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By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward.

So, too, with the incurable optimists who manage present-day American wars. What matters is not past mistakes but future opportunities. This describes the view of General Joseph Votel, current head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Since its creation in 1983, CENTCOM has emerged as the ne plus ultra of the Pentagon’s several regional commands, the place where the action is always hot and heavy. Votel is the latest in a long train of four-star generals to preside over that action.

The title of this essay (exclamation point included) captures in a single phrase the “strategic approach” that Votel has devised for CENTCOM. That approach, according to the command’s website, is “proactive in nature and endeavors to set in motion tangible actions in a purposeful, consistent, and continuous manner.”

This strategic approach forms but one element in General Votel’s multifaceted (if murky) “command narrative,” which he promulgated last year upon taking the helm at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida. Other components include a “culture,” a “vision,” a “mission,” and “priorities.” CENTCOM’s culture emphasizes “persistent excellence,” as the command “strives to understand and help others to comprehend, with granularity and clarity, the complexities of our region.” The vision, indistinguishable from the mission except perhaps for those possessing advanced degrees in hermeneutics, seeks to provide “a more stable and prosperous region with increasingly effective governance, improved security, and trans-regional cooperation.” Toward that estimable end, CENTCOM’s priorities include forging partnerships with other nations “based upon shared values,” “actively counter[ing] the malign influence” of hostile regimes, and “degrading and defeating violent extremist organizations and their networks.”

At present, CENTCOM is busily implementing the several components of Votel’s command narrative across an “area of responsibility” (AOR) consisting of 20 nations, among them Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. As the CENTCOM website puts it, without batting a digital eyelash, that AOR “spans more than 4 million square miles and is populated by more than 550 million people from 22 ethnic groups, speaking 18 languages with hundreds of dialects and confessing multiple religions which transect national borders.”

According to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, an AOR is the “geographical area associated with a combatant command within which a geographic combatant commander has authority to plan and conduct operations.” Yet this anodyne definition fails to capture the spirit of the enterprise in which General Votel is engaged.

One imagines that there must be another Department of Defense Dictionary, kept under lock-and-key in the Pentagon, that dispenses with the bland language and penchant for deceptive euphemisms. That dictionary would define an AOR as “a vast expanse within which the United States seeks to impose order without exercising sovereignty.” An AOR combines aspects of colony, protectorate, and contested imperial frontier. In that sense, the term represents the latest incarnation of the informal empire that American elites have pursued in various forms ever since U.S. forces “liberated” Cuba in 1898.

To say that a military officer presiding over an AOR plans and conducts operations is a bit like saying that Jeff Bezos sells books. It’s a small truth that evades a larger one. To command CENTCOM is to function as a proconsul, to inhabit as a co-equal the rarified realm of kings, presidents, and prime ministers. CENTCOM commanders shape the future of their AOR — or at least fancy that they do.

Sustaining expectations of shaping the future requires a suitably accommodating version of the past. For CENTCOM, history is a record of events selected and arranged to demonstrate progress. By testifying to the achievements of previous CENTCOM commanders, history thereby validates Votel’s own efforts to carry on their work. Not for nothing, therefore, does the command’s website include this highly sanitized account of its recent past:

“In the wake of 9-11, the international community found Saddam Hussein’s continued lack of cooperation with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction unacceptable. Hussein’s continued recalcitrance led the UNSC to authorize the use of force by a U.S.-led coalition. Operation Iraqi Freedom began 19 March 2003.

“Following the defeat of both the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (9 November 2001) and Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq (8 April 2003), CENTCOM has continued to provide security to the new freely-elected governments in those countries, conducting counterinsurgency operations and assisting host nation security forces to provide for their own defense.”

Setbacks, disappointments, miscalculations, humiliations: you won’t hear about them from CENTCOM. Like Broadway’s Annie, down at headquarters in Tampa they’re “just thinkin’ about tomorrow,” which “clears away the cobwebs, and the sorrow, till there’s none!”

(Give the Vietnam War the CENTCOM treatment and you would end up with something like this: “Responding to unprovoked North Vietnamese attacks and acting at the behest of the international community, a U.S.-led coalition arrived to provide security to the freely-elected South Vietnamese government, conducting counterinsurgency operations and assisting host nation security forces to provide for their own defense.”)

In fact, the U.N. Security Council did not authorize the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Indeed, efforts by George W. Bush’s administration to secure such an authorization failed abysmally, collapsing in a welter of half-truths and outright falsehoods. What much of the international community found unacceptable, more so even than Saddam’s obstreperousness, was Bush’s insistence that he was going to have his war regardless of what others might think. As for celebrating the “defeat” of the Taliban and of Saddam, that’s the equivalent of declaring “game over” when the whistle sounds ending the first quarter of a football game.

More to the point, to claim that, in the years since, CENTCOM “has continued to provide security to the new freely-elected governments” of Afghanistan and Iraq whitewashes history in ways that would cause the most shameless purveyor of alt-facts on Fox News to blush. The incontestable truth is that Afghans and Iraqis have not known security since U.S. forces, under the direction of General Votel’s various predecessors, arrived on the scene. Rather than providing security, CENTCOM has undermined it.

CENTCOM Headquarters (Where It’s Always Groundhog Day)

Even so, as the current steward of CENTCOM’s culture, vision, mission, strategic approach, and priorities, General Votel remains undaunted. In his view, everything that happened prior to his assuming ownership of the CENTCOM AOR is irrelevant. What matters is what will happen from now on — in Washington-speak, “going forward.” As with Artie Shaw, serial disappointments leave intact the conviction that persistence will ultimately produce a happy ending.

Earlier this month, Votel provided a progress report to the Senate Armed Services Committee and outlined his expectations for future success. In a city that now competes for the title of Comedy Central, few paid serious attention to what the CENTCOM commander had to say. Yet his presentation was, in its own way, emblematic of how, in the Age of Trump, U.S. national security policy has become fully divorced from reality.

General Votel began by inventorying the various “drivers of instability” afflicting his AOR. That list, unsurprisingly enough, turned out to be a long one, including ethnic and sectarian divisions, economic underdevelopment, an absence of opportunity for young people “susceptible to unrest [and] radical ideologies,” civil wars, humanitarian crises, large refugee populations, and “competition among outside actors, including Russia and China, seeking to promote their interests and supplant U.S. influence in the region.” Not qualifying for mention as destabilizing factors, however, were the presence and activities of U.S. military forces, their footprint dwarfing that of Russia and China.

Indeed, the balance of Votel’s 64-page written statement argued, in effect, that U.S. military activities are the key to fixing all that ails the CENTCOM AOR. After making a brief but obligatory bow to the fact that “a solely military response is not sufficient” to address the region’s problems, he proceeded to describe at length the military response (and only the military response) that will do just that.

Unfortunately for General Votel, length does not necessarily correlate with substance. Once upon a time, American military professionals prized brevity and directness in their writing. Not so the present generation of generals who are given to logorrhea. Consider just this bit of cliché-ridden drivel — I could quote vast passages of it — that Votel inflicted on members of the United States Senate. “In a region beset by myriad challenges,” he reported,

“we must always be on the look-out for opportunities to seize the initiative to support our objectives and goals. Pursuing opportunities means that we are proactive — we don’t wait for problems to be presented; we look for ways to get ahead of them. It also means that we have to become comfortable with transparency and flat communications — our ability to understand our AOR better than anyone else gives us the advantage of knowing where opportunities exist. Pursuing opportunities also means we have to take risk — by delegating authority and responsibility to the right level, by trusting our partners, and being willing to trust our best instincts in order to move faster than our adversaries.”

In third-tier business schools, bromides of this sort might pass for “best practices.” But my guess is that George C. Marshall or Dwight D. Eisenhower would award the author of that paragraph an F and return him to staff college for further instruction.

Frothy verbiage aside, what exactly does General Votel propose? The answer — for those with sufficient patience to wade through the entire 64 pages — reduces to this: persist. In concrete terms, that means keeping on killing and enabling our “allies” to do the same until the other side is finally exhausted and gives up. In other words, it’s the movie Groundhog Day transposed from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to Tampa and then to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the bodies continue to pile up.

True, the document Votel presented to Congress is superficially comprehensive, with sections touting everything from “Building Partner Capacity” (“we must be forward-leaning and empower our partners to meet internal security challenges”) to creating a “Global Engagement Center” (“The best way to defeat an idea is to present a better, more appealing idea”). Strip away the fluff, however, and what’s left is nothing more than a call to keep doing what CENTCOM has been doing for years now.

To see what all this really means, practically speaking, just check out CENTCOM press releases for the week of March 5th through 10th. The titles alone suffice to describe a situation where every day is like the one that preceded it:

March 5: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

March 6: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

March 7: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

March 8: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

March 9: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

March 10: Military airstrikes continue against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq

As the good nuns used to tell me back in parochial school, actions speak louder than words. What the CENTCOM commander says matters less than what CENTCOM forces do. What they are doing is waging an endless war of attrition.

Ludendorff Would Have Approved

“Punch a hole and let the rest follow.”

During the First World War, that aphorism, attributed to General Erich Ludendorff, captured the essence of the German army’s understanding of strategy, rooted in the conviction that violence perpetrated on a sufficient scale over a sufficient period of time will ultimately render a politically purposeless war purposeful. The formula didn’t work for Germany in Ludendorff’s day and yielded even more disastrous results when Hitler revived it two decades later.

Of course, U.S. military commanders today don’t make crude references to punching holes. They employ language that suggests discrimination, deliberation, precision, and control as the qualities that define the American way of war. They steer clear of using terms like attrition. Yet differences in vocabulary notwithstanding, the U.S. military’s present-day MO bears a considerable resemblance to the approach that Ludendorff took fully a century ago. And for the last decade and a half, U.S. forces operating in the CENTCOM AOR have been no more successful than were German forces on the Western Front in achieving the purposes that ostensibly made war necessary.

To divert attention from this disturbing fact, General Votel offers Congress and by extension the American people a 64-page piece of propaganda. Whether he himself is deluded or dishonest is difficult to say, just as it remains difficult to say whether General William Westmoreland was deluded or dishonest when he assured Congress in November 1967 that victory in Vietnam was in sight. “With 1968,” Westmoreland promised, “a new phase is now starting. We have reached an important point when the end begins now to come into view.”

Westmoreland was dead wrong, as the enemy’s 1968 Tet Offensive soon demonstrated. That a comparable disaster, no doubt different in form, will expose Votel’s own light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel assessment as equally fraudulent is a possibility, even if one to which American political and military leaders appear to be oblivious. This much is certain: in the CENTCOM AOR the end is not even remotely in view.

What are we to make of this charade of proconsuls parading through Washington to render false or misleading reports on the status of the American empire’s outer precincts?

Perhaps the time has come to look elsewhere for advice and counsel. Whether generals like Votel are deluded or dishonest is ultimately beside the point. More relevant is the fact that the views they express — and that inexplicably continue to carry weight in Washington — are essentially of no value. So many years later, no reason exists to believe that they know what they are doing.

To reground U.S. national security policy in something that approximates reality would require listening to new voices, offering views long deemed heretical.

Let me nonetheless offer you an example:

“Fifteen years after launching a worldwide effort to defeat and destroy terrorist organizations, the United States finds itself locked in a pathologically recursive loop; we fight to prevent attacks and defend our values, only to incite further violence against ourselves and allies while destabilizing already chaotic regions…”

That is not the judgment of some lefty from Cambridge or San Francisco, but of Major John Q. Bolton, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan Wars. Within that brief passage is more wisdom than in all of General Votel’s 64 pages of blather.

I submit that Bolton’s grasp of our predicament is infinitely superior to Votel’s. The contrast between the two is striking. The officer who wears no stars dares to say what is true; the officer wearing four stars obfuscates. If the four-stars abandon obfuscation for truth, then and only then will they deserve our respectful attention. In the meantime, it’s like looking to Artie Shaw for marriage counseling.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author most recently of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    This is excellent. Actually my superb mark was meant for this piece.

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  2. the raven says:

    Haven’t read the article yet – does Bacevich do much virtue signalling to his social betters in this one?

    Read More
  3. Some of us still hope that Trump will change things, like order a pull out from Afghanistan within two years. Just call for a conference with the Russians, Pakis, and Iranians and tell them we are leaving so they should prepare to send their own “peacekeepers” lest they face chaos on their borders. The establishment in Washington would be stunned, while citizens cheer!

    From my blog:

    Jan 3, 2017 – Our Generals Failed in Afghanistan

    This great, short article:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/12/28/our-generals-failed-in-afghanistan-2/

    explains why our military failed in Afghanistan, which it sums up in one sentence: “We stuck with a policy that rotated leaders through the country like tourists.”

    Our military has been propping up an American puppet dictator/president there since it invaded over 15 years ago, with no end in sight. The justification is that because of 9-11 our military must remain to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a training ground for terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. But as this blog has detailed, OBL had nothing to do with 9-11 and none of the alleged hijackers were Afghan nor had trained there. The FBI only claimed that OBL “inspired” the attack but never accused him of even conspiracy in the 9-11 attack. In addition, there are a dozen other failed states serving as breeding grounds for terrorists, yet our military doesn’t spend billions of dollars each year trying to rule them with bullets and bombs aimed by military tourists.

    Read More
  4. Renoman says:

    I’m pretty sure the US military is in Afghanistan because of the fantastic money to be made in the Heroin trade plus of course propping up all the arms sales and other feeding of the great complex. It’s always the money.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Agent76
    You nailed it and always follow the money!

    December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

    LONDON— Recent news item: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials - despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html

    Jan 9, 2015 Opium Production in Afghanistan Sets Record - American Soldiers Helping Heroin Sales

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIkLYlaZ6kY

    June 10, 2014 Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/drug-war-american-troops-are-protecting-afghan-opium-u-s-occupation-leads-to-all-time-high-heroin-production/5358053
  5. I believe it to be very clear now what Donald Trump’s MAGA!!! jobs program is for Working Class Native Born White American Teenage Age Males from The American Heartland:A tour of duty in Iraq…Afghanistan….Syria…sent back to a crying Working Class Native Born White American Mothers in a body bag, with her teenage son’s head possibly blown off in a fire-fight and unrecoverable.

    A pointless… meaningless death for Greater Israel-Jared Kushner(Trump’s son-in-law) and the very very Greedy Arms Manufactuers.

    Other young men get to shriek “WHAT A STUD!!!!” in college basketball arenas across America during the Final Four mass hysteria…and they believe by doing this that they are actually supporting the Teenage Canon Fodder-their birth cohort peers-paying for college by doing a tour of duty in Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan….

    Read More
  6. Agent76 says:

    September 11, 2016 Al Qaeda: The Data Base by Wayne Madsen Report and Global Research 20 November 2005

    Osama bin Laden with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1979

    Global Research Editor’s Note: This article originally published by Global Research in 2005 sheds light on the nature of Al Qaeda, an intelligence construct used by Washington to destabilize and destroy sovereign countries, while sustaining the illusion of an outside enemy, which threatens the security of the Western World.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-the-database-2/24738

    Read More
  7. Agent76 says:
    @Renoman
    I'm pretty sure the US military is in Afghanistan because of the fantastic money to be made in the Heroin trade plus of course propping up all the arms sales and other feeding of the great complex. It's always the money.

    You nailed it and always follow the money!

    December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

    LONDON— Recent news item: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials – despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html

    Jan 9, 2015 Opium Production in Afghanistan Sets Record – American Soldiers Helping Heroin Sales

    June 10, 2014 Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/drug-war-american-troops-are-protecting-afghan-opium-u-s-occupation-leads-to-all-time-high-heroin-production/5358053

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Speaking of opium, there is little doubt that the US was eager to smash its WW1 ally Japan because it was not only becoming a competitor of the US in Asia for both resources and markets, but also because its militarists were beginning to establish their own opium industry (in Manchukuo) to help fund their colonial ambitions.
  8. The Scalpel says: • Website

    Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place.

    In reality, the vast majority of people who join the military are self-centered and looking for personal gain however they defne it. (Money, respect, power, legal violence) they are willing to kill people and destroy things to get what they want. They do not seriously take morality into consideration, and if they do, they rationalize what they do, or don’t act on their moral conclusions. They are almost all mercenaries in their own way. The soldiers are no better than their corrupt superiors and civilian ringleaders. If major John Q Bolton really believed what he wrote, he would immediately resign. But he doesn’t immediately resign, does he?

    I don’t have all the answers. As other authors on this site point out, violence is part of the human genome. I would suggest not at all glorifying military people but criticizing them. After all, they deserve criticism. I would suggest encouraging your daughters not to date or have children with military men. I know this sounds kind of foolish, but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Good comment!

    I know of more than a few people who wold agree with you.


    “Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, … also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves.”

    ― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899

    Tolstoy started out with youthful patriotism, volunteered for combat and served on the front lines for Russia and was known and decorated for bravery under fire. His experiences changed his mind about war and patriotism. He's well worth listening to.
     


    Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character.”

    Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
    History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

     

    , @iffen
    but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    No. There will be surviving races, it just won't be the ones that adopt your advice.
    , @SteveM

    "Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place."
     
    Bacevich is a retired emeritus professor of Boston U. where he was a faculty member for years. Apparently, he was never a paid hack for a crony "think tank" like Heritage or AEI.

    And if you do pay "close attention" to his efforts you will find that he has been consistently suspicious of interventionism because it is a high risk waste of blood and treasure (American and the poor native people caught in the crossfire), not because the United States military was insufficiently ruthless when targeting its objectives.
  9. Ludendorff was moron, and I always wondered why Hitler did not kill him.
    US policies had catastrophic results in the Levant.
    In Levant Sunni influence was eradicated and now all Levant is under Shiite control.
    That is a deadly threat to Israel.
    Russians with minimum military engagement assured continuation of Assad. regime.
    Russians are now in Libya installing Russian friendly government.
    US mischief in Ukraine backfired so badly that it is total catastrophe for US.
    Chinese did say to US secretary of state concerning Korea to shut up and get lost.
    If somebody think that Trump can reverse the catastrophic decline of US influence around the world is out of his/hers mind.

    Read More
  10. Pandos says:

    The U.S. state is achieving its objectives; bigger defense budgets, more chaos, firmer control, black ops, drugs, Greater Israel, hegemony. Major Bolton is missing the point and so is Bacevich.

    Read More
  11. Agent76 says:

    July 23, 2016 Study Says Drones Generate More Terrorism

    Using lethal drones to kill “bad guys” on the other side of the planet is offensive to many people on moral grounds, but a new study finds it is also ineffective in reducing terrorism, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/23/study-says-drones-generate-more-terrorism/

    JULY 19, 2016 US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters’

    US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/19/us-air-strike-in-syria-kills-up-to-85-civilians-mistaken-for-isi/

    Read More
  12. @The Scalpel
    Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that "We" mean well. If only "We" could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, "We" could be successful and the world would be a better place.

    In reality, the vast majority of people who join the military are self-centered and looking for personal gain however they defne it. (Money, respect, power, legal violence) they are willing to kill people and destroy things to get what they want. They do not seriously take morality into consideration, and if they do, they rationalize what they do, or don't act on their moral conclusions. They are almost all mercenaries in their own way. The soldiers are no better than their corrupt superiors and civilian ringleaders. If major John Q Bolton really believed what he wrote, he would immediately resign. But he doesn't immediately resign, does he?

    I don't have all the answers. As other authors on this site point out, violence is part of the human genome. I would suggest not at all glorifying military people but criticizing them. After all, they deserve criticism. I would suggest encouraging your daughters not to date or have children with military men. I know this sounds kind of foolish, but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    Good comment!

    I know of more than a few people who wold agree with you.

    “Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, … also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves.”

    ― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899

    Tolstoy started out with youthful patriotism, volunteered for combat and served on the front lines for Russia and was known and decorated for bravery under fire. His experiences changed his mind about war and patriotism. He’s well worth listening to.

    Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character.”

    Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
    History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

    Read More
  13. @Agent76
    You nailed it and always follow the money!

    December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

    LONDON— Recent news item: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials - despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html

    Jan 9, 2015 Opium Production in Afghanistan Sets Record - American Soldiers Helping Heroin Sales

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIkLYlaZ6kY

    June 10, 2014 Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/drug-war-american-troops-are-protecting-afghan-opium-u-s-occupation-leads-to-all-time-high-heroin-production/5358053

    Speaking of opium, there is little doubt that the US was eager to smash its WW1 ally Japan because it was not only becoming a competitor of the US in Asia for both resources and markets, but also because its militarists were beginning to establish their own opium industry (in Manchukuo) to help fund their colonial ambitions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Geno
    You hit it right on the head!

    The US even had set-downs with the Japs to divide the markets, when the Japanese later ignored the limits set, the war was triggered ........ and it was fought for control of the dope trade.

    It's the only thing the communist ever did right, they destroyed the trade and left the USA out in the cold.
  14. iffen says:
    @The Scalpel
    Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that "We" mean well. If only "We" could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, "We" could be successful and the world would be a better place.

    In reality, the vast majority of people who join the military are self-centered and looking for personal gain however they defne it. (Money, respect, power, legal violence) they are willing to kill people and destroy things to get what they want. They do not seriously take morality into consideration, and if they do, they rationalize what they do, or don't act on their moral conclusions. They are almost all mercenaries in their own way. The soldiers are no better than their corrupt superiors and civilian ringleaders. If major John Q Bolton really believed what he wrote, he would immediately resign. But he doesn't immediately resign, does he?

    I don't have all the answers. As other authors on this site point out, violence is part of the human genome. I would suggest not at all glorifying military people but criticizing them. After all, they deserve criticism. I would suggest encouraging your daughters not to date or have children with military men. I know this sounds kind of foolish, but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    No. There will be surviving races, it just won’t be the ones that adopt your advice.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    "There will be surviving races".

    I hope neither one of us is around to find out the answer to that question. If anyone does survive, it will be those who stayed as far away from organized military conflict as possible. So on that point I disagree with you. Those are exactly the type of people who would take my "advice". The military minded will kill each other off gradually eliminating their genes from the gene pool
  15. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @iffen
    but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    No. There will be surviving races, it just won't be the ones that adopt your advice.

    “There will be surviving races”.

    I hope neither one of us is around to find out the answer to that question. If anyone does survive, it will be those who stayed as far away from organized military conflict as possible. So on that point I disagree with you. Those are exactly the type of people who would take my “advice”. The military minded will kill each other off gradually eliminating their genes from the gene pool

    Read More
  16. Colonel Bacevitch

    The much larger and morally deepest point…only the only point that matters at all……regarding the US Military intervention in Syria….Iraq…Afghanistan is this:

    We can have a very long drawn out pragmatic discussion on the long term US Military occupation of Syria..Iraq…Afghanistan….and now on Christian Russia’s borders. However, this debate assume the moral legitmacy of a massive, long term US Military occupation of Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan…and Christian Russia’s borders.

    I submit that the justification for packing off Working Class Native Born White American Teenage Males off to do a tour of duty in Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan…and now on Christian Russia’s borders is profoundly immoral. Just think of the trillions spent on Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2…the continued US Military occupation of Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan…and now on Christian Russia’s borders. Trillions spent on killing, maiming, delimbing, mutilating, the bodies of Native Born White American Working Class Teenage Males and the Syrian…Iraqi…Afghani….Civilian Population which includes thousands of Syria…Iraqi…Afghanistan children and their mothers…Trillions that could have been spent providing free college education or skilled blue c0llar job training for thousands of Working Class Native Born White American Teenage…mostly Christian…Males from The Economically Distressed American Heartland…..and this could have been done many many times over.

    America 2017 is truly a spiritually sick, diseased, rotting corpse for spending trillions of $$$$$$$ on sending thousands White Working Class Teenage Males to horrible deaths in Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan….and now on Christian Russia’s borders foe no good reason at all….pointless…..meaningless deaths.

    To quote USMC General and two time Congressional Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler:WAR IS A RACKET!!!

    Read More
  17. Geno says:
    @jacques sheete
    Speaking of opium, there is little doubt that the US was eager to smash its WW1 ally Japan because it was not only becoming a competitor of the US in Asia for both resources and markets, but also because its militarists were beginning to establish their own opium industry (in Manchukuo) to help fund their colonial ambitions.

    You hit it right on the head!

    The US even had set-downs with the Japs to divide the markets, when the Japanese later ignored the limits set, the war was triggered …….. and it was fought for control of the dope trade.

    It’s the only thing the communist ever did right, they destroyed the trade and left the USA out in the cold.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    The US even had set-downs with the Japs to divide the markets, when the Japanese later ignored the limits set, the war was triggered …….. and it was fought for control of the dope trade.
     
    Many thanks for your informative comment.

    As is often the case, there is even more to the story than I'll ever know. While I've read 5 or 6 books on the subject, I never had a clue about that, but I do not doubt it in the least. I'd be very appreciative if you would care to supply some source, references and/or links.

    I'm going to Google it now, but I'm not sure it'll provide much fruit.

    Thanks again!
  18. The spiritual,moral,social,and cultural rot and rancidity of America 2017 on full display:

    Thousands of White Males in NCAA Division 1 basketball arenas across America shrieking “WHAT A STUD!!!”…drinking budwiesers with their fellow CHICKEN HAWK-WARHAWK-JOCKSNIFFING WHITE MALE BUDDIES…..while…the body bags containing the headless bodies of White Working Class Teenage Males from the economically distressed American Heartland who did a tour of duty in Syria…Iraq…Afghanistan….to pay for their college education are flown back to sobbing Working Class White American Mothers…….This is also Donald Trump’s MAGA!!! jobs creation program on full display….

    I never knew that going to war could be so much fun!!!!!

    Read More
    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @Alden
    Reality check; the draft ended in the early 1970's.
  19. @Geno
    You hit it right on the head!

    The US even had set-downs with the Japs to divide the markets, when the Japanese later ignored the limits set, the war was triggered ........ and it was fought for control of the dope trade.

    It's the only thing the communist ever did right, they destroyed the trade and left the USA out in the cold.

    The US even had set-downs with the Japs to divide the markets, when the Japanese later ignored the limits set, the war was triggered …….. and it was fought for control of the dope trade.

    Many thanks for your informative comment.

    As is often the case, there is even more to the story than I’ll ever know. While I’ve read 5 or 6 books on the subject, I never had a clue about that, but I do not doubt it in the least. I’d be very appreciative if you would care to supply some source, references and/or links.

    I’m going to Google it now, but I’m not sure it’ll provide much fruit.

    Thanks again!

    Read More
  20. SteveM says:
    @The Scalpel
    Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that "We" mean well. If only "We" could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, "We" could be successful and the world would be a better place.

    In reality, the vast majority of people who join the military are self-centered and looking for personal gain however they defne it. (Money, respect, power, legal violence) they are willing to kill people and destroy things to get what they want. They do not seriously take morality into consideration, and if they do, they rationalize what they do, or don't act on their moral conclusions. They are almost all mercenaries in their own way. The soldiers are no better than their corrupt superiors and civilian ringleaders. If major John Q Bolton really believed what he wrote, he would immediately resign. But he doesn't immediately resign, does he?

    I don't have all the answers. As other authors on this site point out, violence is part of the human genome. I would suggest not at all glorifying military people but criticizing them. After all, they deserve criticism. I would suggest encouraging your daughters not to date or have children with military men. I know this sounds kind of foolish, but it is the only long-term solution. Well, the other solution is extinction of the human race.

    “Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place.”

    Bacevich is a retired emeritus professor of Boston U. where he was a faculty member for years. Apparently, he was never a paid hack for a crony “think tank” like Heritage or AEI.

    And if you do pay “close attention” to his efforts you will find that he has been consistently suspicious of interventionism because it is a high risk waste of blood and treasure (American and the poor native people caught in the crossfire), not because the United States military was insufficiently ruthless when targeting its objectives.

    Read More
    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Andrew Bacevich is an adjunct scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point

    http://mwi.usma.edu/adjunct-scholars/


    "Andrew J. Bacevich is The American Conservative’s writer-at-large and a non-resident senior fellow at West Point’s Modern War Institute."


    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/fat-leonard-and-the-decline-of-military-values/

    , @The Scalpel
    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.
    , @The Scalpel
    Andrew Bacevich is a graduate of West Point. His son was born at West Point. Andrew Bacevich was "vociferously opposed" to the Iraq war


    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/us/16prof.html


    "But when his only son joined the Army and was sent to fight in that war, the father, Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, expressed only support...

    Professor Bacevich did not, however, speak out vociferously to his son, Jennifer Bacevich said...


    Professor Corgan said, “I think young Bacevich joined because of what he saw in his father...

    two soldiers came to Professor Bacevich’s home in Walpole, Mass., with the kind of news that a military man knows is always possible: First Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich, 27, the son, had been killed by a bomb while on patrol in Balad, Iraq..."


    So what does Andrew Bacevich, supposedly "heartbroken" do? He goes back to work for the Army, of course. He occasionally lectures at West Point where his gravitas lends credibility to the young men's decision to join the army. He teaches them that we just have to do it better next time. Maybe one of those young men, at one of those lectures, was doubting whether he should leave West Point. He decides to stay. Later on he is also killed. It could hapen. Maybe it already happened. Maybe Andrew Bacevich could write an article or a book about that, but he doesn't. There probably is not too much money or fame in that kind of book - only justifed shame.

    Here is what Andrew Bacevich should say to his students at West Point: "I am announcing my immediate resignation from all work and support of the Army and Armed Forces. I suggest that you young men and women immediately quit West Point and pursue a more moral career. I wish I had told my son these very words, but I didn't, and now it is too late. I did not discourage my own son from joining the Army and now he is dead after participating in a useless, immoral war. In fact, by my own example, I encouraged my son to join the Army. Again, my advice to you is to quit the army immediately. I would like to think that if you do, I will have helped save you from dying in a useless, immoral war. I would like to think that I have saved your father and mother the agony that I now feel every day."
  21. And another thing regarding WW2 and opium is that a grandfather of FDR’s got rich running opium in the Orient on clipper ships. He then amassed another fortune supplying Union armies with opium derivatives during the War Against Southern Independence. Other prominent American families got rich off of opium as well.

    [MORE]

    Backed by their own governments, Western traders ignored Chinese concerns and demands, flooding the country with opium. When necessary, they enlisted their governments to back them up with military force, humiliating and humbling the empire, and getting rich in the process.

    Most of these traders were British, but a significant number were American, and the profits they made were the cornerstone of some of 19th Century America’s greatest fortunes.

    Here are five prominent American families that got rich in the Chinese opium trade:

    1 .The Astor Family. America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacobs Astor, joined the opium smuggling trade in 18162…

    2. The Forbes Family. John Murray Forbes and Robert Bennet Forbes worked for Perkins & Co. in its China trade…The most notable family member on the contemporary scene is US Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry…

    3. The Russell Family. Samuel Wadsworth Russell started as an orphaned apprentice to a maritime trade merchant, made his initial investment capital on trading commissions while working for other traders, and eventually founded Russell and Co., the most powerful American merchant house in China for most of the second half of the 19th Century. He landed in Canton in 1819 and quickly amassed a fortune in the opium trade.

    4. The Delano Family.Warren Delano, Jr., a grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was chief of operations for Russell & Co., another Boston trading firm which did big business in the China opium trade in Canton.

    5. The Perkins Family. Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant and Boston Brahmin par excellance, made his bones as a young man trading slaves in Haiti, then peddled furs to China from the American Northwest before amassing a huge fortune smuggling Turkish opium into China.

    Phillip Smith , 5 Elite Families Who Made Their Fortunes in the Opium Trade

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/5-elite-families-fortunes-opium-trade

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hibernian
    "supplying Union armies with opium derivatives during the War Against Southern Independence."

    I don't know, bit I'm surmising, those were painkillers for wounded troops.
  22. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @SteveM

    "Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place."
     
    Bacevich is a retired emeritus professor of Boston U. where he was a faculty member for years. Apparently, he was never a paid hack for a crony "think tank" like Heritage or AEI.

    And if you do pay "close attention" to his efforts you will find that he has been consistently suspicious of interventionism because it is a high risk waste of blood and treasure (American and the poor native people caught in the crossfire), not because the United States military was insufficiently ruthless when targeting its objectives.

    Andrew Bacevich is an adjunct scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point

    http://mwi.usma.edu/adjunct-scholars/

    “Andrew J. Bacevich is The American Conservative’s writer-at-large and a non-resident senior fellow at West Point’s Modern War Institute.”

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/fat-leonard-and-the-decline-of-military-values/

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Andrew Bacevich is an editor at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

    http://www.fpri.org/contributor/andrew-bacevich/

    "The Foreign Policy Research Institute, founded in 1955, is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests."
  23. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @The Scalpel
    Andrew Bacevich is an adjunct scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point

    http://mwi.usma.edu/adjunct-scholars/


    "Andrew J. Bacevich is The American Conservative’s writer-at-large and a non-resident senior fellow at West Point’s Modern War Institute."


    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/fat-leonard-and-the-decline-of-military-values/

    Andrew Bacevich is an editor at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

    http://www.fpri.org/contributor/andrew-bacevich/

    “The Foreign Policy Research Institute, founded in 1955, is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests.”

    Read More
  24. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @SteveM

    "Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place."
     
    Bacevich is a retired emeritus professor of Boston U. where he was a faculty member for years. Apparently, he was never a paid hack for a crony "think tank" like Heritage or AEI.

    And if you do pay "close attention" to his efforts you will find that he has been consistently suspicious of interventionism because it is a high risk waste of blood and treasure (American and the poor native people caught in the crossfire), not because the United States military was insufficiently ruthless when targeting its objectives.

    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SteveM

    "As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold."
     
    What "fold"? Bacevich's writings and especially his books forcefully argue the obsolescence and unaffordability of the America as Global Cop model and the stupidity of the Washington Elites who sustain and promulgate it. So Bacevich wrote:

    "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"
    "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War"
    "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War "
    "American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy"


    To seduce naive nitwits like me into believing exactly what?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.
     
    I wouldn't call myself a dissenter. I have a different vantage point, of course, considering my background, but I do relate very much to a lot of things Bacevich writes.
  25. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @SteveM

    "Bacevich works for an Army thinktank. My take is that his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters back into the fold. If one pays close attention to his efforts, his overarching theme is that “We” mean well. If only “We” could get rid of the bad apples and dumb mistakes, “We” could be successful and the world would be a better place."
     
    Bacevich is a retired emeritus professor of Boston U. where he was a faculty member for years. Apparently, he was never a paid hack for a crony "think tank" like Heritage or AEI.

    And if you do pay "close attention" to his efforts you will find that he has been consistently suspicious of interventionism because it is a high risk waste of blood and treasure (American and the poor native people caught in the crossfire), not because the United States military was insufficiently ruthless when targeting its objectives.

    Andrew Bacevich is a graduate of West Point. His son was born at West Point. Andrew Bacevich was “vociferously opposed” to the Iraq war

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/us/16prof.html

    “But when his only son joined the Army and was sent to fight in that war, the father, Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, expressed only support…

    Professor Bacevich did not, however, speak out vociferously to his son, Jennifer Bacevich said…

    Professor Corgan said, “I think young Bacevich joined because of what he saw in his father…

    two soldiers came to Professor Bacevich’s home in Walpole, Mass., with the kind of news that a military man knows is always possible: First Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich, 27, the son, had been killed by a bomb while on patrol in Balad, Iraq…”

    So what does Andrew Bacevich, supposedly “heartbroken” do? He goes back to work for the Army, of course. He occasionally lectures at West Point where his gravitas lends credibility to the young men’s decision to join the army. He teaches them that we just have to do it better next time. Maybe one of those young men, at one of those lectures, was doubting whether he should leave West Point. He decides to stay. Later on he is also killed. It could hapen. Maybe it already happened. Maybe Andrew Bacevich could write an article or a book about that, but he doesn’t. There probably is not too much money or fame in that kind of book – only justifed shame.

    Here is what Andrew Bacevich should say to his students at West Point: “I am announcing my immediate resignation from all work and support of the Army and Armed Forces. I suggest that you young men and women immediately quit West Point and pursue a more moral career. I wish I had told my son these very words, but I didn’t, and now it is too late. I did not discourage my own son from joining the Army and now he is dead after participating in a useless, immoral war. In fact, by my own example, I encouraged my son to join the Army. Again, my advice to you is to quit the army immediately. I would like to think that if you do, I will have helped save you from dying in a useless, immoral war. I would like to think that I have saved your father and mother the agony that I now feel every day.”

    Read More
  26. Alden says:

    Votel sounds like every HR dork I’ve ever heard. “Sense of urgency” “passion for excellence” ” 110 percent effort for every task”

    Our military are pirates and bandits but instead of looting the countries invaded, our military loots and pillages the American taxpayer

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Votel sounds like every HR dork I’ve ever heard. “Sense of urgency” “passion for excellence” ” 110 percent effort for every task”
     
    Then there's this:

    CENTCOM’s culture emphasizes “persistent excellence,” as the command “strives to understand and help others to comprehend, with granularity and clarity, the complexities of our region.”
     
    Granularity? Really? Who's it trying to impress? Only a true first class cloaca would use the word, "granularity" like that.
    , @Taras77
    Jeez, I think "dork" works for me!

    An award to the clown who wrote that mindless drivel, e.g.“passion for excellence” and then there is: “persistent excellence,” granularity, is my favorite, however.

    Truly, an award winning masterpiece in pentagonism, platitudes without substance. It is not wonder that Centcom does not seem to have a clue.
    , @Hibernian
    I believe at one point we looted Iraq, with oil as the loot.
  27. Alden says:
    @War for Blair Mountain
    The spiritual,moral,social,and cultural rot and rancidity of America 2017 on full display:


    Thousands of White Males in NCAA Division 1 basketball arenas across America shrieking "WHAT A STUD!!!"...drinking budwiesers with their fellow CHICKEN HAWK-WARHAWK-JOCKSNIFFING WHITE MALE BUDDIES.....while...the body bags containing the headless bodies of White Working Class Teenage Males from the economically distressed American Heartland who did a tour of duty in Syria...Iraq...Afghanistan....to pay for their college education are flown back to sobbing Working Class White American Mothers.......This is also Donald Trump's MAGA!!! jobs creation program on full display....


    I never knew that going to war could be so much fun!!!!!

    Reality check; the draft ended in the early 1970′s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    Oh don't have a lot of patience with the very intellectually dishonest Libertarian cult members..

    Universal Conscription was replaced with economic conscription of economically redundant White Working Class Teenage Males from the economically distressed American Heartland....They are the target of the manipulative US Military recruitment ads with their malarkey about job training. Casey Sheehan...the late son of anti-war activist Cindy Shehaan...found out the truth in the most fatal way canon fodder are known to find the truth out about US Army job training...
  28. SteveM says:
    @The Scalpel
    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.

    “As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.”

    What “fold”? Bacevich’s writings and especially his books forcefully argue the obsolescence and unaffordability of the America as Global Cop model and the stupidity of the Washington Elites who sustain and promulgate it. So Bacevich wrote:

    “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism”
    “The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War”
    “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War ”
    “American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy”

    To seduce naive nitwits like me into believing exactly what?

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    The goal is to move dissent from strict opposition to the "we" need to improve "our" methods" category (fold) i.e. From opposition, to working together with the armed forces to "improve" them. My position is opposition. Trying to salvage something that is fundamentally corrupt is simply extending the duration of the corruption.
  29. @Alden
    Votel sounds like every HR dork I've ever heard. "Sense of urgency" "passion for excellence" " 110 percent effort for every task"

    Our military are pirates and bandits but instead of looting the countries invaded, our military loots and pillages the American taxpayer

    Votel sounds like every HR dork I’ve ever heard. “Sense of urgency” “passion for excellence” ” 110 percent effort for every task”

    Then there’s this:

    CENTCOM’s culture emphasizes “persistent excellence,” as the command “strives to understand and help others to comprehend, with granularity and clarity, the complexities of our region.”

    Granularity? Really? Who’s it trying to impress? Only a true first class cloaca would use the word, “granularity” like that.

    Read More
  30. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @SteveM

    "As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold."
     
    What "fold"? Bacevich's writings and especially his books forcefully argue the obsolescence and unaffordability of the America as Global Cop model and the stupidity of the Washington Elites who sustain and promulgate it. So Bacevich wrote:

    "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"
    "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War"
    "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War "
    "American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy"


    To seduce naive nitwits like me into believing exactly what?

    The goal is to move dissent from strict opposition to the “we” need to improve “our” methods” category (fold) i.e. From opposition, to working together with the armed forces to “improve” them. My position is opposition. Trying to salvage something that is fundamentally corrupt is simply extending the duration of the corruption.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hibernian
    I don't think that 30 years ago as strong a dissenter as Bacevich would have been welcomed to speak on any piece of military property, let alone West Point. It's possible that in the modern civilianized liberal military cadets may be exposed to real dissent as long as it's not expressed in Abbie Hoffman like terms, especially from a retired Colonel (I believe) whose Lieutenant son made the ultimate sacrifice.
  31. @Alden
    Reality check; the draft ended in the early 1970's.

    Oh don’t have a lot of patience with the very intellectually dishonest Libertarian cult members..

    Universal Conscription was replaced with economic conscription of economically redundant White Working Class Teenage Males from the economically distressed American Heartland….They are the target of the manipulative US Military recruitment ads with their malarkey about job training. Casey Sheehan…the late son of anti-war activist Cindy Shehaan…found out the truth in the most fatal way canon fodder are known to find the truth out about US Army job training…

    Read More
  32. Taras77 says:
    @Alden
    Votel sounds like every HR dork I've ever heard. "Sense of urgency" "passion for excellence" " 110 percent effort for every task"

    Our military are pirates and bandits but instead of looting the countries invaded, our military loots and pillages the American taxpayer

    Jeez, I think “dork” works for me!

    An award to the clown who wrote that mindless drivel, e.g.“passion for excellence” and then there is: “persistent excellence,” granularity, is my favorite, however.

    Truly, an award winning masterpiece in pentagonism, platitudes without substance. It is not wonder that Centcom does not seem to have a clue.

    Read More
  33. All this pondering and pontificating by a national security Establishment that has never won a war could be avoided by simply taking the WW2 playbook down off its shelf in the Smithsonian, dusting off the cover, and opening to page 1. Start with the Constitutional necessity for a formal Declaration of War by a joint session of Congress, proceed through universal military service, wartime industrial policy, censorship of the media, internment of enemy aliens, and conclude with the unconditional surrender of the enemy. Replace all arcane “rules of engagement” with one word: “Win “.

    We’ve tried a million different things in conducting military operations (not “wars”) since 1945. The only thing we’ve never tried since 1945 is the only thing that works. In fact, it works so well that we have never heard a peep out of our defeated enemies for 70 years…

    Read More
    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
    Exactamundo, SteveRogers42; you nailed the history of how real Amerikuns fight real wars.

    Well, almost:
    Actually, Stalinist/ Bolshevic Russians did most of the conquering.
    And civilians were the primary and most successfully eradicated targets of U.S. and British military activity, The Greatest Generations was real good at killing civilians; perhaps that's why so few of them talked much about it.
    And the whole enterprise was begun, conducted, and recorded as history in the U.S. national narrative, on the basis of lies and propaganda,**

    But other than that, yes indeedy, you nailed it.

    ** In a talk on Austria-Hungary in WWI, Prof. John Deak observed that "British propagandists slandered the status of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian empire in pre- and WWI. At war's end, those British propagandists became the historians who taught the next generation of propagandists/historians at Britain's leading universities." Thus, lies become entrenched and as happens with other debasements of language and truth, became the dogmatized narrative.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05cef1KeVqc

    The same has characterized what passes for history of the WWI - WWII era in US history-education.

  34. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @The Scalpel
    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.

    As I said, his role is to dissent just enough to bring the true dissenters like you and apparently smoothie back into the fold.

    I wouldn’t call myself a dissenter. I have a different vantage point, of course, considering my background, but I do relate very much to a lot of things Bacevich writes.

    Read More
  35. All this pondering and pontificating by a national security Establishment that has never won a war could be avoided by simply taking the WW2 playbook down off its shelf…

    In other words, play dirty and gang up with other big thieves and smash the up and coming competition.

    In other words, appease and support Stalin while sending many of our own best and brightest to an early grave or lifelong injury.

    In other words, fight wars that are unnecessary, which is what Churchill called WW2 because it was.

    In other words, call a slaughter a victory then proceed to try and rule the world.

    In other words, help the Bolshies run roughshod over half the world’s population while “we” do the same with the other half, then expect praise and admiration for our heroism.

    The so called ‘Merkin victory in WW2 was a huge nail in the coffin of liberty and it paved the road to the degenerate, indebted police state and endless conflict we have today. But hey, who cares? “It’s the only thing that works!

    Urrrrp!

    Read More
    • Replies: @SteveRogers42
    Your handle is very apt. It expresses both ignorance and a certain pusillanimous je ne sais quoi.

    Yes indeed, if you have to fight, fight as dirty as possible, and don't fight alone if you can avoid it. The same rules apply to personal combat as apply to conflict between nations. If you had any experience with the former, you would easily understand the latter.

    The topic was not whether a particular war was "necessary", but how to conduct business once you become involved. You will note the requirement of a Congressional declaration of war. If the people's representatives do not concur with the necessity for hostilities, then there's no involvement. After that...if you're in it, then win it.

    And cover your mouth when you belch, Frenchie.
  36. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Most of the military leadership are where they are because they are politicians who always check to see which way the wind is blowing. Their mission statement gibberish is a part of American culture where every organization posts such gushing drivel. I’d probably feel better to learn that they really don’t believe that themselves but do it because they have to because if they actually thought all that was true then that would mean they’re absolutely divorced from reality. These aren’t wars anyway, they’re counter-insurgency operations by occupiers seeking to impose puppet governments or otherwise backing one faction against others. As foreign invaders we have no legitimacy and can’t confer any. Bush took us into Afghanistan and Iraq but now it’s nearly impossible to take us out for fear of accusations of ‘losing’ them. It’s not the dime-a-dozen generals we need to look to, it’s for the political class to be resolute in pulling out. The generals will follow.

    Read More
  37. @SteveRogers42
    All this pondering and pontificating by a national security Establishment that has never won a war could be avoided by simply taking the WW2 playbook down off its shelf in the Smithsonian, dusting off the cover, and opening to page 1. Start with the Constitutional necessity for a formal Declaration of War by a joint session of Congress, proceed through universal military service, wartime industrial policy, censorship of the media, internment of enemy aliens, and conclude with the unconditional surrender of the enemy. Replace all arcane "rules of engagement" with one word: "Win ".

    We've tried a million different things in conducting military operations (not "wars") since 1945. The only thing we've never tried since 1945 is the only thing that works. In fact, it works so well that we have never heard a peep out of our defeated enemies for 70 years...

    Exactamundo, SteveRogers42; you nailed the history of how real Amerikuns fight real wars.

    Well, almost:
    Actually, Stalinist/ Bolshevic Russians did most of the conquering.
    And civilians were the primary and most successfully eradicated targets of U.S. and British military activity, The Greatest Generations was real good at killing civilians; perhaps that’s why so few of them talked much about it.
    And the whole enterprise was begun, conducted, and recorded as history in the U.S. national narrative, on the basis of lies and propaganda,**

    But other than that, yes indeedy, you nailed it.

    ** In a talk on Austria-Hungary in WWI, Prof. John Deak observed that “British propagandists slandered the status of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian empire in pre- and WWI. At war’s end, those British propagandists became the historians who taught the next generation of propagandists/historians at Britain’s leading universities.” Thus, lies become entrenched and as happens with other debasements of language and truth, became the dogmatized narrative.

    The same has characterized what passes for history of the WWI – WWII era in US history-education.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SteveRogers42
    Thanks for making my point. Britain and the USSR also "fought to the finish" in WW2. None of the Allies were particularly concerned about minimizing enemy civilian casualties. They had one clear and unequivocal goal: total victory.

    I would have thought it was understood in "the World War 2 playbook" that alliances should be crafted with other Powers on the basis of mutual interests. I did not add it to the list of examples for the sake of brevity. In the present clash of civilizations, we should "get the band back together" with Russia, and add India as a third musketeer, based on a both common current concern and possible future geopolitical issues.
  38. @SolontoCroesus
    Exactamundo, SteveRogers42; you nailed the history of how real Amerikuns fight real wars.

    Well, almost:
    Actually, Stalinist/ Bolshevic Russians did most of the conquering.
    And civilians were the primary and most successfully eradicated targets of U.S. and British military activity, The Greatest Generations was real good at killing civilians; perhaps that's why so few of them talked much about it.
    And the whole enterprise was begun, conducted, and recorded as history in the U.S. national narrative, on the basis of lies and propaganda,**

    But other than that, yes indeedy, you nailed it.

    ** In a talk on Austria-Hungary in WWI, Prof. John Deak observed that "British propagandists slandered the status of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian empire in pre- and WWI. At war's end, those British propagandists became the historians who taught the next generation of propagandists/historians at Britain's leading universities." Thus, lies become entrenched and as happens with other debasements of language and truth, became the dogmatized narrative.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05cef1KeVqc

    The same has characterized what passes for history of the WWI - WWII era in US history-education.

    Thanks for making my point. Britain and the USSR also “fought to the finish” in WW2. None of the Allies were particularly concerned about minimizing enemy civilian casualties. They had one clear and unequivocal goal: total victory.

    I would have thought it was understood in “the World War 2 playbook” that alliances should be crafted with other Powers on the basis of mutual interests. I did not add it to the list of examples for the sake of brevity. In the present clash of civilizations, we should “get the band back together” with Russia, and add India as a third musketeer, based on a both common current concern and possible future geopolitical issues.

    Read More
  39. @jacques sheete

    All this pondering and pontificating by a national security Establishment that has never won a war could be avoided by simply taking the WW2 playbook down off its shelf...
     
    In other words, play dirty and gang up with other big thieves and smash the up and coming competition.

    In other words, appease and support Stalin while sending many of our own best and brightest to an early grave or lifelong injury.

    In other words, fight wars that are unnecessary, which is what Churchill called WW2 because it was.

    In other words, call a slaughter a victory then proceed to try and rule the world.

    In other words, help the Bolshies run roughshod over half the world's population while "we" do the same with the other half, then expect praise and admiration for our heroism.

    The so called 'Merkin victory in WW2 was a huge nail in the coffin of liberty and it paved the road to the degenerate, indebted police state and endless conflict we have today. But hey, who cares? "It's the only thing that works!

    Urrrrp!

    Your handle is very apt. It expresses both ignorance and a certain pusillanimous je ne sais quoi.

    Yes indeed, if you have to fight, fight as dirty as possible, and don’t fight alone if you can avoid it. The same rules apply to personal combat as apply to conflict between nations. If you had any experience with the former, you would easily understand the latter.

    The topic was not whether a particular war was “necessary”, but how to conduct business once you become involved. You will note the requirement of a Congressional declaration of war. If the people’s representatives do not concur with the necessity for hostilities, then there’s no involvement. After that…if you’re in it, then win it.

    And cover your mouth when you belch, Frenchie.

    Read More
  40. Hibernian says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova
    Ludendorff was moron, and I always wondered why Hitler did not kill him.
    US policies had catastrophic results in the Levant.
    In Levant Sunni influence was eradicated and now all Levant is under Shiite control.
    That is a deadly threat to Israel.
    Russians with minimum military engagement assured continuation of Assad. regime.
    Russians are now in Libya installing Russian friendly government.
    US mischief in Ukraine backfired so badly that it is total catastrophe for US.
    Chinese did say to US secretary of state concerning Korea to shut up and get lost.
    If somebody think that Trump can reverse the catastrophic decline of US influence around the world is out of his/hers mind.

    Ludendorf was WW1.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    But he was pretty deeply involved with the Nazis later, no?
  41. Hibernian says:
    @jacques sheete
    And another thing regarding WW2 and opium is that a grandfather of FDR’s got rich running opium in the Orient on clipper ships. He then amassed another fortune supplying Union armies with opium derivatives during the War Against Southern Independence. Other prominent American families got rich off of opium as well.

    Backed by their own governments, Western traders ignored Chinese concerns and demands, flooding the country with opium. When necessary, they enlisted their governments to back them up with military force, humiliating and humbling the empire, and getting rich in the process.

    Most of these traders were British, but a significant number were American, and the profits they made were the cornerstone of some of 19th Century America's greatest fortunes.

    Here are five prominent American families that got rich in the Chinese opium trade:

    1 .The Astor Family. America's first multimillionaire, John Jacobs Astor, joined the opium smuggling trade in 18162...

    2. The Forbes Family. John Murray Forbes and Robert Bennet Forbes worked for Perkins & Co. in its China trade...The most notable family member on the contemporary scene is US Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry...



    3. The Russell Family. Samuel Wadsworth Russell started as an orphaned apprentice to a maritime trade merchant, made his initial investment capital on trading commissions while working for other traders, and eventually founded Russell and Co., the most powerful American merchant house in China for most of the second half of the 19th Century. He landed in Canton in 1819 and quickly amassed a fortune in the opium trade.

    4. The Delano Family.Warren Delano, Jr., a grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was chief of operations for Russell & Co., another Boston trading firm which did big business in the China opium trade in Canton.

    5. The Perkins Family. Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant and Boston Brahmin par excellance, made his bones as a young man trading slaves in Haiti, then peddled furs to China from the American Northwest before amassing a huge fortune smuggling Turkish opium into China.

    Phillip Smith , 5 Elite Families Who Made Their Fortunes in the Opium Trade

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/5-elite-families-fortunes-opium-trade

     

    “supplying Union armies with opium derivatives during the War Against Southern Independence.”

    I don’t know, bit I’m surmising, those were painkillers for wounded troops.

    Read More
  42. Hibernian says:
    @Alden
    Votel sounds like every HR dork I've ever heard. "Sense of urgency" "passion for excellence" " 110 percent effort for every task"

    Our military are pirates and bandits but instead of looting the countries invaded, our military loots and pillages the American taxpayer

    I believe at one point we looted Iraq, with oil as the loot.

    Read More
  43. Hibernian says:
    @The Scalpel
    The goal is to move dissent from strict opposition to the "we" need to improve "our" methods" category (fold) i.e. From opposition, to working together with the armed forces to "improve" them. My position is opposition. Trying to salvage something that is fundamentally corrupt is simply extending the duration of the corruption.

    I don’t think that 30 years ago as strong a dissenter as Bacevich would have been welcomed to speak on any piece of military property, let alone West Point. It’s possible that in the modern civilianized liberal military cadets may be exposed to real dissent as long as it’s not expressed in Abbie Hoffman like terms, especially from a retired Colonel (I believe) whose Lieutenant son made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Yeah, West Point really means well. They are really trying to liberalize their students and have them question orders. LMFAO Have some more cool aid
  44. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Hibernian
    I don't think that 30 years ago as strong a dissenter as Bacevich would have been welcomed to speak on any piece of military property, let alone West Point. It's possible that in the modern civilianized liberal military cadets may be exposed to real dissent as long as it's not expressed in Abbie Hoffman like terms, especially from a retired Colonel (I believe) whose Lieutenant son made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Yeah, West Point really means well. They are really trying to liberalize their students and have them question orders. LMFAO Have some more cool aid

    Read More
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