US Strategic Command (or “Stratcom” if you’re trying to make a nuclear-capable arm of the US Defense Department sound cool) has issued an apology for a poorly received New Year’s Eve tweet which has since been deleted.
“#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball…if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger,” the offending tweet read, with an attached video featuring B-2 stealth bombers flying all stealth bombery and causing gigantic explosions with bunker buster bombs while words like “STEALTH”, “READY”, and “LETHAL” flashed across the screen. The tweet concluded with the ostensibly unironic hashtag “#PeaceIsOurProfession”.
“Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values,” Strategic Command tweeted. “We apologize. We are dedicated to the security of America & allies.”
Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologize. We are dedicated to the security of America & allies.
— US Strategic Command (@US_Stratcom) December 31, 2018
This statement is, obviously, a lie. The part about “security” of course, because dominating the globe with nonstop military violence and aggression has nothing to do with security, but also the “does not reflect our values” part. The US military deleted the post and apologized for it because it received an angry backlash from hundreds of commenters and was circulated virally on Twitter for its jarringly creepy message, not because it did not reflect their values. It reflected their values perfectly. The only way you could possibly encapsulate the US military’s values in a 42-second video clip more perfectly than cramming it full of footage of $2,000,000,000 war planes cruising around dropping $3,500,000 GBU-57 bombs would be to also show the human bodies they land on being ripped to pieces. Inflicting death and destruction using unfathomably expensive machinery is the US military’s whole job. Of course it reflects their values.
The real issue here was not values but perception. The US war machine pours an immense amount of energy into perception management, making sure that ordinary Americans either (A) ignore the horrific things that are being done in their name or (B) think that those things are awesome and patriotic. The offending post was clearly attempting to accomplish (B). A team of paid social media propagandists simply did not understand that ordinary human beings wouldn’t resonate with a message that amounts to “Hey I see you’re all preparing to bring in the new year, so watch how good we are at killing large numbers of people!”, and some damage control became necessary when everyone got freaked out. Can’t have people opening their eyes to how insane America’s relentless military expansionism has gotten, after all.
Watching the propaganda arm of the US-centralized war machine is a lot like watching a manipulative sociopath learning how to function in normal society. Sometimes they’ll slip up and fail to react the way someone with a healthy sense of empathy would respond to the death of a pet or someone’s emotions or whatever, and they risk alienating whoever’s around them and losing access to the resources they could exploit them for if they can’t manipulate them out of the creeped-out feeling people get when they’re around someone who doesn’t empathize like a normal human being. I suspect many of the commenters who flooded in telling Stratcom to delete its tweet were not so much interested in eliminating a violent social media post from the internet, but in eliminating that creeped-out feeling you get when the sociopath’s mask slips a bit.
I'm so glad I had decided to download this video from the #UnitedStates StratCom Tweet earlier.
Here's the video the StratCom had released earlier today. They took down the tweet.
Here's the video for any of you looking for it.#HappyNewYear2019 #StealthBomber pic.twitter.com/QEkEkuCNCr
— Deven_Intel (@Deven_Intel) December 31, 2018
And that’s understandable. One of the biggest obstacles in getting people to realize how deeply propagandized they are is the cognitive dissonance which comes rushing in when one considers the implications of viewing the world free from the lens of military psychological manipulations. Without the lies about how beneficent and necessary and awesome the military is, all you’ve got is trillions of dollars worth of instruments of death circling the globe to facilitate the daily slaughter of men, women and children to advance agendas of power and profit while ordinary people struggle just to get by in your own country. It can be deeply psychologically uncomfortable to grapple with the reality of what that means for your beliefs about your nation, your society and your very identity, in much the same way realizing you married a manipulative sociopath can be an uncomfortable truth one might feel tempted to compartmentalize away from.
A lot of people got upset about that tweet, but they really shouldn’t have. The tweet was not the problem; it was just a few perception managers for the US military being more honest and straightforward than usual. The problem is that money is being stolen from ordinary Americans to murder strangers on the other side of the planet to advance agendas of power and profit, and everyone’s being propagandized into accepting that as normal. The sociopathic propaganda engine slipping up and stirring the populace from their slumber a bit is nothing to complain about, the actual reality of our actual situation is.
The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet new merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.
don / January 3, 2019
I read your exposé on CN right after reading this science “fiction” short:
Jared / January 5, 2019
If you can imagine it, it exists.
TDeL / January 3, 2019
Jim Quinn / January 2, 2019
I would like to see someone like Caitlin with her journalistic abilities write a daily column every time a drone strikes or a bomb is dropped by the US or its proxies. Instead of writing abstractions like terrorist targets or collateral damage, describe in graphic detail exactly what happened to anyone on the ground. Describe the full horror, pain and suffering inflicted. Let people understand what their support of militarization is doing. Ask them how they would feel if they heard the thunder, saw the fire and raced home in time to see their wife and children staggering out into the street ,bleeding, with entrails protruding from their abdomens and their home destroyed.
Jackrabbit / January 2, 2019
They “value” our ignorance.
They “value” our apathy.
They “value” our deference to authority.
They “value” their ability to deceive us.
vincent / January 2, 2019
GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003 in the immediate wake of the war on Iraq, by historian and political scientist Dr. Jacques Pauwels.
The article largely pertains to the presidency of George W. Bush.
A timely question: Why Does the Trump administration need war, including a $1.2 trillion nuclear weapons program?
War against North Korea, Iran, Russia and China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon.
Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen…
Why has the US been at war for more than half a century … ? And we call that period “the post war era”.
And why do Americans support the US military agenda?
* * *
Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason not completed, by his father at the time of the Gulf War; others believe that Bush Junior expected a short and triumphant war which would guarantee him a second term in the White House.
I believe that we must look elsewhere for an explanation for the attitude of the American President.
The fact that Bush is keen on war has little or nothing to do with his psyche, but a great deal with the American economic system. This system – America’s brand of capitalism – functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty” even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright.
The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity. In the historical development of the international economic system that we call capitalism, a number of factors have produced enormous increases in productivity, for example, the mechanization of the production process that got under way in England as early as the 18th century. In the early 20th century, then, American industrialists made a crucial contribution in the form of the automatization of work by means of new techniques such as the assembly line. The latter was an innovation introduced by Henry Ford, and those techniques have therefore become collectively known as “Fordism.” The productivity of the great American enterprises rose spectacularly.
For example, already in the 1920s, countless vehicles rolled off the assembly lines of the automobile factories of Michigan every single day. But who was supposed to buy all those cars? Most Americans at the time did not have sufficiently robust pocket books for such a purchase. Other industrial products similarly flooded the market, and the result was the emergence of a chronic disharmony between the ever-increasing economic supply and the lagging demand. Thus arose the economic crisis generally known as the Great Depression. It was essentially a crisis of overproduction. Warehouses were bursting with unsold commodities, factories laid off workers, unemployment exploded, and so the purchasing power of the American people shrunk even more, making the crisis even worse.
It cannot be denied that in America the Great Depression only ended during, and because of, the Second World War. (Even the greatest admirers of President Roosevelt admit that his much-publicized New Deal policies brought little or no relief.) Economic demand rose spectacularly when the war which had started in Europe, and in which the USA itself was not an active participant before 1942, allowed American industry to produce unlimited amounts of war equipment. Between 1940 and 1945, the American state would spend no less than 185 billion dollar on such equipment, and the military expenditures’ share of the GNP thus rose between 1939 and 1945 from an insignificant 1,5 per cent to approximately 40 per cent. In addition, American industry also supplied gargantuan amounts of equipment to the British and even the Soviets via Lend-Lease. (In Germany, meanwhile, the subsidiaries of American corporations such as Ford, GM, and ITT produced all sorts of planes and tanks and other martial toys for the Nazi’s, also after Pearl Harbor, but that is a different story.) The key problem of the Great Depression – the disequilibrium between supply and demand – was thus resolved because the state “primed the pump” of economic demand by means of huge orders of a military nature.
As far as ordinary Americans were concerned, Washington’s military spending orgy brought not only virtually full employment but also much higher wages than ever before; it was during the Second World War that the widespread misery associated with the Great Depression came to an end and that a majority of the American people achieved an unprecedented degree of prosperity. However, the greatest beneficiaries by far of the wartime economic boom were the country’s businesspeople and corporations, who realized extraordinary profits. Between 1942 and 1945, writes the historian Stuart D. Brandes, the net profits of America’s 2,000 biggest firms were more than 40 per cent higher than during the period 1936-1939. Such a “profit boom” was possible, he explains, because the state ordered billions of dollars of military equipment, failed to institute price controls, and taxed profits little if at all. This largesse benefited the American business world in general, but in particular that relatively restricted elite of big corporations known as “big business” or “corporate America.” During the war, a total of less than 60 firms obtained 75 per cent of all lucrative military and other state orders. The big corporations – Ford, IBM, etc. – revealed themselves to be the “war hogs,” writes Brandes, that gormandized at the plentiful trough of the state’s military expenditures. IBM, for example, increased its annual sales between 1940 and 1945 from 46 to 140 million dollar thanks to war-related orders, and its profits skyrocketed accordingly.
America’s big corporations exploited their Fordist expertise to the fullest in order to boost production, but even that was not sufficient to meet the wartime needs of the American state. Much more equipment was needed, and in order to produce it, America needed new factories and even more efficient technology. These new assets were duly stamped out of the ground, and on account of this the total value of all productive facilities of the nation increased between 1939 and 1945 from 40 to 66 billion dollar. However, it was not the private sector that undertook all these new investments; on account of its disagreeable experiences with overproduction during the thirties, America’s businesspeople found this task too risky. So the state did the job by investing 17 billion dollar in more than 2,000 defense-related projects. In return for a nominal fee, privately owned corporations were permitted to rent these brand-new factories in order to produce…and to make money by selling the output back to the state. Moreover, when the war was over and Washington decided to divest itself of these investments, the nation’s big corporations purchased them for half, and in many cases only one third, of the real value.
How did America finance the war, how did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation – about 45 per cent -, but much more through loans – approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollar in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollar in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. As already noted, the American state failed to meaningfully tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowed the public debt to mushroom, and paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “[was] sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.”
However, the American public, preoccupied by the war and blinded by the bright sun of full employment and high wages, failed to notice this. Affluent Americans, on the other hand, were keenly aware of the wonderful way in which the war generated money for themselves and for their corporations. Incidentally, it was also from the rich businesspeople, bankers, insurers and other big investors that Washington borrowed the money needed to finance the war; corporate America thus also profited from the war by pocketing the lion’s share of the interests generated by the purchase of the famous war bonds. In theory, at least, the rich and powerful of America are the great champions of so-called free enterprise, and they oppose any form of state intervention in the economy. During the war, however, they never raised any objections to the way in which the American state managed and financed the economy, because without this large-scale dirigist violation of the rules of free enterprise, their collective wealth could never have proliferated as it did during those years.
During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits – the key activity within the capitalist American economy – can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required. Ever since the Second World War, the rich and powerful of America have remained keenly conscious of this. So is their man in the White House today [2003, i.e. George W. Bush], the scion of a “money dynasty” who was parachuted into the White House in order to promote the interests of his wealthy family members, friends, and associates in corporate America, the interests of money, privilege, and power.
Obama’s Permanent War Agenda
In the spring of 1945 it was obvious that the war, fountainhead of fabulous profits, would soon be over. What would happen then? Among the economists, many Cassandras conjured up scenarios that loomed extremely unpleasant for America’s political and industrial leaders. During the war, Washington’s purchases of military equipment, and nothing else, had restored the economic demand and thus made possible not only full employment but also unprecedented profits. With the return of peace, the ghost of disharmony between supply and demand threatened to return to haunt America again, and the resulting crisis might well be even more acute than the Great Depression of the “dirty thirties,” because during the war years the productive capacity of the nation had increased considerably, as we have seen. Workers would have to be laid off precisely at the moment when millions of war veterans would come home looking for a civilian job, and the resulting unemployment and decline in purchasing power would aggravate the demand deficit. Seen from the perspective of America’s rich and powerful, the coming unemployment was not a problem; what did matter was that the golden age of gargantuan profits would come to an end. Such a catastrophe had to be prevented, but how?
Military state expenditures were the source of high profits. In order to keep the profits gushing forth generously, new enemies and new war threats were urgently needed now that Germany and Japan were defeated. How fortunate that the Soviet Union existed, a country which during the war had been a particularly useful partner who had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Allies in Stalingrad and elsewhere, but also a partner whose communist ideas and practices allowed it to be easily transformed into the new bogeyman of the United States. Most American historians now admit that in 1945 the Soviet Union, a country that had suffered enormously during the war, did not constitute a threat at all to the economically and militarily far superior USA, and that Washington itself did not perceive the Soviets as a threat. These historians also acknowledge that Moscow was very keen to work closely together with Washington in the postwar era.
Indeed, Moscow had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from a conflict with superpower America, which was brimming with confidence thanks to its monopoly of the atom bomb. However, America – corporate America, the America of the super-rich – urgently needed a new enemy in order to justify the titanic expenditures for “defense” which were needed to keep the wheels of the nation’s economy spinning at full speed also after the end of the war, thus keeping profit margins at the required – or rather, desired – high levels, or even to increase them. It is for this reason that the Cold War was unleashed in 1945, not by the Soviets but by the American “military-industrial” complex, as President Eisenhower would call that elite of wealthy individuals and corporations that knew how to profit from the “warfare economy.”
In this respect, the Cold War exceeded their fondest expectations. More and more martial equipment had to be cranked out, because the allies within the so-called “free world”, which actually included plenty of nasty dictatorships, had to be armed to the teeth with US equipment. In addition, America’s own armed forces never ceased demanding bigger, better, and more sophisticated tanks, planes, rockets, and, yes, chemical and bacteriological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. For these goods, the Pentagon was always ready to pay huge sums without asking difficult questions. As had been the case during the Second World War, it was again primarily the large corporations who were allowed to fill the orders. The Cold War generated unprecedented profits, and they flowed into the coffers of those extremely wealthy individuals who happened to be the owners, top managers, and/or major shareholders of these corporations. (Does it come as a surprise that in the United States newly retired Pentagon generals are routinely offered jobs as consultants by large corporations involved in military production, and that businessmen linked with those corporations are regularly appointed as high-ranking officials of the Department of Defense, as advisors of the President, etc.?)
During the Cold War too, the American state financed its skyrocketing military expenditures by means of loans, and this caused the public debt to rise to dizzying heights. In 1945 the public debt stood at “only” 258 billion dollar, but in 1990 – when the Cold War ground to an end – it amounted to no less than 3.2 trillion dollar! This was a stupendous increase, also when one takes the inflation rate into account, and it caused the American state to become the world’s greatest debtor. (Incidentally, in July 2002 the American public debt had reached 6.1 trillion dollar.) Washington could and should have covered the cost of the Cold War by taxing the huge profits achieved by the corporations involved in the armament orgy, but there was never any question of such a thing. In 1945, when the Second World War come to an end and the Cold War picked up the slack, corporations still paid 50 per cent of all taxes, but during the course of the Cold War this share shrunk consistently, and today it only amounts to approximately 1 per cent.
This was possible because the nation’s big corporations largely determine what the government in Washington may or may not do, also in the field of fiscal policy. In addition, lowering the tax burden of corporations was made easier because after the Second World War these corporations transformed themselves into multinationals, “at home everywhere and nowhere,” as an American author has written in connection with ITT, and therefore find it easy to avoid paying meaningful taxes anywhere. Stateside, where they pocket the biggest profits, 37 per cent of all American multinationals – and more than 70 per cent of all foreign multinationals – paid not a single dollar of taxes in 1991, while the remaining multinationals remitted less than 1 per cent of their profits in taxes.
The sky-high costs of the Cold War were thus not borne by those who profited from it and who, incidentally, also continued to pocket the lion’s share of the dividends paid on government bonds, but by the American workers and the American middle class. These low- and middle-income Americans did not receive a penny from the profits yielded so profusely by the Cold War, but they did receive their share of the enormous public debt for which that conflict was largely responsible. It is they, therefore, who were really saddled with the costs of the Cold War, and it is they who continue to pay with their taxes for a disproportionate share of the burden of the public debt.
In other words, while the profits generated by the Cold War were privatized to the advantage of an extremely wealthy elite, its costs were ruthlessly socialized to the great detriment of all other Americans. During the Cold War, the American economy degenerated into a gigantic swindle, into a perverse redistribution of the nation’s wealth to the advantage of the rich and to the disadvantage not only of the poor and of the working class but also of the middle class, whose members tend to subscribe to the myth that the American capitalist system serves their interests. Indeed, while the wealthy and powerful of America accumulated ever-greater riches, the prosperity achieved by many other Americans during the Second World War was gradually eroded, and the general standard of living declined slowly but steadily.
During the Second World War America had witnessed a modest redistribution of the collective wealth of the nation to the advantage of the less privileged members of society. During the Cold War, however, the rich Americans became richer while the non-wealthy – and certainly not only the poor – became poorer. In 1989, the year the Cold War petered out, more than 13 per cent of all Americans – approximately 31 million individuals – were poor according to the official criteria of poverty, which definitely understate the problem. Conversely, today 1 per cent of all Americans own no less than 34 per cent of the nation’s aggregate wealth. In no major “Western” country is the wealth distributed more unevenly.
The minuscule percentage of super-rich Americans found this development extremely satisfactory. They loved the idea of accumulating more and more wealth, of aggrandizing their already huge assets, at the expense of the less privileged. They wanted to keep things that way or, if at all possible, make this sublime scheme even more efficient. However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1989/90 the bountiful Cold War elapsed. That presented a serious problem. Ordinary Americans, who knew that they had borne the costs of this war, expected a “peace dividend.”
They thought that the money the state had spent on military expenditures might now be used to produce benefits for themselves, for example in the form of a national health insurance and other social benefits which Americans in contrast to most Europeans have never enjoyed. In 1992, Bill Clinton would actually win the presidential election by dangling out the prospect of a national health plan, which of course never materialized. A “peace dividend” was of no interest whatsoever to the nation’s wealthy elite, because the provision of social services by the state does not yield profits for entrepreneurs and corporations, and certainly not the lofty kind of profits generated by military state expenditures. Something had to be done, and had to be done fast, to prevent the threatening implosion of the state’s military spending.
America, or rather, corporate America, was orphaned of its useful Soviet enemy, and urgently needed to conjure up new enemies and new threats in order to justify a high level of military spending. It is in this context that in 1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on the scene like a kind of deus ex machina. This tin-pot dictator had previously been perceived and treated by the Americans as a good friend, and he had been armed to the teeth so that he could wage a nasty war against Iran; it was the USA – and allies such as Germany – who originally supplied him with all sorts of weapons. However, Washington was desperately in need of a new enemy, and suddenly fingered him as a terribly dangerous “new Hitler,” against whom war needed to be waged urgently, even though it was clear that a negotiated settlement of the issue of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait was not out of the question.
George Bush Senior was the casting agent who discovered this useful new nemesis of America, and who unleashed the Gulf War, during which Baghdad was showered with bombs and Saddam’s hapless recruits were slaughtered in the desert. The road to the Iraqi capital lay wide-open, but the Marines’ triumphant entry into Baghdad was suddenly scrapped. Saddam Hussein was left in power so that the threat he was supposed to form might be invoked again in order to justify keeping America in arms. After all, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union had shown how inconvenient it can be when one loses a useful foe.
And so Mars could remain the patron saint of the American economy or, more accurately, the godfather of the corporate Mafia that manipulates this war-driven economy and reaps its huge profits without bearing its costs. The despised project of a peace dividend could be unceremoniously buried, and military expenditures could remain the dynamo of the economy and the wellspring of sufficiently high profits. Those expenditures increased relentlessly during the 1990s. In 1996, for example, they amounted to no less than 265 billion dollars, but when one adds the unofficial and/or indirect military expenditures, such as the interests paid on loans used to finance past wars, the 1996 total came to approximately 494 billion dollar, amounting to an outlay of 1.3 billion dollar per day! However, with only a considerably chastened Saddam as bogeyman, Washington found it expedient also to look elsewhere for new enemies and threats. Somalia temporarily looked promising, but in due course another “new Hitler” was identified in the Balkan Peninsula in the person of the Serbian leader, Milosevic. During much of the nineties, then, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia provided the required pretexts for military interventions, large-scale bombing operations, and the purchase of more and newer weapons.
The “warfare economy” could thus continue to run on all cylinders also after the Gulf War. However, in view of occasional public pressure such as the demand for a peace dividend, it is not easy to keep this system going. (The media present no problem, as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc. are either owned by big corporations or rely on them for advertising revenue.) As mentioned earlier, the state has to cooperate, so in Washington one needs men and women one can count upon, preferably individuals from the very own corporate ranks, individuals totally committed to use the instrument of military expenditures in order to provide the high profits that are needed to make the very rich of America even richer. In this respect, Bill Clinton had fallen short of expectations, and corporate America could never forgive his original sin, namely, that he had managed to have himself elected by promising the American people a “peace dividend” in the form of a system of health insurance.
On account of this, in 2000 it was arranged that not the Clinton-clone Al Gore moved into the White House but a team of militarist hardliners, virtually without exception representatives of wealthy, corporate America, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, and of course George W. Bush himself, son of the man who had shown with his Gulf War how it could be done; the Pentagon, too, was directly represented in the Bush Cabinet in the person of the allegedly peace-loving Powell, in reality yet another angel of death. Rambo moved into the White House, and it did not take long for the results to show.
After Bush Junior had been catapulted into the presidency, it looked for some time as if he was going to proclaim China as the new nemesis of America. However, a conflict with that giant loomed somewhat risky; furthermore, all too many big corporations make good money by trading with the People’s Republic. Another threat, preferably less dangerous and more credible, was required to keep the military expenditures at a sufficiently high level. For this purpose, Bush and Rumsfeld and company could have wished for nothing more convenient than the events of September 11, 2001; it is extremely likely that they were aware of the preparations for these monstrous attacks, but that they did nothing to prevent them because they knew that they would be able to benefit from them. In any event, they did take full advantage of this opportunity in order to militarize America more than ever before, to shower bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11, to wage war to their hearts’ content, and thus for corporations that do business with the Pentagon to ring up unprecedented sales. Bush declared war not on a country but on terrorism, an abstract concept against which one cannot really wage war and against which a definitive victory can never be achieved. However, in practice the slogan “war against terrorism” meant that Washington now reserves the right to wage war worldwide and permanently against whomever the White House defines as a terrorist.
And so the problem of the end of the Cold War was definitively resolved, as there was henceforth a justification for ever-increasing military expenditures. The statistics speak for themselves. The 1996 total of 265 billion dollar in military expenditures had already been astronomical, but thanks to Bush Junior the Pentagon was allowed to spend 350 billion in 2002, and for 2003 the President has promised approximately 390 billion; however, it is now virtually certain that the cape of 400 billion dollar will be rounded this year. (In order to finance this military spending orgy, money has to be saved elsewhere, for example by cancelling free lunches for poor children; every little bit helps.) No wonder that George W. struts around beaming with happiness and pride, for he – essentially a spoiled rich kid of very limited talent and intellect – has surpassed the boldest expectations not only of his wealthy family and friends but of corporate America as a whole, to which he owes his job.
9/11 provided Bush with carte blanche to wage war wherever and against whomever he chose, and as this essay has purported to make clear, it does not matter all that much who happens to be fingered as enemy du jour. Last year, Bush showered bombs on Afghanistan, presumably because the leaders of that country sheltered Bin Laden, but recently the latter went out of fashion and it was once again Saddam Hussein who allegedly threatened America. We cannot deal here in detail with the specific reasons why Bush’s America absolutely wanted war with the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and not with, say, North Korea. A major reason for fighting this particular war was that Iraq’s large reserves of oil are lusted after by the US oil trusts with whom the Bushes themselves – and Bushites such as Cheney and Rice, after whom an oil tanker happens to be named – are so intimately linked. The war in Iraq is also useful as a lesson to other Third World countries who fail to dance to Washington’s tune, and as an instrument for emasculating domestic opposition and ramming the extreme right-wing program of an unelected president down the throats of Americans themselves.
The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on war, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Lybia, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war!
Jacques R. Pauwels is historian and political scientist, author of ‘The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War’ (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002). His book is published in different languages: in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French. Together with personalities like Ramsey Clark, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Robert Weil, Michel Collon, Peter Franssen and many others… he signed “The International Appeal against US-War”.
From the International Press on Saturday, March 22, 2003:
The cost to the United States of the war in Iraq and its aftermath could easily exceed $100 billion…Peace-keeping in Iraq and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure could add much more…The Bush administration has stayed tightlipped about the cost of the war and reconstruction…Both the White House and the Pentagon refused to offer any definite figures.
(The International Herald Tribune, 22/03/03)
It is estimated that the war against Iraq will cost approximately 100 billion dollar. In contrast to the Gulf War of 1991, whose cost of 80 million was shared by the Allies, the United States is expected to pay the entire cost of the present war…For the American private sector, i.e. the big corporations, the coming reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure will represent a business of 900 million dollar; the first contracts were awarded yesterday (March 21) by the American government to two corporations. (Guido Leboni, “Un coste de 100.000 millones de dolares,” El Mundo, Madrid, 22/03/03)
The original source of this article is Indy Media Belgium and Global Research
Copyright © Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels, Indy Media Belgium and Global Research, 2018
Jared / January 6, 2019
Thank you for that post. Very interesting.
I need to study it a bit more carefully to grasp it more fully, but it seems it leaves out a vitally important aspect:
Wars represent a massively wasteful and inefficient outflow of cash from public coffers – some individuals scope up bags full amongst the murder and mayhem which are solely incidental to the agenda.
How could any entity survive such a letting of blood?
I think the main enablers were/are:
– dollar as world currency (globalization)
– the fed (infinite dollars at moderate rates).
The problem is that the interests of the peolple and of the states and of the wealthy/powerful corporations are not well aligned.
Syria is primarily about oil (pipeline).
MIC is serving the interests of oil industry.
Procopius / January 2, 2019
I think it’s what is called a “Freudian slip.” Something said or done that reveals something about your true nature that you’re denying and trying to repress. I’m jaded, so it really didn’t bother me until that logo popped up at the end of the video — “WHITEMAN.” I gotta say that shocked the hell out of me.
Random Castagna / January 2, 2019
I think that means it came from Whiteman AFB in Missouri, where they keep a LOT of strategic nuclear bombers. I doubt that anything racial was implied or intended. the intentional content was bad enough.
Philip Mollica / January 2, 2019
There are no accidents and no coincidences. That’s not to say it was purposeful. But for those with eyes to see…
S. Coleman / January 2, 2019
Everyone overthinks things to the point of absurdity. All it was was dark humor, nothing more.
Gene Poole / January 2, 2019
Well it was less a matter of thinking than of feeling for me, my friend. I wanted to puke when I saw that. “Dark humour?” I suppose you want us to believe that the person who wrote that is ironically aware of the nature of the job he/she does, and a caring feeling person at heart?
Jared / January 2, 2019
Like the joy one feels when watching shooting at “fun-sized terrorists”.
Jared / January 2, 2019
Do they keep a keyosk with terminal logged into thier twitter account available for all to post thier new year wishes?
Levi Stone / January 2, 2019
It takes murder to fill a gas tank.
Willow / July 8, 2019
Actually, Americans were sold fracking would lead to energy independence, thus making murder to fill a gas tank obsolete. Fracking has been so successful that for the last 10 years, America exports more petroleum than it imports. So why did Obama the Noble Peace Pres start and Trump continue bombing seven countries in the ME and Africa if we don’t need their stinkin oil?
Random castagna / July 8, 2019
Because fracking doesn’t help defense contractors. War does.
Harry S Nydick / January 2, 2019
” money is being stolen from ordinary Americans to murder strangers on the other side of the planet to advance agendas of power and profit, and everyone’s being propagandized into accepting that as normal. ”
Well, not quite everyone. There are, after all, those of us who have a distinct aversion to swallowing anything even closely resembling bullshit.
Ishkabibble / January 1, 2019
From the above link:
“While a slight majority of U.S. voters in the poll said they support the troop reduction in Syria and Afghanistan, an even larger majority — 69 percent — said that it is important for the U.S. to keep ground troops in the Middle East.”
The state of Virginia has a population of roughly 8.5 million people. The dollar amount of war contracts awarded to contractors in Virginia from 2000 to 2017: $683.5 billion. The number of war contracts awarded to contractors in Virginia from 2000 to 2017: 619,034 The number of war contractors in Virginia: 17,165. Virginia is just one state among fifty warfare states of America.
George Kennan was an influential US VIP for many years.
He said the following just a few short years before the end of the Soviet Union.
“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
At the time he said it, Kennan meant EXACTLY what he said, and ever since the USSR’s collapse, his prediction has been PROVEN to be true. What Kennan said is EVEN MORE TRUE TODAY than it was in Kennan’s time. The US literally has no other choice than to CONTINUE its rampage around the world until it is stopped by an external force. Peace is the greatest threat to the income of all those war contractors and their employees in Virginia and the other 49 states. So, is an outright bring-all-the-troops-home-and-shut-down-the-overseas-military-bases peacenik going to get elected POTUS in 2020? There is not a hope in hell.
It’s time to face harsh reality, Caitlin — that the vast majority — not everybody, mind you, but the vast majority — of people in the US support what their US military has been doing to the world ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They’re willing to murder every person outside US borders if that is what it will take to prevent a catastrophic end to the US’s war-based economy.
ROD SANDERS / January 1, 2019
“…but the vast majority — of people in the US support what their US military has been doing to the world ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union….”
Try facing this “harsh reality,” ISHKABIBBLE. If you control the media, you can propagandize Eskimos into buying refrigerators. That’s where the problem lies. Right now, a majority believes Russia is an enemy. Who’s purpose does that belief serve? Add to that a majority of people believe the president has control over a lot of things that he really doesn’t. Breitbart posted a top 10 Tweets for 1918 yesterday. They’re great!
Here was my reply for those who have a policy of not going to Breitbart:
The important thing is the entertainment value. We need ratings. Trump, like every president in the last 70 years (and especially since GHWB) is a figurehead. The power lies with the IC and the military. Trump is a game show host, and a damn good one too. If he had any real power, when he said he wanted documents declassified, they would have been declassified – not at some time in the future – Right now! That’s how presidential power works, as if the constitution meant anything. Now he’s said he wants to pull out of Syria. Well, he’s the Commander-in-Chief and there are only a couple thousand so-called advisers there so it should happen pretty quickly. Let’s see it. He says he wants half the Afghan military to be brought home. Well? Hey, If Picard says “Make it so,” the crew gets right on it. It’s called a command – not a request. That is, if you have real power. I’m looking forward to an entertaining 2019 because Trump, the figurehead and game show host, knows how to make the ratings and the media love him for it. I’m sure, together, they’ll keep everyone entertained daily. Meanwhile, Congress will pitch in and do nothing while the IC and military surreptitiously keep running the country like they have for 70 years. Happy new year!
Jared / January 2, 2019
Excellent response to interesting post.
We need to confront and address the fact that we are the source of the problems.
And speaking of propaganda (quote from https://townhall.com/columnists/patbuchanan/2019/01/01/how-the-war-party-lost-the-middle-east-n2538314 ):
In Monday’s editorial celebrating major figures of foreign policy in the past half-century, The New York Times wrote,
“As these leaders pass from the scene, it will be left to a new generation to find a way forward from the wreckage Mr. Trump has already created.”
Make that “the wreckage Mr. Trump inherited.”
ROD SANDERS / January 2, 2019
Yeah, I lodged a complaint to the NYT recently about the highly biased reportage they’ve been engaged in for the last couple years. It resulted in a conversation with a Senior Editor who claimed that they strive for “impartiality,” which of course, I thought was a not-so-funny joke. I pointed to a very specific instance of obvious bias, which he then refuted by attempting to redefine common language terms. The next day, an NYT reporter blew his ridiculous assertion up in an irrefutable example, proving my point beyond any stupid argument he could devise. This is the issue. Language has become advanced weaponry by these propagandists. They have become such experts at twisting meanings that they actually believe their own BS. I could cite hundreds of instances of this tactic.
That said, I really don’t blame Obama any more than I do Trump for the wars started by the Bush Boys. Poppy brought the full evil of the CIA to the presidency. Kuwait was always a phony construct of Western powers, and the US had already given Saddam a nod and a wink when he moved to take it. All the US wars since WWII have been ill-advised and immoral. The spooks have so many ways to squeeze presidents and other elected officials. I bet Trump had no idea what he was walking into. I’ve been somewhat amazed at how well he has handled it so far. Not bad for a game show host and attention whore.
Jared / January 2, 2019
For a long while I was taking ignoring the obvious and view NYT (et al) as a quality news source.
Now I accept. But it needs to be called-out and documented for others that are not yet aware.
It’s nothing new (except maybe in it’s blatantness) and it will not change – it is not a bug, it is a feature.
Applies to all the mainstream (legacy) media and a fair amount of the alternate media as well.
I am sure they are working diligently to gain control of the loose ends.
Willow / July 8, 2019
Obama repealed the propaganda ban in 2013. The ban had been in place since 1947. Obama made legal for our own government to brainwash us. Yes, fake news is a thing..
Gene Poole / January 2, 2019
“the vast majority — of people in the US support what their US military has been doing” Balls. But people do support the idea that working for a defense contractor is acceptabel if it puts food on the table. One thing you didn’t mention in your otherwise excellent post (excellent post, but shitty – and illogical – conclusion) is that there’s a very good reason why all 50 states are heavily dependent on war contractors: No politician is ever going to support any measure that will result in a loss of jobs.
Philip Mollica / January 2, 2019
Yes, the golden mantra of jobs… as if that’s all there is to life.
Random castagna / January 2, 2019
People who work for defense contractors are often ex military or just skilled people who need a job. The work is usually very technical. People rationalize doing this as a result of cognitive dissonance, or a belief that they are somehow protecting the country. Either way they have good jobs and they won’t stop doing them just because they are making weapons.
The real reason that we had wat after war and now have eternal war is to benefit a few people who actually run this country.
DRGB / January 3, 2019
The reason “the vast majority of Americans will support their military” in its never-ending pursuit of war is their inability to comprehend the above essay as well as take the time to even read it. One must overcome lack of interest in details, stupidity, and laziness to get a point across to today’s average “Amurcan”.
P.Brooks / January 1, 2019
No More War
ROD SANDERS / January 1, 2019
Thanks for that nice follow-up to my Happy New Year msg to the small group I emailed yesterday. I quit Medium several months ago after being continually reprimanded by the leftwing nutcases running that platform, for no good reason other than expressing my opinion. I just forwarded your Stratcom apology post. I thought you might like to see my email so here it is:
The Neocon policy still reigns because there is no democracy in America. Now they’re saying the removal of 2000 troops from Syria will take months. It should take a couple days. They won’t obey. The Commander-in-Chief is powerless. The IC controls the media and the media has propagandized the populace into believing in permanent war everywhere the IC says we need to be. Both Republicons and Demonrats are compliant when the bullying military deadheads threaten the people. The troops should be completely removed from Syria NOW. They should be completely removed from Afghanistan NOW. They should be totally removed from the Philippines NOW. From Japan NOW. From Korea NOW. From Germany NOW. From Africa NOW. From Estonia NOW. From every other country on the planet where no existential threat to our nation exists NOW. That’s everywhere but the USA as near as I can tell. Fuck the CIA. Fuck the FBI. Fuck the NSA. America First you fucking globalist warmongers hellbent on world domination. It will never work. You’re idiots! Don’t give us those stupid sob stories about some immigrant kid dying in America. America is murdering people all over the world thru the CIA and American military, just like it has for the last 70 years. We get distractions to get upset over. Happy New Year armchair warriors!
Read the comments to see how powerless Americans really feel about this crap.
I am a veteran of the US Army – drafted, 1969 – educated by the GI Bill.
P.Brooks / January 1, 2019
Hi Rod; My military service was years before yours. I was UH1D Attack helicopters in the United States Army and I was also drafted. I uped for a extra year to get valuable training I could use after the Army and to not be a grunt and to stay out of Vietnam. The recruiting sergeant lied his head off and when I got leave I tried to look him up and he had been transferred and I was not told where to. The Army paid for my education and homes upon leaving the military.
I am leaving the rest of my post unsaid after rereading it. It is just my being frustrated and unhappy with our evil, evil, evil American government.
No More War
Larry C / January 1, 2019
“Can’t have people opening their eyes to how insane America’s relentless military expansionism has gotten, after all.
** insane ** being the operative word…
Russell / January 1, 2019
Happy New year Caitlin, thank you for your work, much appreciated.
If you can change the minds of enough people you make the world better.
Best wishes to you and yours.
Stephen Morrell / January 1, 2019
Around this time in 2018, the mission statement of the Pentagon was changed from,
“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect security of our country.”
“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide a lethal Joint Force to defend the security of our country and sustain American influence abroad.”
This latter is also more frank and honest than the former, and reflects a level of hubris that no longer sees a need for prettifying the mission of the US military.
Some details of the change are found here: https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-mission
Stephen Morrell / January 1, 2019
Sorry, dropped ‘the’ from the original statement above
Philip Mollica / January 1, 2019
I am surrounded by family who are military. Brother, In-laws, Children who served. The two oldest ones are beset with PTSD. The extent to which they are snowed and wowed by our military conquests is only equaled by the extent to which they desire a wall. And it isn’t just the military ones. I feel like an alien on my own planet, in my own country.
I’m almost 60 now, 58 actually, and I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to begin to see clearly what it is that we’re doing, and actually care. I speak and post about it all the time, and I’m considered a crazy snowflake at best – an uninformed socialist traitor who is influenced by Russian propaganda and liberal agendas at worst. The shunning and isolation of my family and my peers to me is stunningly astounding. I have never witnessed such indoctrination and brainwashing in my life.
Thank God I don’t give a shit what any of them think of me. I will continue to speak and share. And this article is my New Year’s Day gift to them. Thank you for this. One day we will all recognize our interconnectedness, and these policies and acts of aggression will be a thing of the past. I hope I live to see it.
Damien Anthony / January 2, 2019
PM be at peace. I am ex military. You are right (as you know) and your long term happiness is guaranteed by your strong ethics. Well done .
GaryS / January 1, 2019
It’s not a mistake–it’s a form of disclosure–intentional or otherwise. It’s also a reflection of a disconnect between the compartmentalized military environment [killing] and the civilian world [living].
Read John Lash’s “Not in His Image”: The 3 Abrahamic Salvation religions [Judaism, Christianity and Islam] all proselytize the redemptive value of suffering [victim/perpetrator bond] and the 4 stages of the Redemption Covenant: God’s creation of the world, the trials of the Chosen, the Messiah, and the grand finale–the Apocalypse. Within the Apocalyptic phase lies the germ of the self-annihilation theology.
I believe that people are being conditioned to accept their eventual annihilation–I sense it in some of the specific people I meet–and it the general unease of the collective. The subject Twitter/video may have been a test balloon [Bush 41] to see where the collective was– in relation to the heavily promoted Armageddon.
Apparently we’re not as close as they had hoped–so it’s back to the drawing board. Perhaps it’s also time for we the people to go back to our drawing boards and and create a model which makes the Strategic Air command obsolete. “We could get lucky, things could go right.”
Happy New Year you-all–Rage, rage before the dying of the light!!!
Random Castagna / January 1, 2019
I was wondering when the first religious fanatic would appear commenting on this topic – and here he is!
Gene Poole / January 2, 2019
Religious fanatic or not, he makes perfect sense.
chuck nasmith / January 1, 2019
Ramp it up in 2019. Thank you C.J. Free Assange and others.
chuck nasmith / January 1, 2019
We missed u ! Hope u had a great Holiday.
Adrian / January 1, 2019
“War is peace.” – Orwell, 1984
Mark McGraham / January 1, 2019
and of course the video clip came to us courtesy of “white man”
emme / January 1, 2019
Whiteman refers to the air base SE of Kansas City MO. It is the Air Force Strike Command headquarters where the B2’s are located. I’ve seen these things fly over; gave me chills. They just look evil.
Previously Whiteman was the control center for the Minuteman missile system. Nothing like growing up in an area where spotting a missile silo was as common as spotting barns and corn fields.
Dan / January 1, 2019
or it could be that the current USA management was sending a very powerful message to a few bad people that are a part of the very real international power struggle going on right now.
Random Castagna / January 1, 2019
Unfortunately the “bad people” and the current USA management are the same people.
Maxim Gorki / January 1, 2019
If you vote Dem or Rep, you are an accessory to murder.
Random Castagna / January 1, 2019
Sometimes the mask slips to reveal the monster underneath. this is one of those times.
John / January 1, 2019
Great! As usual!
James Graham / January 1, 2019
The Flying Piss Pot. God bless Allah! America’s gone to the Devil.