Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

Depleted Uranium Shells Used by U.S. Military Worse Than Nuclear Weapons

http://www.naturalnews.com/023274.html

by David Gutierrez  posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008

(NaturalNews) The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.

DU is a waste product of uranium enrichment, containing approximately one-third the radioactive isotopes of naturally occurring uranium. Because of its high density, it is used in armor- or tank-piercing ammunition. It has been fired by the U.S. and British militaries in the two Iraq wars and in Afghanistan, as well as by NATO forces in Kosovo and the Israeli military in Lebanon and Palestine.

Inhaled or ingested DU particles are highly toxic, and DU has been classified as an illegal weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has estimated that 50 tons of DU dust from the first Gulf War could lead to 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. To date, a total of 2,000 tons have been generated in the Middle East.

In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991,” said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. “The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive.”

Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.

The two U.S. wars in Iraq “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity,” said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott.

Since the first Gulf War, the rate of birth defects and childhood cancer in Iraq has increased by seven times. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.

by Murray N. Rothbard

This article, which first appeared in The Standard for April 1963, is collected in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays.

The libertarian movement has been chided by William F. Buckley, Jr., for failing to use its “strategic intelligence” in facing the major problems of our time. We have, indeed, been too often prone to “pursue our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize the garbage collectors” (as Buckley has contemptuously written), while ignoring and failing to apply libertarian theory to the most vital problem of our time: war and peace. There is a sense in which libertarians have been utopian rather than strategic in their thinking, with a tendency to divorce the ideal system which we envisage from the realities of the world in which we live. In short, too many of us have divorced theory from practice, and have then been content to hold the pure libertarian society as an abstract ideal for some remotely future time, while in the concrete world of today we follow unthinkingly the orthodox “conservative” line. To live liberty, to begin the hard but essential strategic struggle of changing the unsatisfactory world of today in the direction of our ideals, we must realize and demonstrate to the world that libertarian theory can be brought sharply to bear upon all of the world’s crucial problems. By coming to grips with these problems, we can demonstrate that libertarianism is not just a beautiful ideal somewhere on Cloud Nine, but a tough-minded body of truths that enables us to take our stand and to cope with the whole host of issues of our day.

Let us then, by all means, use our strategic intelligence. Although, when he sees the result, Mr. Buckley might well wish that we had stayed in the realm of garbage collection. Let us construct a libertarian theory of war and peace.

The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another.1 In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.2

Let us set aside the more complex problem of the State for a while and consider simply relations between “private” individuals. Jones finds that he or his property is being invaded, aggressed against, by Smith. It is legitimate for Jones, as we have seen, to repel this invasion by defensive violence of his own. But now we come to a more knotty question: is it within the right of Jones to commit violence against innocent third parties as a corollary to his legitimate defense against Smith? To the libertarian, the answer must be clearly, no. Remember that the rule prohibiting violence against the persons or property of innocent men is absolute: it holds regardless of the subjective motives for the aggression. It is wrong and criminal to violate the property or person of another, even if one is a Robin Hood, or starving, or is doing it to save one’s relatives, or is defending oneself against a third man’s attack. We may understand and sympathize with the motives in many of these cases and extreme situations. We may later mitigate the guilt if the criminal comes to trial for punishment, but we cannot evade the judgment that this aggression is still a criminal act, and one which the victim has every right to repel, by violence if necessary. In short, A aggresses against B because C is threatening, or aggressing against, A. We may understand C’s “higher” culpability in this whole procedure; but we must still label this aggression as a criminal act which B has the right to repel by violence.

To be more concrete, if Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, he has the right to repel him and try to catch him; but he has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd. If he does this, he is as much (or more of) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

The application to problems of war and peace is already becoming evident. For while war in the narrower sense is a conflict between States, in the broader sense we may define it as the outbreak of open violence between people or groups of people. If Smith and a group of his henchmen aggress against Jones and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause. But Jones has no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of his “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance his pursuit, to conscript others into his posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of his struggle to capture the Smith forces. If Jones should do any of these things, he becomes a criminal as fully as Smith, and he too becomes subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality. In fact, if Smith’s crime was theft, and Jones should use conscription to catch him, or should kill others in the pursuit, Jones becomes more of a criminal than Smith, for such crimes against another person as enslavement and murder are surely far worse than theft. (For while theft injures the extension of another’s personality, enslavement injures, and murder obliterates, that personality itself.)

Suppose that Jones, in the course of his “just war” against the ravages of Smith, should kill a few innocent people, and suppose that he should declaim, in defense of this murder, that he was simply acting on the slogan, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The absurdity of this “defense” should be evident at once, for the issue is not whether Jones was willing to risk death personally in his defensive struggle against Smith; the issue is whether he was willing to kill other people in pursuit of his legitimate end. For Jones was in truth acting on the completely indefensible slogan: “Give me liberty or give them death” surely a far less noble battle cry.3

The libertarian’s basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one’s rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion.

It has often been maintained, and especially by conservatives, that the development of the horrendous modern weapons of mass murder (nuclear weapons, rockets, germ warfare, etc.) is only a difference of degree rather than kind from the simpler weapons of an earlier era. Of course, one answer to this is that when the degree is the number of human lives, the difference is a very big one.4 But another answer that the libertarian is particularly equipped to give is that while the bow and arrow and even the rifle can be pinpointed, if the will be there, against actual criminals, modern nuclear weapons cannot. Here is a crucial difference in kind. Of course, the bow and arrow could be used for aggressive purposes, but it could also be pinpointed to use only against aggressors. Nuclear weapons, even “conventional” aerial bombs, cannot be. These weapons are ipso facto engines of indiscriminate mass destruction. (The only exception would be the extremely rare case where a mass of people who were all criminals inhabited a vast geographical area.) We must, therefore, conclude that the use of nuclear or similar weapons, or the threat thereof, is a sin and a crime against humanity for which there can be no justification.

This is why the old cliché no longer holds that it is not the arms but the will to use them that is significant in judging matters of war and peace. For it is precisely the characteristic of modern weapons that they cannot be used selectively, cannot be used in a libertarian manner. Therefore, their very existence must be condemned, and nuclear disarmament becomes a good to be pursued for its own sake. And if we will indeed use our strategic intelligence, we will see that such disarmament is not only a good, but the highest political good that we can pursue in the modem world. For just as murder is a more heinous crime against another man than larceny, so mass murder – indeed murder so widespread as to threaten human civilization and human survival itself – is the worst crime that any man could possibly commit. And that crime is now imminent. And the forestalling of massive annihilation is far more important, in truth, than the demunicipalization of garbage disposal, as worthwhile as that may be. Or are libertarians going to wax properly indignant about price control or the income tax, and yet shrug their shoulders at or even positively advocate the ultimate crime of mass murder?

If nuclear warfare is totally illegitimate even for individuals defending themselves against criminal assault, how much more so is nuclear or even “conventional” warfare between States!

It is time now to bring the State into our discussion. The State is a group of people who have managed to acquire a virtual monopoly of the use of violence throughout a given territorial area. In particular, it has acquired a monopoly of aggressive violence, for States generally recognize the right of individuals to use violence (though not against States, of course) in self-defense.5 The State then uses this monopoly to wield power over the inhabitants of the area and to enjoy the material fruits of that power. The State, then, is the only organization in society that regularly and openly obtains its monetary revenues by the use of aggressive violence; all other individuals and organizations (except if delegated that right by the State) can obtain wealth only by peaceful production and by voluntary exchange of their respective products. This use of violence to obtain its revenue (called “taxation”) is the keystone of State power. Upon this base the State erects a further structure of power over the individuals in its territory, regulating them, penalizing critics, subsidizing favorites, etc. The State also takes care to arrogate to itself the compulsory monopoly of various critical services needed by society, thus keeping the people in dependence upon the State for key services, keeping control of the vital command posts in society and also fostering among the public the myth that only the State can supply these goods and services. Thus the State is careful to monopolize police and judicial service, the ownership of roads and streets, the supply of money, and the postal service, and effectively to monopolize or control education, public utilities, transportation, and radio and television.

Now, since the State arrogates to itself the monopoly of violence over a territorial area, so long as its depredations and extortions go unresisted, there is said to be “peace” in the area, since the only violence is one-way, directed by the State downward against the people. Open conflict within the area only breaks out in the case of “revolutions” in which people resist the use of State power against them. Both the quiet case of the State unresisted and the case of open revolution may be termed “vertical violence”: violence of the State against its public or vice versa.

In the modern world, each land area is ruled over by a State organization, but there are a number of States scattered over the earth, each with a monopoly of violence over its own territory. No super-State exists with a monopoly of violence over the entire world; and so a state of “anarchy” exists between the several States. (It has always been a source of wonder, incidentally, to this writer how the same conservatives who denounce as lunatic any proposal for eliminating a monopoly of violence over a given territory and thus leaving private individuals without an overlord, should be equally insistent upon leaving States without an overlord to settle disputes between them. The former is always denounced as “crackpot anarchism”; the latter is hailed as preserving independence and “national sovereignty” from “world government.”) And so, except for revolutions, which occur only sporadically, the open violence and two-sided conflict in the world takes place between two or more States, that is, in what is called “international war” (or “horizontal violence”).

Now there are crucial and vital differences between inter-State warfare on the one hand and revolutions against the State or conflicts between private individuals on the other. One vital difference is the shift in geography. In a revolution, the conflict takes place within the same geographical area: both the minions of the State and the revolutionaries inhabit the same territory. Inter-State warfare, on the other hand, takes place between two groups, each having a monopoly over its own geographical area; that is, it takes place between inhabitants of different territories. From this difference flow several important consequences: (1) in inter-State war the scope for the use of modem weapons of destruction is far greater. For if the “escalation” of weaponry in an intra-territorial conflict becomes too great, each side will blow itself up with the weapons directed against the other. Neither a revolutionary group nor a State combating revolution, for example, can use nuclear weapons against the other. But, on the other hand, when the warring parties inhabit different territorial areas, the scope for modern weaponry becomes enormous, and the entire arsenal of mass devastation can come into play. A second consequence (2) is that while it is possible for revolutionaries to pinpoint their targets and confine them to their State enemies, and thus avoid aggressing against innocent people, pinpointing is far less possible in an inter-State war.6 This is true even with older weapons; and, of course, with modern weapons there can be no pinpointing whatever. Furthermore, (3) since each State can mobilize all the people and resources in its territory, the other State comes to regard all the citizens of the opposing country as at least temporarily its enemies and to treat them accordingly by extending the war to them. Thus, all of the consequences of inter-territorial war make it almost inevitable that inter-State war will involve aggression by each side against the innocent civilians – the private individuals – of the other. This inevitability becomes absolute with modem weapons of mass destruction.

If one distinct attribute of inter-State war is inter-territoriality, another unique attribute stems from the fact that each State lives by taxation over its subjects. Any war against another State, therefore, involves the increase and extension of taxation-aggression over its own people.7 Conflicts between private individuals can be, and usually are, voluntarily waged and financed by the parties concerned. Revolutions can be, and often are, financed and fought by voluntary contributions of the public. But State wars can only be waged through aggression against the taxpayer.

All State wars, therefore, involve increased aggression against the State’s own taxpayers, and almost all State wars (all, in modern warfare) involve the maximum aggression (murder) against the innocent civilians ruled by the enemy State. On the other hand, revolutions are generally financed voluntarily and may pinpoint their violence to the State rulers, and private conflicts may confine their violence to the actual criminals. The libertarian must, therefore, conclude that, while some revolutions and some private conflicts may be legitimate, State wars are always to be condemned.

Many libertarians object as follows: “While we too deplore the use of taxation for warfare, and the State’s monopoly of defense service, we have to recognize that these conditions exist, and while they do, we must support the State in just wars of defense.” The reply to this would go as follows: “Yes, as you say, unfortunately States exist, each having a monopoly of violence over its territorial area.” What then should be the attitude of the libertarian toward conflicts between these States? The libertarian should say, in effect, to the State: “All right, you exist, but as long as you exist at least confine your activities to the area which you monopolize.” In short, the libertarian is interested in reducing as much as possible the area of State aggression against all private individuals. The only way to do this, in international affairs, is for the people of each country to pressure their own State to confine its activities to the area which it monopolizes and not to aggress against other State-monopolists. In short, the objective of the libertarian is to confine any existing State to as small a degree of invasion of person and property as possible. And this means the total avoidance of war. The people under each State should pressure “their” respective States not to attack one another, and, if a conflict should break out, to negotiate a peace or declare a cease-fire as quickly as physically possible.

Suppose further that we have that rarity – an unusually clear-cut case in which the State is actually trying to defend the property of one of its citizens. A citizen of country A travels or invests in country B, and then State B aggresses against his person or confiscates his property. Surely, our libertarian critic would argue, here is a clear-cut case where State A should threaten or commit war against State B in order to defend the property of “its” citizen. Since, the argument runs, the State has taken upon itself the monopoly of defense of its citizens, it then has the obligation to go to war on behalf of any citizen, and libertarians have an obligation to support this war as a just one.

But the point again is that each State has a monopoly of violence and, therefore, of defense only over its territorial area. It has no such monopoly; in fact, it has no power at all, over any other geographical area. Therefore, if an inhabitant of country A should move to or invest in country B, the libertarian must argue that he thereby takes his chances with the State-monopolist of country B, and it would be immoral and criminal for State A to tax people in country A and kill numerous innocents in country B in order to defend the property of the traveler or investor.8

It should also be pointed out that there is no defense against nuclear weapons (the only current “defense” is the threat of mutual annihilation) and, therefore, that the State cannot fulfill any sort of defense function so long as these weapons exist.

The libertarian objective, then, should be, regardless of the specific causes of any conflict, to pressure States not to launch wars against other States and, should a war break out, to pressure them to sue for peace and negotiate a cease-fire and peace treaty as quickly as physically possible. This objective, incidentally, is enshrined in the international law of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that is, the ideal that no State could aggress against the territory of another – in short, the “peaceful coexistence” of States.9

Suppose, however, that despite libertarian opposition, war has begun and the warring States are not negotiating a peace. What, then, should be the libertarian position? Clearly, to reduce the scope of assault of innocent civilians as much as possible. Old-fashioned international law had two excellent devices for this: the “laws of war,” and the “laws of neutrality” or “neutrals’ rights.” The laws of neutrality are designed to keep any war that breaks out confined to the warring States themselves, without aggression against the States or particularly the peoples of the other nations. Hence the importance of such ancient and now forgotten American principles as “freedom of the seas” or severe limitations upon the rights of warring States to blockade neutral trade with the enemy country. In short, the libertarian tries to induce neutral States to remain neutral in any inter-State conflict and to induce the warring States to observe fully the rights of neutral citizens. The “laws of war” were designed to limit as much as possible the invasion by warring States of the rights of the civilians of the respective warring countries. As the British jurist F.J.P. Veale put it:

The fundamental principle of this code was that hostilities between civilized peoples must be limited to the armed forces actually engaged…. It drew a distinction between combatants and noncombatants by laying down that the sole business of the combatants is to fight each other and, consequently, that noncombatants must be excluded from the scope of military operations.10

In the modified form of prohibiting the bombardment of all cities not in the front line, this rule held in Western European wars in recent centuries until Britain launched the strategic bombing of civilians in World War II.  Now, of course, the entire concept is scarcely remembered, the very nature of nuclear war resting on the annihilation of civilians.

In condemning all wars, regardless of motive, the libertarian knows that there may well be varying degrees of guilt among States for any specific war. But the overriding consideration for the libertarian is the condemnation of any State participation in war. Hence his policy is that of exerting pressure on all States not to start a war, to stop one that has begun and to reduce the scope of any persisting war in injuring civilians of either side or no side.

A neglected corollary to the libertarian policy of peaceful coexistence of States is the rigorous abstention from any foreign aid; that is, a policy of nonintervention between States (= “isolationism” = “neutralism”). For any aid given by State A to State B (1) increases tax aggression against the people of country A and (2) aggravates the suppression by State B of its own people. If there are any revolutionary groups in country B, then foreign aid intensifies this suppression all the more. Even foreign aid to a revolutionary group in B – more defensible because directed to a voluntary group opposing a State rather than a State oppressing the people – must be condemned as (at the very least) aggravating tax aggression at home.

Let us see how libertarian theory applies to the problem of imperialism, which may be defined as the aggression by State A over the people of country B, and the subsequent maintenance of this foreign rule. Revolution by the B people against the imperial rule of A is certainly legitimate, provided again that revolutionary fire be directed only against the rulers. It has often been maintained – even by libertarians – that Western imperialism over undeveloped countries should be supported as more watchful of property rights than any successor native government would be. The first reply is that judging what might follow the status quo is purely speculative, whereas existing imperialist rule is all too real and culpable. Moreover, the libertarian here begins his focus at the wrong end – at the alleged benefit of imperialism to the native. He should, on the contrary, concentrate first on the Western taxpayer, who is mulcted and burdened to pay for the wars of conquest, and then for the maintenance of the imperial bureaucracy. On this ground alone, the libertarian must condemn imperialism.11

Does opposition to all war mean that the libertarian can never countenance change – that he is consigning the world to a permanent freezing of unjust regimes? Certainly not. Suppose, for example, that the hypothetical state of “Waldavia” has attacked “Ruritania” and annexed the western part of the country. The Western Ruritanians now long to be reunited with their Ruritanian brethren. How is this to be achieved? There is, of course, the route of peaceful negotiation between the two powers, but suppose that the Waldavian imperialists prove adamant. Or, libertarian Waldavians can put pressure on their government to abandon its conquest in the name of justice. But suppose that this, too, does not work. What then? We must still maintain the illegitimacy of Ruritania’s mounting a war against Waldavia. The legitimate routes are (1) revolutionary uprisings by the oppressed Western Ruritanian people, and (2) aid by private Ruritanian groups (or, for that matter, by friends of the Ruritanian cause in other countries) to the Western rebels – either in the form of equipment or of volunteer personnel.12

We have seen throughout our discussion the crucial importance, in any present-day libertarian peace program, of the elimination of modern methods of mass annihilation. These weapons, against which there can be no defense, assure maximum aggression against civilians in any conflict with the clear prospect of the destruction of civilization and even of the human race itself. Highest priority on any libertarian agenda, therefore, must be pressure on all States to agree to general and complete disarmament down to police levels, with particular stress on nuclear disarmament. In short, if we are to use our strategic intelligence, we must conclude that the dismantling of the greatest menace that has ever confronted the life and liberty of the human race is indeed far more important than demunicipalizing the garbage service.

We cannot leave our topic without saying at least a word about the domestic tyranny that is the inevitable accompaniment of war. The great Randolph Bourne realized that “war is the health of the State.”13 It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest. Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale – as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it – of an “army on the march.”

The root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense by the State of its subjects. The facts, of course, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes the people to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting for them. But all this should occasion no surprise; we see it in other walks of life. For which categories of crime does the State pursue and punish most intensely – those against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of person and property, but dangers to its own contentment: for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, conspiracy to overthrow the government. Murder is pursued haphazardly unless the victim be a policeman, or Gott soll hüten, an assassinated Chief of State; failure to pay a private debt is, if anything, almost encouraged, but income tax evasion is punished with utmost severity; counterfeiting the State’s money is pursued far more relentlessly than forging private checks, etc. All this evidence demonstrates that the State is far more interested in preserving its own power than in defending the rights of private citizens.

A final word about conscription: of all the ways in which war aggrandizes the State, this is perhaps the most flagrant and most despotic. But the most striking fact about conscription is the absurdity of the arguments put forward on its behalf. A man must be conscripted to defend his (or someone else’s?) liberty against an evil State beyond the borders. Defend his liberty? How? By being coerced into an army whose very raison d’être is the expunging of liberty, the trampling on all the liberties of the person, the calculated and brutal dehumanization of the soldier and his transformation into an efficient engine of murder at the whim of his “commanding officer”?14 Can any conceivable foreign State do anything worse to him than what “his” army is now doing for his alleged benefit? Who is there, O Lord, to defend him against his “defenders”?

References

1 There are some libertarians who would go even further and say that no one should employ violence even in defending himself against violence. However, even such Tolstoyans, or “absolute pacifists,” would concede the defender’s right to employ defensive violence and would merely urge him not to exercise that right. They, therefore, do not disagree with our proposition. In the same way, a libertarian temperance advocate would not challenge a man’s right to drink liquor, only his wisdom in exercising that right.

2 We shall not attempt to justify this axiom here. Most libertarians and even conservatives are familiar with the rule and even defend it; the problem is not so much in arriving at the rule as in fearlessly and consistently pursuing its numerous and often astounding implications.

3 Or, to bring up another famous antipacifist slogan, the question is not whether “we would be willing to use force to prevent the rape of our sister,” but whether, to prevent that rape, we are willing to kill innocent people and perhaps even the sister herself.

4 William Buckley and other conservatives have propounded the curious moral doctrine that it is no worse to kill millions than it is to kill one man. The man who does either is, to be sure, a murderer; but surely it makes a huge difference how many people he kills. We may see this by phrasing the problem thus: after a man has already killed one person, does it make any difference whether he stops killing now or goes on a further rampage and kills many dozen more people? Obviously, it does.

5 Professor Robert L. Cunningham has defined the State as the institution with “a monopoly on initiating open physical coercion.” Or, as Albert Jay Nock put it similarly if more caustically, “The State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime…. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants.”

6 An outstanding example of pinpointing by revolutionaries was the invariable practice of the Irish Republican Army, in its later years, of making sure that only British troops and British government property were attacked and that no innocent Irish civilians were injured. A guerrilla revolution not supported by the bulk of the people, of course, is far more likely to aggress against civilians.

7 If it be objected that a war could theoretically be financed solely by a State’s lowering of nonwar expenditures, then the reply still holds that taxation remains greater than it could be without the war effect. Moreover, the purport of this article is that libertarians should be opposed to government expenditures whatever the field, war or nonwar.

8 There is another consideration which applies rather to “domestic” defense within a State’s territory: the less the State can successfully defend the inhabitants of its area against attack by criminals, the more these inhabitants may come to learn the inefficiency of state operations, and the more they will turn to non-State methods of defense. Failure by the State to defend, therefore, has educative value for the public.

9 The international law mentioned in this paper is the old-fashioned libertarian law as had voluntarily emerged in previous centuries and has nothing to do with the modem statist accretion of “collective security.” Collective security forces a maximum escalation of every local war into a worldwide war – the precise reversal of the libertarian objective of reducing the scope of any war as much as possible.

10 F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1953), p. 58.

11 Two other points about Western imperialism: first, its rule is not nearly so liberal or benevolent as many libertarians like to believe. The only property rights respected are those of the Europeans; the natives find their best lands stolen from them by the imperialists and their labor coerced by violence into working the vast landed estates acquired by this theft.

Second, another myth holds that the “gunboat diplomacy” of the turn of the century was a heroic libertarian action in defense of the property rights of Western investors in backward countries. Aside from our above strictures against going beyond any State’s monopolized land area, it is overlooked that the bulk of gunboat moves were in defense, not of private investments, but of Western holders of government bonds. The Western powers coerced the smaller governments into increasing tax aggression on their own people, in order to pay off foreign bondholders. By no stretch of the imagination was this an action on behalf of private property – quite the contrary.

12 The Tolstoyan wing of the libertarian movement could urge the Western Ruritaniansto engage in nonviolent revolution, for example, tax strikes, boycotts, mass refusal to obey government orders or a general strike – especially in arms factories. Cf. the work of the revolutionary Tolstoyan, Bartelemy De Ligt, The Conquest of Violence: An Essay On War and Revolution (New York: Dutton, 1938).

13 See Randolph Bourne, “Unfinished Fragment on the State,” in Untimely Papers (New York: B.W: Huebsch, 1919).

14 To the old militarist taunt hurled against the pacifist: “Would you use force to prevent the rape of your sister?” the proper retort is: “Would you rape your sister if ordered to do so by your commanding officer?”

Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995), the founder of modern libertarianism and the dean of the Austrian School of economics, was the author of The Ethics of Liberty and For a New Liberty and many other books and articles. He was also academic vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Center for Libertarian Studies, and the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The Rothbard-Rockwell Report.

Copyright © 1963 by Murray N. Rothbard.
Copyright © 2003 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
All rights reserved.

Murray Rothbard Archives

http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance140.html

by Laurence M. Vance

Americans love their war heroes. It doesn’t matter where the war was fought, why it was fought, how it was fought, or what the war cost. Every battlefield is holy; every cause is just; every soldier is a potential hero. But what is it that turns an ordinary soldier into a war hero? Since it obviously depends on the criteria employed, is it possible that American war heroes are not heroes at all? Could it be that, rather than being heroes, they are instead dupes?

Democrats who loathe John McCain because he is a Republican and Republicans who consider him to be a lukewarm conservative are united in their belief that, whatever his politics, McCain is a genuine war hero because he spent five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. But one does not have to be a prisoner of war to be considered a war hero. The Department of Defense maintains a website that highlights “the military men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the Global War on Terror.” Every soldier who died fighting in the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, otherwise known as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, is also considered to be a war hero.

After McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, he became a naval aviator. During the Vietnam War he rained down death and destruction on the people of Vietnam during twenty-three bombing missions. After being shot down, he was imprisoned instead of receiving the death sentence his bombs delivered to the Vietnamese. So why is he considered a war hero? If he got what he deserved, there would be 58,257 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. instead of 58,256. Pilots like McCain who drop napalm from the safety of their cockpit are lauded as heroes by the government, the media, and Americans ignorant enough or gullible enough to swallow the myth that there can be heroism in the performance of evil. McCain was even well received by the Vietnamese government in 2000 when he traveled to Vietnam in pursuit of a bilateral trade agreement.

Begun in September of 2006, the DOD “Heroes’ Archive” contains the names of 116 U.S. soldiers who performed some heroic deed fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Of the four soldiers currently featured, two were awarded the Bronze Star, one was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, and the fourth was awarded the Bronze Star, the NATO Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal, and the Outstanding Service Medal. Now, unlike General Petraeus, at least these soldiers earned their metals during real combat. Yet, the fact remains, as Catholic Eastern Rite priest Charles McCarthy has recently stated, “Murder decorated with a ribbon is still murder.”

Both IraqWarHeroes.org and AfghanistanWarheroes.org are “dedicated to our deceased Heroes that have served in Iraq & Afghanistan.” The list of “deceased Heroes” contains the names of 4,591 U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t know where these sites are getting their information from. The “Casualties in Iraq” page at Antiwar.com shows a total of 4,528 deaths. But regardless of the exact number, the point is that every soldier who died fighting in the war on terror is said to be a hero. It doesn’t matter if they were killed by enemy fire, roadside bombs, friendly fire, disease, accident, or carelessness – they are all heroes. But since the war in Iraq is senseless, immoral, and criminal does it really matter how these soldiers died? Again, I refer the reader to Father McCarthy:

Authentic heroism is freely taking a grave risk in order to try to do good.

Evil does not become a scintilla less evil because a person put his or her life in jeopardy to do it and is subsequently designated a hero.

This means that whatever we call U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq, we should not call them heroes.

Some of these “heroes” are mercenaries. The “large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny” that our Founding Fathers protested against in the Declaration of Independence are now fighting for the United States in Iraq. Since 9/11, the United States has granted citizenship to over 32,000 foreign soldiers. All it takes now is one year of service in the military to be granted citizenship.

Many of these “heroes” are killers for hire. For them, the enlistment bonuses, the tuition assistance, the student loan repayment plans, the assignment incentive pay, the career training, the thirty days of vacation each year, the free medical and dental care, and the generous retirement benefits are enough to erase any concerns about the morality of traveling thousands of miles away from U.S. soil to kill people they have never met or seen, and that posed no threat to America or Americans.

Most of these “heroes,” however, are dupes. They think they are fighting for our freedoms when instead they are helping to destroy our freedoms. They think they are retaliating for 9/11 when instead they are paving the way for another terrorist attack. They think they are preventing terrorism when instead they are making terrorists. They think they went to Iraq to fight al-Qaeda when instead al-Qaeda came to Iraq because of them. They think they are protecting Israel when instead they are contributing to increased hatred of Israel. They think that our cause is just when instead it violates every just war principle ever formulated. They think they are fighting injustice when instead they are committing a crime against the Iraqi people. They think they are defending the United States when instead they are helping to destroy it.

One of the saddest cases of a duped hero is that of Marine Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski. He died fighting in Iraq on March 27 of last year while assigned to the Marine Forces Reserve’s Third Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Fourth Marine Division, in Nashville, Tennessee. He had been in the Marine Reserves for twelve years, and was thirty years old when he died.

About a week before he died, Golczynski sent home this e-mail:

I want all of you to be safe. And please don’t feel bad for us. We are warriors. And as warriors have done before us, we joined this organization and are following orders because we believe that what we are doing is right. Many of us have volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. We fight and sometimes die so that our families don’t have to. Stand beside us. Because we would do it for you. Because it is our unity that has enabled us to prosper as a nation.

At his funeral in Lewisburg, Tennessee, the eight-year-old son he left behind was presented with the flag from his father’s casket. This was captured in a heart-rending photograph that has circulated around the Internet. But Golczynski was not the only one who was duped. Instead of being outraged about his son’s death, his father said that “we owe a debt of gratitude that we will never be able to pay.” And instead of resenting the government that sent the father of her son to fight and die in a senseless foreign war, his wife said that her husband “made the sacrifice for my freedom.”

The terrible truth, of course, is that Sergeant Golczynski, like all of the other soldiers who died in Iraq, died for a lie. He was duped by his commander in chief who said our cause was just. He was duped by the secretary of defense who said the war would be over quickly. He was duped by his commanding officers who said he should obey orders. He was duped by veterans who said he was fighting for our freedoms. He was duped by Republicans who said he needed to follow the president’s leadership. He was duped by politicians who said we should trust them. He was duped by pundits who said we had to fight them “over there” lest we have to fight them “over here.” He was duped by preachers who said we should obey the powers that be. He was duped by Christians who said we must fight against Islamo-fascism. He was duped by Americans who said he was a hero. He was duped by the lying and killing machine known as his own government.

Marcus Golczynski was not alone. Millions of Americans were duped as well. Millions of Americans remain duped. The fact that McCain can talk about being in Iraq for a hundred years and still be greeted by cheering crowds and receive millions of votes says a lot about just how much Americans are duped.

The love affair that Americans have with all things military must be ended. The United States has become a rogue state, a pariah nation, an evil empire – all made possible by the dupes in the U.S. military we call heroes.

April 18, 2008

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. His latest book is a new and greatly expanded edition of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.

From The Future of Freedom Daily

http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0802c.asp

by James Bovard, Posted May 5, 2008

Americans are taught to expect their elected leaders to be relatively honest. But it wasn’t always like that. In the mid 1800s, people joked about political candidates who claimed to have been born in a log cabin that they built with their own hands. This jibe was spurred by William Henry Harrison’s false claim of a log-cabin birth in the 1840 presidential campaign.

Americans were less naive about dishonest politicians in the first century after this nation’s founding. But that still did not deter presidents from conjuring up wars. Presidential deceits on foreign policy have filled cemeteries across the land. George W. Bush’s deceits on the road to war with Iraq fit a long pattern of brazen charades.

In 1846, James K. Polk took Americans to war after falsely proclaiming that the Mexican army had crossed the U.S. border and attacked a U.S. army outpost — “shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil.” Though Polk refused to provide any details of where the attack occurred, the accusation swayed enough members of Congress to declare war against Mexico. Congressman Abraham Lincoln vigorously attacked Polk for his deceits. But Lincoln may have studied Polk’s methods, since they helped him whip up war fever 15 years later.

In 1917, Woodrow Wilson took the nation to war in a speech to Congress that contained one howler after another. He proclaimed that “self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies” — despite the role of the British secret service and propaganda operations in the prior years to breed war fever in the United States. Wilson hailed Russia as a nation that had always been “democratic at heart” — less than a month after the fall of the tsar and not long before the Bolshevik Revolution. He proclaimed that the government would show its friendship and affection for German-Americans at home — but his administration was soon spearheading loyalty drives that spread terror in many communities across the land.

In 1940, in one of his final speeches of the presidential campaign, Franklin Roosevelt assured voters, “Your president says this country is not going to war.” At the time, he was violating the Neutrality Act by providing massive military assistance to Britain and was searching high and low for a way to take the United States into war against Hitler.

In his 1944 State of the Union address, Roosevelt denounced those Americans with “such suspicious souls — who feared that I have made ‘commitments’ for the future which might pledge this Nation to secret treaties” at the summit of Allied leaders in Tehran the previous month. In early 1945, Roosevelt told Congress that the Yalta Agreement “spells the end of the system of unilateral action and exclusive alliance and spheres of influence.” In reality, he signed off on Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the crushing of any hopes for democracy in Poland.

In August 1945, Harry Truman announced to the world that “the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians.” Hiroshima was actually a major city with more than a third of a million people prior to its incineration. But Truman’s lie helped soften the initial impact on the American public of the first use of the atomic bomb. (The U.S. government also vigorously censored photographs of Hiroshima and its maimed survivors.)

Vietnam falsehoods

Presidential and other government lies on foreign policy are often discounted because they are presumed to be motivated by national security. But as Hannah Arendt noted in an essay on the Pentagon Papers, during the Vietnam War,

The policy of lying was hardly ever aimed at the enemy but chiefly if not exclusively destined for domestic consumption, for propaganda at home and especially for the purpose of deceiving Congress.

CIA analysts did excellent work in the early period of the Vietnam conflict. But “in the contest between public statements, always over-optimistic, and the truthful reports of the intelligence community, persistently bleak and ominous, the public statements were likely to win simply because they were public,” Arendt commented. The truth never had a chance when it did not serve Lyndon Johnson’s political calculations.

Vietnam destroyed the credibility of both Lyndon Johnson and the American military. Yet the memory of the pervasive lies of the military establishment did not curb the gullibility of many people for fresh government-created falsehoods a decade or so later. During the 1980s, the U.S. State Department ran a propaganda campaign that placed numerous articles in the U.S. media praising the Nicaraguan Contras and attacking the Sandinista regime. As the Christian Science Monitor noted in 2002, the State Department “fed the Miami Herald a make-believe story that the Soviet Union had given chemical weapons to the Sandinistas. Another tale, which happened to emerge the night of President Ronald Reagan’s reelection victory, held that Soviet MiG fighters were on their way to Nicaragua.” The General Accounting Office investigated and concluded that the State Department operation was illegal, consisting of “prohibited, covert propaganda activities.” There was no backlash against the government when the frauds were disclosed. Instead, it was on to the next scam.

Reagan, Bush, and Clinton

Reagan paved the way for subsequent presidents in immersing anti-terrorist policy in swamps of falsehoods. In October 1983, a month after he authorized U.S. Marine commanders to call in air strikes against Muslims to help the Christian forces in Lebanon’s civil war, a Muslim suicide bomber devastated a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 242 Americans. In a televised speech a few days later, Reagan portrayed the attack as unstoppable, falsely claiming that the truck “crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed-wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late.” In reality, the guards did not fire because they were prohibited from having loaded weapons — one of many pathetic failures of defense that the Reagan administration sought to sweep under the carpet.

In 1984, after the second successful devastating attack in 18 months against a poorly defended U.S. embassy in Lebanon, Reagan blamed the debacle on his predecessor and falsely asserted that the Carter administration had “to a large extent” gotten “rid of our intelligence agents.” A few days later, while campaigning for reelection, Reagan announced that the second embassy bombing was no longer an issue: “We’ve had an investigation. There was no evidence of any carelessness or anyone not performing their duty.” However, the Reagan administration had not yet begun a formal investigation.

On May 4, 1986, Reagan bragged, “The United States gives terrorists no rewards and no guarantees. We make no concessions; we make no deals.” But the Iranian arms-for-hostage deal that leaked out later that year blew such claims to smithereens. On November 13, 1986, Reagan denied initial reports of the scandal, proclaiming that the “‘no concessions’ [to terrorists] policy remains in force, in spite of the wildly speculative and false stories about arms for hostages and alleged ransom payments. We did not — repeat — did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages nor will we.” But Americans later learned that the United States had sold 2,000 anti-tank weapons to the Iranian government “in return for promises to release the American hostages there. Money from the sale of those weapons went to support the Contras’ war in Nicaragua,” as Mother Jones magazine noted in 1998.

Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 provided a challenge for the first Bush administration to get Americans mobilized. In September 1990, the Pentagon announced that up to a quarter million Iraqi troops were near the border of Saudi Arabia, threatening to give Saddam Hussein a stranglehold on one of the world’s most important oil sources. The Pentagon based its claim on satellite images that it refused to disclose. One American paper, the St. Petersburg Times, purchased two Soviet satellite “images taken of that same area at the same time that revealed that there were no Iraqi troops ‘near the Saudi border — just empty desert.’” Jean Heller, the journalist who broke the story, commented, “That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn’t exist.” Even a decade after the first Gulf war, the Pentagon refused to disclose the secret photos that justified sending half a million American troops into harm’s way.

Support for the war was also whipped up by the congressional testimony of a Kuwaiti teenager who claimed she had seen Iraqi soldiers removing hundreds of babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and leaving them on the floor to die. George H.W. Bush often invoked the incubator tale to justify the war, proclaiming that the “ghastly atrocities” were akin to “Hitler revisited.” After the United States commenced bombing Iraq, it transpired that the woman who testified was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and that her story was a complete fabrication, concocted in part by a U.S. public relations firm. Dead babies were a more effective selling point than one of the initial justifications Bush announced for U.S. intervention — restoring Kuwait’s “rightful leaders to their place” — as if any Americans seriously cared about putting Arab oligarchs back on their throne. (A few months before Saddam’s invasion, Amnesty International condemned the Kuwaiti government for torturing detainees.)

Bill Clinton’s unprovoked war against Serbia was sold to Americans with preposterous tales of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s being freedom fighters, with absurd claims that a civil war in one corner of southeastern Europe threatened to engulf the entire continent in conflict, with wild and unsubstantiated claims of an ongoing genocide, and with a deluge of lies that the U.S. military was not targeting Serb civilians.

Lying and warring appear to be two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, many Americans continue to be gullible when presidents claim a need to commence killing foreigners. It remains to be seen whether the citizenry is corrigible on this life-and-death issue.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy [2006] as well as The Bush Betrayal [2004], Lost Rights [1994] and Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil (Palgrave-Macmillan, September 2003) and serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.

This article originally appeared in the February 2008 edition of Freedom Daily. Subscribe to the print or email version of Freedom Daily.

 

by Chuck Baldwin
April 15, 2008

Every four years, conservative “pragmatists” trot out the “We Can’t Let So-And-So Win” mantra. Of course, the so-and-so in question is always the Democratic Presidential candidate. For all of my adult life, I have been listening to so-called “conservative” Republicans warn us of the impending doom that would befall our country if the Democratic candidate were elected. And this year is no different. This year’s Republican primary did provide a wonderful aberration, however, to the usual choices between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Republicans had an opportunity to nominate a real American constitutionalist, a statesman in the similitude of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. That man was Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. Unfortunately, the Republican faithful seem to be incapable of discerning the marks of true greatness, not to mention fidelity to constitutional government. It is doubtful that most of them even understand what constitutional government is. And as for Christian conservatives, they can barely see any issues beyond abortion and “gay rights.” To try and convince them to support a constitutionalist candidate is like talking to a brick wall. So, what choice does the Republican Party offer the American people this year? The worst of all possible choices: good old John “McSame” McCain. Let’s be clear: a John McCain Presidency will be no better than a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama Presidency. In fact, in many ways, a McCain White House will be WORSE than a Democratic one. On many issues, there is virtually no distinction between John McCain and any potential Democratic candidate. John McCain is no friend to gun owners. He is no friend to pro-lifers. He is no friend to fiscal conservatives. He is no friend to property owners. He is no friend to “family values” voters. He is no friend to America’s blue-collar workers. He is no friend to small business owners. He is no friend to opponents of illegal immigration. On the other hand, John McCain is a great friend to Big Business. Similarly, he is a friend to Big Government and Big Brother. He is also a friend to open borders, supranational government, regionalism, and American imperialism. But this is where the Boogeyman comes in. At this point, Republican Party lackeys will break in and say, “We can’t let Hillary Clinton win. We can’t let Barack Obama win.” Even the favored son of the Religious Right, Mike Huckabee, has endorsed John McCain, not to mention Mitt Romney and virtually every other Republican “bigwig.” (Thank God, Ron Paul has maintained his integrity by NOT endorsing McCain.) I, for one, am fed up with this baloney, because what we are actually faced with is not the “lesser of two evils” but “the evil of two lessers.” (To quote a good friend of mine.) And the reason John McCain would actually be a worse President than either Obama or Clinton is because of the manner in which conservatives go to sleep whenever a Republican occupies the Oval Office. Furthermore, the next couple of years are “crunch time” for this burgeoning North American Union and related issues. America is currently facing the most serious threat to its national independence and sovereignty since the War of 1812. The forces of globalism have declared an all-out war against our country’s independence. Illegal immigration, the NAFTA superhighway, the North American Community, a regional currency called the Amero, and “free trade” deals are just a few of the weapons in their arsenal. And John McCain will use every bit of his power as President to facilitate all of this chicanery. And, because McCain is a Republican, conservatives and Christians will sit back and let it happen without even the slightest whimper of resistance. If Obama or Clinton were sitting in the Oval Office, however, massive numbers of conservatives and Christians would rise in protest over every inch of ground ceded to these nefarious nabobs. So, tell me, who is the greater evil? I say it is John McCain. I realize that there are many readers shouting to themselves right now and saying, “So what do we do, Chuck? We have to vote for one or the other.” To which I say, No you don’t. You can think outside the box. You don’t have to throw your vote away on either of these wretched candidates. You can cast a vote for principle and vote for a third party candidate. I can hear readers screaming at me now, saying that voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote. I strongly disagree! Casting a vote for a person who you know is unfaithful to your principles is a wasted vote! Voting for someone who you know will keep our borders and ports open to illegals, continue George Bush’s preemptive war doctrine, and facilitate a burgeoning hemispheric government–not to mention someone who will increase and augment a burgeoning Orwellian police state–is a wasted vote! At some point, we Americans must decide whether we will tolerate the continued sellout of our freedoms and principles or not. Will we swallow the shallow squeals of the establishment elite who think we are a bunch of sheep to be herded into their New World Order? Or will we stand our ground? Will we vote our principles and our conscience? It does not matter that the pundits and experts say we can’t win. That is not our business. As John Quincy Adams said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.” When will Christians, especially, quit trying to play politics and start standing for principle? They talk a lot about principle, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, most don’t act like people of principle. If God intends to give America another chance, if He intends to return these United States to constitutional government, and if He intends to preserve America’s independence, it will only come in the form of a miracle. And miracles do not happen by the machinations of pragmatic planners. Miracles are just that. America was born a miracle, and it could now be given a new birth by miracle. If so, it would demand that people of principle start acting like it. That we cast aside the pragmatic, the reasonable, the sophisticated, and the expected. That we–as did the priests of old–would be willing to step out into the raging current of the Jordan River, knowing that either God would part the water or we would drown. That we would be willing to sign our names to a document–as did our Founding Fathers–that would make us either the enemies of the state or the inventors of a new nation. It means taking risks; it means doing the impractical; it means rejecting accepted wisdom and standing for principle. I am convinced that only a miracle can save America now. And I am expecting God to grant such a miracle. Beyond that, I am willing to do my part to place myself in a position to let God use my voice and my vote to accomplish this miracle. And if that means voting for someone who “has no chance of winning” in order to let God take the glory for whatever victory results, it is the least I can do. So, who will join me? *If you enjoyed this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/donate.php

© Chuck Baldwin This column is archived as

 http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20080415.html

March 3, 2008

Accepting Reality Is No Vice;

Being Oblivious Is No Virtue

America is an amazing place – one of the wealthiest and freest nations on earth. Yet because Europe has so many more cultures and languages in one contained area, Americans, compared to their European brethren, seem like country bumpkins in their knowledge and understanding of what is happening in the world. Unfortunately, this tin ear for global affairs sometimes afflicts U.S. leaders and media, too.

The obliviousness of the American people, politicians, and press is especially acute when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, the media, always concerned that they might be branded as “liberal” or “unpatriotic,” portray dramatic improvements in Iraq because of the U.S. troop surge orchestrated by the heroic Gen. David Petraeus. In fact, this portrayal has been so rosy – and so accepted hook, line, and sinker by the American people – that the Republicans will attempt to use progress in Iraq against the Democrats in the 2008 election! In Afghanistan, the press coverage has been more accurate concerning the worrisome resurgence of the Taliban, but the media and the Democrats seem to think that the United States could still win if more troops – U.S. or NATO – are inserted, or if the U.S. were to get its meek allies to put more of their existing forces into battle against enemy fighters. If the American public is deluded over the surge in Iraq, it is simply ignorant of what is going on in Afghanistan.

At the risk of being a “nattering nabob of negativity,” I would argue that the United States is still losing – and ultimately will be defeated – in both of these brushfire guerrilla wars. Others are pointing in the same direction. In an important new book, Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq, William R. Polk, who has experienced insurgencies in the field, concludes from history that in the mid- to long-term – absent genocide by counterinsurgency forces – insurgents almost always prevail.

Even after spending $650 billion, more than 4,000 U.S. and allied lives, and tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi lives on these two wars, many U.S. politicians and most of the media and American public still prefer to avoid the stark reality that it has all been in vain – that is, that the United States is likely to lose both of these never ending wars.

In Iraq, the violence has declined from peak levels, but it actually started dropping even before the U.S. troop surge, primarily because severe ethnic cleansing had separated the warring Sunnis and Shia into homogenous ghettos, and because the United States had begun to pay off the Sunni guerrillas to police their local areas and fight the excessively bloodthirsty (and therefore incompetent) al-Qaeda in Iraq. More important, evidence exists that the militias in Iraq, like all good guerrilla forces, have patience and are merely waiting until the United States leaves. Even with the surge, violence – although reduced – is still high, and no national reconciliation among the mutually suspicious groups has been achieved.

And it’s likely that none will be. Decades of wars, including the U.S. invasion and occupation, and grinding international economic sanctions have further widened the deep social fissures in what was already one of the most fractious countries in the Middle East. Had the obtuse Bush administration bothered to consult Arabist scholars before launching its ill-fated invasion and occupation, it would have learned that faction-ridden Iraq, an artificial country dreamed up by the British after World War I, was the least likely of practically any nation in the Middle East to accept a liberal, federated democracy. The level of incomes and social cooperation are too low for a liberal democracy to be sustained. Even if the Iraqi government manages to pass all of the benchmark laws that the Bush administration wants (unlikely, since the president’s council just vetoed a law to hold local elections), the underlying social fragmentation will render such laws mere paper exercises, because no one will honor them. The U.S. troop surge is merely a finger in the dike, temporarily holding back these titanic social forces from clashing in full-blown civil war.

Afghanistan, like Iraq, is naturally a decentralized tribal land. Continued U.S. and allied occupation is merely fueling a resurgence of the Taliban there and radical Islamic elements in Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons. Coercive U.S. and Afghan government anti-drug efforts are further exacerbating the Taliban’s rise, as poppy growers pay the Taliban for protection. Really, President Hamid Karzai’s role is only mayor of Kabul; warlords control the rest of the country. The media, the American public, and even the Democrats think Afghanistan is a “must win” in the war on terror. Yet Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Qaeda, are probably in Pakistan – not Afghanistan. To have the best chance to capture or kill these terrorist kingpins, perhaps, for once, the U.S. government should concentrate its efforts and vast resources where they are likely to be.

To achieve such focus on the perpetrators of 9/11, the next president of the United States could actually take advantage of the American people’s apathy toward foreign affairs, cut U.S. losses, and withdraw U.S. forces immediately from both Afghanistan and Iraq – two quagmires that are creating new radical Islamic terrorists in reaction to the occupation of Muslim lands by non-Muslims.

Judi McLeod

Canada Free Press
February 25, 2008

Will historians one day record that “It happened on Valentine’s Day” when chronicling the timetable of the North American Union (NAU)?

With no warning, a significant military agreement was signed by the chief Armed Forces commanders of both the U.S.A. and Canada on Feb. 14. The agreement allows the armed forces from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a domestic civil emergency.

And as Jerome R. Corsi writes of the range of domestic civil emergencies, in WorldNetDaily, “even one that does not involve a cross-border crisis.”

The Valentine’s Day pact got zero coverage in the mainstream media whose investigative reporters must have been out hunting down chocolate and posies.

Were it not for a USNORTHCOM photo that surfaced depicting a beaming U.S. air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, USNORTHCOM commander and Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command, the public the media serve would have been left in the dark.

Perhaps the generals won’t get to tell North American Union suspecting citizens that the NAU is the province of only the conspiracy theorist.

Paperwork always comes in handy when bureaucrats cry “Conspiracy Theory”.

Defined by its architects as a “Civil Assistance Plan”, the agreement was never submitted to Congress for approval.

“Nor did Congress pass any law or treaty specifically authorizing this military agreement to combine the operations of the armed forces of the United States and Canada in the event of a wide range of domestic civil disturbances ranging from violent storms, to heal epidemics, to civil riots or terrorist attacks.” (WorldNetDaily, Feb. 24, 2008).

Mind you, reporter David Pugliese, had the story published by CanWest News Service on Friday.

Imagine an agreement that paves the way for the militaries of the U.S. and Canada to cross each other’s borders to fight domestic emergencies not being announced by either the Harper government or the Canadian military.

“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration,” Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians told the CanWest News Service. “We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites.”

“This document is a unique, bilateral military plan to align our respective national military plans to respond quickly to the other nation’s requests for military support of civil authorities,” Renuart said in a statement published on the USNORTHCom website.

“The signing of this plan is an important symbol of the already strong working relationship between Canada Command and the U.S. Northern Command,” said Lt. Gen. Dumais.

“Our commands were created by our respective governments to respond to the defense and security challenges of the twenty-first century,” he stressed, “and we both realize that these and other challenges are best met through cooperation between friends.”

While Canadian citizens opened their homes to Americans stranded on September 11, 2001, there was no military aid sent to the U.S. from Canada, whose then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien remained silent.

In a program on the first anniversary of the deadly hijackings, Chrétien told CBC TV that a clear signal had been sent to all Western countries: do not abuse your strength or wealth.

“You cannot exercise your powers to the point of humiliation for the others,” Chrétien said. “And that is what the western world—not only the Americans, the Western world—has to realize. Because they are human beings, too.”

Truth is the Chrétien crony Liberals haven’t gone away. They are merely waiting in the wings to bring down the Harper minority government.

The same Liberals who join the Canadian New Democrat Party (NDP) whose mantra is to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.

Some Liberal and NDP MPs continue to hold anti-American sentiments.

That’s a strange environment from which to forge a plan whose “challenges are best met through cooperation between friends”, Lieutenant General Dumais.

U.S. Northern Command was established on Oct. 1, 2002, as a military command tasked with anticipating and conducting homeland defense and civil support operations where U.S. armed forces are used in domestic emergencies.

Canada Command was established on Feb. 1, 2006, to focus on domestic operations and offer a single point of contact for all domestic and continental defense and securities partners.

Meanwhile, since the North American Union is a three-nation initiative, when will the Mexican Army be brought in during a domestic civil emergency?

By Vivien Lou Chen and Thomas Keene

Original Article

March 1 (Bloomberg) — Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz, author of a new book that claims the Iraq war will cost the U.S. more than $3 trillion, said the final tally is likely to climb much higher than that.“It’s much more like five trillion,” Stiglitz said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “We were trying to make Americans understand how expensive this war was so we didn’t want to quibble about a dime here or a dime there.”

His analysis comes as the Senate debates a Democratic plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. The 2001 Nobel winner’s initial estimate of $3 trillion drew criticism from Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who said that the number ignores the price the U.S. would pay if Iraq became a terrorist state.

“Three trillion is a lot of money no matter how you look at it,” said Stiglitz, 65, a former economics adviser to President Bill Clinton. The conflict has driven the nation’s energy costs higher by adding $5 to $10 to the price of a barrel of oil, and may enlarge the national debt by $2 trillion in the year 2017, he said.

“This war is the first war ever that’s been totally financed by borrowing, by deficits,” said Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York. “Because we haven’t raised taxes, because we’ve tried to pretend this war is for free, we’ve been skimping on our treatment of veterans.”

Bills Pile Up

Bills from the Iraq war will pile up for decades to come as the government spends hundreds of billions of dollars providing medical care and disability benefits to about 70,000 soldiers injured in the conflict, he said.

The government also will have to pay back with interest money it borrowed to finance the war, which will drive total costs higher, he told Congress’s Joint Economic Committee earlier this week.

The Congressional Budget Office said last month that $752 billion will have been appropriated so far for the Iraq war, the conflict in Afghanistan and other activities associated with the war on terror once lawmakers approve the remainder of President George W. Bush’s 2008 war-funding request. The administration’s request for $70 billion more for fiscal 2009 would push that past $800 billion.

Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes release their new book, called the “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict,” starting this month.

“How can we ask one young American

to die for a neocon empire?”

Dr. Ron Paul U.S. Congressman

Feb 12, 2008 11:00 am US/Eastern

A Russian Tupolev 95 bomber like this one buzzed the USS Nimitz in Feb. of 2008. (File)AP

WASHINGTON (AP) ― U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian bombers, including one that buzzed an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific during the weekend, The Associated Press has learned.

A U.S. military official says that one Russian Tupolev 95 flew directly over the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz twice, at a low altitude of about 2,000 feet, while another bomber circled about 58 miles out. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the reports on the flights were classified as secret.

The Saturday incident, which never escalated beyond the flyover, comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Russia over U.S. plans for a missile defense system based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Such Russian bomber flights were common during the Cold War, but have been rare since.

The bombers were among four Russian Tupolev 95s launched from Ukrainka in the middle of the night, including one that Japanese officials say violated their country’s airspace over an uninhabited island south of Tokyo.

U.S. officials tracked and monitored the bombers as two flew south along the Japanese coast, and two others flew farther east, coming closer to the Nimitz and the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton.

As the bombers got about 500 miles out from the U.S. ships, four F/A-18 fighters were launched from the Nimitz, the official said. The fighters intercepted the Russian bombers about 50 miles south of the Nimitz.

At least two U.S. F/A-18 Hornets trailed the bomber as it came in low over the Nimitz twice, while one or two of the other U.S. fighters followed the second bomber as it circled.

The official said there were no verbal communications between the U.S. and the Russians, and the Pentagon has not heard of any protests being filed by the United States. Historically, diplomatic protests were not filed in such incidents because they were so common during the Cold War era.

This is the first time Russian Tupolevs have flown over or interacted with a U.S. carrier since 2004.

In that incident, a Russian Tupolev flew over the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Sea of Japan on Jan. 29, 2004. Since then, however, relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated to their worst point since the Cold War, largely due to the United States’ plans to put a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 missile defense interceptors in Poland.

The U.S. has defended the plan as necessary to protect its European allies from possible attacks by Iran. But the Kremlin has condemned the proposal, saying it would threaten Russia’s security.

“We are being forced to take retaliatory steps,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also warned that a new arms race is under way.

Japan, meanwhile, filed a formal protest with the Russian Embassy in Tokyo after Saturday’s incident, saying that one of the Russian bombers crossed into Japanese airspace for three minutes. Russia has denied there was an intrusion.

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security

The “pause” is now official, replacing the surge. Once the summer’s withdrawal of five-plus brigades from Iraq is completed, a broad consensus of defense leaders appears to believe, a period of consolidation and reorganization will follow with the remaining U.S. forces. This period will take us into the general elections, during which time the likelihood of any significant change in Iraq is slim.

The pause makes sense, if for no other reason than a new president should be allowed to make his or her own policies for the future, regardless of what he or she is promising now on the stump.

Beware, though: This road to the pause has been in play for some time, and those in the military and defense establishment who believe that the United States requires a long-term presence in Iraq are quietly putting in place the pieces that will indeed tie the next president’s hands. This isn’t some conspiracy to install “permanent bases” in Iraq. What is unfolding is much more insidious.

Gen. David Petraeus now says that it would be “sensible and prudent” to pause with the drawdown of forces once the surge troops return this summer. “The consensus is that when you have withdrawn over one quarter of your combat forces — it’s literally a quarter of our brigade combat teams plus two Marine battalions and the Marine expeditionary unit – that it would be sensible and prudent to have a period of consolidation, perhaps some force adjustments and evaluation before continuing with further reductions,” Petraeus told Army Times.

With all eyes on the number of troops physically stationed in Iraq, one of the ways in which further reductions will be allowed is by shifting missions to other Persian Gulf countries, a process that is already underway. In Kuwait, for instance, the Army is completing the finishing touches on a permanent ground forces command for Iraq and the region, one that it describes as being capable of being a platform for “full spectrum operations” in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East.

Permanently deployed with the new regional headquarters in Kuwait will be a theater-level logistical command, a communications command, a military intelligence brigade, a “civil affairs” group and a medical command. “These commands now have a permanent responsibility to this theater,” Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace told the Mideast edition of Stars and Stripes. “They’ll have a permanent presence here.”

The Air Force and Navy, meanwhile, have set up additional permanent bases in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman. By permanent I mean large and continuing American headquarters and presences, most of which are maintained through a combination of coalition activities, long-standing bilateral agreements and official secrecy. Tens of billions have been plowed into the American infrastructure. Admiral William J. Fallon, the overall commander of the region, was just in Oman this week after a trip to Iraq to secure continuing American military bases in that country.

When a war with Iran loomed and World War III seemed to be gaining traction in the Bush administration, this entire base structure was seen as the “build-up” for the next war. The build-up of course began decades ago, but since 9/11, the focus has been almost exclusively “supporting” U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is there, but to interpret the planting of the American flags and the moving of chess pieces as being focused on Tehran is to miss what is really going on.

Regardless of who is elected, in the coming year U.S. combat forces in Iraq will undoubtedly continue to contract to a fewer number of combat brigades and special operations forces focused on counter-terrorism and the mission of continuing to train and mentor the Iraqi Army and police forces. Much of the “war” that is already being fought is being supported from Kuwait and other locations, and the ongoing shifts seem to point to an intent to increasingly pull additional functions and people out of harm’s way.

Of course they will not be out of harm’s way at all, because a permanent American military presence in the region brings with it its own dangers and provocations. But most important what it brings for the next president is a fait accompli: a pause that facilitates a drawdown that begins to look a lot like a continuation of the same military and strategic policy, even at a time when there is broad questioning as to whether this is the most effective way to fight “terrorism.”

Original Article 

 LewRockwell.com

Article: http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts236.html

by Paul Craig Roberts

President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts.

The fight over the Protect America Act has everything to do with our safety, only not in the way that Bush and McConnell assert.

Bush says the Democrats have put “our country more in danger of an attack” by letting the Protect America Act lapse. This claim is nonsense. The 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the executive branch all the power it needs to spy on terrorists.

The choice between FISA and the Protect America Act has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, at least not from foreign terrorists. Bush and his brownshirts object to FISA, because the law requires Bush to obtain warrants from a FISA court. Warrants mean that Bush is accountable. Bush and his brownshirts argue that accountability is an infringement on the power of the president.

To escape accountability, the Brownshirt Party came up with the Protect America Act. This act eliminates Bush’s accountability to judges and gives the telecom companies immunity from the felonies they committed by acquiescing in Bush’s illegal spying.

Bush began violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in October 2001 when he spied on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court.

Bush pressured telecom companies to break the law in order to enable his illegal spying. In court documents, Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International, states that his firm was approached more than six months before the September 11, 2001, attacks and asked to participate in a spying operation that Qwest believed to be illegal. When Qwest refused, the Bush administration withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nacchio himself was subsequently indicted for insider trading, sending the message to all telecom companies to cooperate with the Bush regime or else.

Bush has not been held accountable for the felonies he committed and for leading telecom companies into a life of crime.

As the lawmakers who gave us FISA understood, spying on people without warrants lets a political party collect dirt on its adversaries with which to blackmail them. As Bush illegally spied a long time before word of it got out, blackmail might be the reason the Democrats have ignored their congressional election mandate and have not put a stop to Bush’s illegal wars and unconstitutional police state measures.

Perhaps the Democrats have finally caught on that they cannot function as a political party as long as they continue to permit Bush to spy on them. For one reason or another, they have let the Orwellian-named Protect America Act expire.

With the Protect America Act, Bush and his brownshirts are trying to establish the independence of the executive branch from statutory law and the Constitution. The FISA law means that the president is accountable to federal judges for warrants. Bush and the brownshirt Republicans are striving to make the president independent of all accountability. The brownshirts insist that the leader knows best and can tolerate no interference from the law, the judiciary, the Congress, or the Constitution, and certainly not from the American people who, the brownshirts tell us, won’t be safe unless Bush is very powerful.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison saw it differently. The American people cannot be safe unless the president is accountable and under many restraints.

Pray that the Democrats have caught on that they cannot give the executive branch unaccountable powers to spy and still have grounds on which to refuse the executive branch unaccountable powers elsewhere.

Republicans have used the “war on terror” to create an unaccountable executive. To prevent the presidency from becoming a dictatorial office, it is crucial that Congress cease acquiescing in Bush’s grab for powers. As the Founding Fathers warned us, the terrorists we have to fear are the ones in power in Washington.

The al Qaeda terrorists, with whom Bush has been frightening us, have no power to destroy our liberties. Compared to the loss of liberty, a terrorist attack is nothing.

Meanwhile, Bush, the beneficiary of two stolen elections, has urged Zimbabwe to hold a fair election. America gets away with its hypocrisy because no one in our government has enough shame to blush.

February 21, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones – La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).

Glenn Greenwald

Sunday February 17, 2008 10:08 EST

In response to my post on Friday pointing out that nobody outside of the handful of Muslim-obsessed faux-warriors is moved any longer by the Government’s endless exploitation of Terrorism to secure more and more unchecked power, National Review’s Mark Steyn said:

He may have a point: It’s psychologically exhausting being on permanent Orange Alert, especially as the reason for it recedes further and further in the rear-view mirror. A lot of Americans are “over” 9/11, and, while the event had a lingering emotional power, the strategic challenge it exposed has not been accepted by much of the electorate.


The truth is exactly the opposite. There is nothing more psychologically invigorating than the belief that you are staring down the Greatest and Most Evil Enemy Ever in History, courageously waging glorious war for all that is Good and Just in the world. Nothing produces more pulsating feelings of excitement and nobility like convincing yourself that you are a Warrior defending Western Civilization from the greatest threat it has ever faced, following in — even surpassing — the mighty footsteps of the Greatest Generation and the Warrior-Crusaders who came before them.For those who crave and glorify (though in their lives completely lack) acts of warrior courage, play-acting the role of the intrepid Warrior is uniquely satisfying. That’s why nothing can fill the bottomless spare time of bored, aimless adolescents like sitting in front of a computer commanding vast armies and destructive military weapons, deployed against cunning, scary and evil enemies. That’s why the Mark Steyns of every generation create such Enemies, because they are purposeless and aimless without them.

Steyn deeply flatters himself into believing that only he and his tragically small (and shrinking) band of warrior-comrades can bear the “psychologically exhausting” burden of defending The West and its freedoms. Sadly, most Americans — he says — are too weak, too brittle, just not up to the task of bearing the heavy burden of prosecuting the war against the omnipotent jihadi super-villains.

But not Steyn and friends. They are society’s freedom fighters, the Progeny of Churchill, Patton and Napoleon, bravely and tenaciously manning the barricades of Civilization itself. They’ll find a powerful and protective Warrior who leads them; advocate all sorts of fascinating technologies and complex spying schemes to wage the War; spend hour upon hour chatting about battles and tactics and strategies; and endlessly depict themselves as besieged though tenacious. Far from being “psychologically exhausting,” convincing yourself that you are all that — as Steyn and comrades explicitly do — is to bathe oneself in self-affirming and self-glorifying virtue. Nothing could ever compete with such glory when it comes to psychological fulfillment.

Adam Smith, all the way back in 1776, in An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations, described the fun, entertainment and deep psychological fulfillment which Wars against Supremely Evil Enemies provide to many who don’t have to fight them:

In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies . . . .

They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war.

One finds vivid illustrations of the twisted syndrome Smith identified in most of Steyn’s war cheerleading comrades, especially its leaders. From Jeffrey Goldberg’s New Yorker profile of Joe Lieberman:

Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!”

Far from being “psychologically exhausting,” the Wars against the Most-Evil-Enemies-Ever that take place inside the head of the Mark Steyns and Joe Liebermans are exhilarating and fun, and they provide the weak, purposeless and powerless with their only opportunity to feel strong, purposeful and powerful. Here, for instance, was the response from Steyn’s warrior-comrade, Andy McCarthy, to my post on Friday and to what Steyn wrote:

Glenn Greenwald? Yawn.

Wake me up when he’s interviewed some of the people trying to kill us and spent a few weeks with people maimed in terrorist attacks (I’d have spoken with the dead, but they were unavailable).

Look at how personally vital — how indispensable — the War of Civilizations is to McCarthy, to his identity and sense of purpose. He doesn’t even need to go anywhere near combat, or fight in the Wars he cheers on. He still gets to be on the front line — a gruff, hard-nosed, no-nonsense veteran-warrior who has been in the trenches, who has stared down the ugly realities of the Civilization Wars and — despite it all — still soldiers on. Think of the emptiness and loss of purpose if the Threat from the Enemy were exaggerated and all of that faded away.

This is why our nation’s faux-warriors can never be reasoned with. It’s why their greatest fear is having the Threats from Our Enemies be put into rational perspective, alongside all the other garden-variety manageable threats we face. To argue that they are exaggerating and melodramatizing the Enemy and the threat is to take away from them that which is most personally important to them.

Just consider the grandiose, baroque rhetoric they employ. What they are defending — today’s U.S. — is not merely good. It’s not even great. It’s not even the greatest thing there is on the Earth right now. No — it’s much more grand than that: it’s the Greatest Country ever to exist on the Earth in all of human history. That’s what they’re defending; that’s the magnitude of the burden they bear, the incomparable importance of the crusade they lead.

Conversely, the Enemy they are facing down (from a safe distance) is not merely threatening or evil or scary or formidable. No, it’s much, much more than that. This is the greatest Enemy that exists on the planet, the most cunning and nefarious and evil force the world has ever seen — not just now, but for all of human history. There is nothing remotely like the depravity and power of this particular Enemy — and there never has been. Ever. Everything these faux-warriors face and defend is superlative; there has never, ever been a war like the one they are waging. None of the old rules apply. This is all unique, unknown, the first and most important of its kind.

What’s most confounding about all of this is that they completely evade the most basic instruments of self-evaluation. All they have to do is look back and realize that every generation, in every country, has been plagued by factions suffering from the same self-glorifying delusions — that they alone are the Brave Warriors willing to engage in the Most Important Battle for Civilization Ever. None of it’s new. Back in 1964, Richard Hofstadter described exactly this psychological affliction in his famous Harper’s essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point.

Shouldn’t basic self-awareness compel the faux-warriors who read that to at least entertain the thought: “Maybe my belief that I’m waging an apocalyptic War of Civilization against The Uniquely Evil Enemy is grounded in a psychological need, one that is extremely common if I look to the past, rather than an objective assessment or any sort of political belief or ideological conviction. Maybe I’m exaggerating the threat posed in order to inflate my own importance and give myself a sense of purpose and power as I convince myself that I’m waging all-important (though risk-free) war.”

Over the past couple decades, prior to the Bush Era, the people who needed the sort of psychological fulfillment that comes from prancing around as Hofstadterian faux-warriors waging Civilization Wars obtained their fulfillment from playing board and video games or, at worst, dressing up on the weekend in camouflage costumes and — rather than playing golf or going fishing — marched around in militia formations, primed to defend the nation from Janet Reno and her squadrons of hovering U.N. black helicopters. It was equally pathetic, but at least the damage was minimal.

But the 9/11 attacks and ensuing events catapulted their paranoia and powerlessness syndromes from clownish sideshow to dominant political faction. And their fevered, self-serving fantasies have empowered the Federal Government beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, created a completely out-of-control domestic surveillance state, subordinated even the rule of law to the lawless dictates of Security State officials, and dismantled long-standing constitutional protections and political values so basic that they were previously beyond debate. In Civilization Wars, all is fair and justified — torture, lawbreaking, domestic spying, limitless government power, because the imperative of their crusade outweighs all.

All of that is bad enough. But listening to the authors of these events martyr themselves by claiming that their crusades are “psychologically exhausting” is really too much to bear. The reason they pursue those crusades endlessly, and will continue to pursue them until stopped, is precisely because the only thing they find “psychologically exhausting” is the prospect of having to live without their Supreme War of Civilization, whereby they defend the greatest things ever, under siege from the most Evil villains ever, with them — and only them — courageous and tough enough to “do what needs to be done” to triumph.

— Glenn Greenwald

 Original Article

by Butler Shaffer

Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.

~ Arthur Miller

The 200l attack on the World Trade Center was a watershed event for the soul of Americans. Prior to that time, there would have been a significant questioning of the state employing its collective powers to injure or kill persons who had caused no harm to others. This is not to say that most Americans had a pacific spirit, or were unwilling to engage in warfare against others. The United States has long been a war-loving nation, particularly from the period of the Civil War when Americans reveled in a four-year-long holiday for butchers.

But Americans have long insisted that their government’s participation in the amassing of tens of millions of corpses be grounded in some so-called “rational” purpose; that there be some moral “justification” for the well-orchestrated carnage for which the United States would become the primary supplier of weaponry. If the state had to concoct events that provided the offense for which armed retaliation was then demanded, that became acceptable, as long as the details of the scheme could be kept suppressed, such as by labeling truth-tellers “paranoid conspiracy theorists.” As long as they could cling to their state-induced delusions that collective violence served some pragmatic or moral ends, most Americans have been content to allow the state a free reign.

In such ways have most of us sanctioned wars as necessary for protection against those forces who want to “take over the world” and subjugate and despoil us. During my lifetime, Adolf Hitler, “international communism,” and now some amorphous entity known as “terrorism,” have served the purpose of empowering “our” state to do the very things these outside specters are supposed to have in mind (i.e., subjugation and despoliation). Though we have long been taken in by such chicanery, we have insisted that the deception satisfy our beliefs that the state is protecting us from some genuine threat.

Likewise, most Americans rationalize capital punishment as a means of “deterring” criminal acts, thus safeguarding us from those who would victimize others. Without the illusion of deterrence, most of us would see the government’s formalized killing of “criminals” as little more than blood-thirsty revenge, and we would be less willing to accept the practice.

But September 11, 2001, changed all of that. Most Americans – cheerled by politicians, members of the media, and other sociopaths – succeeded in turning most of the country into a multi-million-member lynch mob. For more than six years now, most of our neighbors have been content to play out their roles as participants in a worldwide performance of The Ox-Bow Incident. Such erstwhile values as individual liberty, due process of law, evidence, public trials, habeas corpus, and the like, have been denigrated, their defenders accused of pro-terrorist dispositions.

What has become of the heretofore-insistence that state violence be justified by rational, pragmatic, and moral standards? That, too, has become totally irrelevant to most Americans. Why? What has triggered this nation’s free-fall into collective indecency?

The events of 9/11 were far more traumatic to most Americans than simply the loss of some three thousand lives and the defining edifices of the New York City skyline. That day shattered a number of popular illusions about the “security” people had been conditioned to expect from the nation-state. We had been taxed well into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and regulated to many of the finer details of our lives, for which we had developed the expectation that our lives – and way of life – would be protected from acts of foreign aggression. Of course, most of us didn’t care to question how – and for what purposes – these billions of dollars were being spent, just as most ordinary Germans, in the 1930s, had little interest in knowing why so many of their neighbors were disappearing. We had far more important matters upon which to focus our attentions: the lifestyles of Hollywood celebrities, whether the Chicago Cubs would ever win a pennant, and just what went on in the Oval Office during the Clinton years.

When nineteen men, armed only with box-cutter knives, were able to commandeer airliners and attack the World Trade Center, the solidity of “protection” we had been conditioned to expect from the state turned to warm jelly. The personal privacy and tax dollars we had surrendered to the state in the name of “intelligence gathering,” proved as worthless to us in foretelling the events of that day as they had in anticipating the collapse of the Soviet Union. Unconscious voices began to whisper to us that we had been duped; that we had spent much of our life savings in the purchase of a lemon; that, like country bumpkins in the big city with the egg money, we had been fleeced by slickers.

But such inner voices had to be silenced. We had invested our entire sense of being – our very identities – with the nation-state. If our nation had failed to meet our expectations, this would reflect badly on our personal sense of who we are. Furthermore, if the attacks of that terrible day were – as more perceptive minds are aware – the unintended consequences (or “blowback”) of terrible wrongs committed by the government with which we have identified ourselves, we must personally bear some of the responsibility.

Each of us has a “dark-side” to our personality, qualities that our conscious mind prefers not to acknowledge. Whether we act in response to such “dark-side” forces or not, each of us has the capacity for dishonesty, violence, laziness, lying, irresponsibility, racism, and a whole host of other undesired attributes. Mature people acknowledge this fact and, in so doing, reduce the likelihood of acting upon them. Others, however, prefer to “project” such characteristics onto others (“scapegoats”) and then take retributive action against them in the delusion that they are doing something about such behavior. Politics mobilizes these “dark-side” energies into the kind of mass-minded behavior that America has become since 9/11.

Like a lynch mob, reason, moral principles, and factual analysis, find little expression in political mobocracy. When there has been a failure of expectations regarding our attachments to external entities, our “dark-side” forces seek out others upon which to inflict blame. Our economy is in great difficulty; our schools have failed our children; our tax burdens are some thirty times greater than they were in the Kennedy administration; our “defense” system does not protect, but embroils us in wars with more and more people throughout the world; our lives are increasingly policed, spied upon, surveilled, and regulated to ends that serve the interests of others; even our homes can be taken from us and given to corporate interests that desire them. The totality of such phenomena make us aware that the system we have regarded as indispensable to our well-being has failed us; that our world simply does not work well for us.

Is it surprising, then, that most Americans seem willing to scuttle the best characteristics of a civilized society in favor of taking their collective rage out on whoever gets in their way? The evidence is quite clear: neither the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi people had anything whatsoever to do with the events of 9/11, and yet this fact hasn’t diminished the insistence, by most Americans, that the U.S. military remain in that country to kill more innocent Iraqis. Lurking behind the phrase “support the troops” is the real sentiment: “support the slaughter.”

Anyone who has done serious study of the use of torture knows that it is a most unreliable way of getting meaningful information. That such methods also violate basic standards of human decency makes torture both morally and pragmatically unacceptable to sane people. There was a time when Americans would have become incensed were it known that their government was engaged in the systematic torture of people. Today, however, most Americans – along with most of their elected representatives in Washington – refuse to repudiate the practice, demanding only that such atrocities be renamed to make them sound less offensive.

Likewise, capital punishment fails to satisfy the purposes of deterrence that have long been the stated rationale of this practice. Nonetheless, the grisly exercise of this ultimate assertion of state power over life continues to be defended by most Americans.

When America continues to war against a nation that has done us no harm – a war that has cost upwards of a million dead already – and embraces the torture of human beings, and insists upon capital punishment, the question must be asked: why? What purposes are served by such irrational, immoral, and fundamentally indecent acts? What forces have transformed heretofore civilized people into a herd of barbarians?

The answer lies deep within our psyches, wherein reside the “dark-side” forces that can be so easily mobilized to the most destructive of purposes. Americans continue to suffer from a failure of expectations regarding their collective identities. Nineteen men were able to circumvent the system Americans had naïvely believed would protect them, and carried out a horrific crime. The perpetrators, however, were killed in the attack and cannot be punished. The anger that comes from the state’s failure to perform as promised does not subside, and must be directed at someone. Like a man who has just lost his job, gets drunk, and then goes home to beat up his family, most Americans seem willing to express their rage at any convenient target.

The idea that “we” might be the victims of an attack – instead of the expectation that “we” be the perpetrators of attacks – has struck at the very heart of who and what most Americans believe themselves to be. Faced with the discomfort of such a traumatic awakening, most have been content to make the reptilian response of “see – act” and endorse any kind of violence against anyone who gets in their way and can be made to absorb their projected anger. Ron Paul – the only presidential candidate willing to end this immoral and irrational butchery – receives around 10% of the votes in the primaries. His principal opponent, John McCain, appears to be running away with the party’s nomination, on a platform endorsing the continuation of this war for “one hundred” or even “ten thousand years.” What clearer measure of the extent to which most Americans demand the indiscriminate killing of others! It is the continuation of this mindset that, more than any other single factor, will hasten the total collapse of this civilization.

February 18, 2008

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com

Butler Shaffer Archives

by Chuck Baldwin
February 19, 2008

“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Daniel 5:5 (KJV)

“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided.” Daniel 5:26-28 (KJV)

Secularists will not admit it, but nations rise and fall at the pleasure of Almighty God. America’s founders certainly understood this fact. Even Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the least spiritual of America’s Founding Fathers, told the delegates at the constitutional convention, “We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”

Our first and greatest President, George Washington, agreed with Franklin. He said, “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

Thomas Jefferson, too, believed that nations rose and fell before God. He said, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?”

The sentiments expressed by Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson were expressed almost universally by America’s founders. From the founding of these United States and throughout most of our history, people (even our leaders) understood that “God governs in the affairs of men” (Franklin). We understood that it was not so much our military might, industrial strength, or financial stability, but divine blessing that secured our liberty. We believed that scriptural injunction, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” Proverbs 21:31 (KJV) However, it appears obvious that most Americans (including Christians), and especially most of our political leaders, have forgotten this principle.

As a result, many of us are asking the question, Is the handwriting on the wall for America? Have our days been numbered by God? Is our republic finished? Will God divide and conquer our country? Many are suggesting that the signs indicate the answer is yes.

For one thing, we have a federal government that is totally out of control. The checks and balances that were built into our Constitution have been all but eviscerated. For the most part, the people have no real input into their governance anymore. Between Big Media, Big Business, and vote fraud, even honest and fair elections may be a thing of the past.

The American people cannot trust their government spokesmen–or the media that is entrusted with the task of keeping them honest–to tell them the truth. The dishonesty and duplicity of our political and business leaders have produced an almost universal distrust among the American people. We have been lied to so often that it is hard to remember when we were last told the truth by almost anyone in Washington, D.C., especially at the Executive level.

We have been lied to about the Kennedy assassination, the USS Liberty, Waco, 9/11, the war in Iraq, the Oklahoma City bombing, and virtually every other major American tragedy. It is to the point that we cannot believe ANYTHING that this government–and its toadies in the media–tells us. Even our Christian leaders have bought into this deception.

Either wittingly or unwittingly, our Christian leaders are party to deceiving the American people. For example, not only do they refuse to do any serious investigation into the shenanigans of the Bush administration, they refuse to even listen to the factual investigations that have been done. Willful ignorance has destroyed the Church in America today.

Just look how our illustrious Christian leaders are beginning to coalesce around the corrupt candidacy of John McCain (as if a McCain Presidency would be any better than a Democratic one).

Remember, it was Senator John McCain who single-handedly shut down the investigation and effort to bring home American POWs from Vietnam and surrounding countries. Why would a former POW do such a thing, unless, as reported by other Vietnam Vets who are in the know, it was to keep those POWs from coming home and testifying to McCain’s collaboration with his communist captors?

Remember, it is Senator John McCain who is committed to granting amnesty to tens of millions of illegal aliens. It is John McCain who has an F- grade from the Gun Owners of America for his miserable anti-Second Amendment voting record in the U.S. Senate. It is John McCain who was the ringleader of the infamous (not to mention unethical) Keating Five, who cost America taxpayers more than $160 billion.

As a longstanding member of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), John McCain will most definitely support the march toward a North American Union, the NAFTA superhighway, and the creation of a North American currency, called the AMERO. He will also pursue George W. Bush’s neocon policy of empire building and preemptive war. As Pat Buchanan said, “John McCain will make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi.”

(I encourage readers to take a look at my previous expose’ on John McCain at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20080208.html )

Add to the above the collaboration between Big Business and Big Government in a continual, covert conspiracy to spy on the American people. See how our government is selling America’s financial interests–not to mention our security interests–to foreign powers. Good grief! Our government is even selling our own infrastructure to foreign powers.

Notice, too, how those who refuse to go along with this New World Order are treated by the political and media establishments. See how they virtually ignored Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, and Tom Tancredo. Even the liberal Democrat, Dennis Kucinich, was ignored and lampooned, because he dared to question the globalist agenda of the elites in Washington, D.C., and New York City. See, especially, how they demonized Congressman Ron Paul. As Dr. Paul’s campaign grew, so did the attacks against him from the media and political elites. Even Christian leaders opposed him.

I was one of only a handful of Christian ministers with any kind of a national following who publicly endorsed Ron Paul. Where was John Hagee? Where was Pat Robertson? Where was James Dobson? Where was Tony Perkins? They were all supporting establishment neocons Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, or even Rudy Giuliani.

I continue to support Ron Paul, although I believe the only way he can effectively bring his revolution to the forefront of America is to seek the Presidency via a third party ticket. I, therefore, strongly urge Dr. Paul to continue his Presidential campaign by obtaining the nomination of the Constitution Party. (It is his for the taking, should he pursue it.) The Republican Party is too corrupt, too sympathetic to New World Order ideologues to allow principled patriots such as Ron Paul to obtain the nomination. In fact, a John McCain administration will finish whatever semblance of conservatism yet remains in the GOP. McCain’s nomination makes it all the more imperative that we break the two-party death grip that is choking the life out of America. If Ron Paul would take the bull by the horns right now and run as a third party candidate, he just might be the man who could do it. Otherwise, it is just another sign that the handwriting is already on the wall.

Of course, America’s pastors and churches are in the unique position of being able to lead our people to a revival of honesty and integrity. Yes, they have the power to restore Biblical principles and constitutional government to America’s public life. However, it would first require that they step away from their own infatuation and preoccupation with money and power long enough to see the handwriting themselves. That they refuse to do so is another sign that the handwriting is already on the wall.

One does not have to possess the gift of prophecy to read the signs. The handwriting is there as plain as day in letters large enough that even a blind man can read them.

Christians should not bury their heads in their theology books, however. Instead of wringing their hands and simply waiting for Jesus to return, we need to get in the fight to restore our constitutional republic. The foundation is still there; and millions of people–churched and unchurched–are ready and willing to fight with us. Plus, who can tell what God will do with a serious effort to restore liberty and independence in this land?

As Patrick Henry said during our initial struggle for independence, “[W]e shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

Is the handwriting on the wall for America? Yes it is. But that does not mean there is nothing we can do. We can do everything we should do, knowing that there is a God in Heaven who “presides over the destinies of Nations.” The fact is, the friends of liberty Patrick Henry spoke of may be found in the most unlikely places and faces. So be it. We are not trying to build a Sunday School class; we are trying to preserve our constitutional republic.

In so doing, we need political leaders such as Ron Paul, spiritual leaders such as Pastors Tony Romo and James Riddle (for my list of “Black Regiment” pastors, go here: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/blackregiment.php ), educators such as David Alan Black and Steven Yates, business leaders such as Frank Fluckiger and William H. Ball, Jr., attorneys such as Edwin Vieira, Jr., and Herb Titus, journalists and writers such as Jerome Corsi and John McManus, film makers such as Ron Maxwell, and everyday patriots such as you and me.

Besides, God may think it is time to divide the kingdom out of the hands of the globalist elitists and place it back where it belongs: with “We the people.” What say you?

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