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War! What is it good for?

President Obama and his staff are spending many sleepless nights struggling to come up with ways to stop the carnage in the Middle East.  How in the world has the United States managed to get itself mired down in such a seemingly unending quagmire?   Surely a few past United States statesmen had some insight into what happens when one goes to war-especially a war in an area that knows nothing but war and welcomes it.  The mess this nation finds itself in was unnecessary.  No doubt the nation that allowed Ben laden to launch attacks from its soil had to be dealt with. Once Ben laden and his henchmen were chased out of the country or killed a troop withdrawal should have taken place. But no, warmongers and war profiteers seized the opportunity to convince many Americans that a prolong war was necessary to spread democracy in Afghanistan.  Incidentally, many talking heads, especially Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News network who talk about spreading democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries will proudly proclaim that the United States form of government is not democratic. They maintain that the US has a republic form of government.

I reached back into my little library to see what some of our statesmen had to say about this thing called war- Some by Generals who led and fought wars.  Statements by former leaders of this nation, including presidents paint a dim and painful picture of this thing called war.

James Madison said the following:  Of all the evils to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debt and taxes, are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. In war too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people! No nation could conserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

General Douglas McArthur said the following: I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.  Dwight Eisenhower amplified what MacArthur offered.  He stated the following: When people speak to you about a preventative war, tell them to go fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.

Herbert Clark Hoover said the following: Older men declare war. But it is our youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.

With the exception of Dr Paul, all of the republican candidates for president of the United States see a need to take actions against Iran that are tantamount to war.  Why they insist on opening another war defies logic. Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Network augment the claim that a strike against Iran Nuclear plants must take place soon.  Republican lawmakers see this action as inevitable. Andrew Bonar Law had this to say about an inevitable war: There is no such thing as an inevitable war. If war comes, it will be from failure of human wisdom.  When a nation constantly prepares for war, it makes sure it goes to war under some pretense.   David Lloyd George said the following: You are not going to make peace with millions of armed men. The Chariot of peace cannot advance over a road littered with cannon.  William Graham Summer had this to say about making war a part of a political campaign: In the forum of reason and deliberation, war can be anything but makeshift… A statesman who proposes war as an instrument admits his incompetency: a politician who makes use of war as a counter in the game of parties is a criminal.

Sometime nations good fortunes can be a source of many problems. Huge oil reserves create a problem for some of these nations. Middle East nations have oil- lots of it. The United States uses oil-lots of it. United States oil giants want access to and control of a significant portion of that oil.  All options are on the table when it comes to control of a significant portion of this oil-including war. The US may suggest other reasons for having a significant presence in the Middle East; however, oil is the overriding reason. Human rights, Regime change, Taliban, and a whole host of other reasons for interfering in Middle Eastern affairs are alleged; the fact remains, there is something in that region that the United States wants, needs and feel entitled to.  Talk Radio and Fox pundits often speak about the United States having a moral obligation to be at war in the Middle East. What’s next? Africa.

William E Woodward said the following about the US willingness to take action against a nation that possesses something the US feel it needs. : We Americans cannot conceive of a war without a moral background. …it may now be accepted as the principle that any weak saddle-colored nation that happens to be sitting near us and happens to possess a lot of mahogany or hemp or cocoanuts’ or gold mines had better look out.  We have our moral eye on such people and are likely to introduce American morality at any moment.

There is a history in this thing called world domination. Many nations and nationalities have tried it with some success. None managed to dominate the world forever. What makes US policy makers think the United States is an exception and the same things that wrested power from other dominant nations will not befall the US?  There is ample written history going back generations that details the rise and fall of nations. What will cause the eventual downfall of US world domination is anyone’s guess. Some suggest it will be our greed. Some say the US quest and appetite for much of the world’s mineral resources (mainly petroleum) will bring the US to its knees.  Still others point to the United States debt.  I dare say it will not be one single issue. All of the above mentioned possible crisis will serve to eventually have a crippling affect on the US ability to continue its world dominance. Some scholars and politicians suggest that the United States has already lost a lot of its ability to tell other nations what to do.

I am struck by the number of times the history of this nation is mentioned by talking heads, especially those with conservative leanings. These folks appear well versed as it pertains to the US, fail to make any effort to really understand the history of other nations-especially the history of other nations that at one time dominated most of the world. They were the superpowers of old. What happened to cause these nations to lose their status as a superpower? What caused them to become a ruled nation rather than one that ruled other nations?  One would think that there is a lesson to be learned regarding what brings an empire-building superpower to its knees.  If one looks at the successes of dominant and empire-building nations and the terrible price they pay in actual dollars and human sacrifices to maintain this status; it begs to be understood why nations stand in line, just waiting to be the next big boss.  Never mind that every other nation that tried it eventually lost the ability to dominate the rest of the world.  The US seems to be the only nation that sincerely wants to continue trying to dominate the rest of the world. It certainly has met with some success.  However, one has to wonder if the gain has been worth the pain.

People of many nations having a genuine dislike for the US and this dislike are manifested in many ways. Has our behavior brought on this dislike?  The US behavior probably mirrors those of past dominant nations.  Why in the world would any nation chose to follow a path fraught with danger and unforeseen consequences?

William Somerset Maugham had it right when he penned the following: I remember what the English were like before the First World War; we behaved the same way on the continent. We had taken responsibility for the world for a hundred years from the Napoleonic Wars. Our people got use to it at last and were above themselves. We made ourselves very disliked. America will probably do the same thing. No one learns from anyone else’s experience. They just have to go through it.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Crude in theGulf, crude oil in the Gulf, Results of war, World Affairs | Leave a comment

Conservative Propaganda Machine

Conservative Propaganda Machine

Beating the drums of war

Does the United States of America have too many little Joseph Goebbels and Otto Dietrich in its midst?  Are there similarities in what is taking place in the US and what took place in Germany in years leading up to and during the Second World War? Listening to Fox News Network (FNN) and Conservative Talk Radio (CTR) is analogous to listening to an oral version of the German newspapers Voelkischer Beobachter and Der Angriff during the Hitler years.  Who are the talking heads on CTR and FNN who constantly try to drum up another war?  To make matters worse, these folks were clamoring for the US to invade North Korea and or Iran, while the US was already in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I am reminded of a statement Abraham Lincoln made way back in 1848 when he was a congressman. He had this to say about President James Polk. Trusting to escape scrutiny, by fixing the public gaze upon the exceedingly brightness of military glory-that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood-that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy-he plunged into war.  

Entirely too Americans do not realize how far reaching and destructive Conservative Talk Radio (CTR) and Fox News Network have become. Both propaganda machines are utilizing many of the tactics employed by Adolph Hitler and his right hand men Joseph Goebbels and Otto Dietrich.  It would behoove each American to turn on their radio and do a little AM surfing. It is amazing how many stations are affiliated with Fox and carry much of its programming. FNN and CTR are now making inroads into the FM radio band. The airwaves are being hijacked by both propaganda machines.

Notice the similarities. Both started slowly yet methodically, as did the German propaganda machine. The AM band is now almost totally saturated with Fox News Network and Conservative Talk Radio propaganda 24 hours a day. Radio station WSB, in the Atlanta area, once carried the Neil Boortz program live from 8:30am to 1:00pm, Monday thru Friday. This same program was then rebroadcasted at night and on weekends.  Imagine an audience being subjected to almost nonstop propaganda.  Goebbels and his propaganda machine would be proud of the fact that radio station WSB and Neil Boortz are proudly carrying on the tradition of incendiary and hateful German style propaganda.  After all, Boortz is a proud German name and Neil Boortz proudly and loudly boast of his heritage and makes the most of it. 

Mr. Boortz realized a long time ago how effective talk radio, if presented correctly, could be in shaping the thinking and actions of a considerable number of Americans. His exposure to the history of Hitler’s propaganda machine has certainly shaped his approach to this thing called propaganda. Listening to this man ranting and raving and trying his best to overtly bring down the Obama Administration, one has to see a bit of Joseph Goebbels in him.  He is on a mission and seems willing to say anything to get people to see things his way.  He is also very intolerant of criticism, no matter how constructive.  As with the German propaganda apparatus, Boortz is offended when someone view conflicts with his and will quickly begin to insult and question the mental capacity of most who dares disagree with him.

Mr. Boortz brags about the number of years he has been in Conservative Radio. Can you imagine how much propaganda has been spewed and inhaled by his listeners? A steady diet of Boortz propaganda is sure to influence those whose beliefs mirror his.  Even those who do totally agree with him, will eventually bend under the weight of his incessant ranting and raving and diatribes filled with outlandish and hate strewn propaganda. As with the German press during the Hitler years, some people do not completely trust WSB and Neil Boortz.  However, a steady diet of unrelenting lies, half-truths and distortions does in time change some people minds.

Now we have the Conservative propaganda machine beating the war drums in an attempt to drum up support for an invasion of Iran and North Korea.  Dr. William Bennett, a talk show host suggested that America had lost Iraq because the US ended the war. He seem to suggest we, the United States once owned Iraq. It was obvious that he has no problem with the continued drain on US wealth and the lives of its young people put in harms way in unwinnable and unnecessary wars. It is amazing how many talking heads on both outlets, which have not shed one ounce of blood, and are unwilling to do so, continually clamor for war.  These same folks are even unwilling to support the wars they clamor for with tax dollars.  Oh no, do not raise taxes on the very people who have no problem sending other people relatives off to die in some far-away land.

Is it possible that talking heads on these outlets have no idea what real war is like and shape their opinion and love for it based on what they see in old John Wayne movies? William Tecumseh Sherman had it right when he made this solemn statement. I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Glenn Beck, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Media, Politics, Results of war, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

They forgot the defense budget

There were shouts of joy when the New Republicans were ushered into office in the 2010 elections. Those of the conservative persuasion felt their day had finally come and they were going to address the U.S. budget deficit problem. Sure enough, Republicans, marching to the beat of the Tea Party, came to the House with ax hand. They have been about the business with the skills of a surgeon, methodically carving up the Current year’s budget and next year’s budget as well. Of course, there are those cheering Republicans on and feel their efforts will fix what President Obama and his administration have torn up. They are very careful to make it an Obama problem-as if he has sole power over what gets in the budget.
I wonder why there is little conversation about carving up the defense budget. Why is almost every cost in the budget scrutinized, except the defense budget? What is so special, holy and untouchable about the defense budget? I guess it is because the Defense Department spends it money wisely, can account for how each dollar is spent and is not loaded down with special interest dollars-in other words, no pork at all.
People of all persuasions have questioned why the Defense Department gets a free pass during budget hearings. J. William Fulbright, Senator from Arkansas, President of the University of Arkansas, and Chairman of the powerful Senate foreign Relations Committee, and namesake of the Fulbright Educational Program made a speech titled the Myths of Foreign Policy. This speech is a must read for all who are genuinely concerned about why the US continue to pour so much money into the defense budget. Although Fulbright made the speech on April 5, 1964, his message is probably more applicable today.
J. William Fulbright hit the nail on the head when he made the following observation.
During the past 20 years, the emphasis of our public policy has been heavily weighted on the measures of common defense to the considerable neglect of the program to promote the liberty and welfare of our people. The reason for this is, of course, has been the exacting demands of two wars and an intractable cold war, which have wrought changes in the character of American life.
Of all the changes in American life brought by the cold war, the most important by far, in my opinion, has been the vast diversion of energy and resources from the creative pursuits of a civilized society to the conduct of a costly and intermediate struggle for world power.
Or to put it more precisely in our case, to negate the efforts to acquire world dominion. We have been compelled, or at least we have felt ourselves compelled, to reverse the traditional order of our national priority, relegating individual and community life to places on the scale below the expensive military and state activities that constitute our program on national security.
Senator Fulbright could very well be making the speech today. Very little has changed budget wise except the budget becomes larger almost every budget cycle. Think about the budget cuts proposed by Republicans. They are willing to sacrifice our schools, hospitals, homes, parks, and other public infrastructures vital to the happiness and welfare of US citizens, so the defense budget remains virtually unscathed.
Fulbright talked about the readiness of Americans to defer programs for their welfare and happiness in favor of costly military and extravagant space programs. He wondered what is it about the American physic that makes it so ready to sacrifice health programs, educational, programs and urban renewal programs all in the name of fully funding every need the defense department asks for.
President Eisenhower warned Americans about the dangers of the Military Industrial Complex. Fulbright had the same concerns when he made the following observation: To the extent that the American people and the Congress shrink from questioning the size and cost of our defense establishment, they are permitting military men, with their specialized viewpoint, to make political judgments of the greatest importance regarding the priorities of public policy and the allocation of public funds. The abnegation of responsibilities by the congress in this field is strikingly illustrated by debate or more actually by its non-debate on the defense budget.
In closing, Fulbright said” the first thing we must do towards raising the quality of American life is to turn some part of our thought and our creative energy away from the cold war which has engaged them for so long, back in on America itself. If we do this we may find that the most vital resources of our nation for its public happiness and security remains locked within our own frontiers, in our cities, in our countryside, in our work and in our leisure, in the hearts and minds of our people.“
What is happening today parallel what was happening when Fulbright made his speech. We are currently fighting two wars, and a cold war of a sorts-the war on terror. They are all costly endeavors and divert resources from this nation badly needed at home. It is time Americans stop letting Conservative Talk Radio, Fox News Network, slick politicians of all persuasions, defense contractors and warmongers to constantly prey on their fears. Any right-thinking people know in their hearts that there is absolutely no reason for the US to spend so much money on defense. Because of our actions toward some nations, they feel threatened; they build up their defense, which gives us excuses to spend more money for defensive purposes. It is a never-ending cycle.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | borrowing money, Economic Empowerment, Failed economic poicy, Results of war, Taxpayer bailouts, Uncategorized, World Affairs | | Leave a comment

Spreading democracy and empire building

I saw former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield on a TV program called the View. Eventually the conservation turned to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq-particularly the Iraq war.  Mr. Rumsfield continues to defend the US decision to initiate the war in Iraq. Although the reason given for invading Iraq was based on what the Bush Administration calls flawed intelligence, Mr. Rumsfield thinks the war was worth it, because Saddam Hussein was removed from office and gotten rid of permanently.  The war also allowed the US to do what it calls, spreading democracy-make people be more like us.

The more Mr. Rumsfield talked and tried to rationalize the U.S. decision, the more he reminded me of a essay, widely read literary genius and famous humorist Mark Twain wrote lambasting U.S. imperialism in the Philippines and other parts of the world.  This essay was published in the North American Review in 1901.

He titled the essay; To the person sitting in the dark. Twain began the essay with two simple but powerful words: Shall we?  Twain continues: Shall we go on conferring our civilization upon people that sit in darkness, or shall we give the poor things a rest? Shall we bang right ahead in our old-time, loud, pious, way and commit the new century to the game, or shall we sober up, sit down, and think it over first?  Would it not be prudent to get our civilization tools together, and see how much stock is left on hand in the way of glass beads and Theology, and Maxim Guns and Hymn Books, and Trade Gin and Torches of Progress and Enlightening (patent and adjustable ones, good to fire villages on occasions) and balance the books and arrive at the profit and loss, so that we may intelligently decide whether to continue the business or sell out the property and start a new civilization Scheme on the proceeds?  Powerful words indeed!  In the above paragraph, replace the word civilization with the word democracy and it becomes clear what we are about in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let us revisit the supposedly rational for invading Iraq.  Saddam hoarding Weapons of Mass Destruction was the reason we had to remove him from office and destroy said weapons. According to General Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, Vice President, Chaney and of course President George Bush, there was undeniable evidence that Saddam had these weapons. Nothing Saddam said or did convinced Bush folks that the weapons did not exist.  Some questioned whether the Bush Administration altered the intelligence to support their allegations of WMD’S.

Mark Twain essay further illustrates and magnifies the U.S method of empire building.  Somewhat tongue in cheek, Twain penned the following; having laid the historical facts before the person sitting in darkness, we should bring him to again, and explain to him. We should say to him:“ They look doubtful but in reality they are not. There have been lies; yes, but they were told in good cause.  We have been treacherous; but that was only in order that real good might come out of apparent evil. True, we have crushed a deceived and confiding people; we have turned against the weak and friendless who trusted us; we have stamped out a just, intelligent, and well-ordered republic; we have stabbed an ally in the back and slapped the face of a guest.  We have bought a shadow from an enemy that hadn’t it to sell; we have robbed a trusting friend of his land and liberty. We have invited our clean young men to shoulder a discredited musket and do bandit’s work under a flag which bandits have been accustomed to fear, not to follow; we have debauched American’s honor and blacken her face before the world…”

Does some of the above paragraph remind you of the Iraq fiasco? Weren’t American people and its allies lied to? Prime Minister Blair’s and Colen Powell’s political careers were seriously damage because they bought into the Bush Administration propaganda about WMD’S.  Smack dab in the middle of spreading lies about Iraq’s WMD’S were Conservative Talk Radio (CTR) and Fox News Network (FNN.) Their 24 hour discourse about Saddam’s WMD’S helped convinced many undecided people that Saddam did in fact have WMD’S.  Both news and or propaganda outlets got a free pass as far as sharing the blame for deceiving Americans and other nations.  Today America and a few of its allies find themselves mired in a Viet Nam like situation- a war that cannot be won in a literal sense. History tells us that it is futile to go to war with Afghanistan and most who have, came away with bloody noses and hurt feelings. 

It is time our imperialistic ways came to an abrupt halt.  It is time we left other people and nations alone and start minding our own business.

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Glenn Beck, Greed, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Politics, Results of war, World Affairs | | Leave a comment

Keep your money. Send your child!

While traveling north from Stone Mountain Georgia to Akron Ohio, I happened upon the Neil Boortz show emanating from Atlanta Georgia. He was doing his usual thing-complaining about the tax burden of the rich. He is famous for selecting statistics that appear to show that the rich bears most of the burden of supplying the needs of this nation. Of course, he is careful to deliberately omit many of the important things and people that support this nation. After all, it is not totally about money. I dare Mr. Boortz to cite statistics that shows how many sons and daughters of millionaires have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I dare him to cite statistics that show how many millionaires sons and daughters are permanently physically and mentally wounded due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Mr. Boortz, cite the statistics that shows how many millionaire families will spend this Thanksgiving and Christmas without the presence of a father, mother, brother, sister, uncle or aunt because they are in far away countries fighting two wars. How many children of millionaires will never see their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and other relatives alive again because they were killed in wars? How many millionaire mothers will have to explain to their children why their millionaire father is not coming home alive from the war? How many millionaire families will make the slow walk behind a flag draped coffin, listen to the sorrowful and moanful sound of a bugle as a love one is put to final rest? Many American are paying with something more precious than money. They are paying with their lives or the lives of their love ones. This is the ultimate sacrifice. It is possible to make more money. It is impossible to bring back a deceased love one. I say to millionaires, keep your money, and send your children off to war to protect your interests. Let your children get a taste of war. Become one of the grieving parent of a son killed in war, before he had a chance to really live. I want Mr. Boortz to explain to his listeners and dedicated followers why he spends so much time trying to protect the rich from spending more money protecting this nation, but make no effort to help protect the lives of our young men and women, by not supporting useless and non-winnable wars. The Boortzs of this nation primary concern is being rich, getting richer and passing it on to their kids. They devote little  time ascertaining what it takes besides tax dollars to support this nation. I repeat, keep your money and send your child.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Economic Empowerment, Greed, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Results of war, wealth redistribution | Leave a comment