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What We Talk About When We Don’t Want to Talk About Nuclear War
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You may have missed it. Perhaps you dozed off. Or wandered into the kitchen to grab a snack. Or by that point in the proceedings were checking out Seinfeld reruns. During the latter part of the much hyped but excruciating-to-watch first presidential debate, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt posed a seemingly straightforward but cunningly devised question. His purpose was to test whether the candidates understood the essentials of nuclear strategy.

A moderator given to plain speaking might have said this: “Explain why the United States keeps such a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and when you might consider using those weapons.”

What Holt actually said was: “On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?”

The framing of the question posited no small amount of knowledge on the part of the two candidates. Specifically, it assumed that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each possess some familiarity with the longstanding policy to which Holt referred and with the modifications that Obama had contemplated making to it.

If you will permit the equivalent of a commercial break as this piece begins, let me explain why I’m about to parse in detail each candidate’s actual answer to Holt’s question. Amid deep dives into, and expansive punditry regarding, issues like how “fat” a former Miss Universe may have been and how high an imagined future wall on our southern border might prove to be, national security issues likely to test the judgment of a commander-in-chief have received remarkably little attention. So indulge me. This largely ignored moment in last week’s presidential debate is worth examining.

With regard to the issue of “first use,” every president since Harry Truman has subscribed to the same posture: the United States retains the prerogative of employing nuclear weapons to defend itself and its allies against even nonnuclear threats. In other words, as a matter of policy, the United States rejects the concept of “no first use,” which would prohibit any employment of nuclear weapons except in retaliation for a nuclear attack. According to press reports, President Obama had toyed with but then rejected the idea of committing the United States to a “no first use” posture. Holt wanted to know where the two candidates aspiring to succeed Obama stood on the matter.

Cruelly, the moderator invited Trump to respond first. The look in the Republican nominee’s eyes made it instantly clear that Holt could have been speaking Farsi for all he understood. A lesser candidate might then have begun with the nuclear equivalent of “What is Aleppo?

Yet Trump being Trump, he gamely — or naively — charged headlong into the ambush that Holt had carefully laid, using his allotted two minutes to offer his insights into how as president he would address the nuclear conundrum that previous presidents had done so much to create. The result owed less to early Cold War thinkers-of-the-unthinkable like Herman Kahn or Albert Wohlstetter, who created the field of nuclear strategy, than to Dr. Strangelove. Make that Dr. Strangelove on meth.

Trump turned first to Russia, expressing concern that it might be gaining an edge in doomsday weaponry. “They have a much newer capability than we do,” he said. “We have not been updating from the new standpoint.” The American bomber fleet in particular, he added, needs modernization. Presumably referring to the recent employment of Vietnam-era bombers in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, he continued somewhat opaquely, “I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather, could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries.”

Trump then professed an appreciation for the awfulness of nuclear weaponry. “I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.”

Give Trump this much: even in a field that tends to favor abstraction and obfuscating euphemisms like “fallout” or “dirty bomb,” classifying Armageddon as the “nuclear alternative” represents something of a contribution.

Still, it’s worth noting that, in the arcane theology of nuclear strategy, “first strike” and “first use” are anything but synonymous. “First strike” implies a one-sided, preventive war of annihilation. The logic of a first strike, such as it is, is based on the calculation that a surprise nuclear attack could inflict the “nuclear alternative” on your adversary, while sparing your own side from suffering a comparable fate. A successful first strike would be a one-punch knockout, delivered while your opponent still sits in his corner of the ring.

Yet whatever reassurance was to be found in Trump’s vow never to order a first strike — not the question Lester Holt was asking — was immediately squandered. The Republican nominee promptly revoked his “no first strike” pledge by insisting, in a cliché much favored in Washington, that “I can’t take anything off the table.”

Piling non sequitur upon non sequitur, he next turned to the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea, where “we’re doing nothing.” Yet, worrisome as this threat might be, keeping Pyongyang in check, he added, ought to be Beijing’s job. “China should solve that problem for us,” he insisted. “China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.”

If China wouldn’t help with North Korea, however, what could be more obvious than that Iran, many thousands of miles away, should do so — and might have, if only President Obama had incorporated the necessary proviso into the Iran nuclear deal. “Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.” When the Obama administration “made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea.” But why stop with North Korea? Iran “should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places,” he continued, wandering into the nonnuclear world. U.S. negotiators suitably skilled in the Trumpian art of the deal, he implied, could easily have maneuvered Iran into solving such problems on Washington’s behalf.

Veering further off course, Trump then took a passing swipe at Secretary of State John Kerry: “Why didn’t you add other things into the deal?” Why, in “one of the great giveaways of all time,” did the Obama administration fork over $400 million in cash? At which point, he promptly threw in another figure without the slightest explanation — “It was actually $1.7 billion in cash” — in “one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history.”

Trump then wrapped up his meandering tour d’horizon by decrying the one action of the Obama administration that arguably has reduced the prospect of nuclear war, at least in the near future. “The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems,” he stated with conviction. “All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much. And they’re going to end up getting nuclear.” For proof, he concluded, talk to the Israelis. “I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day,” he added for no reason in particular. “Believe me, he’s not a happy camper.”

On this indecipherable note, his allotted time exhausted, Trump’s recitation ended. In its way, it had been a Joycean performance.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

It was now Clinton’s turn to show her stuff. If Trump had responded to Holt like a voluble golf caddy being asked to discuss the finer points of ice hockey, Hillary Clinton chose a different course: she changed the subject. She would moderate her own debate. Perhaps Trump thought Holt was in charge of the proceedings; Clinton knew better.

What followed was vintage Clinton: vapid sentiments, smoothly delivered in the knowing tone of a seasoned Washington operative. During her two minutes, she never came within a country mile of discussing the question Holt had asked or the thoughts she evidently actually has about nuclear issues.

“[L]et me start by saying, words matter,” she began. “Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them.”

It was as if Clinton were already speaking from the Oval Office. Trump had addressed his remarks to Lester Holt. Clinton directed hers to the nation at large, to people the world over, indeed to history itself. Warming to her task, she was soon rolling out the sort of profundities that play well at the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment, or the Council on Foreign Relations, causing audiences to nod — or nod off.

“It is essential that America’s word be good,” Clinton continued. “And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to — on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.”

Then, after inserting a tepid, better-than-nothing endorsement of the Iran nuclear deal, she hammered Trump for not offering an alternative. “Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran?” If you’re going to criticize, she pointed out, you need to offer something better. Trump never does, she charged. “It’s like his plan to defeat ISIS. He says it’s a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.”

With that, she reverted to platitudes. “So we need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values? That’s what I intend to do. I intend to be a leader of our country that people can count on, both here at home and around the world, to make decisions that will further peace and prosperity, but also stand up to bullies, whether they’re abroad or at home.”

Like Trump, she offered no specifics. Which bullies? Where? How? In what order? Would she start with Russia’s Putin? North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un? Perhaps Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines? How about Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Or Bibi?

In contrast to Trump, however, Clinton did speak in complete sentences, which followed one another in an orderly fashion. She thereby came across as at least nominally qualified to govern the country, much like, say, Warren G. Harding nearly a century ago. And what worked for Harding in 1920 may well work for Clinton in 2016.

Of Harding’s speechifying, H.L. Mencken wrote at the time, “It reminds me of a string of wet sponges.” Mencken characterized Harding’s rhetoric as “so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.” So, too, with Hillary Clinton. She is our Warren G. Harding. In her oratory, flapdoodle and balderdash live on.

The National Security Void

If I’ve taxed your patience by recounting this non-debate and non-discussion of nuclear first use, it’s to make a larger point. The absence of relevant information elicited by Lester Holt’s excellent question speaks directly to what has become a central flaw in this entire presidential campaign: the dearth of attention given to matters basic to U.S. national security policy.

In the nuclear arena, the issue of first use is only one of several on which anyone aspiring to become the next commander-in-chief should be able to offer an informed judgment. Others include questions such as these:

  • What is the present-day justification for maintaining the U.S. nuclear “triad,” a strike force consisting of manned bombers and land-based ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles?
  • Why is the Pentagon embarking upon a decades-long, trillion-dollar program to modernize that triad, fielding a new generation of bombers, missiles, and submarines along with an arsenal of new warheads? Is that program necessary?
  • How do advances in non-nuclear weaponry — for example, in the realm of cyberwarfare — affect theories of nuclear deterrence devised by the likes of Kahn and Wohlstetter during the 1950s and 1960s? Does the logic of those theories still pertain?

Beyond the realm of nuclear strategy, there are any number of other security-related questions about which the American people deserve to hear directly from both Trump and Clinton, testing their knowledge of the subject matter and the quality of their judgments. Among such matters, one in particular screams out for attention. Consider it the question that Washington has declared off-limits: What lessons should be drawn from America’s costly and disappointing post-9/11 wars and how should those lessons apply to future policy?

With Election Day now merely a month away, there is no more reason to believe that such questions will receive serious consideration than to expect Trump to come clean on his personal finances or Clinton to release the transcripts of her handsomely compensated Goldman Sachs speeches.

When outcomes don’t accord with his wishes, Trump reflexively blames a “rigged” system. But a system that makes someone like Trump a finalist for the presidency isn’t rigged. It is manifestly absurd, a fact that has left most of the national media grasping wildly for explanations (albeit none that tag them with having facilitated the transformation of politics into theater).

I’ll take a backseat to no one in finding Trump unfit to serve as president. Yet beyond the outsized presence of one particular personality, the real travesty of our predicament lies elsewhere — in the utter shallowness of our political discourse, no more vividly on display than in the realm of national security.

What do our presidential candidates talk about when they don’t want to talk about nuclear war? The one, in a vain effort to conceal his own ignorance, offers rambling nonsense. The other, accustomed to making her own rules, simply changes the subject.

The American people thereby remain in darkness. On that score, Trump, Clinton, and the parties they represent are not adversaries. They are collaborators.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, most recently, ofAmerica’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, which has been longlisted for the National Book Award.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
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  1. The American people thereby remain in darkness.

    A very large portion of the American people live in darkness because they cannot grasp what is going on. Another large portion believe a kaleidoscope of fantasies.

    These people cannot be enlightened.

    Politicians do not address reality (to the meager extent they are able) because it would just add to the confusion.

  2. Much of this effort to restart the Cold War involves the two trillion dollar prize for rebuilding our entire nuclear arsenal. Let’s hear what extreme lefty Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein thinks. She gets almost no media coverage since she will steal votes from Clinton. Stein recently remarked that Secretary of State Clinton made the Middle East more violent and unstable, and concluded:

    “On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow not to go into confrontation and nuclear war with Russia.”

  3. I find it hard to believe that in almost 2 weeks only two (3 with mine) comments on your excellent
    article on prospects of nuclear war should appear on this site? My reading of it is that its “res ipsa loquitor”, and “these truths are so self evident”that they need no comment. Congratulations.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    mid deep dives into, and expansive punditry regarding, issues like how “fat” a former Miss Universe may have been

    The other day Weissberg wondered when it had been that genitalia became socially constructed.
    Now we can provide an answer to his question: when fat ended up between quotation marks.

  5. Yawn…sigh. Rip up the 1965 Immigration Act and stop the transformation of America and all of the West into a fractured Third World dump with a majority population of foreign affirmative action beneficiaries, unassimilable hostiles, and tens of millions dependent on redistribution of dwindling working-and-middle class wealth. Decades hence, you’ll wince and squirm for the days of a Trump victory that could have been, while your grandchildren are under the bed, hiding in fear from domestic nuclear threats by Arab jihadists once welcomed into the military ranks of those maintaining the US nuclear arsenal. Scenarios like this are an inevitability. Anyone denouncing Trump is a fool wrapped up in overwrought thought. TRUMP 2016.

    • Replies: @Blosky
  6. RW says:

    Good article. But regarding the last point, remember the US is an economy not a nation. Trump is just grabbing at low-hanging fruit that the elites of the two parties have been cultivating at the behest of their pro-globalist campaign contributors for decades, hoping the regular Joe’s on both sides would not notice, or at least not complain too loudly. Some say it’s anti-semetic to criticize globalism because there are so many Jews involved in the movement. But I don’t know. Is it anti-gentile to criticize the nation-state?

  7. Realist says:
    @another fred

    Many of the American people are so enamored with trivial bullshit as found on TV, such as The Voice and Dancing with the Stars that they have no idea what a damn mess this country is in.

  8. Donald Trump is inarticulate, but then so are most US residents, most of whom care little for rhetoric. Perhaps I’m indulging in wishful thinking, but I suspect Trump voters are responding more to the message than to the man, bringing about an issues-based election. HRC is more polished, but it must be clear by now that she is an unprincipled criminal and a tool of one of the worst criminal elements in the country: the insanely greedy and power-mad financial community. If she is elected, it will likely prove the moral equivalent of a preemptive nuclear strike on the US by a well-armed rogue state.

  9. Isn’t the Presidential choice presently before the electorate an argument against universal suffrage democracy?

    The discussion of nuclear weapons contained in the article was quite good. Although a $2 trillion modernization effort is likely unjustified, most advances in warhead technology are safety and security related. If you’re going to continue deploying them, it’s worth something to ensure that they go off only when you want them to. It might also be possible to design longer-lived warheads that will not require replacement so soon. The submarines that represent the best basing mode for nuclear weapons do not have indefinite service lives and will need to be replaced. So some expenditures are justified.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  10. In contrast to Trump, however, Clinton did speak in complete sentences, which followed one another in an orderly fashion. She thereby came across as at least nominally qualified to govern the country…

    She spoke that way because she was using a rehearsed statement that was prepared in advance.

    That is why:

    During her two minutes, she never came within a country mile of discussing the question Holt had asked…

    This does not make her “come across as at least nominally qualified to govern the country.” It makes her come across as nominally qualified to be an actress reciting her lines.

    She had no answer prepared for Holt’s question, so:

    Clinton chose a different course: she changed the subject. She would moderate her own debate.

    In contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump actually did his best to answer the question — and he deserves moral credit for stating “…I would certainly not do first strike.” Mr. Bacevich should understand that this is a window into the candidate’s heart. It was not a focus-grouped, prepared script. It was what came to Trump’s mind when he thought about using nuclear weapons first.

    I think also that Bacevich needs to review game theory, a mathematical field contemporary with the nuclear weapons field, which has driven American nuclear war strategy since the time communist spies gave nuclear weaponry to the Soviet Union (and thereby made it necessary at all for the United States to even consider such things). There are some scenarios in which reserving first strike is the best option for the United States. So far, it has worked. The last time you saw anyone use nuclear weapons was before game theory became part of the equation.

  11. Interesting article.

    I guess this late in the campaign and with everybody’s tempers that heated the main focus is now on winning rather than debating.

    If you follow the analyses of Scott Adams, an expert in the field of persuasion, you learn that either candidate is mainly working on getting the swing voters to relate to them on an emotional level.

    And if you imagine the general knowledge abouth nuclear weaponry maybe that isn’t even a bad thing.

  12. Joe Wong says:
    @another fred

    “The American people thereby remain in darkness” is a convenient way of pointing the finger at others to excuse one’s own responsibility. American people is the willing partner of the reckless wars waged by the warmongers in the Washington beltway; the American people foots the bills for the reckless wars without questioning and the American people fills the cannon fodders as mercenary with enthusiasm.

    The American people does not take responsibility for the harms they have done to the world, the American leaders who are chosen among the American people thru election reflects what the American people is. Blaming “The American people thereby remain in darkness” is feeble attempt to whitewash one’s own sin by the American people.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  13. Pandos says:

    Wow! All I heard Trump say is, “I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.” Dump old me is voting for dump old Trump. Skip is so nuanced and heard so much more. I hope his nuances with the rest of the state don’t get me killed.

  14. @another fred

    Politicians do not address reality (to the meager extent they are able) because it would just add to the confusion.

    The American people have a “kaleidoscope of fantasies” because their government does not give them true and accurate information. This policy is deliberate and calculated. I suspect this grew out of the need of our woefully corrupt and/or incompetent “leadership” to provide themselves with wide margins of error. Under that theory — and it is reasonably functional — the bigger the lie told, the less truth need be revealed to provide adequate correction, in the view of the wholly ignorant electorate.

    This does produce difficulties for candidates, during election season. They have to address the people with an understanding of what lies the people have been told, and whether or not those lies have been completely, or only partially, effective. Trump, not being privy to the Catalogue of Lies, must dissemble more than Clinton, who is more schooled in deception, and better informed as to what nonsense the media has been programmed to provide the public.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  15. @Joe Wong

    The American people does not take responsibility for the harms they have done to the world, the American leaders who are chosen among the American people thru election reflects what the American people is. Blaming “The American people thereby remain in darkness” is feeble attempt to whitewash one’s own sin by the American people.

    That’s because the American people believe, quite naturally, that they have done no harm to the world.

    While we’re on the subject, how about you tell me all about how the Chinese government has done no harm to the Chinese people, or, shucks, pick a few vibrant African economic powerhouses and tell us all about how their leadership has done no harm.

    I’m all for equal-opportunity trashing. Lay on, MacDuff.

    • Replies: @Frankie P
  16. @Diversity Heretic

    The submarines that represent the best basing mode for nuclear weapons do not have indefinite service lives and will need to be replaced. So some expenditures are justified.

    That’s not the point. Our nuclear weapons are configured for a doomsday scenario, not for tactical applications. It is not cost-effective to size-down nuclear warheads to battlefield proportions; conventional munitions and explosives are cheaper and more flexible in application. The nuclear armory is too large. Size it down to “effective destruction”, and modernize that configuration.

    Beyond that, it’s time for America to tend to its own knitting. We have an economy to rebuild, and 60 million illegal aliens to forcefully eject from our towns and cities. In 1915, America took pride in the fact that it retained a standing army of fewer than 100,000 men — more than sufficient to defend the borders — and a Navy adequate to protect American shipping. It’s time to return to that concept; we must become a non-aggressive mercantile nation once again.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  17. @John Jeremiah Smith

    You make excellent points–battlefield nuclear weapons should go the way of the Pentomic Army (remember that?). But improvements in safety, security and longevity of strategic (doomsday) weapons are probably worth the investment. Numbers? Hard for me to say: as long as you have a few hundred after absorbing an enemy first strike, you should be okay (well, as okay as you can be in such a scenario; we’re taking doomsday, after all).

    Insofar as your second point is concerned, I am also in wholehearted agreement–it’s time to ditch the empire that the U.S. started acquiring at the time of the Spanish-American War. Involvement in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan is insane and we have pressing domestic security concerns. But I don’t think that the people who profit from the empire are likely to go quietly.

  18. @Diversity Heretic

    Insofar as your second point is concerned, I am also in wholehearted agreement–it’s time to ditch the empire that the U.S. started acquiring at the time of the Spanish-American War.

    What can I add to complete agreement, except to remark upon the high intelligence and stringently moral integrity evident in us both? We shall look down, in suffering tolerance but haughty disdain, upon the riff-raff of other commenters.

  19. Rehmat says:

    In reality, America is the only country which has used nuclear bombs since WWII – not to protect Americans or its western allied but to test the affects of the WMD on Japan which had already surrendered to the Allied Forces lead by Gen. Eisenhower.

    Truman, earlier refused to use nuclear bomb against White Germany.

    Even if Hillary or Trump have some knowledge about the nuclear war – their memories don’t include the Zionist entity with 400 nuclear bomb which Germany and the US helped to make.

    The world nuclear powers include Russia (7,300 nukes), United States (6,970 nukes), Israel (400 nukes), France (300 nukes), China (250 nukes), UK (215 nukes), Pakistan (110 nukes), India (100 nukes), and N. Korea (15 nukes).

    Interestingly, America is only obsessed with Iran that has no nuclear bomb according to CIA, Mossad, and MI6.

    Brigadier General Uzi Eilam, who for a decade headed Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission doesn’t believe that Tehran is in a position to acquire a nuclear bomb within next ten years even if that’s what it really aspires. He believes that Netanyahu is warmongering against the Islamic Republic to divert world attention from Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    “The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another ten years. Even so, I’m not sure that Iran wants the bomb,” said Eilam, according to Israel National News, May 8, 2014.

    • Replies: @Auntie Analogue
  20. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    because their government does not give them true and accurate information

    A strong case could be made that government itself can not get true and accurate information. And I mean a very strong case.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  21. Despite fantasies about ancient tribal groups and classical Athens democracy is a recent and precarious innovation in government and in conventional ideologies. Although a lot of the rogues and incompetents can be thrown out of office by money and/or organisation combining with passion to get 50 per cent or so of adults to bother to vote it is hard to see why “democracy” is a good description of American government. As a minimal requirement for America to survive as a world power and democracy the appalling policies which have led to the relative impoverishment of the majority have to end.

    Australia, which enjoys much luck, luckily learned much before its 1901 federation from study of the US constitution. But it still maintained the familiar Westminster system which allows unsatisfactory governments to be removed swiftly. And it doesn’t have Congressmen elected for just two years and spending most of their time seeking to be corrupted by lobbyists, donors and ethnic shysters.

    How can the American polity be mended? Can this would-be exporter of “democracy” actually learn from others? China’s model which, charitably, might be regarded as an attempt to create, in the Communist Party, something like an 18th century aristocracy without any pretence that the people should be sovereign, seems a hard one to sell in America. But what about the Westminster system where he or she who commanded a majority in the House of Representatives would be head of government?

    Ridiculous? No, just very unlikely. It could come about through the ambitions of powerful charismatic Congressmen pushing for four year terms and then doing everything possible to restrict the powers of the President and conferring powers on the leader of the House.

    Let’s assume a somewhat higher grade of members of both houses. Who would they support to be chief executive in January 2017? Surely not Trump and surely better than Clinton, albeit on notice that tenure was not for four fixed years.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  22. @Andrei Martyanov

    A strong case could be made that government itself can not get true and accurate information. And I mean a very strong case.

    So what? That’s no excuse for inventions and outright lies designed to achieve leverage under false pretenses.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  23. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    “You can shear a sheep many times, but butcher it only once,” or so the saying goes. Americans are so dumbed down by the toxic food we consume, the polluted air and water, that our brains are in a suspended state of animation.
    Add in the dumbed down schools and brainwashing by the MSM and it’s a wonder we can still function at all.

    We’ve only been bombed–kinda–once, during WW II by Japanese balloons dropping small bombs in the American Northwest, so we have no idea, unlike the dozens of nations our ‘freedom fighters’ have bombed, what it’s like to have not-so smart bombs dropping all over our neighborhood.

    But if we don’t wake up and damn soon, Hillary will be the one that gives us that rousing feeling of watching your neighborhood go up in blasts.

    • Replies: @Stonehands
  24. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    So what? That’s no excuse for inventions and outright lies designed to achieve leverage under false pretenses.

    And did I state otherwise? I just pointed out the fact of US government’s lack of situational awareness of the outside world. Yes, it manufactures outright lies, yes it runs propaganda campaign–that is all in the open for anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of the world. My point is that apart from that, it is difficult to do anything else (listed above) when one is completely lost in own delusions and false narratives. Hardly any good decision can come out of such a pitiful state of collective mind. The US track record of the last 17 years is in the open–it is one of unmitigated military and foreign affairs disasters, which also precipitated an ongoing catastrophe in US domestic politics, which is now openly corrupted. I have to give Trump credit where credit is due for his recent superb summary of the totally rigged system.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  25. Biff says:

    With half the republicans and most of the republican leadership moving over to camp Hillary, it has become glaringly obvious of the unified, single party system in place.
    You will never hear about in the U.S. media though – in fact, the media will continue to piss down your back, and tell you it’s rainning.

  26. @Greg Bacon

    Americans are dumbed down by the booze and drugs they voluntarily consume to alter their reality- a sort of semi- suicidal coping mechanism for the denizens of Mechanical Utopia.
    The same Utopia that poisons the air and water, and food; pollutes the minds if it’s children with its electric culture of political correctness.

  27. @Andrei Martyanov

    And did I state otherwise? I just pointed out the fact of US government’s lack of situational awareness of the outside world.

    Oh, yes. Corruption has a way of doing that. The actors are engrossed in the acquisition of wealth and power; very little pretense is made of actually doing the job. Oddly enough, Obama, though fully-focused on escalating and creating racial tensions, did make a play for handling foreign affairs. Possibly, he resented Israel running US foreign affairs? That situation will resume when Hillary ascends the throne.

  28. Rehmat says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Australia is no different than United States when it comes to democracy or control of media, which is controlled by Jewish groups and Rupert Murdoch.

    In 2014, former Australian foreign minister Robert John (Bob) Carr (born 1947) in book ‘Diary of a Foreign Minister‘ has claimed that Australia’s foreign policy is controlled by pro-Israel Jewish lobby groups.

    Bob Carr has produced text messages between him and former prime minister Julia Gillard. “The public has to know how foreign policy gets made, especially when it appears the prime minister is being heavily lobbied by one interest group with a stake in the Middle East (Israel),” said Carr.

    Bob Carr also blasted former prime minister and foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, country’s richest politician who is married to a wealthy Jew. Carr calls him a loudmouth who was disliked by foreign policy elites and many in Labor Party.

    Carr says he told Julia Gillard to step down from party leadership to save her own reputation.

    Carr has described former Israeli ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, as the “cunning Yuval” and Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, as “gloomy” and “taciturn” in his book. He has also blasted two Jewish MPs, Mark Dreyfus and Michael Danby, as the “falafel faction”.

  29. @Diversity Heretic

    “… as long as you have a few hundred after absorbing an enemy first strike, you should be okay ….”

    The paradox of nuclear strategy is that beyond a handful of weapons, when using one or two would certainly invite utter destruction (which is why North Korea is miles away from being an existential threat to the US … in fact, if they took out LA, they would be doing us a favor), counting on having a few hundred survivable weapons after a “bolt out of the blue” attack is actually destabilizing, as it allows the leadership to take shelter at various alternate operating points while they continue to engage in the brinkmanship that will invite the “bolt out of the blue.” But even more likely is that while they cower in their underground or airborne shelters, they will adopt a launch on detection policy that ensures Armageddon because hey, who wants to be caught short of nukes in the middle of a nuclear war.

    Since most of our defense (offense) materiel production is within blast-effect range of major population centers (again, sorry LA, but you are toast), even a stringent counter-force targeting strategy by the adversary is more likely to bleed over into counter-value, but hey, what’s a few tens of millions of urban dwellers when the plan is to get the globe back to half a billion or so tops?

    Actually, the most likely scenario is for the Russians or Chinese to do a couple exoatmospheric nuclear detonations over CONUS to take out out un-hardened electrical, electronic, and broadcast assets and thereby leave us stewing in our un-airconditioned juices with non-functioning iToys until what is left of our society turns on one another and our wise leadership. They don’t even have to hit a city, because doing so would deplete the fifth column that would do their dirty work for them.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  30. I’ll take a backseat to no one in finding Trump unfit to serve as president.

    Virtue signaling received and noted. I hope you enjoy Hillary’s war with Russia.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  31. annamaria says:

    The editorial stuff of the NYT and Wall Street Journal and the whole Kagans clan, as well as the Atlantic Council scoundrels-in-charge, should be directed to Mosul where they will be able, finally, to demonstrate their valiant loyalty to their favorite state — Israel. Mr. Louise Slaughter and Mr. Lindsey Graham should lead the charge.
    From comment section of Sic Semper Tyrannis:
    “When the U.S. went into Fallujah the city was damn near vacated when the operation commenced. There were 3600 jihadis (lower than the estimate in current situation in Mosul). The operation involved, 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne, 1st Special Forces, 10th Mountain, 1st Marine Expeditionary, 3rd Amored, 1st Infantry Division, SEAL teams, Blackwater Mercs, et al. It took 3 weeks to pacify and that didn’t hold. Then there was Second Battle of Fallujah. This time over 10k U.S. military and it took a month and a half to pacify. Over 120 U.S. killed and over 700 wounded. Jihadis killed was approx. 1400. And Fallujah was reduced to rubble. AC-130s, F-16 dropping 2000 lb bomb, AC/DC and Metallica blasted into the vacated city 24/7 prior to the U.S. military operation.”
    There is no other solution for the US woes but to implement a total draft on children of Congresspeople and main warmongers at various belligerent (and idiotic) “think tanks.”

  32. @Rehmat

    “Truman, earlier refused to use nuclear bomb against White Germany.”

    Rehmat, you are a habitual liar. The sentence above being merely the latest in your long catalogue of huge honking vile lies.

    The first A-bomb test in New Mexico came in July, 1945. Fully three months after VE-Day. Truman had no A-bomb to drop on Germany.

    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
  33. Frankie P says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    You miss the point. The countries you mention have, as you rightly point out, done great harm to their own people. Those people should rise up and throw off the yoke, or, as in the case of China, keep their heads down until the government brings prosperity, and then they should get rich, as they are currently doing. The US, on the other hand, kills in the hundreds of thousands the innocent people of other nations, all the while yammering on about being exceptional and indispensable. The American people should be ashamed, and they should put a stop to it; this would simultaneously free them from the oppression that they themselves face while watering Jefferson’s tree of liberty with the blood of some tyrants. Instead, they prattle on about how “good” they are.

  34. @Frankie P

    You miss the point.

    No, I just don’t see any point to making the distinction you made. The government of China is evil; the government of the US is evil. The people of China should replace their government, and the people of the US should replace their government.

  35. Blosky says:
    @Eric Novak

    There was an incident like that in Gaul. Muzzies were sitting next to the button.

  36. @The Alarmist

    Actually, the most likely scenario is for the Russians or Chinese to do a couple exoatmospheric nuclear detonations over CONUS to take out out un-hardened electrical, electronic, and broadcast assets

    It would take a dozen warheads to achieve any effective degree of EMP effect over the continent. And for what? To waste a dozen useful bombs? Immediately after which the Tridents render Russia/China a la surface of the moon?

    Don’t think so. A nuclear war must, by its very nature, be all-out for total destruction. The “limited exchange” premise has always been bullshit.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  37. @WorkingClass

    That’s illogical. His saying that he sees Trump as unfit to be President doesn’t mean that he rwgards Clinton as likely to be a good President. And where’s the virtue signalling in saying what virtually all serious commentators around the world are saying, assuming he believes it

  38. @John Jeremiah Smith

    Dollars to donuts that the Russkies and Chicoms already have the requisite weapons in orbit (GLONASS & BeiDou constellations likely have a few among their numbers).

    We`d have to be MAD to launch in response to an exoatmospheric NUDET that didn’t touch CONUS directly, since doing so would be met with immediate retaliation (LOW no doubt).

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  39. @The Alarmist

    We`d have to be MAD to launch in response to an exoatmospheric NUDET

    Oh, STOP with the acronyms, man. You don’t have to show off here; it’s not the Colorado Springs Hooters.

    So, you don’t think our gubmint’s got enough madness in it?

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  40. @John Jeremiah Smith

    So, you don’t think our gubmint’s got enough madness in it?

    I’m hoping it doesn’t, but the world was a lot safer during Cold War 1.0, when our intelligence was intelligent enough to build in excessive fudge for what we didn’t know. They seem convinced now that the next war will be a walk in the park.

  41. woodNfish says:
    @Frankie P

    You miss the point. The countries you mention have, as you rightly point out, done great harm to their own people.

    As has our own government to us and it is still doing it.

  42. woodNfish says:

    I’ll take a backseat to no one in finding Trump unfit to serve as president.

    Move to the long line of dumbasses on the left.

  43. For those interested the U.S. does not have ANY tactical nuclear weapons that could be utilized on the battlefield they were all taken out of the various arsenals and munition depots in the early 80’s and were all sent to Pentex in Texas to be disassembled and all the nuclear material was sent to Washington state for disposal. I worked as a nuclear weapons handler for a branch of the military during the time period and was actively involved in this operation. I believe this took place because of the SALT2 treaty that Reagan and Gorbachev signed..I think all we have is strategic nukes on submarines and on bombers. There are some drop bombs that can be used but they have not been updated in decades. The military is just now beginning to upgrade the B-61 bomb to make it a guided bomb but that is still in the processes period. I transported hundreds of those weapons. A competent president would NEVER say they wouldn’t use nuclear weapons as a first strike option but then again we don’t have one at the moment.

    • Replies: @TheTruth
  44. annamaria says:

    On a topic of US “humanitarian” wars: “We came, we saw, he died’: How Gaddafi was hunted and brutally killed.”
    Let Clinton rot in hell

  45. TheTruth says:

    The nuclear bombs are a hoax.Check out in internet.The globalists work together in this hoax,they are fake enemies-new world order with fake enemies like Russia and USA who justify non attack on each other because “the world will stop to live” after nuclear war.
    I believe in the radiation-it`s proven.I don`t believe in the nuclear bomb,because it`s not proven in the real life and only in fake photos and propaganda movies in which they explode huge piles of explosives.
    The real reason of the nuclear bomb hoax is to scare the people over the world to accept a multiple “super powers” New World Order and to justify no attack between the fake enemies run by the khazarian fake white jews-USA and Russia.It`s just like the religion-a hoax to create fear.
    Because we live in technologically advanced world no sane person believe in “God” and the fake jews need new “religion”-the nuclear bomb.
    This is a hoax just like the moon landing hoax,the Mars missions,the aliens hoax.
    Fake religions,not proven.
    The world superpowers work together and take our freedoms pointing the finger on their “enemies” to justify their actions.Now they want to destroy the white race with mass imigration,because the white race is the most smart one-all the inventions and science is from us.They can`t manipulate and control smart people,they need genetically dump ones.
    Don`t believe the Jews-they own Russia too so don`t believe in the “good christians” that play the good cop-it`s their role to create Eurasian Union (Orwell`s 1984 Eurasia).
    Just read the Orwell “Big Brother” and you will see that this book is a prophecy.

  46. TheTruth says:
    @Justan American

    I don`t believe that you have seen an A-bomb that goes off-they don`t exist.It`s a giant hoax,made with real moneys and “rockets” so there are people like you to believe and “prove” their existence.
    Look at the Bikini atoll in Google Maps – there are plants growing there.
    All the “nuclear explosions” are made far far away from the people “because of the radiation and shit” so we can`t see the proof of them.
    The fake Hiroshima and Nagasaki A bombs are the most important hoax-if they were real there wouldn`t be health Japanese by now,right?The radiation and shit!Bullshit!
    They want us to fear-the fear is the most universal method used for control over the population.
    Proven with the religions in a fake friend in the sky-God or Allah or Yahveh.
    They need to create a science like religion-FEAR FROM THE A-BOMB!FEAR!WE NEED TO CONTROL YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY!
    Don`t forget to put the RFID chip in your body,guys!It`s for your own protection,you know? 🙂
    In my country in EU the jewish led government now want to take your fingerprint so you can get in the hospital!Because the doctors have taken money to heal fake persons and have stolen money from the health system,the government say!Not a single doctor in the prison,just a reason to take your fingerprints.Not everyone wants to use a smartphone tracking device with a fingerprint security control,you know!If you don`t to give your fingerprints you won`t get in the hospital without paying a lot of money,because you can`t prove that you are a real person!
    Why do you think that Putin fear from NATO countries if Russia have A bombs?!?Putin knows that if a real war opens they will need to use real weapons,not fake a bombs.
    Like the fake STEALTH JETS-they got 8 downed over Serbia in the 1999 war!!!What STEALTH?!?A HOAX FOR BILLIONS TAKEN FROM THE PEOPLE BY THE GOVERNMENT!

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