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KEY DEMOCRATS, LED BY HILLARY CLINTON, LEAVE NO DOUBT THAT ENDLESS WAR IS OFFICIAL U.S. DOCTRINE
By Glenn Greenwald/ The Intercept/ October 7, 2014 Long before Americans were introduced to the new 9/11 era super-villains called ISIS and Khorasan, senior Obama officials were openly and explicitly stating that America’s “war on terror,” already 12 years old, would last at least another decade. At first, they injected these decrees only anonymously; in late 2012, The Washington Post - disclosing the administration’s secret creation of a “disposition matrix” to decide who should be killed, imprisoned without charges, or otherwise “disposed” of - reported these remarkable facts:
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaida continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight. . . . That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.”
In May, 2013, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether it should revise the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). A committee member asked a senior Pentagon official, Assistant Secretary Michael Sheehan, how long the war on terror would last; his reply: “At least 10 to 20 years.” At least. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed afterward “that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today — atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted.” As Spencer Ackerman put it: “Welcome to America’s Thirty Years War,” one which – by the Obama administration’s own reasoning – has “no geographic limit.”
Listening to all this, Maine’s independent Sen. Angus King said: “This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution today.” Former Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith – himself an ardent advocate of broad presidential powers – was at the hearing and noted that nobody even knows against whom this endless war is being waged: “Amazingly, there is a very large question even in the Armed Services Committee about who the United States is at war against and where, and how those determinations are made.”
All of that received remarkably little attention given its obvious significance. But any doubts about whether Endless War – literally – is official American doctrine should be permanently erased by this week’s comments from two leading Democrats, both former top national security officials in the Obama administration, one of whom is likely to be the next American president.
Leon Panetta, the long-time Democratic Party operative who served as Obama’s Defense Secretary and CIA Director, said this week of Obama’s new bombing campaign: “I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war.” Only in America are new 30-year wars spoken of so casually, the way other countries speak of weather changes. He added that the war “will have to extend beyond Islamic State to include emerging threats in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere.” And elsewhere: not just a new decades-long war with no temporal limits, but no geographic ones either. He criticized Obama – who has bombed 7 predominantly Muslim countriesplus the Muslim minority in the Phillipines (almost double the number of countries Bush bombed) – for being insufficiently militaristic, despite the fact that Obama officials themselves have already instructed the public to think of The New War “in terms of years.”
Then we have Hillary Clinton (whom Panetta gushed would make a “great” president). At an event in Ottawa yesterday, she proclaimed that the fight against these “militants” will “be a long-term struggle” that should entail an “information war” as “well as an air war.” The new war, she said, is “essential” and the U.S. shies away from fighting it “at our peril.” Like Panetta (and most establishment Republicans), Clinton made clear in her book that virtually all of her disagreements with Obama’s foreign policy were the by-product of her view of Obama as insufficiently hawkish, militaristic and confrontational.
At this point, it is literally inconceivable to imagine the U.S. not at war. It would be shocking if that happened in our lifetime. U.S. officials are now all but openly saying this. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy.
It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”).
By Arlen Grossman/ The Big Picture Report
Reuters, via Landov
It is easy to predict what will happen as the United States chooses to start another overseas war. It’s easy because we’ve done it so many times before and once more choose to ignore the lessons of our previous foreign invasions. Here are eleven predictions we can count on:
1) Our military will kill a lot of people, a great many of whom will be civilians.
2) Citizens of the territories we invade will hate us for it and we will make new enemies, many of whom will be easy fodder for terrorist recruitment.
3) Many American soldiers will die or be traumatized by war and come home broken in body and spirit. We will be paying for their care (and aberrant behavior) for many decades.
4) The wars will cost more than they are supposed to and will deplete the U.S. treasury of billions–if not trillions–of dollars.
5) Despite the cost, certain segments in our society–weapons manufacturers, the Pentagon, security companies, cable news networks among them–will profit greatly.
6) The weapons we provide to our friendly rebels will eventually be used against us.
7) We will have other nations as allies, but the U.S. will provide more than 95% of the fighting and funding.
8) The American people will be lied to and manipulated with fear, thus giving the government further opportunities to spy upon or restrict the Constitutional rights of its citizens.
9) If we eventually provoke a terrorist counterattack on our soil, Americans can kiss their remaining freedoms goodbye.
10) Our stated objectives will fail to be accomplished.
11) Government propagandists and supporters of the war will try to convince us that we are succeeding.
You can count on these predictions coming true, because they always do when we start wars overseas–Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq being prime examples. But the massive military-industrial-security-media complex and their cheerleaders cannot resist. So here we go again.
Published in OpEd News (Headline Status) September 27, 2014
A Different D-Day
The Heinous Crime Behind Watergate
Exclusive: The mainstream media’s big takeaway from Richard Nixon’s Watergate resignation is that “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.” But that’s because few understand the crime behind Watergate, Nixon’s frantic search for a file on his 1968 subversion of Vietnam peace talks, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry/ConsortiumNews/ August 9, 2014
To fully understand the Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation 40 years ago, you have to know the back story starting in 1968 when candidate Nixon took part in a secret maneuver to scuttle the Vietnam peace talks and salvage a narrow victory over Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
In essence, what Nixon and his campaign team did was to contact South Vietnamese leaders behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back and promise them a better deal if they stayed away from Johnson’s Paris peace talks, which President Nguyen van Thieu agreed to do. So, with Johnson’s peace talks stymied and with Nixon suggesting that he had a secret plan to end the war, Nixon edged out Humphrey.
After his election, Nixon learned from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that President Johnson had amassed a detailed file on what Johnson called Nixon’s “treason,” but Nixon couldn’t locate the file once he took office and ordered an intensive search for the material that explained why the Paris peace talks had failed. But the material stayed missing.
Nixon’s worries grew more acute in mid-June 1971 when the New York Times and other major U.S. newspapers began publishing the Pentagon Papers leaked by former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg. Though the Pentagon Papers – covering the years 1945 through 1967 – exposed mostly Democratic deceptions, Nixon knew something that few others did, that there was a potential sequel that could be even more explosive than the original.
By mid-1971, an increasingly angry and radical anti-war movement was challenging Nixon’s continuation of the conflict. In early May, a series of demonstrations had sought to shut down Washington. Some 12,000 protesters were arrested, many confined at RFK Stadium in a scene suggesting national disorder.
In June, the Pentagon Papers further fueled the anti-war fury by revealing many of the lies that had led the nation into the bloody Vietnam quagmire. So, Nixon recognized the political danger if someone revealed how Nixon’s pre-election maneuvers in 1968 had prevented President Johnson from bringing the war to an end. Nixon became desperate to get his hands on the missing report (or file) about the failed peace talks.
In a series of tape-recorded meetings beginning on June 17, 1971, Nixon ordered a break-in (or even a fire-bombing) at the Brookings Institution where some Nixon insiders believed the missing material might be hidden in the safe.
“I want it implemented,” Nixon fumed to his senior aides, Henry Kissinger and H.R. “Bob” Haldeman. “Goddamnit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”