burn rome burn

How the social sciences accommodate themselves to the conservative Anglo-American elite. To the right: one member of Yale’s Assholeapologist Department, in charge of a small North American factory for the promotion of “radical” and glittering (multiculti!) global identity politics. Sexy diverse people chanting in unison the refrain of the Consensus on the Immorality of Leftist Solidarity.  Enlightenment at last!: So many skin colors at our cocktail parties! So little dissensus on the rectitude of capitalism.

“…As a result, we find ourselves today in a most peculiar situation: the left and right have traded places, at least with respect to the sort of universalist rhetoric that can still stir the general public. Unable to go beyond the logic of identity politics, the disparate constituencies of the cultural left have ceded much political high ground to the right.

Today, here and there on the left, one hears a half-whispered recognition that, beyond necessary demands for racial representation, feminist principles, gay rights, and so on, some common ground must be found: in campaigns for more economic equality and against poverty, unemployment, ecological depredation, and educational erosion.

Ronald Reagan’s genius lay in his ability to demarcate common ground on the right. Unless it learns to speak its own language of commonality, the shards of the left will be condemned to their separate sectors, sometimes glittering, sometimes smashed, and mostly marginal.”

Todd Gitlin, Harper’s 1993


anatomy of the situation in georgia

Anatomy of A(nother) Fiasco
by billmon
at the Daily Kos

Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 08:57:24 AM PDT

Georgia, Georgia
No peace can I find.
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind.

Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael

It’s not like I really wanted to spend the weekend thinking about last week’s small war between Russia and the Caucasian republic of Georgia – not when I could have been watching women’s beach volleyball at the Olympics instead.

But ever since the obscure dispute over the breakaway province of South Ossetia suddenly flared into a good old fashioned Cold War crisis (putting the US – or at least John McCain – toe-to-toe with the Russkies) I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how America found itself obligated to defend the security and territorial integrity of a place name most Americans probably associate with peach trees and Scarlett O’Hara.

billmon’s diary :: ::
I’m no foreign policy maven, but I’m also not completely oblivious to what our government has been up to in the Caucasus (unlike, say, about 99.99% of the rest of the American population). I knew the Cheney Administration had taken a shine to Michael Saakashvili, the purportedly democratic, allegedly peaceloving president of Georgia, and I knew the Cheneyites were also big supporters of his demands for a Russian withdrawal from those bits of territory that rejected Georgian authority when the old USSR broke up in 1991. I also knew the administration has been trying, both overtly and covertly, to break the Russian stranglehold on the export of oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea basin (democratic freedom and access to petrocarbons being fairly synonymous terms in the American diplomatic dictionary).

But I have to admit, even I was startled when the semi-official media (Washington Post, NY Times, AP, etc.) began referring to Georgia as a staunch US “ally”. Since when, I wondered, had the United States bound itself in a collective defense pact with Stalin’s birthplace? Was I out of the country, sleeping – or watching too much beach volleyball – when that particularly treaty was ratified in the US Senate?

This really bothered me. Ever since I realized, sometime in the winter of 2002, that the Cheney Administration had made “preventative” war the first bullet point in its corporate mission statement, I’ve tried to keep closer track of where they might do it next. And yet, apparently, I had failed. How?

What I found, with a little digging, was pretty illustrative: not just of the need to watch this administration (and probably all administrations) the way a mongoose watches a cobra, but also of the fecklessness of our semi-official media – which not only don’t recognize a US foreign policy debacle when they see one, but instinctively misrepresent the results once they become to obvious to ignore.

It’s also a story of the traditional cluelessness, spinelessness and all-around malign neglect displayed by the members of both parties and both houses of Congress when it comes to said foreign policy disasters. There are times, it seems, when Joe Biden can be damned near as dangerous as Dick Cheney. But maybe you already knew that.

NATO’s Drive to the East

Our story begins at the end of the last Cold War, when the former Soviet satellites of the Warsaw Pact were freed from their bondage to Moscow and immediately began looking West for protection from a future resurgence of Russian power. They all clamored for admission to the NATO club, the sooner the better. Given their history, who can blame them?

But the realists of the first Bush Administration looked upon this idea with all the enthusiasm of an experienced hunter asked to take care of some lost bear cubs. Mama Bear might not be around now, but when she shows up, you know there’s going to be trouble. Indeed, the Russians later claimed that Bush and Baker had promised them, at the time of Germany’s reunification, that NATO would not be pushed any further east than the Oder River (Germany’s border with Poland). I don’t know if this is true, but the Russians seem to believe it.

Not for the last time, though, the incoming Clinton team showed itself more susceptible to interventionist impulses and began pushing for NATO expansion – with, it should be added, the enthusiastic support of most of our European allies, who saw expansion both as a safeguard against Russian revival and a way to keep the US engaged in European affairs. (It’s hard to remember now that the big worry back then was that the US would disengage from the world, instead of trying to dominate it.)

The main obstacle to the plan wasn’t so much Russia – given the alcoholic pliability of Boris Yeltsin – as US public opinion. There were those (not all of them dirty fucking hippies) who thought the collapse of the Soviet Union had robbed NATO of its reason for existing, and that in any case pushing a US security guarantee all the way to the borders of Belarus was both provocative and unnecessary. Polls showed ambivalence at best, clear opposition at worse, among the voters.

However, NATO expansion was passionately supported both by the neocons and the liberal internationalists (i.e. the old New Republic crowd) – and probably more importantly, by the Eastern European émigré lobbies that had clout both with the GOP and with the hawkish “Scoop Jackson” wing of the Democratic Party. And these passionate interest groups did what passionate interest groups usually do: They used their influence to make a legislative end run around an ambivalent but largely detached majority.

In early October 1994, as Congress hurried to adjourn for the mid-term elections, something called the “NATO Participation Act” was introduced – in the House by Democrat Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut and Ben Gilman of New York; in the Senate by Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Hank Brown of Colorado (a liberal Democrat, a moderate Republican and two conservative Republicans. In the warped context of our political duopoly, you can’t get much more bipartisan that that.) The measure was quickly attached to a bill authorizing international aid for the war on drugs, unanimously passed by both houses on voice votes, and quickly signed into law by President Clinton. There was no floor debate and, as far as I can tell, virtually no press coverage.

This completely non-controversial (and indeed, barely noticed) law authorized the US government to immediately begin treating “countries emerging from communist domination” – and, in particular, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – as de facto allies, even though no formal decision had been made on their applications to the NATO club. This meant the Pentagon could provide them with “surplus” stores and equipment, help upgrade their old Soviet-era military bases, and finance weapons sales under the same lenient terms extended to other US allies. It also authorized the stationing of US “trainers” (read: military advisors) on their home soil. The only thread left hanging was how the US would respond in the unlikely eventuality that our new unofficial allies were attacked.

Three years later, that thread was also tied down: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were formally admitted to NATO – obliging the United States to treat an attack on their territories as an attack upon our own – in other words, an ironclad guarantee that the United States would instantly, automatically, go to war to defend them from any external aggression.

Simon Says: Take Another Step Forward

Now it can be argued that things worked out well in the end: The Russians didn’t like it a bit but were far too weak (and, in Yeltsin’s case, far too pickled) to retaliate. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic all settled down to become respectable citizens of Donald Rumsfeld’s “New Europe,” applied and were soon admitted to the European Union, and, not least, became a welcome market for US weapons manufacturers in that lean period for Death Inc.

Which may be why neocons and neoliberals alike (supported, as before, by the various Eastern European lobbies) saw no reason to stop the process. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia were quickly tapped as candidates for the next NATO expansion draft. So were the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – an even more provocative gesture in Russian eyes, given that all three were former, if highly unwilling, Soviet republics and the last two in particular sported significant Russian ethnic minorities who were not happy about being separated from the Motherland.

Immediately tossing aside his promise of a “humble” foreign policy, the newly selected George W. Bush quickly endorsed their bids. “I believe in NATO membership for
all of Europe’s democracies that seek it,” he said in a June 2001 speech in Warsaw. “We will not trade away the fate of free European peoples. . . no more Munichs . . . no more Yaltas.” Even then, Shrub had a taste for the pseudo-Churchillian gestures.

In an rational world, in which leaders balance competing priorities against limited resources, the 9/11 attacks might have led to a rethink of NATO’s expansion plans. But amid the weird euphoria (or at least, delusions of omnipotence) that seems to have grabbed the Cheney Administration and the entire US foreign policy establishment by the brain stem after 9/11, the campaign to add a baker’s half dozen weak, ethnically divided states to the NATO club actually picked up steam.

By now, though, there was a different, considerably more sober, Russian leader on the other side of the chessboard. And yet, once again, the Russians conceded the game. Putin reportedly later claimed he traded NATO membership for the Baltic trio (plus a ticket to Moscow’s old stomping grounds in Central Asia during the invasion of Afghanistan) for a free hand in the Ukraine and the Caucasus. Maybe so – although if so it was a bad deal, based on the flawed assumption that the USA, waist deep in its war against Islamic terrorism, wanted to be Russia’s strategic partner, or at least was no longer a strategic rival. Even Henry Kissinger now seems to realize this was never really in the cards.

In any case, the MO followed in the first NATO expansion round was redeployed in Congress. Another bill (the Gerald B. H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act) authorizing the president to treat the expansion candidates as if they were already NATO allies, was introduced and quickly waved past the usual Democratic niceties. And in November of 2002, this fait accompli was duly ratified by NATO, which gained another seven members – in the process moving the US defense umbrella to within 150 miles of downtown St. Petersburg. Ronald Reagan used to raise alarms about the threat of a Sovietized Nicaragua just a day’s drive – a long day’s drive – south of the Rio Grande. And here was NATO, in theory at least, asserting a right to park its tanks within commuting distance of Russia’s second-largest city.

You would think that with NATO’s right foot planted firmly on the Black Sea, and its left foot at the gates of St. Petersburg, the new containment doctrine would have reached its natural limits. But the Cheney Administration, again with the full support of the bipartisan enlargement lobby, immediately began to agitate for yet another NATO expansion, to bring such democratic powerhouses as Croatia – recently emerged from its ethnic grudge match with Serbia – and Albania – into the fold. After the “Orange” and “Rose” revolutions put pro-Western leaders in power in the Ukraine and Georgia, those two countries not only were added to the list, but pushed straight to the top of it.

However, at this point (finally!) our European allies began to have serious doubts about the American relish for bearbaiting. Bringing the Baltic republics into NATO was one thing – after all, they had been victims of Stalin’s aggression, had resisted (as much as anyone could) the tender mercies of the KGB and the Red Army, and had bolted not just the USSR but its nominal successor, the Commonwealth of Independent States, at the first opportunity.

The Ukraine was a different kettle of sturgeon: It had been a part of the Russian state for more than 300 years, it also contained a large Russian minority, and it was and still is a CIS member in good standing. Its complete deference on security issues was clearly considered a core, non-negotiable issue by the Kremlin – Orange Revolution or no Orange Revolution. It didn’t help that the original revolutionary movement quickly fragmented, with democrats excluded from power accusing democrats in power of showing some very old-fashioned authoritarian tendencies. (Likewise, Georgia’s “democratic” president has also shown a willingness to crack opposition skulls, and has also taken to pandering to the extreme nationalists in his coalition – promising to retake the lost provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by whatever means necessary.)

It is (or at least used to be) an established principle that countries with unresolved border disputes make bad candidates for NATO membership – since it creates a risk the alliance will be dragged into grubby territorial disputes under the guise of collective security. It doesn’t exactly help that in Georgia’s case one of the disputed borders was actually drawn by home boy Josef Stalin, who arbitrarily incorporated Abkhazia into the Georgian Soviet Republic in 1931. (In a similar fit of socialist fraternal generosity, Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimea – Russian territory since the 18th century – to the Ukraine in 1956.)

In any case, French and German securocrats dug in their heels, and even Bush-friendly political leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel decided that planting NATO’s flag on the crest of the Caucasian mountains and the banks of the Dneper River was an expansion too far – at least for the moment.

Same Verse, Third Refrain

Once again, the US enlargement lobby sprang into action. In February of last year, with the newly born Democratic Congress still waiving its little arms and spitting up mucus, Dick Lugar (the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Joe Biden (the committee’s nominally Democratic chairman) introduced the “NATO Freedom Consolidation Act”. Like its predecessors, the bill authorized the President to immediately begin treating the Ukraine and Georgia as full-fledged NATO allies in all but name – with weapons sales, military advisors, etc. Senate cosponsors included Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gordon Smith of Oregon, and, naturally, John McCain (R-POW).

Also like its predecessors, the bill was whisked through both houses of Congress with about as much deliberation as a resolution praising the Future Farmers of Benton County for their fine showing at the Iowa State Fair – with no hearings, no debate, no roll call votes. President Bush signed it into law on April 9, 2007. The White House put out an official statement marking the occasion. It was one sentence long.

And so, with an absolute minimum of democratic process, the United States of America committed its full prestige and power (if not, just yet, a legally binding guarantee) to the defense of the two former Soviet republics, even though the Russians have repeatedly stated that they regard NATO membership by either country as a direct threat to their own vital security interests. As others have already noted, this is as if China had unilaterally announced a military alliance with Mexico and Cuba. Actually it’s worse: Imagine the US reaction if China announced a military alliance with Mexico, after which the president of Mexico started dropping public hints about taking New Mexico back – by whatever means necessary. (And if that comparison seems unnecessarily paranoid, consider the history of Russia in the 20th century. Even paranoids have real enemies.)

A careful search of Nexus and Google reveals that the number of stories appearing in the pages of major US newspapers and magazines, or on the wires of major American news services, taking note of this fateful decision, equals exactly one: a brief item out of UPI’s Moscow bureau, warning of the Russian reaction. The Georgian and Ukranian press, on the other hand, gave the new law saturation coverage – encouraged by their respective governments, both of which issued official statements describing their future NATO admissions as, in effect, done deals.

The Russians also reacted. Just a few days after the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act was introduced in the Senate, President Putin gave a speech in Munich that was widely reported as his harshest attack to date on America for its allegedly aggressive and hegemonic designs. The New York Times and US government officials (which is a somewhat redundant expression) both professed shock over Putin’s language – without once mentioning the congressional provocation that triggered it.

But there was just one problem: NATO admission for the Ukraine and Georgia was most emphatically not a done deal. Despite all the pressure from the Cheney Administration (which, we now know, was being played hard by pro-Georgian lobbyists, including John McCain’s current campaign manager) the French and Germans stuck to their position in the run up to last April’s NATO summit in Bucharest.

This led to another flurry of activity by the congressional expansion lobby. In January of this year, another resolution was introduced, again demanding that NATO open its doors to the Ukraine and Georgia. This time the list of cosponsors included Biden, McCain and Joe Lieberman – as well as both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was passed by unanimous consent. And when the NATO summit nonetheless elected to pass on the Ukrainian and Georgian applications (promising, vaguely, to revisit the issue at a later date) the Demopublicans quickly came back with yet another resolution blasting the Russians for a long list of alleged violations of Georgian sovereignty and praising the NATO summit for “stat[ing] that the Republic of Georgia will become a member of NATO” – when, in fact, the summit had made no such promise just declined to admit them. Up is down. Black is white.

Update 8/18: A commenter poins out that the NATO summit did in fact issue a communique “stating that the Republic of Georgia will become a member” (as well as Ukraine) – as a sop to the two republics and their American backers. Not a binding promise, but also not an Orwellian parallel universe. I regret the error.

Blank Checks and Bounced Ones

Looking at this dreary legislative record (which reads like something out of the old Supreme Soviet) is it any surprise Georgia’s president felt he had a virtual carte blanche from America to challenge the Russians – up to and including the use of military force in a disastrous bid to reconquer South Ossetia? Why would he think otherwise – right up until the moment he discovered America had written him a check it had no real intention of honoring?

There’s not much more to say – except that it’s a pretty strange world where the sworn goal of US diplomacy is to put the country in a situation where it may have to go to war with another nuclear power (or back down ignominiously) to defend the sanctity of borders drawn by Josef Stalin and Nikita Krushchev. Leaving aside the raving hypocrisy (Kosovo, Iraq) it’s an alarming sign that the national security and foreign policy elites of this country – in both parties; and not just among the lunatic neocon fringe – are totally out of control. British analyst Anatol Levin (one of the more perceptive of the realists) describes it a case of “profound infantilism”:

In the United States, the infantile illusion of omnipotence, whereby it doesn’t matter how many commitments the United States has made elsewhere—in the last resort, the United States can always do what it likes.

Personally, I see it more as a case of the bureaucratic imperative run amok: The national security state is doing exactly what it was designed to do, but without any of the external checks and counterbalances that existed during the Cold War – the war it was originally created to fight. The domestic political system, meanwhile, has atrophied to the point where it’s simply an afterthought – a legislative rubber stamp needed to keep the dollars flowing. With no effective opposition, the machine can run on autopilot, until it finally topples off a cliff (as in Iraq) or slams into an object (like the Russian Army) that refuses to get out of the way.

And that, ultimately, is the most depressing thing about this story: Even after the fiasco in Iraq, the bloody failure in Lebanon, the downward spiral in Afghanistan and, now, the futile posturing in Georgia, there’s absolutely no evidence the US foreign policy elite is inclined to moderate its ambition to re-organize the world along American lines. Nor is there any sign the political class (including, unfortunately, Barack Obama) is rethinking its lockstep support for that agenda. The voters, meanwhile, don’t seem to care much one way or another – as long as gas doesn’t get too expensive and the military casualties aren’t too high (or can be kept off the TV). If anything, it looks like bashing the Russians is still good politics, if only for the nostalgia value.

If you caught Andrew Bacevich on Bill Moyer’s show the other night, you may have noticed that his biggest complaint was not that US foreign policy is misguided and destructive (although he clearly thinks it’s both) but that it is being conducted in a democratic vacuum — despite all the florid rhetoric about promoting democracy. We may still go through the motions of a republican form of government, Bacevich says, but the fabric has gotten pretty thin: or, in the case of our national revival of the Great Game in the Caucasus, damned near invisible.

How long before it tears completely?

Update 8/17: A point I forgot to mention, but brought back to mind by this excellent Asia Times story, is that it’s not at all clear that Ukraine will remain a Western-leaning, would-be US client state. The current president and NATO booster, Viktor Yushchenko, is in a weak – and increasingly unpopular – political position. His former Orange Revolution comrade turned parliamentary rival, Yulia Timoshenko, takes a more realistic view of Kiev’s need to stay on reasonable terms with Moscow. It’s even possible that Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian apparatchik whose bid to steal the 2004 presidential election was foiled by the Orange Revolution, could make a come back.

This raises an interesting possibility: What if Ukraine were admitted to NATO, but a pro-Russian leader then came to power in Kiev by democratic means – giving Moscow a loyal voice (and ear) inside NATO’s internal deliberations? What would the US and friends do then? Kick Ukraine out?

Maybe somebody should ask Joe Biden.

End of Empire

Excerpt from Mihm, Stephen. 2008. “Dr. Doom.” The New York Times, August 17:

For months (economist Nouriel) Roubini has been arguing that the true cost of the housing crisis will not be a mere $300 billion — the amount allowed for by the housing legislation sponsored by Representative Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd — but something between a trillion and a trillion and a half dollars. But most important, in Roubini’s opinion, is to realize that the problem is deeper than the housing crisis. “Reckless people have deluded themselves that this was a subprime crisis,” he told me. “But we have problems with credit-card debt, student-loan debt, auto loans, commercial real estate loans, home-equity loans, corporate debt and loans that financed leveraged buyouts.” All of these forms of debt, he argues, suffer from some or all of the same traits that first surfaced in the housing market: shoddy underwriting, securitization, negligence on the part of the credit-rating agencies and lax government oversight. “We have a subprime financial system,” he said, “not a subprime mortgage market.”

Roubini argues that most of the losses from this bad debt have yet to be written off, and the toll from bad commercial real estate loans alone may help send hundreds of local banks into the arms of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “A good third of the regional banks won’t make it,” he predicted. In turn, these bailouts will add hundreds of billions of dollars to an already gargantuan federal debt, and someone, somewhere, is going to have to finance that debt, along with all the other debt accumulated by consumers and corporations. “Our biggest financiers are China, Russia and the gulf states,” Roubini noted. “These are rivals, not allies.”

The United States, Roubini went on, will likely muddle through the crisis but will emerge from it a different nation, with a different place in the world. “Once you run current-account deficits, you depend on the kindness of strangers,” he said, pausing to let out a resigned sigh. “This might be the beginning of the end of the American empire.”

Why is the US at War?

Why Is the US at War in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why Is It There To Stay? Why Might It Go To War Against Iran and Others?: The Neocon US War Leadership, on the Internet.
(The leaders’ own websites, key documents, and websites that summarize their work.)

Elliot Abrams. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Elliott_Abrams. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/969.html. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0209-22.htm.

AEI (American Enterprise Institute). http://www.aei.org/. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1431.html.

AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee). http://www.aipac.org/. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=AIPAC/. The Israeli Lobby. http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=173. In Dutch with English subtitles.

John Bolton. http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarID.121,filter.all/scholar.asp. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/972.html.

Dick Cheney. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1072.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Dick_Cheney.

“A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” IASPS. 1996. Influential anti-labor Israeli policy prescriptions authored by neocons and implemented by Bush Administration in the US. Excerpts at http://zfacts.com/p/139.html; entire report at http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/1996_07_IASPS_Clean_Break.pdf.

Alan Dershowitz. http://www.alandershowitz.com/. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alan_Dershowitz.

Thomas Donnelly. http://www.aei.org/scholars/filter.all,scholarID.68/scholar.asp. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Thomas_Donnelly. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1125.html.

Douglas Feith. http://www.dougfeith.com/. http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1146.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Douglas_Feith.

The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heritage_Foundation. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1477.html.

IASPS (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies). http://www.iasps.org/index.php. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1493.html.

Donald Kagan. http://www.yale.edu/history/faculty/kagan.html. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1239.html.

Irving Kristol. http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarID.34,filter.all/scholar.asp. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1253.html.

William “Bill” Kristol. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1254.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=William_Kristol. http://www.nndb.com/people/401/000048257/.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1271.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=I._Lewis_Libby. http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/libby_indictment_28102005.pdf.

NNDB Networks Mapper. http://mapper.nndb.com/. NNDB maps prominent individuals’ networks. Search for an individual (eg. Dick Cheney). Select him from the list of hits. At the bottom of his bio page is the NNDB Mapper link. Click on his name there, and his network map will pop up. If you point to him in the middle, a dialogue box with different research options will pop up and you can explore that as well as his network.

SAIS (Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University). http://www.sais-jhu.edu/. http://www.nndb.com/edu/425/000166924/.

Richard Perle. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Richard_N._Perle. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1315.html. http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarid.49/scholar.asp.

PNAC (Project for a New American Century). http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century.
http://zfacts.com/p/775.html. http://home.earthlink.net/~platter/neo-conservatism/pnac.html.

“Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” 2000. PNAC, Donald Kagan, Gary Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly. http://cryptome.org/rad.htm. Blueprint for US foreign policy.

Donald Rumsfeld. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Donald_Rumsfeld. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1346.html. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/. http://www.slate.com/id/2081042/.

Gary J. Schmitt. http://www.aei.org/scholars/filter.,scholarID.103/scholar.asp. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1349.html.

Paul Wolfowitz. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1390.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Paul_Wolfowitz. http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/wolfowitz-bio.html. http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarID.126,filter.all/scholar.asp.

David Wurmser. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1392.html. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_Wurmser.

Resources on the US Terror War

Al Jezeera. http://english.aljazeera.net/. News, world perspective.

Amnesty International. http://www.amnesty.org/. Human rights issues by country and issue; human rights programs; news.

Angry Arab News Service. http://angryarab.blogspot.com/. News and analysis in blog format.

Chomsky.Info. http://www.chomsky.info/. Political analysis by Noam Chomsky, one of the US’s leading intellectuals.

Commondreams.org. http://www.commondreams.org/. News analysis.

Congressional Quarterly. http://public.cq.com/archives.html. Information for US political leaders.

Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/. News, analysis, and news correction.

The Dossier. http://www.thedossier.ukonline.co.uk/. Documentaries on the US’s Terror War.

Edward Said Archive. http://www.edwardsaid.org/?q=node/1. Archive of works (including political analysis) by the late leading American intellectual, Edward Said.

Empire Burlesque. http://www.chris-floyd.com/. News analysis and correction.

Documentaries (free). http://freedocumentaries.org/. Includes free documentaries on war.

Glenn Greenwald. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/. News analysis and correction.

Harpers. http://www.harpers.org/. News analysis.

Human Rights Watch. http://hrw.org/

Information Clearinghouse. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/. News.

J Street. http://www.jstreet.org/issues. Issues presented by progressive Jewish lobby in DC.

Lapham’s On-Air. http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/onair.php. Analysis radio.

Le Monde Diplomatique. http://mondediplo.com/. News and analysis, world perspective.

Left Business Observer. http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Radio.html. Includes some war-related broadcasts.

National Security Archive. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/. Access to a sampling of critical declassified records on issues including U.S. national security, foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, intelligence policy, and more.

New York Times. http://nytimes.com/. News and analysis.

John Pilger. http://www.johnpilger.com/. News, analysis, documentaries.

Rightweb. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/. Includes summary information on US pro-war groups.

Sourcewatch. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=SourceWatch. News correction.

US Military Overseas Timeline. http://www.adbusters.org/files/media/flash/hope_and_memory/timeline.swf

War Quotes

Learn from Others
War Quotes & Some Peace Quotes too


“War’s a brain-spattering, windpipe-splitting art” Lord Byron (1788-1824), English Romanticist poet and soldier.

“Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths…I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” Barbara Bush (1925-), daughter of the McCall Corporation and matriarch of the Bush oil family. Mrs. Bush spoke these words on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” March 18, 2003.

“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service…” John Adams (1735-1826), second US President and Federalist who signed into law four acts designed to crack down on the Jeffersonian political opposition and political immigrants.

“Every man thinks god is on his side” Jean Anouilh (1910-1987), French dramatist.

“The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people” Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), US Supreme Court Justice and Zionist leader.

“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice” Lord Acton (1834-1902), English historian, a Catholic who denounced the dogma of Papal Infallibility (writing “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”), he supported the American South as a fan of the principle of State’s Rights.

“My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders” Ella Baker (1903-1986), leading American Civil Rights and human rights activist.

“History is replete with examples of empires mounting impressive military campaigns on the cusp of their impending economic collapse” Eric Alterman (1960-), liberal journalist.

“It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them” Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Austrian-Jewish psychoanalyst who focused on the role of social equality.

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living” General Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981), who came from a working class background, was famous for his status-blind courteousness and gentleness, and his improvement of the Veteran’s Administration health care system and making education benefits accessible to veterans.

“If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat” Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), French existentialist and feminist philosopher-author.


“It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners” Albert Camus (1913-1960), French philosopher-author, member of the French Resistance in WWII.

“My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military” General Smedley Butler (USMC, Ret.).

“War is the tool of small-minded scoundrels who worship the death of others on the altar of their greed” John Cory, decorated Vietnam veteran and American writer.

“Our enemies…never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” George W. Bush, POTUS (2000-2008), son of political oil family.

“During war, the laws are silent” Quintus Tullius Cicero (102 BC-43BC), a Roman military leader known for his impulsive cruelty and honesty.

“Wars frequently begin ten years before the first shot is fired” Major K. K. V. Casey (-1938), Olympic rifleman and Director of Military Sales at DuPont.

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media”
William Colby (1920-1996), quoted by Dave McGowan in his book Derailing Democracy. Although as a CIA operative he supported anti-Communist parties in Europe and attempted to quell Communist insurgency in Vietnam, because Colby cooperated with Congress as CIA Director (1973-1975), President Ford and Henry Kissinger quickly replaced him with political oilman G.H.W. Bush.

“To some degree it matters who’s in office, but it matters more how much pressure they’re under from the public” Noam Chomsky (1928-), American linguist and intellectual, member of the International Workers of the World (IWW).

“We cloak ourselves in cold indifference to the unnecessary suffering of others–even when we cause it” James Carroll (1950-) author and punk musician.

“It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it only takes twenty seconds of war to destroy him” King Baudouin I of Belgium (1930-1993), who reigned over a country riven by ethnic (Flemings and Walloons) and linguistic differences.

“I guess every generation is doomed to fight its war…suffer the loss of the same old illusions, and learn the same old lessons on its own” Phillip Caputo (1941-), Vietnam veteran and American journalist.

“War is eternity jammed into frantic minutes that will fill a lifetime with dreams and nightmares” John Cory, decorated Vietnam veteran and American writer.


“At least we’re getting the kind of experience we need for the next war” Allen Dulles (1893-1969), corporate lawyer and CIA Director (1953-1961) during the Vietnam War.

“Wars are not paid for in wartime. The bill comes later” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American Utilitarian and liberal Enlightenment polymath.

“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), General of the US Army in WWII and a popular two-time US President (1953-61). As the first Republican POTUS in decades, Eisenhower added references to God in the US Pledge of Allegiance and the currency motto, launched the US Interstate Highway System, and proclaimed the Eisenhower Doctrine, which committed the US to attacking “communists” in the Middle East.

“We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Diety to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells” John T. Flynn (1882-1964), American libertarian, anti-militarist journalist.

“The biggest lesson I learned from Vietnam is not to trust [our own] government statements” Senator James W. Fulbright (1905-1995), multilateralist, opponent of Joe McCarthy and right-wing radicalism, and an early target of Zionists, he wrote The Arrogance of Power (1966).

“Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing” Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969).

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding” Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-Jewish physics genius and socialist.

“Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war” Albert Einstein (1879-1955).


“A great war leaves a country with three armies: an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves” German proverb.

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” Adolph Hitler (1889-1945), WWI veteran, who engineered the rise of fascist power in Germany, imperialism, and genocides upon a foundation of scapegoating communists and Jews, suspending habeas corpus, combining legislative and executive power, and expanding debt and the military.

“But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a
simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country” Hermann Goering (1893-1946), Hitler’s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play” Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (1933-1945), Germany.

“One reason the United States finds itself at the edge of a foreign policy disaster is its underinformed citizenry, a key weakness in democracy” Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neoconservatives and the Global Order (2004). Halper was a decorated Republican official; he now is an academic in Britain.

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything” Alexander Hamilton (175X-1807), elitist, Federalist, liberal American political economist, first US Secretary of the Treasury.

“Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood” Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), lawyer, human rights and civil rights organizer, and political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, he pioneered Satyagraha, resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience.

“Killing a man in defense of an idea is not defending an idea; it is killing a man” Jean-Luc Godard (1930-), French New Wave filmmaker.

“Every politician in the world is all for revolution, reason, and disarmament–but only in enemy countries, not in his own” Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) German-Swiss Nobel Laureate author who explored the quest-for-enlightenment theme.

“Peace has its victories no less than war, but it doesn’t have as many monuments to unveil” Kin Hubbard (1868-1930), American cartoonist.

“The coward threatens when he is safe” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer and polymath.


“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did” C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), Irish Christian writer.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), American reverend, activist, and civil rights leader, for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize. King’s efforts were focused on ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War when he was assassinated.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains” Rosa Luxemburg (187X-1919), German Jewish Marxist theorist and revolutionary. Luxemburg was tortured and killed by right-wing militias and the monarchist army.

“We have guided missiles and misguided men” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1969).

“What a cruel thing is war…to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world” Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), slaver, engineer, and soldier, he led the Confederate Army in the American Civil War.

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

“I hate it when they say, ‘He gave his life for his country.’ They don’t die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them” Admiral Gene R. LaRocque (1918-), WWII veteran, disillusioned by Vietnam War, LaRocque started the Center for Defense Information opposing excessive military spending, nuclear war, and militarism.

“Mankind deserves sacrifice – but not of mankind” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1909-1966), Polish-Jewish aristocrat, concentration camp escapee, and author.

“Violence is an admission that one’s ideas and goals cannot prevail on their own merits” Edward M. Kennedy (1932-), Democrat Senator from Massachusetts.

“What political leaders decide, intelligence services tend to seek to justify” Henry Kissinger (1923-), Diplomacy: 303. Kissinger played a dominant role in US foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, when the US courted China and Pakistan in order to pressure the USSR, and supported many murderous right-wing military coups and dictatorships in South America, Africa and East Asia as well. Today Kissinger is involved in many corporations, including the media and a military contractor, and enjoys a Georgetown University appointment.

“The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third POTUS, Enlightenment political philosopher, polymath.

“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie: deliberate, continued, and dishonest; but the myth: persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic” John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th POTUS, son of anticommunist political business family, WWII veteran, responsible for Bay of Pigs, Vietnam War.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace” John Lennon (1940-1980), rock star, enemy of Nixon Administration.


“To wage war, you need first of all money; second, you need money, and third, you also need money” Raimondo Montecuccoli (160X-1680), Italian professional general.

“I went into the Army believing that if you want peace you must prepare for war. I now believe that if you prepare thoroughly for war you will get it” Sir John Frederick Maurice (1841-1912), English soldier.
“Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificually induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear” General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), prosecuted the US war against the Filipinos, occupied Veracruz during the Mexican Revolution, and led the US army in WWI, WWII, Korean War.

“Dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify” Gerard K. O’Neill (1927-1992) American physicist.

“It’s quite fun to fight ’em, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling” General James Mattis (birth unknown, living), USMC, 2005. Mattis has lead the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is portrayed by Harrison Ford in one of the war movies featuring Mattis.

“War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality” Arizona Senator John McCain (1936-), shot down while bombing in Vietnam, captured and tortured between 1967 and 1973.

“Misery, mutilation, destruction, terror, starvation and death characterize the process of war and form a principal part of the product” Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), Technics and Civilization (1934).

“We have all taken risks in the making of war. Isn’t it time that we should take risks to secure peace?” Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), British Labour Prime Minister.

“Military justice is to justice what military music is to music” Groucho Marx (1890-1977), American comedian.

“The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature” James Madison (1751-1836), fourth POTUS (1809-1817), author of the Federalist Papers and father of the pluralist interpretation of American politics, slaver, Madison temporarily parted with the Federalists, and then after his War of 1812 supported expanded federal government powers.

“In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments” Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), overthrew the French Republic, crowned himself emporer, and turned the French army against all of Europe, until he went for Russia, where his army was wrecked.


“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector” Plato (42X-34X BC), elitist classical Greek philosopher from Athens, pupil of Socrates.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” Plato (42X-34X BC).

“There will be no peace…The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing” Ralph Peters (1952-) “Constant Conflict”, US Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired 1998), writer, supporter of War on Iraq.

“Make wars unprofitable and you make them impossible” A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), American Civil Rights leader and labor organizer.

“War does not determine who is right, only who is left” Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British liberal philosopher, logician and pacifist.

“I learned nothing from war. War is not an activity for human beings; war is for criminals—rape, robbery and murder” Roman Podobedov (1920-2003), Russian anti-tank gunner, artist.

“Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war” Donald Rumsfeld (1932-), US businessman and political leader, founder of neocon Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Secretary of Defense during Ford (1975-1977) and Bush (2001-2006) administrations, strategic advisor to Saddam Hussein (1983-1984), and an architect of breaking the Geneva Convention.

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way” Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd POTUS (1933-1945), created the New Deal.

“Putting aside all the fancy words and academic doubletalk, the basic reason for having a military is to do two jobs –to kill people and to destroy” General Thomas S. Power (1905-), WWII veteran and a proponent of nuking Cuba, he also complained to the 1962 Senate Defense Committee, “Restraint? Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards. At the end of the war if there are two Americans and one Russian left alive, we win.”

“I want to scare the hell out of the rest of the world” General Colin Powell (1937-), widely-respected, retired US Army General and Secretary of State (2000-2004), whitewashed MaiLai Massacre (Vietnam, 1968) and Jenin Massacre (West Bank, 2002), lied to UN (2003) to generate support for War on Iraq, Afghanistan.

“You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence. Those two things are irreconcilable” Condoleeza Rice, trying to convince Russia, the EU, and the UN to stop aid to the new Hamas Palestinian government, 1/30/06. Rice (1954-) is US Secretary of State.

“The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments” Michael Parenti (1933-), American political scientist and historian.

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers” Thomas Pynchon (1937-), American writer.


“Criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government” Robert Taft (1889-1953), conservative Senator from the prominent political Taft family of Ohio, he led the successful Senate effort to decimate American labor.

“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism” Howard Thurman (1899-1981), American theologian and Civil Rights leader.

“Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), dissident-author who received a Nobel in Literature for his writings on his experience in the Soviet prison system.

“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is being attacked, and every man will be glad of these conscience-soothing falsities” Mark Twain (1835-1910), American author.

“To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace,” attributed to the Celtic Chief Calgacus (circa AD 83) by Roman historian Tacitus, in Agricola (98 BC).

“The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more, and tolerated by all” Tacitus (56-117 BC), senator and historian of the Roman Empire.

“We first fought…in the name of religion, then Communism, and now in the name of drugs and terrorism. Our excuses for global domination always change” Serj Tankian (1967-), American musician and activist.

“The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.” George Santayana (1863-1952) conservative Spanish-American writer.

“We believed ourselves indestructible… watching only the madmen outside our frontiers, and we remained defenseless against our own madmen” Jacobo Timerman (1923-1999), Argentine journalist tortured by dictator Jorge Rafael Videla’s military.


“The great error of nearly all studies of war… has been to consider war as an episode in foreign policies, when it is an act of interior politics” Simone Weil (1909-1943) French intellectual, syndicalist, pacifist, and mystic.

“Only the winners decide what were war crimes” Gary Wills (1934-), conservative American writer.

“Peace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew” John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), Quaker (slavery) abolitionist and poet.

“Vietnam was the first war ever fought without censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind” William Westmoreland (1914-2005), American General who commanded military operations in the war against the Vietnamese.

“Whether or not patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, national security can be the last refuge of the tyrant” Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe (1938-), British Law Lord.

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich” Sir Peter Ustinov (1921-2004), English actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it” Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), gay British writer, ethicist, wit, and aesthete.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” Voltaire (1694-1778), French Enlightenment writer-philosopher.

“Historically, the most terrible things–war, genocide and slavery–have resulted from obedience, not disobedience” Howard Zinn (1922-), American historian.