Why American Leaders Persist in Waging Losing Wars

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By William J. Astore
Source

As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen, Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger, and Somalia. Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran. (And given these last years, just how do you imagine that’s likely to turn out?) Honestly, isn’t it time Americans gave a little more thought to why their leaders persist in waging losing wars across significant parts of the planet?  So consider the rest of this piece my attempt to do just that.

Let’s face it: profits and power should be classified as perennial reasons why U.S. leaders persist in waging such conflicts. War may be a racket, as General Smedley Butler claimed long ago, but who cares these days since business is booming? And let’s add to such profits a few other all-American motivations. Start with the fact that, in some curious sense, war is in the American bloodstream. As former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges once put it, “War is a force that gives us meaning.” Historically, we Americans are a violent people who have invested much in a self-image of toughness now being displayed across the “global battlespace.” (Hence all the talk in this country not about our soldiers but about our “warriors.”) As the bumper stickers I see regularly where I live say: “God, guns, & guts made America free.” To make the world freer, why not export all three?

Add in, as well, the issue of political credibility. No president wants to appear weak and in the United States of the last many decades, pulling back from a war has been the definition of weakness. No one — certainly not Donald Trump — wants to be known as the president who “lost” Afghanistan or Iraq. As was true of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in the Vietnam years, so in this century fear of electoral defeat has helped prolong the country’s hopeless wars. Generals, too, have their own fears of defeat, fears that drive them to escalate conflicts (call it the urge to surge) and even to advocate for the use of nuclear weapons, as General William Westmoreland did in 1968 during the Vietnam War.

Washington’s own deeply embedded illusions and deceptions also serve to generate and perpetuate its wars. Lauding our troops as “freedom fighters” for peace and prosperity, presidents like George W. Bush have waged a set of brutal wars in the name of spreading democracy and a better way of life. The trouble is: incessant war doesn’t spread democracy — though in the twenty-first century we’ve learned that it does spread terror groups — it kills it. At the same time, our leaders, military and civilian, have given us a false picture of the nature of the wars they’re fighting. They continue to present the U.S. military and its vaunted “smart” weaponry as a precision surgical instrument capable of targeting and destroying the cancer of terrorism, especially of the radical Islamic variety. Despite the hoopla about them, however, those precision instruments of war turn out to be blunt indeed, leading to the widespread killing of innocents, the massive displacement of people across America’s war zones, and floods of refugees who have, in turn, helped spark the rise of the populist right in lands otherwise still at peace.

Lurking behind the incessant warfare of this century is another belief, particularly ascendant in the Trump White House: that big militaries and expensive weaponry represent “investments” in a better future — as if the Pentagon were the Bank of America or Wall Street. Steroidal military spending continues to be sold as a key to creating jobs and maintaining America’s competitive edge, as if war were America’s primary business. (And perhaps it is!)

Those who facilitate enormous military budgets and frequent conflicts abroad still earn special praise here. Consider, for example, Senator John McCain’s rapturous final sendoff, including the way arms maker Lockheed Martin lauded him as an American hero supposedly tough and demanding when it came to military contractors. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.)

Put all of this together and what you’re likely to come up with is the American version of George Orwell’s famed formulation in his novel 1984: “war is peace.”

The War the Pentagon Knew How to Win

Twenty years ago, when I was a major on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, a major concern was the possible corroding of civil-military relations – in particular, a growing gap between the military and the civilians who were supposed to control them. I’m a clipper of newspaper articles and I saved some from that long-gone era. “Sharp divergence found in views of military and civilians,” reported the New York Times in September 1999. “Civilians, military seen growing apart,” noted the Washington Post a month later. Such pieces were picking up on trends already noted by distinguished military commentators like Thomas Ricks and Richard Kohn. In July 1997, for instance, Ricks had written an influential Atlantic article, “The Widening Gap between the Military and Society.” In 1999, Kohn gave a lecture at the Air Force Academy titled “The Erosion of Civilian Control of the Military in the United States Today.”

A generation ago, such commentators worried that the all-volunteer military was becoming an increasingly conservative and partisan institution filled with generals and admirals contemptuous of civilians, notably then-President Bill Clinton. At the time, according to one study, 64% of military officers identified as Republicans, only 8% as Democrats and, when it came to the highest levels of command, that figure for Republicans was in the stratosphere, approaching 90%. Kohn quoted a West Point graduate as saying, “We’re in danger of developing our own in-house Soviet-style military, one in which if you’re not in ‘the party,’ you don’t get ahead.” In a similar fashion, 67% of military officers self-identified as politically conservative, only 4% as liberal.

In a 1998 article for the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Ricks noted that “the ratio of conservatives to liberals in the military” had gone from “about 4 to 1 in 1976, which is about where I would expect a culturally conservative, hierarchical institution like the U.S. military to be, to 23 to 1 in 1996.” This “creeping politicization of the officer corps,” Ricks concluded, was creating a less professional military, one in the process of becoming “its own interest group.” That could lead, he cautioned, to an erosion of military effectiveness if officers were promoted based on their political leanings rather than their combat skills.

How has the civil-military relationship changed in the last two decades? Despite bending on social issues (gays in the military, women in more combat roles), today’s military is arguably neither more liberal nor less partisan than it was in the Clinton years. It certainly hasn’t returned to its citizen-soldier roots via a draft. Change, if it’s come, has been on the civilian side of the divide as Americans have grown both more militarized and more partisan (without any greater urge to sign up and serve). In this century, the civil-military divide of a generation ago has been bridged by endless celebrations of that military as “the best of us” (as Vice President Mike Pence recently put it).

Such expressions, now commonplace, of boundless faith in and thankfulness for the military are undoubtedly driven in part by guilt over neither serving, nor undoubtedly even truly caring. Typically, Pence didn’t serve and neither did Donald Trump (those pesky “heel spurs”). As retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich put it in 2007: “To assuage uneasy consciences, the many who do not serve [in the all-volunteer military] proclaim their high regard for the few who do. This has vaulted America’s fighting men and women to the top of the nation’s moral hierarchy. The character and charisma long ago associated with the pioneer or the small farmer — or carried in the 1960s by Dr. King and the civil-rights movement — has now come to rest upon the soldier.” This elevation of “our” troops as America’s moral heroes feeds a Pentagon imperative that seeks to isolate the military from criticism and its commanders from accountability for wars gone horribly wrong.

Paradoxically, Americans have become both too detached from their military and too deferential to it. We now love to applaud that military, which, the pollsters tell us, enjoys a significantly higher degree of trust and approval from the public than the presidency, Congress, the media, the Catholic church, or the Supreme Court. What that military needs, however, in this era of endless war is not loud cheers, but tough love.

As a retired military man, I do think our troops deserve a measure of esteem. There’s a selfless ethic to the military that should seem admirable in this age of selfies and selfishness. That said, the military does not deserve the deference of the present moment, nor the constant adulation it gets in endless ceremonies at any ballpark or sporting arena. Indeed, deference and adulation, the balm of military dictatorships, should be poison to the military of a democracy.

With U.S. forces endlessly fighting ill-begotten wars, whether in Vietnam in the 1960s or in Iraq and Afghanistan four decades later, it’s easy to lose sight of where the Pentagon continues to maintain a truly winning record: right here in the U.S.A. Today, whatever’s happening on the country’s distant battlefields, the idea that ever more inflated military spending is an investment in making America great again reigns supreme – as it has, with little interruption, since the 1980s and the era of President Ronald Reagan.

The military’s purpose should be, as Richard Kohn put it long ago, “to defend society, not to define it. The latter is militarism.” With that in mind, think of the way various retired military men lined up behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, including a classically unhinged performance by retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (he of the “lock her up” chants) for Trump at the Republican convention and a shout-out of a speech by retired General John Allen for Clinton at the Democratic one. America’s presidential candidates, it seemed, needed to be anointed by retired generals, setting a dangerous precedent for future civil-military relations.

A Letter From My Senator

A few months back, I wrote a note to one of my senators to complain about America’s endless wars and received a signed reply via email. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was a canned response, but no less telling for that. My senator began by praising American troops as “tough, smart, and courageous, and they make huge sacrifices to keep our families safe. We owe them all a true debt of gratitude for their service.” OK, I got an instant warm and fuzzy feeling, but seeking applause wasn’t exactly the purpose of my note.

My senator then expressed support for counter-terror operations, for, that is, “conducting limited, targeted operations designed to deter violent extremists that pose a credible threat to America’s national security, including al-Qaeda and its affiliates, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), localized extremist groups, and homegrown terrorists.” My senator then added a caveat, suggesting that the military should obey “the law of armed conflict” and that the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that Congress hastily approved in the aftermath of 9/11 should not be interpreted as an “open-ended mandate” for perpetual war.

Finally, my senator voiced support for diplomacy as well as military action, writing, “I believe that our foreign policy should be smart, tough, and pragmatic, using every tool in the toolbox — including defense, diplomacy, and development – to advance U.S. security and economic interests around the world.” The conclusion: “robust” diplomacy must be combined with a “strong” military.

Now, can you guess the name and party affiliation of that senator? Could it have been Lindsey Graham or Jeff Flake, Republicans who favor a beyond-strong military and endlessly aggressive counter-terror operations? Of course, from that little critical comment on the AUMF, you’ve probably already figured out that my senator is a Democrat. But did you guess that my military-praising, counter-terror-waging representative was Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts?

Full disclosure: I like Warren and have made small contributions to her campaign. And her letter did stipulate that she believed “military action should always be a last resort.” Still, nowhere in it was there any critique of, or even passingly critical commentary about, the U.S. military, or the still-spreading war on terror, or the never-ending Afghan War, or the wastefulness of Pentagon spending, or the devastation wrought in these years by the last superpower on this planet. Everything was anodyne and safe — and this from a senator who’s been pilloried by the right as a flaming liberal and caricatured as yet another socialist out to destroy America.

I know what you’re thinking: What choice does Warren have but to play it safe? She can’t go on record criticizing the military. (She’s already gotten in enough trouble in my home state for daring to criticize the police.) If she doesn’t support a “strong” U.S. military presence globally, how could she remain a viable presidential candidate in 2020?

And I would agree with you, but with this little addendum: Isn’t that proof that the Pentagon has won its most important war, the one that captured – to steal a phrase from another losing war — the “hearts and minds” of America? In this country in 2018, as in 2017, 2016, and so on, the U.S. military and its leaders dictate what is acceptable for us to say and do when it comes to our prodigal pursuit of weapons and wars.

So, while it’s true that the military establishment failed to win those “hearts and minds” in Vietnam or more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, they sure as hell didn’t fail to win them here. In Homeland, U.S.A., in fact, victory has been achieved and, judging by the latest Pentagon budgets, it couldn’t be more overwhelming.

If you ask – and few Americans do these days – why this country’s losing wars persist, the answer should be, at least in part: because there’s no accountability. The losers in those wars have seized control of our national narrative. They now define how the military is seen (as an investment, a boon, a good and great thing); they now shape how we view our wars abroad (as regrettable perhaps, but necessary and also a sign of national toughness); they now assign all serious criticism of the Pentagon to what they might term the defeatist fringe.

In their hearts, America’s self-professed warriors know they’re right. But the wrongs they’ve committed, and continue to commit, in our name will not be truly righted until Americans begin to reject the madness of rampant militarism, bloated militaries, and endless wars.

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What Bolton needs to understand about Russia and history

The Saker

August 26, 2018What Bolton needs to understand about Russia and history

On 23 August, 2018, National Security Adviser to the President of the United States of America J. R. Bolton, using his auspices as the representative of the President of the United States of America, officially declared war on Russia.

J. R. Bolton had an official meeting with Patrushev, N. P., Secretary of the Russian Security Council, in Geneva. There was no after meeting joint statement, and this in and of itself says the meeting went nowhere. According to Tass News Russia:

“The Russian side’s statement dedicated to negotiations between Patrushev and Bolton obtained by TASS states that during the meeting in Geneva the parties brought up a wide range of issues, including, those concerning nuclear nonproliferation with regard to the Korean Peninsula problem and Iran’s nuclear program, the Russian-US treaties on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles and the reduction of strategic offensive arms, the situation in various parts of the world, including the Middle East and North Africa, specifically Syria and Afghanistan as well as Europe, in particular Ukraine.

More: http://tass.com/politics/

One would hope that someone of Bolton’s long service would have developed somewhat of a sense of who is doing what, with which and to whom, but it is apparent that his distinguished service in the Maryland National Guard from 1970-1976 (odd, he managed to stay out of Vietnam during those turbulent times) and his appointment oriented times under R.Reagan and both Presidents Bush, did little to educate him in regards to the current, and perhaps past, world. That being said, perhaps Mr. Bolton needs a little education in regards to recent, and not so recent, history concerning Russia and USA.

In the early eighteen hundreds, a rather well known general named Napoleon had roughly the same attitude and designs on Russia as USA has today. When Russia did not knuckle under to the ever increasing and strident demands emanating from Paris, nothing would do but for General Napoleon to invade Russia, using the entire French army. As an aside, this ‘French’ army was about 40% French, the 60% was made up of a pretty good cross section of Europe both then and today, many ‘press ganged’ in to service by the French control of their countries, many also joining with alacrity with the thoughts of easily defeating Russia and looting the country to the bones.

On the route leading from Moskau west, then and today the Capitol of Russia, to what is eastern Poland today, if one is observant, one will see curious small, and some not so small, hillocks and mounds visible from the main road. Those are the burial mounts of the ‘French’ Army. As the army retreated with ever increasing speed, the roads were littered with the dead from the continuous skirmishes, the savage Russian Winter, and the ever more indignant locals whose villages and towns were looted to the very ground by the ‘French’ army advancing and retreating. Napoleon was dumb enough to retreat along the same route he took to Moskau, that route being picked clean for 30 kilometers on each side on the way to Moskau. On the retreat, there was nothing left but the local citizenry, those who survived, and their revenge was the stuff of legend. Read up on that, Mr. Bolton, and remember well what you read. Less than 20% of the ‘French army’ returned to Europe, the rest are buried or moldering in the forests of Russia.

As a curious little aside, the ‘French’ army crossed the river Berezina in it’s retreat. At that crossing point are two small islands in the river. Those islands were formed over the large numbers of dead, carriages and equipment that fell off the two hastily thrown up bridges over the Berezina or who tried to cross the freezing and ice filled waters of the river as the Russian Army approached and fought the French rear guard. Now, it is acknowledged that if Kutuzov had pushed a bit instead of keeping a somewhat distant but never ending pressure on the French army, it is conceivable that he could have captured General Napoleon at the crossing, but he didn’t and he didn’t. These islands are still there, Mr. Bolton. And to this day, ‘French’ remains are being found in that AO along with a never ending plethora of accouterments, weapons, bits and pieces of equipment, and French medals. Lots of French medals. Unbelievable numbers of French medals, decorations, ‘shoulder brushes’, remains of carriages, wagons, limbers, you name it.

In 1941, Germany invaded Russia, again with some of the same pretexts and in general, in my opinion, out of pure stupidity and cussedness. In November of 1941, the fighting was in the outskirts of Moskau. In April of 1945, the fighting was in and around Berlin. The context of the German Army was different from General Napoleon’s army in that roughly 65% of the German army invading Russia was German, the 35% consisted of volunteers from EVERY country in Europe plus parts of the armies of various German allies, notably being Romanian and Italian contingents. They died in their millions, as did Russians, and Germany died, too, never to rise again. To this day, we are finding the soldiers, and civilians, killed in that horrid epoch of history. But Russia did not die, nor did USA. Russia and USA were the only two powers to survive that hideous war, and Russia was in ruins from Moskau to her west borders, as was Europe. To your never ending horror, Russia rebuilt herself. Sans help from you.

However, since mid May of ’45, US has embarked on a somewhat adventurous international policy. And what has that brought you?

Korea. When they are shooting at you as you retreat to the demarcation line, you lost.

Vietnam. When they are shooting at you when you leave, you lost.

Afghan. When they are shooting at you when you run, you lost.

Iraq. When they are shooting at you when you withdraw, you lost.

Gruzya. Your HUMMV’s were kind of cute running around our village for a few days, but they were rapidly relegated to the scrap iron pile. You were also kind of cute when you asked for your equipment back after Gruzya, at your urging, went stupid and got their nostrils braided. If I remember correctly, President Putin told you that Russia is not in the habit of returning war trophies.

Libya. What happened to your gomik ‘ambassador’ there? And what bright light decided to send an openly gomik as ‘ambassador’ to a Muslim country? Have you taken leave of your senses?

Serbia. How many airframes did you lose? We know how many thousands of civilians you killed, and you can rest assured, the Serbians have not forgotten a single one of those many thousands of dead civilians.

Afghan, yet again. What, you learned nothing the first time? How many more body bags do you want?

Syria. You are still there, illegally by international law, UN regulations and Syrian law, and everyone is shooting at you.

And now, with your resurrection from the dead, you personally are back in play again, and your target this time, as ever, is Russia. Your demands, not all and not a request for negotiations but demands, during the meeting with Patroshev, N. P., were:

Get out of Syria. Sorry, but the Government of the Sovereign State of Syria invited Russia’s assistance to fight against your paid minions. You and yours, sir, were NOT invited to Syria and now you are standing there with your skivvies in your hands and The World is laughing at you. Bitter laughter, yes, but laughter just the same. As for the chemical attacks and countless atrocities against both civilians and Syrian Armed Forces, you and yours did it, you know it, Russia knows it, The World knows it, and you, like some fugitive from the insane asylum, continue with outright lies knowing full well The World knows you are lying.

Admit, and apologize, for the idiotic Brit mess with Skripal. Get real, you and the Brits poisoned that ex, and unsuccessful, spy, if he was indeed poisoned, no one has seen him since. Did you kill him? If Mother wanted him dead, he’d have been run over by a garbage truck or had a heart attack after eating one too many plates of those hideous fish and chips, or simply disappeared. Not all The World is as stupid as your electorate.

Return Krimea and Sevastopol to Ukraine. Are you on drugs? Do you have mental problems? The entire process of giving the administration of the Autonomous Republic of Krimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol to the Ukraine by Kruschov 60 year ago was and is illegal, ergo the process is null and void. Besides, The People have spoken. You want both entities back? Send in your best and try it. See above, ‘when they are shooting at you when you when you leave, you lost’. Problem in Krimea is, you will not leave, anyone you send to Krimea and Sevastopol will be counting trees for a long, very long, time if they don’t get thrown them off the cliffs of 35th Battery, just like your German and Romanian friends did to Russian wounded and prisoners on 03 July 1942.

Abandon Novorossiya to it’s fate. See above concerning drugs and mental problems. Do you honestly thing Russia will abandon 3 million people to the tender mercies of the Ukrainians, those who have publicly stated they will kill all the citizens of Novorossiya?

Here is a flash piece of news for you, Bolton. Russia has armed up. Your repeated violations of agreements, both written and ‘gentleman’s’, have left Russia no other choice but to assume you are planning an aggression. I can not fathom why you or your neocon buddies would think that Russia would sit and idly watch you move your weapons, including nuclear capable, to the very borders of Russia, and Russia would not arm up.

Now, here’s a little truism for you, sir, you who have not faced cold steel and the roar of the guns. You are working day and night to provoke Russia in to fighting. Even a functional idiot locked up in Yellow Dome knows that The World as we know it will cease to exist within 24 hours if it comes to war between US and Russia, and I can guaranty you, sir, that Russia will not back down. Ever. Neither I, nor you, nor our respective families, will survive a war between the two. You can wish, you can plan, you can pray (doubtful), but you and I won’t survive. However, the odds are I, my wife and most of our wonderful children will be gone before you are, and trust me, my friend, I’ll be sitting at the gates of Hell waiting for you.

To quote a quote from my writings in 2014, just for you. Damn your eyes, damn your soul, damn you to Hell, back to where you came from.

Juan

Books written by my very close friend and comrade in arms, Auslander. Read them, he’s a far better writer than I am.
Never The Last One. https://www.amazon.com/ A deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Armed Forces, in essence a look at the emergence of Russian Federation.
Sevastopol, The Third Defense. https://www.amazon.  Book 1, A Premonition. Set against a backdrop of real events and real places, the reader is left to filter fact from fiction.
An Incident On Simonka https://www.amazon. NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.

Iran’s Spiritual Empowerment and Defense Readiness

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Iran’s Spiritual Empowerment and Defense Readiness

August 23, 2018

Iran’s Spiritual Empowerment and Defense Readiness

By Kevin Barrett (Truth Jihad) for The Saker Blog

Spiritual Empowerment and Defense Readiness: Iran’s “Trump Card” Against US-Israeli Aggression

Do religion, spirituality, and ethics have any strategic significance?

Increasingly, since the time of Machievelli, the Western answer to that question has been “no.” According to the dominant view of Western elites, religious factors are usually a strategic liability rather than an asset. A spiritual soldier, according to this view, is less willing to fight. An ethical commander is less willing to make the hard decisions that lead to victory. And a religious society is likely to be scientifically and technologically backwards, and therefore unequipped with the latest weapons systems and strategies.

This dominant Machievellian view has been influenced by Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. Hobbes famously argued that humans have emerged from a state of nature, the war of all against all, by gradual conquests of ever-larger kingdoms, each of which is tyrannically ruled by a single sovereign. The sovereign tyrant crushes anyone who spreads disorder or challenges his authority, thereby pacifying his realm and facilitating commerce and technological innovation. All human progress, according to Hobbesians, is the product of tyranny. Therefore, tyranny is good! What’s more, by wars of aggression the tyrant enlarges the boundaries of his state, brings more peoples and lands into his realm, and thereby creates even more peace and prosperity. Therefore, wars of aggression are good![1]

The Machievellian-Hobbesian view, through a Nietzschean transmutation of values, takes what all non-psychopathic humans know is evil—tyranny and aggressive warfare—and redefines it as good. Simultaneously, it takes what all non-psychopathic humans know is good—resistance to tyranny and refusal to submit to, or perpetrate, aggression—and redefines it as evil.

Such a psychopathic philosophy of statecraft and war is clearly inimical to God-given human nature. By what process has our planet’s most technologically, economically, and politically powerful civilization adopted as its guiding principle a psychopathic philosophy that the 99% of humans who are not psychopaths—the vast majority of all populations, including those of psychopath-ruled countries—instinctively reject?

The triumph of psychopathy in Western statecraft is the product of the West’s post-Christian culture. Christianity, more than any other religion, rigorously preaches peace, as exemplified by the prophet Jesus’s (PBUH) injunction to “turn the other cheek,” his refusal to support anti-Roman militancy, and his insistence that “the meek will inherit the earth.” Unfortunately, even after the teachings of Jesus had spread, it became obvious that no then-existing human society could organize itself according to such principles and survive. Mainstream Christianity, largely authored by Paul and institutionalized by the Nicean Council, became the official religion of the warlike Roman Empire by emphasizing Jesus’s statement “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” and telling people to let the psychopathic Caesars rule. This amounted to abdicating religion’s role as the foundation of human society, fostering a schizoid split between “good” religion and “evil” politics. (Why good people would and should allow their societies to be dominated by evil leaders was never adequately explained by Constantinian Christians.)

Western civilization was constructed around this schizoid split between religion, the realm of mere ideals, and a completely different and vastly uglier set of political and social realities. This framework fostered the emergence of Machievelli, who threw religion and its ideals out the window. As Christianity lost its hold over the West, materialist-atheist Machievellianism, barely tempered by wooly-headed and rationally-indefensible humanism, became the order of the day.

Today, psychopathic Machievellians rule the West. Their subjects, who are mainly either wooly-headed humanists or residual Christians, are not psychopaths. They feel an instinctive revulsion toward aggression and tyranny. So the Western rulers are forced to dupe their subjects by disguising aggression as defense, and disguising tyranny as “freedom” or “democracy.”

The history of US wars during the past five decades shows that psychopathic leaders can indeed dupe their subjects, at least for a certain period, into believing that an obvious war of aggression is actually defensive, and that they are fighting for “freedom” and “democracy” rather than tyranny. But such deceptions have an Achilles heel: They quickly wear off as the truth emerges and as the public tires of the unjust war.

The case of the US war on Vietnam exemplifies this process. During the period that US neocolonial aggression against Vietnam was relatively unknown to the public (the 1950s and early 1960s) it was possible to wage the war without encountering major problems with morale and public opinion. Then when it was necessary to escalate the war to the point that it could no longer be hidden from the public, US leaders orchestrated the Gulf of Tonkin deception to create the illusion that the US was under attack and that North Vietnam was the aggressor. This deception, grotesquely obvious as it was, worked for a few years, thanks to the compliant media. But gradually the truth about the US war on Vietnam—that it constituted immoral aggression in service to tyranny—leaked out to the public. Soon the American people in general, and US troops in particular, turned against the war, making it unsustainable over the long term.

The same process happened fifteen years ago with the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Those wars, planned many years before they were launched, were pre-legitimized by the false flag operation of September 11th, 2001, whose purpose was to create the impression that the coming wars were defensive responses to an unprovoked attack on America. Once again, as in the case of Vietnam, the ruse worked for a few years. But as the truth about US aggression and tyranny leaked out, the public, and a substantial segment of the military, once again turned against the wars.[2]

The history of the US wars on Vietnam and Iraq underlines two critically important strategic facts. First, the US cannot hope to win a war with air power alone; victory requires a substantial and politically problematic commitment of troops on the ground. Second, any major commitment of US troops can only be made under the pretext that the US is engaging in defense rather than aggression; and even when extraordinary means are used to create this pretext (as in the case of 9/11) the legitimizing effect quickly wears off in the face of determined resistance by the targets of US aggression. The more time goes by, the more the public and elements of the military turn against the war.

US decision makers are, for the most part, aware of the above-described facts. They know that smaller wars, where they can quickly declare victory and go home (as in Grenada and the Iraq war of 1990) are much more likely to be successful than larger and more ambitious wars (Vietnam and the post-9/11 Iraq invasion and occupation). They dread committing major US ground forces to any large scale land war in Asia, knowing that the results are almost certain to be negative, and quite possibly catastrophic. After the Iraq debacle, the idea of a major US occupation of another large Middle Eastern country is, for all practical purposes, politically unthinkable.

The above considerations illustrate an important asymmetry between US and Iranian capabilities in any prospective future conflict. US leaders are in the unenviable position of having to wage all-out psychological warfare against their own population in order to brainwash their people and troops into accepting ongoing hostilities. (Such brainwashing campaigns have become more difficult in the internet era.) They are also faced with the problem that the longer hostilities persist, the more the public and an element of the military is likely to turn against the war effort.

Iran’s leaders face a very different “morale curve” with respect to prospective hostilities with the US. The Iranian people know that any US aggression against their country is in fact aggression; there is no conceivable way that US leaders could trick Iran’s people into believing that a US attack on Iran was somehow “defensive.” Clearly Iran’s leaders will direct a population that, in accordance with God-given (non-psychopathic) human nature, will rally to the defense of their nation. Additionally, the very strong element of religion in Iran will contribute to the spiritual strength of a population ready to make the kind of sacrifices that are necessary in warfare. And finally, the fact that Iran’s majority religion is Islam, which teaches that God not only authorizes but strongly encourages and rewards sacrificing in defensive warfare—a religious outlook institutionalized in the Islamic Republic—bodes well for Iran’s prospects in any war with the USA, and for its ability to deter such a war.

It is worth noting that the Machievellian-Hobbesian preference for a tyrannical and immoral sovereign is being tested by the presidency of Donald Trump. The immorality and tyrannical egotism of Trump have aroused fervent opposition to the man and his policies, both in the USA itself and around the world. It seems doubtful that an unpopular leader like Trump could successfully sustain any major, long-term military campaign against Iran, especially if it involved large numbers of “boots on the ground.” That Trump himself ran for president calling for a drawdown of the US presence in the Middle East, based on his recognition that the Iraq, Libya, and Syria wars have been disasters—a position that contrasted sharply with the more hawkish, interventionist posture of Hillary Clinton—makes it even unlikelier that he could betray and anger his supporters by launching an even more dangerous and difficult war on Iran. Not only would at least half of Trump’s supporters tend to oppose such a move, his extreme detractors, who are legion, would oppose it even more fervently. Any initial war fever, which Trump might hope would distract from his domestic problems, would quickly wear off.

Iran’s leadership, in marked contrast with America’s, is grounded in morals and ethics, not Machievellian-Hobbesian nihilism. Those morals and ethics derive from the religion of Islam, a 1400-year-old tradition that has proven to harmonize well with God-given human nature. Though the various segments of Iran’s population vary in their religious attitudes and behavior, the vast majority accept the basic morality and ethics that convince them, like all non-psychopathic humans, that aggression must be resisted. Thus Iran’s leadership finds itself in relative harmony with its population on the question of national self defense. That means that in any serious conflict with Trump’s USA, Iran will have staying power, while the US will wilt as the fire burns longer and hotter.

  1. For a detailed exposition of this view, see Ian Morris, War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). 
  2. The facts that 9/11 was a false flag, and that the 9/11 wars were primarily designed to promote Israel’s interests rather than America’s, turned a segment of the US military, and even some prominent strategists including Zbigniew Brzezinski, against those wars. See: SFRC Testimony — Zbigniew Brzezinski, February 1, 2007 (http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2007/BrzezinskiTestimony070201.pdf); “Dr. Alan Sabrosky: “100% Certain That 9/11 Was a Mossad Operation” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7xTsWsLbV4); Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran… – Gen. Wesley Clarke” (https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166). 

 

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

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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.

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