Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 16th, 2011

How many kinds of wars can you differentiate among? Are there “good wars” for mankind?

The 20th century witnessed 140 armed conflicts, totaling more than 150 millions in casualties and at least 4 folds in severe injuries .  More than 20 conflicts produced over one million killed.  WWI generated about 9 million killed and WWII more than 60 millions.  Two dozen conflicts are still on going for decades and the toll is accumulating.

Mind that in every decade, one billion die of famine and from curable diseases.  The UN estimated that currently there is one billion individual earning less than a dollar per day and have no shelters:  Which means, all the most downtrodden of the billion of mankind will invariably die within the decade of famine and curable diseases.

Let’s give it a try at “war taxonomy“:

1. Wars of resistance against invaders and “foreign” army occupiers

2. Wars of independence and self-autonomy against “mandated” colonial powers (which are agreed upon by a select group of UN veto colonial powers)

3. Wars of “Necessity” for defending neighboring States that are at risk of being occupied by common enemies

4. Wars of “choices” by selecting allies at wars for promoting and trading weapons technology, under abstract ideological grounds

5. Preemptive wars decided by the 1% elite classes in the superpower club of nations, abusing the surplus jobless lower middle-class citizens, for plundering other countries wealth and raw materials…

6. Tribal wars or razzias for survival under dire living conditions

7. Civil wars for maintaining or establishing a Central State government

8. Civil wars for vanquishing old classes that subjugated the entire society

9. Civil wars among sectarian feudal Lords for the primacy of one religious sect

10. Civil wars supported by foreign powers to destabilize and divide a nation

11. Wars for testing weapon systems, chemical weapons, biological weapons… and the level of training of the troops

12. Wars for displacing other colonial nations in order to resume the plundering of raw materials… For example, how would you categorize the war of the US against Spain to conquer the Philippine? The war of the US against Spain to occupying Cuba?

13. Religious wars by two countries with majority religious affiliations

14. Wars against terror, terrorists, mafia groups, “rogue State”…

15. Wars for wiping out entire civilization and their “barbarous” ways of livings

16. Wars against the pollution of the climate and water resources

17. Wars for preserving endangered species, particularly mankind

18. Wars against apartheid or racist systems…

19. Civil disobedience movements and political disobedience movements

How would you classify the wars of the US on Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea…?

What is your categorization during the “Cold War” against the Soviet Union? A war of  ideology or war of global supremacy of a line of economic system, or demonstrating the more efficient method for abusing and enslaving the lower poorer classes?

Is the evolving war taking place in Pakistan, a mishandled and mismanaged targeted war or war of civilizations?

For example, Japan was negotiating capitulation in WWII, and yet the US decided to drop Two atomic bombs: How would you call this new kind of wars?

How would you describe the war of Israel on the Palestinian Gaza Strip?

What of the war of France and England on Qadhafi? Qadhafi declined the bids of France and England to purchase weapon systems two years ago and opted for exclusive Russian weapon systems…

TomDispatch.com distinguished only two kinds of wars waged by the US:

1. Wars of choice, and

2. wars of necessity.

For example, the preemptive war on Iraq was a war of choice by the elite 1% of the US richest class and arms industries.  Participating in WWII was categorized as war of necessity; why?

TomDispatch posted:

“America’s wars are remote.  They’re remote from us geographically, remote from us emotionally (unless you’re serving in the military or have a close relative or friend who serves), and remote from our major media outlets, which have given us no compelling narrative about them, except that they’re being fought by “America’s heroes” against foreign terrorists and evil-doers.

America’s wars  are even being fought by remote control — by robotic drones “piloted” by ground-based operators from a secret network of bases located thousands of miles from the danger of the battlefield.

The remoteness (of the battlefields), which breeds detachment if not complacency at home, is no accident.  Indeed, it’s a product of the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were wars of choice, not wars of necessity.  It’s a product of the fact that we’ve chosen to create a “warrior” or “war fighter” caste in this country, which we send with few concerns and fewer qualms to prosecute Washington’s foreign wars of choice.

The results have been predictably bad.  The troops suffer.

Iraqi and Afghan innocent civilians suffer even more.

And yet we don’t suffer, at least not in ways that are easily noticeable, because of that very remoteness of the war sectors.

The US administration has chosen — or let others do the choosing — to remove ourselves from all the pain and horror of the wars being waged in our name.  And that’s a choice we’ve made at our peril, since a state of “permanent remote war” has weakened US military, drained the treasury, and eroded the rights and freedoms of the citizens.

World War II was a war of necessity. In such a war, all Americans had a stake.  Adolf Hitler and Nazism had to be defeated; so too did Japanese militarism.

Indeed, war goals were that clear and that simple to state.  For that war, we relied on uncontroversial an equitable draft of citizen-soldiers to share the burdens of defense. (Do you agree on that simplistic statement?)

Contrast this with our current 1% wars.  In them, 99 percent of Americans have no stake.

The 1% who do are largely ID-card-carrying members of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower so memorably called the “military-industrial complex” in 1961.

In the half-century since, that web of crony corporations, lobbyists, politicians and retired military types, who have passed through Washington’s revolving door, has grown ever more gargantuan and tangled, engorged by untold trillions devoted to a national security and intelligence complex that seemingly dominates Washington.

They are the ones who, in turn, have dispatched another 1 percent — the lone percent of Americans in our All-Volunteer Military — to repetitive tours of duty fighting endless wars abroad.

The mission behind our wars of choice is nebulous, confusing, and in constant flux.  Is it a fight against terror (which, as so many have pointed out, is in any case a method, not an enemy)?

A fight for oil and other strategic resources?

A fight to spread freedom and democracy?

A fight to build nations?

A fight to show American resolve or make the world safe from al-Qaeda?

Who really knows anymore, now that Washington seldom bothers to bring up the “why” question at all, preferring simply to fight on without surcease?

In wars of choice, there are no criteria with which to measure success, let alone determine an endpoint.  We could elect to leave whenever we wanted or whenever the heat got too high, as is currently the case in Iraq (even if we are leaving behind a fortress embassy the size of the Vatican with a private army of 5,000 rent-a-guns to defend it).

We could elect to leave, as we are likely to do in Afghanistan, sometime in the years after the 2012 presidential election.  The choice is ours.  The people without a choice are of course the Iraqis and Afghans whom we’ll leave to pick up the pieces.

Even our vaunted Global War on Terror is a war of choice.  Think about it: Who has control over our own terror: us or our enemies?  We can only be terrorized in the first place if we choose to give in to fear. For example, what of the “shoe bomber” in 2001 and the “underwear bomber” in 2009?

Why did the criminally inept actions of these two losers garner so much attention (and fear-mongering) in the American media?

We allowed more American treasure to be poured into technology and screening systems that may never even have caught a terrorist.  We consented to be to on surveillance ever more, and consulted ever less.  We chose to reaffirm our terrors every time we doffed our shoes or submitted supinely to being scoped or groped at our nation’s airports.

Our distant permanent wars, our 1% wars of choice, will remain remote from our emotions and our thinking, requiring few sacrifices except from our troops, who grow ever more remote from our polity.  This is especially true of America’s young adults, between 18 and 29 years of age, who are the least likely to have family members in the military, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

The result?  An already emergent warrior-caste might grow ever more estranged from the 99%, creating tensions and encouraging grievances that quite possibly could be manipulated by that other 1 percent: the power-brokers  money-makers, and string-pullers, already so eager to call out the police to bully and arrest occupy movements in numerous cities across this once-great land.

Our Military or Their Military?

As we fight wars of choice in distant lands for ever-shifting goals, what if “our troops” simply continue to grow ever more remote from us?  What if they become “their” troops?  Is this not the true terror we should be mobilizing as a nation to prevent?  The terror of separating our military almost totally from our nation — and ourselves.

As Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it recently to Time: “In the Long term, if the military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country can’t tolerate.”

Behold a horrifying fate: a people that allows its wars of choice to compromise the very core of its self-image as a freedom-loving society, while letting itself be estranged from the young men and women who served in the front lines of these wars.

Here’s an American fact: the 99% are far too remote from our wars of choice and those who fight them.  To reclaim the latter, we must end the former.

And that’s a war of necessity that has to be fought — and won.” End of quote

Note: You may read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/09/21/the-manifest-destiny-of-america-and-its-long-term-consequences/


The Lords of premature death:  International Accredited Arms dealers

The industry of military weapons and the monopoly of the few to export weapons is hard-wired for corruption: Very small number of people decide, under the veil of secrecy, on multibillion dollar contracts, and transactions are negotiated within the stigma of  “national security“.  Show me who makes a profit from war, and I’ll show you how to stop the war. Henry Ford, US industrialist (1863-1947)

The manufacture of and trade in weapons is a business that accounts for $1.6 trillion in 2010 alone: $235 for every person on the planet.

It accounts for almost 40% of corruption in world trade. The formal, large government-to-government deals, and illicit or black market trade, are tightly connected and function on the basis of collusion among politicians, intelligence operatives, listed corporations, bankers, money laundered mafia, go-between and common criminals.

This shadow world of money, corruption, deceit and death operates according to its own rules, largely non scrutinized, bringing enormous benefits to a chosen few and misery to millions. There is a high correlation that this arms trade corrodes democracies (in developed and nascent States), weakens already fragile States and frequently undermines the national security objectives.

Andrew Feinstein wrote (with minor editing):

“I experienced this first hand as an ANC Member of Parliament in South Africa’s nascent democracy. At the time, President Thabo Mbeki claimed we did not have the resources to provide life-saving medication to the over five million people living with HIV/AIDS.  We did spend $10 billion on weapons we didn’t need and barely use today. About $300 million in bribes were paid to senior politicians, officials, go-between and the ANC itself.

Greased palms

To cover up this corruption the ANC leadership shook the very institutions of democracy they had courageously fought to bring about. Parliament was turned into a rubber stamp. I was thrown off the committee I ran, and eventually was forced to leave Parliament: The ANC majority voted down any meaningful enquiry into the arms deal.

The two key anti-corruption investigative bodies were closed down: Inspectors were told who and what they could and could not investigate, and prosecuting authorities directed as to who to charge. If you were involved in the corruption and a political danger to President Mbeki, you were charged. If, however, you were knee-deep in corruption but an ally of the President, you were not even investigated.

The British company BAE Systems contributed $180 million of the bribes and received the biggest contract, even though the jet it sold had not made an initial shortlist and was two and a half times more expensive than the plane desired by the air force.

The Defence Minister at the time, a major recipient of bribes, decided to exclude cost as a criterion on this single biggest contract that democratic South Africa had ever signed. Only 11 of the 24 jets have ever been operational.

In the five and a half years after the deal was signed, 355,000 South Africans died of avoidable and curable deaths as a result of the government’s refusal to provide anti-retroviral drugs through the public health system. South Africa could have built close to 2 million houses with the money spent on the weapons, or created 100,000 low-skill jobs a year for 10 years in a country with a formal unemployment rate of close to 30%.

According to the country’s Deputy, President Kgalema Motlanthe, corruption is now pervasive throughout the ruling party and at all levels of government. Its roots are to be found in the arms deal and its cover-up, the point at which the ANC lost its moral compass.

Accounting irregularities?  You mean bribe deals?

The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO), after an extensive investigation into six cases of corrupt arms deals, first sought to prosecute BAE, but then settled with the company which was obliged to admit only to minor accounting irregularities and pay a fine of £500,000 (about $781,000). A few months later, in a settlement with the US government, BAE admitted that it had paid unauthorized commissions (what you and I understand as bribes) on these deals. The company was fined almost half a billion dollars, a miniscule percentage of what it had made on the deals, and allowed to continue its activities.

A few years earlier, under political pressure from Tony Blair, the SFO had closed down an investigation into BAE in relation to the world’s biggest ever arms deal. According to police, BAE paid over £6 billion ($9.37 billion) in bribes on the Al Yamamah’s deal with the autocratic, (absolute monarchy and Wahhabi obscurantist sect) State of Saudi Arabia. No-one has ever been charged with wrongdoing.

Governments protect their country’s arms companies from meaningful scrutiny and the legal implications of their symbiotic relationship behaviors. There is regular movement of senior people between jobs in governments, intelligence agencies and arms companies. The companies are seen not only as key components of their country’s manufacturing sectors but also as crucial to national defence, foreign policy and intelligence gathering.

In the post 9/11 world, with its emphasis on national security, it has become increasingly difficult to criticize these assumptions (national defence, foreign policy and intelligence gathering against “terrorists”).

Sure weapon industry create a few jobs: for the cost of every job generated in the industry, about 7 jobs could be created in other sectors such as health, clean energy and education.

Lift the veil

During these economically difficult times, in which millions are losing their jobs and the public sector is being stripped bare, the weapons business displays few signs of belt-tightening.

The US spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense.

The US  is pressing ahead with the production the F-35, a jet fighter which will cost its taxpayers at least $380 billion and which, in the words of a former Pentagon aerospace designer, is “a total piece of crap“.

The time has come to lift the veil on this shadow world, to demand that our taxes are not used to develop another deadly weapon for the material benefit of a tiny self-serving élite. Politicians vote slavishly for them because they receive massive political campaign contributions and promote arms industry on the ground that it creates jobs!

The arms business, which fuels and perpetuates conflicts around the world, is less regulated and scrutinized than other ‘harmful’ industries such as tobacco and alcohol. Shouldn’t the manufacture and trade of arms be subjected to great degree of regulation, transparency and accountability?” End of quote

France and England decided to remove Gadhafi because two years ago, Gadhafi exclusively purchased weapon systems from Russia: That was his deadly grave mistake, getting senile in later years? Actually, France and England had already detailed war plans before the Arab uprising started in Tunisia.  Russia will not let France and England militarily crush the Syrian regime so that it preserves its lucrative arms deal and its only military port in the Mediterranean Sea.

It is reported that England PM whispered in the ear of the visiting Bahrain monarch to send a smokescreen human rights gesture so that England will enjoy a political cover for the lucrative arm deal that Bahrain is tendering.

The petro-dollars monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf Emirate States will always receive political cover from the US, France, and England because they are ever ready to part with a specific ratio of its oil revenue to purchasing redundant weapon systems that they will never use, and will never be trained to use.  All these sophisticated useless weapons are in fact stored in US, France, and British military bases for “emergency” war supplies in preemptive wars around the globe.

The time has come to lift the veil on this shadow world, to demand that our taxes are not used to develop another deadly weapon for the material benefit of a tiny self-serving élite, but are rather employed to enhance the lives of those who go hungry, who are without work or who suffer the deadly consequences of the trade in arms.

Note: Andrew Feinstein published The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade (2011, theshadowworld.com). He is a campaigner and co-founder of Corruption Watch.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2011
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