Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 22 Share on Twitter 3 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/24/20

A New Definition of Warfare

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   7 comments
Author 78494
Message Philip Giraldi
Become a Fan
  (17 fans)

From Unz Review

Sanctions can be more deadly than bullets

Secretary Mike Pompeo
Secretary Mike Pompeo
(Image by U.S. Department of State)
  Details   DMCA

Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of "extreme pressure" on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about "regime change." In Pompeo's twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become "normal countries."

The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America's imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S. sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked, forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to survive.

The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December 29th to January 3rd, the American military, which operates out of two major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation of the country's government and that invitation had just been revoked by parliament.

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S. forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS, but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.

Washington's response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time table to create a "withdrawal mechanism" the Secretary of State made it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department written response entitled "The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq" asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a "force for good" in the Middle East and that it is "our right" to maintain "appropriate force posture" in the region.

The Iraqi position also immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about "sanctions like they have never seen," with the implication that the U.S. was more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq's financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that description.

After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian, a United States representative from the National Security Council named Richard Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: "The question for prime minister Johnson is: 'As you are moving towards Brexit " what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?' It's absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain's interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe."

And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John Bolton prote'ge' anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation, posits "Consider the following scenario: A Washington, DC-based, tax-exempt organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the enhancement of a foreign country's reputation within the United States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as 'fellows') embedded within the White House national security staff in order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization, which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton."

The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran, including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the president's ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House advocating a policy of "regime disruption" with the Islamic Republic that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to the assassination of Soleimani.

The good news, if there is any, is that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels, where much of the development and implementation of policy actually takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of state.

 

Must Read 3   Supported 3   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Philip Giraldi Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. His columns on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues regularly appear in The American Conservative magazine, Huffington Post, and antiwar.com. He has written op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain, has appeared on "Good Morning America," MSNBC, National Public Radio, and local affiliates of ABC television. He has been a keynote speaker at the Petroleum Industry Security Council annual meeting, has spoken twice at the American Conservative Union's annual CPAC convention in Washington, and has addressed several World Affairs Council affiliates. He has been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's Independent Television Network, FOX News, Polish National Television, Croatian National Television, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, 60 Minutes, and other international and domestic broadcasters.


Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Pandering to Israel Has Got to Stop

John McCain: War Hero or Something Less?

America's National Defense Is Really Offense

Why I Dislike Israel

There Are None So Blind ... As Those Who Will Not See

Who Did the Eavesdropping?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

5 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments


John Jonik

Become a Fan
Author 10030
(Member since Jan 16, 2008), 15 fans, 38 articles, 2403 comments, 6 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Since the US hasn't been at war since 1945...and since the word "war" is spread thick everywhere, pro and anti, maybe it's time to properly describe the military operations the US gets into all over. That might be more effective than just opposing "war"...which is inaccurate for everything from Korea to Viet Nam to Iraq....not to mention using the word in War on Drugs and War on Poverty.

Nothing is wrong with accurate "illegal invasion", "unjustified military action", "unauthorized overseas military assaults" or similar terms instead of "war"...though that may make bumper stickers too large. "War" comes off as too noble and dramatic and even sort of justifiable...as if we ought all join and patriotically support.

And, hell, if we have "war" on poverty or hunger, "war" isn't automatically a negative word. Might as well say "Rape of poverty" or hunger. Oy.

"Stop Illegal US Military Operations" may not be as catchy and brief a slogan as "Stop War" but it would be informative, effective and correct.

PS: And if we (including officials and the media) can stop referring to a president as OUR Commander in Chief...when a president is only CIC of most, not even all, of the military, that would be another step in the right direction. We, the People, the "demos" in a democracy, are a president's commanders in chief...unless we abdicate that role.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 24, 2020 at 2:42:22 AM

  Recommend  (3+)
Help
Indent

Mohammad Ala

Become a Fan
Author 8028
(Member since Oct 1, 2007), 10 fans, 25 articles, 42 quicklinks, 1129 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to John Jonik:   New Content

Excellent comment. THANKS for your time.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 24, 2020 at 4:35:05 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Mohammad Ala

Become a Fan
Author 8028
(Member since Oct 1, 2007), 10 fans, 25 articles, 42 quicklinks, 1129 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Mr. Phillip Giraldi, THANKS for your time in preparing this report.

I agree with John Jonik that the word war or wars should be rephrased.


Submitted on Friday, Jan 24, 2020 at 4:37:18 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Alexander Kershaw

Become a Fan
Author 500827
(Member since Nov 25, 2014), 3 fans, 422 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Using financial operations to control international resources and politics has been common at least since the chartering of the Bank of England in 1690. The root cause of the War of 1812 was that the US failed to renew the Charter of the Bank of The United States which was 80% foreign owned. The Currency Act of 1760 which caused unemployment outlawed the colonies from creating their own money which they had previously done. The result was a crash in the economy and subsequent revolution.

In 1995 in Cuba a liter of gasoline cost $7. I asked a Cuban professor why Cuba had not used ethanol to power their economy ala Brazil. She said she had asked the same question and got no reply. After reading Ellen Brown's book "The Web of Debt" i realized that international trade is controlled by the Bank of International Settlements, Like the Fed it is private and not under the control of any lawful body. I strongly suspect the BIS told Cuba that if they went to ethanol all of their international trade would be stopped. The BIS does much to protect the petrodollar.

Saddam, Quadaffi, Iran, Venezuela and Syria threatened the petrodollar. Need I say more?

Submitted on Friday, Jan 24, 2020 at 4:52:32 PM

  Recommend  (4+)
Help
Indent

Richard Pietrasz

Become a Fan
Author 6357
(Member since Jun 7, 2007), 13 fans, 1 quicklinks, 3001 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Alexander Kershaw:   New Content

As Smedley Butler noted, "war is a racket", and that he and his fellow Marines were racketeers working for (although not paid by) corporations.


People in the US military kill for money, the money of the people who control those who give them their orders, and the money they are personally paid to kill people.


There is an old joke. What is the difference between a US soldier and a Mafia hit man? The Mafia hit man knows killing innocent bystanders is bad for his business, and the US soldier knows that killing innocent bystanders is good for his business. Few have read or heard this joke, because it contains far too much truth, and violates the far harsher treatment the right-wingers in USA dish out to those who violate the right's rules of political correctness.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 25, 2020 at 11:21:11 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Irene Fowler

Become a Fan
Author 514273
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Sep 24, 2019), 1 fan, 6 articles, 21 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Jubilee Bible 2000 Where do the wars and disputes come from among you? From here that is to say, of your lusts which fight in your members? James 4:1(Jubilee Bible 2000) Apparently, there are seldom any 'justified wars'. Where is the nobility of man? Where is the excellency of the human spirit? Apparently both commodities are either lacking, or in very short supply in the leadership ranks. Alas! Barbarism still wins the day. Fear, hubris and denial prevent us from breaking-out of our soporific, phantasmagorical cocoon, to admit the naked and unadorned truth. The accepted definition of 'civilization' is fallacious and misleading. The barbarians are at the gate, forsooth!

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 25, 2020 at 11:55:21 AM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Richard Pietrasz

Become a Fan
Author 6357
(Member since Jun 7, 2007), 13 fans, 1 quicklinks, 3001 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Sanctions can be more deadly than bullets, especially the way USA does them. But when the two are combined, as they so often are by USA these days, both are far more deadly than the sum of mortality created by each separately.


On the other hand, this is not a new definition of warfare, it is a very old one. The US military tries present itself as valiant warriors in the tradition of opposing armies clashing on fields of battle and open seas and oceans, but the reality is far uglier. In most wars killing civilians is a large priority, especially for invaders, and since civilians are a lot easier to kill than soldiers, it is civilians who do most of the dying. The exception is when the opposing militaries are of roughly equal strength, and fight to an approximate draw.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 25, 2020 at 12:28:35 PM

  Recommend  (0+)
Help