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General News    H4'ed 2/14/16

USA Today's Love Letter To The Pentagon

Message Sherwood Ross
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Gannett Company's "USA Today" has published an 88-page tabloid "Special Edition"(SE) warning of "rising threats" that "pose new challenges for U.S. military."
Oddly, none of the threats were from menacing foreign armies poised to attack on America's borders. In fact, just the opposite: the threats were all located on distant frontiers of other nations where American forces have been fighting, or are poised to fight.
"There should be no mistake," Gannett's SE quotes a grandiose Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as saying in the lead article, "The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world."
Yes, sir! And then some, Mr. Secretary. What Carter did not say that the Pentagon has built a solid track record for operating where international law does NOT allow, and is pressing the borders of Russia, China, and Iran where one misstep could trigger a nuclear war.
Advised of Secy. Carter's comments, the outstanding international legal authority, Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, responded, "International Law has nothing to do with American Foreign Policy these days except to be used as propaganda, disinformation and a fig-leaf to justify U.S. aggression and threatened aggression and war crimes all over the world. And as an "honors" graduate of Harvard Law School, President Obama certainly knows better." (Boyle is the author of "Destroying Libya and World Order" (Clarity Press: 2013)
Maybe Secy. Carter's words explain why pollsters are finding America is rated the most feared nation. According to a recent poll by WIN and Gallup International of 66,000 people in 65 nations, the United States "is the greatest threat to peace in the world today," International Business Times reported.
"Pakistan and China fell significantly behind the United States on the poll, with 8 and 6 percent, respectively. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea all tied for fourth place with 4 percent," IBT said.
Much of the animosity toward America comes from Muslim Middle Eastern and North African nations, all located in a region most likely to be affected by American military actions over the past decade. Forty-four percent of Pakistani respondents, for instance, voted America as the most dangerous nation, despite Pakistan's acceptance of U.S. foreign aid. (Probably due to the widespread Pentagon-CIA drone attacks?) The Chinese and Russians rated the United States as dangerous even more than Pakistanis did, at 54 and 49 percent, respectively.
And a plurality of people polled in several officially American-allied nations also rated the United States as dangerous. Thirty-seven percent of Mexicans and 17 percent of Canadians view their neighboring country with suspicion on the world stage. A surprising 13 percent of American respondents rated their own nation the biggest threat to world peace as well, IBT reported.
In the USA Today SE, Carter describes ISIL as a "barbaric group"---as if his own rain of Pentagon high explosives is, by contrast, civilized. You won't read in the SE about the estimated 5,000 people killed (including children) by U.S. and-or U.K. drone strikes, across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Or some 10,000 people killed in the U.S.-backed overthrow of Libya's Col. Mummer Al-Qaddafi by the Obama regime. Or, for that matter, the 1 and a half million plus Iraqis killed by Pentagon aggression. And most recently, the U.S.-backed violent overthrow of an elected Ukrainian government.
What's more, the "endangered" U.S. has nearly 1,000 military bases around the world from which to project its awesome power. This compares with a total of 30 bases by all the other nations combined! Figures of military strength are also lopsided in favor of the USA. Example: the American navy is four times the size of the Russian and about as big as the next 10 navies of the world combined. Etc.
Secy. Carter is backed up by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who wants to terminate "the readiness roller coaster we have witnessed in the past" with a global, ever-ready force that can respond against "any threat, anytime, anywhere." Adds Major General Anthony Funkhouser, of the Army Center for Initial Military Training, "We've got to be prepared to go whenever and wherever our nation asks us to." Translation: military mastery of the world.
Of course, that takes money, and the Pentagon has a go-along, warmongering Congress to provide it. Estimates by the National Priorities Project(NPP) and others show that more than 50% of every tax dollar go to feed the war machine. "By far, the biggest category of discretionary spending is spending on the Pentagon and related military programs," the NPP says. (Perhaps the Pentagon would succeed better if it got 100% of every tax dollar instead of just 53%?)
As Boston University historian Andrew Bacevich writes in the Feb. 8 issue of "The Nation," nearly 15 years after the Global War on Terrorism began, "it continues with no end in sight." The inability of the U.S. "to bring that enterprise to a successful close would seem to require an explanation. Secretary Carter offers none. Nor does he even hazard a guess as to when, how, or at what cost the final victory will be gained".The facts speak for themselves: The militarized approach conceived as a response to 9/11, back when illusions of U.S. military supremacy ran rampant, has manifestly flopped."
Gannett Company's SE blames the rest of the world for America's troubles, writing: "Carter faces a world riven with conflict, from jihadi terrorism spreading in Europe to ongoing Russian interference in eastern Ukraine to chaos in Syria and Iraq."
"Russian interference?" As Paul Craig Roberts, former Associate Editor of "The Wall Street Journal" writes on his blog, America's arrogant neoconservative faction (seeking world hegemony) has pushed Russia by "having their Turkish puppet shoot down a Russian airplane and to overthrow the democratically-elected government in Ukraine that was on good terms with Russia, substituting in its place an American puppet government."
This view, of course, is the opposite of what Gannett's SE is pushing. All this is what comes of what appears to be a tightly interwoven military-media venture that is, in fact, a SE tabloid tribute to the Pentagon. As activist David Swanson writes in his book "Daybreak"(Seven Stories Press): "We need daily news that is not in the hands of the Pentagon and big business. The media we have now in the United States is guilty of war crimes and crimes against democracy just as our leaders are."
Of course, none of those quoted in the Gannett company's SE likely see themselves as war criminals. Take Air Force Secy. Deborah Lee James, who actually said, "We're in the business of killing terrorists, and business is good." That's a piece of shocking bravado from a public official who speaks of killing as she might speak of selling shoes. That this vast military combine is in the hands of such people is chilling. #
(Sherwood Ross, a Miami-based public relations consultant and former wire service correspondent, is an Air Force veteran who, during his military career, exposed a scheme by officers at Lackland Air Force base, San Antonio, to swindle recruits out of their pay.)
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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
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