IS FALSE-FLAG ATTACK ON US NAVY SHIP NEXT?

South Front

23.04.2018

Is False-Flag Attack On US Navy Ship Next?

Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman (Photo by Michael W. Pendergrass/U.S. Navy/Getty Images)

Written by Nick; Originally appeared at the Saker blog

The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group left the east coast Naval Station Norfolk, VA on 11th April.

The aircraft carrier is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Burke, Bulkeley, Forest Sherman and Farragut, and the destroyers USS Jason and The Sullivans. The strike group carries 6,500 sailors and Carrier Air Wing One.

Recent announcements about Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) missile system having made these vessels effectively obsolete, this means that the ships and their crews are essentially being sailed into a bloody scrapyard.

Even without the recent upgrading of the Kinzhal system, the experience of the British fleet in the Falklands conflict illustrates the vulnerability of warships to low-flying missiles. In addition to the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and Sir Galahad, virtually every British ship was hit by at least one of Argentinian’s French-made Exocet missiles – a weapons system which was already 20 years old at the time.

Exocet missile sinks HMS Sheffield during Falklands War:

Reportedly the only thing that saved the UK force from obliteration was that the Argentinians had got their missile altimeter settings wrong. The Russians will not make the same sort of error!

These facts are of course known to the US military planners and – one would assume and hope, for it is duty to know – by Donald Trump. And yet the US fleet is now nearing the coast of Syria, where it will met up with American and other NATO warships already in position. Together, they will make one big flock of sitting ducks.

If the people pushing Trump manage to get him launch a new strike on Syria (and we must expect a new false flag attack) and if the massive increase in NATO firepower means that enough missiles get through to enough targets to kill Russians, then Putin really has no choice but to sink the US fleet.

No choice because, whatever the danger of doing so, failure to respond would signal Russian defeat and retreat in Syria, which would of course lead to a rapid escalation of military pressure against Lebanon and Iran, and mean that when the Empire then rolls on to strike Russia, her most reliable allies will already have gone and her ‘soft underbelly’ will be seriously exposed.

So Putin orders the destruction of the US fleet, and an hour later all that is left is debris and mangled corpses in some oil slicks – and some ‘great’ photos and video clips to illustrate Trump’s declaration of war on account of “Russia’s deadly sneak attack on a US humanitarian force”.

Sounds familiar? It should do. Because we’re not just thinking here of the USS Maine, the Lusitania and the Gulf of Tonkin. The Washington habit of using sunken ships as the causus belli also of course included Pearl Harbor.

Just in case you need a reminder, here’s just one example of the many short videos out there on the truth about the Japanese attack on 7th December 1941 which explain how Roosevelt had advance intelligence of the planned attack, but decided not to pass it on to the anchored sitting duck fleet:

The more or less official excuse (the President’s guilt never having been formally acknowledged) is that to have alerted the fleet would also have tipped off the Japanese that their naval codes had already been broken. But the truth is of course that deliberately didn’t warn the fleet because he knew that the sacrifice would goad the American people into a war against Hitler to which he and those around and behind him were committed, but which the American people opposed.

The circumstances this time are of course somewhat different, not least that everyone with even a passing knowledge of the Russian missile capability already knows that 6,500 sailors are “on their way to Samara”.

Which makes Donald Trump either a criminally incompetent fool, a bad poker player or a wholly controlled puppet of the psychotic Anglo-Zionist elite. If he is one of the first two of these, then there is of course still a chance that he might respond to the disaster by blinking and retreating. In which case, the Beltway elite will use the human tragedy and his humiliation to remove him from office (not a bad consolation prize, from their point of view).

But if he is the third, then the ‘shock’ blitz on the US fleet will lead to the immediate declaration of World War Three.

Indeed, if things get that far (and we’re probably 48 hours and one White Helmets’ video away from it) then the only thing that realistically stands a chance of stopping the racist Anglo-Zionist psychopaths in their tracks is if the Russian attack and its result are such a devastating show of ‘shock and awe’ as to make it impossible for them to ignore a simultaneous public warning by Putin to Netanyahu that any further US hostile response will place Israel directly in the firing line as well.

That might JUST be enough to make the Neocons back off. If not, then World War Three it will be. It might not go nuclear straight away, but even while it is conventional EVERYTHING will change:

Dissident anti-war voices such as this will rapidly be silenced by blanket censorship and internment; your sons and daughters will be conscripted; your taxes will go through the roof – and you will have to live with the ever-present fear that, once China enters the war against Washington and its client states, the tide will run so fast against the ‘democratic allies’ that their ‘humanitarian missiles’ will end up with nuclear tips.

If that disturbs you (and it surely should) then all I ask is that you take the Pearl Harbor analogy and get busy spreading it on social media RIGHT NOW. Because once those young sailors and airmen have been sacrificed, the demand for a war of ‘revenge’ will be unstoppable. But if the warmongers realize that plenty of people have already understood the plan, it might just spook them into backing off.

In which case the fleet can do a few face-saving manoeuvres and then sail home again and we can look forward to a summer which may be warm, but not as uncomfortably hot as it could otherwise become!

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هل تصبح سورية فيتنام العرب…؟

أبريل 20, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

ما أشبه اليوم بالبارحة.

وذلك لأنّ الرئيس الأميركي ترامب لم يأتِ بجديد عندما أعلن عن نيته سحب قوات بلاده المحتلة من شمال شرق سورية، وذلك لأنّ هناك من سبقه من الرؤساء الأميركيين الى مثل هذه الخطوة قبل حوالي أربعين عاماً آملاً منه في النجاة من الهزيمة. تلك الهزيمة المدوية والهروب المذلّ للقوات الأميركية من فيتنام سنة 1975 كان قد سبقها إعلان رئاسي مشابه لإعلان ترامب.

ففي الخامس والعشرين من شهر تموز سنة 1969 أعلن الرئيس الأميركي آنذاك، ريتشارد نيكسون، في خطاب له في جزيرة غوام في المحيط الهادئ، ما أطلق عليه في حينه: عقيدة نيكسون Nixon Doktrin.

وقد كان جوهر تلك العقيدة يقول بضرورة أن يتولى حلفاء الولايات المتحدة في فيتنام، أي حكومة فيتنام العميلة، أمور الدفاع عن أنفسهم بأيديهم، خاصة من الناحية المادية أو المالية.

وكان الهدف من نشر هذه العقيدة، التي صاغها مستشار الرئيس نيكسون لشؤون الأمن القومي هنري كيسينغر، يشمل العديد من الأهداف أهمها التالية:

أولاً: نقل مسؤوليات العمليات القتالية شيئاً فشيئاً الى جيش حكومة فيتنام الجنوبية العميلة والذي كان يبلغ تعداده مليون جندي.

ثانياً: تهيئة الظروف لانسحاب تدريجي للقوات الأميركية، والتي بلغ تعدادها آنذاك أربعمئة وستة وستين ألفاً ومئتي جندي، من فيتنام.

ثالثاً: تفادي هزيمة مذلة للجيش الأميركي في تلك الحرب والتي كانت قد كلفت الولايات المتحدة ما يزيد على مئة مليار دولار.

ولكن مستشاري نيكسون وبدلاً من التوجه الى المفاوضات المباشرة والعمل على إنهاء الحرب بأقصى سرعة كانوا يقدمون له الاستشارات بضرورة زيادة الضغط العسكري على فيتنام الشمالية من أجل تحسين شروط المفاوضات المستقبلية.

ذلك الضغط العسكري الذي تمثل في إلقاء ما يزيد على خمسة عشر مليون طن من المواد المتفجرة على فيتنام وإبادة ما يزيد على ثلاثة ملايين مواطن مدني فيتنامي.

أي أن الإدارة الأميركية وجنودها وجنرالاتها قد ارتكبوا سلسلة من جرائم الحرب المروّعة بحق الشعب الفيتنامي ولكنها لم تنقذ الولايات المتحدة من تجرّع كأس الهزيمة حتى النهاية.

علماً أن إدارة الرئيس نيكسون قد بدأت بفتنمة الحرب هناك وذلك من خلال زيادة تسليح جيش الحكومة الفيتنامية العميلة في جنوب فيتنام وتحويل الحرب شيئاً فشيئاً الى شكل من أشكال الحرب الأهلية أو الفوضى الشاملة التي تضمن استمرار عدم الاستقرار في جنوب شرق آسيا بشكل عام وليس فقط في فيتنام وذلك في إطار استراتيجية الولايات المتحدة في مواجهة كلٍّ من روسيا والصين حليفتي فيتنام الشمالية.

وهذه بالضبط هي العقيدة التي حاولت الإدارات الأميركية، منذ عهد جورج بوش الأب وحتى الآن، تطبيقها في العالم العربي، منذ حرب الخليج الاولى سنة 1991، مروراً باحتلال العراق سنة 2003، وصولاً الى حرب تموز ضد المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان وسلسلة الحروب الإسرائيلية ضد المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة، وانتهاءً بمسلسل التدمير الذي أطلق عليه الربيع العربي في العديد من البلدان العربية.

وهنا لا بد من الإشارة الى ان ما يطبق حالياً من السياسات الأميركية المدمّرة في العالم العربي، وما تشهده المرحلة الحاليّة من تحالف معلن، بين الرجعية العربية وقوى الاستعمار والصهيونية، لهو امتداد لما كان يُسمّى بعقيدة نيكسون في أوائل ستينيات القرن الماضي وأواخر سبعينياته، حيث قرّرت إدارة نيكسون آنذاك توسيع النطاق الجغرافي لتطبيق تلك العقيدة بحيث يشمل منطقة الخليج بأكملها، عرباً وفرساً، حيث قررت تلك الإدارة البدء بتسليح حلفائها آل سعود وشاه إيران، الى جانب «إسرائيل» طبعاً، على نطاق واسع بحجة حماية الأمن والاستقرار في المنطقة.

الامر الذي فتح الابواب على مصاريعها لمرحلة بدء التدخل العسكري الأميركي المباشر في المنطقة بهدف ضرب التيار الوطني المقاوم آنذاك، والذي كان يتمثل في محور جمال عبد الناصر والثورة الفلسطينية وسورية في المشرق والجزائر في المغرب العربي.

وقد ازدادت أهمية هذه الاستراتيجية الأميركية بعد الثورة الإسلامية في إيران عام 1979، حيث تمّ التأكيد عليها من خلال إعلان ما أطلق عليه آنذاك عقيدة كارتر Carter Doctrine والتي أعلنها في خطابه للأمة بتاريخ 23/1/1980 والتي أُعلن فيها صراحة أن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية سوف تستخدم القوة العسكرية «لحماية» مصالحها في الخليج، إذا دعت الضرورة الى ذلك.

ولَم يطُل انتظار التدخّل العسكري الأميركي في منطقة الخليج، وذلك من خلال إشعال الحرب بين العراق وإيران عام 1980 مما أتاح المجال للولايات المتحدة بتوسيع تدخّلها العسكري في شؤون المنطقة العربية بشكل عام ومنطقة الخليج، نظراً لأهميتها الاقتصادية والجيوسياسية، بشكل خاص، مما دفع المنطقة إلى الدخول في سلسلة من الحروب والنزاعات العسكرية المدمرة، والتي تواصلت عبر إشعال حرب الخليج الثانية سنة 1991 ثم حرب احتلال العراق سنة 2003، وحتى مرحلة إنشاء التنظيمات التكفيرية بمختلف مسمّياتها.

وبالنظر إلى كل ما تقدّم فإن السياسات الأميركية المطبّقة حالياً في المنطقة العربية ليست سوى امتداد أو استنساخ لسياسات العدوان الأميركية المشار إليها إعلاه. كما أن خطط ترامب للانسحاب من سورية وتسليم مسؤوليات «الدفاع» عن المنطقة، أي عن سورية في هذه الحالة، إلى قوى محلية واقتراحه الجديد، الذي أعلن عنه قبل أيّام، بتشكيل قوة «عربية»، بقيادة السعودية للتدخل في سورية والسيطرة على شمالها الشرقي، بحجة منع إيران من السيطرة عليها وتعزيز نفوذها القوي في سورية.

كما أن هذه الخطوة، إلى جانب طلب البنتاغون رصد مبلغ خمسمئة وخمسين مليون دولار لتجنيد وتسليح ما مجموعه خمسة وستون ألف مقاتل لنشرهم في شمال شرق سورية، لهي خطوة أساسية على طريق تحويل الحرب على أداتهم داعش إلى حرب عربية عربية تمتد الى سنوات طويلة خدمة لمشاريع تفتيت الدول العربية وتدمير قدراتها وخاصة الدولة السورية، التي تمثل مع حليفها الإيراني والمقاومة اللبنانية عنوان مشروع التحرّر من الاحتلال الأجنبي، بما في ذلك الصهيوني، والخطر الأوحد على وجود الكيان الصهيوني الذي أنشئ أصلاً لإدارة الهيمنة الاستعمارية على المنطقة العربية.

ولكن هذا المخطط الأميركي يعاني من مشكلة أساسية، ألا وهي عدم توفر القوى العسكرية لديه القادرة على تنفيذ مخططه في الميدان والسيطرة على الارض. فلا غلام آل سعود، عادل الجبير، ولا محمد بن سلمان ومحمد بن زايد قادرون على حشد مليون جندي، كما كان الحال في جنوب فيتنام، ولا الولايات المتحدة قادرة على زجّ نصف مليون جندي في الميدان السوري كي تتمكن من تغيير موازين القوى الميدانية وحسم الوضع لصالح مشروعها، بينما قوات حلف المقاومة تتمتع بكافة المزايا الضرورية للاستمرار في هجومها الاستراتيجي الذي لن يتوقف الا بتحرير القدس.

وعليه فلا سبيل الا الانسحاب السريع والهادئ للقوات الأميركية، ليس فقط من سورية بل ومن العراق ومن قواعدها في الخليج، لأن أسلوب التصعيد وإشعال الحروب، الذي تتبعه حالياً في الشرق الأوسط تماماً كما فعلت في جنوب شرق آسيا في سبعينيات القرن الماضي عندما احتلت لاوس وكمبوديا بهدف قطع خطوط إمداد الثوار الفيتناميين، لن يؤدي إلا الى رفع قيمة فاتورة الهزيمة التي ستلحق بالولايات المتحدة كنتيجة لحرب شعبية واسعة النطاق سينخرط فيها مئات آلاف المتطوّعين العرب والمسلمين، والذين لن تنقصهم لا الإمدادات ولا طرق إيصالها إلى ميادين القتال.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

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أميركا تنخرط في الحرب المباشرة مجدّداً والمقاومة ستُخرجها بلا سفن ولا طائرات

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أميركا تنخرط في الحرب المباشرة مجدّداً والمقاومة ستُخرجها بلا سفن ولا طائرات

محمد صادق الحسيني

يبدو أنّ الرؤساء الأميركيين، سواء كانوا جمهوريين أم ديمقراطيين، يبقون دائماً أسرى ما يُسمّى الدولة العميقة في الولايات المتحدة، والمتمثلة في وزارة الدفاع ووكالات او أجهزة المخابرات الحكومية المختلفة، والتي تمثل بدورها مصالح الجهات الأكثر عدوانية وعنصرية وعنجهية في المجتمع الأميركي، ألا وهي تجمّع الصناعات العسكرية وتجمّع شركات النفط والطاقة العملاقة.

أما ما يدفعنا للوصول الى هذه النتيجة فهو قيام الرئيس الأميركي الحالي، دونالد ترامب، بنكث وعوده لمنتخبيه، أثناء الحملة الانتخابية، بأن يوقف تدخل الولايات المتحدة في النزاعات والحروب الخارجية، وذلك حفاظاً على المصالح الأميركية، ويعود كما سابقيه الى الانخراط في سلسلة حروب ومغامرات فاشلة تمتد رقعتها من افغانستان شرقاً وحتى الجزائر غرباً والتي تواجه الاٍرهاب، الذي زرعته الادارة الأميركية، على حدودها الشرقية والجنوبية.

حيث تناسى ترامب، وبعد إرغامه على العودة الى بيت طاعة الدولة العميقة، كل وعوده الانتخابية والتي لم يكن آخرها وعوده لناخبيه بتحسين العلاقة مع روسيا، ضمن توجهاته لخلق نوع من الاستقرار في العلاقات الدولية. ولكنه بدلاً من ذلك لجأ، وفِي نقض واضح لتفاهماته مع الرئيس بوتين في شهر حزيران 2017 في هامبورغ في ألمانيا، لجأ الى منحى مختلف تماماً عن الوعود الانتخابية.

اما دليلنا على ذلك فهو ما يلي:

ان الرئيس ترامب، مثل سلفه الجمهوري ريتشارد نيكسون، يرفض الاستماع الى آراء العقلاء في الولايات المتحدة والذين يكررون الدعوة لسحب القوات الأميركية من كل من افغانستان والعراق وسورية، تماماً كما رفض سلفه نيكسون الاستماع لطلب ممثل التيار المناهض للحرب في فيتنام في سبعينيات القرن الماضي، السيد جون كيري الذي كان ضابطاً في سلاح البحرية الأميركية العامل في فيتنام آنذاك، والذي دُعي خلال جلسة استماع في مجلس الشيوخ الأميركي بتاريخ 22/4/1971 الى إنهاء فوري للحرب في فيتنام تفادياً لهزيمة كبرى. وقد كانت نتيجة ذلك التعنت الأميركي هزيمة عسكرية أميركية مدوية في فيتنام في العام 1975، كما هو معروف.

إن الرئيس ترامب أقرب في ممارساته، وفِي النتائج التي ستترتّب عليها حتماً، الى الرئيس الديموقراطي السابق بيل كلينتون الذي أرسل في شهر أيلول 1993 قوة عسكرية أميركية الى الصومال بحجة اعتقال أحد قادة الفصائل المسلحة الصومالية في موقديشو آنذاك، وهو محمد فرح عيديد، حيث حاولت قوة أميركية خاصة مدرعة، من الكتيبة الثالثة، التابعة لفوج الرينجرز Rangers الـ 75، والتي كان يطلق عليها آنذاك قوات دلتا Delta Force، وبمساندة قوة عمليات خاصة محمولة جواً تابعة للكتيبة الأولى من فوج العمليات الخاصة الجوية رقم 160. حاولت هذه القوة مهاجمة مقر قيادة عيديد، ولكنها مُنيت بخسائر بشرية كبيرة وأسقطت عدداً من المروحيات التي استخدمتها، إلى جانب تدمير عدد من المدرعات المستخدمة في الهجوم وذلك بتاريخ 3 و 4/10/1993.

مما اضطر الرئيس بيل كلينتون إلى اتخاذ قرار حاسم وسريع، بعد اجتماع عاجل لمجلس الأمن القومي الأميركي يوم 6/10/1993، بسحب القوات الأميركية فوراً من الصومال وانتداب السفير روبرت أوكلي Robert B. Oakley بالذهاب الى موقديشو للبدء بمحادثات سلام مع الفصائل الصومالية المسلحة، أي ان الادارة الأميركية اضطرت ان تتفاوض معهم بعد هزيمة كبيرة تلقتها على يد جماعة مسلحة سيئة التسليح والتدريب.

وهذا بالضبط ما سيحدث للرئيس ترامب، إذا استمر في تنفيذ سياسات إدارته العدوانية في كل من سورية والعراق، وإذا أصرّ على المضي قدماً في إقامة قواعد أميركية في البلدين حتى بعد انتفاء الحجة، التي كانت تتذرع بها الإدارة الأميركية لإرسال «قوات خاصة» او «وحدات للتدريب»، الى كل من سورية والعراق وهي حجة محاربة داعش. أي أن الجنود الأميركيين سيُضطرون الى إخلاء قواعدهم والانسحاب تحت النار، اذا واصل رئيسهم رفض الاستماع لصوت العقل الذي يدعوه الى الكفّ عن ممارسة العدوان والتوقف عن تعطيل عملية التسوية السياسية الشاملة في سورية بالتوافق بين السوريين أنفسهم.

ولكن ممارسات الإدارة الأميركية، في كل من العراق وسورية، تشي بغير ذلك تماماً. فهي في العراق تطالب الحكومة العراقية بمنحها عشرين قاعدة عسكرية، بينما أقامت في سورية عشرين قاعدة ونقطة ارتكاز أخرى، دون موافقة الحكومة السورية، التي تعتبر هذا الوجود احتلالاً أجنبياً لأراضيها وتحتفظ لنفسها بحق التصدّي له وطرده بكل الوسائل الضرورية لذلك.

وما الأعمال التحضيرية التي تنفذها القوات الأميركية لإنشاء قاعدة عسكرية جديدة، شمال شرق الخط الدولي رقم 2 وبالقرب من نقطة تنيفات، إلا دليل على وجود مخطط أميركي يهدف الى القيام بفتح جبهة جديدة ضد قوات حلف المقاومة في قاطع التنف/ الوليد/ على جانبي الحدود، وذلك في محاولة منها لإنقاذ مشروعها الأساسي الذي يهدف الى تقسيم العراق وسورية وضرب محور المقاومة وإقامة منطقة سيطرة أميركية/ أردنية/ عازلة بين العراق وسورية، بهدف قطع التواصل الجغرافي البري بين طهران والقدس عبر العراق فسورية فلبنان، تماماً كالمنطقة العازلة التي تخطط «اسرائيل» لإقامتها على حدود الجولان المحتل بهدف إبعاد قوات حلف المقاومة عن خطوط وقف إطلاق النار في الجولان المحتل.

اما ما قامت به القوات الأميركية المتمركزة في قاعدة التنف يوم أمس الاول، من عملية قرصنة لاسلكية ضخمة، سيطرت خلالها لاسلكياً على المنطقة الجوية الممتدة من قاعدة التنف في سورية وحتى الرطبة شرقاً داخل العراق، أي أنها قطعت او عطّلَتْ كافة أنواع الاتصالات السلكية واللاسلكية في المنطقة المشار اليها أعلاه، فما هو إلا أحدث دليل على استمرار القوات الأميركية في عدوانها ومشاركتها لعصابات وفلول داعش وغيرها من المرتزقة الذين تقوم بتدريبهم، بالتعاون مع الجيش الأردني، في قاعدة التنف السورية وفي قاعدة الموقر الاردنية. نقول مشاركتها لهم في تنفيذ جرائمهم ضد وحدات قوات حلف المقاومة على طرفي الحدود، وذلك من خلال تعطيل اتصالات هذه القوات التي تنفذ عمليات تطهير في قاطع الرطبة/ عكاشات/ وادي الغدف… في العراق.

ولكننا نقول إن ما تجهله قيادة الجيش الأميركي والإدارة الأميركية في واشنطن هو أن زيارة الرئيس الروسي الى قاعدة حميميم في سورية ولقاءه الرئيس الأسد هناك في شهر 12/2017 كانت بمثابة إعلان مشترك عن النصر على داعش وأما خطاب الرئيس بوتين في موسكو قبل أيّام فما هو إلا إعلان عن نهاية أحادية القطب في العالم وولادة عالم متعدد الأقطاب وجديد تتحكّم فيه موازين قوى تختلف تماماً عن تلك التي حكمت العالم بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي.

إنه طائر الفينيق، إنها سورية التي تنهض من تحت الرماد لتعلن عن ولادة نظام عالمي جديد لا مكان فيه لمؤامرات الثورات الملوّنة أو تلك المسيّرة عن بعد، أي من واشنطن، بل انه نظام ستكون فيه الولايات المتحدة مجبرة على التخلي عن مشاريع إسقاط الدولة السورية وتفتيت سورية والعراق خدمة لمشاريع الهيمنة الأميركية المطلقة التي أصبحت من الماضي.

هذه المرة لن تجد أميركا الفرصة للهروب المنظم من بلادنا، كما فعلت من سايغون في سبعينيات القرن الماضي بأسراب طائرات من على سفنها نظّمت حفلتها لهم سفارتهم هناك، بل سيدفنون تحت التراب أو يُلقون إلى أسماك بحر الشام…!

فيما سنعلن نحن قيامتنا وعروجنا الى السماء من بلاد الشام كما صرّح جنرال النصر الحاج قاسم سليماني..!

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.

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The Vietnam War Is Not History for Victims of Agent Orange

Source

By Marjorie Cohn and Jonathan Moore,

Watching the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 18-hour series, “The Vietnam War,” is an emotional experience. Whether you served in the US military during the war or marched in the streets to end it, you cannot remain untouched by this documentary. The battle scenes are powerful, the stories of US veterans and Vietnamese soldiers who fought on both sides of the war compelling.

The toll in human terms caused by the war is staggering. Nearly 58,000 Americans and 2 to 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed in the war. Untold numbers were wounded. Many US veterans of the war suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. More US Vietnam War vets have committed suicide than died in the war.  However, those numbers do not begin to tell the complete story of the war.

The US Engages in Chemical Warfare

In one of its most serious omissions, the series gives short shrift to the destruction wreaked by the US military’s spraying of deadly chemical herbicides containing the poison dioxin over much of Vietnam, the most common of which was Agent Orange. This is one of the most tragic legacies of the war. Yet, aside from a few brief mentions, the victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, both Vietnamese and American, are not portrayed in the series. More importantly, the ongoing harm created by this chemical warfare program is never mentioned.

Agent Orange/dioxin was an herbicidal chemical weapon manufactured by US chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto and sprayed by the US military from 1961 to 1971. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. Approximately 3 million Vietnamese and thousands of US and allied soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin.

The US government was aware that the use of poison as a weapon of war was forbidden by international law well before it authorized its use in Vietnam.  In fact, the US government suppressed a 1965 report, called the Bionetics study, that showed dioxin caused many birth defects in experimental animals. It was not until the results of that study were leaked that the use of Agent Orange/dioxin was stopped.

Horrific Birth Defects

Those exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin often have children and grandchildren born with serious illnesses and disabilities. There is a virtual unanimity of opinion within the international scientific community that exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin caused some forms of cancers, reproductive abnormalities, immune and endocrine deficiencies, and nervous system damage. Second- and third-generation victims continue to be born in Vietnam, as well as to US veterans and Vietnamese-Americans in the United States. For many of them and their progeny, the suffering continues.

Mai Giang Vu was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Army of South Vietnam. He carried barrels of chemicals to spray in the jungle. His sons were unable to walk or function normally. Their limbs gradually “curled up” and they could only crawl. By age 18, they were bedridden. One died at age 23, the other at age 25.

Nga Tran, a French Vietnamese woman who worked in Vietnam as a war correspondent, was there when the US military began spraying chemical defoliants. A big cloud of the agent enveloped her. Shortly after her daughter was born, the child’s skin began shedding. She could not bear to have physical contact with anyone. The child never grew. She remained 6.6 pounds – her birth weight – until her death at the age of 17 months. Tran’s second daughter suffers from alpha thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder rarely seen in Asia. Tran saw a woman who gave birth to a “ball” with no human form. Many children are born without brains; others make inhuman sounds. There are victims who have never stood up. They creep and barely lift their heads.

Rosemarie Hohn Mizo is the widow of George Mizo, who fought for the US Army in Vietnam. After he refused to serve a third tour, Mizo was court-martialed, spent two and a half years in prison and received a dishonorable discharge. Before his death from Agent Orange-related illnesses, Mizo helped found the Friendship Village where Vietnamese victims live in a supportive environment.

Dr. Jeanne Stellman, who wrote the seminal Agent Orange article in Nature, said,

“This is the largest unstudied [unnatural] environmental disaster in the world.”

Dr. Jean Grassman, of Brooklyn College at the City University of New York, stated dioxin is a potent cellular disregulator that alters several pathways and disrupts many bodily systems. She said children are very sensitive to dioxin, and the intrauterine or postnatal exposure to dioxin may result in altered immune, neurobehavioral and hormonal functioning. Women pass their exposure to their children both in utero and through the excretion of dioxin in breast milk.

These were some of the witnesses who testified at the International Peoples’ Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange, held in Paris in 2009.

An Empty Promise of Compensation

In the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, the Nixon administration promised to contribute $3 billion for compensation and postwar reconstruction of Vietnam. That promise remains unfulfilled.

In 2004, both US veteran and Vietnamese victims sued the chemical companies who knowingly manufactured Agent Orange and other herbicides, which they knew contained an unnecessary but lethal amount of dioxin. The victims were prevented from suing the US government because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Despite agreeing to compensate US veterans in an earlier lawsuit for some maladies caused by their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides, the US government and the chemical companies maintained before the courts and to this day that there was no evidence to support a connection between exposure and disease. 

The efforts by veterans’ groups and others to take care of our vets has resulted in a compensation scheme administered by the Veterans Administration. It annually pays out billions of dollars to veterans who can demonstrate they were in a contaminated part of Vietnam and have an illness that is associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

Unfortunately, the Vietnamese who were exposed to Agent Orange on a scale unheard of in modern warfare have been left out in the cold. The failure to include this history in the Burns/Novick series is unconscionable. Indeed, one could argue that even the mention of Agent Orange in the series was seriously misleading. For example, in the last episode, the narrator notes the spraying campaign but does so against a verdant backdrop of green fields and abundant crops. 

The actions of the US government and the US manufacturers of Agent Orange and other deadly herbicides is a moral outrage. The US government has funded the cleanup of dioxin at the Danang airport, only one of the 28 “hot spots” still contaminated by dioxin. But this effort ignores the damage caused to the people who live there and eat the crops, animals and fish from the surrounding area. All of these hot spots need to be remediated.

The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2017

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) has introduced H.R. 334, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2017, which has 23 co-sponsors. The bill would lead to the cleanup of dioxin and arsenic contamination still present in Vietnam. It would provide assistance to the public health system in Vietnam directed at the 3 million Vietnamese people affected by Agent Orange. It would also extend assistance to the affected children of male US veterans who suffer the same set of birth defects covered for the children of female veterans. It enable research on the extent of Agent Orange-related diseases in the Vietnamese-American community and provide them with assistance. Finally, it would support laboratory and epidemiological research on the effects of Agent Orange.

Contact your representative and ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 334. Effective compensation for Agent Orange/dioxin victims is a moral imperative.

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Marjorie Cohn http://marjoriecohn.com/, a veteran of the antiwar movement, is on the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace. She is co-author (with Kathleen Gilberd) of “Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent” https://www.amazon.com/Rules- Disengagement-Marjorie-Cohn/ dp/0981576923/ref=sr_1_1?s= books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507478600& sr=1-1&keywords=rules+of+ disengagement. And she served as one of seven judges from three continents at the International Peoples’ Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange http://www.vn-agentorange.org/ paris_2009_tribunal_ execsummary.html, held in Paris in 2009. 

Jonathan Moore was one of the attorneys who filed a lawsuit to gain compensation for Vietnamese who were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin. Cohn and Moore are co-coordinators of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign http://www.vn-agentorange.org.

Agent Orange: 17 Chilling Photos of the Vietnam War Crimes the US Got Away With

Agent Orange: 17 Chilling Photos of the Vietnam War Crimes the US Got Away With

By Amanda Froelich

For ten years during the Vietnam War, the United States used a toxic concoction of two herbicides, labeled ‘Agent Orange,’ to wipe out large areas of Vietnam which were covered by thick jungle. The aim was to enable easier and more effective bombing of enemy bases. The issue was, Agent Orange wasn’t just an herbicide — it was also a deadly weapon, as it contains large amounts of dioxin.

Agent Orange was discovered in the year 1943 by American botanist Arthur Galston. Between the years of 1962 and 1971, the US army “showered” the deadly chemical over Southern Vietnam as part of the military operation “Ranch Hand”, or “Trail Dust.” In total, more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange was used. Sadly, Agent Orange did more than contribute to the deforestation of vast areas of land. It also contaminated air, water, and food sources

History Rundown reports that in high concentrations, dioxin can trigger severe inflammation of the skin, lungs and mucous tissues. Sometimes, the toxicity can result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary edema, and even death. The highly effective carcinogen is also known to affect the eyes, liver, and kidneys, and to cause laryngeal and lung cancer.

As a result of using Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, more than 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and at least 500,000 children were born with mild to severe birth defects. Additionally, 5 million acres of forests and millions more of farmland were destroyed. Agent Orange is said to have killed 10 times more people than all chemical weapons combined.

Because the United States didn’t “technically” violate international laws, as it signed defense treaties with Southern Vietnam’s government and its actions (for the most part) were in line with the defense treaties, there was no reprimand for using Agent Orange as a chemical weapon during the war. That doesn’t mean hundreds of thousands didn’t suffer — or continue to today.

Today, many Agent Orange victims live in Peace Villages, communities where workers care for them and try to give them a normal life. However, “normal” will never truly be possible for most, as mutations caused by Agent Orange still affect the people and the children of Vietnam. As AllThatIsInteresting reports, those who can live in Peace Village are luckier than some of their siblings. Reportedly, some victims of the chemical agent are too deformed to even survive childbirth.

“There is a room at the hospital which contains the preserved bodies of about 150 hideously deformed babies, born dead to their mothers,” one charity worker said“Some have two heads; some have unbelievably deformed bodies and twisted limbs. They are kept as a record of the terrible consequences of chemical weaponry.”

Veterans who served in the Vietnam war, as well, returned to US soil reporting unusually high rates of lymphoma, leukemia, and cancer. The rates were highest among those who worked with Agent Orange directly.

Following are haunting images from the war crime the US got away with:

1) Three planes fly over Vietnam releasing chemicals.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

2) An aerial photograph showing the effects of Agent Orange. The land on the left hasn’t been sprayed while the land on the right has.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

3) Not all of the chemicals were sprayed from above. These soldiers are spraying crops from atop a vehicle, getting up close and personal with the dangerous chemicals.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

4) A ten-year-old girl born without arms writes in her schoolbook.

Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. December 2004. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5) Soldiers down below help spray Agent Orange on the jungle, getting a dangerous dose of the chemicals all over their skins in the process.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

6) 55-year-old Kan Lay holds her 14-year-old son, born with severe physical disabilities because of Agent Orange.

A Lưới, Vietnam. August 6, 2013. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

7) A soldier, after spraying the land with Agent Orange, tries to wash himself clean in some of the very waters that he had helped pollute.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

8) A helicopter sprays Agent Orange.

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

9) Lt. Kathleen Glover comforts an orphaned Vietnamese child.

After the war, Lt. Glover would come home and find out that she had contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from her exposure to Agent Orange. Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: RADM Frances Shea Buckley Collection/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University

10) A man begs for money outside of a cathedral. He was born with a deformed arm because of Agent Orange, and it makes it nearly impossible for him to find work.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. June 1, 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

11) A group of American planes fly over top of the jungles and release chemicals meant to kill the trees underneath

Vietnam. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

13) A helicopter sprays Agent Orange on Vietnamese farmland.

Mekong River, Vietnam. July 26, 1969. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

14) A massive stack of 55-gallon drums full of Agent Orange waits to be poured over the people of Vietnam.

Location unspecified. Circa 1961-1971. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

15) Military personnel demonstrate how to handle an Agent Orange leak, apparently growing increasingly aware of how dangerous the chemical they’d been using really is.

Okinawa, Japan. May 11, 1971. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

16) Professor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong poses for a photo with the handicapped children under her care. Every one of them was born with a defect caused by Agent Orange.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. December 2004. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

17) The third-generation child of an Agent Orange victim. Despite the generations between him and the Vietnam War, this boy still feels the effects and lives in a special village for Agent Orange victims.

Hanoi, Vietnam. November 10, 2007. Credit: A. Strakey/Flickr

The Sea of China…. The problematic of the new world system بحر الصين… إشكالية النظام العالمي الجديد

The Sea of China…. The problematic of the new world system

Written by Nasser Kandil,

سبتمبر 20, 2017

Any reader cannot comment on this title and why we concern about the Sea of China, knowing that what we have is enough to concern about. The major country which leads the wars against us is the United States, and it is normal to care about confronting it with at least three things, its opponents, their suitability to be taken as allies, its plans, and its priorities in order to know the effectiveness of our confrontations and victories in the field in producing stable political equations, and how to change the world system and its new balances by all the surrounding variables. In the three points we will see China in front of us, it is the first opponent of the American hegemony, an active partner in any new or old world system, and today it is the priority of America, so how to pay attention that the politics in its different aspects is an outcome of economy which China is preceding to occupy the first global world ranking, as a consumer of the energy which forms one of the most important resources of our region,  as a producer of the goods which our countries form a vital market for them, and as an inspiring to enter the old world in which our geography locates.

The Sea of China forms the confused geographical area which seems the first appropriate region for the solutions instead of our region which is full of disputes and the conflicts. On its shores a high tense confrontation is taking place in which the American wants to have control on it and wants to prevent China from making it a regional lake, which its balances will be determined by equations of the forces which surround it. The Americans locate on the shores of this sea from the South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, they bet on hindering the Chinese project which based originally on the concept of the regional lake which is directed by the partners that share the same geography, through internationalizing the Sea of China and its crises. This requires igniting the crises between the neighborhoods and raising the tension towards justifying the military internationalization of these crises. Burma’s problem which bothers China does not stem from the fact that it is the concerned country of persecuting the Muslims there, but because China is aware that the American provocation of the issue stems from the attempt of internationalizing in order to deploy foreign troops on the borders of China, under the framework of Chinese-American conflict between the regions and the internationalization as the Korean cause, and as the Chinese industrial islands in the Sea of China. So the deployment of the US missile systems which threaten the Chinese security as the modern Thad system becomes a justification that has a cover made by the countries which the Americans try to put it under the threat of China and its allies in order to seek for the US protection, exactly as how America does in the Gulf by spreading panic from Iran.

China is the partner of the Arabs, the Muslims, and the other nations of the region in confronting the projects of the American hegemony, and the rising power in the world economically. In Asia which constitutes two-thirds of population and distance, China constitutes one third of its population, while Russia constitutes one third of its area. As the understanding with Russia has led to an equation that started changing the world, the completion of the birth of new world system is waiting for the future of the balances in the Sea of China to become clear. What should be concerned regarding the issues of the freedom and independence in our country is not to take one of the two extreme positions towards the issue of the Muslims of Burma whether through ignoring the issue, denying its existence and considering it mere US fabrication or ISIS movement as what was repeated by some people thinking that they serve China by repeating what is being spread on its media, or through participating in arousing the issue, because America can invest it in order to internationalize its security and to be positioned under this pretext on the borders of China. Iran seems the first concerned to have a dialogue with China and to reach to an understanding for a regional solution sponsored by the neighboring countries of Burma as China, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand  that ensures its security and the security of the Muslims in it , and stops the malicious game of America under its pretext.

North Korea’s missiles remain the indispensable deterrence till the Americans recognize the choice of negotiation for a political solution and till Japan and South Korea understand that the solution must be regional or there is no solution.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

بحر الصين… إشكالية النظام العالمي الجديد

ناصر قنديل

سبتمبر 16, 2017

– لا يستطيع عاقل أن يعلق على العنوان وما علاقتنا ببحر الصين، فما عندنا كافٍ ليشغل اهتمامنا وأكثر، فالدولة العظمى التي تقود الحروب علينا هي أميركا، والطبيعي أن نهتمّ لمواجهتنا معها بثلاثة أشياء على الأقلّ، خصومها ومدى صلاحيتهم كحلفاء لنا، وخططها ونسبة الأولويات فيها لإدراك مدى فعالية مواجهتنا وانتصاراتنا في الميدان في إنتاج معادلات سياسية مستقرة، وكيفية تغيّر النظام العالمي وتوازناته الجديدة بفعل كلّ المتغيّرات المحيطة به. وفي الثلاثة سنجد الصين أمامنا، فهي خصم أول للهيمنة الأميركية وشريك فاعل في أيّ نظام عالمي قديم وجديد، وهي اليوم أولوية أميركا، فكيف إنْ كان لعقلنا أن ينتبه أنّ السياسة في كثير من وجوهها مولود للاقتصاد، الذي تتقدّم الصين لاحتلال مرتبة عالمية أولى فيه، كمستهلك للطاقة التي تشكل أحد أهمّ موارد منطقتنا، وكمنتج للسلع التي تشكل بلادنا سوقاً حيوية لها، وكطامح لدخول العالم القديم الذي تتوضّع جغرافيتنا في قلبه؟

– يشكل بحر الصين المنطقة الجغرافية المضطربة التي تبدو المرشح الأول للحلول مكان منطقتنا في تصدّر الأحداث والنزاعات، فعلى شواطئه تدور مواجهة عالية التوتر، يريد الأميركي عبرها الإمساك بمفاتيحه، ومنع الصين من جعله بحيرة إقليمية، تقرّر توازناتها معادلات القوى المتشاطئة عليه، والأميركيون موجودون على ضفاف هذا البحر من كوريا الجنوبية واليابان، وأندونيسيا والفيلبين، وفيتنام، ويراهنون على عرقلة المشروع الصيني القائم أصلاً على مفهوم البحيرة الإقليمية التي يديرها الشركاء الطبيعيون جغرافياً، بتدويل بحر الصين وأزماته. وهذا يستدعي تصعيد الأزمات بين الجيران ورفع منسوب التوتر وصولاً لتبرير التدويل العسكري لهذه الأزمات. ومشكلة بورما التي تزعج الصين، ليس لأنها هي الطرف المعني باضطهاد المسلمين هناك، بل لأنها تدرك أنّ الإثارة الأميركية للقضية نابعة من مسعى للتدويل وزرع قوات أجنبية على حدود الصين، تندرج في إطار الصراع الصيني الأميركي بين الأقلمة والتدويل، ومثلها القضية الكورية، ومثلهما الجزر الصناعية الصينية في بحر الصين، ليصير نشر المنظومات الصاروخية الأميركية التي تهدّد الأمن الصيني، كمنظومة ثاد الحديثة، مبرّراً ويملك غطاء تصنعه مخاوف وهواجس دول يشتغل الأميركيون على جعلها تحت تهديد الصين وحلفائها، لتطلب الحماية الأميركية، تماماً كما هو حال التعامل الأميركي في الخليج بقوة إنتاج الذعر من إيران.

– الصين شريك العرب والمسلمين وسائر شعوب المنطقة في مواجهة مشاريع الهمينة الأميركية، وقائدة العالم الصاعدة اقتصادياً، وفي آسيا التي تشكل ثلثي العالم سكاناً ومساحة تشكل الصين ثلث سكانها، وتشكل روسيا ثلث مساحتها، ومثلما أنتج التفاهم مع روسيا معادلة بدأت تغيّر العالم، فإنّ اكتمال ولادة نظام عالمي جديد ينتظر تبلور مستقبل التوازنات في بحر الصين، وما يجب أن يهتمّ به المعنيون بقضايا الحرية والاستقلال في بلادنا، هو أن لا يتخذوا أحد الموقفين المتطرفين من قضية مسلمي بورما، فيصبّون الماء في الطاحونة الأميركية، إما بتجاهل القضية وإنكار وجودها، واعتبارها مجرد فبركة أميركية، أو حركة داعشية، كما يتحدّث البعض ظناً منهم أنهم يخدمون الصين بتكرار ما تقوله وسائل إعلامها، أو بالمشاركة في إثارة صاخبة للقضية ينجح الأميركي بتوظيفها لتدويل أمنها والتموضع بذريعتها على حدود الصين، إن إيران تبدو المعني الأول بحوار مع الصين يخرج بتفاهم على الدعوة لحلّ إقليمي ترعاه دول الجوار لبورما، وهي الصين والهند وبنغلادش وتايلاند، يضمن أمنها ومن ضمنه أمن المسلمين فيها، ويقطع الطريق على اللعبة الأميركية الخبيثة بذريعتها.

– تبقى صواريخ كوريا الشمالية رادع لا غنى عنه، حتى يستسلم الأميركيون لخيار التفاوض لحلّ سياسي، ويفهم اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية أنّ الحلّ يكون إقليمياً أو لا يكون.

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USA, The Superpower That Fought Itself—And Lost

The Superpower That Fought Itself—And Lost

by William J. Astore

131210-N-VC599-169 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2013) Ships from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group simulate a strait transit. The strike group is conducting a pre-deployment evaluation. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/Released)

When it comes to the “world’s greatest military,” the news has been shocking. Two fast U.S. Navy ships colliding with slow-moving commercial vessels with tragic loss of life.  An Air Force that has been in the air continuously for years and yet doesn’t have enough pilots to fly its combat jets.  Ground troops who find themselves fighting “rebels” in Syria previously armed and trained by the CIA.  Already overstretched Special Operations forces facing growing demands as their rates of mental distress and suicide rise.  Proxy armies in Iraq and Afghanistan that are unreliable, often delivering American-provided weaponry to black markets and into the hands of various enemies.  All of this and more coming at a time when defense spending is once again soaring and the national security state is awash in funds to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars a year.

What gives?  Why are highly maneuverable and sophisticated naval ships colliding with lumbering cargo vessels?  Why is an Air Force that exists to fly and fight short 1,200 pilots?  Why are U.S. Special Operations forces deployed everywhere and winning nowhere?  Why, in short, is the U.S. military fighting itself — and losing?

It’s the Ops Tempo, Stupid

After 16 years of a never-ending, ever-spreading global war on terror, alarms are going off in Asia from the Koreas and Afghanistan to the Philippines, while across the Greater Middle East and Africa the globe’s “last superpower” is in a never-ending set of conflicts with a range of minor enemies few can even keep straight.  As a result, America’s can-do military, committed piecemeal to a bewildering array of missions, has increasingly become a can’t-do one.

Too few ships are being deployed for too long.  Too few pilots are being worn out by incessant patrols and mushrooming drone and bombing missions.  Special Operations forces (the “commandos of everywhere,” as Nick Turse calls them) are being deployed to far too many countries — more than two-thirds of the nations on the planet already this year — and are involved in conflicts that hold little promise of ending on terms favorable to Washington.  Meanwhile, insiders like retired General David Petraeus speak calmly about “generational struggles” that will essentially never end.  To paraphrase an old slogan from ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” as the U.S. military spans the globe, it’s regularly experiencing the agony of defeat rather than the thrill of victory.

To President Donald Trump (and so many other politicians in Washington), this unsavory reality suggests an obvious solution: boost military funding; build more navy ships; train more pilots and give them more incentive pay to stay in the military; rely more on drones and other technological “force multipliers” to compensate for tired troops; cajole allies like the Germans and Japanese to spend more on their militaries; and pressure proxy armies like the Iraqi and Afghan security forces to cut corruption and improve combat performance.

One option — the most logical — is never seriously considered in Washington: to make deep cuts in the military’s operational tempo by decreasing defense spending and downsizing the global mission, by bringing troops home and keeping them there.  This is not an isolationist plea.  The United States certainly faces challenges, notably from Russia (still a major nuclear power) and China (a global economic power bolstering its regional militarily strength).  North Korea is, as ever, posturing with missile and nuclear tests in provocative ways.  Terrorist organizations strive to destabilize American allies and cause trouble even in “the homeland.”

Such challenges require vigilance.  What they don’t require is more ships in the sea-lanes, pilots in the air, and boots on the ground.  Indeed, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks it should be obvious that more of the same is likely to produce yet more of what we’ve grown all too accustomed to: increasing instability across significant swaths of the planet, as well as the rise of new terror groups or new iterations of older ones, which means yet more opportunities for failed U.S. military interventions.

Once upon a time, when there were still two superpowers on Planet Earth, Washington’s worldwide military posture had a clear rationale: the containment of communism.  Soon after the Soviet Union imploded in 1991 to much triumphalist self-congratulation in Washington, the scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson had an epiphany.  What he would come to call “the American Raj,” a global imperial structure ostensibly built to corral the menace of communism, wasn’t going away just because that menace had evaporated, leaving not a superpower nor even a major power as an opponent anywhere on the horizon.  Quite the opposite, Washington — and its globe-spanning “empire” of military bases — was only digging in deeper and for the long haul.  At that moment, with a certain shock, Johnson realized that the U.S. was itself an empire and, with its mirror-image-enemy gone, risked turning on itself and becoming its own nemesis.

The U.S., it turned out, hadn’t just contained the Soviets; they had contained us, too.  Once their empire collapsed, our leaders imbibed the old dream of Woodrow Wilson, even if in a newly militarized fashion: to remake the world in one’s own image (if need be at the point of a sword).

Since the early 1990s, largely unconstrained by peer rivals, America’s leaders have acted as if there were nothing to stop them from doing as they pleased on the planet, which, as it turned out, meant there was nothing to stop them from their own folly.  We witness the results today.  Prolonged and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Interventions throughout the Greater Middle East (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and beyond) that spread chaos and destruction.  Attacks against terrorism that have given new impetus to jihadists everywhere.  And recently calls to arm Ukraine against Russia.  All of this is consistent with a hubristic strategic vision that, in these years, has spoken in an all-encompassing fashion and without irony of global reach, global power, and full-spectrum dominance.

In this context, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the full scope of America’s military power.  All the world is a stage — or a staging area — for U.S. troops.  There are still approximately 800 U.S. military bases in foreign lands.  America’s commandos deploy to more than 130 countries yearly.  And even the world is not enough for the Pentagon as it seeks to dominate not just land, sea, and air but outer space, cyberspace, and even inner space, if you count efforts to achieve “total information awareness” through 17 intelligence agencies dedicated — at a cost of $80 billion a year — to sweeping up all data on Planet Earth.

In short, America’s troops are out everywhere and winning nowhere, a problem America’s “winningest” president, Donald Trump, is only exacerbating.  Surrounded by “his” generals, Trump has — against his own instincts, he claimed recently — recommitted American troops and prestige to the Afghan War.  He’s also significantly expanded U.S. drone strikes and bombing throughout the Greater Middle East, and threatened to bring fire and fury to North Korea, while pushing a program to boost military spending.

At a Pentagon awash in money, with promises of more to come, missions are rarely downsized.  Meanwhile, what passes for original thinking in the Trump White House is the suggestion of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, to privatize America’s war in Afghanistan (and possibly elsewhere).  Mercenaries are the answer to Washington’s military problems, suggests Prince.  And mercs, of course, have the added benefit of not being constrained by the rules of engagement that apply to America’s uniformed service members.

Indeed, Prince’s idea, though opposed by Trump’s generals, is compelling in one sense: If you accept the notion that America’s wars in these years have been fought largely for the corporate agendas of the military-industrial complex, why not turn warfighting itself over to the warrior corporations that now regularly accompany the military into battle, cutting out the middleman, that very military?

Hammering a Cloud of Gnats

Erik Prince’s mercenaries will, however, have to bide their time as the military high command continues to launch kinetic strikes against elusive foes around the globe.  By its own admission, the force recent U.S. presidents have touted as the “finest” in history faces remarkably “asymmetrical” and protean enemies, including the roughly 20 terrorist organizations in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of operations.  In striking at such relatively puny foes, the U.S. reminds me of the mighty Thor of superhero fame swinging his hammer violently against a cloud of gnats. In the process, some of those gnats will naturally die, but the result will still be an exhausted superhero and ever more gnats attracted by the heat and commotion of battle.

I first came across the phrase “using a sledgehammer to kill gnats” while looking at the history of U.S. airpower during the Vietnam War.  B-52 “Arc Light” raids dropped record tons of bombs on parts of South Vietnam and Laos in largely failed efforts to kill dispersed guerrillas and interdict supply routes from North Vietnam.  Half a century later, with its laser- and GPS-guided bombs, the Air Force regularly touts the far greater precision of American airpower.  Yet in one country after another, using just that weaponry, the U.S. has engaged in serial acts of overkill.  In Afghanistan, it was the recent use of MOAB, the “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear weapon the U.S. has ever used in combat, against a small concentration of ISIS fighters.  In similar fashion, the U.S. air war in Syria has outpaced the Russians and even the Assad regime in its murderous effects on civilians, especially around Raqqa, the “capital” of the Islamic State.  Such overkill is evident on the ground as well where special ops raids have, this year, left civilians dead from Yemen to Somalia.  In other words, across the Greater Middle East, Washington’s profligate killing machine is also creating a desire for vengeance among civilian populations, staggering numbers of whom, when not killed, have been displaced or sent fleeing across borders as refugees in these wars. It has played a significant role in unsettling whole regions, creating failed states, and providing yet more recruits for terror groups.

Leaving aside technological advances, little has changed since Vietnam. The U.S. military is still relying on enormous firepower to kill elusive enemies as a way of limiting (American) casualties.  As an instrument of victory, it didn’t work in Vietnam, nor has it worked in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But never mind the history lessons.  President Trump asserts that his “new” Afghan strategy — the details of which, according to a military spokesman, are “not there yet” — will lead to more terrorists (that is, gnats) being killed.

Since 9/11, America’s leaders, Trump included, have rarely sought ways to avoid those gnats, while efforts to “drain the swamp” in which the gnats thrive have served mainly to enlarge their breeding grounds.  At the same time, efforts to enlist indigenous “gnats” — local proxy armies — to take over the fight have gone poorly indeed.  As in Vietnam, the main U.S. focus has invariably been on developing better, more technologically advanced (which means more expensive) sledgehammers, while continuing to whale away at that cloud of gnats — a process as hopeless as it is counterproductive.

The Greatest Self-Defeating Force in History?

Incessant warfare represents the end of democracy.  I didn’t say that, James Madison did.

I firmly believe, though, in words borrowed from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, that “only Americans can hurt America.”  So how can we lessen the hurt?  By beginning to rein in the military.  A standing military exists — or rather should exist — to support and defend the Constitution and our country against immediate threats to our survival.  Endless attacks against inchoate foes in the backlands of the planet hardly promote that mission.  Indeed, the more such attacks wear on the military, the more they imperil national security.

A friend of mine, a captain in the Air Force, once quipped to me: you study long, you study wrong.  It’s a sentiment that’s especially cutting when applied to war: you wage war long, you wage it wrong.  Yet as debilitating as they may be to militaries, long wars are even more devastating to democracies.  The longer our military wages war, the more our country is militarized, shedding its democratic values and ideals.

Back in the Cold War era, the regions in which the U.S. military is now slogging it out were once largely considered “the shadows” where John le Carré-style secret agents from the two superpowers matched wits in a set of shadowy conflicts.  Post-9/11, “taking the gloves off” and seeking knockout blows, the U.S. military entered those same shadows in a big way and there, not surprisingly, it often couldn’t sort friend from foe.

A new strategy for America should involve getting out of those shadowy regions of no-win war.  Instead, an expanding U.S. military establishment continues to compound the strategic mistakes of the last 16 years.  Seeking to dominate everywhere but winning decisively nowhere, it may yet go down as the greatest self-defeating force in history.

Reprinted, with permission, from TomDispatch.

TomDispatch regular, William Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and history professor.  His personal blog is Bracing ViewsFollow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower WorldCopyright 2017 William J. Astore

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