Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration

Endless War is Official U.S. Doctrine: And for creating jobs in military industrial complexes

The US administration is boasting that unemployment is at its lowest level since 2010 and the economy is improving drastically.

What the US is not divulging is that whatever is improving is its manufacture and export of weapons to this miserable world where almost every State is witnessing a civil war or expecting one anytime soon.

Long before Americans were introduced to the new 9/11 era super-villains called ISIS and Khorasan Islamic faction, senior Obama officials were openly and explicitly stating that America’s “war on terror,” already 12 years old, would last at least another decade.

At first, they injected these decrees only anonymously.

In late 2012, The Washington Post – disclosing the administration’s secret creation of a “disposition matrix” to decide who should be killed, imprisoned without charges, or otherwise “disposed” of – reported these remarkable facts:

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaida continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight. . . . That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.

In May, 2013, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether it should revise the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).

A committee member asked a senior Pentagon official, Assistant Secretary Michael Sheehan, how long the war on terror would last.

His reply: “At least 10 to 20 years.” At least. 

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed afterward “that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today — atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted.”

As Spencer Ackerman put it: “Welcome to America’s Thirty Years War,” (Referring to the long war in 18th century Europe among its nations)

A war which – by the Obama administration’s own reasoning – has “no geographic limit.”

Listening to all this, Maine’s independent Sen. Angus King said:

“This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution today.”

Former Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith – himself an ardent advocate of broad presidential powers – was at the hearing and noted that nobody even knows against whom this endless war is being waged:

Amazingly, there is a very large question even in the Armed Services Committee about who the United States is at war against and where, and how those determinations are made.”

All of that received remarkably little attention given its obvious significance. But any doubts about whether Endless Warliterally – is official American doctrine should be permanently erased by this week’s comments from two leading Democrats, both former top national security officials in the Obama administration, one of whom is likely to be the next American president.

Leon Panetta, the long-time Democratic Party operative who served as Obama’s Defense Secretary and CIA Director, said this week of Obama’s new bombing campaign:

“I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war.” Only in America are new 30-year wars spoken of so casually, the way other countries speak of weather changes.

He added that the war “will have to extend beyond Islamic State to include emerging threats in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere.”

And elsewhere: not just a new decades-long war with no temporal limits, but no geographic ones either.

He criticized Obama – who has bombed 7 predominantly Muslim countries plus the Muslim minority in the Phillipines (almost double the number of countries Bush bombed) – for being insufficiently militaristic, despite the fact that Obama officials themselves have already instructed the public to think of The New War “in terms of years.”

Then we have Hillary Clinton (whom Panetta gushed would make a “great” president).

At an event in Ottawa yesterday, Hillary proclaimed that the fight against these “militants” will “be a long-term struggle” that should entail an “information war” as “well as an air war.”

The new war, she said, is “essential” and the U.S. shies away from fighting it “at our peril.”

Like Panetta (and most establishment Republicans), Clinton made clear in her book that virtually all of her disagreements with Obama’s foreign policy were the by-product of her view of Obama as insufficiently hawkish, militaristic and confrontational.

At this point, it is literally inconceivable to imagine the U.S. not at war.

It would be shocking if that happened in our lifetime. U.S. officials are now all but openly saying this. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy.

It’s not hard to see why.

A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights.

It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”).

Just yesterday, Bloomberg reported:

Led by Lockheed Martin Group (LTM), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.”

Particularly exciting is that “investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq”; moreover, “the U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip.”

ISIS is using U.S.-made ammunition and weapons, which means U.S. weapons companies get to supply all sides of The New Endless War; can you blame investors for being so giddy?

I vividly recall how, in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing, Obama partisans triumphantly declared that this would finally usher in the winding down of the War on Terror.

On one superficial level, that view was understandable: it made sense if one assumes that the U.S. has been waging this war for its stated reasons and that it hopes to vanquish The Enemy and end the war.

But that is not, and never was, the purpose of the War on Terror.

It was designed from the start to be endless.

Both Bush and Obama officials have explicitly said that the war will last at least a generation. The nature of the “war,” and the theories that have accompanied it, is that it has no discernible enemy and no identifiable limits.

More significantly, this “war” fuels itself, provides its own inexhaustible purpose, as it is precisely the policies justified in the name of Stopping Terrorism that actually ensure its spread (note how Panetta said the new U.S. war would have to include Libya, presumably to fight against those empowered by the last U.S. war there just 3 years ago).

This war – in all its ever-changing permutations – thus enables an endless supply of power and profit to flow to those political and economic factions that control the government regardless of election outcomes.

And that’s all independent of the vicarious sense of joy, purpose and fulfillment which the sociopathic Washington class derives from waging risk-free wars, as Adam Smith so perfectly described in Wealth of Nations 235 years ago:

In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies.

To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace.

They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war. 

The last thing the Washington political class and the economic elites who control it want is for this war to end.

Anyone who doubts that should just look at the express statements from these leading Democrats, who wasted no time at all seizing on the latest Bad Guys to justify literally decades more of this profiteering and war-making.

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

How do you value quality of life? (October 20, 2009)

 

            French President Sarkozy assembled a committee of Nobel Prize economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen to ponder on new indicators for measuring economic performance and social progress. This honorable committee submitted its report on September 13, 2009. The conclusion of the report concerning social progress target the well being of the citizens such as life expectancy, affordable health care, affordable dwelling, worthy education system that focus on individual reflection instead of data and fact memorization since the individual will be called upon to act on his decision, alternatives to organize our life around activities that we love; having satisfying jobs that we value; the possibility of expressing our opinions in public politics and social meetings; enjoying wholesome environment, clean water and purer breathable air; and feeling secure in the neighborhood.  All this social indicators are more valuable to measure how a State has been progressing than relying solely on GNP or how many cars a family own or the number of household equipments.

            Joseph Stiglitz is not welcomed in the Obama Administration because he harshly criticized the President economic adviser Larry Summers in The New York Times;  Stiglitz said: “the plan for financial and economic stability is too modest to be effective. The pumping of money in banks is practically free gifts offered to Wall Street: only investors and creditors to these banks are benefiting but not the tax payers.”  Stiglitz is the chief of the line of economists who attack the concept that free markets have the capability to stabilize imbalances efficiently.  His mathematical models have demonstrated that transactions in free markets are biased toward those who are specialized in finance and have the necessary data to fool clients; “globalization has created a fresh pool of investors to exploit their ignorance”.

            In this post I will ask binary questions of (Yes or No) for voting on laws and amendments in three categories of quality of life: personal, community, and State levels. For example, on the community level, suppose that if people postpone purchasing their first cars for a year and the saved money covers the expenses of inoculating all babies in the community then how would you vote?  Suppose people are asked to postpone buying a new car instead of their older one for a year, then how would you vote?  Suppose of inoculating babies the community decided for pay for free complete blood tests for citizens over 45 of years? Suppose that the community can perform free bypass surgery for the badly needed patients, or free urine dialysis?

            What if you can postpone for a year replacing your washing machine to cover the expenses of investing in playgrounds for kids, or clean water, or new sewer system, or public transport system, or upgrading a hospital, or modernizing schools with updated communication and audio visual systems? How would you vote?

 

            On the State level, suppose the tax breaks exempt people earning less than $10,000 of taxes.  If the State decided to exempt people earning less than $20,000 would you vote for that new tax break knowing that investing money on the previous tax break are targeted to preserving natural reserves, distributing electricity 24 hours per day at the original rate, establishing affordable State health care for all, paying higher rates for teachers for continuing education to encourage individual reflection, increasing rates for nurses with higher quality of services, investing in clean alternative sources of energy, or salvaging beach resorts and better accommodating camping grounds and reclaiming greener locations for the public? How would you vote?

 

            On the personal level, suppose your family is over three kids and they attend private schools. If you are to send them to public schools, in safe neighborhoods, then would you invest the saved money on a new bathroom, building an extra large room for the kids to assemble and play, arranging the garden as an attractive playground for the kids, taking additional vacations, working part-time so that you may monitor the teaching of your kids after school, subscribing your kids in various clubs and extra-curricular activities, or going out more frequently to movie theaters, musical event, and plays?

            The premises are clear: for the same financial saving you have choices of improving the quality of life of the many in return of lavisher personal comfort.  These questionnaires permit you to value the kinds of quality of life you believe in; they are easy to administer and the responses can be statistically analyzed using statistical packages specialized for binary responses.  How your community value quality of life? How your nation value quality of life?  What do you think about this research project?

I have a position: I am voting today (June 7, 2009)

It is 4 a.m. and in four hours I am going to vote; I will be giving a ride to my parents, both are way over 80 years; we will vote as the urns open and we will resume our day, flushed with hope that a new bright dawn is breaking out.

It has been a tough month, fraught with international meddling in our internal politics. It has been disgusting listening to the frequent US reminders that the Obama Administration will deny Lebanon aids if the Lebanese fails the wishes of Hillary Clinton to maintaining the status quo. I didn’t hear Hillary warning the Israelis that Netanyahu and Israel ultra right wings are roadblock to peace in the region. I am voting against Hillary for humiliating the Lebanese.

It has been nauseating witnessing the Saudi Arabia monarchy pouring over $300 millions to buy off the vote of 10,000 citizens who might make a difference in the majority of the Parliament by a couple more of deputies.  I am voting against the monarchic, obscurantist, and Wahhabi extremist oligarchic system.

The Lebanese citizens have been subjugated by foreign threats of “black listing” Lebanon as a State “supporting terrorism” and, accordingly, enforcing economic and financial embargo because the opposition is proud of the acquired regained dignity for standing tall against Israel’s blackmailing military maneuvers and frequent incursions into our land.  I am voting against foreign interference in our regained independence as a Nation.

The Lebanese have been subdued by a few internal confessional and “colonial minded” political parties, which own most of the media, that Lebanon is squandering its independence, autonomy of decision, and its future “promised” aids to balloon to over $60 billions, a debt that each new-born has to pay $14,000 to satisfy a defunct service economy within a crumbling capitalist monetary policy. I am voting for the cancellation of foreign debts tendered on political grounds.

Behind all that smoke screen I am confident that Lebanon will be governed by a unified block that will strengthen our autonomy and defend the Constitution.  Lebanon regained partial dignity after Israel’s withdrawal from part of our land in May 2000 without any pre-conditions. Lebanon regained another partial dignity by the withdrawal of the Syrian troops in April 2005. Lebanon will regain its total dignity by the coming to power of the block unified under the motto “A unified Lebanon, at peace with Syria and intent of safeguarding the rights of the Palestinians to return to their homeland, can resist and win over the isolationist weak-minded forces, constantly seeking foreign interventions to maintain our social, religious, and political caste system.”   The opposition forces will not cow and will stand tall against the humiliating dictates that refuse change and reforms in Lebanon.

Behind all that smoke screen that “political security and social stability will attract investment for the re-construction of a viable Lebanon” we have learned that money never flowed into countries flapping in the wind but to strong and unified States.

Behind all that smoke screen that “Israel will finally stop all plans to invade Lebanon or hold on to the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba” we intend that the water of Lebanon will no longer flow into the sea so that Israel put claim on wasted resources; that a clean environment will be the policy of the land, tiny but worth preserving for giant spirits recovering from centuries of indignities.

The struggle is long and fraught with dangers for a secular and free Lebanon. I can deal with climbing summits; I cannot backtrack into obscure precipices. Today I am at peace. I can see a future worth fighting for; I can feel a dignity that can move mountains; I can reach out for every Lebanese to re-establishing communication among closed communities and vent out the stagnate air.  A powerful sun is infiltrating foul enclosed spirits decaying for three decades; I am confident that cleansed mold will have tough time sticking.  Sweet revolution, it is a good day to advance and face the glorious sun of change and reform.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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