Libya, an entire Nation has been destabilized and destroyed by the USA and NATO

Destroying a Country’s Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

,

The war on Libya started in March 2011.

This article was originally published by GR in September 2011,  following the devastation triggered by seven months of intensive NATO bombings.

Today, Libya as a country and a nation state has been destroyed. Under Nuremberg, the leaders of the NATO member states involved in the war on Libya are war criminals.

Michel Chossudovsky, November 14, 2018

***

“There is no tomorrow” under a NATO sponsored Al Qaeda rebellion. 

While a  “pro-democracy” rebel government has been instated, the country has been destroyed.

Against the backdrop of war propaganda, Libya’s economic and social achievements over the last thirty years, have been brutally reversed:

The [Libyan Arab Jamahiriya] has had a high standard of living and a robust per capita daily caloric intake of 3144. The country has made strides in public health and, since 1980, child mortality rates have dropped from 70 per thousand live births to 19 in 2009. Life expectancy has risen from 61 to 74 years of age during the same span of years. (FAO, Rome, Libya, Country Profile,)

According to sectors of the “Progressive Left” which endorsed NATO’s R2P mandate:

“The mood across Libya, particularly in Tripoli, is absolutely —like there’s just a feeling of euphoria everywhere. People are incredibly excited about starting afresh. There’s a real sense of rebirth, a feeling that their lives are starting anew. (DemocracyNow.org, September 14, 2011 emphasis added)

The rebels are casually presented as “liberators”. The central role of Al Qaeda affilated terrorists within rebel ranks is not mentioned.

“Starting afresh” in the wake of destruction? Fear and Social Despair, Countless Deaths and Atrocities, amply documented by the independent media.

No euphoria…. A historical reversal in the country’s economic and social development has occurred. The achievements have been erased.

The NATO invasion and occupation marks the ruinous “rebirth” of Libya’s standard of living  That is the forbidden and unspoken truth:  an entire Nation has been destabilized and destroyed, its people driven into abysmal poverty.

The objective of the NATO bombings from the outset was to destroy the country’s standard of living, its health infrastructure, its schools and hospitals, its water distribution system.

And then “rebuild” with the help of donors and creditors under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank.

The diktats of the “free market” are a precondition for the instatement of  a Western style “democratic dictatorship “.

About nine thousand strike sorties, tens of thousands of strikes on civilian targets including residential areas, government buildings, water supply and electricity generation facilities. (See NATO Communique, September 5, 2011. 8140 strike sorties from March 31 to September 5, 2011)

An entire nation has been bombed with the most advanced ordnance, including uranium coated ammunition.

Already in August, UNICEF warned that extensive NATO bombing of Libya’s water infrastructure “could turn into an unprecedented health epidemic “ (Christian Balslev-Olesen of UNICEF’s Libya Office, August 2011).

Meanwhile investors and donors have positioned themselves. “War is Good for Business’. NATO, the Pentagon and the Washington based international financial institutions (IFIs) operate in close coordination. What has been destroyed by NATO will be rebuilt, financed by Libya’s external creditors under the helm of the “Washington Consensus”:

“Specifically, the [World] Bank has been asked to examine the need for repair and restoration of services in the water, energy and transport sectors [bombed by NATO] and, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, to support budget preparation [austerity measures] and help the banking sector back on to its feet [The Libyan Central bank was one of the first government buildings to be bombed]. Employment generation for young Libyans has been added as an urgent need facing the country.” (World Bank to Help Libya Rebuild and Deliver Essential Services to Citizens emphasis added)

Libya’s Development Achievements

Whatever one’s views regarding Moamar Gadaffi, the post-colonial Libyan government played a key role in eliminating poverty and developing the country’s health and educational infrastructure. According to Italian Journalist Yvonne de Vito,

“Differently from other countries that went through a revolution – Libya is considered to be the Switzerland of the African continent and is very rich and schools are free for the people. Hospitals are free for the people. And the conditions for women are much better than in other Arab countries.” (Russia Today, August 25, 2011)

These developments are in sharp contrast to what most Third World countries were able to “achieve” under Western style “democracy” and “governance” in the context of a standard IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment program (SAP).

Public Health Care

Public Health Care in Libya prior to NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” was the best in Africa.

“Health care is [was] available to all citizens free of charge by the public sector. The country boasts the highest literacy and educational enrolment rates in North Africa. The Government is [was] substantially increasing the development budget for health services…. (WHO Libya Country Brief )

Confirmed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), undernourishment was less than 5 %, with a daily per capita calorie intake of 3144 calories. (FAO caloric intake figures indicate availability rather than consumption).

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya provided to its citizens what is denied to many Americans: Free public health care, free education, as confirmed by WHO and UNESCO data.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO): Life expectancy at birth was 72.3 years (2009), among the highest in the developing World.

Under 5 mortality rate per 1000 live births declined from 71 in 1991 to 14 in 2009
(http://www.who.int/countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccsbrief_lby_en.pdf)
 

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya General information

2009  Total population (000)  6 420

Annual population growth rate (%)  2.0

Population 0-14 years (%) 28

Rural population (%)  22

Total fertility rate (births per woman)  2.6

Infant mortality rate (0/00) 17

Life expectancy at birth (years)  75

GDP per capita (PPP) US$   16 502

GDP growth rate (%)  2.1

Children of primary school-age who are out of school  (%)  (1978) 2

Source: UNESCO. Libya Country Profile

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2009)

Total life expectancy at birth (years)   72.3
Male life expectancy at birth (years)   70.2
Female life expectancy at birth (years)  74.9
Newborns with low birth weight (%)  4.0
Children underweight (%)   4.8
Perinatal mortality rate per 1000 total births 19.0
Neonatal mortality rate  11.0
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 14.0
Under five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 20.1
Maternal mortality ratio (per 10000 live births) 23.0

Source WHO http://www.emro.who.int/emrinfo/index.aspx?Ctry=liy  

Education

The adult literacy rate was of the order of 89%, (2009), (94% for males and 83% for females). 99.9% of youth are literate (UNESCO 2009 figures, See UNESCO, Libya Country Report)

Gross primary school enrolment ratio was 97% for boys and 97% for girls (2009) .
(see UNESCO tables at

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=4340&BR_Region=40525

The pupil teacher ratio in Libya’s primary schools was of the order of 17 (1983 UNESCO data), 74% of school children graduating from primary school were enrolled in secondary school (1983 UNESCO  data).

Based on more recent date, which confirms a marked increase in school enrolment, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in secondary schools was of the order of 108% in 2002. The GER is the number of pupils enrolled in a given level of education regardless of age expressed as a percentage of the population in the theoretical age group for that level of education.

For tertiary enrolment (postsecondary, college and university), the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was of the order of 54% in 2002 (52 for males, 57 for females).
(For further details see http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=4340&BR_Region=40525

Women’s Rights

With regard to Women’s Rights, World Bank data point to significant achievements.

“In a relative short period of time, Libya achieved universal access for primary education, with 98% gross enrollment for secondary, and 46% for tertiary education. In the past decade, girls’ enrollment increased by 12% in all levels of education. In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10%.” (World Bank Libya Country Brief, emphasis added)

Price Controls over Essential Food Staples

In most developing countries, essential food prices have skyrocketed, as a result of market deregulation, the lifting of price controls and the eliminaiton of subsidies, under “free market” advice from the World Bank and the IMF.

In recent years, essential food and fuel prices have spiralled as a result of speculative trade on the major commodity exchanges.

Libya was one of the few countries in the developing World which maintained a system of price controls over essential food staples.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick acknowledged in an April 2011 statement that the price of essential food staples had increased by 36 percent in the course of the last year. (See Robert Zoellick, World Bank)

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had established a system of price controls over essential food staples, which was maintained until the onset of the NATO led war.

While rising food prices in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt spearheaded social unrest and political dissent, the system of food subsidies in Libya was maintained.

These are the facts confirmed by several UN specialised agencies.

“Missile Diplomacy” and “The Free Market”

War and Globalization are intiricately related.  The IMF and NATO work in tandem, in liason with the Washington think tanks.

The NATO operation purports to enforce the neoliberal economic agenda. Countries which are reluctant to accept the sugar coated bullets of IMF “economic medicine” will eventually be the object of a R2P NATO humanitarian operation.

Déjà Vu? Under the British Empire, “gun boat diplomacy” was a means to imposing “free trade”. On October 5, 1850, England’s Envoy to the Kingdom of Siam, Sir James Brooke recommended to Her Majesty’s government that:

“should these just demands [to impose free trade] be refused, a force should be present, immediately to enforce them by the rapid destruction of the defenses of the [Chaopaya] river… Siam may be taught the lesson which it has long been tempting– its Government may be remodelled, A better disposed king placed on the throne and an influence acquired in the country which will make it of immense commercial importance to England” (The Mission of Sir James Brooke, quoted in M.L. Manich Jumsai, King Mongkut and Sir John Bowring, Chalermit, Bangkok, 1970, p. 23)

Today we call it “Regime Change” and “Missile Diplomacy” which invariably takes the shape of a UN sponsored “No Fly Zone”. Its objective is to impose the IMF’s deadly “economic medicine” of austerity measures and privatization.

The World Bank financed “reconstruction” programs of war torn countries are coordinated with US-NATO military planning. They are invariably formulated prior to onslaught of the military campaign…

Confiscating Libyan Financial Assets

Libya`s frozen overseas financial assets are estimated to be of the order of $150 billion, with NATO countries holding more than $100 billion.

Prior to the war, Libya had no debts. In fact quite the opposite. It was a creditor nation investing in neighboring African countries.

The R2P military intervention is intended to spearhead the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya into the straightjacket of an indebted developing country, under the surveillance of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions.

In a bitter irony, after having stolen Libya’s oil wealth and confiscated its overseas financial assets, the “donor community” has pledged to lend the (stolen) money back to finance Libya’s post-war “reconstruction”.   Libya is slated to join the ranks of indebted African countries which have driven into poverty by IMF and the World Bank since the onsalught of the debt crisis in the early 1980s:

The IMF promised a further $35-billion in funding [loans] to countries affected by Arab Spring uprisings and formally recognized Libya’s ruling interim council as a legitimate power, opening up access to a myriad of international lenders as the country [Libya] looks to rebuild after a six-month war.  …

Getting IMF recognition is significant for Libya’s interim leaders as it means international development banks and donors such as the World Bank can now offer financing.

The Marseille talks came a few days after world leaders agreed in Paris to free up billions of dollars in frozen assets [stolen money] to help [through loans] Libya’s interim rulers restore vital services and rebuild after a conflict that ended a 42-year dictatorship.

The financing deal by the Group of Seven major economies plus Russia is aimed at supporting reform efforts [IMF sponsored structural adjustment] in the wake of uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

The financing is mostly in the form of loans, rather than outright grants, and is provided half by G8 and Arab countries and half by various lenders and development banks. (Financial Post, September 10, 2011,

http://www.truthseeker444.blogspot.com/

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.

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Yemen’s Ansarullah: Pause In Saudi Raids on Al-Hudaydah to Buy Time

Yemen’s Ansarullah: Pause In Saudi Raids on Al-Hudaydah to Buy Time

 

صنعاء تتهم التحالف السعودي بالترويج للتهدئة لترتيب أوضاع قواته المنهارة

 

قوات التحالف تقصف بالمدفعية كلية الهندسة في جامعة الحديدة بعد ساعات من شن طائرات التحالف غارة جوية على مزرعة في التحيتا جنوب الحديدة.

استشهد ثلاثة مدنيين وأصيب اثنان بغارة لطائرات التحالف السعودي استهدفت سيارة مدنية على الطريق العام الرابط بين مديرية كتاف ومنطقة الفحلوين

استشهد ثلاثة مدنيين وأصيب اثنان بغارة لطائرات التحالف السعودي استهدفت سيارة مدنية على الطريق العام الرابط بين مديرية كتاف ومنطقة الفحلوين

استشهد اربعة مدنيين يمنيين وجرح اثنان بقصف جوي للتحالف السعودي استهدف حافلة ركاب في مديرية المراوعة شرقي الحديدة.

قوات التحالف قصفت بالمدفعية كلية الهندسة في جامعة الحديدة بعد ساعات من شن طائرات التحالف غارة جوية على مزرعة في التحيتا جنوب الحديدة.

 أما في صعدة فاستشهد ثلاثة مدنيين وأصيب اثنان بغارة لطائرات التحالف السعودي استهدفت سيارة مدنية على الطريق العام الرابط بين مديرية كتاف ومنطقة الفحلوين.

المتحدث باسم القوات المسلحة اليمنية العميد يحيى سريع أكد أن التحالف السعودي مستمر في ارتكاب المجازر بحق الشعب اليمني، مشيراً إلى أن التحالف يسعى من وراء الترويج لتهدئة إلى كسب الوقت وإعادة ترتيب أوضاع قواته المنهارة.

أما وزير الدولة لشؤون الحوار والمصالحة في حكومة صنعاء أحمد القنع أكّد للميادين أن المقاتلين التابعين للتحالف السعودي لن يستطيعوا دخول الحديدة ولو حاولوا ذلك لسنوات.

ولفت القنع إلى أن دول التحالف صرفت أموالاً على الجانب الإعلامي أكثر مما صرفت على الجانب العسكري، مؤكداً أن انتصارات التحالف السعودي في اليمن هي انتصاراتٌ إعلاميةٌ وهمية.


مجلس الأمن الدولي يعقد اليوم جلسة تناقش الأوضاع الإنسانية والسياسية في اليمن

وفي السياق، يعقد مجلس الأمن الدولي اليوم جلسة تناقش الأوضاع الإنسانية والسياسية في اليمن وسط منع التحالف السعودي أربع سفن من إفراغ حمولاتها من الوقود بالرغم من الحاجة الملحة اليها محلياً.
الأمم المتحدة أعلنت أن ميناءي الحديدة وصاليف يعملان لكن دون طاقتهما.
وأشار المتحدث باسم الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة ستيفان دوجاريك إلى أن حكومة الرئيس هادي فرضت قيوداً على السفن التي تنقل الوقود.

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US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 16.11.2018 |

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

At first glance, it may seem like a positive move. The Trump administration and London are both putting pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to implement a ceasefire in Yemen’s atrocious war. Washington and London are also calling for warring sides to enter into peace negotiations within a month.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, as Houthi rebels who took over Yemen at the end of 2014 are saying, the country has been under aggression for the past three years from a Saudi-led coalition supported militarily by the US, Britain and France. The unrelenting war on the poorest country in the Middle East has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with over half of the population – some 14 million people – at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

Therefore, the appropriate legal and moral course of action now is not merely a ceasefire or talks. It is for the Western-backed Saudi, Emirati coalition to immediately halt its criminal aggression against Yemen. In short, stop the foreign interference in Yemen’s sovereign affairs.

US Secretary of State James Mattis and Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt appear to be impelled by humanitarian concern for the massive human suffering in Yemen with their recent calls for cessation of hostilities.

But a more nuanced reading of their exhortations suggest that the real concern is to burnish the blood-soaked image of the Saudi coalition that their governments support, and, secondly, to inveigle the Houthis into a negotiations framework that will result in undue foreign influence over Yemen’s politics.

Last week, Washington announced that it was suspending mid-air refueling flights for Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have been pounding Yemen since March 2015, which has resulted in a horrendous death toll among civilians. The indiscriminate killing of the Saudis and Emirati air strikes has been amply documented, albeit downplayed by Western media. The latter keep repeating a figure of 10,000 dead in Yemen – a figure which has bizarrely remained unchanged for at least the past two years. The real death toll from air strikes is unknown but likely to be near 50,000.

American, British and French military support for the murderous operations in Yemen should have stopped months, even years ago, if official humanitarian concerns were genuine.

The question is: why the sudden effort by Washington and London, as well as Paris, to call for a ceasefire and follow-on political talks?

One factor, no doubt, is the barbaric murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by assassins linked to the House of Saud. Turkish authorities believe that Khashoggi was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, his body hacked to pieces and dissolved in industrial-strength acid. Audiotapes obtained by the Turkish authorities have implicated the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder plot against the dissident journalist.

The gruesome details of Khashoggi’s killing and the blatant lies that the Saudi rulers have issued to cover up their barbarity have heaped immense pressure on Washington, London and Paris over their close ties with the House of Saud. Public outrage has demanded that sanctions be imposed on Riyadh, such as cancelling multi-billion-dollar arms deals.

It seems significant that the acute disgrace over the appalling Khashoggi affair and the association of the US, British and French governments with such a despotic Saudi regime has in turn prompted these Western powers to mount a damage-limitation exercise in public relations.

This is where the Yemen war provides an opportunity for the Western powers and their Saudi clients to salvage their tarnished public image.

By pushing for a ceasefire in Yemen, Washington, London and Paris can claim to be “getting tough” with the Saudis for the sake of alleviating “humanitarian suffering”. By appearing to respond to the Western calls for a ceasefire, the Saudis can then also claim they are relenting out of humane concern.

However, such pleas have not stopped Saudi and Emirati-backed militia on the ground besieging the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on the Red Sea, for which 80-90 per cent of the entire population in the country rely on for food and other vital supplies. In other words, the Western-backed Saudi coalition is using starvation tactics to bring the Houthi rebels and the wider Yemeni population to their knees. That is a monstrous war crime.

What Mattis is calling for in terms of ceasefire is for all heavy weapons in Yemen to be put under the control of United Nations peacekeepers. Washington is also demanding that the Houthis rebels withdraw from the country’s border with Saudi Arabia, from where the rebels have mounted missile attacks which have gravely harassed the Saudis, including in the capital Riyadh. The Houthis have struck Saudi territory in response to the air strikes.

So, what the Americans, British and French are striving for is, firstly, a respite from the sordid publicity over the Khashoggi killing. If the “humanitarian appeal” over Yemen succeeds to placate Western public outrage, then these governments will be able to continue business-as-usual selling the Saudi regime lucrative weapons contracts.

Secondly, by drawing the Houthi rebels into “peace negotiations” that will also burnish the Western and Saudi public image, as well as – equally importantly – forcing the rebels into accepting a compromise on their revolutionary government. By entering negotiations with the Saudi-backed remnants of the exiled Yemeni leader Mansour Hadi, the Houthis will inevitably have to accept making concessions and allowing an accommodation with the ousted, discredited regime.

Mansour Hadi, who has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia since the Houthis seized power, was reviled by most Yemenis for his corruption and being a puppet of the Saudis and Americans. His exiled clique is routinely and mendaciously referred to by Western media as the “internationally recognized government of Yemen”.

When he fled the country in ignominy in early 2015, the Houthi rebels had succeeded in spearheading a popular revolt. The rebels profess a branch of Shia Islam, but there was every indication that they had a relatively democratic program for pluralist governance.

The Saudi and American sponsors of the ousted Mansour Hadi reacted to the overthrow of their puppet by launching an air war on Yemen in late March 2015 – a war which has continued unremittingly ever since, with Britain and France also joining the profitable slaughter by suppling warplanes and missiles.

Another lie told by Western media is that the rebels are proxies of Iran, a lie which is used to “justify” the Western-backed criminal war against the country. Iran supports the Houthis diplomatically, but there is no evidence of arms supplies. Even if there was, so what? That wouldn’t justify aerial bombardment of the country and its people.

The devastation inflicted on Yemen and its people has largely been ignored by Western news media. Despite the lack of coverage, the Western public have nevertheless become aware of the horror and their governments’ complicity. Harrowing images of skeletal children dying from starvation and lack of basic medicines have shamed Washington, London and Paris into taking some action, however despicably inadequate and long overdue.

The recent impetus for a ceasefire and talks in Yemen coming from the US and its Western allies is not due to humanitarianism. It’s a cynical PR exercise to whitewash bloodied images – both theirs and that of their Saudi client regime. The Yemen war has been shown to be a sickening charnel house in a futile bid for Western regime change against the Houthi revolution. By forcing the Houthis into negotiations, the Western powers hope to achieve their regime change objective by another tactic – and gain PR capital at the same time.

If Washington, London and Paris were really serious about ending the suffering in Yemen, they would simply demand that the aggression stops immediately, so that the Yemenis are allowed to determine their own political future without foreign interference. But the Western powers will not do that because their interference in Yemen, along with the Saudis, is the very reason why this criminal war of aggression started and grinds on.

Thanking vets for their “service” – why?

The Saker

November 15, 2018

Thanking vets for their “service” – why?

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

Depending on the context, the small word “why” can be totally innocuous or it can be just about the most subversive and even sacrilegious word one can utter.  This is probably why I love this word so much: it’s ability to unleash tremendous power against all sorts of sacred cows and unchallenged beliefs.  So,today I want to ask everybody why so many people feel the need to thank veterans for their “service”?

But first, let’s debunk a few myths:

First, let’s begin by getting myth #1 out of the way: the notion that US Americans don’t like wars.  That is totally false. US Americans hate losing wars, but if they win them, they absolutely love them.  In other words, the typical US reaction to a war depends on the perceived outcome of that war. If it is a success they love it (even if it is a turkey-shoot like Desert Storm). If it is a deniable defeat (say the US/NATO air operations against Serbian forces in Kosovo or the total clusterbleep in Grenada) they will simply “forget” it. And if it is an undeniable defeat (say Iraq or Afghanistan) then, yes, indeed, most US Americans will be categorically opposed to it.

 

Next is myth #2: the truth is that no US serviceman or woman has fought a war in defense of the USA since at least WWII (and even this one is very debatable considering that the US forced Japan to wage war and since the attack on Pearl Harbor was set-up as a pretext to then attack Japan). Since 1945 there has not been a single situation in which US soldiers defended their land, their towns, their families or their friends from an aggressor. Not one! All the wars fought by the USA since 1945 were wars of aggression, wars of choice and most of them were completely illegal to boot (including numerous subversive and covert operations). At most, one can make the argument that US veterans defended the so-called “American way of life,” but only if one accepts that the said “American way of life” requires and mandates imperialist wars of aggression and the wholesale abandonment of the key concepts of international law.

Finally, there is the ugly dirty little secret that everybody knows but, for some reason, very few dare to mention: the decision to join the (all volunteer) US military is one primarily based on financial considerations and absolutely not some kind of generous “service” of the motherland for pure, lofty, ideals.  Yes, yes, I know – there were those who did join the US military after 9/11 thinking that the USA had been attacked and that they needed to help bring the fight to those who attacked the USA.  But even with a very modest degree of intelligence, it should have become pretty darn obvious that whether 9/11 was indeed the work of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda or not (personally I am absolutely certain that this was a controlled demolition) – this atrocity was used by the US government to justify a long list of wars which could not have possibly had anything to do with 9/11. Hey, after all, the US decided to attack Iraq (which self-evidently had nothing to do with 9/11) and not the KSA (even though most of the putative hijackers were Saudis and had official Saudi backing). Besides, even if some folks were not smart enough to see through the lies and even if THEY believed that they joined the US military to defend the USA, why would the rest of us who by 2018 all know that the attack on Iraq was purely and solely based on lies, “thank” veterans for stupidly waging war for interests they cannot even identify? Since when do we thank people for making wrong and, frankly, immoral decisions?!

Veterans of foreign wars? Wait, I was not aware that there were any other types of vets!

Now let’s look at another basic thing: what is military service? The way I see it, military personnel can roughly be split into two categories: those who actually kill people and those who help those who kill people kill people. Right? If you are a machine gunner or a tank driver, then you personally get to kill people. If you are a communications specialist, or a truck driver, or an electrician, you don’t get to kill people yourself, but your work is to make it easier for those who kill people to kill people. So I think that it would be fair to say that joining a military, any military, is to join an organization whose main purpose is to kill people. Of course, that killing can be morally justifiable and, say, in defense of your country and fellow citizens. But that can only be the case if you prepare for a defensive war and, as we all know, the USA has not fought such a war for over 70 years now. Which means that with a few increasingly rare exceptions (WWII veterans) ALL the veterans which get thanked for their service did what exactly? If we put it in plain English, what fundamental, crucial decision did ALL these veterans make?

In simple and plain English, veterans are those who signed up to kill people outside the USA for money.

Sorry, I know that this sounds offensive to many, but this is a fact. The fact that this decision (to join an organization whose primary purpose is to murder people in their own countries, hundreds and thousands of miles away from the USA) could ALSO have been taken for “patriotic” reasons (i.e. by those who believed in what is most likely the most lying propaganda machine in history) or to “see the world” and “become a real man” does not change the fact that if the US military offered NO pay or benefits, NO scholarships, NO healthcare, etc. then the vast majority of those who claim that they joined to “serve” would never have joined in the first place. We all know that, let’s not pretend otherwise! Just look at the arguments recruiters use to convince people to join: they are all about money and benefits! Need more proof? Just look at the kind of social groups who compose the bulk of the US military: uneducated, poor, with minimal career prospects. The simple truth is that financially successful folks very rarely join the military and, when they do, they usually make a career out of it.

As somebody who has lived in the USA for a total of 21 years now, I can attest that folks join the military precisely for the same reasons they enter the police force or become correctional officers: because in all those endeavors there is money to be made and benefits to enjoy. Okay, there must be, by definition, the 1% or less who joined these (all violent) careers for purely lofty and noble ideals. But these would be a small, tiny, minority. The overwhelming majority of cops, correctional officers and soldiers joined primarily for material and/or financial reasons.

By the way, since that is the case, is it not also true that the soldier (just like the cop or the correctional officers) has ALREADY received his/her “gratitude” from the society for their “service” in the form of a check? Why do folks then still feel the need to “thank them for their service”? We don’t thank air traffic controllers or logging workers (also very tough careers) for their service, do we? And that is in spite of the fact that air traffic controllers and logging workers did not choose to join an organization whose primary goal is to kill people in their own homes (whether private homes or national ones) which is what soldiers get paid for.

Let me repeat that truism once again, in an even more direct way:

veterans are killers hired for money.  Period.  The rest is all propaganda.

In a normal sane world, one would think that this is primarily a moral and ethical question. I would even say a spiritual one. Surely major religions would have something relevant and clarifying to say about this? Well, in the past they did.  In fact, with some slight variations, the principles of what is called a “just war” have been known in the West since at least Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas.  According to one source they are:

  • A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
  • A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
  • A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient–see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with “right” intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.
  • A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
  • The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
  • The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
  • The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

Modern religions for war

(Check out this article for a more thorough discussion of this fascinating topic)

Now Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas are hardly heroes of mine, but they are considered as very authoritative in western philosophical thought. Yet, when checked against this list of criteria, all the wars fought by the USA are clearly and self-evidently totally unjust: all of them fail on several criteria, and most of them (including the attack on Iraq and Afghanistan) fail on all of them!

But there is no need to go far back into the centuries to find authoritative western thinkers who clearly denounce unjust wars.  Did you know that the ultimate crime under international law is not genocide or crimes against humanity?

Robert H Jackson

Nope, the supreme crime under international law is the crime of aggression. In the words of the chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Robert H. Jackson, the crime of aggression is the supreme crime because “it contains within itself the accumulated evil” of all the other war crimes.  He wrote:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

So from the 4th century through the 20th century, the people of the West always knew what a just war was, and they fully understood that starting such a war is the supreme evil crime under international law. But this goes beyond just major wars. Under international law, the crime of “aggression” does not only refer to a full-scale military attack. Aggression can be defined as the execution of any one of the following acts:

  • Declaration of war upon another State.
  • Invasion by its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State.
  • Attack by its land, naval or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels or aircraft of another State.
  • A naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State.
  • Provision of support to armed bands formed in its territory which have invaded the territory of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded State, to take, in its own territory, all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection.

Finally, it is important to note here that by these authoritative legal definitions, every single US President is a war criminal under international law! This, in turn, begs the question of whether all the wars fought by US soldiers since 1945 were indeed waged by a legitimate authority (as mentioned by Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas above)? How can that be when the Commander in Chief himself is a war criminal?

Let’s sum it up so far:

we have folks who agree to become killers (or killer-assistants), who do that primarily for financial reasons, who then only participate in illegal and immoral wars of aggression and whose commander in chief is a war criminal.

And they deserve our gratitude why exactly?!

Maybe because so many veterans have been hurt, maimed, traumatized? Maybe because once they leave the armed forces, they don’t get the social and medical support they need? Perhaps merely because wars are horrible? Or maybe because the veterans were lied to and deceived? Or maybe because some (many?) of them did try to stay human, honorable and decent people in spite of the horrors of war all around them? When we think of the horrendous unemployment, homelessness and even suicide figures amongst veterans, we cannot but feel that these are people who have been lied to, cheated and then discarded like a useless tool. So maybe saying “thank you for your service” is the right thing to say?

Nope! These are all excellent reasons to feel compassion and sympathy for veterans, yes. But not gratitude. There is a huge difference here. Everybody, every human, and I strongly believe every creature deserves compassion and sympathy. But it is one thing to say “I feel compassion for you” and quite another to say “thank you for what you did” because that implies that the deed was a moral, good, ethical deed, and that is entirely false.

Major General Smedley Butler put it best when he wrote:

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war, a few people make huge fortunes.

If we agree that war is, indeed, a “racket” and that it is conducted “for the benefit of the very few” then it would make sense for these “very few” to express their gratitude to those whom they hired to enrich them.  And, in fact, they do.  Here is the best example of that:

Corporation for war

(well, that at least makes sense!)

Of course, Google is no more dependent on wars of aggression than any other US corporation.  The very nature of the US economy is based on war and has always been based on war.  The so-called “American way of life” but without wars of aggression has never been attempted in the past, and it won’t be attempted for as long as the USA remains the cornerstone of the AngloZionist Empire and the world hegemony it seeks to impose on the rest of mankind.  But until that day arrives the “American way of life” will always imply wars of aggression and the mass murder of innocent people whose only “sin” is to dare to want to live free and not be a slave to the Empire.  If you believe that those who dare to want to live free in a truly sovereign country deserve to be murdered and maimed, then yes, by all means – thank the veterans from the bottom of your heart!

But if you don’t believe this, offer them your compassion, but not your gratitude for their crimes.

The Saker

Leaked Pentagon Docs Expose US Hand in Yemen

Pentagon Inadvertently Reveals Secret Saudi Operation

What Genghis Khan Can Teach Us About American Politics

What Genghis Khan Can Teach Us About American Politics

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 15.11.2018

What Genghis Khan Can Teach Us About American Politics

The brutal warlord understood how to govern shrewdly and even humanely.

Casey CHALK

Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Winston Churchill, even Barack Obama: there are many historical figures who Americans have turned to for inspiration in this political distemper. That’s especially true with the midterm elections only a week in the books. But I’ve recently found an even more surprising leader who offers a number of political lessons worth contemplating: Genghis Khan.

I’m quite serious.

As a former history teacher, I picked up Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World because I realized I knew relatively little about one of the most influential men in human history. Researchers have estimated that 0.5 percent of men have Genghis Khan’s DNA in them, which is perhaps one of the most tangible means of determining historical impact. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Mongolian warlord conquered a massive chunk of the 13th-century civilized world—including more than one third of its population. He created one of the first international postal systems. He decreed universal freedom of religion in all his conquered territories—indeed, some of his senior generals were Christians.

Of course, Genghis Khan was also a brutal military leader who showed no mercy to enemies who got in his way, leveling entire cities and using captured civilians as the equivalent of cannon fodder. Yet even the cruelest military geniuses (e.g. Napoleon) are still geniuses, and we would be wise to consider what made them successful, especially against great odds. In the case of Genghis Khan, we have a leader who went from total obscurity in one of the most remote areas of Asia to the greatest, most feared military figure of the medieval period, and perhaps the world. This didn’t happen by luck—the Mongolian, originally named Temujin, was not only a skilled military strategist, but a shrewd political leader.

As Genghis Khan consolidated control over the disparate tribes of the steppes of northern Asia, he turned the traditional power structure on its head. When one tribe failed to fulfill its promise to join him in war and raided his camp in his absence, he took an unprecedented step. He summoned a public gathering, or khuriltai, of his followers, and conducted a public trial of the other tribe’s aristocratic leaders. When they were found guilty, Khan had them executed as a warning to other aristocrats that they would no longer be entitled to special treatment. He then occupied the clan’s lands and distributed the remaining tribal members among his own people. This was not for the purposes of slavery, but a means of incorporating conquered peoples into his own nation. The Mongol leader symbolized this act by adopting an orphan boy from the enemy tribe and raising him as his own son.

Weatherford explains: “Whether these adoptions began for sentimental reasons or for political ones, Temujin displayed a keen appreciation of the symbolic significance and practical benefit of such acts in uniting his followers through his usage of fictive kinship.” Genghis Khan employed this equalizing strategy with his military as well—eschewing distinctions of superiority among the tribes. For example, all members had to perform a certain amount of public service. Weatherford adds: “Instead of using a single ethnic or tribal name, Temujin increasingly referred to his followers as the People of the Felt Walls, in reference to the material from which they made their gers [tents].”

America, alternatively, seems divided along not only partisan lines, but those of race and language as well. There is also an ever-widening difference between elite technocrats and blue-collar folk, or “deplorables.” Both parties have pursued policies that have aggravated these differences, and often have schemed to employ them for political gain. Whatever shape they take—identity politics, gerrymandering—the controversies they cause have done irreparable harm to whatever remains of the idea of a common America. The best political leaders are those who, however imperfectly, find a way to transcend a nation’s many differences and appeal to a common cause, calling on all people, no matter how privileged, to participate in core activities that define citizenship.

The Great Khan also saw individuals not as autonomous, atomistic individuals untethered to their families and local communities, but rather as inextricably linked to them. For example, “the solitary individual had no legal existence outside the context of the family and the larger units to which it belonged; therefore the family carried responsibility of ensuring the correct behavior of its members…to be a just Mongol, one had to live in a just community.” This meant, in effect, that the default social arrangement required individuals to be responsible for those in their families and immediate communities. If a member of a family committed some crime, the entire unit would come under scrutiny. Though such a paradigm obviously isn’t ideal, it reflects Genghis Khan’s recognition that the stronger our bonds to our families, the stronger the cohesion of the greater society. Politicians should likewise pursue policies that support and strengthen the family, the “first society,” rather than undermining or redefining it.

There are other gems of wisdom to be had from Genghis Khan. He accepted a high degree of provincialism within his empire, reflecting an ancient form of subsidiarity. Weatherford notes: “He allowed groups to follow traditional law in their area, so long as it did not conflict with the Great Law, which functioned as a supreme law or a common law over everyone.” This reflects another important task for national leaders, who must seek to honor, and even encourage, local governments and economies, rather than applying one-size-fits-all solutions.

He was an environmentalist, codifying “existing ideals by forbidding the hunting of animals between March and October during the breeding time.” This ensured the preservation and sustainability of the Mongol’s native lands and way of life. He recognized the importance of religion in the public square, offering tax exemptions to religious leaders and their property and excusing them from all types of public service. He eventually extended this to other essential professions like public servants, undertakers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and scholars. Of course, in our current moment, some of these professions are already well compensated for their work, but others, like teachers, could benefit from such a tax exemption.

There’s no doubt that Genghis Khan was a brutal man with a bloody legacy. Yet joined to that violence was a shrewd political understanding that enabled him to create one of the greatest empires the world has ever known. He eschewed the traditional tribal respect for the elites in favor of the common man, he pursued policies that brought disparate peoples under a common banner, and he often avoided a scorched earth policy in favor of mercy to his enemies. Indeed, as long as enemy cities immediately surrendered to the Mongols, the inhabitants saw little change in their way of life. And as Weatherford notes, he sought to extend these lessons to his sons shortly before his death:

He tried to teach them that the first key to leadership was self-control, particularly mastery of pride, which was something more difficult, he explained, to subdue than a wild lion, and anger, which was more difficult to defeat than the greatest wrestler. He warned them that “if you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.” He admonished them never to think of themselves as the strongest or smartest. Even the highest mountain had animals that step on it, he warned. When the animals climb to the top of the mountain, they are even higher than it is.

Perhaps if American politicians were to embrace this side of the Great Khan, focusing on serving a greater ideal rather than relentless point-scoring, we might achieve the same level of national success, without the horrific bloodshed.

theamericanconservative.com

U.S. in “Military Crisis”, Could Lose War to Russia and China: Report Warns

US in “Military Crisis”, Could Lose War to Russia and China: Report Warns

November 15, 2018

The United States is facing a national security and military crisis and could lose in a war against Russia or China, a bipartisan congressional panel warned in a report on Wednesday (Nov 14).

The National Defense Strategy Commission evaluated the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy, which ordered a vast reshaping of the US military to compete with Beijing and Moscow in an era of “great-power competition”.

Meanwhile, according to the commission, China and Russia are seeking regional hegemony in an attempt to project military power globally and pursuing defense buildups aimed squarely at the United States.

“America’s military superiority – the hard-power backbone of its global influence and national security – has eroded to a dangerous degree,” the commission said.

In the report, the commission found America’s focus on counter-insurgency operations this century resulted in it slipping in other warfighting areas such as missile defense, cyber and space operations, and anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

“The United States has significantly weakened its own defense due to political dysfunction and decisions made by both Republicans as well as Democrats;” thus, creating “a crisis of national security for the United States,” the report added.

The commission also said that American influence across Asia and Europe is being steadily eroded and military balances have shifted in “decidedly adverse” ways that have raised the risk of conflict.

“The US military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict,” the commission added.

The report concludes that the Defense Department isn’t financially or strategically set up to wage two wars at once and could even lose a war against China or Russia individually.

Though the Pentagon this year has a budget of more than US$700 billion, far more than Russia and China combined, the commission said the sum is still “clearly insufficient” to meet the goals laid out in the NDS.

Commissioners made a series of recommendations including a 3-5 per cent annual increase in the defense budget.

SourceAgencies

 

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