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I’m in my mid-thirties, which means that, after the 9/11 attacks, when this country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in what President George W. Bush called the “Global War on Terror,” I was still in college. I remember taking part in a couple of campus antiwar demonstrations and, while working as a waitress in 2003, being upset by customers who ordered “freedom fries,” not “French fries,” to protest France’s opposition to our war in Iraq. (As it happens, my mother is French, so it felt like a double insult.) For years, like many Americans, that was about all the thought I put into the war on terror. But one career choice led to another and today I’m co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Now, when I go to dinner parties or take my toddler to play dates and tell my peers what I do for a living, I’ve grown used to the blank stares and vaguely approving comments (“that’s cool”) as we quickly move on to other topics. People do tend to humor me if I begin to speak passionately about the startlingly global reach of this country’s military counterterrorism activities or the massive war debt we’re so thoughtlessly piling up for our children to pay off. In terms of engagement, though, my listeners tend to be far more interested and ask far more penetrating questions about my other area of research: the policing of Brazil’s vast favelas, or slums. I don’t mean to suggest that no one cares about America’s never-ending wars, just that, 17 years after the war on terror began, it’s a topic that seems to fire relatively few of us up, much less send us into the streets, Vietnam-style, to protest. The fact is that those wars are approaching the end of their second decade and yet most of us don’t even think of ourselves as “at war.”

I didn’t come to the work that’s now engulfed my life as a peace activist or a passionate antiwar dissenter. I arrived circuitously, through my interest in police militarization, during my PhD work in cultural anthropology at Brown University, where the Costs of War Project is housed. Eventually, I joined directors Catherine Lutz and Neta Crawford, who had co-founded the project in 2011 on the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Their goal: to draw attention to the hidden and unacknowledged costs of our counterterror wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a number of other countries as well.

Today, I know — and care — more about the devastations of Washington’s post-9/11 wars than I ever imagined I would. And judging from public reactions to our work at the Costs of War Project, my prior detachment was anything but unique. Quite the opposite: it’s been the essence of the post-9/11 era in this country.

Numbers to Boggle the Mind

In such a climate of disengagement, I’ve learned what can get at least some media attention. Top of the list: mind-boggling numbers. In a counterpoint to the relatively limited estimates issued by the Pentagon, the Costs of War Project has, for instance, come up with a comprehensive estimate of what the war on terror has actually cost this country since 2001: $5.6 trillion. It’s an almost unfathomably large number. Imagine, though, if we had invested such funds in more cancer research or the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure (among other things, Amtrak trains might not be having such frequent deadly crashes).

That $5.6 trillion includes the costs of caring for post-9/11 veterans as well as spending to prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil (“homeland security”). That figure and its annual updates do make the news in places like the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic magazine and are regularly cited by reporters. Even President Trump, we suspect, has absorbed and, in his typical fashion, inflated our work in his comment at the end of last year that the U.S. has “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East” (which just months earlier, more in line with our estimate, he had at $6 trillion).

The media also commonly draws on another set of striking figures we issue: our calculations of deaths, both American and foreign, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. As of 2016, about 14,000 American soldiers and contractors and 380,000 inhabitants of those countries had been killed. To these estimates, you have to add the deaths of at least 800,000 more Afghans, Iraqis, and Pakistanis from indirect causes related to the devastation caused by those wars, including malnutrition, disease, and environmental degradation.

Once you get past the shocking numbers, however, it becomes far harder to get media (or anyone else’s) attention for America’s wars. Certainly, the human and political costs in distant lands are of remarkably little interest here. Today, it’s difficult to imagine a devastating war photo making the front page of a mainstream newspaper, much less galvanizing protest, as several now-iconic images did during the Vietnam era.

In August, for instance, the Costs of War Project issued a report that revealed the extent to which immigrant workers in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan are exploited. From countries like Nepal, Colombia, and the Philippines, they work for the U.S. military and its private contractors doing jobs like cooking, cleaning, and acting as security guards. Our report documented the kinds of servitude and the range of human rights abuses they regularly face. Often, immigrants are stuck there, living in dangerous and squalid conditions, earning far less than they were promised when recruited, and with no recourse to or protection from the American military, civilian officials, or their home governments.

Our report’s revelations were, I thought, dramatic, largely unknown to the American public, and another reason to demand a conclusion to our never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were also a significant black mark against the private contracting companies that, for years now, have profited so greatly from those wars. Nonetheless, the report got next to no coverage, as has often been the case when it comes to human suffering in those war zones (at least when the sufferers are not U.S. soldiers).

Do Americans really not care? That, at least, seems to have been the judgment of the many journalists who received our press release about the report.

In truth, this has become something like a fact of life in America today, one that’s only been made more extreme by the media’s full-time fascination with President Donald Trump — from his tweets to his insults to his ever-wilder statements. He — or rather the media obsession with his every twitch — poses just the latest challenge to getting attention of any sort for the true costs to us (and everyone else) of our country’s wars.

One small way we’ve found of getting around this media vortex is by tapping into pre-existing communities of interest like veterans’ groups. In June 2017, for instance, we issued a report on the injustices faced by post-9/11 veterans released from the military with “bad paper” or other-than-honorable discharges, usually thanks to minor forms of misconduct, acts that often stem from trauma sustained during military service. Such bad papers leave veterans ineligible for healthcare, education, and housing assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. While the report got little press attention, news of it traveled along the circuits of veterans-oriented blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds, generating far more interest and commentary. It was even, we later learned, used by such groups in attempts to influence veteran-related legislation.

War to the Horizon and a Demobilized Public and Congress

At heart, though, whatever our small successes, we continue to face a grim reality of this twenty-first-century moment, one that long preceded the presidency of Donald Trump: the lack of connection between the American public (myself once included) and the wars being fought in our names in distant lands. Not surprisingly, this goes hand-in-hand with another reality: you have to be a total war jockey, someone who follows what’s happening more or less full time, to have a shot at knowing what’s really going on in the conflicts that now extend from Pakistan into the heart of Africa.

After all, in this era, secrecy is the essence of the world of Washington, invariably invoked in the name of American “security.” As a researcher on the subject, I repeatedly confront the murkiness of government information about the war on terror. Recently, for instance, we released a project I had worked on for several months: a map of all the places where, in one fashion or another, the U.S. military is now taking some sort of action against terrorism — a staggering 76 nations, or 40% of the countries on the planet.

Of course, it’s hardly surprising these days that our government is far from transparent about so many things, but doing original research on the war on terror has brought this into stark relief for me. I was stunned at how difficult it can be to find the most basic information, scattered at so many different websites, often hidden, sometimes impossible to locate. One obscure but key source for the map we did, for example, proved to be a Pentagon list labeled “Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals Approved Areas of Eligibility.” From it, my team and I were able to learn of places like Ethiopia and Greece that the military deems part of that “War on Terrorism.” We were then able to crosscheck these with the State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism,” which officially document terrorist incidents, country by country, and what each country’s government is doing to counter terrorism.

This research process brought home to me that the detachment many Americans feel in relation to those post-9/11 wars is matched — even fed — by the opacity of government information about them. This no doubt stems, at least in part, from a cultural trend: the demobilization of the American people. The government demands nothing of the public, not even minimalist acts like buying war bonds (as in World War II), which would not only help offset the country’s growing debt from its war-making, but might also generate actual concern and interest in those wars. (Even if the government didn’t spend another dollar on its wars, our research shows that we will still have to pay a breathtaking $8 trillion extra in interest on past war borrowing by the 2050s.)

Our map of the war on terror did, in fact, get some media attention, but as is so often the case when we reach out to even theoretically sympathetic congressional representatives, we heard nothing back from our outreach. Not a peep. That’s hardly surprising, of course, since like the American people, Congress has largely been demobilized when it comes to America’s wars (though not when it comes to pouring ever more federal dollars into the U.S. military).

Last October, when news came out about four Green Berets killed by an Islamic State affiliate in the West African nation of Niger, congressional debates revealed that American lawmakers had little idea where in the world our troops were stationed, what they were doing there, or even the extent of counterterrorism activity among the Pentagon’s various commands. Yet the majority of those representatives remain all too quick to grant blank checks to President Trump’s requests for ever greater military spending (as was also true of requests from presidents Bush and Obama).

After visiting some congressional offices in November, my colleagues and I were struck that even the most progressive among them were talking only about allocating slightly — and I mean slightly — less money to the Pentagon budget, or supporting slightly fewer of the hundreds of military bases with which Washington garrisons the globe. The idea that it might be possible to work toward ending this country’s “forever wars” was essentially unmentionable.

Such a conversation could only come about if Americans — particularly young Americans — were to become passionate about stopping the spread of the war on terror, now considered little short of a “generational struggle” by the U.S. military. For any of this to change, President Trump’s enthusiastic support for expanding the military and its budget, and the fear-based inertia that leads lawmakers to unquestioningly support any American military campaign, would have to be met by a strong counterforce. Through the engagement of significant numbers of concerned citizens, the status quo of war making might be reversed, and the rising tide of the U.S. counterterror wars stemmed.

Toward that end, the Costs of War Project will continue to tell whoever will listen what the longest war(s) in U.S. history are costing Americans and others around the world.

Stephanie Savell is co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. An anthropologist, she has conducted research on security and civic engagement in the U.S. and in Brazil. She co-authored The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. I appreciate what she and others are doing. Our military is out of control and committing war crimes daily based on a false premise. When I try to tell my own family, I get groans and eye rolling. Please keep trying to educate the masses even if they don’t want to hear it.

    • Replies: @renfro
  2. peterAUS says:

    Through the engagement of significant numbers of concerned citizens, the status quo of war making might be reversed, and the rising tide of the U.S. counterterror wars stemmed.

    Interesting.
    “Counterterror wars” but not wars in general. Like conventional regional wars just waiting to go nuclear.

    Probably because making case there would be a bit more difficult than “feel good” exercise as this one.

    Anyway….I wish the lady and the project good luck there.

  3. Wally says:

    Did I miss it, or did the author curiously fail to directly mention Israel / Jews responsibility in all of this madness.

    The True Cost of Parasite Israel
    Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

    Fighting Israel’s Wars
    How the United States military has become Zionized

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/fighting-israels-wars/

    Pandering to Israel Has Got to Stop
    Pledges of loyalty to Israel are un-American

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/pandering-to-israel-has-got-to-stop/#comments

    America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/americas-jews-are-driving-americas-wars/#comment-2012898

    Israel’s Money Machine
    Zionist Billionaires & US taxpayers keep on paying for parasite Israel

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/israels-money-machine/

    Israel’s Dirty Little Secret
    How it drives US policies exploiting a spineless Congress and White House

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/israels-dirty-little-secret/

    How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

    http://www.codoh.com

    • Agree: Z-man
  4. Karl says:

    > Cultural Anthropology

    now ==there’s== parasitism on wheels

  5. You were doing extremely well until this.:

    I had worked on for several months: a map of all the places where, in one fashion or another, the U.S. military is now taking some sort of action against terrorism —

    The truth is closer to this, the U.S. military is now taking some sort of terrorist action against another group of defenseless people. The US, and its handler, Israel, are the worst terrorist organizations on the planet, by far. They do not fight terrorism; they promote it.

    Again, you were doing well, and seem to be on a good learning trajectory. To keep it up avoid making the usual assumptions and repeating the standard garbage. If you desire to approach the truth, you must question everything and get used to inverting everything some “authority” tells you.

    Mercy Otis Warren would be proud.

    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

    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
  6. I had noticed in recent years the shift from the Vietnam era hostility against the military to the “thank you for your service” public manners ethic.
    I wondered how our masters in Hollywood and other cultural control towers had made that huge shift and made it stick.
    TPTB were formerly rabidly anti-military, i. e., W. Clinton loathed the military, etc. BHO was no hawk. Maybe DiFi got tons of military contract $$ for the complex in SoCal.
    I label them TPTB because the Clintons have ruled and continue to rule the Democratic Party and rule the Media, since 1992.
    The national GOP is effectively a fractured nebulous non-entity.
    “Dubya” is a fool.
    Democrat pols have made the decisions we have to live with. They had about 8 years majority, free rein from 2006 to 2014 to do anything they wanted.
    The net result is ton$ of $pending, 1,000′s of White volunteer soldiers killed, maimed, PTSD’d.
    And we import more hostile foreigners (so-called immigration) than ever before. Then pay them to dawdle and scheme terror violence while on welfare. As the debt piles up.
    Stupid policies all around.
    Maybe Brown U could have a stupid policies studies center. But those academics and statists could never figure out they are the biggest problem.

  7. US military terrorism started early. For example, George Washington was a terrorist. Known to the Iroquois as Conotocarious or Village Destroyer.

    Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779:

    But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

    https://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/washingtons-instructions-to-sullivan/

    Remember Lincoln’s unconstitutional war against Southern independence aka the War of the Terrorist Northern Bankers Against the Southern Planters.

  8. Lost me when she used the word “felt” in the opener

    • Replies: @prusmc
  9. “The US, and its handler, Israel, are the worst terrorist organizations on the planet, by far. They do not fight terrorism; they promote it.”
    You are quite right. The author is sincere however she seems quite politically naive.
    And — a little behind the times: the US military & “Establishment” have moved on from ” terrorism”. Its back to the future: prime military orientation is to (near) peer competitors such as Russia & China.
    Perhaps we’ll look back on the “anti-terror” period with a degree of fondness. Safe bet: the new orientation will be more expensive & more dangerous.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  10. DanFromCt says:
    @Sarah Toga

    I’m a combat vet from the Vietnam era and find it ominous when I use my VA card for a store discount and get thanked “for my service” by well-meaning people who have no inkling of how deeply their very thoughts are scripted by the media and Hollywood, who just yesterday were calling anyone in uniform a “baby killer.”

    Anyone in military uniform today, however, is called a “hero” on TV. Such nonsense is part of the grinning mockery of our military and most definitely not any sort of praise, making fools out of the cretins who’d risk their lives or put up with military life to serve the neocon’s mass-murdering agenda.

    • Agree: Sarah Toga
  11. @animalogic

    The author is sincere however she seems quite politically naive.
    And — a little behind the times

    I agree, but I also think there is hope for her.

    God bless her!

  12. @Sarah Toga

    Democrat pols have made the decisions we have to live with.

    It’s a bipartisan ram shaft on us prols and has been since about forever.

    “[Teddy]Roosevelt then said : “Pettigrew, you know the two old parties are just alike. They are both controlled by the same influences…”

    - R. F. Pettigrew, “Imperial Washington,” The story of American Public life from 1870 to 1920 (1922), p 234

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=amiable;id=yale.39002002948025;view=1up;seq=7;start=1;sz=10;page=search;orient=0

    • Replies: @Sarah Toga
  13. @DanFromCt

    Anyone in military uniform today, however, is called a “hero” …

    While that’s bad enough, it seems that anyone in any type of uniform seems to be labelled a hero.

    I agree that there’s something deeply disturbing about that.

  14. I’m far from being a Trumpster, but there’s entirely too much emphasis on and bashing of, him in this article. None of the things this author is validly noting is new with Trump; it’s been going on since the beginning.

  15. I have always suspected that the US war machine is self-financing and maybe even “profitable”. The cornerstone of US prosperity is Bretton Woods: the dollar as world reserve currency. That allows the US economy to continue to function even though hollowed out, financialized, and with a crippling burden of debt. That economic dominance requires global political dominance and power, as the saying goes, comes out of the barrel of a gun. Thus, the US not only needs to have the mightiest military machine on earth, it must prove its willingness to use it by actually waging war more or less permanently and, in particular, by beating off any challenge to its dominant position. Failure to do that renders the position of the dollar unsustainable, which would probably set off a Soviet-style implosion of the US economy and a 1929-style world economic crisis. Thus, cutting US military spending would not mean that the money now spent on it would be available for other purposes. That wealth just wouldn’t be there at all. The US is caught in a dilemma therefore. It cannot maintain the current levels of military spending but failing to maintain them will bring the whole house down!

    • Replies: @Dissident X
  16. @jacques sheete

    Jacques Sheete’s tuition-free lesson to the thirty-some Co-Director, Stephanie Savell: “The truth is closer to this, the U.S. military is now taking some sort of terrorist action against another group of defenseless people. The US, and its handler, Israel, are the worst terrorist organizations on the planet, by far. They do not fight terrorism; they promote it.”

    Hi Jacques,

    Given her spirited Ivy attempt to provoke a strictly “pocket-book based” repulsed U.R. reader reaction, I sense Ms. Savell shall be measurably taken aback by your focused take, which addressed the immorality of endless (since conception) U.S.A. military wars.

    (Note: Your educated reference to Founding Father “Village Destroyer” is not lost on me, a resident of busted city of Scranton)

    Nevertheless, shortly “Happy Hour” commences around college towns, her staff will drink toast to this article, Stephanie’s salary shall continue, and Brown student tuition rises.

    But I believe perhaps tonight, in her French heart, she knows you pierced it, Jacques.

    So below I depart with a video-link to Secretary of Offense “Mad Dog” Mattis’s address as to how the ZUS War of Terror shall be downsized and greater war proceeds.

    Thanks, Jacques!

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  17. @ChuckOrloski

    I sense Ms. Savell shall be measurably taken aback by your focused take…

    It certainly would be interesting to know how she would react, but I suspect that she won’t even see it, and if she does, she won’t quite “get it” for a few more years.

    However, maybe it’s a start.

    As for your video, thanks. I was wondering what happened to all the anti-Muslim hysteria lately.

    Boy, is that guy FoS! Everything he’s saying about the other guys has been done by us for decades if not centuries. How can he say that stuff without throwing up? These cats are sick.Godddddammm adolescent rhetoric at best, too!

    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
  18. The image accompanying the article is spot on – bucks lined up like gravestones.

  19. @jacques sheete

    The author is a TD libtard. She isn’t “politically naive”, she’s taking facts and using them to lead a reader to a conclusion that favors her political agenda. Holding out hope for libtards is a waste of emotion. Even if they come to reject liberalism, they will still be ‘tards.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    , @Anon
  20. Don Bacon says:

    Visiting congressional offices had no result. Oh my, what a surprise.

    We know what the costs of war are, and we know that these costs are paid by taxpayers or borrowed, but what isn’t publicized is where those dollars go, into whose pockets and bank accounts, because that’s the real reason for these wars. If the public got a good look at the lifestyles of the rich and not-so-famous members of the military-industrial-congressional-media complex compared to their own financial struggles it might do some good.

    WAR IS A RACKET. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” — General Smedley Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
  21. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Another touching story of how a young adult became an anti-war propagandist. Eventually turning in work for Tom’s Dispatch ’cause all she learned. Now you know how to resist. Right children? lolz! All zombies vote for peace because it will be on the ballot tomorrow.

    Read the anti-federalist papers and you will see that most Americans during and after the revolution hated soldiers. The had seen soldiers raping their wives and daughters, burning their houses and barns and crops, and much more. They knew that men who agree to kill for a paycheck do other bad things like raping and looting. Before WWI, most opposed the troops, but the Government went to war any way. Same with WWII. After that, movies kicked in and “learned” the zombies about the wonderfulness of war and killing and how American soldiers kill with love in their hearts.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  22. Powerful article with brilliant sequencing and logical conclusion even with not many PHD words. And she is not even reporter.
    There is a blame of the Military that I am not willing to endorse.
    Country is most influenced by philosophers, and led by the government.
    I did notice that there are quite a numbers of philosophers here who could contribute to put the country on the right path. There is a little bit of bickering here but that could be suppressed.
    This is the best philosophical site on internet and it should become the most prominent seeker of the truth and most powerful decider in what is right and what is wrong.
    So I am calling on all philosophers to get to it and start working on it.
    Lets get serious.

  23. @Twodees Partain

    Thanks, 2DsP!

    …she’s taking facts and using them to lead a reader to a conclusion that favors her political agenda.

    Probably so, but she still sounds naive; her attempt at propaganda is way too transparent.

    Everything, including news, propaganda, and even boolsheete these days is degraded. It’s so bad that I’m starting to enjoy the madness!

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  24. Hi Stephanie,

    In general, am pleased with your role with the Costs of War project and your “passionate” anti-war commitment.

    As described in your article, and speaking with respect to your PhD-level of knowledge, I am inclined to figure that your political “dinner party” conversations are muffled, and the typical “blank stare” partier-reactions would prompt me to either go & talk with a bartender/waitress, frequent the lavatory, or depart for the closest Dunkin’ Donuts.

    At any rate, below, Brother Nathanael Kapner forsakes discussion on tragic Brazil slum conditions but he does “clock in” with vital information on a “war no one notices.”

    As you know, Stephanie, Jewish Corporate Media honchos support and profit by perpetuating the expensive & immoral U.S. Wars of (!) Terror. In fact, they tactfully TOLERATE the level as to what you do and desire to accomplish.

    Thank you!

  25. @anonymous

    Great comment. Bless you for bringing forward a slice of the truth.

    Others with military experience loathe the bureaucrats with guns as well.

    As soon as the government has the money and the soldiers, instead of fulfilling their promises to defend their subjects from foreign enemies, and to arrange things for their benefit, they do all they can to provoke the neighbouring nations and to produce war; and they not only do not promote the internal well-being of their people, but they ruin and corrupt them.

    A few typos, but otherwise a fine summary: Tolstoy, Slavery of Our Times, Chap 8, 11 July, 1900

    http://ebooks.gutenberg.us/WorldeBookLibrary.com/slaverytol.htm#1_0_7

    I wonder what he knew about what happened to the people during Shay’s rebellion. I bet he knew about Sherman’s scorched earth policy too.

    People often ask if the military would fire on US citizens…

    • Replies: @Alden
  26. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    I did notice that there are quite a numbers of philosophers here who could contribute to put the country on the right path.

    No such thing will ever happen.

    There are reasons why Socrates and Plato (to name just two) refused to get involved with politics, and it wasn’t fear but futility that kept ‘em out. Even then, we all know what happened to Socrates. JC too.

    I suspect we’re all better of waiting for the Second Coming as long as we don’t plan on holding our collective breath or expect too much!

    PS:

    There is a blame of the Military that I am not willing to endorse.

    That’s why nothing will ever change. Now, go and repent. And wait.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  27. “I don’t mean to suggest that no one cares about America’s never-ending wars, just that, 17 years after the war on terror began, it’s a topic that seems to fire relatively few of us up, much less send us into the streets, Vietnam-style, to protest.”

    Seriously, there’s no upside to opposing the war. Your family and friends might wonder if you are soft on terror, at worst, but are much more likely to not want to be on the same watch-lists as you undoubtedly are. All that domestic spying is indeed having the chilling effect it was undoubtedly designed to have.

    “The fact is that those wars are approaching the end of their second decade and yet most of us don’t even think of ourselves as ‘at war.’”

    Indeed. We’ve done such a good job of spinning mass murders regardless of the perpetrators’ backgrounds into an ordinary paet of American life that there is little reason to think of any attacks on the “Homeland” having been perpetrated in at least a decade.

    “… though, if we had invested such funds in more cancer research …”

    Money on Cancer research would have been totally wasted: Decades of cancer research have found a cure for precisely zero cancer types.

    “… or the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure (among other things, Amtrak trains might not be having such frequent deadly crashes).”

    Would have been money better spent, but it makes the wrong sort of people richer.

    “… extent to which immigrant workers in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan are exploited. From countries like Nepal, Colombia, and the Philippines, they work for the U.S. military and its private contractors doing jobs like cooking, cleaning, and acting as security guards. Our report documented the kinds of servitude and the range of human rights abuses they regularly face.”

    Interesting finding. So we are a slave empire like that of the Romans. We see how that ultimately worked out.

  28. @jacques sheete

    Yep, when “Dubya” invaded Iraq with no plan whatsoever to impose order after destroying the place, I was flabbergasted. He actually thought Iraq would instantly become a functioning townhall-style democracy. What an idiot.
    Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay were preferable to the aftermath of Dubya’s stupidity. That shows the whole thing was unjustified, among other data points.
    Hah! I just realized Uday and Qusay Hussein were a better option than “Dubya”!
    John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were totally on board with that program, when it mattered prior to pulling the trigger.
    Then Hillary effectively ordered the murder of Khadafy (sp?) long after Khadafy had ceased to be an issue. Heck, he complied with our demands. Fat lot of good that did him.
    Donkey or Elephant, same bad results.

    Many of us had hopes The Donald could extract us from the endless war mess. At least he speaks out about the lives, limbs, blood and treasure wasted. At least he has not done a Syria invasion as the bloodthirsty neocons want. Maybe he can still do something decent about the mess. I wonder about the bombing-ISIS-campaign. Very difficult to find good information regarding our activities in all those war zones.

    Your historical T.R. quote from the 1922 source is most informative. A long term problem indeed.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  29. JustJeff says:

    Americans have a short historical memory. Anything that happened over ten years ago is ancient history. Everyone’s forgotten 9/11 and the Iraq war. If we were a less stupid country people might actually be angry that we’re now allies with al-Qaeda.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  30. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    I wish to add this!
    It would be great help if every commentator would put a title on his/hers comment.
    The title would indicate which point the commentator is trying to prove or disprove.
    That would be beneficial to readers that could pass over the comment, particularly the long ones that need to be read half way to find out what it is all about.
    And that would be beneficial to editors who are eventually deciding which comment to keep and which to delete.

  31. A nice article, based on some good research, which concisely depicts the disaster the USA has created for itself and the world. Yet the author never comes to grips with the underlying causes, some of which are so obvious that almost every single prior poster has noted them. I suspect that this is not deliberate on her part but rather entirely unconscious. She has been so thoroughly marinated in the nonsense that permeates her particular field and the institution where she currently works that she literally cannot articulate, let alone come to grips with or study, the underlying causes of the USA’s insane diplomatic and military policies.

    I will point out to her that, while she chooses primarily to malign Mr. Trump for our current evils, he actually inherited these from his predecessors, most particularly the insanely bellicose policies of our previous Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton. During his campaign, Mr. Trump promised to ratchet down these policies while Ms. Clinton promised to expand US wars. Mr. Trump reneged on his promises but I suspect this is due more to the power of the deep state, neocons, the Israeli fifth column in this country, and other elements of the establishment than to Mr. Trump’s desires and inclinations.

    I wonder who the author voted for in the last election.

  32. prusmc says: • Website
    @orange dave

    The money could have been spent to find a cure for cancer. When did I first hear that: when I was in Jr High School, and a teacher was bitching that Presudent JFK promised to send a man to the moon before 1970. The educators were
    just beginning to dip into the federal aid to education honey pot and the wanted more. Then in 1968 a disgusting creature initials HHH raved about the social programs that could be established with the “peace dividend”. The Armed Forces became a hollow institution in the 70s.
    Then the Congress approved increased and effective military expenditures in 1980. However, each defense dollar was matched by a dollar for domestic causes. The same pattern is found today. The large and truthfully wasteful military increases have an even more useless counterpart being squandered for all levels of government.
    Are we over- committeed to the unnecessary? Of course. Is there tremendous inefficiency and graft in defense? We only see the tip if the
    Iceberg. Common ground established. What does this “NPO and NGO from Browne University have to offer? Nothing except “feel good” snark. I wonder if anyone knows what is the so of its’ funding is and how muchit spends each year?
    Personally, hard to commiserate with the “bad paper” people, since no one has has been forced to serve since 1973 We had a saying “you draw your pay and you take your chances”.
    An alternative to all the wondeful things that could be done with existing and projected military budget expenditures( agree there is unimaginable waste) how about this: why not let the people keep the money they pay in taxes and spend it on what they want, rather than what this cultural anthropologist thinks is best for them ?

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  33. @JustJeff

    If we were a less stupid country people might actually be angry that we’re now allies with al-Qaeda.

    If we were an even less stupid country people might actually be angry that we were once allies with Stalin and have been allies of the gangster state of Israel for decades and supporters of Zio-freaks since ~50 years before that.

    And if we were an even less stupid country people might actually be angry that we let Eastern European gangster “immigrants” and their progeny take over our banks, industry, schooling and government around a century ago.

    Appeasing those arse-wipes has earned us the contempt of nearly everyone, including wide awake ‘Merkins.

    • Replies: @Sarah Toga
  34. @Sarah Toga

    Your historical T.R. quote from the 1922 source is most informative.

    Thank you, I have several others.

    Here’s a couple more you may enjoy.

    Blind and deaf, yet she understood the scam. Note the dates.

    “Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.… “
    -Helen Keller,
    Letter published in the Manchester Advertiser (3 March 1911), quoted in A People’s History of the United States (1980) page 345.

    “Are not the dominant parties managed by the ruling classes, that is, the propertied classes, solely for the profit and privilege of the few?

    They use us millions to help them into power. They tell us like so many children that our safety lies in voting for them. They toss us crumbs of concession to make us believe that they are working in our interest. “

    -Helen Keller,OUT OF THE DARK, LETTER TO AN ENGLISH WOMAN- SUFFRAGIST* Copyright, 1907 http://archive.org/stream/outdarkessaysle01kellgoog/outdarkessaysle01kellgoog_djvu.txt

  35. @prusmc

    …why not let the people keep the money they pay in taxes and spend it on what they want, rather than what this cultural anthropologist thinks is best for them ?

    I’ve been asking that for decades. The answer I’ve found is that the big business socialists, like the guys who supported FDR (while also funding Hitler and Stalin), aks the Red millionaires won’t have it that way.

    Ya wanna read about just one pig of the sort I’m alluding to? If so, I hope you have a strong stomach.

    This unctuous hagiography of Swope the General Electric money bag friend of FDR and supporter of the Nazis offers a few hints about the scum at the top. The “Swope Plan” was a fascistic-communistic proposal to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few at the top.

    https://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=61

    Here’s more.

    We must examine the roles of the Morgan and Chase Banks in World War II, specifically their collaboration with the Nazis in France while a major war was raging.

    In other words, the links between New York international bankers and major historical events, find a provable pattern of subsidy and political manipulation. Looking at the broad array of facts we find persistent recurrence of the same names: Owen Young, Gerard Swope, Hjalmar Schacht, Bernard Baruch, etc.; the same international banks: J.P. Morgan, Guaranty Trust, Chase Bank; and the same location in New York: usually 120 Broadway. This group of international bankers backed the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequently profited from the establishment of a Soviet Russia. This group backed Roosevelt and profited from New Deal socialism. This group also backed Hitler and certainly profited from the German armament in the 1930′s.

    http://nstarzone.com/HITLER.html

    Spartacus also has some worthwhile info on Swope, naturally hagiographic, but worth knowing. http://spartacus-educational.com/USAswope.htm

  36. @Michael Kenny

    … the whole house down!

    It is certainly unavoidable now.
    The petro-yuan is coming, thus the fall of the petro-dollar, following the years the dominant position within the global economy has been so absurdly abused, is inevitable.

    The only way to stop it is with war. However, the only war that the empire can even come out as good as the other guys is in more or less mutual obliteration in nuclear war.

    One way or another, it does not look good for the empire, but most notably for the citizens of the empire.

    If it were mechanically possible, within the system, to change the direction/overthrow the tyranny of the financial elite/exceptional, perhaps it could be done with a mere ceremonial amount of destruction, but it does NOT look like that is possible.

    I noticed the wisdom of Donald Trump NOT talking about gun control in the wake of the (latest) Florida tragedy. It is wise because people know that they‘ll becoming for the guns. Because soon people will realize the utter contempt the people in office have for the citizens, and the entire corrupt system that puts them there and keeps them there. People know it, even if the intense propaganda still manages to keep it out of the waking consciousness of the majority; they still know!
    And they therefore know, even if only at a sub-conscious level, that they are going to needs their guns!

    The empire is in crisis and already in an unstoppable state of collapse, the only question is how much of everybody else will they take in their death-throws?

  37. Z-man says:
    @DanFromCt

    ..and ‘jacques sheete’.
    My agree button doesn’t work!! I agree. (Grin)

  38. @jacques sheete

    With reason, Jacques Sheete says: “… but I suspect that she (Stephanie) won’t even see it, and if she does, she won’t quite “get it” for a few more years.”

    Hi Jacques,

    Regrettably, in order to protect her salary and reputation in Brown’s uptown academic community, a price is exacted upon Ms. Savell’s published actions.

    At this point in time, she does not want to model her life work on, let me say, that of “boots-on-the-ground,” peace activist / pursuant jailbird, Kathy Kelly.

    Maintenance of her respected image as a half-step “peace activist” prohibits Stephanie from “getting it” and freely communicating what is in-front of her nose.

    In compliance with the silent but pervasive Zio-censorship mandate, I assume the “Costs of War Project” Director can fire the PhD co-Director for “getting it” and unloading the chamber on what she really knows.

    Maybe she will avoid reading & responding to this lively U.R. comment thread, Jacques?
    Hm. Hard to predict but given ego damage done, I think she will.

    Were I 30-something & fashionably donning Dennis Rodman-style dinner party shoes, maybe I’d clam up & join “Happy Hour” proceedings.

    Doubtless, co-Director Savell is well briefed about risks and “costs” of her speaking from-the-hip?

    If not, she can immediately enter U.R. archives and learn how “The American Conservative” (T.A.C.) house pussies canned Philip Giraldi in response to his feral but truthful words.

    P.S. Taken from academia lore, and to comply with Director Ilyana Rozumova’s expressed will, I bestow the following title upon my long comment: “Either publish how we want or perish.”

  39. Moi says:

    Americans have an unusual problem: it is that they are unhinged from reality. This also explains their addiction to “virtual” reality.

  40. P.S. Taken from academia lore, and to comply with Director Ilyana Rozumova’s expressed will, I bestow the following title upon my long comment: “Either publish how we want or perish.”

    Yeah, well, don’t forget that she also issued a “challenge” to the “philosophers” here. ;)

    • Agree: ChuckOrloski
  41. All the wars we are engaged in today are wars of the Jews, by the Jews, and for the Jews. That’s why our Jew owned mainstream media is always keen on promoting the next war, it’s their war, paid for by American taxpayers with American lives.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  42. @Realist 2018

    All the wars we are engaged in today are wars of the Jews, by the Jews, and for the Jews.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that, contrary to the usual mythology, certain Jews were the chief beneficiaries, (NOT victims) of the wars of a century ago as well. Yes, I mean the world wars of the last century.

    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
  43. @jacques sheete

    Hi Jacques Sheete,

    As you are most likely not at a Happy Hour party, please look at the words (below) of Counterpunch, J. St. Clair, which convey Hamid Karzai’s good point about the United States not being in Afghanistan for a “party.”

    + This just in from Hamid Karzai on why the US continues to occupy and bomb Afghanistan: “The United States is not here to go to a party. There is no need for them to build so many bases just to defeat a few Taliban. They are here because all the great American rivals are in the neighborhood, and we happen to be here, too. They are welcome to stay but not to deceive us…Too many Afghans are dying for an uncertain future,. We are too small and poor to ask the U.S. to stop, but we are a country, and our interests must be respected.” Of course, Karzai’s precise understanding of the metrics of US foreign policy is derided in the western press as a “dark theory.”

    Too bad Mssrs. Karzai and St. Clair forgot to convey “precise (metrics) understanding” about the dark 9/11 deception which compelled the W. Bush Neocons to invade & occupy Afghanistan, Autumn, 2001.

    (Zigh) How can I expect more “beef” from Brown’s Stephanie Savell?

    Uh…, bottoms up, Jacques?

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  44. Wayne says:
    @DanFromCt

    Totally agree. I too are from the Vietnam era. I was attending college from 1970-4. As my father and grandfather served in WWII, I felt guilty for getting an education instead of enlisting. I now thank God I didn’t.
    Having retired a couple of years ago I now substitute teach a few days a week. Thursday I was in a high school English class where the teacher had a bulletin board where students could place their names under different columns based on their post high school plans. There were quite a few names under “Entering the military.” I didn’t know whether weep or shout out “fools!”

  45. No one deserves to have to live in misery, so some can live high on the hog.
    I never would have said this a couple of years ago, but seeing what our “government” here in America is capable of, how they have been treating us over the past decade, the police state, the neverending expansion of surveillance on their own citizens, militarizing the police in rural towns, one starts to think, “what the hell are they so paranoid of?” Why do they need to do all of this if they’re only doing good things? People doing good deeds don’t do insane stuff like we’ve been witnessing….
    Realizing how they are controlled by the Israeli lobbies, AIPAC, Wall St., MIC, the Banksters, I start to understand why those Middle Easterners are so fed up and angry. If they’re doing all of this to us, their fellow Americans, I can’t imagine what they’re doing to those poor folks over there, out of sight.
    I think all Americans are starting to see that our government are the bad guys, the terrorists, the axis of evil, the evil empire. Then you learn they have a history of doing this, USS Liberty attack in 67. Then you learn the kind of things JFK was pushing for before he was killed, ending the Fed, FARA on the Israeli Lobby, inspecting the Dimona nuclear site in Israel, it all starts to make sense. It becomes more obvious everyday.
    Then you start looking into the holocaust story and how much stuff just doesn’t add up. Again, everything start lining up and making more sense.
    I knew from the moment 9/11 happened something wasn’t right. Then when you start researching it, find out all the things that had to happen to even make it possible, no way some guys hiding out in caves could have pulled it off, its obvious some kind of explosives were professionally rigged into those building to vaporize them like that. Building 7 wasn’t even hit by a plane. Then you find out Building 7 was home to the CIA, FBI, all kinds of govt. agencies. WTF????
    Then for the same lies to just keep getting repeated in the MSM, you know they’re in on it too, the same people that did 9/11 are controlling the media to keep the narrative going for so long.
    Everyone knows, but they keep up the charades, every year, 16 years, different presidents, no change, its the most insane thing I’ve ever witnessed. They’re all completely delusional.
    It has to be the work of the devil himself.

    Youtube videos I’ve watched lately that woke me up:
    Incontrovertible – New 9/11 Documentary by Tony Rooke
    9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money
    The Chemistry of Auschwitz
    Holocaust History – Dr. Frederick Toben (2003)
    Benjamin H. Freedman speech 1961
    Dean Irebodd – Buchenwald: A Portrayal of Evil (2008)

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  46. Gordo says:

    The endless war is bad. But the hidden part is the endless war internal to our Western countries.

    The same warmonger bankers are the ones attacking family life and encouraging single motherdom which is so destructive of social capital.

    We must fight against foreign war and against the anti-family social engineering campaign at the same time.

    Only shills oppose one and are on the side of the other. Well paid shills.

  47. Cato says:

    Rand Paul (and his father Ron Paul) are on your side. Perhaps you are coming across too Brown-U/cult-anth leftist to gain the attention of the pro-peace libertarians? Peace activism needs to be a broad church.

  48. @Sarah Toga

    Articles like this from the vile and disgusting Yahoo?

    https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/russian-military-contractors-reportedly-tried-045652699.html

    The headline used the word whooped where is should have said murdered and it left out that the US has no business in Syria.

    I hate to say it but the American people will pay dearly for this at some point (many are already) and in a variety of ways.

  49. renfro says:

    Do Americans really not care? That, at least, seems to have been the judgment of the many journalists who received our press release about the report.

    How many Americans even know we are still in Afghanistan or Iraq…the media wont tell them.

    • Replies: @Francis G.
  50. Erebus says:
    @jacques sheete

    I did notice that there are quite a numbers of philosophers here who could contribute to put the country on the right path.

    No such thing will ever happen.

    Well Jacques, it depends on one’s definition of “philosophy”. It was “Philosophers”, under the rubric of “Grand Strategists”, that got us into this mess, and a couple have popped up that may just get us at least part of the way out. Inertia being what it is, the latter have an uphill battle, but if one takes a broad view it looks like we may actually be past the tipping point.

    Anyhow, here’s a thumbnail sketch of how/why I think we got here and who led us. Dick Cheney may have branded the “War on Terror (that) wouldn’t end in our lifetime”, but however happily he and they profited from it, neither he nor his friends in the MIC or Congress invented it. It takes deep-thinkers to formulate coherent ideological underpinnings for a war against no definable threat, no identified enemy, on no identifiable battlefield, or even identifiable theatre. Open-ended war anywhere, nowhere, everywhere, against everyone and no-one, is not easy to justify.

    The War on Terror is the product of a group of intellectual heavy-lifters in the bowels of the Pentagon, working on “emerging threats” and “force restructuring” under Adm. Art Cebrowski in the ’90s. While it has a tangential connection to “counter-terrorism”, this new type of war has everything to do with “prevent(ing) the re-emergence of a new rival”, the No.1 objective of American foreign policy since Wolfowitz, and a then emerging philosophy of war best stated by one of its most vocal proponents. To whit, the War on Terror that began in Afghanistan in Oct, 2001 and would soon move to Iraq marked the “… historical tipping point–the moment when Washington [took] real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization”.

    At bottom, Globalization with American Characteristics (GAC) is the Great Project, the over-arching paradigm within which all the developed world’s think-tankers and policy wonks live and work, and in which their counterparts in the developing world work to join. In the mid ’90s, the recognition that American power could not itself force GAC on the entire world forced some introspection. Initially formulated under the mentorship of Cebrowski, T. P. M. Barnett went on to create his “Core-Gap” theory of how GAC could continue to develop and what use of military force would best contribute to that development.

    In a nutshell, the theory’s basic tenet is that the long developing Globalization was geo-political-economic reality, an inexorable world-historical process that was born centuries ago, and America’s recent ownership of that process (creating GAC) was its greatest civilizational achievement. Barnett calls it “… greatest foreign policy achievement in history – namely, the rapid and planet-wide spread of our economic source-code (aka, globalization)”. The failure of so grand a vision, the vision that created and/or tuned all of the world’s significant institutions, would literally mean TEOTWAWKI.

    The types of military force configurations, strategies and tactics that would best underpin and expand the spread of GAC, and ensure that it retained both its American characteristics and control came to be sold to the public under the meme “War on Terror”. 9/11 was its kick-off party.

    Alas, GAC was not quite “planet-wide” yet, and much of the world has yet to see, much less enjoy the benefits of this wonderful trend. The “Core”, basically the OECD countries, are thoroughly embedded in the GAC process, but there are lots of laggards, and some may never get there. The pre-eminent function of the USM is to see to it that these laggards and outsiders, the “Gap” countries, are prevented from disrupting the process, and where possible to be brought into it. If their socio-political conditions make that difficult/impossible, they are to be broken so they can’t disrupt the great world-historical trend. Whatever their status, if they have anything valuable – minerals, energy, water – these must be made available to the Core and near-Core, even if they have to be maintained in a socio-politically chaotic state while their resources are being “liberated”. That is why the USM abandoned large formations and moved towards much greater use of small SF formations, drones, proxies, and why they’re active in ~100 countries.

    Barnett’s thinking held great sway in Washington’s brain-trusts before, and in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and continues to drive much of what we see happening. The jaw-dropping Ameri-centrism of this heady program explains the hubris, the strategic and analytic myopia, the disastrous procurement blunders, and explains completely the so-called “failures” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and soon in a country near you.

    It also explains the security and military doctrinal documents that were recently released making explicit America’s rivalry with China & Russia. Though these countries are fully embedded in Globalization per se, they wish to re-define it, replacing the Ameri-centric component with a multipolar structure that’s tolerant of nations not much impressed with American “culture”, however much they like the “economic source-code”. They want the baby, not the bath water, and they’ve developed the economic and military heft to present a serious challenge. More dangerously, they’ve formulated coherent visions and are executing the supporting policies that many countries previously enamoured with America’s exceptionalism find attractive.

    That, of course, is anathema to the formulators and guiders of American military and geo-political doctrines. Fundamentally, these documents recognize that the East-West spread of Globalization is all but complete, but is spinning out of American control and is now at risk of being partitioned into those old spheres of influence that will again come to define the limits of American influence. They want it back, but the authors are behind the curve. Already, the East-West thrust has largely been abandoned but for some rear-guard chest beating in E. Europe, ME and the E&SCSs.

    In its place, a new North-South axis has opened in the form of migration. The Core’s deep-thinkers, having recognized Russian & Chinese pre-eminence on the East-West axis, have shifted their gaze due south. A new twist in the game is afoot.

    Barnett’s Core-Gap theory early in the 21st century can be read here:

    http://thomaspmbarnett.squarespace.com/globlogization/2010/8/17/blast-from-my-past-the-pentagons-new-map-2003.html#ixzz57HDXs7lh

    Barnett’s more recent thinking, with thoughts on why the US won’t be building any walls soon, can be read here.

    http://thomaspmbarnett.squarespace.com/globlogization/2016/2/18/americas-post-oil-grand-strategy.html#ixzz57HbsBKqW

  51. @DanFromCt

    I appreciate your service. I appreciate the service you provided in Vietnam.

    I think you are mistaking a nod to your sacrifice as a member of service for support of the political agendas a service member is asked to serve in. The current use of the term also acknowledges that te Vietnam war era nonsense is over. Attacks on service members were largely unwarranted, not to mention attacking the US support for S. Vietnam.

    I would encourage you to embrace their thanks as an attempt assuage that for which there is no just repayment.

    • LOL: jacques sheete
  52. @Wayne

    well young lady we just don’t live in that world. The world where no one wants to force another is a very reasoned and delightful thought. On occasion, one is forced into a fight. I thought Iraq and Afghanistan were mistakes from the get go. But then my response to 9/11 was just not that of the country’s. That’s the real world, you are chugging along minding your beezwax as most citizens were (completely unaware of our rendition, and assorted other foreign policy activities . . .) and whack, before you know it, your trying to figure out how you turned out to be the bad guy. And the leadership says your not the bad guy those guys are you are off to the races.

    The Vietnam protesters are demanding we go to war against a nebulous shifting morphing, shape-shifting immortal beast called “terrorism” and we set loose the hounds of war. The Vietnam protesters who actually sided with the communists aggressive S. Vietnam are now demanding wars to spread democracy. The “give peace a change” generation has proceeded to make war in: Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, Afghanistan to advance more free love and peace in the name of killing children in the womb, same sex marriage, and capitalism. Only to be told that they can’t use coal, or smelt iron as we have, because we are melting the planet. And should they use such practices in development, we will make war on their new liberation.

    I think solving cancer is a much easier task. And while the current executive mat now be jumping on that bandwagon, it would do well to remember that wagon was built, painted and rolling downhill before he was elected.

    All one can do now is to remind him he was elected to stop the wagon or at least make a sincere effort to slow it down.

    Still we need a military because one never knows when your harbor might get attacked or one of forts might come under assault as happened to Pearl harbor and Fort Sumter — in such cases one has to respond. Unfortunately, with respect to our response — wrong country and the other poor choice of response.

  53. @Wayne

    There were quite a few names under “Entering the military.” I didn’t know whether weep or shout out “fools!”

    On the one hand, one could do both.

    On the other hand, we can blame the media; they glorify the “heroism” of it all. The filthy ba$tard$!

  54. @redmudhooch

    Then you find out Building 7 was home to the CIA, FBI, all kinds of govt. agencies. WTF????

    You may already know about this, too.

    The Pentagon was hit apparently in the offices where audits of military spending are supposedly done (yeah, I know, the government auditing itself has to be a sick joke) and this occurred the day after Scumsfeld announced that the Pentagon was unable to count for TRIllions of dollars of spending.

    Rumsfeld says $2.3 TRILLION Missing from Pentagon
    “The adversary is closer to home; it’s the Pentagon bureaucracy…”

    - Donald Rumsfeld on Sept. 10, 2001

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?165947-1/defense-business-practices

    Gee, what a coincidence, eh? And they claim that “camel jockeys” ain’t too bright…

  55. @Erebus

    Good gawd, man!

    I did not read your post. If you want to air your ideas, state ‘em briefly.

    I didn’t get past, “Well Jacques, it depends on one’s definition of “philosophy”. It was “Philosophers”, under the rubric of “Grand Strategists”, that got us into this mess…”

    First off, I already know all that, and secondly, the comment about “philosophers” originated with IR and I think I detected a bit of sarcasm there.

    Anyway, your point(s) were? I’ll “give” you 100 words to make your case.

  56. @ChuckOrloski

    (Zigh) How can I expect more “beef” from Brown’s Stephanie Savell?

    Indeed, Chuck!

    Keep ‘em coming!

  57. @Wayne

    excuse this post Absolutely misplaced –

    It was not meant for you — at all — good greif. But for the author. issues excuse me.

  58. well young lady we just don’t live in that world. The world where no one wants to force another is a very reasoned and delightful thought. On occasion, one is forced into a fight. I thought Iraq and Afghanistan were mistakes from the get go. But then my response to 9/11 was just not that of the country’s. That’s the real world, you are chugging along minding your beezwax as most citizens were (completely unaware of our rendition, and assorted other foreign policy activities . . .) and whack, before you know it, your trying to figure out how you turned out to be the bad guy. And the leadership says your not the bad guy those guys are you are off to the races.

    The Vietnam protesters are demanding we go to war against a nebulous shifting morphing, shape-shifting immortal beast called “terrorism” and we set loose the hounds of war. The Vietnam protesters who actually sided with the communists aggressive S. Vietnam are now demanding wars to spread democracy. The “give peace a change” generation has proceeded to make war in: Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, Afghanistan to advance more free love and peace in the name of killing children in the womb, same sex marriage, and capitalism. Only to be told that they can’t use coal, or smelt iron as we have, because we are melting the planet. And should they use such practices in development, we will make war on their new liberation.

    I think solving cancer is a much easier task. And while the current executive mat now be jumping on that bandwagon, it would do well to remember that wagon was built, painted and rolling downhill before he was elected.

    All one can do now is to remind him he was elected to stop the wagon or at least make a sincere effort to slow it down.

    Still we need a military because one never knows when your harbor might get attacked or one of forts might come under assault as happened to Pearl harbor and Fort Sumter — in such cases one has to respond. Unfortunately, with respect to our response — wrong country and the other poor choice of response.

  59. Ximenes says:

    The upper middle class — the top 20% who make all the decisions — have become fantastically wealthy since 9/11, mostly thanks to stock market gains. This class, who do not send their sons to fight and quite often don’t even know anyone in the military, is nonetheless probably vaguely aware that their wealth is somehow tied to the endless wars, and thus the blank stares the author receives at parties.

    Then there is that other class who willingly enlist in the military. They do support the wars, or at least on the level of insisting we “support the troops.”

    There is no end to this until something gives. That would mean either national bankruptcy, or we run out of working class white boys to do the fighting.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  60. peterAUS says:
    @Erebus

    A very good post.

    Not quite sure I agree with the text below

    They want it back, but the authors are behind the curve.

    but, the above is well worth re-reading.

    This caught my eye:

    Though these countries are fully embedded in Globalization per se, they wish to re-define it, replacing the Ameri-centric component with a multipolar structure that’s tolerant of nations not much impressed with American “culture”, however much they like the “economic source-code”.

    It appears that our….commoners…only choice is between being owned by US, Russian and Chinese “1 percenter” in that “multipolar world”.
    Great.

    In my case, most likely, should it happen, on top of the shit I’ve been eating so far I’ll need to learn Chinese.
    Can’t wait.

  61. Alden says:
    @jacques sheete

    Learning about the Whiskey rebellion and the reason for the whiskey tax imposed on the frontiers people turned me against the founders forever.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  62. Alden says:

    Great, great posts from everyone, especially Erebus’ exposure of the perpetual war planners in the Pentagon.

  63. @jacques sheete

    I know what you mean. I even fear that I might become a connoisseur of the most ridiculous.

  64. I really do believe that 1/10 part of America’s public spends (especially Army costs) go for real needs, and the rest 9/10 are being eaten by the Fat Cats. In that way this money doesn’t reach the Afghanistan, nor the Army in States; it only runs from peoples’ pockets, through some fat fingers, to some Virgin Islands. This money could even come back and support the American infrastructure, but it doesn’t, as it is not profitable enough.

  65. @Sarah Toga

    It was easy for Dubya’s bosses to get him on board for Iraq. They simply told him that Saddam tried to kill his daddy.

  66. The $6 trillion spent on the “war on terror” is $20,000 for every man, woman, and child in America; or $80,000 for a family of four. If that does not grab people’s attention, I don’t know what will.

  67. @Ximenes

    I don’t write this with any certain knowledge but your “run out of working class white boys to do the fighting” makes me wonder about your familiarity with today’s US armed forces. True, finding a fully proportionate contingent of blacks with sufficient measured cognitive ability may be difficult but my impression is that the US forces are full of people with Hispanic names, and not many of them pure descendants of blonde Visigoths.

  68. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Twodees Partain

    You presume too much. I’ve found about 100 versions on line of what your TD might mean and none of them fit well. So what does it mean in your sandpit?

  69. @Erebus

    Thank you for the introduction to that essentially very decent American Thomas Barnett. Are you saying that he was inflential somewhere where it mattered (a) before the 2003 invasion of Iraq
    (b) before 9/11?. He got right, or potentially anyway, America’s need to have involved China (and I would add India and Russia) in sorting out the ME even before the fracking revolution made it a no brainer but he missed what I got quite explicitly right in 2003, viz. that a good outcome in Iraq (without getting out of Afghanistan) depended on America having suficient military and economic strength – which I strongly doubted – and the political stamina which I doubted even more.

    BTW because I have your attention on one of the serious issues of the last 20 years allow me to draw your attention to a National Geographic doco on another one, namely on China wherein I got an explanation for the Chinese leaders’ continuong, even increadsing, clamp down on what we would regard as harmless dissent and campaigning for more democracy. It is their fear, often as members of victim families, of what was unleashed by Mao’s Cultural Revolution which, it should be recalled, upended the Communist Party itself. To say the least Chinese history has not shown the Chinese to be less given to violence and warfare than other peoples despite a period when softheaded Westerners would think of China as just peacefully minding its own business (remember the influence of Edgar Snow anf Felix Greene?). With one reservation I buy the argument that it was the experience of the Cultural Revolution which makes the present Communist leadership unwilling to take the slightest risk of the unruly ignorant demos taking off. (An exolanation with a built in hope for change, is it not?) My reservation is based on the thought that, especially with an ageing population and so many people becoming well off, a structured democracy could be devised which might require age qualifications, inter alia, and avoid many other of the pretences about human equality that the declining West indulges. But I say that without knowing how the gestures to local self-government one used to hear about are going now, or whether the frequent protests about corruption and local party thuggery are now being listened to or stamped on.

    Australia is a country which has been able to afford a lot of democracy by good luck as well as reasonaby good management. I’m afraid it is about to prove the CCP”s fears of the masses and populism right. Despite his poor ratings agsinst the current PM, Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor Opposition is likely to lead his crew of union backed and financed oligarchs to victory next year by simply calculating how to buy the needed votes in the crudest possible way. After all the total sense of entitlements with a bit of dishonest kidding from politicians including Greens is about 200 er cent of what is, and you won’t blame yourself for borrowing too much to buy a house in the big cities.

    Unfortunately Australia is likely to be able to finance a reduced productivity, higher tax bribe-the-voters existence for a long time so that Labor can keep on squeaking back into government. The new enterprising Chinese (especially) and Indian Australians may start by backing winners in the expected style but I would like to think they will set limits to their support of a party battening on to the lower socio-economic classes for support at the expense of business and high income earners. Hiding income and assets in Singapore and Hong Kong will still leave them a bit nervous about feral Greens forcing a leftward lurch on to Labor.

  70. @Alden

    Learning about the Whiskey rebellion and the reason for the whiskey tax imposed on the frontiers people turned me against the founders forever.

    That, and the fact that a lot of the people who actually fought the war went into debt to do that and ended up losing everything because of it.

    Screwed from the get-go, and still taking a screwing for another 200+ years, yet most think they live in a democracy and enjoy “freedom.” Indebted to the gills in the interest of the rich, communistic-fascist ruling classes as well, yet “all is good.”

  71. @renfro

    In “flyover” country, most of them have sons or brothers or cousins fighting over there, so plenty of Americans know. Although most of those “serving” claim they’re doing it for patriotic reasons, they’re mainly doing it for economic reasons.

  72. @jacques sheete

    Speaking of taking over our schooling, let me recommend the book, “Credentialed to Destroy”.
    And the blog, “Invisible Serf’s Collar”.
    Very sobering stuff. Almost too much to bear.

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