A house of mirrors is an immersive, highly distorted and intentionally confusing version of reality. Those walking its corridors are sometimes amused and sometimes frightened by the disorienting experience, but luckily for them, it is only temporary. There is an exit, and they will walk through it, back to reality.
But what if one existed their entire lives in such a distorted reality and knew of no exits? Would they convince themselves that these distorted images reflected back at them were in fact reality no matter how unnatural they appeared? Could they convince themselves to enjoy and even embrace this distorted reality?
One ponders such questions when looking from the outside-in on American politics. It too is a house of mirrors reflecting back a reality entirely distorted. Also like a house of mirrors, American politics have been intentionally constructed this way, to confuse, disorient and even frighten the American people when necessary to exercise mass persuasion over them. The final result is perpetual impunity granted to the powers that truly be, hiding behind the powers that allegedly were “elected,” and powers whose authority only exists in this house of mirrors and no further.
New Leaders, Old Wars
Consider US President George Bush Sr. He launched the inaugural war of what he himself called a “New World Order.” Operation Desert Storm included multiple nations comprising of nearly a million soldiers who swept from the map one of the largest conventional armies (4th largest) in the world. Bush Sr., however, paused just ahead of sweeping the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power. His successor, US President William Jefferson Clinton would keep Iraq subdued with periodic bombing campaigns and the imposition of both crippling sanctions and no-fly zones in the north and south of Iraq.
Clinton would serve 8 years in office and lock horns with Russia in Serbia in a proto-Ukraine-style conflict. In 2000, we should remember that George Bush Jr. ran on a platform opposed to global interventionism. For those trapped in the house of mirrors, this distortion of reality seemed very convincing. For those who understood the hegemonic mission of America’s special interests, those that transcend elections and political parties, they knew Bush Sr.’s desires for a “New World” endured and would manifest themselves in a yet revealed, muscular foreign policy that only needed the right impetus to be justified in the eyes of the American people.
Conveniently, the events of September 11, 2001 delivered just that. So began the 8 year “War on Terror.” So sick of wars were Americans at the end of those 8 years, that anyone promising to end them would likely win the 2008 elections. And so Barack Obama did and thus became “US President.” However, not only did the wars not end, and not only were they in fact expanded, new wars were begun. In fact, these new wars were all the planned wars Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. never got around to fighting.
Yet, no matter how unnatural this distorted reflection appeared in the American politics house of mirrors, those trapped perpetually within its mirrored walls found it perfectly acceptable for a Democratic president to continue Republican wars and start new wars the Republicans could only have dreamed of starting but couldn’t because of left-wing anti-war movements now silent because “their guy” was in office.
Hillary = Obama = Bush Jr. = Clinton = Bush Sr.
With Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she is running for office in 2016 with President Obama’s full endorsement, those infected with neo-liberalism and wandering the corridors of this house of mirrors see yet another distorted, ghoulish image staring back, but one they are yet again ready to embrace.
Here is a woman who as US Secretary of State laughed and mocked the Libyan people upon hearing their leader had been murdered by terrorists in what constituted by all accounts a war crime. Before that, she played an active role in selling the war upon Libya in 2011 to the American left (as the American right had already desired such a war for years and needed no convincing). By 2016 we may have yet another Clinton in office, and a Clinton fully dedicated to carrying on the wars of both the Democrats and Republicans that came before her.
To say this is continuity of agenda is a bit of an understatement. American foreign policy has been so singular in purpose and focus for the past several decades that it is clear that behind the distortions of this house of mirrors, something singular and very nasty has been there the entire time. Who or what could it be?
The Real President of the United States Lives on Wall Street, not Pennsylvania Avenue
How about we look at the people who pay for the political campaigns to put these various spokesmen and women-in-chiefs into office in the first place? Or the immense interests driving lobbying efforts that target and control both sides of the political aisle in American politics? A single Fortune 100 corporation has enough money to buy out every relevant politician on Capital Hill and still finish up the fiscal year bloated with billions in profits. And what happens when these interests converge across various think-tanks they themselves have set up and created to generate the singular foreign and domestic policies we see carried forward from presidency to presidency, from congressional session to session?
We see complete control exerted over American politics as well as across the media, allegedly charged to serve as watchdogs and a check and balance, but instead turned into an echo chamber and instrument of mass persuasion by those who have clearly consolidated the summation of American politics in their pockets.
While policy might be debated over by these special interests, and groups moved in one direction or another to exert influence against competing special interests among this exclusive club, one thing is for sure, the American voter is the last voice considered in this process.
Since the American voter is incapable of seeing that they are in fact in a house of mirrors to begin with, and think they are “outside” in reality making real decisions, their decisions are completely irrelevant to those who really do live outside in reality and are actually making real decisions.
We must understand that for special interests that collectively control trillions of dollars in assets, profits and infrastructure all over the planet, the last thing they are willing to do is allow for the existence of a system that might actually put into power a form of authority above their own, that would set policy predicated upon the interests of the people, rather than their own. They have the money, the power and the ability to ensure policy is set to suit them, and them alone, and they clearly have done just that.
This is why US troops are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, wars are still being waged either directly or indirectly against Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran and Russia and destabilization targeting China and other targets of Washington and Wall Street’s special interests continues unabated, albeit distorted within the house of mirrors, regardless of who is president.
So Americans may think they are voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and those infected with neo-liberalism the world over may think another enlightened champion of their progressive cause has taken the reins of the free world, but they might as well have voted for another Bush. The reality is, that as along as Americans and those who look to America from abroad for leadership dwell in this house of mirrors, the special interests that intentionally built this carnival called “democracy” will have their way back in actual reality.
Instead of fumbling through another four years trapped inside this carnival attraction, let’s find the exits. Let’s leave this house of mirrors and breathe a breath of fresh air. Are we really going to listen to another round of campaign promises, holding our breath hoping that this time they mean it? Or will we begin divesting from this system and building our own, one that might actually truly represent us this time, far from the mirrored walls that held us for so long?
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. (Photo: US Navy)
An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. (Photo: US Navy)
Conflicts and war across the region, says one analyst, ‘have been an economic boon to those who wipe away crocodile tears with one hand and sign weapons contracts with the other.’
With ongoing wars and armed conflicts currently underway across the Middle East, South Asia, and large portions of Africa, the role that U.S. weapons makers play across the region was highlighted in weekend reporting by the New York Times, which showed how the drive for corporate profits has unleashed an arms race with perilous human consequences and no end in sight for people living in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.
“As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more,” the Timesreports. “The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.”
With a loosening of arms sales to many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations—including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt—the Timesshows how an influx of advanced weaponry, such as missiles, fighter jets, and drones, is having a direct impact on both the simmering and broiling conflicts that have engulfed the region in recent years.
According to the Times:
Saudi Arabia spent more than $80 billion on weaponry last year — the most ever, and more than either France or Britain — and has become the world’s fourth-largest defense market, according to figures released last week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks global military spending. The Emirates spent nearly $23 billion last year, more than three times what they spent in 2006.
Qatar, another gulf country with bulging coffers and a desire to assert its influence around the Middle East, is on a shopping spree. Last year, Qatar signed an $11 billion deal with the Pentagon to purchase Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defense systems. Now the tiny nation is hoping to make a large purchase of Boeing F-15 fighters to replace its aging fleet of French Mirage jets. Qatari officials are expected to present the Obama administration with a wish list of advanced weapons before they come to Washington next month for meetings with other gulf nations.
American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue — in part to offset the shrinking of the Pentagon budget after the post-Sept. 11 boom.
American intelligence agencies believe that the proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America’s future arsenal of weapons. The plane, the world’s most expensive weapons project, has stealth capabilities and has been marketed heavily to European and Asian allies. It has not yet been peddled to Arab allies because of concerns about preserving Israel’s military edge.
For critics of the weapons industry and the support they receive from the U.S. government—which sanctions and paves the way for such sales—the trend is a deeply troubling one.
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told the Times he views the increase in arms sales to the region “with a great deal of trepidation, as it is leading to an escalation in the type and number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.”
Sharif Nashashibi, an award-winning journalist and expert on the Middle East region, noted in a Sunday column in the Middle East Eye that though war-profiteering is anything but new, the current scale of the problem is worrying. “Weapons exports provide massive economic benefits,” notes Nashashibi, “which translate to political benefits, domestically and in terms of influence with clients. The Middle East and North Africa has long been a theatre of combat—often on numerous fronts—and hence among the most lucrative markets on the planet. However, weapons purchases have skyrocketed in recent years as unrest, tension and war between and within states have increased markedly.”
Arms suppliers derive maximum benefit from just the right amount of destabilisation: enough to make clients bulk-buy, but not enough to existentially threaten them or disrupt energy supplies. That is why, for example, the US profited so immensely from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s – it armed both sides, resulting in a war of attrition that lasted almost a decade.
Similarly, the Arab Spring, Arab-Iranian tensions and the rise of the Islamic State, among other current crises, have been an economic boon to those who wipe away crocodile tears with one hand and sign weapons contracts with the other. Operation Decisive Storm over Yemen will no doubt add to the buying frenzy.
Also responding to the Times‘ latest reporting was journalist and analyst Richard Silverstein. Writing in Sunday’s Eurasia Review, he questioned the overall strategy of U.S. military intervention and weapons proliferation throughout the Middle East, which he argues has been not only counter-productive, but “almost universally deadly.”
With specific attention to the legacy of President Obama, Silverstein added:
We’ve been responsible for the deaths of millions in the past decade. Why do we continue with policies which have failed so miserably? Do you remember Obama’s “famed” Cairo speech of 2008? We were going to bring a new form of engagement to the Arab world. One not based on military might or dictating our political views or values. We were going to treat the Arab states as partners.
Whatever happened to that Obama? How did he turn into the president whose sole policy seems to be sending drones to kill Islamists and many unarmed civilians? Now, he wants to become the president who presided over a U.S. weapons fire sale there. The leader who confirmed that America’s become “War Inc.”
And as William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, wrote in piece that appeared on Common Dreams in October, “If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past 13 years of war, it’s that war is good business for those in the business of war.”
As Nashashibi concludes, it should be no surprise that when it comes to the U.S. government, “the talk these days is of cooperation with the region’s autocrats—they are the ones buying the most weapons. A democratic, peaceful Middle East and North Africa is far less profitable. Arms exporters will never say so, but peace does not pay the bills.”
As a lifetime student of classical mainline Islamic jurisprudential school of thought called “Sunni fiqh”, I feel saddened to note how the Western mainstream media succumbed to the Islamophobic propaganda of affixing the epithet “Sunni” to the militia of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
I can confidently say that ISIS is not Sunni because all that ISIS has done is to contravene the ethical teachings of Sunni Islam.
I consider Sunni Islam as the normative Islam practiced by the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad, who are called Sahabah (model companions) and the righteous caliphs “Al Khalifah Rashidun” (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) who were democratically elected by the whole Islamic Ummah (community). When the Islamophobic Western media equates ISIS barbarity and inhumanity to the normative Islamic term “Sunni” (which literally means followers of orthodox Islam), the Western media is simply serving US Hegemonic interests: by ensuring that neo-colonial and hegemonic forces will continue unabated the rising Islamophobia against Muslims and by effectively maligning Sunni Islam which is the prevalent school of Islamic jurisprudence in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world.
I can honestly attest that as per my readings of Shariah principles of the Four Imams of Sunni Islam (Imams Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i, Malik and Ibn Hanbal) who were the eminent jurisprudents of classical Sunni Islam, I have never encountered any of their treatise justifying barbarism and inhumanity that are now being perpetrated by ISIS.
In fact, these Four Imams of classical Sunni Islam through their treatises strongly detest the barbarity of the ISIS militia. Here are six (6) reasons why the entire ISIS war outfit cannot not be considered a ‘Sunni movement” and should never be called “Sunni” militia, and therefore Western mainstream media should not and must not commit Islamophobic name-calling, and must therefore stop referring to ISIS as “Sunni” militia:
1.) ISIS destroyed many holy shrines of Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria, including the shrine and mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) of Ninawa (Nineveh), Iraq and the shrine of Prophet Ayyub (Job) in Oz, Mosul, Iraq; to mention a few. They destroyed holy graves of Sufi-Sunni Muslim saints in and around Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq and in Damascus, Aleppo and Kobane in Syria.
2.) The Holy Quran declares that Muslims are forbidden to destroy places of worship of all religions; and particularly, the shrines of the Ahl-ul-Kitab (literally, “People with Sacred Scriptures”) i.e., Jews and Christians must be held inviolable and must even be secured by Muslims (Al-Qur-an 22:40-41), and yet ISIS barbarically destroyed Christian churches. Also, Islam in the Holy Quran solemnly declares that there should be no compulsion in religion (Al-Qur’an 2:256), and yet this ISIS militia are forcing Yezidis and Christians to convert or else face death. This is very strange: there is no news that records that Jews were forcibly converted by ISIS and synagogues around Mosul, Aleppo, Kirkuk and in cities of North Iraq were never destroyed by ISIS, even though there are resident Jews and there are a number of synagogues in these areas. This is a strange thing indeed! (See, The Majlis: Council of Ulama in South Africa; p. 8.)
3.) The Shariah Islamiyyah (Divine Law) of classical Sunni Islam are found in the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Qur’an clearly says that civilians and non-combatants’ lives are inviolable: (Al-Qur’an2:256, 5:69). As of this juncture, to quote from the Holy Qur’an is in order: “Allah forbids you to fight those who did not oppress you, nor threw you out of your homes, you ought to show compassion on them and manifest justice upon them. Verily Allah loves those who are just” (60:8). The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden in all Sunni rulings concerning defensive warfare. Sayyidina Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph of Sunni Islam penned this ruling to the armies of the Caliphate: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town and do not touch those who do not bear arms, do not kill those who surrender and take refuge in the designated places of refuge, all who surrender to you must be safe in your care.” (See Imam Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Fatawah-ul-Jihad-e-Abu Bakr Siddiq” [The Book of Abu Bakr Siddiq on the Proper Conduct of Warfare], pp. 37-39.).
4.) As far as my research goes, there are no Sunni scholars (ulama) and legitimate Sunni muftis and fuqaha (Islamic jurists and doctors of Islamic law) among the so-called ISIS Caliphate to clearly establish legitimate fatwas (Shariah rulings) on the legitimacy of their jihad from the Sunni Islamic perspective. There is not even an ustadh (Islamic scholar) of eminence among their ranks! The truth is that eminent Sunni scholars of Iraq and Syria have denounced ISIS for killing over 300 Sunni imams: which effectively belied the ISIS claim that it represents itself as the protector of Sunnis in Iraq and Syria. Many Sunni clerics in Iraq and the Levant declare ISIS combatants as “outside the bounds of Islam and are therefore excommunicated from the Islamic faith” because of their brutality inflicted on non-Muslims and on Sunni Muslims
5.) Using the classical rulings of Sunni Islam on governance as basis of legitimacy, the so-called ISIS Caliphate is illegitimate. Genuine and bonafide Sunni Caliphate is established by the expressed consensus and consent (al-mushshuw’ara al jamaah) of the whole Islamic community by explicit public allegiance (bay-ah) of the whole body of Muslims. ISIS has unilaterally declared their so-called caliph, Al-Baghdadi as Khalifah-ul-Muslimin” (Caliph of all Muslims) clandestinely and covertly, in which the whole Muslim Ummah did not participate in his election, nor choose him to be its caliph, nor give him pledge of allegiance!
6.) ISIS was only able to successfully recruit combatants from Europe to wage war in Iraq and the Levant, but it failed to enlist the grassroot support of Iraqi and Levantine Sunnis. Furthermore, it failed to enlist allegiance of the Sunni Arab and Kurdish clergies who strongly denounced ISIS as outside the pale of the Islamic faith
In fact most of these ISIS militia are Australians, British, Americans, Belgian, French, German, Chechens, who mostly came from Europe, so that most Iraqis and Syrians regard ISIS as an alien power forcing and imposing themselves and their barbarity upon Arab lands with their sophisticated weaponries and ammunition that are mostly sourced from US, Britain and the rest of Europe.
If ISIS is not a Sunni militia, then who are they working for?
Who employed them to wreck havoc in the Middle East?
Why is it that the US government and its NATO allies cannot seriously fight ISIS in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Levant? ISIS is US-made monster! ISIS Caliphate is never an Islamic Caliphate.
It is a “U.S.-made Caliphate” that does not have any binding authority whatsoever over worldwide Muslims.
It is known truth that CIA constantly backs-up and supports all known so-called jihadist groups from the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to even Jemaa Islamiyya and Al-Qaeda in the Middle East, and the Boko Haram of Nigeria.
That is why US will never seriously fight these monsters it created.
US is the invisible director of all international terrorism groups so that these monsters can commit crimes mercilessly and with impunity against humanity. These monsters are made alive and sustained by American dollars and ably, yet subtly directed by the master of the puppetry: US invisible hegemonic hand!
NATO is in unholy partnership with the CIA operators who are currently training, arming, funding and equipping thousands of ISIS combatants from Europe to overthrow secular and socialist Syria as part of the CIA ploy called “Arab Spring”—which is nothing but a covert ideological operation to to conquer the Middle East and Central Asia, its oil reserves, its pipeline corridors as part of an imperial agenda. (On The Trans-Afghan pipeline see Michel Chossudovsky, “America’s War on Terrorism”, chapter 5, pp. 65-91).
Therefore, who is supporting this ISIS militia, who is equipping them, who is funding them so heftily?
For what purpose are they doing these despicable acts? If they are truly Islamic fighters bent on fighting for the rights of Islam and the Muslims, then why do they bomb Sunni Muslim mosques, Sufi Muslim shrines and Shi’ite Muslim prayer halls of their co-religionists?
Is this about establishing a war scenario in the Middle East so that the global weaponry business of the US military industrial complex is at its best and profitable business as usual?
These are relevant questions for our sober reflection.
Professor Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines, Cebu City. His research interests also include Islamic Studies; particularly Sunni (Hanafi) jurisprudence, the writings of Al-Ghazali and Turkish Sufism. His email address is email@example.com.
The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might harm profitability.
Hewson replied that “that really isn’t coming up,” but stressed that “volatility all around the region” should continue to bring in new business. According to Hewson, “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in both the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region means both are “growth areas” for Lockheed Martin.
The Deutsche Bank-Lockheed exchange “underscores a longstanding truism of the weapons trade: war — or the threat of war — is good for the arms business,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung observed that Hewson described the normalization of relations with Iran not as a positive development for the future, but as an “impediment.” “And Hewson’s response,” Hartung adds, “which in essence is ‘don’t worry, there’s plenty of instability to go around,’ shows the perverse incentive structure that is at the heart of the international arms market.”
Former managing director of Goldman Sachs – and head of the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London (Nomi Prins) – notes:
Throughout the century that I examined, which began with the Panic of 1907 … what I found by accessing the archives of each president is that through many events and periods, particular bankers were in constant communication [with the White House] — not just about financial and economic policy, and by extension trade policy, but also about aspects of World War I, or World War II, or the Cold War, in terms of the expansion that America was undergoing as a superpower in the world, politically, buoyed by the financial expansion of the banking community.
In the beginning of World War I, Woodrow Wilson had adopted initially a policy of neutrality. But the Morgan Bank, which was the most powerful bank at the time, and which wound up funding over 75 percent of the financing for the allied forces during World War I … pushed Wilson out of neutrality sooner than he might have done, because of their desire to be involved on one side of the war.
Now, on the other side of that war, for example, was the National City Bank, which, though they worked with Morgan in financing the French and the British, they also didn’t have a problem working with financing some things on the German side, as did Chase …
When Eisenhower became president … the U.S. was undergoing this expansion by providing, under his doctrine, military aid and support to countries [under] the so-called threat of being taken over by communism … What bankers did was they opened up hubs, in areas such as Cuba, in areas such as Beirut and Lebanon, where the U.S. also wanted to gain a stronghold in their Cold War fight against the Soviet Union. And so the juxtaposition of finance and foreign policy were very much aligned.
So in the ‘70s, it became less aligned, because though America was pursuing foreign policy initiatives in terms of expansion, the bankers found oil, and they made an extreme effort to activate relationships in the Middle East, that then the U.S. government followed. For example, in Saudi Arabia and so forth, they get access to oil money, and then recycle it into Latin American debt and other forms of lending throughout the globe. So that situation led the U.S. government.
Barclays Bank has agreed to pay $3.6m to Jews whose assets were seized from French branches of the British-based bank during World War II.
Chase Manhattan Bank, which has acknowledged seizing about 100 accounts held by Jews in its Paris branch during World War II ….”Recently unclassified reports from the US Treasury about the activities of Chase in Paris in the 1940s indicate that the local branch worked “in close collaboration with the German authorities” in freezing Jewish assets.
The relationship between Chase and the Nazis apparently was so cozy that Carlos Niedermann, the Chase branch chief in Paris, wrote his supervisor in Manhattan that the bank enjoyed “very special esteem” with top German officials and “a rapid expansion of deposits,” according to Newsweek.
Niedermann’s letter was written in May 1942 five months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. also went to war with Germany.
A French government commission, investigating the seizure of Jewish bank accounts during the Second World War, says five American banks Chase Manhattan, J.P Morgan, Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of the City of New York and American Express had taken part.
It says their Paris branches handed over to the Nazi occupiers about one-hundred such accounts.
One of Britain’s main newspapers – the Guardian – reported in 2004:
George Bush’s grandfather [and George H.W. Bush’s father], the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
His business dealings … continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act
The documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.
Bush was a founding member of the bank [UBC] … The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush’s father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany’s most powerful industrial family.
By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world’s largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler’s build-up to war.
Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.
UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler’s rise to power.
Multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:
What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.
Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.
This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.
According to the BBC and other sources, Prescott Bush, JP Morgan and other leading financiers also funded a coup against President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt – basically – to implement fascism in the U.S. See this, this, this and this.
Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”
Many historians now recognize that a hidden history for U.S. entry into World War I was to protect U.S. investors. U.S. commercial interests had invested heavily in European allies before the war: “By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany.” The total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was $2,581,300,000. The bankers saw that if Germany won, their loans to European allies would not be repaid. The leading U.S. banker of the era, J.P. Morgan and his associates did everything they could to push the United States into the war on the side of England and France. Morgan said: “We agreed that we should do all that was lawfully in our power to help the Allies win the war as soon as possible.” President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned saying he would keep the United States out of war, seems to have entered the war to protect U.S. banks’ investments in Europe.
The most decorated Marine in history, Smedley Butler, described fighting for U.S. banks in many of the wars he fought in. He said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes how World Bank and IMF loans are used to generate profits for U.S. business and saddle countries with huge debts that allow the United States to control them. It is not surprising that former civilian military leaders like Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank. These nations’ debt to international banks ensures they are controlled by the United States, which pressures them into joining the “coalition of the willing” that helped invade Iraq or allowing U.S. military bases on their land. If countries refuse to “honor” their debts, the CIA or Department of Defense enforces U.S. political will through coups or military action.
More and more people are indeed seeing the connection between corporate banksterism and militarism ….
In other words, virtually all money is actually created as debt. For example, in a hearing held on September 30, 1941 in the House Committee on Banking and Currency, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Mariner S. Eccles) said:
That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.
And Robert H. Hemphill, Credit Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said:
If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the Banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.
Debt (from the borrower’s perspective) owed to banks is profit and income from the bank’s perspective. In other words, banks are in the business of creating more debt … i.e. finding more people who want to borrow larger sums.
Debt is central to our banking system. Indeed, Federal Reserve chairman Greenspan was so worried that the U.S. would pay off it’s debt, that he suggested tax cuts for the wealthy to increase the debt.
What does this have to do with war?
War is the most efficient debt-creation machine. For starters, wars are very expensive.
For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated in 2008 that the Iraq war could cost America up to $5 trillion dollars. A study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies says the Iraq war costs could exceed $6 trillion, when interest payments to the banks are taken into account.
This is nothing new … but has been going on for thousands of years. As a Cambridge University Press treatise on ancient Athens notes:
Financing wars is expensive business, and the scope for initiative was regularly extended by borrowing.
So wars have been a huge – and regular – way for banks to create debt for kings and presidents who want to try to expand their empires.
Major General Smedley Butler – the most decorated Marine in American history – was right when he said:
Let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers.
War is also good for banks because a lot of material, equipment, buildings and infrastructure get destroyed in war. So countries go into massive debt to finance war, and then borrow a ton more to rebuild.
The advent of central banks hasn’t changed this formula. Specifically, the big banks (“primary dealers”) loan money to the Fed, and charge interest for the loan.
So when a nation like the U.S. gets into a war, the Fed pumps out money for the war effort based upon loans from the primary dealers, who make a killing in interest payments from the Fed.
The US Congress and White House are currently in discussions over the federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in October. Amidst the various tactical disputes over ruling class policy, on one issue there is near-universal agreement in Washington: there must be a significant and immediate increase in funding for the already gargantuan Pentagon war machine.
The lead in this campaign has been taken by the White House, with Obama’s new defense secretary, Ashton Carter, declaring Wednesday that the president would veto any budget that did not remove the so-called “sequester” caps on military spending introduced in 2011. While Congress has found various ways to get around these caps over the past several years, the Pentagon is insisting that they be formally eliminated.
In his testimony, Carter outlined the basic considerations motivating this demand. “In order to ensure our military remains the world’s finest fighting force, we need to banish the clouds of fiscal uncertainty that have obscured our plans and forced inefficient choices. We need a long-term restoration of normal budgeting and a deal… that lives up to our responsibility of defending this country and the global order.”
Here, the pretense that the US is engaged in a campaign to defend human rights or ensure democracy is all but dispensed with. The United States “must protect the homeland, build security globally, and project power and win decisively,” the defense secretary declared. In other words, the US military must be in a position to conquer the world, and it must have unlimited funds at its disposal in order to do so.
The United States more and more resembles a garrison state, in which enormous funds are diverted to finance instruments of repression and war. The scale of the US military today dwarfs anything that could have been imagined by President Dwight Eisenhower when he warned more than a half century ago of the power of the “military-industrial complex.”
Obama’s budget calls for $561 billion in “base” military spending. This figure, which is $38 billion above the sequester cap, does not include $51 billion in supplementary war funds included in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget. In their own budget proposal, House Republicans have formally adhered to the spending caps, while funneling tens of billions of additional funds into the OCO in order to make up the difference.
By way of comparison, Obama’s budget calls for only $70 billion in discretionary spending for the entire Department of Education and $84 billion for Food Stamps, to service a caseload of about 46 million people requiring nutrition assistance. The budget allocates about $7 billion for emergency disaster relief.
Even as they pump billions more into the US war machine, Democrats and Republicans alike insist that funding for core social programs such as Medicare and Social Security must be cut.
The Pentagon budget, according to Carter, is needed to finance a force of nearly two million troops—Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force—or close to one out of every 150 American citizens. The military is also planning to purchase an array of new equipment to expand its already enormous war machine.
The Navy wants two new missile destroyers, at a cost of between $1.5 billion to $2 billion apiece, to deploy in Europe or Asia. The Air Force is angling for hundreds of new F-35A fighter planes, at more than $100 million each. Billions are to be allocated to purchase drones used to rain down bombs on the Middle East and Africa, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars each.
The discussion over the funding of the military underscores the basic fact that war has become the centerpiece of ruling class policy in the United States. On the eve of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, President George H.W. Bush declared a “new world order”—a permanent Pax Americana.
However, the fall of the USSR did not signal the final triumph of American capitalism. Rather, it marked a new stage in the global crisis of the nation-state system and breakup of the post-World War II international equilibrium, which had been anchored by the economic and industrial dominance of American capitalism. At the heart of this crisis was the protracted decline in the world economic position of the United States—a process that accelerated after the demise of the Soviet Union.
No longer feeling constrained by the presence of the Soviet Union, the US corporate and financial aristocracy sought to offset America’ economic decay by relying on its still-dominant military power to threaten, bully, attack and, where necessary, destroy would-be challengers to US world supremacy.
Nearly a quarter century later, the United States is engaged in an unending series of invasions, occupations, counter-insurgency wars and covert operations in nearly every corner of the globe. It is also seeking to conquer outer space and is waging war in cyberspace.
According to one count, US military or Special Operations Forces were deployed in 133 countries last year—that is, 70 percent of the planet’s nation states. This includes open wars as in Iraq and Afghanistan; the expanded “war on terror” throughout the Middle East and North Africa; the massive military buildup against Russia in Eastern Europe; and the “pivot to Asia,” which involves a network of military bases and alliances directed against China.
American imperialism’s futile and mad attempt to counter its long-term economic decline by military means has produced one disaster after another. Every country that has had the misfortune of entering the crosshairs of US imperialism had been plunged into chaos. But none of these bloody operations have halted the decline of American capitalism or the rise of competitors such as China.
The debacles produced by Washington’s reckless resort to military violence have only propelled the ruling class to broaden the scope of its military operations, expand the list of potential enemies, and prepare quite consciously and deliberately for world war.
The contradictions confronting American imperialism were revealed this month when Germany, France, Britain and Italy delivered a humiliating blow to the United States by joining the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, despite direct appeals from the Obama administration. The major imperialist powers, compelled to advance their interests within the framework of the US-dominated post-World War II order, are remilitarizing and beginning to chart a course that will inevitably lead some of them—Germany? Japan?—into direct conflict with the United States itself.
In the transformation of Pax Americana into Bellum Americanum, there is another factor that is of immense significance: the enormous social contradictions within the United States itself. The combination of rapacious plundering by the financial aristocracy and ever-increasing demands by the military-intelligence apparatus has bankrupted American society. Social tensions are at a breaking point.
Hence the ruling class’ deployment of its military power ever more directly against social opposition at home, through the integration of the police with the military and intelligence agencies to form a “total army.”
The crisis of American capitalism—both external and internal—also points to the means through which the looming threats of nuclear war and dictatorship can be opposed: the class struggle and social revolution.
It has been widely reported by the world media that the American Central Intelligence Agency plans on providing training to Syrian rebels right on their own soil. The CIA, together with the security forces of Qatar (who coincidently are funding the training), plan on training the “opposition” to ISIS. John Allen, coordinator for the anti-ISIS coalition (turns out that it is a cushy job with a good salary), demagogically declared that all these actions are being taken in order to “create the diplomatic space that will make possible a political solution to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.”
What can one say about such a statement? Military experts from many countries feel that these steps made by Washington are just another attempt to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Opponents of US intervention in internal conflicts of other countries logically observe that ISIS was also once called a “moderate opposition” and backed by Qatar. They believe that such an initiative is but a smoke screen for Washington and Doha, financing al-Qaeda and one of its main organizations – ISIS, and that the main goal is carrying out one single task: the removal from power of the legitimately elected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A retired general draws attention to this statement and other issues. He stated in particular that the Pentagon will only work with so-called “moderate rebels from the Syrian opposition.” He is right at least by calling the opposition “rebels”, or in other words: terrorists, designed to solve Washington’s problems in the Middle East region. He also called for a larger definition of what is meant by “moderate opposition”. How will the CIA experts, having failed miserably more than once because of their lack of know-how, define who are “moderate rebels”. It seems that each rebel will first go to the US on a CIA visa, fill in a multi-page questionnaire and then pass a lie detector test? And maybe they will give a blood sample for analysis which will determine the degree of “moderation” of the visiting rebel and his “dedication to the American-style democracy”? And will those that don’t pass the test just go straight to Guantanamo?
Doesn’t this remind you of anything at all? It is well-known that all of the Saudis terrorists involved in the sad events of 9/11/2001 moved to the United States on visas handed out by the CIA. Now, a pretty impressive group of unknown fighters are arriving on American soil, yet again with the help of American intelligence. One must wonder what the pundits of the CIA are planning and what we should expect from them, which new acts of terrorism? Incidentally, one must also remember that some time ago, the US military delivered the best modern arms to the same “moderate opposition” paid by Qatar. And what happened with these “freedom fighters”? As you well know, once armed the rebels moved straight into the ranks of terrorist organizations such as the “al-Nusra Front” or ISIS, and are now actively fighting on the Syrian and Iraqi territories. And for some reason the US Air Force sometimes bomb them quite unsuccessfully.
Here are just two professional opinions on the matter.The air strikes by the US-led coalition on ISIS are superficial in nature and only do a little damage, said the Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. The deputy minister stressed that “the most effective way to combat ISIS are ground operations”, conducted by Syria and Iraq. He also stated that the preparation of anti-government forces that is being pursued by the USA, “will prolong the conflict and spread it to other countries.” According to him, Syria has amassed a large mass of information on the militants of terrorist organizations and is ready to share such information with friendly nations.
The measures taken by the West are insufficient to eliminate the long-term threat posed by the terrorist group of ISIS, said the editor of the British magazine Politics First, Marcus Papadopoulos. According to him, Washington and West European countries should above all stop supporting Islamists. “ISIS, al-Qaeda and other actors in the Islamist world would not be able to strengthen their positions if the West did not choose to support certain groups whenever it is suits them in order to achieve geostrategic objectives”, emphasized M. Papadopoulos. “During the war in Afghanistan in the 80s of the twentieth century, the West (led by the USA) supported the Mujahedeen to defeat Russia over there.” According to him, the United States supported the Muslim Bosnians in the Bosnian civil war of the early 90s, paving the way for the Afghan Mujahedeen to arrive and beat the Bosnian Serbs, simultaneously providing support to Washington in the Balkans and effectively depriving Russia from having influence in the region.
Now from Washington come these wasted scenarios from many countries that became victims of the American “democracy” on bayonets. Recruited, trained and armed with very modern weapons, riff-raff that is ready to kill for anyone and anywhere for the right price. And it pays well to organize terrorist attacks in Europe, the USA, to steal or shoot down civilian aircraft. It is no coincidence that many civilian aircrafts have been shot down or disappeared in recent years and for some reason it is always the flashy American justice and omniscient American media that has their mouths watering. What does this mean?
Here it is a case of the number and nationalist character of the rebels, sowing death and terror on Syrian and Iraqi territories where 8 million Arabs live. Lei al-Khatib, a scientific researcher at the Brookings Institution, estimates that ISIS has 80,000 fighters, including about 20,000 foreigners. And the majority of foreigners according to Lei al-Khatib come from the West. Other experts argue that the ISIS leadership inflates the number of its fighters for marketing purposes, as well as for the generous infusions from the Sunni regimes of the Persian Gulf states. But nevertheless, a caliphate now exists, publishing relevant laws and orders in the occupied territory and ostentatiously showing the world the executions of citizens of the Western world. All of these heinous killings with their worldwide display and setting, as many has observed, seem to follow a good quality Hollywood script. Maybe the CIA itself hired a number of Hollywood professionals with high salaries for this purpose? Because as you know, in the role of the executioner that is performed with such talent are the very mercenaries that come from the West. Once again the question arises, did they get there on their own or did someone pay them to go there?
The biggest beneficiary of these events, as was the case in the first half of the twentieth century, is the American military-industrial complex. The United States of America is an unusual country. Other countries with a budget deficit will try to reduce its budget but the US does the opposite. With a huge external debt and a constantly growing budget deficit, they increase again and again their military spending, increasing its military budget to a level that is equal to military expenditures of the rest of the world combined. And in concluding one military campaign seeks to ignite a new military conflict in another part of the world. According to the South China Morning Post, the air war in Iraq and Syria that is now led by the USA, “was a real godsend” for American arms manufacturers.
With the new air campaign in the Middle East, shares of leading military contractors and US military-industrial complex firms (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics) has risen sharply. The Pentagon promptly signed a contract for nearly a billion dollars for the purchase of Tomahawk missiles and other weapons right after the active phase of the bombing in Iraq and Syria started.
That is why the conflict in the Middle East will continue and blood will flow for a rather long time, turning into hard cash in the vaults of the US military-industrial complex. The rulers of the USA like repeating an ancient maxim: money does not stink. That is why the “freedom fighters” of the past in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and now the Ukraine, missiles in hand, were specially imported for training in the United States.
The Obama administration is prepared to veto any cuts to the 2016 Pentagon budget, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee in testimony Wednesday.
Carter said that President Barack Obama would reject any proposal that includes the sequestration caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which the Democratic president supported and signed into law following the staged crisis over the debt ceiling that year.
The statement came as both major parties sought ways to circumvent the mandated cuts in military spending.
Obama, significantly, has made no threat to veto budget proposals imposing spending caps on vital social services. Indeed, while traveling the country touting relatively minor programs that are likely to be trimmed or eliminated in budget negotiations with the Republican congressional leadership, his administration is proposing to implement some $400 billion in cuts to future Medicare and Medicaid spending, even as he seeks to slash corporate tax rates by up to 10 percent.
The president’s threat to veto sequestration for the military while remaining silent over social spending dovetails with Republican policy, which centers on raising arms spending while offsetting it with even deeper cuts to domestic programs.
While the White House is arguing for ditching sequestration when it comes to military spending, the House Republicans this week made an attempt to square the circle with their budget proposal. It leaves the sequestration caps in place but adds tens of billions of dollars to the so-called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, a kind of off-the-books slush fund that pays for US military interventions abroad.
The Obama administration has requested $561 billion for the Pentagon base budget, and OCO war funds of $51 billion. The House Republicans have proposed $523 billion—formally adhering to the sequestration spending caps—while pouring $94 billion into the OCO with the idea that the military can dip into it to meet other spending needs. The two combined sums are roughly equal.
The Senate budget committee, meanwhile, submitted its own proposal Wednesday explicitly rejecting the OCO gimmick proposed by fellow Republicans in the House. Likewise pretending to abide by the budget caps for the Pentagon, it introduced its own gimmick, creating a “deficit neutral reserve fund,” which has no appropriations but serves as a placeholder for additional military spending to be negotiated later this year.
Carter’s testimony Wednesday capped a series of appearances by both the uniformed chiefs and civilian secretaries of the armed services, all of whom issued the direst warnings of what would happen without substantial increases to Washington’s gargantuan military budget.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, for example, warned that sequestration “is going to place American lives at risk, both at home and abroad.”
“Missions will take us longer, it will cost us lives and create more injuries,” Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno said.
General Martin Dempsey, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted that the US military’s “forward presence will be reduced by a third,” meaning “less influence” in the world.
In his own testimony, Secretary of Defense Carter stressed the need to fully fund the global reach of American militarism, while making it clear that the Pentagon is preparing for even bigger wars, specifically against China, Russia and Iran.
“Across the world,” Carter told the committee, it is only the US armed forces that “stand between disorder and order.” US troops, he said, “stand up to malicious and destabilizing actors”—i.e., anyone challenging US hegemony—”while standing behind those who believe in a more secure, just, and prosperous future”—i.e., US imperialism’s puppets and client regimes.
The Pentagon’s spending, he insisted, must be driven by the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, a document that insisted on strengthening the US military’s “global war-fighting capability” and elevated China and Russia as the most likely targets of US military action.
The Pentagon chief said the proposed budget “puts renewed emphasis on preparing for future threats—especially threats that challenge our military’s power projection capabilities.” He indicated that the reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq following a decade of wars and occupations provided an opening to prepare the US military for far greater wars.
“Being able to project power anywhere across the globe by rapidly surging aircraft, ships, troops and supplies lies at the core of our defense strategy,” he said. Such unfettered ability to attack and invade anywhere was key to protecting US interests as well as to assuring “freedom of navigation and overflight” and allowing “global commerce to flow freely.” These last supposed principles have repeatedly been invoked in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Beijing over the South China Sea.
Carter specifically pointed to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, warning that they “have been pursuing long-term, comprehensive military modernization programs to close the technology gap that has long existed between them and the United States.” He added that “significant investments” in both infrastructure and forces were needed “particularly in the western Pacific.”
Carter ticked off the budgets proposed for the main branches of the armed services and what they would pay for, giving a glimpse of the massive scale of the US war machine.
The Army, he said, would receive a base budget of $126.5 billion, supporting the deployment of over 1 million troops—475,000 active duty soldiers, 342,000 in the Army National Guard and 198,000 in the Army Reserve. In terms of major expenditures, the Pentagon is calling for $4.5 billion to spend on attack and transportation helicopters.
For the Navy and Marine Corps, the proposed allocation is $161 billion for 2016, paying for a fleet of 282 warships that year and 304 by 2020. The force consists of 386,000 active-duty and reserve sailors, as well as 222,900 active-duty and reserve Marines. The Navy’s proposed spending on new warships amounts to $5.7 billion for 2016 and $30.9 billion through 2020, paying for two new DDG-51 destroyers a year and two new Virginia-class attack submarines a year, while supporting 11 carrier strike groups.
The proposed budget for the Air Force is $152 billion, supporting a combined force of 491,700 active-duty, guard and reserve airmen. It includes spending $6 billion in the upcoming fiscal year and $33.5 billion through 2020 to acquire a total of 272 F-35A Joint Strike Fighter planes, which have become the most expensive weapons system in the Pentagon’s history. Another $2.4 billion will go to buy refueling tankers, and $904 million will pay for an additional 29 MQ-9A Reaper drones in 2016. The Pentagon proposes to buy 77 of the remotely piloted assassination weapons by 2020 at the cost of $4.8 billion.
In terms of the $50.9 billion OCO war-fighting fund, the lion’s share, $42.5 billion, will go to cover continuing US military operations in Afghanistan, while $5.3 billion is proposed for the new US intervention in Iraq and Syria. Also proposed is $789 million for a “NATO Reassurance” fund, which is to pay for the escalating series of provocative military operations on Russia’s borders.
Finally, Carter said that the Obama administration’s proposed Pentagon budget includes $1 billion in 2016 and $8 billion by 2020 for a key component in the preparation for global war: ensuring the “security, and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent, as well as the long-term health of the force that supports our nuclear triad.”
On April 4, 1967, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the United States was ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.’ This was in a speech about the Vietnam War; that war killed over 55,000 U.S. soldiers, and at least 2,000,000 Vietnamese men, women and children. Over 7,000,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, more than twice the tonnage dropped on Europe and Asia in all of World War II. This, on an area of land slightly larger than the state of Massachusetts. Forty-eight years later, nothing has changed: the U.S. remains the greatest purveyor of violence and terrorism on the planet.
With the largest military budget in the world, greater than that of the next eight nations combined, one might think that the U.S. would have all it needed to protect itself and its enemies; what more could be required? And it is a fact that the U.S. could, indeed, protect itself, if that is what it actually wanted to do, and if it weren’t forever creating new enemies. Let’s look at these two topics is some detail.
Protection against enemies
It is possible that any nation in the world may have enemies. One country may look at another and see natural resources in abundance that it lacks, and want to procure them. Or, some perceived or real historical injustice may cause one country to consider another its enemy. With the overwhelmingly largest military in the world, with the most technologically-advanced weaponry on the planet, the U.S. can have no reasonable fear from any nation that might threaten it. So why, then, does the military budget, which now represents 55% of discretionary spending, need continual increases? Why is it that $585 billion is needed in 2015? What was lacking in 2014 that must be built or purchased now, to protect U.S. citizens from their ‘enemies’ (see below)?
It must be remembered that munitions and all their associated tools are big business in the U.S., and in that country, the customer, not the voter, is definitely king.
In 2014, just six so-called defense (read: military) contractors spent almost $62 million lobbying Congress to pass bills favorable to their industry. That equates to approximately $10 million per company.
During that same year, over $80 million was spent by education lobbies; however, unlike the six military contractors that spend $62 million, that $80 million was spent by 642 entities. That equates to less than $125,000.00 per educational group. Where, one wonders, is Congress going to pay the most attention? Why talk to 642 people, begging for paltry campaign contributions, when chats with only six can bring so much greater rewards? Congress members are nothing if not pragmatic about their re-election campaign finances.
But with all that military hardware being purchased, won’t the voters be a bit concerned if it’s not being used? Might they not see that public schools that don’t prepare students to participate in a global economy may be a national detriment, and could benefit from a few billion dollars? Couldn’t they recognize that some of that money could be used to rebuild and repair roads and bridges that are deteriorating? But wait, Congress has resolved that problem by initiating what will be discussed next: inventing enemies.
The enemy du jour
When one has a military system that could destroy the world ten times over, and one must also feed an ever-hungry military industry, what can one do to justify that food frenzy? Why, the answer is simple: if there are no enemies, invent them! This worked so successfully for generations, when the big, bad wolf of communism filled the average U.S. citizen’s heart with jingoist fear. There was no threat so huge, a long list of presidents said darkly, with the same sentiment echoed in the hallowed halls of Congress, as a communist, ready to destroy motherhood, apple pie and the U.S. flag. Their goal was nothing short of conquering the U.S. and subjecting all its citizens to poverty and oppression. Therefore, the U.S. must retain the capacity to destroy Russia at least five times over, before Russia can ever have a chance to implement its dastardly intentions.
Well, in the course of time, communism faded from much of the world, as revolutions throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union established some semblance of democracy (how close that is to real democracy is a topic for a different essay). So what was the government to do? Military industries employed lots of people, and creating alternate employment opportunities for them might require some actual work. No, much better to keep those industries humming, with campaign donations and the other perquisites of lobby groups coming their way. So with communism no longer a sufficient bugaboo, a new enemy was needed.
In Afghanistan, Russia was still at war. Well, what if, some genius in the State Department said, we arm the rebels to fight Russia? The U.S. would still need to purchase armaments, thus keeping the military industry happy. As a result, the mujahedeen (fanatical Islamic ‘holy warriors’) fighting the Russian invaders, received the very generous benefit of U.S. military might, and Russia did, eventually, depart from Afghanistan. However, the mujahedeen weren’t quite ready to walk away and let the U.S. select a new puppet-leader for Afghanistan, one whose strings were firmly attached to U.S. governance. So with the arms and guerrilla education proudly provided by the U.S., the mujahedeen became the Taliban. So the U.S., as this is being written, is involved in the longest war in its history, fighting against people it armed and educated in the fine art of war.
Throughout the Middle East one finds many people who follow the Islamic religion. Their style of dress is generally different from what is typically worn in the West, and their houses of worship look far different. There is a great amount of hostility towards the United States by people in many Middle Eastern countries, resulting from the U.S.’s decades-long financing of the brutal Israeli regime, and the bombing and invasion of Iraq, ostensibly to rid that country of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (which it didn’t have), but really to get greedy U.S. hands on oil reserves, and dole out no-bid contracts to rebuild the country, after U.S. bombs destroyed it, to government-associated companies.
At least partly due to these reasons, fanatics, who extract out of context certain phrases from the Qur’an, have committed violent acts against the U.S. and some of its allies. How convenient for the U.S! Just when a new enemy is needed, a small (miniscule, actually) number of criminals pervert the teachings of a religion with which most of the U.S. is unfamiliar, and commit some high-profile crimes. Presto! A new enemy is created! And with 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, the war against them can last a long time, thus justifying, at least in the minds of Congress members and those who believe what they say, the need for ever-increasing military expenditures.
It might be interesting to note that ignorance about religion is nothing new in the U.S. So-called Christian-right ministers and spokespeople never tire of telling the world that the U.S Constitution calls for it to be a Christian nation, despite the fact that it simply doesn’t. They condemn homosexuals, criticize other religions and disparage the poor, not knowing or understanding that Jesus Christ, whom they purport to follow, never did any of those things. Indeed, he embraced society’s outcasts and unceasingly helped the poor and less fortunate. He called on those who followed him to do the same. He told people not to judge others. But, if violating the teachings of Jesus Christ by people claiming to following them plays well on the news, what do facts and reality have to do with anything anyway?
So there you are. The U.S. needs a huge military budget to supply revolutionary groups to fight governments the U.S. doesn’t like, and then, when the former revolutionary group is in power, some other ragtag group will begin to oppose it, and the U.S. will arm and educate that group. Once they are in power, the U.S. will need to fight them.
There are alternatives; but as long as the U.S. has a ‘Department of Defense’, which has nothing to do with defense, and Congress remains in the pocket of the military industry, little will change without voter intervention. The time is now; with more and more Republicans striving to curtail voting rights, the window of opportunity may be closing. Not finding and implementing alternatives to the current military and war industry would be a tragedy for the world that must not be allowed to happen.
Since the .01%’s reneged promises from just 1998, the total deaths from preventable poverty is conservatively greater than from all wars, revolutions, murders, accidents, and suicides in the 20th and 21st centuries. These poverty-murders of children refute any .01% claim to care about human quality of life.
Since the 1990 World Summit for Children where the promise to end poverty was (again) sincerely pledged, total deaths from poverty eclipse all the above categories of death in all known human history.
Once upon a time in 1953, the CIA (China Intelligence Agency) overthrew the US Eisenhower administration, installing a vicious dictator, Dick Tator, who lorded over us until we finally deposed him in 1979. Ike had been elected in our democracy, and had the brass to demand renegotiation of oil contracts to increase American share of oil profits above the 15% we were receiving for our own oil. The Chinese helped develop the Texas oil fields from their occupation during the last world war. Ike’s threat of nationalizing US oil fields “inspired” China for their CIA-staged Operation Ajax to end US democracy. They put Ike in prison until 1956, and then under house arrest until his death.
The CIA-installed puppet, “President” Tator, was welcome in Beijing, with the Chinese people not perceiving the irony and hypocrisy of their Cold War for “freedom and democracy” while supporting a dictator destroying democracy in our country. The CIA helped train Dick Tator’s secret service, who imprisoned and executed hundreds of thousands of Americans who opposed Tator’s dicts in any way. When Tator developed cancer and fled the US in 1979, he received medical treatment in China. The new US government demanded extradition back to the US for mass murder against his own citizens. China refused.
In protest, Americans stormed the Chinese embassy in Washington DC, taking 53 hostages. China demanded their immediate release; but with refusal to extradite Tator to stand trial, the US refused. The US de facto leader, minister Billy Bible (who Tator exiled in 1964) said China had no right to complain, as they held our entire nation hostage since 1953. Americans rallied behind Bible, and the motto he developed while in exile: “We’ll be back. This regime will be terminated.”
China imposed economic sanctions on the US and then supported their puppet-dictator in Mexico, Señor Saddam, to invade the US in 1980. Behind-the-scenes negotiations led to the hostages’ release in January, 1981 (a devious story in itself), but China escalated their support of Mexico in their invasion. They didn’t lift a finger for international law to stop Mexico’s War of Aggression against us.
Over a million Americans were killed in the war until 1988.
Along with Chinese attacks destroying US oil platforms and installations in the Gulf of Mexico in 1988, China also shot down American commercial airliner 655, flying in American airspace, killing all 293 on board. China’s vice-president said he would never apologize for China, no matter what the facts were.
In 1990, China invaded Mexico but kept their dictator in power. China imposed harsh sanctions on Mexico, resulting in about a million civilian deaths, mostly children. Their secretary of state said the deaths of children were “regrettable but worth the cost.”
China snapped. Their political leaders and press claimed that the US is threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Israel demanded the US be tried for crimes against humanity, said we were threatening another Holocaust (despite our large Jewish population), and requested our expulsion from the UN. China and Israel began to participate in war games. They openly discuss war with the US, including the use of nuclear weapons on the US with “first strike” use. This is all in blatant violation of the UN Charter to keep peaceful relations.
A second line of China-Israeli propaganda is over US pursuit of nuclear energy. China was in contract with the US and fully supported US nuclear energy when their puppet-President Tator was in charge, but after the 1979 revolution they reneged on all contracts, never refunding billions we paid for equipment. Both China and Israel state a military strike against the US is “on the table.”
China and their controlled media relentlessly use the ambiguous phrasing of the US “nuclear program,” and broadcast fear of what might happen if we develop a nuclear weapon. China ignores and won’t discuss the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty where the US is allowed to develop nuclear energy, choosing to conflate nuclear energy and nuclear weapons in the minds of their citizens. Chinese news programs show the world a new 30,000 pound bomb to penetrate US underground targets.
While “officially” China says Christianity is a respectable religion, their media stoke fears that Christian extremists are in charge of the US. Many Chinese view Christians with fear, thinking we want to convert the world because we think any other religion leads to hell. They point to the Crusades, hundreds of year of religious wars, and the Spanish Inquisition as evidence that Christianity is a religion that has been and can again be extremely violent. They say Americans are brutal and dishonest as a culture; citing genocide against American Natives and constant treaty violation to steal their land, and Americans lying their way into a war to steal half of Mexico. They say Americans are so unstable we had a civil war because so many of us wanted slavery and were willing to kill for it.
They say that the US has always been a place of violence, and Americans are a violent people.
They publish government papers citing US human rights abuses; never mentioning their own (jumping back to reality, consider this).
Many of their media pundits explain that Chinese troops cannot leave Mexico and Canada because Christian extremists will take over and it’ll be a safe-haven for Christian terrorists committed to get to China and kill their civilians in terrorist attacks.
China also insists their “Surge” in Mexico has decreased Mexican terrorism, but they accuse Americans and the US government of covertly aiding Mexican and Palestinian “terrorists.” They spin their invasion that Mexico and the world is better off, and China will increase troop presence in Canada during 2009 to defeat the “Maple Leaf” terrorist cells, who are a threat to Chinese national security. They increasingly use drone attacks against Canada and across the sea-border into northern Scotland, an apparently ungovernable part of the UK, a nuclear power.
As of now at the start of 2015, the US has not yet been attacked by China and/or Israel, but the drums of war continue to beat against us, accompanied by China’s slick “mainstream media.” We hope and pray that the Chinese public and the world will understand that Americans don’t want war with anyone.
We want cooperation, dignity, justice under law, and freedom.
Because all of China’s political leaders (except one who is attacked and marginalized in their media) repeat the lie that Billy Bible’s phrase means a threat to Israel, that we want to somehow commit suicide by attacking a nation without cause that has over 400 nuclear weapons and the world’s most sophisticated hardware to deliver them, and this lie is SO EASILY refuted, we know that China’s president and henchmen do not want peace under the law with us. This is so evil, and should be apparent after the reasons China gave to invade Mexico and Canada were exposed by their own government documentation as known lies as they were being told.
And China wonders why so many of us turn to religion for solace.
After a million civilian deaths from China’s invasion of Mexico we know our fate will be similar if they attack us.
Note:Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers). Some links in my articles are therefore now blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. Then switch the expired URLs with webarchived ones of that same information. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).