Apr 092014
 

In the post below, Nick Turse supplies chapter and verse on the mind-blowing extent of America’s global imperium. Crucially, he shows that the number of countries in which the US runs covert operations, drone raids, military training exercises and other violent interventions has soared from 60 at the end of the Bush term to 134 nations today—70 percent of the world.

Like it was once said of the British empire, the appalling fact today is that the sun never sets where US special operations forces — Green Berets and Rangers, Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos, specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, and civil affairs personnel —are not deployed. As Nick Turse further explains:

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Mar 282014
 

Part 6 – Triumph of The Permanent Warfare State

After America’s earlier wars there occurred a swift and near total demobilization: the Union Army of 2 million had been reduced to 24,000 within months of Appomattox, and the 3 million called to arms by Woodrow Wilson was down to 50,000 within a few years of the armistice.

By contrast, the American Warfare State became permanent and self-fueling after World War II. So doing, it both catalyzed new extensions of Keynesian statism and monetary central planning and simultaneously flourished from their rise.

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Jan 172014
 

It’s been well covered, but in this first article of the year, let’s take a look at the collapse of this most important segment of society.

The American middle class is fast disappearing, not because there is anything particularly wrong with the people involved – they are every bit as talented as their parents and grandparents were – but because the ruling class of the United States has pushed them into this position.

This middle class was once composed of proud and productive people… the kind who now exist primarily in advertisements for trucks. These people and their abilities remain, but Washington has taken power over nearly every choice they have and thinks of them only for the purposes of voting, fighting in wars, and creating more debt (aka buying stuff they don’t need).

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Jan 152014
 

The New Fundamentalists

In a 1950s civics textbook of mine, I can remember a Martian landing on Main Street, U.S.A., to be instructed in the glories of our political system.  You know, our tripartite government, checks and balances, miraculous set of rights, and vibrant democracy.  There was, Americans then thought, much to be proud of, and so for that generation of children, many Martians were instructed in the American way of life.  These days, I suspect, not so many.

Still, I wondered just what lessons might be offered to such a Martian crash-landing in Washington as 2014 begins.  Certainly checks, balances, rights, and democracy wouldn’t top any New Year’s list.  Since my childhood, in fact, that tripartite government has grown a fourth part, a national security state that is remarkably unchecked and unbalanced.  In recent times, that labyrinthine structure of intelligence agencies morphing into war-fighting outfits, the U.S. military (with its own secret military, the special operations forces, gestating inside it), and the Department of Homeland Security, a monster conglomeration of agencies that is an actual “defense department,” as well as a vast contingent of weapons makers, contractors, and profiteers bolstered by an army of lobbyists, has never stopped growing.  It has won the undying fealty of Congress, embraced the power of the presidency, made itself into a jobs program for the American people, and been largely free to do as it pleased with almost unlimited taxpayer dollars.

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May 292013
 

“[F]orce alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.”—Barack Obama, May 23, 2013

President Obama’s declaration that “America is at a crossroads” in the fight against terror, a fight that is increasingly turning inwards, setting its sights on homegrown extremists, should give every American pause.

We have indeed reached a crossroads. History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom. Continue reading »

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May 132013
 

Americans are somewhat aware that our current crop of wars not only never seem to end but they actually are expanding into other countries.  It’s as if the US Military is a global militarized dictatorship that resembles a giant octopus that is enveloping and devouring everything in its deadly path.  The war in Afghanistan has expanded into Pakistan, courtesy of Obama.  Obama launched the war in Libya, engineered the takeover of Egypt by dangerous Sunni Salafist Wahhabist psychopaths and he’s arming Sunni rebels in Syria as part of his regime change schemes to topple Assad, a man who has done absolutely nothing to America or threatened us in any way.  We’ve got the  ”bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” Republicans and Democrats who are lusting to bomb, nuke, invade and occupy a nation of 75 million folks.  America’s foreign policy insanity is on steroids and  continues to multiply exponentially.
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Jan 302013
 

One of the most successful programs of U.S. indoctrination involves the Department of Defense. Most Americans honestly believe that the Department of Defense is really about the defense of the United States, when, in fact, the entire national-security state apparatus — e.g., the military establishment and the CIA — has absolutely nothing to do with defense.

Defense obviously means defense. If the United States were attacked and invaded by another nation, then Americans who would resist the invasion would be defending their country. That’s what national defense is genuinely all about — defending against an attack on one’s own country.

Obviously, when we think in terms of defense in a genuine sense, the Department of Defense has nothing to do with defense. After all, there is no nation attacking or invading the United States or even preparing to do so. Yet, U.S. troops are engaged in hostilities all over the world.

In fact, there is no nation on earth that has the military capability, the money, or even the interest in successfully invading and occupying the United States. Think of how many thousands of transport ships, airplanes, troops, and supplies would be necessary for a European, Asian, or African nation to cross the ocean and successfully invade and occupy the United States. It simply cannot be done. Moreover, neither Canada nor any Latin American nation has the military capability, resources, or interest in invading and conquering the United States.

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Nov 082012
 

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer made an interesting and revealing observation last night while discussing exit polls that CNN had conducted. Blitzer’s observation provides good insight into how mainstream political commentators and pundits think when it comes to such issues as the economy and foreign policy.

Voters were given a list of issues and asked which one was most important to them. The economy received around 40 percent and foreign policy received something like 9 percent. This led Blitzer to comment that most people placed a high priority on the economy in the election and a low priority on foreign policy.

What Blitzer and so many others like him in the mainstream press fail to recognize, however, is the close interrelationship between the economy and foreign policy. They’re unable — or unwilling — to see that it’s foreign policy, in large part, that is responsible for America’s bad economic conditions.

After all, to suggest that foreign policy is one of the major causes of the bad economy is to point the finger in the direction of the U.S. military, the military-industrial complex, and the CIA. Composing what has become known as the “national-security state,” these entities have, over time, become the driving force of U.S. foreign policy.

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Oct 242012
 

“Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful, and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”—George Orwell

With Election Day right around the corner, the propaganda machines are busily spinning political webs with which the candidates can lure voters. However, no matter how badly Americans might want to believe that those running for office—especially the ones we’re rooting for—are telling us the truth, truth and politics do not make good bedfellows.

Lies, corruption and cheating have long been hallmarks of the American political scene, as our nation’s history over the last 50 years reveals (which saw one president resign and another one impeached). Unfortunately, the rest of the picture is no more pleasant. The nation is drowning in debt, crippled by a slowing economy, besieged by endless wars and a military industrial complex intent on starting new ones, riddled with corrupt politicians at every level of government, suffering from dismal literacy scores despite the fact that we spend outrageous sums on education, and on and on. Despite this, the powers-that-be—the corporations and other members of the moneyed elite—are spending vast amounts of money in an effort to persuade us to buy their particular “product”—the “candidates”—on Election Day.

Yet nothing taking place on Election Day will alleviate the suffering of the American people. The government as we have come to know it—corrupt, bloated and controlled by big-money corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups—will be largely unchanged. And “we the people”—overtaxed, overpoliced, overburdened by big government, underrepresented by those who should speak for us and blissfully ignorant of the prison walls closing in on us—will continue to trudge along a path of misery.

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Oct 162012
 

“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”—John Lennon

Despite the moving tributes that were paid to John Lennon’s lyrical vision of a world without war, racial or religious divisions or hunger at the conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, there’s really very little real talk of peace anymore.

You don’t hear much talk of peace from presidential candidates Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, both of whom are indebted to the $600 billion military industrial complex for their campaign dollars. It’s the same military industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.

You don’t hear much about peace from the various talking heads whose mindless chatter keeps us distracted from the ongoing wars that are bleeding us dry (the Afghanistan war just marked its 11th anniversary on Oct. 7, 2012, making it the longest war in U.S. history).

And you certainly don’t hear much about peace from the current crop of musical and cultural icons making headlines today—whether it be teen heart throbs such as Justin Bieber or screen heart throbs such as George Clooney—whose activities seem more geared at cultivating their celebrity status and advancing party politics than promoting peace.

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