Category: War

May 17

All able-bodied children and grandchildren of members of Congress – A Sing Along –

Fortunate Son Trump Has to Decide: 50,000 Troops to Afghanistan? Eli Lake, Bloomberg A new Afghanistan war strategy approved last month by President Donald Trump’s top military and national security advisers would require at least 50,000 U.S. forces to stop the advance of the Taliban and save the government in Kabul, according to a classified …

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Jul 15

Deja Vu indeed.

I made the mistake of turning on the TV today. I should have known better.

Found a bunch of idiots parroting war monger McCain’s Wet Start I mean wet dream.

Bomb Iran song (from John McCain’s “joke”)

Uploaded on Apr 20, 2007

Parody of “Barbara Ann” taken from John McCain’s Bomb Iran “joke”, by Alex Arrowsmith.

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Went to Iraq, and the Communist Bloc

Didnt like that so Ill bomb around the clock

Ill Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Tried Little Kim

Tried Chavez

Tried Mahmoud

But I knew he wouldn’t do

Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Mar 31

TBC: Morning Musing 3.31.15

I have 4 articles for your perusal this morning!

First, on the big bigoted stupid in Indiana:

The Big Lie The Media Tells About Indiana’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

It’s not true.

The Indiana law differs substantially from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Clinton in 1993, and all other state RFRAs.

There are several important differences in the Indiana bill but the most striking is Section 9. Under that section, a “person” (which under the law includes not only an individual but also any organization, partnership, LLC, corporation, company, firm, church, religious society, or other entity) whose “exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened” can use the law as “a claim or defense… regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.”

Jump!

Jan 16

War On-With Parades

So we’ve recently passed another milestone in our perpetual War. Sunday December 28th 2014 marked the end of our combat mission in Afghanistan.

And we recently passed another set of new year’s parades Rose Bowl and Mummers etc. I’d ask the question “Who doesn’t love a parade?” but I get that there are plenty of people who have an aversion to parades in the same way some people are freaked out by clowns.

Anyhow, I thought it was as good a time as any to reflect on the time line of the country’s aversion to a ticker tape parade celebrating the end of longest running “combat operations” in our history.

Obviously, a ticker tape victory parade makes some people feel a little awkward. And it should. It highlights the fact that combat is NOT over. Military action should never have be used as a substitute for law enforcement action. Not to mention all the rest of the hypocrisy: the false pretenses, the unprosecuted torture war crimes, the illegal spying on and execution of American citizens. There’s plenty for the country to be outraged about. At the very least embarrassed.

A parade forces people to recon with what exactly we went to war for. Can you really declare victory against a tactic? What’s the difference between a War On something and a War With something? And when will we have that victory parade for the war on with drugs?
 

more War on with-

Jul 21

Stop Listening to Morons

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Surface To Air Missiles Kill People

I know I’m a silly and naive hippie. Very Serious People know the importance of arming the rebels, and the rebels of the rebels, and of the governments fighting the rebels, and of the random people who might just be good guys today but who knows about tomorrow, because it’s what we know how to do and our friends get rich in the process.

But, you know, weapons kill people. That’s what they’re for.

Atrios

We need to stop arming morons but most of all we need to stop listening to them.

In the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysian Air Flight 17 yesterday that took the lives of 290, there is a lot of ranting and finger wagging among war hawk conservatives who believe this tragedy could have been averted of we had just given the new Ukrainian government weapons. Considering the clear possibility that the plane was taken down by a Russian made Soviet era surface to air missile, the logic of these neo-cons is baffling. The US backing, arming and training rebels and rogue governments hasn’t worked very well in the past and isn’t working out very well today in either the Middle East or Latin  and South America

Charlie Pierce thinks we should stop listening to morons, in particular a couple of our elected morons, who have never seen a war they didn’t like or a terrorist under every rock, want more weapons and more war. Sen. John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain (R-AZ):

“It’s just been cowardly,” McCain said. “It’s a cowardly administration that we failed to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves.” He speculated that the Russian separatists who allegedly shot down the plane “may not even have occupied and had access to these weapons, which apparently they got at an airfield,” [..]

“First, give the Ukrainians weapons to defend themselves and regain their territory. Second of all, move some of our troops in to areas that are being threatened by Vladimir Putin, in other countries like the Baltics and others. Move missile defense into the places where we got out of, like the Czech Republic and Poland and other places. And impose the harshest possible sanctions on Vladimir Putin and Russia. And that’s just for openers.”

This from the man who wanted to arm the Syrian rebels who were affiliated with Al Qaeda, some of whom are now trying to overthrow the American backed Iraqi government. John, please, just please, retire.

And of course the call for throwing more weapons into the mix wouldn’t be complete without some good ol’ fear mongering for Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

“[W]e need more leadership from the president,” King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on MSNBC. “He gave this a passing reference in his speech in Delaware, then went on to tell Joe Biden jokes and take the usual shots at Republicans – which is fair game, but not on this day – and then to go to New York and go to two fundraisers. I mean, I can’t imagine [former Presidents Dwight] Eisenhower or [John F.] Kennedy or [Ronald] Reagan doing that.”

Ronnie Reagan? Seriously. The man who slept through the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over the Kamchatka Peninsula by Soviet forces in 1983 and took three days to make a statement? Pete, get a grip

More of what Charlie said about arming morons:

I often refer to the scene featuring the great character actor Philip Bosco, as a judge in the small upstate New York town that is the setting for the vastly underrated Paul Newman movie Nobody’s Fool. Newman is before the judge because he has punched a local cop — played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman — and, in response, the cop had fired off a warning shot that frightened an old woman a few blocks over. Bosco listens to the story and then addresses the police chief. “You know my views on arming morons,” Bosco says. “If you arm one, you have to arm them all. Otherwise, it isn’t good sport.”

It is becoming plain that the atrocity visited on the Malaysian jetliner is a direct result of arming morons. The New York Times obtained audiotape, allegedly from the people who shot down the plane, and these guys sound like they shouldn’t be trusted with a lemon zester, let alone a surface-to-air missile. And it is quite plain that the one thing this situation doesn’t need is to arm more morons, or to have another superpower come bungling in. Either by accident or by design — and Josh Marshall is right to point out that, if it’s the former, that’s infinitely worse — Vladimir Putin is responsible for a horrendous crime, and one that weakens his international standing. The only thing that would bail him out would be a flood of American arms to our own set of morons. The only thing that would bail him out would be if we all started listening to John McCain again.

We do know that the separatists in Eastern Ukraine have been armed by the Russians and have taken credit for bring down other planes over the last several weeks. If this is true, the culpability for this tragic loss of lives lies directly at the feet of Vladimir Putin, he alone has the power to stop this. Like Putin, the US needs to stop arming morons and stop listening to them as well.

Nov 25

Obama’s Drone War is not working

   Even Congress doesn’t want us to know the details of the Drone War.

 The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday rejected 15 to 5 what supporters call a “modest” proposal to require that the Obama administration publicly report those killed by U.S. drone strikes overseas.

 Why would they not want us to know how many “enemies” we killed, unless there is something about this War on Some Terror that we wouldn’t approve of?

 Fortunately there is enough information out there that we can piece together an approximate picture of what is happening.

Nov 24

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: “If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him” by Annieli

All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else. -The Buddha

Marx: “constant revolutionizing of production uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all precious ones. all fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient prejudices and opinions are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”

Unlike the Marshall Berman book, the reality of human conflict today is not so much about modernism as it is modernizing in the pre-industrial context, the civilizing and evolving, uneven yet parallel, paths from primitive, pre-modern communism through feudal modes of production, many of which still operate today whether the American Taliban or their calabash cousins in South Central Asia. The Koch Brothers, as corporate despots, are no different in their ideological commitments to devoting their wealth to an Anti-Communist Christianity that memorializes a martyr like John Birch and promotes inequality and suffering from uneven economic development. It is not a stretch to compare sacralized warfare and sectarian violence where today’s Oath Keepers see themselves as displaced Zen-samurai or Ronin of the Tokugawa Era. For example the original film The 47 Ronin directed by Kenji Mizoguchi is released near to the date of the Pearl Harbor attack. and the 1998 film of the same name by John Frankenheimer with script by David Mamet refers directly to the same historical event. ” The popularity of the tale grew during the Meiji era of Japanese history, in which Japan underwent modernization, and the legend became subsumed within discourses of national heritage and identity.”

The connection or family resemblance of feudal despotism and a repressive political state apparatus that attempts to control reproductive rights or democratic representation is now mobilized by ideology and ideological institutions such as Religions, Governments, and Mass Media and are mobilized much like Pat Buchanan’s meme of a Culture War. Its bastardization into a variety of discourses about race, class, and gender occupy much of the time and space of DK. As a matter of making the analysis of contemporary events, especially those exhibiting false consciousness like acts of racism or other violence clearer, some variants of Marxist methodology can be useful beyond some inerrant textual applications of Marxological theories. Excuse the lapse into the technical but the recent histories of human conflict as well as conflict among humans and nature require methods that can help make even the simplest of practices more coherent under the “shock doctrine” of crisis capitalism. There is a fluid boundary between culture war and actual war much as there is between abstract and concrete violence.

Althusser explains that the SA (State Apparatus) functions predominantly by violence or repression and only secondarily by ideology. Similarly the ISAs (Ideological State Apparatuses) function predominantly by ideology but can include punishment or repression secondarily.

This diary begins with a consideration of a recent book on Buddhist Warfare, a topic which has interested others as representative of the apparent contradiction of perhaps more Western stereotypes about the peaceful resistance to authoritarianism by some Buddhisms (Tibet) and the hegemonic behavior of other Buddhist majority regimes (Myanmar/Burma) where punishment or repression seems anomolous to a population significantly Buddhist. There is no space here to discuss the complex sectarian struggles of global religions and the focus here is on the material justification of cultural violence in the context of this recent book edited by Jerryson and Juergensmeyer Buddhist Warfare OUP 2010. The ideology of any religion and its worldly sectarian practices can be considered as some Marxists did in the last century as Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA) in the case of the ambitions of early to mid 20th Century Japanese imperialism, Buddhism was manipulated to become an ISA in terms of forging a national will and an industrialized state to sacrifice for humans claiming the status of feudal deity-monarchs. In the cases of contemporary Thailand and Myanmar among others, the identity of Buddhism and a ruling class creates a complex set of contradiction for both Buddhist resistance movements and military-political elites no different structurally than many other regimes Marx described as an Asiatic mode of production, (AMP), and that Oriental Despotism reproduces itself structurally in many contemporary Asian corporatized ruling class economies that have many different oligarchic names such as Chaebol in South Korea, family-controlled corporate conglomerates. In Japan before World War II, large holding companies formed wealth groups, or zaibatsu, which dominated most industry. The zaibatsu were dissolved after the war, but keiretsu-large, modern industrial enterprise groupings-emerged. And the tensions between the imperatives for military and economic self-defense as well as the need for corporatist, oligarghic, yet familial expansion create more challenges for the many corresponding Buddhisms.

MSDF Hyuga, a contemporary Japanese aircraft carrier classified as a destroyer:

What is important for this brief narrative is the point of view reconciling the complexity of many Buddhisms within the context of such societies, the expansion of rationalized violence against a populace and the rationalizing discourse of remote killing. This is where the army does the killing so one’s own responsibility is intact. Drone warfare can represent the instrumental separation and distance possible and even resemble the Buddhist position or relative autonomy on just violence. In these cases, that group or even individual violence or exploitation are situated in a discourse of class struggle that has an ideological structure consistent with other capitalist and even pre-capitalist practices. There is some literature on the political economy of arbitrary seasonal regional violence in France in the late middle ages. This same discourse exists in the justification or rationalization of individual and group religious practices in military organizations working for governments that represent a separation of church and state. This is historically a relatively new term considering the number of theocratic regimes that do not recognize that formal or informal separation in contrast to democratic rules of law which attempt to keep public order in a republic despite the actions of corporate despots.


The theory of the Asiatic mode of production, (AMP) was devised by Karl Marx around the early 1850s. The essence of the theory has been described as “[the] suggestion … that Asiatic societies were held in thrall by a despotic ruling clique, residing in central cities and directly expropriating surplus from largely autarkic and generally undifferentiated village communities.” The theory continues to arouse heated discussion among contemporary Marxists and non-Marxists alike. Some have rejected the whole concept on the grounds that the socio-economic formations of pre-capitalist Asia did not differ enough from those of feudal Europe to warrant special designation. Aside from Marx, Friedrich Engels was also an enthusiastic commentator on the AMP. They both focused on the socio-economic base of AMP society.

Marx and Engels were trying to reconcile why development was uneven in the East Asian context, partially to explain European colonialism and the creation of spheres on influence based on new forms of extractible exchange in the form of mobile surplus value, in this case, opium as a medium of exchange value.



Opium Godown (Storehouse) in Patna, Bihar (c. 1814)

“China, one of those faltering Asian empires, which one after the other fell prey to the entrepreneurial spirit of the European race, was so weak, so much collapsed, that it did not even have the strength to go through the crisis of a people’s revolution, so that an acute indignation has turned into a chronic and probably incurable disease, an empire, so much decomposed, that it was almost unable to rule its own people or to offer resistance to the foreign aggressors”.

Asiatic mode of production

This is a controversial contribution to Marxist theory, initially used to explain pre-slave and pre-feudal large earthwork constructions in China, India, the Euphrates and Nile river valleys (and named on this basis of the primary evidence coming from greater “Asia”). The Asiatic mode of production is said to be the initial form of class society, where a small group extracts social surplus through violence aimed at settled or unsettled band communities within a domain. Exploited labour is extracted as forced corvee labour during a slack period of the year (allowing for monumental construction such as the pyramids, ziggurats, ancient Indian communal baths or the Chinese Great Wall). Exploited labour is also extracted in the form of goods directly seized from the exploited communities. The primary property form of this mode is the direct religious possession of communities (villages, bands, hamlets) and all those within them. The ruling class of this society is generally a semi-theocratic aristocracy which claims to be the incarnation of gods on earth. The forces of production associated with this society include basic agricultural techniques, massive construction and storage of goods for social benefit (granaries).

Yet colonial extraction and power projected itself easily into East Asia in the 19th Century, partially because of the kinds of labor agreements made in parallel with native merchant capitalists as well as a hegemonic ensemble of colonizing projects, each bringing its own version of Orientalist (sic) value to Europe. Yet concurrently and administrative violence brought to a country has its relatively autonomous indigenous religion still operating as an ISA in parallel to missionary Christianity where spiritual volition could be retained.

Cetanā  is a Buddhist term commonly translated as “volition”, “directionality”, or “attraction”. It can be defined as a mental factor that moves or urges the mind in a particular direction, toward a specific object or goal

It is no stretch to see the use of religion in legitimating state violence as seen in the image of the Taliban demolishing sacred Buddhist sites as motivating or rationalizing the initial invasion into Afghanistan and its continued use on a more informally profane way in the conduct of the subsequent wars. These are moments of justifying/rationalizing violence against self or Other (preemptive violence prevents a greater sin). In some historical cases they are the reasons for oppressing rival sects or religions to this day.

Nov 15

The Cost of War for Soldiers

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In a three part interview that appropriately began on Veterans’ Day, journalist, author and photographer discussed her latest book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars-The Untold Story with Jaisal Noor, the Real News Network producer.



Transcript can be read here



Transcript can be read here



Transcript can be read here

They Didn’t Know What They Were Getting Into: The Cost of War American-Style

by Ann Jones, TomDispatch

   The last time I saw American soldiers in Afghanistan, they were silent. Knocked out by gunfire and explosions that left them grievously injured, as well as drugs administered by medics in the field, they were carried from medevac helicopters into a base hospital to be plugged into machines that would measure how much life they had left to save. They were bloody.  They were missing pieces of themselves. They were quiet.

   It’s that silence I remember from the time I spent in trauma hospitals among the wounded and the dying and the dead. It was almost as if they had fled their own bodies, abandoning that bloodied flesh upon the gurneys to surgeons ready to have a go at salvation. Later, sometimes much later, they might return to inhabit whatever the doctors had managed to salvage.  They might take up those bodies or what was left of them and make them walk again, or run, or even ski.  They might dress themselves, get a job, or conceive a child. But what I remember is the first days when they were swept up and dropped into the hospital so deathly still.

   They were so unlike themselves. Or rather, unlike the American soldiers I had first seen in that country. Then, fired up by 9/11, they moved with the aggressive confidence of men high on their macho training and their own advance publicity.

Sep 01

“i love the smell of napalm in the morning”

Aug 25

Cruisin’

The now venerable cruise missile is quite different from the Predator drones.  It relies on inboard programmed intelligence instead of remote piloting.  Sensors of the missile scan the heavens for route correction while other sensors feed ground data to stored cartographic data.  

Reporters at a hotel in one war torn capital noted that the slow-moving cruise missiles seemed to be headed for a direct strike at their hotel and then seemed to veer off as if they were reading the street signs.

There was a blow up in relations between Clinton’s White House and China when cruise missiles struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.  The Chinese screamed they had painted “Chinese Embassy” on the roof.  It made me think of the challenge of realtime optical character recognition (OCR} combined with interpretation of the characters to abort the mission even as it descended on the target.

It would be an uncertain challenge indeed but perhaps no greater than the efforts needed for realtime path correction.

It appears now it is just a matter of time before we see some cruising in and near Damascus.  The slow-moving, low-flying cruise missiles are vulnerable to ground fire but resist radar that would much more easily take out drones.

Best,  Terry

Feb 18

Analyzing the blur (Part 1)

Since the stolen election of 2000, a cyclonic lot of crazy stuff has been whirling above the surface that previously managed to stay largely submerged in public political consciousness.  Among the eye-openers beyond Bush v. Gore were, of course, the 9/11 anomaly, the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the seemingly arbitrary and endless global war on terror more generally; the looming national security state and the steady erosion of Constitutional and international law; the general feeling that enlightenment has given way to endarkenment; free-ranging corporate malfeasance and immunity; the bursting of various financial bubbles resulting in a generalized, global economic implosion, resulting in turn in massive corporate bailouts and profits, ballooning deficits, joblessness and austerity measures for the masses; an increase in global civil unrest and pushback, including the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and anonymous cyber-resistance; rather massive ecological catastrophes and an increasingly alarming pace of numerous climate change indices, including Hurricane Katrina and multiple other extreme weather events; and such an abject failure of the media to report on these developments with any effort approaching due diligence that one not only suspects willful dereliction, but active collusion with various malefactors.  

It’s no wonder that 99% of political dialogue is distracted and cannot focus on the major critical factors of our spiraling crises, which happen to be more inter-related than your average kissing cousins.  Rather than getting deep into the weeds on any particular topic, it’s worthwhile to zoom out and look at the main populations of events and drivers of these spiraling crises as they are subsumed under a master narrative of carrying capacity, a subject that approaches the brink of taboo in political (but not biological) discussions, insofar as it challenges the main religious orthodoxy of our time, namely, unlimited growth.  Let’s see if we can begin by accurately describing our situation in broad, simple strokes.  Part 1 (this essay) aims to provide the relevant background narrative for subsequent discussion.          

*     *     *

These first two graphs, which are virtually identical, show human energy use (top graph) and human population growth (bottom graph) over the past 12 thousands years or so.  Several things should jump out immediately beyond their near identity.  First, they are both wildly anomalous spikes in the historical record, one-time, vertical explosions of activity happening simultaneously.  Before knowing anything else, the very shape of the functions are cause for serious doubts about the sustainability of these trajectories.    

Photobucket

When plotted against one another during the explosive phase, the nearly perfect identity between energy use and human population is confirmed.

Photobucket

Because “behaviorally modern” humans have been around for at least 70,000 years, it would seem this sudden vertical trajectory did not happen because of some sudden evolutionary innovation of the past several hundred years.  Rather, these two simultaneous trajectories are consistent with energy being perhaps “the” rate-limiting factor of reproductive success, and humans fell into the Mother Lode, leaving other large mammals in their proverbial dust.  

Alternatively, it is possible that an accumulation of post-agricultural/post-division of labor and expertise cultural knowledge reached a critical mass whereby civilization (and population) suddenly bifurcated into an entirely new mode that would have happened independently of energy use.  The arguments are not exclusive, but the key experiment would be to remove the energy (a “before-after-before” experiment) to see if the large-brained mammals could maintain anything resembling their current numbers and technological complexity in the absence of energy.

That natural experiment is, in fact, underway, and while the design is adventitious and imperfect, it should provide definitive results.

Jan 14

Gun Control and the Hypocrisy of the War on (some) Terror

  What nation can intentionally target children for death and still expect the world to love us? Didn’t we used to denounce the Soviet Union for this stuff?

“In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”

 – Lt Col Marion Carrington, Marine Corp Times

 It sort of puts those school shooting deaths in perspective, doesn’t it? Our lack of respect for the lives of children overseas will eventually come home.

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