The Café Babylon March War and Moar War Report

The original working March 3 title was to be ‘Help me connect the dots’, but the dots seem to have  been taking shape over the past week.  Sorry it’s mainly copy/paste again, but it’s about all I can manage these days.)

 ‘US special ops step up strikes on al-Qaeda and ISIS, insiders say’, abcnews.go, March 3

The Pentagon has quietly ordered new commando deployments to the Middle East and North Africa amid an unprecedented series of American airstrikes in Yemen, counterterrorism officials tell ABC News.

The moves appear to signal that the U.S. military is kicking off a more aggressive counterterrorism campaign — with the encouragement of President Trump — in a stepped up effort against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terror group in lawless Yemen, as well as ISIS strongholds in Syria and areas in North Africa where both groups have spread to in recent years, current and former special operations veterans said.

The Trump administration in late January launched the first known ground force operation in Yemen in two years followed by an unprecedented two-dozen or more airstrikes this week targeting al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate, including airstrikes Thursday night. This week also saw the killing of al-Qaeda’s overall deputy leader in a U.S. drone strike in northwestern Syria.”

Then loads of pithy quotes from unnamed military and intelligence sources, plus a few who dared to reveal their names, including:

“Un-announced fresh deployments of elite American commando units from the Army’s Delta Force and Navy SEAL teams continue, officials told ABC News, to Syria and Iraq to strike ISIS, and to the Horn of Africa region to target al-Qaeda, with some in the military welcoming Trump’s tough talk on counterterrorism.”

Yeah, ‘the boys’ are gonna see a lotta action on this deployment because: Trump, Praying Mattis, and McMasters’; yeppers: ‘We’re doin’ work on the bad guys’.

Yemen is ground zero for another Saudi Wahhabist proxy war v. the insurrection of the Zaidi Shi’ite Houthis funded by Iran, who don’t want to see US-approved™ Hadi reinstated.  A side question: wouldn’t it be natural to assume that Israel is also quite involved in this proxy war?

On March 6, ‘US ramps up bombing campaign in Yemen’, Niles Niemuth:

“In a major escalation of operations in Yemen, the US military carried out more than 30 airstrikes and drone strikes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hitting multiple targets allegedly linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As many as 20 people were reported killed in the attacks, which hit the southern governorates of Shabwa, Al Bayda and Abyan.

The multi-day bombardment was the heaviest so far in the undeclared US war in Yemen, which has killed or injured more than 1,700 people, including hundreds of women and children, since 2009. According to a tally maintained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US has carried out a least 390 attacks in the last eight years.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters on Friday that more airstrikes would be forthcoming: “US forces will continue to target AQAP militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization’s plots and ultimately to protect American lives.” [snip]

“The air campaign and subsequent ground invasion aim to push back the Houthi rebels, who took over much of the country in early 2015, and reinstate the US-backed government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies have been funneling weapons and money to Sunni militias, including those affiliated with AQAP, to serve as ground troops in the war against the Zaidi Shiite Houthis.

Since it began in March 2015, the Saudi-led campaign, made possible by continuous support from the US government in the form of intelligence, logistics, military equipment and aerial refueling, has killed more than 10,000 Yemeni civilians and wounded 40,000. Saudi bombs have hit hospitals, schools, marketplaces, factories and residential neighborhoods.”

Niemuth takes note of Herr Trump’s disgusting use of the Widow Owens whose husband was killed in the SEALs Op gone wrong in his address to Congress, but of course never mentioning the ‘30 civilians, including 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the US citizen and Islamist cleric assassinated by the Obama administration in 2011’, and writes of the insane levels of humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

Now as far as I’ve read, AQAP fires on the Houthis as well, but that’s another story, right?  The author ends:

“While Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is of considerable geopolitical significance, forming the eastern side of the Bab El Mandeb Strait, a major shipping lane which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. A significant portion of the world’s oil supply traverses the strait, making it one of the most important strategic choke points on the planet.

The US Navy announced last month that the USS Cole would join three other warships already operating off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea and the Bab El Mandeb, out of “concern for the freedom of navigation.”

Now note the other nation/s that are on the Empire’s hit-list, as well as on the ‘to do lists’ of the NATO-friendly compromised human rights organizations: mineral rich Eritrea (which we’ve discussed before at the Café), DCR Congo, and of course George Clooney’s oil-rich South Sudan.

March 7 via RT: ‘US troops spotted in armored convoy near Manbij, Syria (VIDEO):

“The statement was in response to an article tweeted by Kurdish news outlet Rudaw, which said that US forces had been spotted in Manbij on Friday.”

“This does not mean an increase in the overall number of US forces present in Syria, though, according to a military official quoted by New York Times.

The presence of US troops comes after a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s demands for Syrian Kurdish militia units, the YPG, to leave the city and retreat east of the Euphrates. He warned that they could be moved out by force if they do not comply.”  (the rest is here, including Turkey wanting the YPG to vamoose, etc.)

Moar dots: ‘Saudi Arabia’s Southeast Asia Terror Tour’, tony cartalucci, march 5

“Saudi Arabia’s king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has recently undertaken a sweeping tour of Southeast Asia in what the media and analysts are claiming is a bid to firm up economic and political ties with Muslim-majority nations in the region.

However, both the media and analysts are sidestepping or entirely omitting the role Saudi Arabia has played in fueling global terrorism, extraterritorial geopolitical meddling, and even divisive and terroristic activities the notorious state sponsor of terrorism has been implicated in across the planet including within Southeast Asia itself.

German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in an article titled, “Saudi King Salman’s Southeast Asia trip affirms Muslim friendship,” would report:

The Saudi monarch’s rare month-long trip takes him to strategically important nations in the economically fast-growing region, with which Riyadh wants to deepen commercial engagement and socio-political ties.

DW would also report that:

Salman’s visit to the Southeast Asian countries also underscores cooperative and mutually reinforcing ties between Muslim-majority countries and affirms the Islamic credentials as well as image of the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia…

However, Saudi Arabia indisputably represents perhaps the greatest danger to Islam on Earth. The brand of politicized religion propagated by Saudi Arabia both within its borders and well beyond them known as Wahhabism was initially created and is still used today to establish, maintain, and expand Saudi political influence behind a tenuous veil of religion.
Under the heading ‘Saudi Arabia Exports More Than Just Oil and for More Than Just Petrodollars’ is a litany of examples of Saudi Arabia fomenting rebellions and overthrows, including the Philippines, Bangkok, Maylasia, Jakarta.  The first sentence reads:

“Saudi Arabia as a protectorate of the United States, the United Kingdom, and other special interests across Europe, grants these nations a vector for power and influence through the use of Wahhabism in any nation it is allowed to take root and flourish.”
The last two headings in Cartalucci’s news are these:

‘US-Saudi Terror Serve Policy Aimed At China’
‘Stronger Saudi Presence Means Stronger US Influence’

“The United States throughout decades of foreign policy have used Saudi Arabia as a means of laundering political support, weapons, and cash through when attempting to co-opt and use groups within Muslim-majority nations.

A stronger Saudi presence in Southeast Asia means greater opportunities for the US itself to tap into Muslim communities, cultivate extremism, and recruit human resources to use in destructive proxy wars across the planet, as well as across Southeast Asia itself.

Attempts to create religious divisions within the culturally diverse and tolerant populations of Southeast Asia have been ongoing for years but with little success. While it is uncertain whether a greater Saudi presence in the region can significantly improve the odds in Washington’s favor, it is certain that tensions, chaos, and division will follow.” 

Viktor Mikhin’s March 5 ‘Saudi Arabia and the US are Spreading Anti-Iranian Hysteria for a Reason’, NEO

“Last month, the Pentagon announced that the US military forces in the Persian Gulf were brought “to the highest state of readiness”, while explaining this step by the deteriorating relations with Iran. This was yet another anti-Iranian step made by the Trump administration. A few days before that, the United States expanded sanctions against Tehran, adding 13 individuals and 12 companies to their blacklist. It went so far that Washington has declared Iran a terrorist state without any explanation provided. At the same time, the state of Saudi Arabia, where women are often stoned in the streets women and convicts being publicly beheaded, which funds a wide range of terrorist organizations hasn’t been labeled as a terrorist state.

As for Iran it is conducting peaceful policies and tries to establish good relations with its neighbors in the Gulf region. It is in this light that the recent visit of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait can be regarded. It is a key objective for the Iranian president was to restore diplomatic relations with Kuwait and monarchies of the region, including Saudi Arabia. A number of the Persian Gulf monarchies have withdrawn their ambassadors from Tehran last January, after an angry mob assaulted the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The riots that led to this assault were cause by the execution of a well-known Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.” [snip]

“If we take into account that Kuwait is like the north of the Persian Gulf and Oman – in the south, it becomes clear that Iranians tries to outmaneuver Saudi Arabia diplomatically. In addition, Qatar, though an Arab country, but its leaders have always been competing with its powerful neighbor. In addition, moreover Qatar and Saudi Arabia have territorial disputes.

Tehran, finding itself in such a difficult position, has been trying to establish strategic relations with Russia, which is being perceived in Iran as the guarantor of peace and tranquility in the region. In this connection it may be recalled, that along with Iran, Russia and Turkey are the guarantor of the truce in Syria, where the armed struggle has been raging for six years. Should peace be finally achieved in Syria, it will result in the greater stability of the Middle Eastern region.”

Now we wouldn’t want that, would we?

‘Did UAE Buy $5 Billion in Arms Anticipating Intensified Regional Conflict?; Trump has added to tension in the region with his warmongering statements on Iran, says filmmaker Andrew Feinstein’, at TRNN  (Andrew Feinstein is the Executive Director of Corruption Watch UK and author of ‘The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade’. This book has recently has been turned into a film that explores the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. He also served the ANC under Nelson Mandela and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.)


ANDREW FEINSTEIN: I think that the weaponization of the UAE is primarily a consequence of the situation in the region, in the Middle East. The UAE, as you mentioned, is part of the coalition with Saudi Arabia, that is bombing Yemen where we have seen over 4,000 innocent civilians die. The same coalition is stoking fires in Syria, has been supporting the royal family in Bahrain against citizen uprisings for over five years now. So the UAE is effectively flexing its military muscle as part of this coalition, but it’s really a coalition in opposition to Iran.

The weaponization program that we’re now seeing a continuation of started in earnest at the same time that former President Obama negotiated the nuclear peace deal with Iran. In order to placate American allies in the region, including crucially the UAE and Saudi, Obama sold the region tens of billions of dollars of American weaponry, effectively saying, “We’re going to ensure that Iran is not a nuclear threat, but at the same time we’re going to make you – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – militarily powerful.”

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, various deals were signed with the British manufacturers, with American manufacturers, with Russian manufacturers. Give us an idea of how this $5 billion got spent, and on what, with whom.

ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Well, the main trades of this current deal have been with the United States, primarily for Apache helicopters amongst other things. The full details of the deals are not yet known. What we assume, though, is that in addition to that part of the deal, we think that the UAE has also been purchasing a number of other equipment, as you mentioned, from BAE, which is the main British arms company, who have been responsible for providing the coalition with the bombs and missiles that have been rained down on the Yemeni people by predominantly American and British-made jets. In addition to which it is also worth noting that British advisors have supposedly been assisting the coalition in their targeting in Yemen.”

“ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Well, I mean, to some extent it’s business as usual in that the share of weaponry being bought by countries in the Middle East has always been high. I mean, to the countries that we’ve already spoken about we of course have to add Israel, which is one of the most weaponized countries on the planet and plays a crucial role in the region and in a strong but behind-the-scenes alliance with Saudi Arabia. Again, coming back to the Iranian peace negotiations, Israel and Saudi Arabia were vehemently opposed to those negotiations resulting in Israel being rewarded, when the Iranian peace deal was done, with $38 billion of American weaponry.

[wd here: aha: Israel, above]

“So the region which has been febrile for a long time now has always been a magnet for significant weapons sales over the past decade and a half. There is no doubt, though, that as the SIPRI figures that you mentioned have suggested, that that is accelerating further now. And I think, yes, this is a consequence of the tensions in Syria, in Yemen, and lingering tensions in Bahrain ‘majority Shi’ite, ruled by Sunnis].

I think what we are seeing is a gearing up for an intensification of the conflict there, and the addition of the rhetoric and of course the additional defense spending that President Trump is promising has only added to tensions and is quite literally fuelling the fires in the region.”

So, by for instance putting Iran on notice, making incredibly …(?) statements about the peace deal that was achieved, there are a number of analysts who believe that the Trump administration wants to go to war with Iran. And if that is the case, we’re going to see a massive increase and a massive intensification in conflict in the region and significantly more involvement from the United States and other NATO allies.”

And the drums of war keep on beatin’:

‘As US deploys anti-missile system, China warns of nuclear arms race’,, March 8, 2017

“The US has begun the installation of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea, provoking an angry reaction from China, which warned that it could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. The provocative move will heighten the already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula as the US and South Korea engage in huge annual war games.”

 ‘India becomes “frontline” state in US war plans against China’, March 7

“The transformation of India into a hub for the Seventh Fleet marks a new stage in India’s integration into US imperialism’s military-strategic offensive against China.”

Bradley own this song now, as far as I’m concerned.

32 responses to “The Café Babylon March War and Moar War Report

  1. J.F.K.! Even teh burning Bush’s “A thousand points of light” cant illuminate why ‘0ur’ Oceaniacs are taking on both the Bear AND the Dragon(s) !! Even Big Brother hisbadself Alternated BETWEEN Eurasia and EastAsia (and i hadn’t even previously heard of Oceania Actually making a Malabar front an Actual REALITY, these 33 years hence !!!).

    • lost on the malabar reference, bruce, but: too many pivots? rule the world, pax amerikana.

      hope you’re well as you can be; i do get concerned for you, and send you good thoughts and (apatheistic) prayers..

    • Because they know and understand Mahan, Spykman, and MacKinder’s Heartland theories.
      Mahan (Admiral) theorized about controlling the maritime trade routes, and Mackinder and Spykman theorized about the importance of the Rimlands, which surround the Heartlands (Russia, China, and Iran).
      Even Orwell’s novel 1984, illustrated his knowledge and his map of Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia must have been based on the Heartland theory.
      In the eye of the hegemon (the U.S.) China must not be allowed to control the Pacific and Southeast Asian maritime trade routes. Of course, China will not stand for this; this is what makes this so dangerous. If the U.S. will not back off, there will be war, IMO.

      • My above post was to Bruce’s question re: why is the U.S. pushing two fronts at the same time.
        This will not end well…

  2. mr. wd just played the bradley ‘masters of war’. i purposely hadn’t, as i’d known what it would tear up my heart and spirit. confession: one of the reasons that the ‘UAE’ interview pinged so hard is that my babby…our babby…is in the UAE w/ the farking nat’l guard. he’s been a desk jockey cuz his IT skills so far, but now his wife is telling us that he’s going to be trained on ‘aerial attack’, whatever the fuck that means, so this pissed me off, and made me a bit more…anxious, as they say. fuck war, and the masters of war.
    it only breeds moar war. gorka’s homage to MLK:

  3. Whoosh. It seems like elections have consequences that the US media are ignoring. And the Russian media are ignoring as well. Too absorbed in their own new struggle. Thanks for pulling in this information.

    If the US is going to retain its position of sole superpower, it has to stave off challenges to its maritime empire. The two rapidly expanding blue-water navies are China and India. The US intends to continue to serve Europe’s interest (and NATO) through keeping the China-Europe sea connection open and undercutting the cost of China’s New Silk Road sign-ups in Europe. The One-Belt-One-Road project has demonstrated its feasibility, but the current financial difficulty (outside strategy) has slowed its roll-out even within China. The value however is going to be in central Asia and eastern Europe. (Kinda explains the new Cold War to shut down the border crossings absolutely in a new Iron Curtain.)

    Allying with India enlists India’s blue-water navy as an ally and possible shipbuilding resource. (Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia are no longer low-cost shipbuilders and fitters.) It and the Saudi trip might also bring Indonesia and Malaysia into alliance; that will require some tricky diplomacy. But it does politically and militarily what the Trans-Pacific Partnership was trying to do backhandedly with economic interest. China is now on notice to control its North Korean proxy. That could get dicey even as it gets interesting. The US is going for the moment to keep Japan in the alliance through fear of a rogue North Korea.

    Turkey’s mucking about trying to keep the lid on Kurdish nationalism has required US intervention to hasten the fall of DAESH/ISIS/ISIL in Raqqa as soon as Mosul and Palmyra are secure. At least Trump doesn’t have the Republican neoconservatives in Congress hounding him for having common interests with Russia and Assad’s Syrian government for the moment. But Trump still has to hold to the anti-Iran party line and be nice to the Saudis. What he thinks about that necessity is likely chafing at the bit to do his own thing. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some southeast Asian countries are the likely next breakouts of DAESH/ISIS/ISIL. Is Salman setting these up are setting the stage for their elimination? Does John Brennan know any more now that he’s gone?

    From what you wrote, I’m intuiting that Yemen is going to be the full-fledged drone war in the way that the Spanish Civil War was the full-fledged aerial bombing war. I know this is your fear, but your son might be doing some automating of drone warfare in this effort. And as you are well aware, the major risk for soldiers with this type of stand-off assignment is serious post-traumatic stress syndrome from handling the personal knowledge and awareness that your actions are killing people and having the actions be so distant and abstract from you day-to-day duty. These are tough times for all of you considering the choice that he made. Also, I’m getting the sense that the already heavy stress on submariners (also stand-off warriors) in the whiplash over the exact status of the presumed enemy – Russia – for so long has caused a suicide or two during the Presidential transition. Personally and socially, military duty has become more difficult even as it has become further from the front lines. There is nothing I can really do in this situation but let you know of my best wishes for wisdom and a better outcome that now appears. Like submariners and drone operators and even more abstract IT personnel are at risk when they cannot navigate between conscience and duty. Even those who chose the military are aware how banal evil can become and how quickly. Knowing when to say “No sir, that is an illegal order.” and have it mean something other than insubordination is a difficult balance. My wild-eyed hope is that there are enough within the current military who can do that that it will act as a deterrent for runaway action.

    So the war in the Middle East shifts south to Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the proxies are a beefed-up Gulf Cooperation Council.

    Mackinder and Spykman (and Mahan) still rule American and UK thinking. And all undergo wartime austerity without the enforced savings.

    • welcome, and thanks for the considered commentary. first, i thank you for your concerns over our son’s potential moral dilemmas, and will say that we’ve had ‘the conversation’ several times. we can only hope that his inner moral compass is strong enough to make the right decisions if an when the time comes. i sometimes worry that he’s so impressionable to glib talk and some weird group ethos or other. but we’ve also wondered if son’s wife heard him wrong, as the phone connections aren’t all that great, plus a noisy barracks. hell, maybe he’d said ‘training on hairy backs’ or something, but about now i could smack him for not calling or texting us recently; who can say why that is? none of the possible reasons are…appealing. ;-) but we will both gladly accept your good thoughts and wishes; we know you’ve faced similar concerns in the past.

      now it had been reported this week that china had indeed told north korea to cut out the missile tests, but today comes:

      ‘US rejects talks over North Korea, declaring “all options on table”’, Peter Symonds, 9 March 2017

      “Amid sharply rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Trump administration has flatly rejected a Chinese proposal for negotiations with North Korea despite warnings from the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, that Washington and Pyongyang were on a collision course. A confrontation looms as huge South Korean-US military exercises are underway, involving over 300,000 troops backed by an US aircraft carrier strike group, stealth fighters and strategic bombers.”

      “[nikki] Haley told the media that the US was revaluating how to deal with North Korea. “We are not ruling anything out and we’re considering every option that’s on the table,” she said, in a thinly veiled threat that the US could attack North Korea. To emphasise that time was running out, Haley warned: “We are making those decisions now and will act accordingly.” The US ambassador was flanked by her South Korean and Japanese counterparts to highlight their support for Washington’s aggressive stance.”

      and two days ago:
      ‘U.S. Considers First-Strike Attack on North Korea’, march 7, space4peace

      ““The publication called Business Insider is carrying a story promoting a US first-strike attack on North Korea. The article includes a quote from the Wall Street Journal that reads, “An internal White House review of strategy on North Korea includes the possibility of military force or regime change to blunt the country’s nuclear-weapons threat, people familiar with the process said, a prospect that has some U.S. allies in the region on edge.”

      it’s so hard to tell what’s herr T, what’s his military, what’s the shadow government…and what’s just bombastic posturing to me. i’ll send this, be back…i’m having a major sneeze attack. ;-)

    • yeppers, most media now is predominately about ‘trump wiretapping’, trump/sessions/trump team meeting or talking w/…roosians. gawd’s blood, i guess this is the way they hope to rid the nation of herr Hair, isn’t it? what next? pence? meanwhile, T does seem to play right into the theatrics of it all; who can say how much is by way of a limited hangout ‘keep your eyes on the shiny bauble while we…’?

      i’m not sure i agree with your take on what he’d do on his own vis a vis iran and saudi arabia, but i reckon king salman’s ‘bonhomie’ tour will stir up some hornets in the sunni/shi’ite religious wars. cartallucci writes from bangkok, and may know of what he speaks.

      yes on OBOR struggling financially due to present conditions, and also to us/nato supremacy of the seas. but i hadn’t even considered that that might have to do with trade and shipping, i guess.

      how far T will give himself carte blanche in his promise to rid the world of ‘IS’ concerns me greatly, and i’m not entirely sure that he and moscow are on the same page in syria. the pentagon just admitted to ground troops (but only 600!!! and it’s temporary!!!), never mind how many cia, mercenaries, yada, yada, might be in country.

  4. “what shall we do? what shall we ever do?” (Prufrock) those words come to my mind all too often. like every morning. and every other snack time.

    On the pillow of evil Satan, Thrice-Great,
    Incessantly rocks the cradle of our enchanted minds,
    And the noble metal of our will
    Is wholly vaporized by this wise alchemist.

    The Devil holds the strings which move us!
    In repugnant things we discover charms;
    Every day we descend a step further toward Hell,
    Without horror, through gloom that stinks.
    Serried, swarming, like a million maggots,
    A legion of Demons carouses in our brains,
    And when we breathe, Death, that unseen river,
    Descends into our lungs with muffled wails, etc.
    (from Au Lecteur, Fleurs du Mal, Baudelaire)

    • why not take up smoking? “i smoke b/c i’m hoping for an early death. I need to live for something,” The Smiths.

      i’m sorry about your son. society’s highest praise is bestowed upon its most efficient murderers. but the heart knows the bloody truth. the “nightmare of war w/o hatred” has not yet been fully realized. many a soldier comes to hate no one more than himself.

      i’m curious to know what % of the “recent” spike in opioid deaths is veterans. don’t they know they have a friend in DARPA?

    • ooof and whooosh on the baudelaire. ‘without horror’, as in: boiling frogs or the banality of evil?

      while looking for art for this post, i’d come across a ‘war dreams’ image, but it seemed to be an image of bombed occupied palestine. well, guernica, but i may have used that too often already. i’m sure there are many others out there.

      good question on the opioid deaths and vets, but jayzus, once the bedtime for bonzo prez closed so many mental hospitals, telling shrinks to give them Rxes, and ‘make sure they take them’, how many vets took to heroin just to ease the ‘demons carousing’ in their fevered minds?

      to the ‘hate themselves’ notion: yes, and weren’t ‘the winter soldiers’ testimonies one of the big turning points of viet nam military madness? now globally, in nations that nato is busy ‘democratizing’, clearly the citizens thoughts an dreams would be full of war images and fears. but in amerika, how many folks can simply compartmentalize war, given: no mo’ body bags, no stations showing film coverage everyday as in the viet nam days? and of course, very few dead GIs because: drone attacks and bombing, no muss, no fuss. no skin in the game, effectively, and NO draft.

      i love the smiths’ lyrics (i assume) and ♫ what a friend we have in…Darpa ♪..

      on edit: this is from back in 2013, but ‘VA’s opiate overload feeds veterans’ addictions, overdose deaths’.

      also 2013: ‘The death rate from opiate overdoses among Veterans Affairs (VA) patients is almost double the national average, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). Prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine have jumped 270 percent in the past 12 years among VA patients, the report found.’

      • un fleur du mal

        damn. I wasn’t surprised on the vet thing. it must be a little…disorienting…to be a vet. the public hoopla of troop love, the nobleness of the cause and all that, and then the reality.

        My eyes are spent with weeping;
            my stomach churns;
        my bile is poured out on the ground
            because of the destruction of my people,
        because infants and babes faint
            in the streets of the city. 
        They cry to their mothers,
            “Where is bread and wine?”
        as they faint like the wounded
            in the streets of the city,
        as their life is poured out
            on their mothers’ bosom…
        Should women eat their offspring,
            the children they have borne?…
        those whom I bore and reared
            my enemy has destroyed.
        lamentations 2
        this superbowl halftime show is to honor America’s troops. barf.

  5. i’d gone to countercurrents and had found this realistic take on mcMasters: ‘“Body counts are completely irrelevant”: H.R. McMaster, the new National Security Advisor’

    “With these beliefs, it is worrisome that McMaster has Trump’s ear. He almost sounds like Trump when he declared that “we will defeat” today’s “enemies” (“the terrorists”), notes a “humanitarian catastrophe of colossal scale” in the Mideast, and worries about the “warrior ethos” being under threat. McMaster’s appointment shows that Trump is dedicated to the use of Special Ops (“legendary warriors”) across the world, that the Afghan war will continue, and that drone strikes will continue unabated, all signs that the US military will expand its tentacles of terror across this blue planet.”

    then i’d clicked into ‘Bill Gates Can End Starvation’
    spolier alert: not what you might think’; jay’s oeuvre at dissident voice is
    impressive; i’d forgotten his name.

    not the exact drubbing i might have given him, although w/ his links he may do a pretty fair job. but after quoting billy, this:

    “Would that there were a modern day Savonarola, to precipitate today, the same kind of public panic the monk Savonarola triggered among Christians in Middle Age Italy, fiercely preaching that most Italians were doomed and on their way to Hell. Savonarola, passionately enraged, would quote damning biblical passages like Matthew 25:40, wherein Jesus has the Lord on Judgement Day casting all those, who neglected to give food and drink “to the least of His hungry brethren,” into eternal damnation.[7] What a sight that would be, Christians everywhere in fear desperately waving their checkbooks, besieging their clergy to accept the necessary donations to make sure none of God’s children died anywhere.”

    on edit: i just went to see what halftime entertainment would be, and the stoopid bowl already happened in feb., as far as i can make out gaga flying and all?

  6. for posterity and just to round things out, cuz i’d given this to v arnold on another thread:

    ‘Regime Change and Continuity of Agenda: Trump Adviser Now Chairs NED’, neo

    “In other words, not only is Dr. Shelton now the new chairperson of NED, she has been directly involved with NED since at least 2005, long before, and all during NED’s role in training, funding and backing the armies of regime change that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) beginning in 2011. She also served on NED’s board during the US-backed coup in Ukraine between 2013-2014.

    Before that, between 2009-2010, NED-backed mobs took to the streets in Bangkok, Thailand in attempts to overthrow both the sitting government at the time, and also the Thai military and Thailand’s head of state.
    While these events have been assigned to the Obama administration for political convenience and compartmentalisation, it is actually organisations like NED that serve as the working mechanics that make such events possible.

    In other words, Dr. Judy Shelton has been directly involved in NED through the entirety of America’s most recent chapters of expansionism and regime change worldwide. She has also served on the board of directors for Hilton Hotels and Atlantic Coast Airlines, providing another example within NED of corporate and financial special interests driving the organisation’s agenda rather than actual “democracy promotion.”

    rather arbitrarily googling, first phillip agee (all too long), then this:

    ‘Putin Is Right: The National Endowment For Democracy Is The CIA’s Trojan Horse’by Robert Parry. Posted On July 30th, 2015

  7. Immanuel Wallerstein:

    “What Resist as a movement needs to keep in mind is the fact that we are in the midst of a historic structural transition from the capitalist world-system in which we have lived for some 500 years to one of two successor systems – a non-capitalist system that preserves all of the worst features of capitalism (hierarchy, exploitation, and polarization) and its opposite, a system that is relatively democratic and egalitarian. I call this the struggle between the spirit of Davos and the spirit of Porto Alegre.

    “We are living in the chaotic, confusing situation of transition. This has two implications for our collective strategy. In the short run (say, up to three years), we must remember that we all live in the short run. We all wish to survive. We all need food and shelter. Any movement that hopes to flourish must help people survive by supporting anything that minimizes the pain of those who are suffering.

    ‘But in the middle run (say 20-40 years), minimizing the pain changes nothing. We need to concentrate on our struggle with those who represent the spirit of Davos. There is no compromise. There is no “reformed” version of capitalism that can be constructed.

    “So the “how” of Resist is clear. We need collectively more clarity about what is happening, more decisive moral choice, and more sagacious political strategies. This does not automatically come about. We have to construct the combination. We know that another world is possible, yes, but we must also be aware that it is not inevitable.”

    • thanks for the wally, thd. of course my favorite line is “There is no “reformed” version of capitalism that can be constructed”, but i haven’t a clue what he means by “a non-capitalist system that preserves all of the worst features of capitalism (hierarchy, exploitation, and polarization)”. i suspect it’s fair that he only goes so far as to say ‘relatively egalitarian’, though.

      it’s hard for me to imgine that there will be a ‘middle run’ of 20-40 yrs before things fall apart in utter chaos, including in all the trump look-alike nations electing nationalists and xenophobes, but i was musing yesterday that i may now be akin to the my great, great aunt who hid under the bed cuz: prophesy said the world wa gonna end. jehova witness, iirc.

      i do wish i had his faith that the Reist movement is becoming more issue/politician focused than just ‘resist trump’ himself by wearing pink pussy hats and labia costumes; so many seem to be soros dems unable still to connect the dots on both capitalism and inverted totalitarianism. even some of the allegedly ‘leftist’ essayists are still harkening back to the ‘good ole obama days. but yeah, the hope would be that providing food, shelter, and care for the immiserated in local communities might allow for conversations, much as Occupy did.

      whooosh. i guess we may just get to see who we collectively are, one of the benefit in the long run of: ‘if it takes a trump to defeat clinton neoliberaism, so be it’. well, sure. his fake populism will be theirs, and he’s extending the red queen’s and O’s foreign misadventures and adding to them. but…so it goes, eh? ;-)

      ya like how he drained the swamp w/ shelton? oh, and i left a note for you about…six threads back that i did in fact dig out a couple articles attempting to explain kissinger’s ‘realism’.

      • What you keep labeling as the Resist movement and I keep labeling Resistance ™ is not all the opposition that is out there. The movement that responded to Trump’s election was as diverse as the movement that said “No” to Hillary Clinton. Some are in both. Some, like me, see the political situation dramatically changed as a result of the election and Trump’s transition and the realignment soon coming after the Republican Party as well. The remaining question is whether Trump will kill Republican neoliberalism or will it be something else. As a policy philosophy, it delivered nothing of value in 40 years. An amazing failure.

        The realigned movements with the most people power likely can make a go of it electorally–at least test whether the machinery is still recapturable. Inertia at least will keep it going through a couple, three cycles if it is almost gone. But the EU electorates will be cycling through as well. May’s made a mess in the UK; she can get out if she ponies up 52 billion euros.

        Thanks for trying to find out what “reality” Kissinger’s belief in “realism” refers to. “Realism” used to be the favorite one-upsman move of people who thought ending war and getting on with lives to be “idealistic”. If the “warrior ethos” isn’t idealistic, what the heck is it? In the 1960s, “realism” was always delivered with a tone of “Sadly we had to kill them…” To my mind, that is Kissinger.

        So far, Trump’s the talk. Meanwhile in the shutting down of DAESH/ISIS/ISIL, US and Russian/Syrian units acted to shut Turkey out of Manbij (b’s latest) and protect the Kurds as the US/Syrian Democratic Front/YPG (think of odd bedfellows) are sending a 10,000 strong unit with 500 US troops (yes, boots on the ground) to the siege of Raqqa and Russia/Syria is taking down the al Quaeda stronghold at Idlib in the northwest. US/Russia and US/Iran battlefield coordination has happened in the past when the ideologues in Congress were not looking. Even O got away with a little detente occasionally.

        It’s going to be interesting to see the differences in this new bunch of “civilian” DoD leaders in their doctrine, their books, and their actions when faced with real situations. The counter-ISIS move at the moment is cautious even as other diplomacy against, say, China, is harsh. And North Korea is testing Trump. China’s less proud of their poodle at the moment. Or is it Russia’s poodle?

        Given the short distance to Seoul, any “overwhelming” action against North Korea would have to be quick, massive, and with surprise. I’m not sure the US military can do that, just from the bureaucracy involved in preparation. And in manpower, North Korea is the numerically largest troop strength (7 million) and most troops per capita (47 per 1000). Such a massive strike by the US would mean huge loss of life in North Korea. Backchannel diplomacy with China about their proxy might be more useful. Is anyone in the US national security state capable of such finesse any more?

        W’s “Axis of Evil” speech is still having consequences with the one state at the time with a nuclear program. What Bush-Cheney allowed with North Korea was breakout. Being tough about the wrong things often gets what you sought to prevent. Will be interesting in the future to browse the Dennis Rodman debriefings after his return from being Kim Jong Un’ best basketball pal.

        • wallerstein called it ‘the resist movement’, no? not i. that’s all i got for tonight, as i’ve burned myself, my spirit, and mine eyes out.

          sleep well..

        • i do admire the kissinger realism shorthand of ““Sadly we had to kill them…”.
          thank for the thoughts an attack on north korea, what wider war might occur is another question. well, as far as we can tell, tillerson ain’t much of diplomat.

          ack, a visitor who stayed a long time has messed up my morning time online; i’ll go answer jason if i can, then read your comment again later. but ish; i guess i’m not even imagining the next iteration of electoral politics, tho’ that brama (or close) dude is on trnn making a draft bernie party call.

          i’m sooooo excited. ;-)

  8. Whomever; you might find this informative to understand the U.S./China S.W. Pacific head butting.
    The title is self explanatory and is, in my considered opinion, correct.
    This is the genuine flash point today; the M.E.? Sure, but slightly less urgent, IMO.
    As the Monk said: We’ll see…

    • great questions and such considered responses, no? xi and china have been long game strategists, but how interesting his answers were both about ‘external peace and stability’ needed for internal economic growth, and
      settling sino-visions of a multipolar world…before the population ages too much. didn’t i just read that the one-child policy has ended?

      and the ‘china will not lose face again’ is a point worth taking seriously, hear that tilly and trump? thanks, v. and yes, oh those THAADs.

      and US just deployed 2500 paratroopers to kuwait; iirc 5000 were already ‘in country’. USA!!!

    • “Since the end of World War II, the consensus has been that American primacy in the Pacific disproportionately benefits U.S. economic and security interests. To what extent this consensus will hold will be the question on the minds of everyone on both sides of the Pacific.”

      The current view in the US is that American primacy in the Pacific disproportionately results in unemployment, decline of manufacturing jobs, domination of higher education by Asians, and domination of the technology work force by Asians with H1-B visas. The Chinese are not the only ones who will not be humiliated again. Yet, this question holds the key to whether Americans would be open to a fairly constructed multipolar international architecture. The hidden assumptions about Chinese policy here from a guy with a Japanese name tend to reflect his projections, fairly surrounded by conditional caveats of “if this is true”. And those assumptions are that the nature of international relations transactions trains national leaders into playing the imperialism game. But at the same time he points out that Xi Jinping’s doctrine comes from the “peace and development” doctrine of Deng Xiaoping,

      And the US policy has been engagement and deterrence in his view. But beginning with Secretary Clinton’s “pivot to Asia” the US has been more vocal that China “is a threat”. That minor change has heated up the potential for conflict. All that together would not be dangerous except for the nature of the South China Sea and the nations that border it.

      The South China Sea is China’s Gulf of Mexico. Within it there are the counterparts of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba to the US. The US would indeed go to war over the American territoriality of the Gulf of Mexico. And that has little to do with where the limits of territorial waters are in the Gulf of Mexico. The South China Sea is a Chinese lake. We can imagine the US response if a Chinese aircraft carrier and an Indian bluewater navy battleship sailed through the Strait of Florida. We should not be surprised with Chinese reaction to encroachments (from their perspective) of the South China Sea.

      Just as with Kaliningrad and Sebastapol, this is a flash point only to the extent that the US makes it one. Continued trade in the Chinese east; OBOR in the Chinese west.

      The disastrous turn IMO is when engagement turns to containment.

      • i may be reading this wrong, but is this what you meant to say? “The current view in the US is that American primacy in the Pacific disproportionately results in unemployment, decline of manufacturing jobs…”? or did you mean chinese instead? good point on the caveats by a japanese expert on china, though. ;-)

        Mad About THAAD: An Untimely Decision’ by Mel Gurtov, came in w/ the popular resistance newsletter, and wooot, he says the thaad deployments are abominably idioc, though the notion has been on the planning board for a few years.

        “The official US argument is that close-in defense against North Korean missiles is necessary. But the deployment has resulted in the following: an argument in China for increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile; an incentive in North Korea for moving rapidly ahead to develop its long-range missile capability; a deep fissure in China-South Korea relations; roiling of South Korean politics at a time when its corrupt president has been impeached; and a new issue in Sino-US relations.

        Most of these negatives were well known when THAAD was initially on the drawing board several years ago. Yet they were thrust into the background on the argument that the North Korean missile threat to the continental US was so pressing as to warrant building a defense against it. Never mind that any North Korean missile attack, whether on South Korea, Japan, or the US, would result in the immediate and utter destruction of North Korea military and political institutions, as Kim Jong-un and his colleagues surely understand. But rather than consider the possibility that North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile buildup is intended to deter a US attack, and rather than weigh a new diplomatic overture to the North that might reduce tensions and thus the need for THAAD, US leaders in the last two administrations went ahead. Lay the decision at the door of the “military-industrial complex” if you will, the fact remains that planning and deployment of THAAD is a decision where the risks and costs far outweigh any benefit.”

        beijing/seoul honey moon over, tit for tats escalations, etc., all as the president’s been forced to step down, RT’s reporting massive competing demos, on and on. more and more military madness. and the japanese are expanding their military footprint, the EU may be building a standing army, good gawd all-friday.

        heh. when larry wilkerson was on trnn recently and spoe of herr T’s scheme to build a bigger navy, more crap destroyers, etc., wilkerson made the (to me) shocking statement that the navy could use 3-d printable submarines, arm them w/ missiles, tra la la…for a wee fraction of the costs of conventional vessels. 3d printable subs? holy hell.

  9. but…but…obama made us do it! tina, tina, tina!

    and this is the love that the Empire has given afghanistan during these 16 long years (i thought it was 17 by now). a long, long read, many heart-piercing stories and photos that can easily prompt…rage and even revenge fantasies, as well. i’m going to read it in several readings. “Afghanistan: As Only Love Could Hurt”, by Andre Vltchek

    • thank you nato for saving the women and children; and thank you for your help as well, amnesty international. ‘Amnesty’s Abuse of Rights Advocacy’, joseph thomas

      it’s thailand’s turn for their brand of love,thomas writes.

  10. This is part of the March Report, a sad revelation for Kiwis in Nicky Hager’s latest book, “Hit and Run.” Goes back to a 2010 raid in which NZ forces participated, although it was said they were observers at the time, as I understand, and civilians were killed rather than the insurgents they were supposedly after, though the insurgents were blamed at the time. Anyway, this link is to the conversation at the launching of the book on Tuesday last, and I found particularly interesting comments at the end about the new prime minister, and about former Prime Minister Key’s involvement. It’s a seventeen minute audio:

  11. Here is another link which explains a little more of the raid activity described above.

    • thanks, ww; the 17 minutes of listening (and understanding) is beyond me. but how many times have we heard this before from the US military and nato?

      “NZDF issued statements categorically claiming that there were no civilian casualties. They also claimed that insurgents were killed (variously 12 or 9). These statements are now exposed as untrue. It appears that the NZDF knew these statements were false shortly after the raid. Note that not only is Wayne Mapp admitting that he knew there had been civilian casualties, but he defends his “fiasco” statement by saying the raid did not meet its objectives. This appears to be an admission that the raid did not kill insurgents.”

      or the counter-argument: they were shielding themselves behind civilians!” or “it wasn’t really a hospital, but a madrassa!”

      or see: ‘Navy SEALs startled by terrorists’ combat readiness in Yemen mission’; Firefight with al Qaeda limited collection of digital intelligence data’

      and how many civilians and chirren were murdered, yet herr Trump chose to honor the brave and true Navy Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens in his speech before the jt. session.

      oh, and of course: “President Obama approved the SEAL Team 6 operation. Mr. Trump approved the Jan. 29 raid, which was first proposed by Central Command during the Obama administration.”

      • Yes indeed. But New Zealanders have for the most part been truly in the dark ages about this, still believing what they were told by their most ‘trustworthy’ government and proud of their affiliation with the most admirable US government – all segments of the population benefitting from a bubble economy – then PM Key, elected and re-elected, resigned unexpectedly before his term was up.

        This was a country which couldn’t understand why Hillary Clinton wasn’t overwhelmingly approved of by the American public. New Zealand is a long, long way away. And they have been a long, long way from understanding what has been going on in their government. They couldn’t believe what we were telling them about Five Eyes. Will they now?

        A comment at ” Shocking. Went to buy Hager’s book but already sold out on first day.”

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