the virus to explode further.

In the trenches in France, still more U.S. troops continued to be sickened by the virus, at first with milder illness and relatively few deaths But the war managers simply evacuated the sick and brought in fresh replacements, allowing the virus to adapt and mutate into more virulent and more lethal strains.

The consequences of that approach to the war became evident after the August 27 arrival in Boston harbor, when visitors brought a much more virulent and lethal strain of the virus; it quickly entered Boston itself and by September 8, had appeared at Camp Devens outside the city. Within ten days, the camp had thousands of soldiers sick with the new strain, and some of those infected at the camp boarded troops ships for Europe.

Meanwhile the lethal new strain spread from Camp Devens across the United States through September and October, ravaging one city after another. From September onward, the U.S. command in France, led by Gen. John Pershing, and the war managers in the War Department in Washington, were well aware that both U.S. troops already in Europe and the American public were suffering vast numbers of severe illnesses and death from the pandemic.

Nevertheless, Pershing continued to call for large numbers of the replacements for those stricken at the front lines, as well as for new divisions to launch a major offensive late in the year. In a message to the War Department on September 3, Pershing demanded an additional 179,000 troops.

The internal debate that followed that request, recounted by historian Carol R. Byerly, documents the chilling indifference of Pershing and the military bureaucracy in Washington to the fate of American troops they planned to send to war. After watching the horror of lethally-infected soldiers dying of pneumonia in the infected camps, acting Army Surgeon General Charles Richard strongly advised Army Chief of Staff Peyton March in late September against sending troops from the infected camps to France until the epidemic had been brought under control in the surrounding region, and March agreed.

Richard then asked for stopping the draft calls for young men heading for any camp known to be already infected. March wouldn’t go that far, and although the October draft was called off, it was to resume in November. The War Department acknowledged the heavy toll the pandemic was taking on U.S. troops in October 10, informing Pershing that he would get his troops by November 30, “if we are not stopped on account of Influenza, which has now passed the 200,000 mark.”

Richard then called for troops to be quarantined for a week before being shipped to Europe, and that the troopships carry only half the standard number of troops to reduce crowding. When March rejected those moves, which would have made it impossible for him to meet Pershing’s targets, Richard then recommended that all troop shipments be suspended until the influenza pandemic was brought under control, “except such as are demanded by urgent military necessity.”

But the chief of staff rejected such a radical shift in policy, and went to the White House to get President Woodrow Wilson’s approval for the decision. Wilson, obviously recognizing the implications of going ahead under the circumstances, asked why he refused to stop troop transport during the epidemic. March argued that Germany would be encouraged to fight on if it knew “the American divisions and replacements were no longer arriving.”Wilson then approved his decision, refusing to disturb Pershing’s war plans.

But the decision was not carried out fully. The German Supreme Command had already demanded that the Kaiser accept Wilson’s 14 points, and the armistice was signed on November 11.

The disastrous character of the U.S. elite running the First World War is clearly revealed with the astonishing fact that more American soldiers were killed and hospitalized by influenza (63,114) than in combat (53,402). And an estimated 340,00 American troops were hospitalized with influenza/pneumonia, compared with 227,000 hospitalized by Germans attacks.

The lack of concern of Washington bureaucrats for the well-being of the troops, as they pursue their own war interests, appears to be a common pattern—seen too, in the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Now it has been revealed once again in the stunningly callous response of the Pentagon to the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

In the 1918 war, there was no protest against that cold indifference, but there are now indications that the families of soldiers put being at risk are expressing their anger about it openly to representatives of the military. In a time of socio-political upheaval, and vanishing tolerance for the continuation of endless war, it could be a harbinger of accelerated unraveling of political tolerance for the war state’s overweening power.

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Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on April 2, 2020

Former Army head-honcho, and current Joint Chiefs Chairman, Mark Milley, has repeatedly, and forcefully, defined “readiness” as his top priority. Real coherency on (readiness) “for what” has been less forthcoming. Regardless, his resolute guidance and Esper’s recent incongruous general instructions -—“find a way” to both “protect troops [from Corona]” and “still perform” essential operations — lock subordinates in an absurd Catch-22.

It comes down to a question of what, exactly, America’s Army is for: genuine homeland defense, per the military officers’ oath — against foreign and domestic (like corona) enemies — or repeatedly ill-fated, distant adventures?

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/03/28/absurdity-and-the-army-the-myth-of-readiness-in-the-corona-age/


Danny Sjursen

Banality may mask absurd tragedy. The Pentagon specializes in such veiled bromides. If anything, this Age of Corona is thus illustrative. To wit, Americans awoke on Thursday to this report in the nation’s “paper of record” — “The Army earlier this week ordered a halt to most training, exercises and nonessential activities that require troops to be in close contact…but abruptly reversed itself. …”

On a certain level, the rescinded order made sense. After all, military decisions flow downward. Atop that hierarchy sits the commander-in-chief, who, just days ago, hinted at rapidly curtailed social distancing policies, a reopened economy, and visions of “packed churches” on Easter Sunday. That’s two odd weeks from now.

Still, in the wake of the Army’s volte-face, word was, a sort of befuddlement ensued — in the ranks, and among commanders. Yet I couldn’t help but think: vacillation, conflicting leadership priorities, uncertainty (plus cynicism) in the ranks, and confusion up and down the chain-of-command — what else is new? Sardonicism aside, my sympathy lay, partly, with the common soldiers and junior officers — many still-serving personal friends — caught up in the whole fiasco.

The decision was absurd; that much seems certain. The famed — and ever-so corona-relevant — philosopher, Albert Camus, defined the contours of absurdism in his 1942 classic, “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Absurdity: there’s no term more fitting for such Army decision-making in the face of increasingly stark facts.

Like this one: on Thursday morning, the Pentagon reported “280 cases of coronavirus among active-duty troops, putting the infection rates at higher levels in the military than in the United States itself: 210 positive tests per million people versus 166 per million.” This from the Joint Chiefs’ top medical adviser, Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs, who confessed, “Our curve is not flattening.” Worse still, at one joint base, Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti — part of an increasingly expansive African network — there were reports of an infected DOD contractor. This installation (a former Imperial French Foreign Legion garrison) counts some 3,000 U.S. personnel. It does not, however, possess a requisite supply of ventilators. And Lemmonier is by far the Pentagon’s largest on the continent.

The sizable assortment of much smaller, widely dispersed, far-flung bases are undoubtedly less prepared for pandemic. No matter, the Army — and one presumes the whole DOD — seems intent to drive on with not only the most imperative but (according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper) “all of our missions.” Assume, for the sake of argument, that Esper really meant the “essential” stuff. This still begs the question of how the Army defines mission essentiality.

Early signals are disturbing. This week, the military went ahead with a 4,000 troop Army-Marines joint exercise alongside America’s Emirati “allies.” The mission’s fittingly neo-colonial title was Operation Native Fury. Therein, the partnered force seized “a sprawling model Mideast city,” to, presumably, prepare against the decidedly non- (or at least wildly exaggerated) Iranian threat. “Provocative? I don’t know,” was about all the ranking U.S. commander had to say about that.

All indications point to a White House and Pentagon possessed with an irrational attachment to “essential” missions that aren’t. Indeed, the very term’s prevailing definition stretches the English language past any reasonable breaking point.

Former Army head-honcho, and current Joint Chiefs Chairman, Mark Milley, has repeatedly, and forcefully, defined “readiness” as his top priority. Real coherency on (readiness) “for what” has been less forthcoming. Regardless, his resolute guidance and Esper’s recent incongruous general instructions -—“find a way” to both “protect troops [from Corona]” and “still perform” essential operations — lock subordinates in an absurd Catch-22.

It goes something like this: the Trump-Esper-Milley national security formula, like that of their recent forbears, requires incessant forward deployment and its incumbent joint training and exercises. That, however, makes the DOD’s own social-distancing policy inherently unworkable, thereby risking a sweeping corona-outbreak in the ranks that’s liable to paralyze the very “readiness” they purport to preserve.

So, while one is far more likely to spy an Ayn Rand than a Camus book on a general’s desk — libertarianism is peculiarly prevalent among military officers — it’d behoove army leaders to heed the French-Algerian philosopher’s fitting rejoinder: “Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable.” In this case, what’s inconveniently “true” is that no external “enemy” rises anywhere near the peril of coronavirus. Nor can the Pentagon can’t have it both ways: “readiness” — as they define it — and “preserving the force” are opposing concepts.

It comes down to a question of what, exactly, America’s Army is for: genuine homeland defense, per the military officers’ oath — against foreign and domestic (like corona) enemies — or repeatedly ill-fated, distant adventures? Here and now, the virus is the real threat. Washington must focus on containing it, not an inflated threat from — corona-crippled — Iran. That’s the only strategic, and decent, course.

Business as usual, remaining wedded to careers’ worth of dubious presumptions — on ostensible threats, and how to counter them — may satisfy some generals’ subconscious need for paradigmatic comfort. The problem is, this pervasive proclivity makes the nation less safe, and, incidentally, may kill countless soldiers.

It is difficult to know what will come of the Army’s latest decision. What’s equally hard to predict is the organization’s upcoming role, both at home, or in the nation’s countless — in some cases escalatory — ongoing wars. Regardless, the safe money says the victims will, as ever, be rank-and-file troopers and foreign civilians. The citizens of America’s “enemy” states already suffer under cruel sanctions and — real or threatened — bombing. Some number of U.S. soldiers will be killed in these current, or future, ill-advised, unnecessary, wars; far more may die as a result of the Army’s corona-intransigence. Such is the tragedy of the absurd.

Around the time he published “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Camus, too, lived amidst crisis — even editing a Resistance newspaper — during the Nazi occupation of France. Nonetheless, the philosopher’s identification of life’s inherent absurdity, he was quite clear, need not engender apathetic despair. Rather, he professed, the “struggle itself…is enough to fill man’s heart,” that we should radically care for one another, and only thus can “keep civilization from destroying itself.” Consider this Camus’ eternal challenge to both president and the Pentagon.

Only today, contra his essay’s closing riposte, it’s rather difficult to “imagine” America’s Sisyphean soldiers — condemned, it seems, by their gods (generals and politicians) to eternally roll boulders up militarist mountains – as “happy.”

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Pentagon Warns They Aren’t Set Up to Fight Coronavirus – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2020

The only disease the military will be brought in to control is the one reading this.

https://news.antiwar.com/2020/03/16/pentagon-warns-they-arent-set-up-to-fight-coronavirus/

With many politicians long seeing the military as an all-purpose problem solver with a bottomless budget, it is unsurprising that the outbreak of coronavirus has many, particularly high-ranking Democrats, angling for a declaration of war and an outright militarization of the domestic issue.

I would call out the military now,” Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden said on Sunday. He said it’s an emergency and the US needs to treat it like a war. He suggested that the military could provide a “surge” for US hospitals, building more beds and tents that are secure. “We’re at war with the virus,” Biden added.

They all think that sounds like a great idea, except for the US military itself. Pentagon officials are warning that fighting a virus really isn’t their thing, and that those tent hospitals are designed to treat combat casualties, not respiratory illness.

Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the top medical adviser to the Joint Chiefs, said that the US military simply doesn’t have any 500-bed hospitals designed for infectious disease. Even more of a problem, they don’t have a bunch of idle doctors and nurses to man them if they did.

If the military was expected to set up such tent hospitals, they’d have to call in reserves and the National Guard to staff them, and many of them would be taken away from civilian facilities, meaning they’re just shifting people from a building to a tent.

Friedrichs added that the military is eager to help, but that he thinks the Pentagon needs to be transparent about its limitations before starting this huge “war” for the sake of public health. Whether that will deter anyone remains to be seen.

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More Dying for Nothing in Iraq – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2020

That’s how this entire sordid process has turned into a perpetual “war on terrorism,” one that sacrifices U.S. soldiers for nothing and, in the process, ends up destroying our rights and liberties here at home in the name of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that the Pentagon (and the CIA) are producing over there.

https://www.fff.org/2020/03/13/more-dying-for-nothing-in-iraq/

by

Two more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Yes, that Iraq — the Iraq that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so — the Iraq that the U.S. government invaded and has occupied for umpteen years under the rubric of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

What did those two soldiers die for? They died for the same thing that 58,000 U.S. soldiers died for in Vietnam — nothing.

They certainly didn’t die for freedom. Just as the North Vietnamese were never threatening the freedom of the American people, neither is anyone in Iraq, including ISIS, the group that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq brought into existence.

The Pentagon announced that it has retaliated for the killings by bombing an “Iranian-backed militia” that the Pentagon is “confident” was responsible for the killing.

And then what? Then that Iranian-backed militia retaliates by killing more U.S. soldiers, which then motivates the Pentagon to retaliate again, which causes the Iranian-backed militia to retaliate again.

That’s how this entire sordid process has turned into a perpetual “war on terrorism,” one that sacrifices U.S. soldiers for nothing and, in the process, ends up destroying our rights and liberties here at home in the name of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that the Pentagon (and the CIA) are producing over there.

What business do U.S. soldiers have in Iraq? No business at all. The longer they are kept there, the greater the chance that more of them will be dying for nothing.

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Here Is What Each Of The Pentagon’s Air-Launched Missiles And Bombs Actually Cost – The Drive

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

Building an empire isn’t cheap.

When we bomb a hospital or wedding party it costs a bundle to turn formerly innocent civilians to terrorism.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32277/here-is-what-each-of-the-pentagons-air-launched-missiles-and-bombs-actually-cost

By Joseph Trevithick

Whenever you see pictures of U.S. military combat aircraft, drones, and helicopters deployed on operations overseas, or even just during exercises in the United States or abroad, they’re often loaded down with various missiles and other precision-guided munitions. It’s no secret that the United States spends a lot on defense, but how much do each of these various weapons actually cost?

The individual prices of various air-launched munitions is an interesting and important thing to consider, especially given how many of them the U.S. military expends each year. In 2019 alone, American military aircraft, manned and unmanned, employed 7,423 munitions of various types in Afghanistan and another 4,729 in Iraq and Syria, according to official data. This year, already, they’ve expended 415 and 68 weapons in those same areas, respectively.

The War Zone has collected the latest unit costs of many of the Pentagon’s air-launched weapons to give readers a sense of just how much it is spending to arm its fleets of combat aircraft. It should be stressed that these are the prices for just the individual weapons and do not factor in any future spending on support services, modifications, or upgrades. Some may be surprised, or even a bit mortified, at just how expensive some of these weapons are.

USAF

It’s also important to note that unit prices fluctuate, wildly so in some cases, depending on various factors, including the economies of scale from buying larger lots. What this means is that different services may actually end up paying different amounts for the same weapons. A single service might also find itself paying different amounts for the same munitions in the base budget and the supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, especially if the size of the various orders are significantly different.

The Department of the Navy is responsible for the Marine Corps’ budget, as well. So, the unit prices that the Navy pays also apply to purchases of certain munitions destined for the Marine Corps, too.

USN

What follows are the unit prices, rounded to the nearest dollar, that the various branches of the U.S. military expect to pay for various air-launched weapons in the 2021 Fiscal Year as they appear in the official budget documents.

Air-to-Air Missiles:

  • AIM-9X Sidewinder (Air Force) – $472,000
  • AIM-9X Sidewinder (Navy) – $430,818
    • These unit prices are averages for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year orders for both services, which include lots of AIM-9X-2 Block II and AIM-9X-3 Block II+ missiles, the latter of which is specifically for variants F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
  • AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air To Air Missile (AMRAAM) (Air Force)- $1.095 million
  • AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air To Air Missile (AMRAAM) (Navy)- $995,018

Air-to-Surface Missiles:

  • AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) (Navy) – $6.149 million
  • AGM-114 Hellfire (Air Force) – $70,000
    • This unit price is an average for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year order, which may include a variety of Hellfire missiles in Air Force service, including, but not limited to the AGM-114R2, AGM-114R4, AGM-114R9E, and AGM-114R12.
    • This is also the unit price for orders in the base budget. The Air Force is also looking to purchase a much larger number of AGM-114 variants through the supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations budget at an average unit cost $31,000.
  • AGM-114 Hellfire (Army) – $213,143
    • This unit price is an average for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year order, which may include a variety of Hellfire missiles in Army service, including various different variants of the AGM-114R, as well as the millimeter-wave radar-guided AGM-114L.
    • This is also the unit price for orders in the base budget. The Army is also looking to purchase a much larger number of AGM-114R variants through the supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations budget at an average unit cost $76,461.
  • AGM-114 Hellfire (Navy) – $45,409
    • This unit price is an average for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year order, which may include a variety of Hellfire missiles in Navy and Marine Corps service, including, but not limited to the AGM-114K/K2, AGM-114M, AGM-114N, AGM-114P/P2, and AGM-114Q.
  • AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) (Air Force) – $1.266 million
    • This unit price is an average for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year order, which includes examples of the AGM-158A JASSM and AGM-158B JASSM-Extended Range (JASSM-ER).
    • The Air Force also expects the complete 2021 Fiscal Year JASSM order will also include the purchase of the first batch of low rate initial production AGM-158D JASSM-Extreme Range (JASSM-XR) missiles.
  • AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) (Air Force) – $3.960 million
  • AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) (Navy) – $3.518 million
  • AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) (Army) – $324,805
  • AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) (Navy) – $243,281

Precision-Guided Bombs:

  • GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) (Air Force) – $39,000
    • This unit price is an average for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year order, which may include the GBU-39A/B Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) variants, which has a special carbon fiber body intended to reduce the chance of collateral damage, and GBU-39B/B Laser SDBs.
  • GBU-53/B StormBreaker/Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) (Air Force) – $195,000
  • GBU-53/B StormBreaker/Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) (Navy) – $220,916
  • Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) (Air Force) – $21,000
  • Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) (Navy) – $22,208
    • These are the unit prices for orders in the base budget. The Air Force is also looking to purchase a much smaller number of JDAM kits through the supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations budget at an average unit cost of $36,000. The Navy is also looking to purchase a smaller number of JDAM kits through the supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations budget at an average unit cost of $23,074.
    • These unit prices are also averages for the entire projected 2021 Fiscal Year orders for both services and apply to the JDAM guidance kits only for 500, 1,000, and 2,000-pound class bombs.
    • This unit price average also includes multi-mode Laser JDAM kits.
    • The different JDAM guidance kits will work with a wide variety of different dumb bomb types within those classes, but some, such as the new BLU-137/B 2,000-pound class bunker buster, require certain weapon-specific modifications that impact the specific price point.
    • Per the Air Force budget, a standard, unguided Mk 82 500-pound class bomb has a unit price of $4,000, while 2,000-pound class Mk 84 unguided bombs cost $16,000 apiece.

It’s important to note that a number of air-launched munitions that are in active service across the U.S. military, such as the AGM-65E Maverick laser-guided missiles, AGM-154 Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW) glide bombs, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, and Paveway laser and multi-mode guidance kits for various types of bombs, are not mentioned above. This is because the services are not planning to buy new stocks of them in the 2021 Fiscal Year or they are included include broader sections of the budget where their exact unit cost is not readily apparent. There are requests for funds for sustainment of many of those weapons, as well as modifications and upgrades, too. The Navy is notably expecting to begin purchasing a powered derivative of the AGM-154, known as the JSOW-Extended Range (JSOW-ER), in the 2022 Fiscal Year.

Regardless, now, the next time you see a U.S. military combat aircraft, drone or helicopter, you’ll have a head start figuring out just how much its loadout of bombs and missiles actually cost.

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Pentagon proposes slashing funding for Stars and Stripes – Task & Purpose

Posted by M. C. on February 11, 2020

Lederer said in a Stars and Stripes story that the Pentagon plans to cut $7 million from the newspaper’s budget, or about 35% of its annual expenses.

That is just a handful of big bombs. May S & S got too close to the truth too many times for it’s own good.

Nip it!

https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-cuts-stars-stripes-funding

by

The Defense Department plans to cut funding for Stars and Stripes, the editorially independent newspaper for U.S. troops and their families overseas.

“We essentially decided that — kind of coming into the modern age — that newspapers are probably not the best way that we communicate any longer,” the Pentagon’s acting comptroller Elaine McCusker said during a briefing Monday about the Defense Department’s budget request.

The decision to cut funding for Stars and Stripes came as a result of a Defense Department wide review that looked at trimming costs, said McCusker, who could not say exactly how much the Pentagon wants to cut the newspaper’s subsidy by.

(Disclosure: This reporter worked for Stars and Stripes from August 2005 until December 2011).

Stars and Stripes publisher Max Lederer said he was notified on Monday that the Defense Department plans to eliminate all appropriated funding for the newspaper starting in fiscal 2021.

“Consequently, I have just begun to evaluate the impact to operations,” Lederer told Task & Purpose. “The loss of funding to support the Stripes mission around the world will definitely reduce the ability of the Stripes staff to gather, produce, and deliver the content needed and desired by the military community. The men and women who sacrifice every day for the safety of our nation deserve the objective and balanced unique content produced by Stars and Stripes.”

Lederer said in a Stars and Stripes story that the Pentagon plans to cut $7 million from the newspaper’s budget, or about 35% of its annual expenses.

Stars and Stripes is often the only source of information to deployed service members, especially since the Defense Department has begun preventing troops from taking their cell phones with them when they go downrage.

The newspaper first published during the Civil War and it has served troops continuously since World War II. It is available both in print and online.

Past defense secretaries have tried to phase out Stars and Stripes but the newspaper has traditionally enjoyed strong support in Congress.

Wall Street reporter Gordon Lubold first reported on Sunday that the Defense Department plans to cut Stars and Stripes’ funding as part of an effort to transfer $5 billon to higher priority projects.

“There were no previous discussions with the organization before today’s announcement,” Stars and Stripes editor Terry Leonard told Task & Purpose. “We have not had time to do an assessment. But it seems likely it will have a large impact on our ability to provide the fair, balanced and often unique content about and for our military audience that our readers have a right to expect.”

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