Comments: Fathers, Daughters, And The Rules

Good, Mr. Schwartz. Withering scorn for Obama and the other defenders of his Af-Pak policies is all that's left, I guess. Keep making these soulless vampires look in the mirror, eventually the image will coalesce and maybe a few of them will recoil in horror.

John Mclaughlin, 2 nights ago, when told by John Pat Buchanan or maybe Eleanor Clift (what, did they embalm these people in 1988?) that Obama's alienated his base by reversing himself on releasing the torture photos: "The left has nowhere else to go."

Which is shorthand, I guess, for "now we can murder anyone we want."

Posted by Oarwell at May 18, 2009 12:23 PM

We're in the Hearts and Minds Business, and obviously in it in a BIG WAY. There's that old "Can Do" spirit!

Posted by JerseyJeffersonian at May 18, 2009 01:01 PM

Missing a link to the LA Times story, which is here...

The title on that story, by the way, is:
Afghan civilian deaths: Who is to blame?

Who indeed? What a puzzling question that is.

Posted by SteveB at May 18, 2009 01:02 PM

Mr Schwarz, everyone needs to read the whole story.

"Afghan civilian deaths: Who is to blame?"
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-deaths17-2009may17,0,4108227.story

Then call ( or send an email to ) the President and your elected officials to demand, STOP STOP STOP BOMBING and stop telling lies. Also quote the President ( one you have mentioned ) and ask, how many Americans the Afghan people would be justified in killing?

I do not want ANYBODY killed and want this insanity to stop NOW.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 18, 2009 01:05 PM

I just saw SteveB's comment. When I was writing my comment, there was only one comment and I guess we must have been writing it at the same time. Mine is longer so it got posted a few minutes later, hence the duplication of the link to the article. In anycase, it is a must read.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 18, 2009 01:11 PM

I hope we do get attacked and raped, maybe we'll finally see the pain they go through. Fuck america.

Posted by Jenny at May 18, 2009 03:46 PM

Where the HELL is the anti-war movement? Have they seen that picture? Isn't that a child in pain? By our hands? WHERE THE HELL IS THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT?

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at May 18, 2009 04:29 PM

Rape? Seriously?

Posted by Save the Oocytes at May 18, 2009 04:51 PM

WHERE THE HELL IS THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT?

Remember when all those millions of people marched against the war, and the war happened anyway? And then remember when hundreds of thousands of people marched against funding the war, and hundreds of other people got arrested protesting against the war funding, and the war funding continued anyway? And remember when tens of millions of people voted for Obama, thinking he was going to change things, and he didn't?

At this point, where would you expect the antiwar movement to be?

Posted by SteveB at May 18, 2009 05:11 PM

U get what U PAY 4. YOU buy bombs and childern get burned up, go figure. Since WE basically have NO control over how Congress and the Administration spend OUR TAX DOLLARS, then there is NO other recourse than to REFUSE to pay anything. Such a move would change things in a short time if participated in by a large group of the population. MONEY talks, but I'm sure nothing of that sort of movement can be mounted in America. So one must conclude that, as a nation, WE love our B52 Diplomacy, YOU, ME, ALL OF US.

Posted by Mike Meyer at May 18, 2009 05:31 PM

All right fine, not raped. But it's time we were targeted for revenge, no?

Posted by Jenny at May 18, 2009 06:43 PM

SteveB:
I agree with you, millions marched all over the world against invasion of Iraq. I attended any number of rallies and marches in my city. In fact, we had a rally and a march against invading Afghanistan before we started bombing there after Sep 11. I can not speak for what happened in other countries but in the USA or rather in my city, it was never just so called ANTI-WAR group demonstrating. It was always a coalition of bet 20-25 groups, each having its own agenda but also being against war which may not necessarily have been its primary objective. In fact, there used to be big arguments and diagreements about what kind of banners should carried, what posters should be allowed etc. I can not be sure and I am just guessing but because of lack of that singular purpose of "being against war", the so called anti-war movement was not effective and is not visible anymore. Of course, our elected officials' actions do not really represent their constituents' wishes in specific and important situations can not be denied.

ps I tend to agree with many of your comments on different posts as and when I do get around to reading them.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 18, 2009 06:44 PM

The moral clarity of this post is why i love this site. Bombing civilians is immoral, and always was, but we've been doing it so long that most people accept that the military says it's necessary. or at least people don't make that a fuss about it.

Even the people on this site, who i assume actually ARE the 'antiwar movement', sound disspirited to me, which is natural, because as SteveB points out, the antiwar movement couldn't even get on tv with the biggest rallies in world history. i mean, what do you have to do?

i'm curious what people think would be most effective, if anything, to increase the voltage of the peace movement up a little from candles. i feel stumped.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 18, 2009 07:07 PM

hey, Not E.:

"i'm curious what people think would be most effective, if anything, to increase the voltage of the peace movement up a little from candles. i feel stumped."

Break windows. Steal stuff. Vandalize government property. Infiltrate computer networks. Fuck things up.

The kumbayah crowd will find it distasteful, but it's partly their fault that it's come to this.

If you're uncomfortable doing stuff like that, I understand. Then at least remind people who give money to the democratic party that they're a bunch of fucking tools. Not one penny in 2010 or 2012. Give the money to independent media outlets instead. I hesitate to recommend specific ones lest they subsequently seem associated with my other notions.

What if 10 million people demanded a write-in ballot and voted for "Fuck You" for president?

Posted by grimmy at May 18, 2009 07:47 PM

Third Party, Folks.

Posted by Mike Meyer at May 18, 2009 08:11 PM

Grimmy: I agree with the former,but the fuck you for president? That'd be useless, we should just riot and use weapons if needed. ;)

Posted by Jenny at May 18, 2009 09:59 PM

Mike: who'd make for a good 3rd party?

Posted by Jenny at May 18, 2009 10:01 PM

I can not be sure and I am just guessing but because of lack of that singular purpose of "being against war", the so called anti-war movement was not effective and is not visible anymore.

I think you're making a mistaken assumption here, that if an antiwar movement does not succeed in ending the war, it must be doing something wrong. But what if its not possible, by domestic resistance alone, to end an imperial occupation? The Vietnam war, for example, was ended mainly (i.e. 90% +) by Vietnamese resistance, just as the Iraq occupation will end primarily due to Iraqi resistance.

There are only two historical examples I can think of where domestic opposition has ended a war or occupation. The first is the Russian Revolution, which ended Russia's participation in the first world war, the second is the Portugese revolution of 1974, which helped end the Portugese colonial occupations in Africa and Timor. In each of these cases, there was no "singular purpose of being against the war," there was a revolution, founded on many fundamental differences with the regime in power.

If we don't think revolution is possible at this time in the U.S. (and I don't) then we should ask why we try to organize any domestic resistance at all. One argument is the moral one, that we're obligated to bear "moral witness" to the crimes of our own government. But I think this approach leads inevitably to a focus on our own moral hygiene, and a loss of focus on whether our actions are effective.

I prefer a "division of labor" approach, that is, let the Iraqis and Afghan people do what they're most effective at - ending the US occupations of their countries - while we focus on the things we're most effective at - changing our own society to make colonial occupations more difficult, less frequent, and even impossible. For example, the domestic movement against the Vietnam war, while it was not primarily responsible for ending the U.S. occupation of Vietnam, did succeed in ending the draft, taking away from the ruling class a powerful tool for war-making.

If we followed this approach, most of the energy of the antiwar movement would now be devoted to counter-recruitment, developing alternatives to military service for young people, and the development of alternative media, and alternatives to employment in "defense" industries.

Just to be clear, I'm not proposing that we sit back and "let the Iraqis do our work for us." An antiwar movement that followed the "division of labor" approach would have more opportunities for effective action, because its focus would be on those manifestations of empire that are right here at home, and therefore more effectively targeted by domestic activists.

Posted by SteveB at May 18, 2009 10:18 PM

Grimmy:

Maybe they have. You would never even find out.


Mike Meyer:

i think there is a lot of popular support across both parties to retreat from empire, if it would be possible to keep such a tenuous alliance from tearing itself to pieces over other issues. tricky that part though.

still, although the laws/rules are also stacked against third parties, i'm thinking that too. third parties almost never get power, but they can change the debate. we have no labor party, we have no peace party--those voices are sorely missing in the public debate.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 18, 2009 10:24 PM

Yeah, millions did march against the bloodbath in Iraq - and then they went home and voted for corporate warmongering democrats. As it turned out, they were no more committed to stopping the bloodbath (which continues to this very damn day!) than those idiot teabaggers were to, well, whatever the heck they wanted. (Anybody remember? Something about taxes?)

Sure, every spineless pwoggie on teh interwebs theoretically supports a third party - so long as they don't have to lift a finger and WORK for it. They always say they'll support the Greens Party or the Socialist Democrats, but only once it's presented to them on a sliver platter with a side of fries and a shamrock shake, which is a mealy-mouthed way of saying "never."

Face it, pwogwessives would rather sign on to some fakeass dnc front group like UFPJ or MoveOn or some such load of neutered useless donkey crap. They don't have the sand it takes to do the real ground-up door-to-door work. They are what they always have been - a pathetic whimpering clutch of quibbling, quivering, shrinking liberals so shit-scared of a harsh word from their conservative cousins that they changed their name rather than stand up on their hind legs and fight back.

But I suppose we shouldn't have been so surprised. After all, Mark Twain said it best: "It is curious--curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare."

Posted by MediaGhost at May 18, 2009 10:38 PM

AlanSmithee/MediaGhost/Jim Dandy/Usual Suspect/TheDenialist/Salo77/etc: I'm guessing we'd all appreciate it if you'd just ditch the sock puppets and settle on a single identity.

Posted by John Caruso at May 18, 2009 10:54 PM

They don't have the sand it takes to do the real ground-up door-to-door work.

I'm trying to imagine Smithee doing "door to door work", or any political work involving face-to-face contact with actual human beings, and I'm having about as much luck with that as I'd have trying to imagine Ted Kaczynski as a telemarketer.

Seriously, Smithee knocks on your house, you tell him you have some reservations about voting for Cynthia McKinney, and you spend the rest of the day wiping the spittle off your screen door.

Posted by SteveB at May 18, 2009 11:05 PM

Was it on this site, or somewhere else? Someone linked to Our Bombs, which is a documentary and a tracking project.

Posted by Nell at May 19, 2009 12:05 AM

Jenny: THE INTERNET IS THE NEW THIRD POLITICAL PARTY AND THE BLOGOSPHERE IS ITS POLITBUREAU. Vote for it, run for office YOURSELF, or support other bloggers who are willing to run. (Aaron Datesman for one)

Posted by Mike Meyer at May 19, 2009 12:20 AM

You end the empire by running up the national debt and destroying the global reserve currency status of the dollar. Debtor nations don't run empires too long.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at May 19, 2009 12:34 AM

SteveB:

You may be right about domestic opposition rarely ending wars, but I think it has at times it has been a big contributor.

My understanding of what ended the Vietnam war is a little different from yours, and I’ll explain why i think it matters. Oddly, and it may intuitively seem backwards, Kissinger and some others have said that a big part of the US wanting to wind down the Vietnam war on its own terms was to facilitate the opening to China that got Nixon in such hot water with the red-baiters who had been so firmly in his corner before then. (This breach of faith had much to do with Nixon’s subsequent troubles.) I suppose the problem was that it was very difficult to have an opening to China when we were constantly on the verge of nuking them, and the opening to China had many positives to recommend it in some quarters, including putting the USSR in a bind and potentially getting our foot in the commercial door in China again (the world’s potentially biggest market) for good old-fashioned capitalist purposes—to make boatloads of money. We know now that that is exactly what has happened, and though it probably has been lucrative for US capital, it has not been good for US labor at all. I don’t mean to downplay the toughness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, the extent of their sacrifice, or the crimes committed again them. But I think the coming together of US and Chinese political goals may have predominated in ending the Vietnam war. I also would not minimize the effect the war was having on US society and the US military in the list of US goals. All those assassinations in the 60s didn’t happen one after another year after year because the war wasn’t a huge problem socially—it was. And it just about destroyed the US army too, which is why the JCS got Weinberger to adopt their rules about having the country behind the military in any future wars and why we got the Powell Doctrine. (Remember that--those were the days.)

(I note there were significant peace movements earlier in the 20th century too—the American Anti-Imperialist League during the fight against Aguinaldo in the Phillipines (we were waterboarding then too) and the American Union Against Militarism during and after World War I being prominent examples. They certainly didn't stop us from getting into wars, but they weren’t as insignificant as our present disaggregated and almost broken-spirited antiwar “movement” either. Antimilitarism and pacifism were real forces in US politics right up to Pearl Harbor.

I think for our purposes it’s encouraging that the antiwar movement in the 60s wasn’t trivial, because if we are doomed to fight endless wars that ruin the lives of tens of thousands of American soldiers and kill millions of people of other nationalities with a certitude that it won’t even be a nuisance to the government and the military, we have a big social problem. That, unfortunately, is where we seem to be or almost be, which is why Bacevich is so hard to read. But maybe it’s not hopeless.

I agree with you that we are definitely not going to have a revolution in the US anytime soon. But I don’t want a revolution anyway; they’re better to read about than live in. Fortunately, I think a peace movement can accomplish something even if it isn’t going to overthrow the existing social order. I think it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach, which is good if you ask me, because the odds would then heavily favor nothing instead of all.

I agree that we should make colonial occupations more difficult and less frequent. That’s a great idea. And losing the draft during the Vietnam war was a good thing, though of course it did also deprive the anti-war movement of a powerful argument against war. However, I think something more than counter-recruitment and alternatives to military service are needed because we have already become so mechanized and technological. We have pilots in front of computer monitors in Las Vegas piloting drones firing missiles in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they likely intend to do more and more of this sort of thing. So creepy as this is, the mililitary probably won’t require the same levels of troops as were needed for Vietnam or Korea, let alone WWII or WWI. I think the military will find enough troops to do massive amounts of killing abroad.

So what else do they need? Money. And what do Americans of all sorts not want to give up? Money. That’s the purpose of my explanation of the political dynamics of the end of the Vietnam war. Because if the Vietnam war ended in significant part because of its monetary costs, both directly and as the opportunity cost associated with not developing a massively profitable relationship with China, that has some promise as something that can maybe be copied. It wouldn’t be an easy fight, because our political system remains thoroughly corrupt, but maybe there’s a chance. An approach that focuses on military funding and fairness in funding might cut across political parties and unite libertarian supporters of Ron Paul and liberal Dems, which strikes me as a potentially mighty coalition. After all, why are we funding wars the way we do, with such a complete disconnect between those corporate interests that want the wars and those who pay for them—the rest of us? Of course, I am not proposing abandoning moral arguments. If you can convince people that it's not necessary to kill civilians abroad, and that they certainly shouldn't have it on their conscience that they are paying for it; there can be a coming together of self-interest and morality. Moral arguments by themselves have never carried the day as far as I know, and I see no reason they would start now. But maybe with a boost. . .

THoughts?

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 12:41 AM

Jenny,
I'm not for weapons and hurting people, just damaging the ill-gotten fruits of the overclass.

My point was for a concerted write-in no-confidence vote, to express dissatisfaction and undermine the perceived legitimacy of the choices offered by the two main parties, via a unified vote. Instead of scattershot votes for sundry 3rd party candidates, or the unmeasurable ambiguity of just not voting.

So OK, maybe not F.U. for president. "No Confidence" or "Unacceptable" perhaps. Anyway, the point is it means taking the electoral system, designed to allow voters only the option of choosing between 2 or more choices vetted for them by elites and turning it on its head and making it a tool to express dissatisfaction and actively withhold consent.

Posted by grimmy at May 19, 2009 04:15 AM

"There are only two historical examples I can think of where domestic opposition has ended a war or occupation. The first is the Russian Revolution, which ended Russia's participation in the first world war, the second is the Portugese revolution of 1974, which helped end the Portugese colonial occupations in Africa and Timor. In each of these cases, there was no "singular purpose of being against the war," there was a revolution, founded on many fundamental differences with the regime in power."

Posted by SteveB at May 18, 2009 11:05 PM

I believe the Kaiser orchestrated that one. The Germans took advantage of unrest already in Russia to nudge the revolution on. Why a German train personally delivered Lenin to Leningrad, and in return Lenin gave up a mineral-rich regoin of Russia.

Every single revolution has been successful only because of foreign intervention. Look through the history books yourself, there are no exceptions.

That Portugese one was fishy. There's something about a "left-wing" MILITARY coup that I don't completly trust. I can't shake the feeling it was urged on by a power interested in Portugal releasing its colonies. But that example does seem valid though.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at May 19, 2009 07:19 AM

Photos like that need to be on a split screen whenever we see the cute little Obama girls at White House Easter egg hunts or playing with their puppy.

Posted by BobS. at May 19, 2009 09:21 AM

An approach that focuses on military funding and fairness in funding might cut across political parties and unite libertarian supporters of Ron Paul and liberal Dems, which strikes me as a potentially mighty coalition.

Arguing that the war wastes billions that could be better spent on other things (or just given back to taxpayers) hasn't been totally ineffective, it may be the reason that many people oppose the war, but it obviously hasn't produced the effect we want: an end to the war(s).

I'm not sure why the money argument isn't more persuasive. Perhaps because, once you get above the price of a house, you're dealing with numbers that no one has any conception of, which therefore lack emotional force. Perhaps because we haven't had to pay for the war through increased taxes. In any case, 70% of Americans already want us out of Iraq, if it was 80%, would that make a difference?

Posted by SteveB at May 19, 2009 09:47 AM

AlanSmithee/MediaGhost/Jim Dandy/Usual Suspect/TheDenialist/Salo77/etc: I'm guessing we'd all appreciate it if you'd just ditch the sock puppets and settle on a single identity.

Speak for yourself, John! It's kind of fascinating to watch a guy who quite clearly takes himself utterly seriously sabotage any points he's trying to make by acting like an oblivious idiot. To use SteveB's hypothetical, it would be like a guy coming to your door to try to raise support for the Greens while wearing floppy shoes, a big red nose and carrying a squirt bottle of seltzer water, while getting increasingly angry because everyone laughs at him.

Why, you'd almost begin to suspect that he doesn't really care if anyone listens to him, as long as he gets the satisfaction of calling you an Obotpwogdemtard.

Posted by Upside Down Flag at May 19, 2009 09:52 AM

You end the empire by running up the national debt and destroying the global reserve currency status of the dollar. Debtor nations don't run empires too long.

Exactly. The British Empire was ended through a combination of resistance by the colonized peoples and Britain's own bankruptcy, not by well-meaning Britons marching in the streets of London.

If domestic resistance plays any role at all, its in making it harder for the Empire to adjust to new circumstances, thus hastening the downfall.

So, for example, the lack of public support in the U.S. for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan means that the government isn't able to raise taxes to fund the wars, which means they have to be waged on borrowed money, which means they can't continue once our creditors turn off the spigot.

Posted by SteveB at May 19, 2009 10:05 AM

1 SteveB:
I think you're making a mistaken assumption here
You may be right. I was only guessing as I stated, and that was as a result of my personal experince with our local anti-war movement.
And yes, there have to be different approaches to changing the mindset of population which needs to start at school level. Starting with teaching them meditation ( in some schools in UK, this has brought down the incidence of aggressive and violent behaviour in students ), conflict resolution by dialogue, educating them about harmful effects of videogames depicting violence, 'truth in recruitment' education as done by AFSC and other approaches you have mentioned.
I know, this is a long term project but that is the only way imho as things will not change overnight.

2 "Oftentimes, the Air Force has to make do with whatever is on the rails of whatever aircraft is overhead," Garlasco said. "So while you may not want to drop a 2,000-pound bomb, that may be what is available."
Mullen said any new policy on the use of force must not tie the hands of troops. "We've got to be very, very focused on making sure that we proceed deliberately, that we know who the enemy is," he said.
Garlasco said that until more information is available, it is impossible to know whether the bombs were too large for the scale of fighting.

Above taken from the article below.
"U.S. must work to limit civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Mullen says"
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-bombing19-2009may19,0,2104209.story

SO, this is how our military operates, approved by the administration! I hope the Whitehouse and elected officials have heard from the outraged citizens. Thanks.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 19, 2009 10:21 AM

The reason the government is unable to raise taxes has nothing to do with the public's support or lack of support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Raising taxes to pay for other Americans' health care or housing or education is what really turns off Americans. Spending taxes on killing barbarians and terrorists is just fine with them.

Bernard, I wonder about your cure for our imperial dreams. I think we don't have the same sort of investment in our foreign adventures as did the Brits and the Dutch and the Germans and the French. We've always been the ones who come behind to clean up another empire's mess. Or that's how we see ourselves, at any rate. I'm afraid that when we can't afford to be actively aggressive, we'll just savor our hatreds the more.

Re the anti-war movement. The other day I was driving on Route 1 in Delaware. I have both a War Is Not the Answer bumpersticker and a Move Freedom Forward sticker from the ACLU on my car. A young white guy drove past me slowly and yelled "I love war!" very loudly. Then, at the stoplight, he yelled "War IS the answer!" For folks like him, that may indeed be true.

Posted by Aunt Deb at May 19, 2009 10:36 AM

people who insist on sockpuppetry really tick me off.

Posted by sarah palin at May 19, 2009 10:38 AM

Prof Chazelle at May 19, 2009 12:34 AM
Posted by SteveB at May 19, 2009 10:05 AM

I agree with your comments completely. British did not leave India because of sudden enlightenment ( "Jallianwala Bagh massacre"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amritsar_Massacre
will not be forgotten ).
They were flat broke, as you mentioned SteveB and had to quit.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 19, 2009 10:50 AM

"That Portugese one was fishy. There's something about a "left-wing" MILITARY coup that I don't completly trust. I can't shake the feeling it was urged on by a power interested in Portugal releasing its colonies. But that example does seem valid though."

I know one and only one thing about that revolution: Frank Carlucci was US ambassador to Portugal from 197a4 to 1977. Now Carlucci is a neocon, was Donald Rumsfeld's college roommate and wrestling partner, wasinvolved in the CIA and according to some involved in Patrice Lumumba's death in the Congo, and later was US Secretary of Defense in the late 80s. Oh yeah, and he was heavily involved in keeping too much peace from breaking out at Reykjavik when Reagan was trying to agree with Gobachev on just getting rid of all the nukes.

So Carlucci's presence in Portugal just then suggests something was going on. But I have no idea what.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 11:02 AM

SteveB: But here's the ethical dilemma. Let's say I am right and the only sure way to end the empire is to bankrupt it. Then shouldn't we encourage economic, financial, and fiscal policies that in the short term are bound to have disastrous consequences domestically? But what about the "collateral damage"?

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at May 19, 2009 11:02 AM

Starting with teaching them meditation ( in some schools in UK, this has brought down the incidence of aggressive and violent behaviour in students ), conflict resolution by dialogue, educating them about harmful effects of videogames depicting violence, 'truth in recruitment' education as done by AFSC and other approaches you have mentioned.

Yes, and what all these things have in common is that they're things the Afghan and Iraqi people cannot do (at least not here), while armed resistance (which, like it or not, is the most effective way to end an imperialist occupation) is something we cannot do. That's why I've emphasized the idea of a "division of labor."

Raising taxes to pay for other Americans' health care or housing or education is what really turns off Americans. Spending taxes on killing barbarians and terrorists is just fine with them.

Well, there's a difference between "raising" and "spending", no? People, in general, are just fine with the "spending" as long as there's no "raising" going on.

I don't know how the American people would respond to a proposal to raise their taxes to pay for the Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan wars (although I don't think it's hard to guess their response) because no such proposal has ever been made. Which, I think, tells you something about how the ruling class imagines it would go over with the public.

Posted by SteveB at May 19, 2009 11:08 AM

"You end the empire by running up the national debt and destroying the global reserve currency status of the dollar. Debtor nations don't run empires too long."
Posted by Bernard Chazelle at May 19, 2009 12:34 AM

That's a very good observation. But it took TWO world wars to finish off the British Empire once their economic decline began. Notwithstanding what the neocons say, we don't have a world war like those right now, and it's not pleasant to imagine what the next one would be like.


I don't know what Cheney and his guys in Policy and Planning ever had in mind as a long term plan when they set this helltrain in motion. Maybe Naomi Klein is right and the plan is to precipitate an economic crisis in the country that can be used to crush labor and finish off the regulatory bureaucracy so that we can get back to the good old days when men were men and the country was built. I wouldn't put that past them, but I'm not sure. Maybe they are more myopic and selfish. Or just so ideological that they're nuts.

World economics is strange now. Now capital is mobile and labor increasingly less so, and when the dollars go abroad, they're held either by corrupt elites that have no real independence, like the Saudis, or by the Chinese, who are effectively held hostage by their economic relationship with us. If the Chinese get rid of all their dollars, we can't buy their stuff. (Plus, things might get really nasty while we're still the hyperpower.) I think they're pissed about that dilemma, but there seems to be more stability to our perpetual debtor status than i would have predicted.

I don't doubt you're right that in the long run this isn't sustainable, and eventually our empire will crash too. How could it not? But like keynes said, in the long run we're all dead. I've just been wondering if there is some way we can somehow put a break on US militarism and transition to a more peaceful role in the world in advance of, or in preparation for, The Fall that's eventually going to happen for the reason you identify. Because we need to decline more graciously than the Brits did, not that those world wars were all or even mostly their fault.

i think it's really hard to figure out what could work. i'm probably going to end up lighting more candles, passing out leaflets, and putting up signs so that some stupid punk can shout "i like war" at me, like somebody mentioned happened to her.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 11:49 AM

"In any case, 70% of Americans already want us out of Iraq, if it was 80%, would that make a difference?"

No, I don't think it would make a difference right now. When the military really needs to change poll numbers, it doesn't seem to be too hard for them. And why should it be when they have effective control of the media and more than a thousand personnel available at Fort Bragg to work the media. A lesson the military learned from Vietnam was to stay in control of public opinion lest another war be lost at home.

http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A14568 (just an example, old story from 2000, interesting though. more recent stories shouldn't be hard to find)

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 12:18 PM

"Every single revolution has been successful only because of foreign intervention. Look through the history books yourself, there are no exceptions."

That's a big assignment, but i think there are many, many exceptions.

What about the Mexican revolution, which the US kept trying (with partial success) to stop or reverse for more than a decade? I can't think of a foreign government that helped the mexican revolutionaries in any significant way.

What about Mao and the Chinese Revolution? Stalin didn't give them much help, and we didn't, so who did?


What about the Orange Revolution? (ok, per jonathan schell, that one was nonviolent)

What about the revolutions than broke out in Eastern Europe after WWI? (I believe, but am not sure, that some of those revolutions (Hungary, Poland?) initially may have succeeded despite no real foreign involvement and certainly failed mostly because of foreign involvement as a crackdown against socialism.)

What about the many colonial independence wars from WWII to the mid 70s? Most of the time I don't think Russian help was very significant, and certainly not the cause of success.

anyway, enough already.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 12:29 PM

I'm trying to imagine StevieBabyWaahWaah getting off his Cheeto-stained couch, huffing and puffing up the basement steps, waddling out the front door, and actually exposing himself to actual sunlight.

Nope, can't do it.

Posted by AlanSmithee at May 19, 2009 12:32 PM

Let's say I am right and the only sure way to end the empire is to bankrupt it. Then shouldn't we encourage economic, financial, and fiscal policies that in the short term are bound to have disastrous consequences domestically? But what about the "collateral damage"?

I think the disastrous economic policies are going along just fine, without our encouragement.

Our role, in opposing the war, and doing what we can to build public opposition to the war, is to help close off options that the ruling class might use to continue the empire.

Sustaining an empire requires, above all other things, money and soldiers. If public opposition means they can't raise taxes (unlike, for example, in WWII, where the public acceded to massive tax increases) and that same public opposition makes a draft untenable, then the ruling class has to fall back on less sustainable and more risky options, like debt-financed wars and private armies (assuming we're a long way from the all-robot Army, or the Clone Army.)

we need to decline more graciously than the Brits did, not that those world wars were all or even mostly their fault.

Actually, the British are a fine example to emulate. From the end of WWII to the mid-sixties, they went from empire-in-distress to no-empire-at-all. The transition seems to have been relatively painless, and how many non-insane Britons today mourn the loss of the Empire?

And yes, the world wars were the main factors in Britain's bankruptcy (a process we've been able to manage without two world wars) but violent and nonviolent resistance by Indians and Africans finished the job. So I doubt we'll need another world war to finish the U.S. empire.

I'd be interested in reading more about how the Brits got out from under their empire, can anyone recommend a good history of British de-imperialization?

Posted by SteveB at May 19, 2009 12:56 PM

'I'm not sure why the money argument isn't more persuasive. Perhaps because, once you get above the price of a house, you're dealing with numbers that no one has any conception of, which therefore lack emotional force."

I tend to think we just have such deep and effective systemic corruption. A major party candidate for President never opposes the military now for two reasons. First, our politics are money driven, which takes big corporate money. Obama got lots of small contributions, but the bulk of his money was still big corporate money. He couldn't have won without it.

The second reason is that the military has so much media power. Even if a major candidate somehow found the money to campaign on a platform that said we need to cut defense spending by 30% of something like that, the media and the military working the media would just pummel him. George McGovern! George McGovern! (By the way, George was a world war two bomber pilot.)

Then if a President once elected tries to reverse course from all the compromises he had to make to get elected, as has on occasion happened, there are other ways within the bureaucracy to create huge political problems. It's really hard to manage your political enemies, because they're trying to make you fail.

i've also been persuaded by scott ritter's frustration with the peace movement that it won't get anywhere until there is kind of real, institutional force for peace that deliberates, strategizes, has discipline, and carries out long term planning--like the military, but working for peace instead of war. Say what you want about the military, it's disciplined and organized, so i think any counter-force to it will also have to be disciplined and organized to be any sort of meaningful political break on it.

on the bright side, i think the overwhelming majority of people want peace. and they don't want economic ruin either. they want a decent life for themseles, and except for a hefty minority of pricks they aren't hateful

so if we can ever crack apart the shell holding together this mess of corruption, that's something to build on anyway

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 01:06 PM

Prof Chazelle:
But here's the ethical dilemma. Let's say I am right and the only sure way to end the empire is to bankrupt it. Then shouldn't we encourage economic, financial, and fiscal policies that in the short term are bound to have disastrous consequences domestically? But what about the "collateral damage"?

If I may, I do not think, citizenry should encourage policies that have disastrous consequences. Our govt is already doing it without encouragement from the public. The only solution imho is for our country to get over this idea that we are and have to be and remain the most powerful nation in the world, that we ARE the leader and everyone has to follow and we have to live within our means. And sooner the govt realises this ( and the public, as Americans have been bombarded with propaganda about what we and and our country is supposed to be ), better off the world will be. Of course, if that realisation does not come soon enough, collapse will be inevitable.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 19, 2009 01:16 PM

Steve B:

I myself would be interested in knowing what is the best treatment of the indian independene movement.

For a very ugly view of some of the policies of the British Empire in Asia in the 19th century, the Empire that Kipling and J.S. Mill and C.S. Lewis were blind to, I recommend Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts. (you can look at amazon reviews of all this of course very easily)

There may well be better books, but I thought Bill Clinton's favorite professor, Carroll Quigley, addressed the failings of British Imperial policy well in his books The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivedon and Tragedy and Hope: A History of Our Time. (As the title of each suggests, neither book is only about India. THe hope and tragedy book was published in 1966 (our time through the 50s basically).) I think the Anglo-American Establishment, written in 1949 but not published in 1981 because it was too controversial when the Empire was still on its feet, was the more interesting book. It is essentially about the British role model for the Council on Foreign Relations, what was at least at times called the Milner Group. Quigley did not think the Milner Group's India policy was praiseworthy and attributed many of the problems of partition to it.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 01:32 PM

"Late Victorian Holocausts" is a very good book. It's interesting to compare it with other books on British India, or the ones that I've seen, which say very little about the famines in the late 1800's and often excuse the British when they do. I think Niall Ferguson does this in one of his books (I forget which one), though if I recall correctly, he's much harder on the early stages of British colonization (the late 1700's). I think the theory he was pushing is that the British started out as ruthless, but then became "good" colonialists. This is not something you'll find plausible after you read Davis.

Posted by Donald Johnson at May 19, 2009 01:52 PM

1. For Americans sick of the empire, halving the Pentagon's budget is good.

2. Halving the Pentagon's budget might keep the US from bankrupcy.

3. Only a nonbankrupt country can keep its empire.

4. To keep the empire is not the wish of Americans sick of the empire.

Gotta luv'em circular logics.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at May 19, 2009 02:21 PM

I suppose ANY rationalization to keep buying bombs will do. A burnt kid is one ya don't have to buy shoes for or send to school. KEEP PAYING, KEEP PLAYING.

Posted by Mike Meyer at May 19, 2009 02:53 PM

Wasn't there a presidential candidate last go-round who wanted to end the Empire, bring all U.S. troops home from overseas, including withdrawing troops from Iraq in a matter of weeks? Didn't he recieve the largest amount of donations from active-service military personnel? And wasn't his alarmingly effective grass-roots campaign effectively marginalized by smears from the corporate media, whose point man was Tim Russert? Wasn't there a guy like that?

And doesn't the same guy want to audit and then get rid of the Fed, which oversees and abets the top investment banks like GS and JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, who were Obama and McCain's top financial contributors,

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

and who right now are happily draining the US Treasury while assigning endless debt to generations not yet born?

Isn't there a guy like that? Man, was he stupid.

Posted by Oarwell at May 19, 2009 02:58 PM

What should we do???!!!!

Declare 9 exemptions on your W-4....that means you will owe taxes on April 15th...don't pay them, and send a letter to the IRS saying you won't pay them in order to protest, as a matter of conscience, the 52% of taxes that fund the military.

Its amazing how people won't even CONSIDER doing this...for how long can you be a good German?

Posted by Solar Hero at May 19, 2009 03:31 PM

Rupa Sha: Do violent video games really have harmful effect by which I mean every time someone plays one, their empathy dissolves? Seriously? Why not just put a national time limit on how long kids can play the games? that might work better. Or even better, remind parents to make sure kids aren't playing them too much. No offense,but your plan sounds a bit like Mao's cultural revolution.

Posted by Jenny at May 19, 2009 04:28 PM

...for how long can you be a good German?

realistic lesser evil purity pure pure realistic pure dirtyhippiegreenie purity pure really really realistic voteforObamaorwellallbekilledinoursleep!!!1!!one!!!

(Just getting ahead of UDF.)

Posted by AlanSmithee at May 19, 2009 05:16 PM

"What should we do???!!!!

Declare 9 exemptions on your W-4....that means you will owe taxes on April 15th...don't pay them, and send a letter to the IRS saying you won't pay them in order to protest, as a matter of conscience, the 52% of taxes that fund the military."

--I heard somebody propose this to Chomsky once, in a fairly animated way, and Chomsky just shrugged and said he really didn't think it had much effect.

But the idea reminds me of the character who did just that in the movie Stranger Than Fiction, which i just saw again recently and just absolutely love, so i'm really glad you mentioned that. What a great movie!

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 05:56 PM

Declare 9 exemptions on your W-4....that means you will owe taxes on April 15th...don't pay them, and send a letter to the IRS saying you won't pay them in order to protest, as a matter of conscience, the 52% of taxes that fund the military.

I consider this, but in fact I have no job and no income. Hard to say how I will behave when (if) I do.

But see, prison isn't nearly so "cushy" as those radio talk-show hosts are always whining

Posted by Cloud at May 19, 2009 06:13 PM

Jenny at May 19, 2009 04:28 PM:

I did not suggest banning video games depicting violence. I wrote about educating them about their harmful effects. Of course the parents decide what kind of video games and how long and how often their children should play them.
I am against all propaganda and brainwishing.

Also, there is more than enough evidence to show video games depicting violence increase aggressive thoughts, behaviour and affect. And the result is a mindset where children learn to resove conflicts violently. I know, some do not believe this or agree with this but this was extensively discussed in a previous post by Prof Chazelle so I will not comment further.
http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb-anderson.html


Posted by Rupa Shah at May 19, 2009 06:41 PM

I heard somebody propose this to Chomsky once, in a fairly animated way, and Chomsky just shrugged and said he really didn't think it had much effect.

Didn't Chomsky almost go to jail for refusing to pay his taxes during the Vietnam War?-Tony

Posted by tony at May 19, 2009 07:09 PM


A few seconds search on Chomsky.info answers my own question...Tony

http://www.chomsky.info/debates/19670323.htm


I feel uncomfortable about suggesting draft refusal publicly, since it is a rather cheap proposal from someone of my age. But I think that tax refusal is an important gesture, both because it symbolizes a refusal to make a voluntary contribution to the war machine and also because it indicates a willingness, which should, I think, be indicated, to take illegal measures to oppose an indecent government.

Posted by tony at May 19, 2009 07:27 PM

Rupa: But you're implying that they should be banned because you claim they automatically have a violent effect on children. The APA report you posted has pretty damn bias sources. And this brainwashing and propaganda: are you actually claiming the government pays companies to make video games in order to distill the minds of youth? Okay, actuallly, I wouldn't put it past the likes of that felujah and military game mentioned previously, those companies obviously want an agenda, but video game companies in general??

Posted by Jenny at May 19, 2009 07:32 PM

More Circular logics:

1. Debt destroys empire.

2. War creates debt.

3. Empire creates War.

4. Rinse and Repeat.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 07:34 PM


"Didn't Chomsky almost go to jail for refusing to pay his taxes during the Vietnam War?-Tony"

--Yes, i think that's why he was asked the question. I assume that was also the basis for his conclusion.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 07:39 PM

Jenny at May 19, 2009 07:32 PM:
I am sorry, you read more in my comments than what I mean and I am not implying nothing of the sort that you are suggesting.
You do not have to believe the APA report and if you believe, violent video games do not have harmful effects, that is ok by me. You have a right to your opinion.
And my statement regarding brainwashing and propaganda was in response to your suggesting that "your plan sounds a bit like Mao's cultural revolution."
In any case, I will sign off here as I am probably not articulating my thoughts clearly as I feel, they are being misinterpreted.

Posted by Rupa Shah at May 19, 2009 08:14 PM

NE: "Rinse and Repeat" doesn't work in practice. Once you cease to be an empire, this is it.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at May 19, 2009 08:22 PM

...are you actually claiming the government pays companies to make video games in order to distill the minds of youth?

Good heavens henny-penny mercy me! Our government would never never ever do that!

Posted by MediaGhost at May 19, 2009 10:26 PM

NE: "Rinse and Repeat" doesn't work in practice. Once you cease to be an empire, this is it.


ok, i admit it, you got me beat hands down on algoriths.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 19, 2009 11:06 PM

ONE person's refusal to pay is TAX evasion, 1000 people refusing to pay is a protest. Perhaps Noam just didn't like standing up to power ALONE.

Posted by Mike Meyer at May 20, 2009 12:52 AM

I've never disparaged the Greens or urged anyone to vote for Democrats, Alan Sockpuppetee. I just enjoy making fun of you for being such a clown who cares more about being "right" than the ideals you use as a club to attack people with.

Posted by Upside Down Flag at May 20, 2009 08:07 AM

"ONE person's refusal to pay is TAX evasion, 1000 people refusing to pay is a protest. Perhaps Noam just didn't like standing up to power ALONE."

--I've only heard him speak in person once, and i only know what he said that one time, but he certainly didn't suggest it would work if enough people did it. He just said he didn't think it made much of a difference and moved on to the next question. and i sort of gather it isn't something he's tried or recommended since the 80s.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 20, 2009 08:23 AM

sorry, i meant to type since the 60s, not since the 80s.

Posted by Not Exactly at May 20, 2009 08:25 AM


and i sort of gather it isn't something he's tried or recommended since the 80s.

Not true...see link below.-Tony


http://www.democracynow.org/2003/4/11/saying_no_to_war_by_saying

Posted by tony at May 20, 2009 08:35 AM

OMG! Stop clubbin me with ur ideals! Help! Help! Pwogwessive in distress!

Posted by mediaghost at May 20, 2009 12:20 PM

and i sort of gather it isn't something he's tried or recommended since the 80s.

Not true...see link below.-Tony
http://www.democracynow.org/2003/4/11/saying_no_to_war_by_saying


weird, because that's dated from april 2003, and i heard him later in 2003. my memory must be playing tricks on me. now i wonder what he did say.

i guess as gilda radner used to say, never mind

Posted by Not Exactly at May 20, 2009 12:58 PM

he keeps comparing The Evil Rethugs to The Saintly Noble Donkey Ideal and he keeps seeing everything ruined by the Evil Rethugs.

Wow. Really nailed me there. I'm totally a believer in the Saintly Noble Donkey Ideal, as the other members of the Four Lakes Green Party can attest.

Posted by SteveB at May 20, 2009 02:44 PM

mediaghost, you idiot, I know that's an exception and that game was only made for the U.S. army. I meant games on the market like grand theft auto or Halo 2, do any of you think there's some conspiracy going on where the government is encouraging youth to play these games?

Posted by Jenny at May 20, 2009 03:02 PM

and i sort of gather it isn't something he's tried or recommended since the 80s.

Not true...see link below.-Tony
http://www.democracynow.org/2003/4/11/saying_no_to_war_by_saying


weird, because that's dated from april 2003, and i heard him later in 2003. my memory must be playing tricks on me. now i wonder what he did say.

i guess as gilda radner used to say, never mind

NE,

I sent NC an email through the z forums...if he responds I'll post it here...those forums haven't been running to well lately so I dont know if he will see it or not....I thought your original comments made have been in error regarding Chomsky's stance on tax resistance but I wasnt sure myself...if he responds I will post.-Tony

Posted by tony at May 20, 2009 04:29 PM

...do any of you think there's some conspiracy going on where the government is encouraging youth to play these games?

Why would the government have to encourage kids to play video games? I mean, the product pretty much sells itself.

Posted by AlanSmithee at May 20, 2009 06:24 PM

Gee, Steve, you're a Green Party member? WOW! Are you an "organizer" too? A "grass roots activist" as well?

That would explain your many posts offering indirect excuses for American Imperialism -- because you're so "Green."

I love pwoggie/lib-wool delusion. It's so... ironic.

Posted by blue ox babe at May 21, 2009 11:44 AM

SteveB says:
Actually, the British are a fine example to emulate. From the end of WWII to the mid-sixties, they went from empire-in-distress to no-empire-at-all. The transition seems to have been relatively painless, and how many non-insane Britons today mourn the loss of the Empire?

Actually, no, the British are most definitely NOT a fine example to emulate. Remember that the "special relationship" the British enjoy with America is one of functioning as a junior imperial partner whereby in exchange for a piece of the pie from American imperial looting of the world, the British play the role of America's spoiler in greater Europe.

After WW-II, the British had the unique advantage of a rising, Western imperial power, America, to piggyback onto, which allowed them to continue to use Western imperial violence to protect, control and even expland British capitalistic interests. So for example, American power and the CIA were key in helping to protect British petroleum interests in Iran when the American CIA thugs and murderers engineered a coup that brought into power the brutal Shah. And more recently, there was Iraq. To quote Richard Seymour in the comment section for this blog post:

The UK's strategy of entrusting the US with it's empire has been a successful one, by and large. Profits have been conserved, interests defended, and Britain even eventually found itself back in Mesopotamia, which it had lost in 1958. There's nothing stupid about the British state siding with the US.

So I don't know if you can really point to the example of the trajectory of decline of the British empire, a Western "liberal democratic" capitalist empire, as one that the American empire is likely to follow. While there are cycles and patterns and similarities in history, there is no guarantee that history always repeats exactly. The Brits had the luxury of a rising Western imperial power in the form of America to piggyback their power on. America does not have the same luxury, and there is no evidence in American history, and in the still existent deep racism, system of white supremacy and legitimized barbarism of the West to point to anything but a messianic, deranged and violent reaction by America against "the darkies" to its decline.

And when you add to this mix the very grim picture of the near future of food and water shortages resulting from global warming and climate change and the inevitable military conflicts that will follow, you are talking about adding fuel to the fire in the form of yet another complicating factor with a potential for great violence that did not exist at the time of the declining fortunes of the British empire.

As Gwynne Dyer says in that excellent lecture, it's not the US and the West that are going to be the ones to suffer the most from global warming. It's those lowly brown people in the 3rd world who are going to pay the biggest price, and just like a certain sizable segment of smug, white racist Westerners today are able to so easily rationalize and justify Western imperial aggression, mass-murder, torture and barbarism against those Muslim darkies in the Middle-East who just happen to live over large reserves of oil (Islam is truly the worst religion! Muslims are irrational and violent! etc), so too you will see the very same Westerners just as easily rationalize and justify Western aggression against the 3rd world darkies over issues like food and water supplies. They'll just find newer excuses, as they always have from the time the West won the race to scientific discovery and technological advancement and used those advantages to embark on its genocidal, colonial, conquering spree of the planet 500 years ago and clamber to the top perch in the hierarchy of world-affairs, and where the West remains today with the full intention of using genocidal whole-scale violence and mass-murder against the darkies to stay at the top.

Posted by hv at May 22, 2009 05:46 PM

Ferishteh means angel. The sad, sad ironies.

Posted by lightkeeper at May 23, 2009 06:37 PM