Tag Archives: Fascism

The Monetary Cost of War

15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, What Are the Costs?

By Stephanie Savell
March 21, 2018

This March marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

In 2003, President George W. Bush and his advisers based their case for war on the idea that Saddam Hussein, then dictator of Iraq, possessed weapons of mass destruction — weapons that have never been found. Nevertheless, all these years later, Bush’s “Global War on Terror” continues — in Iraq and in many other countries.

It’s a good time to reflect on what this war — the longest in U.S. history — has cost Americans and others around the world.

First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

$5.6 trillion. This figure includes not just the Pentagon’s war fund, but also future obligations such as social services for an ever-growing number of post-9/11 veterans.

It’s hard for most of us to even begin to grasp such an enormous number.

It means Americans spend $32 million per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Put another way: Since 2001, every American taxpayer has spent almost $24,000 on the wars — equal to the average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.

iraq-war-exit-strategy

Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org

As stupefying as those numbers are, the budgetary costs pale in comparison with the human toll.

As of 2015, when the Costs of War project made its latest tallies, up to 165,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a direct consequence of U.S. war, plus around 8,000 U.S. soldiers and military contractors in Iraq.

Those numbers have only continued to rise. Up to 6,000 civilians were killed by U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017 –– more civilians than in any previous year, according to the watchdog group AirWars.

In addition to those direct deaths, at least four times as many people in Iraq have died from the side effects of war, such as malnutrition, environmental degradation, and deteriorated infrastructure.

Since the 2003 invasion, for instance, Iraqi health care has plummeted — with hospitals and clinics bombed, supplies of medicine and electricity jeopardized, and thousands of physicians and healthcare workers fleeing the country.

Meanwhile, the war continues to spread, no longer limited to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, as many Americans think. Indeed, the U.S. military is escalating a shadowy network of anti-terror operations all across the world — in at least 76 nations, or 40 percent of countries on the planet.

Last October, news about four Green Berets killed by an Islamic State affiliate in the West African nation of Niger gave Americans a glimpse of just how broad this network is. And along with it comes all the devastating consequences of militarism for the people of these countries.

We must ask: Are these astounding costs worth it? Is the U.S. accomplishing anything close to its goal of diminishing the global terrorist threat?

The answer is, resoundingly, no.

U.S. activity in Iraq and the Middle East has only spurred greater political upheaval and unrest. The U.S.-led coalition is seen not as a liberating force, but as an aggressor. This has fomented insurgent recruitment, and there are now more terrorist groups in the Middle East than ever before.

Until a broad swath of the American public gets engaged to call for an end to the war on terror, these mushrooming costs — economic, human, social, and political — will just continue to grow.

Source: https://otherwords.org/15-years-after-the-iraq-invasion-what-are-the-costs/

‘Corporations Are People’ Is Built on a 19th-Century Lie – The Atlantic

Quotes:

‘Corporations Are People’ Is Built on a 19th-Century Lie – The Atlantic

    • A confidant of Leland Stanford, Field had advised the company on which lawyers to hire for this very series of cases and thus should have recused himself from them.

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      Why Big Business Hates Free Markets…And Loves Big Government

      The video gives a good explanation.

      There is a huge misconception, where Americans are led to believe that Government and Big Business are antagonists. We see it in Hollywood movies, and in the media all the time. Americans need government “regulations” to protect them from business. In reality, Big Business could not be happier with this slight-of-hand. They love government “regulations,” and hate the free market.

      Obama’s Dilemma on Troop Surge in Afghanistan Now Vexes Trump

        • WASHINGTON — A new president confronts an old war, one that bedeviled his predecessor. He is caught between seasoned military commanders, who tell him that the road to victory is to pour in more American troops, and skeptical political advisers, who argue that a major deployment is a futile exercise that will leave him politically vulnerable.
        • “They are going to be faced with the same questions we were,” said David Axelrod, a former senior Obama adviser, who worried, during the 2009 debate, that the generals were boxing his boss in. “How and when does this end? Or is it an open-ended commitment of American lives and resources? What will the investment produce in the long run?”
        • Historically, the United States has supplied about two-thirds of the soldiers in Afghanistan.
        • But Mr. Trump is discovering, as Mr. Obama did, that extricating the United States is harder than it appears. General McMaster and other advisers warn that without reinforcements for the Afghan Army, the security situation in Afghanistan will get even more precarious than it is now, potentially creating more sanctuaries for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
        • Currently, the international security force assisting the Afghan Army has about 13,000 troops, of which about 8,400 are American soldiers. Under an initial plan, which General Nicholson recommended to Congress in February, the United States would send 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops, including hundreds of Special Operations forces.
        • Such a deployment would allow American advisers to train and assist a more Afghan forces, and it would place American troops closer to the front lines at lower levels in the chain of command.
        • General McMaster headed an anticorruption task force that worked mostly out of the capital, Kabul, after Mr. Obama’s troop surge. He quarreled with Afghan officials and warlords in an often-futile effort to make sure billions of dollars in American aid went to the right places.
        • General McMaster’s exposure to rampant corruption would rob him of any illusions that a few thousand new troops could turn around Afghanistan.
        • Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, remains a crucial voice, despite his troubles over reported links to Russia. Though he has not taken a position on troops, his aides say he views his role as making sure the president gets genuine options.
        • Still, Mr. Trump’s heavy reliance on military commanders risks a repeat of what some critics viewed as a weakness of the Obama administration’s troop debate, even with Mrs. Clinton’s participation: its overemphasis on a military solution.
        • “This whole decision is being seen too narrowly, through a military prism,” said Daniel F. Feldman, who served as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan under Mr. Obama. “It has to be seen in a more integrated way. It requires a more aggressive diplomatic component.”

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


      What I think…

      1. How has our involvement helped?
      2. How can it be worse if we were not involved?
      3. Is it American policy to be the police of the world?
      4. What government has ever come close to being able to police the world?
      5. Is it the will of the people in America?

      I am reminded of some words of Jesus and a principle that can be derived from it.

      Mark 14:7 “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.

      That is, in the midst of trouble in the world you still have to set priorities.

      If God designed governments to bring peace and stability to civilization and if God set the boundaries of these governments, what good is it for one nation to overstretch itself to its own demise?  I mean if a free nation helps a less free nation but collapses in the process where neither nation is now free, what good is that?

      I believe it is very important for Americans to understand why there is such a push and presence in the middle east.  I am not convinced it has anything to do with freeing people or protecting them.  Instead, I believe it has to do with using people and exploiting them to the benefit of a military industrial financial complex.  The Deep State is using America to further its wellbeing.  This reminds me of another saying of Jesus.

      Matt 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.

      And one further point I would like to add.  If my neighbor is having a domestic dispute to the degree I can hear them yelling at one another, to what extent is that my problem to resolve?  Am I responsible to police my entire block or city or state or nation or world?  Inconceivable!  I would create a domestic dispute in my own home if I did!  Isn’t it much better if I see that no dispute erupts in my own home and simply encourage others to do the same by way of word and example?

      The Republic Has Fallen: The Deep State’s Plot to Take Over America Has Succeeded

      Commentary



      By John W. Whitehead

      May 23, 2017

      “You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country…why in the name of God don’t you have any faith in the system of government you’re so hell-bent to protect? You want to defend the United States of America, then defend it with the tools it supplies you with—its Constitution. You ask for a mandate, General, from a ballot box. You don’t steal it after midnight, when the country has its back turned.”—Seven Days in May (1964)

      No doubt about it.

      The coup d’etat has been successful.

      The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state a.k.a. the military industrial complex—has taken over.

      The American system of representative government has been overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic corporate state bent on total control and global domination through the imposition of martial law here at home and by fomenting wars abroad.

      When in doubt, follow the money trail.

      It always points the way.

      Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.

      Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general -turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.

      Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.

      Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has

      paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the Deep State to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.

      Just recently, for instance, Trump—boasting about the “

      purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States—agreed to sell Saudi Arabia more than $110 billion in military weapons and “tanks and helicopters for border security, ships for coastal security, intelligence-gathering aircraft, a missile-defense radar system, and cybersecurity tools.”

      Meanwhile, Trump—purportedly in an effort to balance the budget in 10 years—wants to

      slash government funding for programs for the poor, ranging from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments.

      The military doesn’t have to worry about tightening its belt, however. No, the military’s budget—with its trillion dollar wars, its $125 billion in administrative waste, and its contractor-driven price gouging that hits the American taxpayer where it hurts the most—will continue to grow, thanks to Trump.

      This is how you keep the Deep State in power.

      The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, the military will get more militaristic, America’s endless wars will get more endless, and the prospect of peace will grow ever dimmer.

      As for the terrorists, they will keep on being played for pawns as long as Saudi Arabia remains their breeding ground and America remains the source of their weapons, training and know-how (

      15 of the 19 terrorists—including Osama bin Laden—who carried out the 9/11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia).

      Follow the money.  It always points the way.

      As Bertram Gross noted in Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, “evil now wears a friendlier face than ever before in American history.”

      Writing in 1980, Gross predicted a future in which he saw:

      …a new despotism creeping slowly across America. Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and, more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion

      This stealthy, creeping, silent coup that Gross prophesied is the same danger that writer Rod Serling warned against in the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, which put the military in charge of a coup that would institute martial law packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.

      On the big screen, the military coup is foiled and the republic is saved in a matter of hours. In the real world, however, the plot thickens and spreads out over the past half century.

      We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’re certainly on that downward trajectory now, and things are moving fast.

      The question is no longer whether the U.S. government will be preyed upon and taken over by the military industrial complex. That’s a done deal.

      The “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has perished.

      It will not be revived or restored without a true revolution of values and a people’s rebellion the likes of which we may not see for a very long time.

      America is a profitable business interest for a very select few, and war—wars waged abroad against shadowy enemies and wars waged at home against the American people—has become the Deep State’s primary means of income.

      If America has been at war more than we’ve been at peace over the past half century, it’s because the country is in the clutches of a greedy military empire with a gargantuan, profit-driven appetite for war. Indeed, the U.S. has been involved in an average of at least one significant military action per year, “ranging from significant fighting in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to lesser incursions in such far-flung countries as Kuwait, Bosnia, Pakistan, Libya, Grenada, Haiti and Panama… That total does not count more limited U.S. actions, such as drone strikes.”

      War is big business.

      In order to maintain a profit margin when there are no more wars to be fought abroad, one would either have to find new enemies abroad or focus on fighting a war at home, against the American people, and that’s exactly what we’re dealing with today.

      • Local police transformed into a standing army in the American homeland through millions of dollars’ worth of grants to local police agencies for military weapons, vehicles, training and assistance.
      • The citizenry taught to fear and distrust each other and to welcome the metal detectors and pat downs in their schools, bag searches in their train stations, tanks and military weaponry used by their small town police forces, surveillance cameras in their traffic lights, police strip searches on their public roads, unwarranted blood draws at drunk driving checkpoints, whole body scanners in their airports, and government agents monitoring their communications.

      Had the government tried to ram such a state of affairs down our throats suddenly, it might have had a rebellion on its hands.

      Instead, the American people have been given the boiling frog treatment, immersed in water that slowly is heated up—degree by degree—so that they’ve fail to notice that they’re being trapped and cooked and killed.

      “We the people” are in hot water now.

      As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the Constitution doesn’t stand a chance against a federalized, globalized standing army protected by legislative, judicial and executive branches that are all on the same side, no matter what political views they subscribe to: suffice it to say, they are not on our side or the side of freedom.

      From Clinton to Bush, then Obama and now Trump, it’s as if we’ve been caught in a time loop, forced to re-live the same thing over and over again: the same assaults on our freedoms, the same disregard for the rule of law, the same subservience to the Deep State, and the same corrupt, self-serving government that exists only to amass power, enrich its shareholders and ensure its continued domination.

      The republic has fallen to fascism with a smile.

      As Bertram Gross wrote in what may have been his most prescient warning:

      In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote a popular novel in which a racist, anti-Semitic, flag-waving, army-backed demagogue wins the 1936 presidential election and proceeds to establish an Americanized version of Nazi Germany. The title, It Can’t Happen Here, was a tongue-in-cheek warning that it might. But the “it” Lewis referred to is unlikely to happen again any place… Anyone looking for black shirts, mass parties, or men on horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism. In any First World country of advanced capitalism, the new fascism will be colored by national and cultural heritage, ethnic and religious composition, formal political structure, and geopolitical environment… In America, it would be supermodern and multi-ethnic-as American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards, and apple pie. It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic facade, subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. What scares me most is its subtle appeal.

      I am worried by those who fail to remember-or have never learned -that Big Business-Big Government partnerships, backed up by other elements, were the central facts behind the power structures of old fascism in the days of Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese empire builders. I am worried by those who quibble about labels… I am upset with those who prefer to remain spectators until it may be too late… I am appalled by those who stiffly maintain that nothing can be done until things get worse or the system has been changed. I am afraid of inaction. I am afraid of those who will heed no warnings and who wait for some revelation, research, or technology to offer a perfect solution. I am afraid of those who do not see that some of the best in America has been the product of promises and that the promises of the past are not enough for the future. I am dismayed by those who will not hope, who will not commit themselves to something larger than themselves, of those who are afraid of true democracy or even its pursuit.

      Elections will not save us.

      Learn the treacherous lessons of 2008 and 2016:  presidential elections have made a mockery of our constitutional system of government, suggesting that our votes can make a difference when, in fact, they merely serve to maintain the status quo.

      Don’t delay.

      Start now—in your own communities, in your schools, at your city council meetings, in newspaper editorials, at protests—by pushing back against laws that are unjust, police departments that overreach, politicians that don’t listen to their constituents, and a system of government that grows more tyrannical by the day.

      If you wait until 2020 to rescue our republic from the clutches of the Deep State, it will be too late.

      WC: 1908

      ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

      Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

       

      teleSUR Exclusive: Syria’s Assad Says Trump Is Puppet of US Deep State

      • Speaking on the subject of Donald Trump, the Syrian leader said the U.S. president "has no policies," but is rather implementing decisions made by "the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms manufacturers, oil companies, and financial institutions."

      • "As we have seen in the past few weeks, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime," Assad said.

      • Despite running on a platform promising a departure from the interventionist foreign policy of predecessor Barack Obama, Trump launched 59 tomahawk missiles on the al-Shariat air base in Homs on April 6 in response to allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government — claims which Syria’s leader denies.

      • "That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American president’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades."

      • the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in which 58 people were killed by what experts consider to be exposure to sarin. Syrian opposition groups, the United States and allies including France have blamed Syria’s government, while Damascus has said that armed opposition groups and their sponsors are to blame.

      • According to Assad, however, his government has asked for independent investigations into the chemical weapons allegations, which he says have been stalled by the U.S. government and its allies.

      • "We have asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to send specialized missions to investigate what happened. And every time, the United States obstructed these investigations or prevented sending such missions in order to carry out such investigations," Assad said. "This is what happened last week when we called for investigations over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The United States and its allies prevented OPCW from taking that decision."

      • Assad alleges that U.S. officials are lying about their claims regarding Syria having chemical weapons, and recalled Colin Powell’s infamous testimony at the United Nations in 2003 where he said that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

      • "This is what characterizes American politicians: they lie on a daily basis … That’s why we shouldn’t believe what the Pentagon or any other American institution says because they say things which serve their policies, not things which reflect reality and the facts on the ground."

      • Throughout the bloody civil war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, there have been a number of chemical attacks confirmed by the U.N. and other experts. The responsibility in some of the cases — including that of the attack in Khan Sheikhoun — has remained inconclusive.

      • Neighboring Israel has attacked Syrian government positions, including an Apr. 23 airstrike in the Quneitra province that killed three.

      • "(Israel) is supporting terrorists in two ways: first by providing direct support in the form of weapons, and second by providing logistic support, i.e. allowing them to conduct military exercises in the areas it controls. It also provides them with medical assistance in its hospitals," Assad added.

      • "The United States always seeks to control all the states of the world without exception. It does not accept allies, regardless of whether they are developed states as those in the Western bloc or other states of the world," Assad explained.

      • "That is why what is happening to Syria, to Korea, to Iran, to Russia, and maybe to Venezuela now, aims at re-imposing American hegemony on the world because they believe that this hegemony is under threat now, which consequently threatens the interests of American economic and political elites."

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      The madder Trump gets, the more seriously the world takes him

        • The more dangerous America’s crackpot President becomes, the saner the world believes him to be. Just look back at the initial half of his first 100 days: the crazed tweeting, the lies, the fantasies and self-regard of this misogynist leader of the Western world appalled all of us. But the moment he went to war in Yemen, fired missiles at Syria and bombed Afghanistan, even the US media Trump had so ferociously condemned began to treat him with respect. And so did the rest of the world.
        • It’s one thing to have a lunatic in the White House who watches late night television and tweets all day. But when the same lunatic goes to war, it now emerges, he’s a safer bet for democracy, a strong President who stands up to tyrants (unless they happen to be Saudis, Turks or Egyptians) and who acts out of human emotion rather than cynicism.

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