A RADICAL PLAN TO CURB TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE WEST

By Arlen Grossman

 

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.         

John Lennon “Imagine”

 

The West worries about terrorist attacks for good reason. The United States and other Western powers are angering a generation of Muslims, and some of them want revenge. Muslims all over the world are understandably angry at the interference, militarily, politically, and economically, of Western Christian nations in the affairs of Muslim countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

There are a number of reasons for anger among the Muslim population, but Western interference in their lands is probably the most important. Sharif Kouashi, one of the brothers involved in the Charlie Hebro attack in Paris, attributed his radicalization to the Iraq war and “the torture at Abu Ghraib prison. Osama Bin Laden cited among his grievances that led to 9/11: the sanctions on Iraq, the plight of the Palestinians and the occupation of Saudi soil by U.S. troops. Not much has changed since then, and in the intervening years there have been invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as bombings and drone strikes in other Muslim countries, killing thousands, many of them civilians.

Nobody expects Western nations to be leaving the Muslim world anytime in the near future. The West has economic and strategic interests they are unwilling to give up. Since Muslim countries are no match for Western Christian nations militarily, blowback has taken the form of terrorist attacks by various groups and individuals.

All of this is very costly to America and its allies. A 2013 report by Harvard researcher Linda Bilmes places the eventual cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq between $4 and $6 trillion, including medical care and disability for current and future war veterans. That translates to as much as $75,000 for every American household. And Brown University’s Costs of War Project (2014) estimated over 350,000 people–armed forces on all sides, contractors, civilians, etc–have died as a direct result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Very grim numbers indeed. But lo and behold, there is a solution. Imagine what would happen if the United States took all the personnel and money currently used for military action against the Muslim world and put all of it to use helping and building up those same countries. Think of a super-sized Marshall Plan for the Muslim world.

Imagine what the average Muslim would think if Western nations, instead of invading their countries militarily, came to their lands to help them–building schools, providing health care, and building (or rebuilding) roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. Americans and other Western countries would send thousands of non-combat soldiers and citizens invested in making the Muslim world more modern, secure and friendly.

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                            Building a school in Afghanistan (Burlington Free Press)

They might be suspicious at first, but once real assistance was in place, Muslims would start to look at Western powers in a different way: as friends. Terrorism, for good reason, would dissipate. There would no longer be a compelling reason to seek revenge on the West. It would be a win-win scenario for everybody.

Sadly, there is little likelihood of this happening in today’s world. Too many Americans and other Westerners are making enormous sums of money combating terrorism. The military-industrial-security complex (as well as news networks) rakes in billions fanning the fears of a terrorist attack within our borders. They are not about to willingly give up this lucrative cash cow.

That leaves it to the people to demand it. If motivated and war-weary citizens, in America and around the world, organized and took to the streets, demanding a peaceful end to this murderous cycle of perpetual violence, advocating a radical shift in thinking aimed at helping our former adversaries, everything would change. Imagine a more peaceful world with a significantly decreased threat from terrorist attacks. Call me a dreamer, but it really is possible.

Also published at OpEd News, February 8, 2015 

 

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Perpetual War

War Is the New Normal: 7 Deadly Reasons Why America’s Wars Persist

By William Astore/ TomDispatch/ February 1, 2015

It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it “the long war [4],” an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent. It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation [5] of that disaster as well. Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a “Groundhog Day [6]” kind of repetition. Just when you thought it was over (Iraq [7], Afghanistan [8]), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again [9].

Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition. Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons [10] why America can’t stop making war. More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I’m planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).

1. The privatization of war: The U.S. military’s recourse to private contractors [11] has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well. Unlike the citizen-soldiers of past eras, the mobilized warrior corporations [12] of America’s new mercenary moment — the Halliburton [13]/KBRs (nearly $40 billion [14] in contracts for the Iraq War alone), the DynCorps [15] ($4.1 billion to train 150,000 Iraqi police), and the Blackwater/Xe/Academis [16] ($1.3 billion in Iraq, along with boatloads of controversy [17]) — have no incentive to demobilize. Like most corporations, their business model is based on profit through growth, and growth is most rapid when wars and preparations for more of them are the favored options in Washington.

“Freedom isn’t free,” as a popular conservative bumper sticker puts it, and neither is war. My father liked the saying, “He who pays the piper calls the tune,” and today’s mercenary corporations have been calling for a lot of military marches piping in $138 billion in contracts for Iraq alone, according to [18] the Financial Times. And if you think that the privatization of war must at least reduce government waste, think again: the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated in 2011 that fraud, waste, and abuse accounted for up to $60 billion [19] of the money spent in Iraq alone.

To corral American-style war, the mercenaries must be defanged or deflated. European rulers learned this the hard way during the Thirty Years’ War of the seventeenth century. At that time, powerful mercenary captains like Albrecht von Wallenstein [20] ran amok. Only Wallenstein’s assassination and the assertion of near absolutist powers by monarchs bent on curbing war before they went bankrupt finally brought the mercenaries to heel, a victory as hard won as it was essential to Europe’s survival and eventual expansion. (Europeans then exported their wars to foreign shores, but that’s another story.)

2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties:Jimmy Carter was the last president to attempt to exercise any kind of control over the national security state. A former Navy nuclear engineer who had served under the demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover [21], Carter cancelled the B-1 bomber and fought for a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights. Widely pilloried for talking about [22] nuclear war with his young daughter Amy, Carter was further attacked for being “weak” on defense. His defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 inaugurated 12 years of dominance by Republican presidents that opened the financial floodgates for the Department of Defense. That taught Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council [23] a lesson when it came to the wisdom of wrapping the national security state in a welcoming embrace, which they did, however uncomfortably. This expedient turn to the right by the Democrats in the Clinton years served as a temporary booster shot when it came to charges of being “soft” on defense — until Republicans upped the ante by going “all-in” on military crusades in the aftermath of 9/11.

Since his election in 2008, Barack Obama has done little to alter the course set by his predecessors. He, too, has chosen not to challenge Washington’s prevailing catechism of war [24]. Republicans have responded, however, not by muting their criticism, but by upping the ante yet again. How else to explain House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in March [25]? That address promises to be a pep talk for the Republicans, as well as a smack down of the Obama administration and its “appeasenik [26]” policies toward Iran and Islamic radicalism.

Serious oversight, let alone opposition to the national security state by Congress or a mainstream political party, has been missing in action [27] for years and must now, in the wake of the Senate Torture Report fiasco (from which the CIAemerged [28] stronger, not weaker), be presumed dead. The recent midterm election triumph of Republican war hawks and the prospective lineup of candidates for president in 2016 does not bode well when it comes to reining in the national security state in any foreseeable future.

3. “Support Our Troops” as a substitute for thought. You’ve seen them everywhere: “Support Our Troops [29]” stickers. In fact, the “support” in that slogan generally means acquiescence when it comes to American-style war. The truth is that we’ve turned the all-volunteer military into something like aforeign legion [30], deploying it again and again to our distant battle zones and driving it into the ground [31] in wars that amount to strategic folly. Instead of admitting their mistakes, America’s leaders have worked to obscure them by endlessly overpraising [32] our “warriors” as so many universal heroes [33]. This may salve our collective national conscience, but it’s a form of cheap grace [34] that saves no lives — and wins no wars.

Instead, this country needs to listen more carefully to its troops, especially the war critics who have risked their lives while fighting overseas. Organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War [35] and Veterans for Peace [36] are good places to start.

4. Fighting a redacted war. War, like the recent Senate torture report [37], is redacted in America. Its horrors and mistakes are suppressed [38], its patriotic whistleblowers punished [39], even as the American people are kept in a demobilized state. The act of going to war no longer represents the will of the people [40], as represented by formal Congressional declarations of war as the U.S. Constitution demands. Instead, in these years, Americans were told togo to Disney World [41] (as George W. Bush suggested in the wake of 9/11) and keep shopping. They’re encouraged not to pay too much attention [42] to war’s casualties and costs, especially when those costs involve foreigners with funny-sounding names (after all, they are, as American sniper [43] Chris Kyle so indelicately put it in his book, just “savages”).

Redacted war hides the true cost of a permanent state of killing from the American people, if not from foreign observers. Ignorance and apathy reign, even as a national security state [44] that is essentially a shadow government [45]equates its growth with your safety.

5. Threat inflation: There’s nothing new about threat inflation. We saw plenty of it during the Cold War (nonexistent missile [46] and bomber gaps [47], for example). Fear sells and we’ve had quite a dose [48] of it in the twenty-first century, from ISIS to Ebola. But a more important truth is that fear is a mind-killer, a debate-stifler.

Back in September, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that ISIS and its radical Islamic army was coming to America to kill us all [49]. ISIS, of course, is a regional power with no ability to mount significant operations against the United States. But fear is so commonplace, so effectively stoked in this country that Americans routinely and wildly [50] exaggerate the threat posed by al-Qaeda or ISIS or the bogeyman du jour.

Decades ago, as a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I was hunkered down inCheyenne Mountain [51] during the Cold War. It was the ultimate citadel-cum-bomb-shelter, and those in it were believed to have a 70% likelihood of surviving a five-megaton nuclear blast. There, not surprisingly, I found myself contemplating the very real possibility of a thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, a war that would have annihilated life as we knew it, indeed much of life on our planet thanks to the phenomenon of nuclear winter. You’ll excuse me for not shaking in my boots at the threat of ISIS coming to get me. Or of Sharia Law coming to my local town hall. With respect to such fears, America needs, as Hillary Clinton said in an admittedly different context, to “grow a pair [52].”

6. Defining the world as a global battlefield: In fortress America [53], all realms have by now become battle spheres. Not only much of the planet, the seas, air, and space [54], as well as the country’s borders [55] and its increasingly up-armored police forces [56], but the world of thought, the insides of our minds. Think of the 17 [57] intertwined intelligence outfits in “the U.S. Intelligence Community” and their ongoing “surge” for information dominance across every mode of human communication, as well as the surveillance of everything. And don’t forget the national security state’s leading role in making cyberwar [58] a reality. (Indeed, Washington launched the first cyberwar in history by deploying the Stuxnet computer worm [59] against Iran.)

Think of all this as a global matrix that rests on war, empowering disaster capitalism [60] and the corporate complexes that have formed around the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and that intelligence community. A militarized matrix doesn’t blink at $1.45 trillion dollars devoted to the F-35 [61], a single under-performing jet fighter, nor at projections of $355 billion [62] over the next decade for “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal, weapons that Barack Obama vowed [63] to abolish in 2009.

7. The new “normal” in America is war: The 9/11 attacks happened more than 13 years ago, which means that no teenagers in America can truly remember a time when the country was at peace. “War time” is their normal; peace, a fairy tale.

What’s truly “exceptional” in twenty-first-century America is any articulated vision of what a land at peace with itself and other nations might be like. Instead, war, backed by a diet of fear, is the backdrop against which the young have grown to adulthood. It’s the background noise of their world, so much a part of their lives that they hardly recognize it for what it is. And that’s the most insidious danger of them all.

How do we inoculate our children against such a permanent state of war and the war state itself? I have one simple suggestion: just stop it. All of it. Stop making war a never-ending part of our lives and stop celebrating it, too. War should be the realm of the extreme, of the abnormal. It should be the death of normalcy, not the dreary norm.

It’s never too soon, America, to enlist in that good fight!

Boldface added by BPR Editor
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NOTHING HAS CHANGED

BPR QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“It is a government of the people by the people for the people no longer; it is a government of corporations by corporations for corporations.”

Rutherford B. Hayes

Hayes

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Osama Bin Laden Death Hoax–The Latest Chapter?

Another Fake Bin Laden Story

By Paul Craig Roberts/ PaulCraigRoberts.org/ November 7, 2014

 

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Osama Bin Laden Is Dead – WE GOT HIM!
(image by zennie62)

RT, one of my favorite news sources, has fallen for a fake story put out by the Pentagon to support the fantasy story that a SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden, who died a second time in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a decade after his first death from illness and disease. http://rt.com/usa/202895-navy-seal-shot-binladen/

This fake story together with the fake movie and the fake book by an alleged SEAL team member is the way the fake story of bin Laden’s murder is perpetrated. Bin Laden’s alleged demise at the hands of a SEAL team was a propaganda orchestration, the purpose of which was to give Obama a hero’s laurels and deep six Democratic talk of challenging his nomination for a second term.

Osama bin Laden died in December 2001 of renal failure and other health problems, having denied in his last recorded video any responsibility for 9/11, instead directing Americans to look inside their own government. The FBI itself has stated that there is no evidence that Osama bin Laden is responsible for 9/11. Bin Laden’s obituary appeared in numerous foreign and Arabic press, and also on Fox News. No one can survive renal failure for a decade, and no dialysis machine was found in the alleged Abbottabad compound of bin Laden, who allegedly was murdered by SEALs a decade after his obituary notices.

Additionally, no one among the crew of the ship from which the White House reported bin Laden was buried at sea saw any such burial, and the sailors sent messages home to that effect. Somehow a burial was held onboard a ship on which there are constant watches and crew on alert at all hours, and no one witnessed it.

Additionally, the White House story of the alleged murder of bin Laden changed twice within the first 24 hours. The claim that Obama and his government watched the action transmitted live from cameras on the SEALs’ helmets was quickly abandoned, despite the release of a photo of the Obama regime intently focused on a TV set and alleged to be watching the live action. No video of the deed was ever released. To date there is no evidence whatsoever in behalf of the Obama regime’s claim. Not one tiny scrap. Just unsubstantiated self-serving claims.

Additionally, as I have made available on my website, witnesses interviewed by Pakistan TV reported that only one helicopter landed in Abbottabad and that when the occupants of the helicopter returned from the alleged bin Laden compound, the helicopter exploded on takeoff and there were no survivors. In other words, there was no bin Laden corpse to deliver to the ship that did not witness a burial and no SEAL hero to return who allegedly murdered an unarmed bin Laden. Moreover, the BBC interviewed residents in Abbottabad, including those next door to the alleged “bin Laden compound,” and all say that they knew the person who lived there and it was not bin Laden.

Any SEAL who was so totally stupid as to kill the unarmed “Terror Mastermind” would probably have been courtmartialed for incompetency. Look at the smiling face of the man Who Killed Bin Laden. He thinks that his claim that he murdered a man makes him a hero, a powerful comment on the moral degeneracy of Americans.

So what is this claim by Rob O’Neill about? He is presented as a “motivational speaker” in search of clients. What better ploy among gullible Americans than to claim “I am the one who shot bin Laden.” Reminds me of the western movie: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. What better way to give Rob O’Neill’s claim validity than for the Pentagon to denounce his revelation for breaking obligation to remain silent. The Pentagon claims that O’Neill by claiming credit has painted a big target sign on our door asking ISIS to come get us

What unbelievable nonsense. ISIS and anyone who believed Obama’s claim to have done in bin Laden already knew, if they believed the lie, that the Obama regime claimed responsibility for murdering an unarmed bin Laden. The reason the SEAL team was prevented from talking is that no member of the team was on the alleged mission,

Just as the ship from which bin Laden was allegedly buried has no witnesses to the deed, the SEAL unit, whose members formed the team that allegedly dispatched an unarmed Terrorist Mastermind rather than to take him into custody for questioning, mysteriously died in a helicopter crash when they were loaded in violation of procedures in an unprotected 1960s vintage helicopter and sent into a combat zone in Afghanistan shortly after the alleged raid on “bin Laden’s compound.” 

For awhile there were news reports that the families of these dead SEALS do not believe one word of the government’s account. Moreover, the families reported receiving messages from the SEALs that suddenly they felt threatened and did not know why. The SEALs had been asking one another: “Were you on the bin Laden mission?” Apparently, none were. And to keep this a secret, the SEALs were sent to their deaths.

Anyone who believes anything the US government says is gullible beyond the meaning of the word.

Related BPR Articles:

Osama Bin Dead?

The Osama bin Laden Death Hoax

The Osama bin Laden Death Hoax-Theory #2

 


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It Happens Every Time

Election_Day

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Praise the Planet

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A Living Wage: In Denmark, They Have It Their Way

Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark

By Liz Alderman and Steven Greenhouse/ New York Times/ October 27, 2014

That is because he earns the equivalent of $20 an hour — the base wage for fast-food workers throughout Denmark and two and a half times what many fast-food workers earn in the United States.

“You can make a decent living here working in fast food,” said Mr. Elofsson, 24. “You don’t have to struggle to get by.”

With an eye to workers like Mr. Elofsson, some American labor activists and liberal scholars are posing a provocative question: If Danish chains can pay $20 an hour, why can’t those in the United States pay the $15 an hour that many fast-food workers have been clamoring for?

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Killing the Messenger

Truthdig

The Myth of the Free Press

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_myth_of_the_free_press_20141026/

Posted on Oct 26, 2014

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Carlin: Here Are Your Owners

Always worth another look…..

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Upper Class Airlines

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