Archive for the ‘Warfare and Conflict’ Category
It appears Adm. Mike Mullen is experiencing a smidge of ennui with the “longest era of non-stop warfare in the nation’s history,” and longs for a new people to systematically slaughter.
The 21-page document is the first top-to-bottom rewrite of national military strategy in seven years – reflecting an official assessment that the Pentagon must officially adjust its focus beyond Afghanistan and Iraq to prepare for a broad range of future risks.
Troops may be out of Iraq by the end of this year. The “surge” to Afghanistan has peaked, with a transition of security duties to Afghans set for 2014.
But the American military will not be given any pause, the strategy says. So it will have to recover from 10 years of war and rebuild itself – but in stride, and in an era of tight budgets – as it seeks to defend against another terrorist strike and readies for potential threats in Asia and elsewhere in the Middle East, according to the strategy document.
Are you breathing into your paper bag yet? DON’T!!!! There’s probably anthrax in it!!!
The Wall Street casinos wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth, and sent the planet into a tailspin of unemployment, privatization, and unaffordable education. This, combined with the lunatic fringe’s insistence on denying global weirding, (or what the article calls “demographic trends and natural resource shortages,”) has resulted in international instability. Naturally, the only responsible thing to do is to deploy the US military to as many corners of the world as humanly possible.
JCS’s report is like the new, sexy version of the War On Terror. Much like in WOT, the nefarious enemy is an ambiguous shapeshifter, but boasting the added feature of being “multi-nodal,” meaning even one’s ostensible friends can turn out — IN THE LAST FEW SECONDS OF THE FILM — to be backstabbers who deserve some nukin’. The report calls this phenomenon “shifting alliances,” sort of like how our alliance with the Mujahideen shifted a little bit, and suddenly two Boeing 767s were imbedded in the World Trade Center.
At the dawn of the new decade of the new millennium, the US will continue this exciting game of Realpolitik…IN SPACE. See, that’s what makes it fresh, and not the same rehashed game of War that’s going to ultimately result in boundless landfill mountains of charred corpses. The military will turn outward and inward simultaneously to focus on “competition in outer space,” and also the troublemakers on the internet – whoever they might be: local hackers, international terrorists, snarky bloggers, freedom-defending whistleblowers, or Egyptian dissidents. No doubt, JCS plans on casting a wide net – sort of like the ones that ensnare and kill majestic dolphins during the noble quest of bagging tuna.
Here’s the plan, crew:
the new military strategy sets four national military objectives: countering violent extremism,
…with the awesome muscle of the US military. BOW OR FACE OBLITERATION…
deterring and defeating aggression,
WITH MORE AGGRESSION RAWR
strengthening international and regional security arrangements,
and preparing the future military.
Or non-future. I mean, if there is a future. Which there probably won’t be. Or there will be, but only one in which the brutally strong have survived by eating all the anti-war bloggers.
The Times coos that the JCS has decided to revise it’s planning — the first time it’s done so since 2004 — because the world is so incredibly different now that it demands a new global strategy. Except, I really don’t see a new plan here. This is still a blueprint for imperialism, although this plan appears to expand the US military’s jurisdiction into the Asia-Pacific, space, and the internet.
The article stresses that (thankfully) the military just doesn’t have enough funds in the cashbox to pull off its eternal, ubiquitous warfare. But alas, that job can always be outsourced.
Tight budgets preclude any dramatic increase in American forces for deployment in Asia and across the Pacific, so the military will have to develop new ways to make its current force do more – perhaps by increasing its partnerships in the region, by conducting more training exercises with countries there or by rotating forces through nations where today there is no American military presence.
I imagine one day all war will be conducted in a fashion similar to how people in the US watch the Super Bowl. All the generals will be sitting in a living room somewhere, Lazy Boys in the reclined positions, as they bark orders through the Cisco screen for the Koreans to destroy each other. The US already deploys drones in Pakistan from thousands of miles away in Nevada. It makes sense that the next step is simply to have the Pakistan army do the drone strikes themselves.
Depending on who you ask, I’m either describing a horrific Kubrickian marionette show, or an episode of Family Ties.
In defining that new term, the strategy states, “Our relationships, values and military capabilities provide us, often uniquely, with the ability to bring others together to help deepen security ties between them and cooperatively address common security challenges.”
Warms your heart, doesn’t it? Of course, in the event our very special partners — whose deep ties we highly value, remember — decide they’re autonomously democratic regions — we will hunt them down and have our way with them.
And while the United States military is prepared to guarantee security with partners and allies, it also must be ready to do it “alone if necessary – to deter and defeat acts of aggression.”
And for freedom. Duh.
The strategy acknowledges that the American military has focused on counterinsurgency and low-intensity conflict over the past decade
Therefore, it calls for the armed services to “provide the full range of capabilities necessary to fulfill this strategy.”
Which sounds like calling for more of the same. But don’t worry.
And it reminds the military to remain “an apolitical institution.”
Because the act of war is never, ever a political statement. Or something.
Q: HELP! Like you, I’m always wrong about everything! I’m sick of my non-Fox News-watching, clever friends always nonchalantly offering their “correct” and “accurate” information. I’d like to force people to listen to me when I shout my misinformed propaganda into the ether even though my accuracy rate is abysmal.
I know there’s no proof that Wikileaks’ reports have hurt anyone, but in my gut, I know that Julian Assange is worse than a thousand Hitlers. Please help me destroy my bastard liberals friends!!!!
One last thing. I too am completely unqualified to participate in most conversations I find myself shouting my way into. But my daddy was an important neo-Conservative columnist, so because I share his genes and since I also have an acute disdain for the poor, I consider myself to be a part of a respectable political class.
Anyway, I know my community is made up of plebeians who should be worshipping me if only I could show them the light.
Help me show them the light,
- Hurtin in Hartly
A: “The entire American government and political class should simply go about its important foreign policy business, and treat these leaks as beneath contempt, and beneath comment.”
Michael Smerconish, well known for filling the Loud White Guy slot when Chris Matthews can’t sustain his level of incredulous outrage any longer, today declared that these full-body scanners are necessary because they would have stopped the Christmas Day failed terrorist attack.
Actually, Smerconish is repeating the narrative pimped by Michael Chertoff, former Bush national security official, in the days after the blundered attack.
“In recent days, Kip Hawley, the former T.S.A. director, and Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, have called for the rapid installation of a new generation of whole-body scanners that can look underneath clothing to search for hidden weapons or explosives, which officials consider the single most significant aviation threat today…”
What Chertoff failed to reveal is that he was advocating for a scanner company that was a client of Chertoff’s consulting firm. But nevermind that. We had just been attacked, which means the government must throw as much money at the problem, and restrict enough liberties, in order to bolster security theater and give the illusion that the system and its leaders are competent.
Meanwhile, our beloved allies, the British government, weren’t impressed with the scanners:
For a government that keeps swearing this isn’t a hapless occupation that will ultimately end in defeated withdrawal, we sure are acting a lot like the R-word.
That’s a quote from New York Times journalist, Robert Worth, who was interviewed today by Fareed Zakaria, about our role in Yemen’s corner of the Forever Wars.
Yemen, like Pakistan, is where the U.S. is officially unofficially at war. We provide support on the down-low, and occasionally kill people with our flying robots. For some reason, the Yemeni are pissed.
Fareed pondered if it’s possible to ask the Yemen government to extend their rule into remote areas they haven’t controlled in thousands of years.
WORTH: It’s – it’s very difficult. It – it’s hard to say exactly what the right approach is. And the problem is that as the U.S., you know, gets more militarily involved – again, they’re not directly militarily involved, but they’ve been providing lots more training and they’ve been encouraging their Yemeni partners to take more – a more active military role.
That runs a terrible risk in Yemen, just as in, as you say, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan, of alienating the local people, who are intensely suspicious of any foreign intervention. And because you inevitably, in areas like that, where intelligence is poor, where the terrain is hard to – hard to reach, and the tribes are powerful, you – you inevitably have some civilian casualties.
One of the American air strikes last year killed quite a number of civilians, and it had a huge, huge effect in terms of protests. And the problem is, of course, that when you already have a secessionist movement in the south and another rebellion in the north, discontent spreads. It’s sort of hard to separate one issue from the other.
Scarborough and (sigh) Donny Deutsch got into a bit of a tift this morning on the teevee. You see, Donny harbors the foolish notion that the American empire is in decline, while Scarborough believes America’s greatness has only just now reached its genesis. Joe could barely keep his shit together as he sputtered and smirked at Donny’s sheer stupidity.
America isn’t like England, or some other puny has-been empire because, unlike England, America hasn’t been wasting resources on 100 years of war, says Joe.
Except, that’s entirely false. America has been wasting resources on its imperialist agenda for 100 years. It’s just that the wars aren’t in America’s backyard, so clueless elites like Joe Scarborough think the U.S. is somehow being prudent when it invades and then permanently occupies faraway countries – even long after the conflicts have ended (Germany, for example).
That’s why, in 1898, this guy named Mark Twain and a bunch of other people formed the American Anti-Imperialist League. At the time, they were protesting another wasteful, immoral event: the American annexation of the Philippines. And of course, the entire Spanish-American war heralded the dawn of the American Century in which the U.S. stormed the globe, stomping poor, brown people, and any other flesh bags that happened to be standing between God’s chosen people and our precious natural resources.
All of this was done under the guise of liberating the undesirables. It didn’t matter where U.S. forces were (Vietnam, Kuwait, etc.) the official narrative was that troops were there in order to shoot and bomb freedom into those people, whether they liked it, or not.
“American exceptionalism” describes the belief that America has been ordained by God to exponentially flourish forever, but it also describes the myopic Scarboroughian stance that America isn’t like those other crappy empires of yore. I don’t think Joe forgot about Vietnam, Iraq, or the Spanish-American war. However, I do believe he thinks America is somehow special simply because we fight our wars overseas as opposed to in our own backyard. Military invasion and occupation is still tremendously immoral and wasteful, regardless of where it happens, but the American Exceptionalism hysteria blinds one to that stark reality.
And the empire is very much in decline. Glenzilla has been documenting America’s twilight years in his “Collapsing Empire Watch.” It doesn’t take an intellectual giant like Donny Deutsch to see that a widening class divide, endless wars, declining health standards, a crappy educational system, and harsh austerity measures can only end in one way: the destruction of the U.S. empire.
Now, this doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense.
ISLAMABAD, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) – A total of 13 suspected militants were killed during a U.S. drone attack launched Saturday night in northwest Pakistan, reported local media Express on Sunday.
According to the report, the U.S. drone fired three missiles at a village near Mirali in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan late Saturday night.
Initial reports said that the drone strikes killed eight people and injured five others, and one of the missiles fired hit a house of a tribal man.
Saturday’s U.S. drone strikes coincided with Pakistan’s Independence Day and this could seriously hurt the feelings of the Pakistani people as many of the people killed in the past drone attacks are reportedly innocent civilians.
Read: “Suspected militants” until reports inevitably come out that civilians were mixed into the baddy pool. Then those irrational leftist Pakistanis will get shouty and probably burn President Obama in effigy. Oh, the strange, exotic mystery of the East.
The fasting month of Ramadan began yesterday in sorrow for 14 million Pakistanis, as one fifth of the nation is underwater from the worst monsoon-related floods in living memory.
And the only entity willing to stick around and offer aid to citizens appears to be the Taliban. The corrupt President Zardari (appointed via nepotistic assassination) was too busy gallivanting around Europe to bother with his underwater constituents. The second richest man in the country, who exists as president only because of his western allies, really could give two shits about drowned poor people. In that sense, these “undesirables” in Pakistan have a lot in common with the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, although Dubya was never officially charged with murder.
When I was watching the teevee this morning, I overheard Savannah Guthrie gnashing her teeth on MSNBC, fretting over the risk of TERRORISTS getting their hands on a NUCLEAR WEAPON. The majority of Pakistan’s civilians, Tariq Ali writes, are “poor, illiterate or semi-literate.” That is the true threat to stability in the region. Mix in a climate catastrophe and a wildly inept, corrupt, unfeeling leader, and the Taliban has a wide window of opportunity to step in and play the roles of benevolent saviors.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s recently published “Time to murder the filthy Persians” musings completely skip over the parts where he perviously made the opposite claim (bombing the Iraqis actually catalyzed Saddam’s nuclear ambitions,) and the fact that the official US intelligence community’s position mirrors the statements made by the NIE: there is no proof Iran is building nuclear weapons (energy facilities for civilian purposes, yes, vaporizing weaponry, no,) and Iran stopped pursuing nuclear weapons in 2003.
Clearly, the US’s concern isn’t disarmament because no one has said a peep about the Middle East’s worst kept secret: Israel has stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
Nor does the US seem overly concerned about bringing stability to the region, since the government just announced plans to sell $30 billion-worth of F-15s to Saudi Arabia, Israel’s mortal enemy, while the US simultaneously continues to ship Israel billons in aid and weaponry. If Goldberg’s irresponsible myth-building sounds familiar, it’s because this is exact the same “journalmalism” technique utilized in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion.
Thousands of miles from Tehran, Goldberg offers his calculations with the detached indifference of a serial killer as if bombing suspected nuclear facilities won’t result in civilian casualties – no matter how “smart” we think our bombs are. It’s difficult to believe that just a few months ago, armchair activists in America (including some of the same talking heads now pimping war,) were celebrating the Green Revolution. If the US bombs and invades Iran, those moderates will forever be lost to understandable, and deserved anti-US sentiment. Read the rest of this entry »
The other day, Greenwald wrote a very good summary of America’s collapsing empire. Basically, we are entering year nine of the Afghanistan occupation, and Republicans are leading a crusade to cut benefits and Social Security during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Greenwald highlighted this disturbing passage from a NYT article:
Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further — it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.
Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.
Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters.
I occasionally feature bits of empirical evidence to prove the existence of the collapsing empire in this blog, like the inevitable Republican-inspired Mad Max future of no firefighters, or parks, and endless water shortages. And we’ve seen signs of the decay everywhere – the real unemployment of 16 percent, and certain counties’ decision to switch from pavement to gravel roads in order to save money, not to mention the woeful state of the nation’s other infrastructure (water mains, bridges, etc.).
I don’t need to tell you shit is bad. But what’s so amazing about all of this is Washington’s utter indifference to the state of the decaying empire. (Quick digression: Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to imply empires are a good thing. We know the true toll of colonialism and empire expansion, and I reject the notion that America must remain an all-powerful empire in order to survive and thrive.) If the ruling class isn’t made to understand the effects of their detrimental policies, the U.S. will not only lose the empire, but the very fabric of society itself.
In the words of Atrios, it appears as though the shiny new US strategy for Afghanistan comes down to “kill everyone who wants us to leave and then maybe, just maybe, we can go.”
Except, that plan becomes muddied when one considers the Taliban uses the U.S. presence in Afghanistan as a recruiting tool. If we’re fighting the people, who are fighting us because we’re fighting them, it quickly becomes clear the U.S. will remain forever trapped in a circular quagmire.
Based on the American military experience in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, it is not clear that killing enemy fighters is sufficient by itself to cripple an insurgency.
It turns out, if you occupy a country and kill lots of people, civilians pick up weapons and try to fight back. We call those people insurgents, and by targeting them for execution, it helps those “insurgents” recruit more of their countrymen.
Beyond assassinations, the only ways out of Afghanistan are diplomatic discussions with the incredibly corrupt Hamid Karzai, the Taliban, and as John Kerry proposes, perhaps Iran. This brings us into the realm of nation-building, a goal Vice-President Biden adamantly insisted the U.S. has no interest in (yet they seem more than willing to meddle in the affairs of the supposedly autonomous leader of Afghanistan).
For example, on CNN’s GPS, Kerry nearly snorted when Fareed Zakaria asked if Karzai was capable of negotiating with the Taliban on his own. Oh, no no. A westerner in a suit must be present at all times. Naturally, Kerry might be right. As I stated, Karzai is corrupt, but shouldn’t this be a clear indication that it is the U.S. – not Afghanistan – who is in the business of building Afghanistan? And isn’t that nation-building?
But if the U.S. believes its role is nation-builder, then there’s no way we’re going to get out of the region for at least ten years.